Every kind of hideous creeping crawling horror…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: buxom, ringent, sarcous, laeotropic, entophytic, riparian, and stodgy.

Gosh! I seem to have been featuring these early 1960s science fiction and supernatural novels and collections of stories, published by Badger Books, on these pages for a long time, and yes dear reader, I’m afraid that I am moving towards the end of this series of posts. (sigh…)
I glance up to the window-sill behind my computer and see the yellow spines of just five or six remaining there, ones that have cover paintings that are, well, just about interesting enough for me to feature. If you are interested in seeing some of my earlier posts on this subject you could just type Badger Books into the search box at the top of the page.
But today, here, I feature Supernatural Stories No. 37:
It’s strange, it’s weird, and yes, it’s eerie…

dscn4409This is a collection of five stories, four of which are by Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS (Member of the British Interplanetary Society) under various pseudonyms; actually the fifth is by someone called Noel Bartram; he is probably Fanthorpe too – that sounds just the sort of name RLF would come up with. Fanthorpe wrote almost all of the Badger sci-fi and supernatural stories.
Shall we see what the blurb on the back has to tell us?:
The ancient myths are part legend part truth. So is the modern ghost story. For there is no smoke without fire. Man is strangely susceptible to unknown presences and secret hidden powers…
Perhaps, after all, man is only a pawn in a great cosmic game played by spirits as great as the universe.
Excellent, that sets the mood nicely!

Let us now move to the lovely front cover. The usual cover artist for Badger Books was Henry Fox, but I’m not sure if this one is by him; the paintwork is a little bit more slapdash than his – it is very nice though. I do like that yellow light in the sky behind the chap wading (for some reason) through that forest pond in the middle of the night. I think he has just spotted the other chap behind the tree, and is probably saying:
‘Oh, hello George, I was wondering where you had got to, you just wandered off during dinner, you missed a super sponge pudding with nice…’
‘Oh, your hand looks a bit funny, and what have you done to your thumb? I’ll bet you have a hell of a job buttoning your shirt up…’
‘Actually my hand has gone a bit strange too – look, I have to hold it like this…’

Anyway, shall we dip into these crumbling yellowed pages and see if we can find some nice examples of the writing style?
‘The man was thirty-ish, tall and broad shouldered. Curling dark hair, and dark flashing eyes, that could on occasion freeze into steely chips, glowing like gun barrels…’
‘Val Stearman and his wife La Noir were not the idle rich they appeared to be. Beneath that svelt exterior, Val was as tough as steel, and beneath the forty-guinea tailoring of his holiday suit, rippled muscles which could bend a two inch iron bar… There was depth in his eyes that matched the depth in the woman’s face. It was depth that told of  adventure, adventure that had at times been grim and gory…’
“What can I do for yer?” he asked. He had a deep throaty voice that rumbled up from somewhere well below his stomach…

Val took to him at once – he was a ‘character’. A character with a capital ‘C’. A character of the type which was becoming all too rare. He was more like the novelist’s conception of the ‘local yokel’ than any yokel ever had the right to be…’
‘Val Stearman’s miracle gun, as he and La Noir had dubbed it, had got them out of an extremely tight corner. Bullets from that gun had settled ghouls and werewolves, bullets from that gun had ended the lives of vampires and zombies, and every kind of hideous creeping crawling horror which assailed the dark watches of the night…’

Posted in adjectives, archeology, art, books, history, humour, information, painting, reading, style, surrealism, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some snatches of song lyrics misheard over the cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to remove the greasy outer packaging, slip your fingers under the raised flaps ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘E’ (do not attempt to slip your fingers under flap ‘D’); light the protruding wicks on each end with a match, when you have good clean flames blow them out and let them smoke. Pour two litres of warm soapy water into the wide top nozzle marked with the symbol of an ankh, stand well back and wait. (A)

‘Oh yeah, snowy nice girl…’
‘The stings to me I never seen.’
‘Now, now I feel like plumbing wine.’
‘To go to sleep with our rubber mugs girl…’
‘This, is for you, shiny cloud!’
‘Saline feel metric tock faintly, oh oh…’
‘Shine your iron, lovin’ much bedder!’
‘Nar nar nar nar nar nar nar…’
‘Up till, up till, up till now!…’
‘I diddy do, shy behind, I want my bridge pie.’
‘Na na na na na…’
‘A colour diction, a marrow life for you.’
‘Peel-berry how chained? Shining in miniature.’
‘No, I can’t take this liquid temptation back!’
‘Mean you, beep together, worsted in my eyes.’
‘Down in chip-doors yellow station…’
‘Oh pain! What rare glove is a rose?’
‘A bouncy-bouncy, nobody cares babe.’
‘Hips-hit sparky babe this morning!’
‘Dead-bone thumb hold tight!’
‘Eye-de-eye, trouble in deep heather.’
‘We stand, in my head girl.’
‘A rolling heart, Sunderland, me dainty legs.’

If you would like to know something about how these lines are compiled, just click here.

Posted in brain, cafe, composition, cool, dreaming, Dulltown, existentialism, Hull.UK., humour, information, instruction, misheard, poetry, puzzle, serendipity, sex, style, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I been working on the boat…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s colours are: brittle black, ormolu orange, temperamental turquoise, fragile fawn, and pork pink.

Now, that post I did about a week ago on an item from the 1954 Gadgets Annual which also featured Madge and Albert: I recall that Madge suggested to Albert that he should make a model boat for the little lad next door, whose name I forget. (Link)
When I was a young lad some kind person gave me a present of a model boat – that boat sparked a formative experience which I remember to this day…
Would you like to hear about it dear reader? If not, you should stop reading right here.
It was a nice little boat, the kind of thing which would float on a pond if there was one handy. It was made of either pressed tin or plastic, I can’t quite recall, and it had the shape of a sleek speedboat; was it two shades of blue, or was it blue and cream in colour? It had imitation windows printed on the sides of its cabin. Also, which pleased me, it had a propeller at the stern which was powered by a wind-up clockwork motor located inside the hull. You could wind it up and – whoa! The propeller would whizz round – I couldn’t wait to get it into the water!
I’ll bet by now that you are wondering what this formative experience was that I mentioned earlier. Well, here we go:
I took my boat to the pond in the park up the road – I wound up the motor with the key, and placed the boat in the water, and… The propeller stopped and the boat just sat floating there, like a potato. (A potato Dave?… Yes…) On picking the boat out of the water the propeller whizzed around enthusiastically – on putting it back in it stopped dead. Disappointment and puzzlement in equal measure!
Two things popped into my head.
1) Why would a shop sell a toy boat that’s supposed to whizz, and doesn’t?
2) (and this is the important one) Why did it run when out of the water, but not when in it?
My young brain considered this oddity and I examined and poked everything on the boat that might be the cause. I wound up the motor and held the boat just above the water (in the kitchen sink) with the propeller turning, and slowly lowered it in. When the spinning prop touched the surface it splashed happily and only slowed down a little, but as it went a little deeper in it reluctantly gave up the ghost. Hm… Interesting….
Some serious pondering was done, and the next day whilst staring at the annoying thing I spotted that the tin propeller (just two blades) seemed out of proportion to the rest of the stylish vessel – it was just too big. Yes! That was it!
As water is heavier, thicker, and stickier than air the motor didn’t have the power to keep the big propeller turning! I borrowed a half-blunt rusty junior hacksaw from someone and, with some difficulty and some childish swear words, cut the blades down to about a third of their original size. Problems solved! The boat didn’t exactly whizz after that, but it did chug around nicely…
I had discovered two useful things for later in life:
1) The manufacturers don’t really care very much whether the things they make actually work or not; what they are interested in is making them look nice so people will buy them.
2) I had learned first hand a tiny little bit about the science of energy, power, viscosity, surface area, mass, and inertia.
What a great little boat that was – I wish I still had it!

Posted in brain, colours, design, history, humour, information, learning, physics, puzzle, science, thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Drama down the marina…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s penguin is the one that doesn’t bother with the cute way of walking.

Now here’s a photo packed with meaning and emotion!
The trouble is, I’m not sure what the meaning or the emotion is.
This was taken last May in the road alongside the Dulltown Marina – you can just spot a couple of yacht masts sticking up in the distance.
‘Oh Dave! Why don’t you take nice pictures of the bobbing white yachts, and the sleek cabin cruisers, instead of things like this awful ripped piece of advertising?…’
It’s full of drama though isn’t it?
I don’t know who she is or what she is advertising; I think, by the look of her wristband thing, she might be involved in some sort of sport; she does look very cheerful, I expect she’s just won something; and what a very nice set of teeth…
The composition and colours work well don’t they? All the red and pink glowing away from the bottom left leaving the rest of the frame rather drab and grey – I suppose that is the nature of celebrity – I’m sure she must be a celeb, a sporting celeb. Perhaps, as this advert is placed on the railings of the marina, she is a yachtsperson (is that a word?).
Of course the thing that attracted my eye was the distortion caused to her face by the folding of the ripped banner, there must have been a bit of wind or vandalism the night before.
So, as I stood with my little camera, framing the scene, you can imagine my joy when that distant female figure paused on the pavement just where the converging perspective lines of the top and bottom of the fence would meet… Click!…
There seems to be some sort of mysterious contact between the two women, don’t you think?
For me it has the look of a still from an arty French film of the 1950s, well it would if it was in black and white – it could be called (in French of course) Waiting for Something to Happen…

Posted in advertising, art, colours, composition, drama, Film, Hull.UK., humour, information, photography, seeing, serendipity, style, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hey you!… Blatherskite!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: telergy, teludu, telautograph, teknonymy, telestic, teleseme, and chausses. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. The professor may arrive wearing a Roman toga and have a laurel wreath on his head – you should not allow this to distract you from your studies.

Speaking of words…
I have been rereading a rather good book from 1984, Wordly Wise by James McDonald published by Constable. (WW)
It’s etymological – now there’s a good word for a start.
Yes, it’s all about English words and their origins, and even covers how we collected the letters of the alphabet. It is nicely written, as one might expect, and is not without humour. If you are interested in words you should look out for an old copy of this; it’s a great book for having lying around the house, to dip into as you are passing, perhaps pausing during vacuuming, or being distracted from looking for that pair of scissors that should be in the sodding kitchen drawer…

James McD doesn’t shy away from the ‘dirty words’ too – here he is discussing the word ‘shit’:

“The word shit remained in general use until the nineteenth century, but nevertheless it is difficult to believe that people had taken kindly to being named, as they certainly were, SCITTEBAG, SCHITBROCH (‘shit breeches’), SHITPOT and SHITFACE.
Not surprisingly, these appellations have fallen into disuse, at least as conventional surnames. In North America there is a type of heron still known, for obvious reasons, as a shitepoke.
Shitteborwelane, ‘shit-bowel-lane’, in the City of London has succumbed to misplaced delicacy for it is now known as SHERBORNE LANE. Towns such as ‘shit-brook’, schitebroc, now called SKIDBROOK have disguised their origins; and even plants, such as the one known to the Germans as kuhscheisse (‘cow-shit’), have acquired more refined names: but even ox-slop and cow-slop have proved too much for sensitive southern ears so now they are known as OXSLIP and COWSLIP respectively.
In the North, however, people are more matter-of-fact. There, one who talks blatant nonsense is thought of as ‘talking shit’, for such an individual is likened to a windbag full of shit and so called a BLATHERSKITE or BLETHERSKATE.”

James McDonald 1984.

Posted in archeology, books, expletives, fashion, history, humour, information, learning, reading, serendipity, swearing, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mail Art Postcard No. 4640…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity is the god Hapy who appears as a male figure with pendulous breasts and an aquatic plants headdress. He is associated with the inundation of the Nile. (Hapy)

wp-f-4640Periodically over the last couple of days I spent some time slicing up old copies of that awful British TV listings magazine What’s On TV, to compose, snip, and glue a new batch of my reasonably popular mail art postcards; I managed to make about twenty of them. Last night I numbered them and then photographed them.
Here is number 4640:
4640, phew! That’s a lot of postcards over the years. I wonder how many of the ones I’ve sent are still extant out there in the world. ‘Extant’ that’s a great word isn’t it? It sounds so much more clever than saying ‘existing’ – I remember once seeing it in a text-book when I had to do an art school essay on Mannerism; (I still like Mannerism by the way – I like its delicacy and its strangeness! [M]) I was impressed by the look and the sound of the word and I resolved there and then to remember it, and use it at every opportunity; I think I slipped it into that essay at least twice!

So, three puzzled puppies. Now, which one has the most intelligent eyes? Yes, it’s trick question – it certainly looks like the one with the stuck-on mouth doesn’t it? The other two really do look pretty dim-witted, but Puppy One does seem to have a cynical and world-weary look on his face, even in his eyes.
He’s saying, ‘Oh, come on!… We’ve seen rubber bones before! Haven’t you got any of those nice dog chocolates with you?…’


Posted in art, brain, composition, creation, history, humour, information, learning, Mail Art, mind, postcards, puzzle, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A few titchy but pithy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one trying to barge into the middle of the line dancing session – she just loves the music!

Excuses for being late. No. 323.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I thought that I might try triggering article 50…

A single overheard remark:
‘The thing is, I have quite long thighs…’

‘Fire surrounds…’
‘Does it?’
‘Surrounds what?’
‘Eh?… No, no, fire surrounds!…’
‘I heard you, there’s no need to shout!’
‘The things that you have round your living room fire!…’
‘What? Fire surrounds?…’
‘That’s what I said! You dumb-ass!…’

Now, what’s this popping up? It’s a piece of spam in my comments box, it seems to be from someone called Frank Inbox:
I mmust ssay you’ve dkne a amazing joob with this. Also the blokg lopads very quic for mee onn Internet explorer. Superb blog! I’ve been surfinng onlin moore than two hours today , yyet I nevvr found any interesting article lijke yours. It’s pretty with enough ffor me Personally, iif all site oners and bloggers mase good contenht aas yoou did, the internet wiull bbe a llot more useful than evewr before.
Well, thank you Frank Inbox, I will certainly bear in mind what you have said, and I do hope to hear from you again soon.

A fleeting observation from the upper deck of a bus:
We were passing a scruffy rather rundown block of flats in the town centre – I had a very quick glimpse through the curtains into a room on the third floor – they had the Mona Lisa on their wall…

I see that people, mainly men and boys, seem to like to wear brightly coloured football shirts with the name of some famous and presumably talented player printed on the back. I had the idea of having similar things made, still with the bright colours and in the same style, but with artist’s names on the backs – Piero della Francesca, Peter Paul Rubens, Joan Miro, and so on… Would you buy one dear reader? I’ll bet Waldemar Januszczak would have one!

Yes, I think I might change my name to Holly Wood-Boulevard.

A single overheard remark: (A bus driver to people waiting at a bus stop.)
‘Don’t just stand there like bloody do-nuts!…’

Posted in advertising, art, conversation, cool, Dulltown, fashion, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, overheard, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments