Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s 19th c. cockney expletive is I’ll be gormed!
I wonder if ‘gorm’ is a shortening of ‘God almighty’?

‘Four ice-cakes, seven, eight.’
‘Key, bro-pen neverday?’
‘Whatsu widdlin’?’
‘A semi-say?…’
‘Diagnostic para-power.’
‘I really don’t mind pulmination.’
‘Bulk up my questions, any problems John?’
‘Temgin three-gree yardagay Lee?’
‘Erm, with an oshter adder.’
‘William Femmel?…’
‘Piking, robbing the side down.’
‘Dang-fire and generally just plain liver.’
‘I gripped the phrase immediately.’
‘Tom, the key is in the process mapping.’
‘I’m worried about functionability.’
‘The spreadsheet thing?’
‘Never clip more than you need.’
‘Sack-cloth and tea!’
‘A thin fat soul?’
‘His number is black!…’
‘It’s the qualsee!…’
‘City and Guilds language is rubbish.’
‘Put it down the deep end.’
‘A lucky shoe.’
‘Birds literally engage media reaction.’
‘They’re different, like nouns.’
‘It suffers from stale pipes…’

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Hm… Is that Frank up there?…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s honoured guests are the Sepp Blatter lookalike twins Maurice and Maureen Thwatt. Welcome! Do come and sit next to me on the sofa for the rest of tonight’s show…

DSCN3684Aha… here’s another rather colourful photograph of mine. It was taken in the Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington on a pleasant day out last October. Gosh, there are plenty of eyes in this picture! Oh, what fun there is to be had! Come inside, give us your money… My word, isn’t it loud in here?… Can I smell hot dogs cooking? I wonder if they’ve got one of those old-fashioned ‘crane in a glass case’ things where you twiddle a couple of wobbly wheels on the front and almost pick up valuable, but slippery objects, perhaps a nice Swiss watch?… Oh, it’s so loud in here! Come on, let’s step back outside for a moment. Oh, look up there, there’s someone who almost looks like Frank Sinatra… and what about these funny beasts here at ground level? I see that the one on the right is sleeping, or perhaps sulking, and not feeling up to facing the crowds today… Still, his pals, the cheery tractor and the moon-faced aeroplane are putting on an enthusiastic show for the punters… Hm, I do like Bridlington, I think I’ll come here again, but I prefer it off-season, when it is a bit quieter, and when there’s a salty autumnal nip in the air…

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A few smallish items…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s pencil sharpener is the one shaped like a British Prime Minister.

Excuses for being late. No. 252.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I became preoccupied seasoning my wok.

Some words from the BBC’s classical music station, Radio 3:
‘Rewarding and fulfilling…’
‘The tensile strength of the music!…’
‘Marvellous… Rewarding and fulfilling…’

As I was travelling into town the other day I had a brief glimpse of a poster advertising one of McDonald’s products, I think it was a sandwich of some sort. They used the cute made-up words ‘Sausageness’, ‘Baconness’, and then the word ‘Manliness’ printed very large on it. Hm, yes, I can see what they are doing there. Now that everyone knows that the chemicals used in the production of processed meats are linked to cancer and heart disease and an early death, they are angling their advertising towards the chap who doesn’t really believe all that, the manly sort of chap who is strong, confident, and resilient, and doesn’t give a toss for such scaremongering pseudo-scientific nonsense… Actually at first I thought that the word on the poster wasn’t ‘manliness’, but ‘man-illness’.

A single overheard remark:
‘You’ll have the bloody thing in your wardrobe for ever!…’

An observation:
A hairy-faced old man repeatedly shouting the word ‘racehorse!’ down his phone at someone…’

‘Mountebank’ is a nice old-fashioned word. I think it was the name for a charlatan, a fraudster, a trickster, and a thoroughly ‘bad lot’. Perhaps we should adapt and update it, and transform it, and give it new life to describe present day financial rogues – how about ‘mountebankers’?

‘And who’s fault do you think it is then?!…’
‘San Andreas?…’

‘I hear that you play guitar.’
‘Yes, that’s right.’
‘What style do you play?’
‘Oh, I like thrashing loud punk music, some people say I’m a real rebel…’
‘Do they?… Good… Look, here’s my guitar, would you play something for me?’
‘Oh, sorry, I can’t.’
‘Why not?’
‘I haven’t got my music with me…’
‘You haven’t got your… Really?’
‘Good god!…’

I’m thinking of changing my name to Jonah Vark.


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Mind-control and emotion-sway…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s colours are: pink, maroon, pink, maroon, teal, maroon, pink, maroon, and pink.

Now then… that chap… who came to door the other day, what did he look like? I can’t recall his face at all. Perhaps I should have paid more attention when I read my copy of that very interesting junk shop book Looking at Faces and Remembering Them (1971) by Jacques Penry, facial topographer and inventor of the Penry Facial Identification Technique (PhotoFit)…

DSCN3661Let me have a quick thumb through it and find a suitable image for today. Ah, how about page 44? It has some mouths on it…

WP F DSCN3812What a beautifully surreal image! Rather than my commenting on this picture, perhaps we’ll just listen to Jacques himself introducing his chapter on mouths:

The mouth has been called ‘the battleground of the face’. Whatever its basic shape, it shows, in its development from infancy to old age, the physical effect of a perpetual contest between mental discipline and shifting emotion.
The delicate and complex system of facial muscles, which allow the lips such variation and elasticity of movement, is much affected by this constant conflict between mind-control and emotion-sway. Like most other muscles in the physique – the biceps for instance – the mouth muscles are firmed and strengthened by certain kinds of deliberate exercise , or they remain slack from lack of it…
…a continual habit of repressing pleasant, carefree feelings, and dwelling instead on the sterner aspects of life, will eventually cause the lips to thin and the mouth corners to turn downwards in an expression of permanent disapproval or endurance. The reverse imprint, upturned corners, is obvious where a natural optimism or cheerfulness, or a more happy-go-lucky attitude to life is maintained until this state of mind becomes permanently advertised in the shape of the mouth. Furthermore, a full, fleshy-lipped or loosely-moulded mouth in itself suggest a basic general lack of control over emotional urges.

Hang on a minute while I go and get a mirror…


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Stella has something in her bag…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe|: Today’s adjectives are: brimming, risible, featous, captivating, pugging and chirpy.

P8300003Landscape No 9. (1990). Charcoal and pencil on paper, about 24″ x 18″.

‘Good morning Stella my dear, do come in…’
‘What’s the hell is the matter with you today?’
‘Nothing, I’m just being polite…’
‘Oh, what have you got there, in your bag?’
‘Get the kettle on David, I’m parched… What’s this?…’
‘Your bag has a definite bulge in it Stella. This is one of my early drawings, from back in…’
‘Don’t just stand there like a spare priest at a wedding, get some tea made!’
‘A spare pr…?’
‘Hm… An early drawing you say? Very interesting…’
‘Is it?…’
‘Yes, over the years you seem to have gradually got better… and worse… at the same time.’
‘Really?… So, what do you have in your bag Stella?’
‘Yes, you obviously had more liveliness and imagination back then, but less skill, now you’ve lost all that…’
‘Why thank you Stella…’
‘You’re welcome! In my bag? It’s a surprise, we won’t be needing any biscuits with our tea today David.’
‘No… Is this another of your chaotic, ‘green message’, mad cities, all hell and no notion?’
‘No notion?’
‘No, no notion… Where’s my beverage?’
‘Here… it’s a pint mug, that should keep you going. I think the milk is alright, I did sniff it, it was alright last night.’
‘You are very fond of the striking ‘handless clock motif’ aren’t you David? It keeps cropping up. Time marching on, the terrified wage-slave salarymen looking at their watches as they frantically scurry about the vermin infested pavements.’
‘Yes, and it also represents… Oh!… It’s a big Easter egg!…
‘Yes, I thought that we’d have some of it instead of biscuits today.’
‘Oh, right… That’s unusually generous of you my dear… Hang on, we’re almost at the end of May now, Easter was ages ago…’
‘Are you saying that you don’t want any of it David?…’
‘Well, no…’
‘There’s quite a lot of movement in it?’
‘What, the egg?’
‘No, you cretin, your drawing. Screaming packed streets heaving with stinking vehicles, the tilted architectural geometry of recent, and imminent, disaster… Oh, nice hexagonal prism David! I do like the rivets… Here, have a piece of egg…’
‘Thank you Stella… Hey, the chocolate’s got a white filmy deposit on it…’
‘It’s alright, it’s just the sugar coming out, it wont do you any harm. Clever how you have concentrated the busy buzzing detail in the centre of the seething metropolis, to enhance the linear perspective and to draw one in… Ah, another diagonally striped sky I see…’
‘Yes, I…’
‘You didn’t want to leave it blank, and you didn’t fancy just ordinary clouds?…’
‘Er… yes, that’s right… This egg isn’t too bad after all, where did you get it?’
‘Simon Doom, poet of the Hull Surrealist League, gave me it, he had two of them.’
‘Yes, he found them in a skip behind Tesco’s supermarket.’
‘Oh… right…’
‘They were still in their boxes!’
‘Oh, okay…’

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So, what is it that those TV ads are trying to tell us?…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s featured letter of the alphabet is the capital ‘S’. The serpentine and elegant ‘S’ always maintains a perfect balance, poised like a ballerina on her pointed toe. One half expects him to suddenly roll forward, turn into a wriggling worm, and head off towards the edge of the page.

Simply clever! – your perfect property – you seem to fallen through time – download the app – a scorching £94! – in three simple steps! – even on weekends – it’s an easy way to fight bad skin – pick your favourite scent – powerful cleansing action! – get £60 to play with! – our simple serving sachet – get set for a summer spectacular! – creamy-tasting! – much easier to swallow – flame-grilled fries and drink – it’s so much a part of who we are! – just move on from split ends! – choco-roulette – objects that dissolve in the air – yummy hunter’s chicken! – now you can go where you want – buy two cans and get a mini football! – nutritionally tailored – slots and table games – melts in the mouth! – thrills to be had – the most despicable crimes – a better way for lots of reasons! – it’s fat-free! – try it right now! – have money problems? – get a new you!


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Plinky-plonk and twang…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word dandruff.

I just came across a bit of my stuff from the time I was just starting out on this blogging lark on something called Myspace. It’s about my early days when I was listening to various styles of music and also learning to play guitar.

In my teens, noticing how highly regarded classical music was, and thinking that I could be missing out on something, I decided to dip my toe into this deep pond of cleverness. I bought a cheapish vinyl album of Andres Segovia (he was supposed to be very good on the guitar) playing some J.S.Bach. (It’s funny that… Only the classical people seem to play ‘the guitar’, the rest of us play ‘guitar’ or ‘a guitar’. Oh, and another oddity, they really do like to pronounce the ‘U’ in the word, and almost say ‘Gu-tar’. Strange…)
Anyway, when I got the record home and read the sleeve notes more carefully I realised that I had been the victim of a minor rip-off, and that the A-side was good old Andres as advertised, and on the other side there was also some Bach, but played by someone called Edith Weiss-Mann (harpsichord). The album sleeve had a big picture of Andres on it and not even a mention of Edith. Doh!… That was a bit of a disappointment!
I was learning to play guitar at the time – a bit of blues, a few Kinks and Stones songs and the like, and I thought that hearing this world-famous classical guitarist might encourage me and perhaps give me a different perspective on playing guitar. I listened to Andres’ side of the record and, oh dear, found it pretty dull stuff… It was all very clever and pretty, but I realised that the nylon-strung guitar was one of the least expressive of instruments around. No matter how lively the player is, it always sounds, to me, a bit plodding, as if the notes are a bit soft, floppy, and behind the beat a little bit. It must be those thick rubber-band-like nylon strings. Not a patch on Keith Richards and his Telecaster.
At the time I may have been rather unfair on the instrument, but I had recently heard on the radio, that other hero of the classical guitar Julian Bream, describe the electric guitar, which at the time was becoming very popular, as ‘A bastard instrument which gave no opportunity for expression whatsoever…’ or words to that effect. I think Mr Hendrix proved him very wrong a short time later.
On getting around to playing the B-side of the record, (I thought that I might as well, having paid for it) I found everything that was missing from the A-side. Old Edith’s harpsichord was crisp, accurate and sharp, and J S Bach’s amazing inventiveness and his lovely wandering bass lines just knocked me out. I used to listen to Edith’s side of the disc regularly.
I just Googled ‘Edith Weiss-Mann’ and found one of the actual recordings from that very LP on Youtube. Gosh!…

A PS: I was just thinking a bit more about nylon-strung guitars. Flamenco players use them, so why is their playing so much more powerful and emotional than their classical counterparts? The answer is that the guitars are rather different and the strings are thicker and much tighter; and most important of all, the players hit them harder!… That’s how guitars should sound!…

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