Reader, I must apologise for being somewhat dilatory in my quest to bring novel items to the Mortal Bath. To paraphrase both Margaret Thatcher and Prince – and you don’t get to hear that very often – we are a father, and she’s the most beautiful girl in the world.

Thusly, reader, bear with. I do have a few up-to-date articles in the taps but can’t promise a publication date, as we’re baby busy… and these DVDs of Fringe won’t watch themselves, obviously. Anyway, to help sustain my throughput ratios, I have been ransacking the archives.

When I first started exploring the world of self-publishing, I was inspired by zines and writing about zines, writing about music, dancing about architecture, as I’ve detailed in previous posts. My first effort was nine issues of a zine called ‘Thingy’, between 1996 and 2003. Of variable size and quality, more of an annual, really, ‘Kind of like a stoned Reader’s Digest, yeah?’ as I termed it at the time.

The name was intended to indicate the wide, vague and catholic selection of content, and was only partly chosen for its properties of innuendo. Alright, it was pretty much completely chosen for its properties of innuendo. “Have you seen Markwoff’s Thingy this month?” etc. Heh – what can I say? The foot of Python, and for that matter the thingy of Blackadder, have always loomed large and influential.

Looking back on my output when 23-ish-years-old, there is much that is dissatisfactory in Thingy. That vagueness of the title is reflected in the quality of much of the writing, which is often slap-dash and lacking polish. I am also struck by how far I am from many of the preoccupations, how much closer I am to some (in understanding and affection), but mostly I’m struck by the shoddy construction. [Michel Roux voice and emphasis:] “It’s awful!”

However, some of the pieces still make me chuckle, and need only a little grinding and sanding. On a semi-regular basis, then, I shall present some of these Thingy items as archive pieces. As Ben Six suggests in a recent space-filling retrospective, maybe not something of which to make a habit – although, as an aside, I would probably be quite happy with a reputation as the ‘Status Quo of blogs’. It would mean that I had at some point in my career done something in writing as simple, direct and awesome as this:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Quo.

Anyway, that’s the preamble. First up (for ‘Thingy Thursday’? Or ‘Fingy Friday’, more accurately, given the tardiness?), I offer a speculative fiction double feature of that great Lost Civilisation sitcom, Graham and Santha.

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In the interests of protecting the environment, here is a recycled Groundhog Day meditation, in keeping with the repetitious genius of both the film and the meteorological forecasting festival.

The article first emerged blinking from the Gobbler’s Knob of my mind two years hence, as seen on slalom-speaking:

“Today is ‘Groundhog Day’, both in the ‘here we are at work again, let it end, let it end! like in the film starring Bill Murray’ sense, and in the actual-festival-in-America sense.

Proving that Americans can do whimsy as well as the next anthropomorphed rodent, the massy marmoset Punxsutawney Phil emerged – live via webcam! – from the burrow at Gobbler’s Knob – NO, REALLY – in his official capacity as Prognosticator of Prognosticators to project an early spring, (which might be due to global warming, but the President of the Inner Circle was being loose with the translation from Groundhoguese to avoid controversy with the 15,000-odd strong crowd that had turned up). Loud cheers and feasting commenced. And rightly so, given that it is only the 14th early spring announced in 111 recorded predictions.

Phil, 112, noted it had been ‘a good gig’, and promises to be back in the summer with his new game show ‘How Much Wood Can YOU Chuck?'”

Phil (now 115) predicts six more weeks of winter for 2010.