Flageolets are used to teach them to pipe…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one attempting to sit down on a flimsy folding footstool.

Have you noticed how old books are a lot heavier than modern ones? My scruffy copy of The Daily Express Enquire Within from 1934 weighs about as much as bag of potatoes – however, it is far more interesting than a bag of potatoes – well it is if you are the sort of person who finds amusement in the things that people in Britain back in the 1930s would need to be able to look up – I suppose it’s a bit like an eighty-year-old version of Google.
Here’s a picture of the title page, the cover of the book is quite drab and doesn’t really warrant its picture being taken. What a charming 1930s-style emblem or logo! I expect that thing going down the middle of it will be a stick with the torch of knowledge on the end of it.

Yes, just like Google, this has everything in it. Well everything the average middle class British person might be interested in. Across the head of each page there are some pithy words of wisdom – I will include one of these with each of today’s carefully selected items:

Page 277. (The fall of a leaf is a whisper to the living.)
Medical Information.
Sudorific. – Mix six grains of compound antimonial powder, two grains of ipecacuanha, and two grains of sugar together. Dose, as mixed, to be taken at bedtime. Use, in catarrh and fever.

Page 467. (Cherish those hearts that hate thee.)
Cheirognomy. – There are seven types or shapes of hands:
1. The elementary or lowest type.
2. The square, or useful hand.
3. The spatulate, or nervous, active type.
4. The philosophic, or jointed hand.
5. The conic, or artistic type.
6. The psychic, or idealistic hand.
7. The mixed hand.

Page 96. (It’s never too late to mend.)
Hints on carving.
Cod’s Head and Shoulders. – The thick part of the back is best. It should be carved in unbroken slices, and each solid slice should be accompanied by a bit of the sound, from under the backbone, or from the cheek, jaws, tongue, &c., of the head.

Page 332. (Write your own history daily.)
ii. Persons very commonly complain of indigestion; how can it be wondered at, when they seem, by their habit of swallowing food wholesale, to forget for what purpose they are provided with teeth?
iii. Keeping the feet warm will tend to prevent headaches. Boots should always be kept in good repair.

Page 455. (He who once has won a name may lie abed till eight.)
Bullfinches. – Old birds should be fed with canary and summer rape seeds only.
The only dainties necessary are, in summer all sorts of green stuff from dandelion in spring to rowan berries in autumn, and in winter a slice of apple.
They are very greedy and apt to overeat and get liver disease, the ensuing puffiness being erroneously attributed to asthma.
Bird organs, or flageolets, are used to teach them to pipe.

Posted in archeology, books, food, history, humour, information, instruction, learning, reading, serendipity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Mail Art Postcard. No. 4567…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: humorous, earwiggy, previsional, tegmental, urinant, loxodromic and fidgety. I think my favourite one of these has to be ‘earwiggy’.

Goodness me! This is dramatic isn’t it?
Ah, to me this looks like British TV drama, with lots of British TV acting in it, directed by  some bright young person who’s been to college and got a degree in British TV directing. No, I probably wouldn’t watch it, I expect there’d be a lot of scowling and shouting in it, we do like plenty of scowling and shouting in our dramas, don’t we? Shakespeare had that sorted out quite early on.
Of course, this is another of my simple collages, a mail art postcard using clippings from that awful TV listings magazine What’s On TV – I don’t know if I have posted this one to anyone yet – when I make a batch of these things I generally photograph the better ones for occasions such as this.

So, what is going on here?
You may recognise these two characters as really famous and popular actors from a hit drama series, but alas I don’t, as I avoid such things. This is a pretty good original publicity photo though, isn’t it? It was almost a pity to spoil it with those extra eyes I cheekily glued on, but they do work surprisingly well – even the colour is a good match, and the fact that they are slightly too large for the chap’s face adds, er… impact – yes, impact, that’s a good word! This piece of work is dominated by four eyes and a torch.
I wonder what they are doing pratting about in that murky forest – I’ll bet they are detectives (you can tell by the way that torch is held – coppers always hold their torches like that) and they decided to pop out in the early hours and see if they could find a body or two – that’s the sort of things detectives do when they have a hunch – I have noticed that detectives are always having hunches – I expect they have special training courses in sorting out good and worthwhile hunches from piss-poor ones…

Posted in adjectives, advertising, art, creation, drama, humour, information, Mail Art, postcards, style, surrealism, TV, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hello me…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s nice fish names are: the climbing perch, the convict blenny, the gibberfish, the minnow of the deep, and the two spotted goby.

Oh, now that was odd!…
Do you ever think that there might be something strange going on?…
Yesterday morning, I was sitting on a bus that had just pulled up at a bus stop – there, standing waiting on the pavement, was someone who was the spitting image of me! Yes, same height, stance, age, facial features, beard – hair, length and colour, and it was casually unkempt just like mine. The only differences I could see were his rather frumpy taste in clothes and the fact that he had a rather large beer belly poking out of his jacket – happily I don’t have one of those – the belly, not the jacket – I do have a jacket…
I generally don’t see many people who look like me, I think I’ve always been a little bit ‘odd-looking’ – people used to say to me, ‘You are a bit odd-looking, aren’t you?’, and I’d say, ‘Yes I am…’
Anyway, I was peeping from behind my hand out of the bus window at him, I was worried that I’d catch his eye and that he’d spot me, and that he’d get on the bus, and that he’d sit next to me, and chat about how alike we were, and discuss possible family ties, and he’d introduce the subject of doppelgängers, and such like things. As it was he seemed to be waiting for a different bus from the one I was on – and he stayed where he was – good!…
That was yesterday. Today is now, the present, this afternoon.
I’m sitting here, in one of my favourite Dulltown cafes, writing this in my little spiral-bound notebook with my old retractable Parker ballpoint pen. (Have you noticed that I’m putting lots of commas in my text today? I’m sure I’m using far too many – at school they used to say just one or two sprinkled in occasionally is plenty!)
This is the sort of cafe where they hang framed old-looking black and white or sepia photographs on the walls for ‘atmosphere’ – they are generally, for some reason, of people sitting in cafes, possibly in Paris, or maybe some hot place with a nice shady loggia in Italy. I notice that there are one or two new pictures up that I haven’t seen before.
Oh, goodness me! Yes, dear reader you have guessed it! One of the nearby photos seems to be of me!… Or, is it possibly the man from yesterday’s bus stop, or is it a proper doppelgänger? (That’s quite hard to say isn’t it? ‘proper doppelgänger’. Good job I’m just thinking this and not saying it out loud!) The ‘me’ in the picture is caught in what I believe is called a ‘three-quarter’ side view – he is sitting at a cafe table and is frozen in time reaching across for a bun or a panino or something. I thought for a minute that this photo actually is of me, the likeness is so good, but no, I don’t think I’d ever sport a neat black shirt with a thin light coloured tie – anyway he has the air of someone who has a lot more money than I have.
When I come in this place in the future, I think I’ll make a point of not sitting too near this picture – I’d have to be constantly saying to people passing by from the counter with their trays of goodies, ‘No, no, it’s not me… No, really, it isn’t!…’ Etc…
So, is this some strange kind of age-related loopiness creeping up on me? A loopiness were you start seeing yourself in odd places? Perhaps it will progress until everyone looks like you, er, me? Even females, and children, and there’ll be dogs and cats with my face, and maybe parrots?…

Posted in brain, cafe, existentialism, Hull.UK., humour, mind, observations, puzzle, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This is not art. No. 28…

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

Well, what do you make of this one?
It reminds me of British art from the early 20th c. – maybe art from those nice people who toddled off on holiday to Cornwall, to do a bit of painting, staring pensively at the sea, and trudging along the beaches as they mused and pondered on the nature of things…
But then, I was never very good at art history, so what do I know?
Hm… but it’s as if they really fancied being a bit wild, and avant-garde, so they edged gingerly towards those new and dangerous ideas of abstraction and expression, but being British they were just a bit embarrassed by ideas like that, and so limited themselves to bland pale earthy natural colours to show how sensitive and subtle they were being – oh, so much nicer than those dreadful bright and garish German expressionist people over the water! – Doh!…

Anyway, I think this is a very nice This is Not Art photo.
So what do we see? I can feel my lips getting ready to say the words stark grey rectilinear forms, but I think I’ll hold back and nip that in the bud – but what about those two circles? That one on the left looks so very painterly and carefree, don’t you think? And the rather bashful one on the right seems to be trying to camouflage itself and withdraw from the thing all together.
If you are wondering about the size of this piece you may be able to judge it by those marks to the right – to me they look like they could have been made by someone’s (the artist’s) finger-ends dipped in some kind of muck (it would be nice to call this scumbling, but it probably isn’t) – I think the way I have framed the thing it could be showing an area about four or five feet (1.3 M) square.
Lovely composition isn’t it? I’m glad I spotted it.

Oh, dear reader – you want to know what this actually is?
Well, I think it might be just a couple of the back doors of a closed-down shop or restaurant in Dulltown city centre.

Posted in abstract, academia, art, brain, colours, composition, creation, Dulltown, existentialism, history, humour, information, observations, painting, photography, seeing, serendipity, style, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Grains of sugar…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: Brian brown, Mervyn mauve, Yolande yellow, Barry butterscotch, Gwendolyn grey, Rudolph red, and that strange pale turquoise of Aunt Betty’s posh going-to-weddings hat.

‘Little things…’
‘Small items of…’
‘Of what?’
‘I was just thinking of large numbers of tiny things.’
‘Oh yes? How’s that beer?’
‘Hm… Fair, it’ll do…’
‘Titchy things? What made you think of…’
‘Dunno really, how many grains of say, sugar, might you get in a spoonful? Is that Guinness you are drinking?’
‘How is it?’
‘Only fair, you never get nice Guinness in pubs these days – not in…’
‘Not in these parts eh?’
‘That’s right… So…’
‘How about how many grains of sand are there in all the deserts of all the world?’
‘Er, a lot?…’
‘I wonder if there are more small things in the universe than there are big things?’
‘Yes, well it stands to reason that there’d be a lot more small ones.’
‘Reason… You’d think so, wouldn’t you?…’
‘I would… Shall I get a couple of bags of crisps?’
‘Why not?’
‘Smoky bacon, cheese and onion?’
‘I’m easy… I suppose we could go down to atoms and molecules, they’re pretty small.’
‘And plentiful – what about cheese and onion flavoured atoms…’
‘You’re being flippant.’
‘Yes, I am, but I expect that someone clever…’
‘A nerd, a boffin?’
‘Yes, has worked out how many atoms there are in the universe.’
‘I’m sure they have.’
‘Clever boffins!’
‘Indeed… Of course atoms are relatively large, much bulkier than you’d think…’
‘Bulkier than I’d think?’
‘Yes, bulkier than say, protons, or neutrons…’
‘I’ve heard that… Full of wind are atoms, blown up out of all proportion… another beer?’
‘Alright, if you’re buying… not to mention quarks.’
‘I didn’t…’
‘No… Then there’s the universe.’
‘Here and now.’
‘Right, of course.’
‘Or universes…’
‘Multiple ones, constantly splitting making new ones, every milli-micro Planck second quantum-wise.’
‘I have heard of such outrages – more crisps… nuts, perhaps?’
‘Alright… You see, with an infinite number of universes…’
‘Oh, I think so, infinite, everything possible has existed, and does exist!’
‘Surely not… everything?…’
‘Infinity is so big, you see…’
‘I expect so…’
‘Suppose you were a writer…’
‘A writer, oh yes?’
‘And you write a story or something…’
‘I’m not very good at stories.’
‘And you came up with a couple of characters, and you wrote about them, in say, a little notebook.’
‘I do have a little notebook, but I…’
‘You see with an infinite number of universes, all things are possible, the two people you invented, must, somewhere… exist…’
‘Yes, the boffins say so!’
‘Do they?’
‘Oh Yes!’
‘What would these made up people be doing?’
‘Anything you like – they could be sitting in a pub chatting…’
‘Just like we are?’
‘Good god!…’
‘No, no, don’t go down that road please… But my question to you, is…’
‘Let me guess – what would happen to these two living breathing real people…?’
‘Like us?’
‘Yes, if you the writer changed your mind, ripped out the page, screwed it up, and threw it away?’
‘Whoa!.. The thing is then, that the writer could choose to keep the story, or straightway destroy it – along with its characters!’
‘So, in one universe the people out there would live, and in the other…’
‘They’d just pop out of existence!’
‘Shall I get more beer?’
‘Have we time? Do hurry up!…’

Posted in brain, colours, composition, conversation, creation, drama, existentialism, humour, information, science, surrealism, thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spatter painting No. 35…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity, appearing today as a heron, is the god Bennu. His main cult centre is Heliopolis and his associations are: Solar, Rebirth. (Bennu)

Spatter painting No. 35. (2016)
Acrylic paint and black ink on drawing paper about 29″ x 21″.

Is this splashy and runny enough for you? It is for me!… Just look at the thing gurgle and drip! Hey, look out – here come the snaking aerial rivulets!…
Let me just interject here, and whine on a bit about how difficult it is to photograph these brutes. The trouble is, that there are so many blank white areas in them – white is always tricky for the photographer. If there is even a small variation in the lighting, and one area gets a tiny bit more light than another the stupidly clever camera jumps on it and interprets it as colour – so where you would expect a nice clean white you get insidious hues creeping in. (No one wants insidious hues!) See above, there is a slight reddishness top centre and a slight bluishness bottom left; if you try to get rid of these using Photoshop you have to be very careful to not start destroying the nice painty and inky parts. Anyway dear reader, the above rendering of the work is the best I can do – Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned all this – you might not have noticed!…

As you see I have used a couple of cardboard ‘masks’ doing this piece, a triangular one and an elliptical one – you can’t go wrong with a bit of geometry – good old nature!
Gosh I hope you like red and yellow! I’m glad I don’t bother with proper titles for these – perhaps I could pick a famous painting at random and pinch its title? How about Mystery and Melancholy of a Street?…

Posted in abstract, archeology, art, colours, composition, creation, humour, painting, photography, religion, serendipity, style, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just some smallish items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected fish names are: the Armored searobin, the Clingfish, the Glowlight danio, the Houndshark, and the Sand stargazer.

Excuses for being late. No. 381.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I needed to dust the slats of my Venetian blinds.

A single overheard remark:
‘And I was left at Stamford Bridge with a duck…’ (SB)

‘Anyway, I’m planning a film on the life of the 19th c. French poet Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud.’
‘Oh yes, and who are you hoping to get to star as Rimbaud?’
‘Oh, Sylvester Stallone of course…’
‘Ah, right…’

An old record that it would be really cool to like is that 1960s early environmentally aware song Fresh Garbage by Spirit – it has some really catchy riffs and timings in it – it’s very sixties.
Click here to listen!

‘Oh great wise and pithy one, what is the secret of life?’
‘The secret of life is – not to measure everything in money my dear friend.’

So, the number of really interesting spam items I get turning up in my comments box dear reader, is, I’m afraid, reducing. I don’t know what I can do to attract more. Still, here’s a short, but pithy one – it seems to be from someone called Delle:
Both boys jumped up and down eaɡer

to know find out hoԝ to make God happy.
Oh, thank you for getting in touch Delle – I always appreciate religious references in spam items I receive – reading this is just like being invited into your lovely home, and being in the warm bosom of your family. Please send me more things like this – they really make me squirm – but squirm in a good way – isn’t squirm a great word Delle?

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Lester Wurrius.
(I have a funny feeling I may have had this name before…)

A single overheard (possibly misheard) remark:
‘You can’t go looking for flamingos with pineapples Carl…’

Posted in academia, brain, conversation, cool, drama, Dulltown, existentialism, Film, finance, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, misheard, money, music, overheard, religion, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments