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



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


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.