whimsy


Feeling combination of dead folk scene Bob Dylan meets Liu Cixin in a MMOG Myst reboot.

Among the terms of reference: title nod to 1990s hopes that, by recognising ways archonic structures are used to sell things, and the ways they work to enforce certain ways of thought, what it might be possible to reroute some or any of it to combat it, to enact constructive modes of being.

FX: Talking Heads loop – ‘still waiting’.

Meanwhile, looking about the wreckage, incredulous. Gesturing at the device:

‘Einstein never said Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results he just thought it while visualising light beam rides and scrolling his feeds.’
‘ok boomer’.
‘it’s 2020 but there’s an absence of vision?’
All glances over flatscreen spectacles, projections on the lenses, shaking the heads, murmuring ‘far out’, then heading further in.

There’s a different buzz from the phone. 24 hour party line people shift working the no help desk. Stupid questions inviting snappy answers. It is correct now to speak only of spectrums rather than binaries: press one for yes, press two for no. Add more here: after much consideration I wish t’be considered as opposed to taxonomies and fonder of metaphor.

Flipping the handset across the sofa in a caffeine haze of wtf emojis. Unable to express adequately without cartoon faces. Ehh, plus ça change, doc! Content variance is all. Febrile nightsweats still occasioned by vistas of disaster. In the dream cafe, chalkboard lists today’s special: cream of disease and climate catastrophe. Waking inclined to enthusiastically welcome the blood and fire just to rid us of this incessance.

Ah, the old songs are the best! And all the new ways it’s all infinitely worse are all old too. An apocalyptic strain… the same as it ever was (same as it ever was).

Nah, feelin’ groovy really. Actual mood: increase the peace. Keeping it in mind, manifesting it in the manifestos. Action is the new reaction? Much remains tentative. That moment in theoretical experiments where you just have to start smashing particles off each other. Hoping something doesn’t split fabric
(choose: 13 for tentacles spilling in from the 11th dimension; 69 for lunges in tight velvet trousers; 23 to use the Light Spell from the Rockworm tribe).

Culture jamming still/now fits to describe what seems – SEEMS – increasingly-needed action.

Ai, me! “Theemeth” – for tho ever it wath!
Exeunt Sylvester, pursued by a Bard.

Meanwhile, more FX: strong signals from the global work state. Soundclash w/counterdisinformation. Get over here, stand over there. Listen, does anyone actually want anything doing? Concentrate and ask again later.

Whistles of bandwidth shifts. Taking inspirations where one can. Pirate radio vibes via soundcloud, bandcamp, text scrolls by from the idles of blogging (yes! to typos), to the republic of newsletters, to the twittersphere… in some sense circuit diagrams, ever increasing circles in water… surface tension movements?

Another curator fielding correspondence: something about lost marbles, sordid details to follow.

Feels like everyone’s got a newsletter. We all saw the news.

He’s behind you!

All aforegoing writing has had its place and day. Skins litter the sandy floor of the terrarium. The case is closed. Something dimly glimpsed fades out of view.

dig

Liner notes for the difficult first album.

MMXX lends itself to lines drawn in sand, scratched on walls in northern Britain. This like every year requires you do awake your faith. Lean into it.

Dial shifts again. Hey look! Kojey Radical just read my mind:

I can’t go back to feelin’ like I wanna die, feelin’ like I’ll never fly

L.O. To identify and analyse the components of sonnets

Year 7! Stop this racket! Settle down!
That you’ve arrived late from PE is bad
enough without …you acting like a clown,
Grimaldi. Quiet while I’m speaking, lad.
The objective this lesson is up – DAN!
You need to get your backside on your chair
and planner on your desk, now, please, young man.
The objective, you may have seen, is there…
on the board, Lewis; it’s on the board,
if you were paying attention you’d have seen
it, instead of wasting time we can’t afford
throwing a basketball around with Jean.
Yes, you can pick it up at four pm
from welfare, where I’m sure there’ll be a chat
about why it has ended up with them.
I’m only glad it’s not a cricket bat.
Chewing gum in the bin, Jean, thank – good shot!
Now, can I start this lesson off, or what?

 

This post should have gone out yesterday, but technical difficulties, soz.

Great excitement as the table project drew a little closer to completion. After a final sand and wipe, it was time to coat the timber to stop it drying out, and to protect it from moisture. Osmo (titular character in an Everybody Loves Raymond-style vehicle, with Cockneys) is the product of choice on this course. The instructions on the tin and from the carpenters were to apply sparingly, which turned out to be simultaneously a soothing and stressful process.

Underside first, where the initial opportunities to explore the parameters of ‘sparingly’ proved that it really does mean hardly any at all. Little rivulets forming along the joins, occasioning those runs up the legs with the brush to redistribute. One technique suggested was to slather it on across the grain before finishing off along the grain, and that seemed to work quite well on the larger faces. Also, starting slightly in from the edges, to avoid too much overflow.

Then, a hilariously thumby moment of turning the whole thing upside down to move on to the top. So soothing. Along and back, along, back… Yet this was also where the stress entered into it. The quest for non-drip perfection, when every brush stroke along the top squeegeed tiny drops of product over the edges. Dab… check… dab dab… check…

Eventually, though, there it was.

Shining like my eyes. The brush went in the Brush Mate tin, where brushes are prevented from drying out and hardening without having to wash them. I had a slight crusty qualm about the use of chemicals so powerful they have to be kept shut in a box at all times, but that was easily disregarded in the giddy excitement of the finish.

And that was pretty much it for the evening: leave it to dry, with the possibility of further smoothing, and another coat or so to complete it, after the Easter break.

I intended to have a go at some more dovetail joints for the remaining hour or so, but my own joints seemed to be seizing up, and uh-oh, bit of a thick nose and sore throat, just in time for the holidays, of course.

“Oh, Osmo… you nugget!”
(Osmo turns to camera, Jack Benny expression; canned laughter and credits)

“OK, so, our main character exits the crematorium. They check their phone. There’s an email from work. They’ve been selected for redundancy.”

“Aw, c’mon!”

 

Life’s too funny sometimes.

Had a productive night despite “not feeling it” in any sort of sense. By the end of that process, managed to have actually achieved something, even though I didn’t really feel like I had, but I had.

O mind, what slipp’ry fuckery is this
with which thou dost my daily chores attend?
Surely thou couldst thy chunterings abate,
if only for a bless’d second’s respite;
turn from thy dull and prating rattle
to modes melodious, soothing and becalmed,
not these inconstant-yet-constant alarms,
that squeak, and chide, and taunt, and offer nought
but discord and doubt, when thou couldst assure
with but one word of self-love, cheer or praise?

– Anon., At the Sign of The Doubtful Salmon, c.1609

 

 

Tough times throughout at the moment. Some bad vibes on a personal employment level, and the continuing global vibes of impending disaster in every sphere.

Still, another moment to reflect on how much more crushingly disappointing it would all feel if I were still drinking alcohol.

 

Holding the manager’s gaze with a serious expression, he placed a forefinger between his lips and began to wobble it up and down while emitting a low tone.

Exit interview strategy #23

Further to the recent Sugar Mountain post, and feeling bloatier than Bloaty McBloatface, I decided to take evasive action and not have any sugar today. I think I even managed to not have any fruit.

The whole of my lower intestines are gurgling like some entity in a Stephen King story.

Oh yes. Heheheheheh. Bloat.

Bloop Blup

Still heeeere, Bloaty boy. You NEED something sugary.

Blupupupppppup

There’s no avoiding this, Bloaty boy.

Hey, sweet tooth boy!

Blopppppppp

McBloooaaatfaaaaaace!

You’re going to feel reeeeeaaaaaal sorry when you don’t get some more of that sucrose slurped down. Yes sir.

Srowwwllllllllllllllllllllll brip

Hey! Heeeeeyyyyyyyyyy! Bloat.

heh

 

And so forth. All talk. I’ve stopped listening. It’ll be tapping on the window later on. Same routine, slightly muted, through the glass.

stilllheerrrrrrrowwwlllllll

 

 

Anniversaries are curious things. Dates on the calendar, both of which are also curious things if you start to consider them too closely.

Why we choose to honour such occasions likely speaks to some human desire or other – I’m not considering it too closely. Marking off the days for something to do, at the least.

The technical ‘date something happened in a particular year previously’ meaning of ‘anniversary’ ignores the rich world of short-term commemoration, the acknowledgment required for events that are under one year but worthy of celebrating.

Kids go from weeks to months to years seemingly in the blink of an eye, if quite a wearied blinking for some considerable time. “It’ll be over before you know it!” Wearied blinking eye rolling.

And of course there’s the fresh-hearted whimsy of school students enjoying their two week, or one month, or three month milestones with significant others.

“Three weeks – that’s Mud.” “Six weeks – er, Cola Bottles…?”

Anyway, today marks the auspicious event of seven days going by since beginning this exploration of a post-booze habit process.

Pebbles?

[Reposting to put it back in its rightful place in the timeline, and for minor edits occasioned by removal of erroneous copy/paste text]

Last week was a short working week thanks to Bank Holiday Monday off. Though still, regrettably, a working week, locked into this global pyramid scheme and unable to extricate. The seemingly effortless genius of the Childish Gambino event for This Is America pretty much set the mood for us.

It’s quite remarkable in its commitment and range of ideas, in any of its various contexts.

Was glad to discover Liz Phair continues to rock.

Need a planet without cars and wars… I wish it could be true.

…got riled by newsletters that just post links and click bait.

Listened to a great podcast, The Horror Self, Conner Habib in conversation with horror writer Brian Evenson. I haven’t had chance to read Evenson’s works yet, but he had lots of interesting ideas. A chance comment they made about Beckett had me wander off dabbing madeleine crumbs from my chin (yes i kno thats Proust) and thinking about the time I saw John Hurt in Krapp’s Last Tape. I am convinced it was one of the stages at the Barbican in London, but… the details are hazy.

Also stirring memories of previous selves this week was the unfortunate Scott Hutchison of band Frightened Rabbit, who went missing in the middle of some personal problems, and whose body was later found by police. Variety’s report on the story gives a fuller picture, though his tweets, first reported in “concerns grow for the safety of” reports, take on a kind of tragic, obvious significance in the light of what happened.

Difficult, allusive thoughts on responsibility, on treating people badly, a judgemental tone, a pervasive sense of personal failure, a combination of contrition, abandonment, resolve and futility… I recognise it all. His words had an eerie resonance with things I have thought, written, expressed, fucked up in the same way. It made me quite emotional, glad I had the great fortune to be able to recognise support from friends, to be able to make it over that great forbidding bulk, to learn from the experience, and not to perish on its exposed flanks.

My sympathies to his friends, followers and so on. And yes, hugs to all your loved ones, perhaps especially the ones you think you’ve failed.

Thank god that’s all done with, anyway.

– Krapp

Finally, this week I’ve been forging new working methods (words and music). The nascent schedule was interrupted by our youngest child developing a comically unpleasant sickness bug, reminiscent of The Exorcist. Full-on, handprints smeared across walls, ankle deep in body horror bathroom nightmares sort of stuff. With that and the day job, it was difficult to establish the rhythms I’d intended… but I got going, if a little syncopated.

One of the things was a writing challenge, for which I missed the deadline… and now I am having bother locating the precise origin of the prompt… but anyway: the task was to go to the New Releases section of Project Gutenberg, pick a title that you liked, then write something riffing on that. Here’s the title I fell on:

Illustrated Horse Breaking

At Wyatt’s Stable Yard, the so-hip-it-hurts hangout of the moment, one of the horses is going through his warm-up routine.

Planting one hoof firmly, with a swagger he floats the other to the ground, a succession of freeze-frames, each movement accompanied by a change in expression: rolling eyes, fury, mugging, a comic tongue lolling, ears flattened, a wide-mouthed grin sheer delight, slack jaw aping the watching press pack. Legs still tense, splayed, he swings up a hoof to close his mouth, his stance relaxes and the spell is broken as he snorts with laughter.

“You’ve got to play around,” he says, and this statement encapsulates the wanton abandon of one of the brightest stars of the post-dressage firmament, Re-Drum.

The unforgettable moment that this heavily tattooed former Olympic champion shocked the precise and exacting world of dressage with a jaw-dropping interpolation of street dance moves is the stuff of internet legend. Clips of that routine – where he first transitioned from Piaffe to Jackhammer, bouncing off one hoof immediately to Change of Direction into a sequence of apparently never-ending Air Flares – stunned the watching crowd and has been seen since by millions.

“The Horse That Broke The Internet, yeah, yeah!” His infectious laugh is as genuine as his self-effacement. “Well, it turned into this thing, but we’d been talking about it, and we knew we just… the time was right, y’know? I mean, we were disqualified, remember?”

Although his easy patter is disarming, this final comment has a barbed quality that suggests his career since has been motivated by more than a love of play.

The idea of classicists becoming energised by urban motifs is nothing particularly innovative. One recalls with indulgence Nigel Kennedy’s football hooligan persona, and insistence on matey abbreviation for composers (Viv) and equipment (Strad) alike. There have been others: the line of RSC actors that have moved from Macbeth to the Marvel universe stretches out to the crack of doom. Yet Re-Drum, formerly Neuschwanstein II, cites his own journey from the Standard Arena to the worn flagstones of Wyatt’s Stable Yard as one of “coming home”.

” For sure, we’re all from the stables. Sometimes gees get used to the horsebox lifestyle, the nosebag, if you nose what I mean?” He feints a hoof past one briefly flared nostril. “But we all come out on to straw. This being born with silver stirrups idea… I never knew my sire. Neusch and me haven’t ever met. Everyone thought I’d do what he did – which was win everything, twice – but I wanted to go somewhere different. I know the old fella’s watching, he reads your paper.”

Re-Drum tips a heavily-accented wink as abruptly he changes direction again. He is keen to recommence practice, and while his candour is genuine he demonstrates an impatience any time the conversation lingers too long on history.

His choreographer – former rider Chantal Wyatt, herself a member of a proud lineage, having inherited the Yard complex from her late father Robert in the early noughties – is certain that there are further changes of tack to come.

“He’s only just started. It’s all Re, no doubt. He’s the originator.” Asked if she feels sidelined, she is quick to demur. “I’m there for balance, but he’s all about the solo stuff at the minute. I’m happier running the keyboard stuff, calendar and so forth?” She waggles her fingers. Without breaking stride, Re-Drum, passing in a wide circle with ostentatious steps, waggles a hoof at eye level. More laughter, and the interview has to conclude.

Across the yard, all around the pair are similar exiles from the formalised restrictions of traditional dressage. Jetset and Stella H are already household names. With more and more talent arriving to go through their paces with Re-Drum the originator, his game could be getting serious.

————————————————————–

Y’know. If there are zones of the multiverse where anthropomorphic whimsy, punning and horses are a mystery, I hope our timelines never cross.

Perusing the dictionary in search of inspiration, I happen upon the word yoicks.

>exclamation used by fox hunters to urge on the hounds

Of course – of course! – the first thing I thought of was Scooby Doo.

…although I realised I was likely conflating “Yikes!” and “Zoinks!” in relation to usage by Shaggy or Scoob.

Yet… yikes is listed as a possible variant of yoicks, and the notion of a word being used “to urge on the hounds” turning up in a cartoon about a dog has a nice continuity about it.

I am delighted further to find that etymological discussion on this issue has been exercising internet scholars for some time.

Tally-ho! It’s Z on Monday.

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