Thursday 31 March 2011

Dashed Peculiar

In a second hand bookshop in Teignmouth, Algernon Swift discovers a rare nineteenth century novel, and is immediately engrossed. (However, further research into its author draws a blank.)

It was in September in the year 18— that I found myself on the road to B------, in the county of D-----. As night was drawing in, I asked a ruddy-faced man how far on my way I had yet to go before I reached my goal.
“B------!” he exclaimed. “Don’t go to B------! D—---n b---------d place! You’re better off going to H-------.”
“H-------?” I queried. “Why not B-------?”
“D----n me, you can go to the d-------l, for all I care! But B------! It’s a b---------d awful place. The men are b----------------s, the women are b-------------s, and their children are the biggest b---------d bunch of d---------d imbeciles you’ve ever seen.”
I asked him on what he based his information.
“Why, man, I have lived there since 18--! Or was it 18--? D--—n my eyes, I can’t b--------d remember! And why do I stay? Because I’m the d----n b---------d village b---------d school teacher, b-------t it!”
“---------------,” I said. I was lost for words.
My new acquaintance now fell in beside me, and clearly intended to accompany me all the way to B-----. I, however, was much affrighted by his manner and, when the first opportunity presented, made a -------- for it.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Mavis Complains ...

That feller I was telling you about, yes, you know, him, well, his latest new “friend” is a female superhero. She’s strong enough to lift up a mountain, she can run as fast as a train and, to hear her talk, she can even fly through the air. Impossible woman.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

No Rest

Algernon Swift, on returning to his native country, is appalled to discover the mishandling of the funeral arrangements for his beloved mother. Not only has she been buried in the wrong plot, but the memorial that has been erected to her is completely inappropriate. He writes a stern email to the undertaker, and puts as the subject:

Grave Mistake, Monumental Error.


(However, when Swift discovers that a Methodist minister conducted the funeral service and not a priest of Rome, it is easy enough for him to imagine how that happened.)

Sunday 20 March 2011

Mavis Complains ...

That feller I was telling you about, yes, that one, I said to him, “You never splash out on me. You never treat me like a lady,” and I told him all about when I was with the Crown Prince of Monaco and the good times we had. “Good times?” he says, “I’ll show you a good time,” and he tells me to put on my coat and we walk down the High Street and peer in at the window of The Greyhound and look at all the people in there, drinking and enjoying themselves. And that’s it.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Mavis Complains ...

That feller I was telling you about, you know the one, yes, him, one time he took me away for a weekend in the Lake District. I couldn’t hardly believe it, I can tell you, but I should have known better. Up at the crack of dawn he was, and off walking the fells all day on his own. Then back he’d come in the evening, dosed up to the eyeballs on opiates, and sit down with a book of metaphysical speculations, and not even look at me once. “That’s not very romantic,” I said. “Shut up,” he said.

Saturday 12 March 2011

The Horror of it, or Something

Algernon Swift invents a virus of the printed word, which he is foolhardy enough to release in a bookshop. The virus is one of inexactitude: it makes every statement a mere approximation by inserting “or something” after it. Now Nietzsche’s Zarathustra proclaims:

“Behold! I teach you the Super-man, or something!”

Du Maurier’s Rebecca begins:

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again, or something.”

And Eliot’s “The Wasteland” starts:

“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire or something ...”

Swift walks away from the bookshop, regretting what he has done. But there is worse to come. The virus has jumped from the printed word to the words in his brain. He is confronted by the horror of our existence, or something, and resolves to kill himself, or something. He knows that it is not just a matter of words, but of life itself, or something, where any course of action might as well be taken as any another, or something, because all are equally meaningless as we trudge inexorably on

towards death,


and nothingness,

or something.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Nothing if not Punctual

Now that Spring is here, Clive spends much of his time sitting on a park bench with a lady librarian of his acquaintance. This paragon of librarian-ly loveliness introduces Clive to the poetry of E. E. Cummings, but Clive is distressed by the poet’s unorthodox use of punctuation. The birds sing in the trees, the green world revives itself, lovers stroll arm in arm, but when this beauteous queen of the bookshelves shows him the lines

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Clive merely says: “There should be a full stop there.”

“I think you’re missing the point,” she says.

Saturday 5 March 2011

How I see it ...

Meanwhile Leon has got a job at the local opticians giving eye-tests. Here he insists on re-arranging the displays so that the glasses are all in one half of the shop. Every morning he checks on the stock as he likes to see the glasses’ half full. After all, he’s an optometrist.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Crockett and Tubbs

What the hell was this?

Crockett’s spirit had gone into Tubbs’s body, and Tubbs’s spirit into Crockett’s body; Tubbs was acting like Crockett, Crockett was acting like Tubbs, and all sorts of hilarious situations were ensuing.


It was Miami Vice Versa.