Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Seasoning

Turn Up Towers above fog, which forms a miasmic pool at the feet of the groaning keep. The greater elevation provided by the situation on a hilltop helps the effect of course. Procrastination being my watchword, I noted that shortly we would move beyond the ripe and into the rot, and that this season I had completely skipped the raw. Inadvertence is a strange bedfellow! Her cousin, Miss Adventure, had even avoided collusion with the raw. I gaze out upon the specially-bred spindle-shanks dahlias, 12 feet tall this year, and admire their orange and red bomb-burst forms above the shifting shroud that hides the ground. They look like a black and white photograph, with one or two brilliantly-coloured highlights, like Ed Mustafic’s famous orange in an otherwise black and white bowl of fruit.

A mysterious call from Orville Quantock, long silent. The urgency in his rasping voice persuaded me to roll out the car and recklessly agree to collect him from a disused railway halt, long abandoned to weeds and the ghosts of weeds.

Mist almost amounting to fog the last two mornings, a deep, swirling, allegorical fog. The tide of the year is changing. Strange beasts become active at the edges of perception, in defiance of reason itself. The engine seems to stutter as I clatter in the old charabanc across the bridge that leads away from familiarity. The radio falls silent. I catch sudden sight of a phalanx of five leeches moving across the moistened surface of the passenger side window. Is it just my imagination that seizes upon the indescribable horror of their constantly moving mouths? What is it they say?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

How Do You Skin A Cube?

I haven’t worked out yet why I should find this question disturbing. Perhaps the combination of words is in itself strangely unsettling. There is something sinister about the imagery involved, as if the mind is grappling with an alien consciousness.

Talking of which, it wasn’t a bad turnout for the Echo Road performance a few weeks ago. I don’t believe anyone went away feeling short-changed, and we managed to launch a few new songs into existence. What we now need is an evening gig or two.

I ought also to give a mention to Tessa Frith’s beautiful album, Mindscapes, which is simply stunning if you are in the mood for a clear female voice and supremely tasteful instrumentation. It’s introspective and suitable for those quieter, more reflective, moments of the day.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Annals of the Eerie Pt.3

"This odd new idea that all ideas, no matter how insane, merit equal consideration and that objective fact has ceased to exist."

Irrationality, eh? Surely we shouldn’t give it house room at all. However, I have noticed a strange relationship developing with my alarm clock. I suspect that, although it is an inanimate object, it has telepathic properties. Let me explain.

How often do I awake at night? I turn to the clock, which has an illuminated display which is activated by pressing the button on it’s top. I sometimes guess the time, and when I check more often than not it is within a minute or two of the display, quite frequently dead on. 2.22 is not likely to erupt into reality unless some rather odd mechanisms are at work.

Sometimes, the clock goes further, as if to show off it’s weirder abilities. Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Billy Whizz gig at the Retreat. They were on fine form as usual, as were the Film Extras before them. I saw a number of faces, chatted and smiled and nodded at words I could not hear. Then Billy Whizz re-appeared in my dreams. I call that overstepping the mark actually, but I can find it within myself to forgive. They were playing a magnificent song towards the end of their set which involved repeated chants of ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ ‘Aubergine!’ with a furious riff thundering away behind it. Suddenly, the power went and the song was left in mid air as it became clear that the police had pulled the plug. The band shrugged and started packing up.

Then, and this is the quirk that struck me, without missing a beat my alarm went off. The morning had arrived in a demonstration of alarm clock omnipotence, one that I shall not lightly forget. I was left to writhe in a confusing tangle of “wha happened?” and throbbing aubergine. The dream and the clock were obviously interwoven in some ninth-dimensional matrix somewhere beyond perception.

Is it really inanimate? It IS without the battery – let’s hope it’s sentient enough to remember that!

And, while we’re on the subject, I thought I might invite Rob Clark to guest edit an entry for the blog sometime to provide tips for the dashing man on techniques for ironing shirts. Anyone with half an ounce of fashion √©lan will be anxious to reproduce the even-ness of his crumple.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Object

Menaced by a mystery object
That I could not define or explain
I thought that by changing the subject
I’d never have to face it again

Chorus:
And now I’ve defeated that object
But the victory was always in vain
Because by defeating the object
I’ve defeated the object again

You object whenever I say
We’ve fixed up a meeting tomorrow
But if I were to see you today
The future is passed by Time’s arrow

Chorus

Climbing to the peak is the object
Swinging upwards by hand over hand
But the point of the purpose the aspect
Where the skies kiss goodbye to the land

Bridge:
An object is a subject to some
And you’ve become an object of fun
An object is a subject to some
You’ll always be an object of fun

Chorus

Monday, 23 August 2010

Austerity Measures

Turn Up Towers is not a military outpost, susceptible to chains of command or other forms of restraint, but even here we are not immune to the mania of the age. It is peddled by the very to-do and arrives in a bundled suite known as ‘Austerity Measures’.

‘Austerity measures what?’ you might ask. So far as I can see it measures the distance across the moat that separates those who have from those who don’t and the depth of said waterway and multiplies the two to produce the ‘Co-efficient of Protection’.

I therefore instigated such a calculation at the Towers and have received the surprising information that our ‘Co-efficient of Protection’ is a minus figure of substantial dimension. I have thrown the dice in all sorts of startlingly original ways, even employing one or two tricks of the conjuring trade, but the result could not be fiddled with, or even strummed along to.

Which brings me to Roger and Bronwen’s barbecue. Hugely enjoyable, old faces, opportunity for a bit of pluck. I was joined by a guy called Neil who was good company and we managed to turn out seven or eight numbers. Throughout we were accompanied by Sophia and (I believe) her elder sister who danced their little legs off, aged from guesswork 4 and about 8. Good times.

And not to forget the approach of Echo Road’s performance next Saturday at 2 pm at Ice Bytes. I am aware that vast swathes of our potential audience will be off on holiday (rather a rush on late bookings I think), so you should be able to get in through the crush.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Audience

And now, folks, calm your excitement! Echo Road will be playing at Ice Bytes cafe at the Homend in Ledbury on Saturday 28th August 2010 at 2 pm. We’ll play for about an hour and a half. We have a number of new originals to play, together with a few new covers. And we’ll be playing again some of the stuff you may already have heard. We’d love to see you there if you can make it, as it’s always better to have an audience. And you can indulge in coffee, ice cream and all that cafe sort of stuff. Entry is free, so I hope you'll support John and Shoko by indulging yourselves in outrageous gluttony. Feel free to rustle your shopping in appreciation of the music when the mood sweeps over you.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Salve and Salivation

How often have I referred to the men and women who beaver away behind the scenes at Turn Up Towers? They deserve recognition, albeit of an anonymous nature, for their endeavours. This is not through any desire on my part to detract from the full blossom of their celebrity, but from considerations of due probity. The glare of publicity unfortunately renders their work impotent.

However, I can tell you that one research team, whilst engaged in other studies altogether, has reported a number of digressions into the world of alternative medicine. This is an area frequently derided by the traditional scientific community, amongst whom we would usually proudly take our place, but usually in ignorance of some very interesting phenomena. Take, for example, the healing qualities of magazine articles through the use of nostalgia and the gentle application of pictorial representations of inanimate objects. Inanimate objects? I hear the readers of a particular tractor magazine scream. These are living machines with beautiful and finely balanced souls that reward the operator/owner/keeper the time and effort of salve and salivation.

And isn’t that the nub of the hub of the flywheel of life? Set it in spin upon the oil of choice and smoothly runs the well-adjusted, well-oiled human. It amounts to a philosophy, you know. A name for it, anyone?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Fabled Return of the Fanciful Wanderer

It’s been a while as they say, and things have been churning. Stomachs, mainly. Turn Up Towers can be a grim a windswept pile of tottering stonework at times. There are those who take the view that it all depends on how you look at it. I take a different view, suspecting as I do that there are outside agencies at work.

Enough of that old guff! The Ledbury Poetry Festival is a subsiding memory. It was as good as I’d hoped, and in many respects surprisingly better. Michael McClure and his wife Amy stayed at the Towers. Great company. The headline in the Ledbury Reporter was right on the button; ‘Poet Holds Audience Spellbound’. Also staying were Colin Still, the film maker, and his wife Fern. Also good fun. It’s difficult to see how the experience can be topped next year, especially as Chloe is taking a year’s sabbatical.

But Martin Clark and I still have plans for our collaboration to take place at Tinsmith’s during next year’s festival. In fact, Martin has been working on the posters over the last couple of weeks. I am humbled by his skill and the beauty of the finished posters. They should sell; they virtually leap out at you and demand to be taken home. Tinsmiths is undoubtedly our best outlet.

I have to put my hands up to a lack of application on the web development front. Marcus bravely waits for some utterance of direction, some twitch of inclination, but manages to remain good company at the bar of first resort. We’ll get there, I’m sure of it.

Echo Road continues to be an inspiration and a frustration. Frustrating that we don’t get out and play, but when practices click, very productive and positive. We hope to be performing in Ice Bytes cafe one Saturday afternoon very shortly. I’ll return to this when more is known. There are certainly quite a few songs awaiting their first performance, including one in which Michael McClure had sufficient input to warrant a writing credit. Be there.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Annals of the Eerie, pt 2.

Here’s an entry I unaccountably omitted to post. On the morning of the 16th March, while driving into work, I glanced up through the tinted glass of my sun roof, and saw a faint rainbow halo around the sun, presumably caused by high-level atmospheric ice crystals. I have previously seen this phenomenon around the moon at night, but not the sun. Looking through the front windscreen, which is not noticeably tinted, the effect was almost invisible. What caused me to glance upwards at the moment I did? I don’t usually drive in that posture, of course. Possibly not as eerie in retrospect as I obviously thought at the time.

Moving away from the eerie, I should introduce you to Tinsmiths, which has rapidly established itself within the Ledbury demimonde. They are purveyors of exquisite manifestations of quality fabrics, materials, and some art prints and a few books, each selected for its singular appeal. They have agreed to take the limited edition book of Excavations of Eternity, by Jeanette McCulloch and me. Hopefully, a more accessible outlet will mean that the rarefied exclusivity of the Turn Up site need not be such an impediment to sales. Apart from my understandable desire to get your feet through their door, I believe you would benefit from the experience in any event. Look for their sign near Boots in Ledbury High Street.

The 2010 Ledbury Poetry Festival starts on 2nd July. I am barely able to contain my delight that Michael McClure is event number one! The beat poets were one of the major forces in my version of post war culture, and were the major inspiration I needed to attack an innocent page with a nib. You may or may not regard that as a good thing. Then there’s Billy Collins and some local input, such as Jeanette’s collaboration with Graham Hartill, which I am itching to see. And the town party is back. How anyone was allowed to shut that down in past years is beyond me. I suppose salsa-dancing poetry aficionados are regarded as subversive in some quarters. I am planning to partake in the Ledbury Lyricists evening at the Prince of Wales on the Wednesday. I aim to have a few new ones to try out, accompanied by one or two refreshments. If noting else, I shall take the opportunity to raise a glass to Chloe Garner, the festival director, who has surpassed herself with this year’s programme.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Billy Button's Back Story

Are the truly doomed afflicted with an inescapable foreboding from birth? Is it a genetic imperative, or a self-fulfilling prophesy? In retrospect, I suspect that Billy wrestled with these notions throughout his formative years, so that by the time he was ready to launch himself upon the world, he took with him an impediment that could only possibly have been removed by vast forces independent of and beyond his control.

This is not to say that he did not have moments when a shaft of light might appear, when perhaps he was able to sense the illusory nature of his perceptions. Sometimes such an episode was sufficient to fuel a surge of enthusiasm. I believe it was in just such a lather of excitement that he approached me with the proposal that Turn Up would benefit from a Dick department. I confess that my initial reaction was to remain silent, a silence that was hidden behind my question, “what do you mean?”

“I see it as a natural home for Richards,” came the reply.

Well, I reasoned, we didn’t get where we are today by turning our back on the adventurous. I offered the man terms on the strength of his audacity.

“I will provide a ceremonial launch, and if you can find and establish your office, you’re on.” I waved my arm vaguely in the direction of the green labyrinth, where dim corridors snake off into the miasmic archaeology of the East Tower.

We searched for a suitable celebrity for our event. Cliff was attending to his seagull, and Keith had fallen from a coconut tree. I couldn’t see that that should have been a problem as he was only required to sit there. In the end And Judy was able to favour us with his undoubted charm on the proviso that we gave the event no publicity while allowing him to drain the colour from our corporate wallet.

All went as planned, but the shadows were forming around Billy’s eye sockets even as he set off to search for a departmental office. I even tried to dissuade him at the eleventh hour, but to no avail. He was off to a new life with all the enthusiasm of a scalded sloth.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Corporate Structure

Every now and again it is necessary to go through the process of realignment and shake-up, hopefully to arrive at another stage of development. It is easy, frankly, in the arcane corridors of Turn Up Towers, to set up whole departments and lose them, perhaps years later stumbling across a lost patrol trying to find an exit.

Of course, these things are always launched with the best of intentions and to the accompaniment of suitably well-fuelled and star-studded send-offs. A private view works wonders in the establishment of the correct frisson of interest to initiate the venture. Sometimes, even amidst all the fluff and bubbles, one catches the doomed depths of sub-conscious awareness of the futility of the endeavour, the anticipation of abandonment, in an unguarded eye or listless smile, usually of the senior appointee involved. It is a moment to bring pause and shudder, but a bright light on a glittering earring will usually do enough to ameliorate the full horror.

Only last week, I was on a nocturnal foray into the green section, which glows with adipose malevolence, when I found myself ducking behind a pillar to avoid detection as I witnessed the strangely meandering manifestation of Billy Button’s shadow as it crossed the main passage. Wilted, stumbling, crowed to a point almost to stretch the recognition, it was certainly the umbrage of the man who had been appointed Head of Dick only three short years ago. The warts gave him away.

That’s the trouble with giveaway warts; they in cyst on situating themselves within the curtilage of observability.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Politics

Never, they say, discuss politics or religion in decent company. Well, quite, and, then again, the room sometimes becomes so stuffed full of elephantine flesh that comment is necessary.

Someone in Turn Up’s crack team of observers has mentioned that an election is imminent, if not already well and truly afoot. The natural inclination of at least 50% of the population is to recoil in deep apathy. We are told that former generations died to obtain the vote, probably not as an ironic gesture. Indeed, we have a system whereby the ballot box is used in preference – to what?

We’re good at self-deprecation, keeping our heads beneath the parapet, dodging the question, lying low, irony, fast-food, beer, and pontificating in the UK. We call it humour.

Turn Up’s policy is not to seek to influence those who believe in liberal democracy, on the paradoxical basis that that is the one system that would allow us to do so. Is it an act of perversity to mention in passing that we are suspicious of special interests, fat-trousered benefactors, or the sound that licked lips make when they freshly emerge from the trough? And what of the financiers, generals and theocratic mumblers who remain well-hidden?

Maybe you want to give these folks free run of the levers that direct the parameters within which you have no choice to live. Maybe it’s raining and it’ll be difficult to park anyway.

Jus’ sayin’.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Imagine

Yes, imagine my surprise at running into a dishevelled Orville Quantock at the bar of an hotel in Neath. Yes, Neath, not Nice, where pleasant climes approximate.

Not having seen the man for months now, my natural inclination was to enquire after his wellbeing. A certain cast of eye and wind stopped me in the tracks from advancing along that avenue of re-introduction. There was a deal of swivelling into lackadaisical position and bracing of the shoulder before he could bring himself to acknowledge my presence. I hadn’t previously clocked him as a man given to action for effect, but he seemed to have undergone a personality change. Rapidly, we arranged another meeting to be taken under less observation. I sensed there was something to disclose, about which he displayed a marked reluctance. I’m sure we’ve all met the type of cove for whom each approaching slice of life will arrive enigmatically and with a fanfare of overweening self-importance. Orville, mate, get out a bit more.

It was only after I’d reached home that I discovered that he had slipped a note into my pocket whilst I was engaged in the above studies, and that his whole display had merely been a distraction. The man had outsmarted me again! More of this anon.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ash

Sweden, the cold chatter of birdsong as it echoes through silent skies. Elliott's first birthday party, the reason for our trip, is now a distant memory, and he grows in size and ability by the hour. He must be a Midwich Cuckoo. I built a section of stone wall from the coloured volcanic rocks that is everywhere present, and have been able to observe jays and a woodpecker up close.

I have also managed to complete the revisions to the book, thanks to the magic of memory sticks. Now to print the copies for my volunteer readers. And then to seek a publisher, the blockbuster nature of the project being of bank-busting proportions for an outfit like Turn Up.

Sun shines on the righteous today, but we've had snow.

I should record that this is the first 'field entry' I have yet managed for the blog. Contemplate that one if you will.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Boot/Foot Displacement Massacre Memorial Moan

Who’d be a Viking
On St Brice’s Day?
When the striking starts
It smarts,
Whatever they may say.

‘Unready’ they said
He’d be, that Bastard
King, Ethelred; Danes
At pains
To dodge the deeds he fostered.

To our counsels kept
We took our down time
While in they crept, and swords,
Not words,
Were used to draw the line.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Coincidence

Last Friday morning over the first cup of tea of the day, I was reading The Oxford History of England volume about Anglo-Saxon England and reached the part that described Aethelred the Unready's order to massacre Danes on St Brice's Day in 1002. They'd obviously got up his nose. Later in the day I read in The Independent an article describing an archeological find in Dorset in which the bodies of a band of Vikings had been found. The report made it clear that they had been killed in that massacre on St Brice's Day 1002.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Funding

It is with some reluctance that I must report that this site is not funded in any way by offshore funds that should otherwise have gone to the UK taxpayer. More’s the pity, say I. Do I really? No, more would be very acceptable, thank you.

So, you ask, what’s been afoot in the topsy turvey world of Turn Up? I received a very wonderful comment from my friend Fran about Winter Dance on the Santa’s Twin EP. That’s what makes all these endeavours worthwhile, fran-kly.

My brain seems to have more unresponsive soft tissue than most, so the planned improvements to the website are still moving forward, but very slowly. Marcus continues to be a great support, and I will get myself geared up and together soon.

Mostly, I have been spending my time writing my novel. I thought it was time to produce one, and a story has emerged in the telling. It is called ‘Treatment’ and is a satirical comedy thriller. What I do with it, or myself, when it is finished remains to be seen. If you are a rival publisher with a yen for publicity and a monumental advance burning a hole in your pocket, don’t be afraid to make contact, toot sweet!

I sense the competition will be fierce, and I fully expect to be submerged by the bidding war I have just set in motion.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Ultimately

Ultimately, matey,
When you walk along the road
Twice as much returns
As half the stuff that goes.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Persons So Disposed

Upon re-reading my entry for 18th January, I am concerned to note that I may have received a sly visit from Miss Interpretation. A suggestion may have crept in that I was less than tolerant of specific individuals.

Nothing could be further from intention. I was directing the comment to General Reader, that over-promoted militaristic type who lurks in murky quarters.

I hesitate to speculate what sort of offspring would result were Miss Interpretation and General Reader ever to meet under circumstances of tumescence!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Dragon Tattoos

Now and again Turn Up likes to give pointers to our cultural or otherwise thinking, influences, recommendations even. You make your own mind up about them.

It’s not often that I find myself reading the current number one bestseller in the book charts. But, a couple of weeks ago that’s exactly what happened. I gradually became aware during last year of the stir created by Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and asked for them for Christmas. I thoroughly recommend you do the same next year if you haven’t succumbed before then. Well-written, tightly plotted, and gripping. You don’t need a Swedish connection to appreciate them, but it adds to the interest. You need to read them in sequence, so start with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and take her from there.

And, depending on your interest in sound system hardware, take a look at this short interview to be found at www.audiojunkies.com/blog/730/an-insiders-look-at-the-grateful-deads-wall-of-sound - now, that would have been amazing to use. Perhaps Echo Road should be thinking along these lines.

To return to a vaguely Scandinavian theme, have a look at this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OinrOnjzh_4 - I think you’ll enjoy that one.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Definition

Definition

Are we defined by what we write, by what we say? To a certain extent, I suppose, we must be. But, surely, also by our actions. For a great many people, the two do not always knit comfortably together, which possibly was the original thrust of a certain infamous Club alluded to in a previous entry. It is neither the time nor place now to revisit that ignoble institution. However, that does not mean that I am not prepared to comment upon events in the outside world, whatever their degree of reality, surreality, or otherwise.

Perhaps inevitably in a situation such as Haiti there is utter chaos, and words of assistance cannot always be matched to deeds. It is often the simplest expressions of disenfranchised hope that speak the most clearly. Oddly, it seems to me, religion has little of value to say at these times. It is a time for doing. The Pat Robertsons of this world are quick to define nothing but themselves. I’m not sure that you turn up here for theological observation, but certain questions of omnipotence raise their heads; you decide how satisfactorily they are answered by those with an interest in doing so.

Cadbury; the case for simple company law reform. Give the Board of companies the power to veto hostile take over bids. It is a choice between the way things are done in the States and the way they are done in Europe. At present we adopt the US model. In Europe the people who are passionate about what a company does (generally the people who have got it going and operate it) rather than purely the shareholders can take the decision. That is why in Italy a company like Ferrarri is still independent (I’m not sure that this still true, by the way, but the principle holds good). How was it Oscar Wilde defined it? “A cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Monday, 18 January 2010

May You Live In Interesting Times

Life recently feels as though it has taken a sidestep into the path of this Chinese curse. It has developed a habit of interrupting the normal flow of output at Turnup with diversions and irrelevancies.

Someone has had the temerity to suggest that we inhabit a fantasy world here at the Towers. Possibly there are unusual elements to it, but fantasy? I can tell you without any shadow of contradiction that everything recorded here is as solid as you are, and twice as likely. And that’s the only reason you’re tolerated.

But back to business. Plans are afoot. The website needs action of a specialised nature. The virtual spanners are being polished in the secret laboratory as we speak. Sprockets are newly machined and lying on the workbench. The hum of imminent assembly is in the air. I have sworn myself to reticence and cannot pass beyond this point unscathed.

Wait and ye shall be rewarded.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Returns

Frozen while still fresh
Old dog turds are now returned
By the melting slush

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Curse of The Extreme Knitting Club

In his more unguarded moments Orville Quantock sometimes reveals incidents from his past that, one quickly suspects, he would rather have forgotten. Of course, like most of us, once he touches upon a subject it is difficult not to say more.

We were watching the whirling snowflakes pass the partially steamed window of the snug bar during a lull in conversation when Orville mentioned his encounters with the Extreme Knitting Club. A shudder ran through his frame as he spoke.

“Aye, it was on a night just like this when I first came across the Extreme Knitting Club,” he said. “The weather was unexpectedly ferocious and cold with it. I was frankly threadbare. My companion said he could recommend someone who might be able to help me. I was at a low ebb and accepted his offer. He took me to the dark end of a backstreet unfamiliar to me. He told me to knock twice and took his leave immediately. He didn’t want to linger, which I thought odd at the time but which I now thoroughly understand. The door opened with a creak and a bony hand whisked me in through the door.

“I was dragged into a dimly-lit parlour; all I could hear was the rhythmic clacking of massed knitting needles and the odd cackle. Every now and then a flare would shoot out from the fire that burned in the grate, sometimes singeing one of the knitters. Whenever that happened a great hoot of appreciation reverberated around the room. I could not fully make out the mechanism by which the catalyst for these flares, presumably some chemical compound, operated.

“A voice like cracked leather started at my ear. ‘We can’t always join the away teams for the really extreme environments, so we’ve created a little entertainment here at our headquarters.’ I turned to be confronted by a crone whose one eye swivelled wildly as she spoke.

“ ‘But what are you knitting?’ I asked, unsure whether such banality was permitted. By way of reply a brown paper bag was thrust into my hand. Before I had a chance to inspect the contents my visit was terminated and I found myself tossed back out into the alley.

“Not quite sure whether I had really been in the realm of the normal, I hurried home as rapidly as I decently could and as fast as the inclemency of the night would allow. Once there, door safely closed behind me, I inspected my package. I had been given a set of beautifully knitted pairs of woollen socks. There were seven altogether, each having had a different day of the week sewn into them. My initial reaction was that it was a useful idea.

“However, I have come to view the gift as a specially designed curse of peculiar potency upon those of us inclined in the slightest towards superstition. When folded, the particular day of the week is hidden so that it cannot be seen when one is looking at one’s sock drawer in order to dress each morning. Of course, on the odd occasion that the correct day is selected, there is a brightness and purpose to one’s endeavours during the day. If, which is more likely, the wrong day is selected, one trawls one’s way through the hours always waiting for the worst to appear at any moment. Thus, am I cursed.”

Orville fell to quiet contemplation. It was impossible to find any words of comfort that did not sound empty and insincere. I allowed him to buy me one more drink before leaving him to his thoughts.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Year, New Style

Count me amongst the ranks of the strange if you must, but things have turned unusual for 2010 already at Turnup Towers. Are we situated on the outskirts of Vladivostock or up in the Urals or in even in deepest Transylvania, the mention of which reminds me of someone you’d like to meet who reminds you of yet another person?

No, we’re in other climes, other regions altogether, but we share the snow. A haiku arrived, as follows.

Coral bark; thick snow,
The garden quiet beyond;
There is no message.