Perspiration is not thereby too much encouraged…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s old and wrinkled black and white snapshot is the one of me and Boris Karloff in 1952, in our whites, batting at the crease for the Hollywood Cricket Team. (HCC)
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Old books feel a lot heavier than new books don’t they? It must have been better quality paper back then…
Here’s a heavy old book – it’s one I found in a junk shop a few years ago, it was only about twenty pence – it is The Daily Express Enquire Within from 1934. The title is embossed on the front in three different type faces, but it is a bit too drab to bother you with a photograph dear reader – here is a picture of the title page though – I love that ‘globe emblem’ – globe emblem, globe emblem… Come on let’s all say it together – globe emblem, globe emblem…

Let’s open it up and… Oh, what a musty smell!…
I will include with today’s selections, some of the words of wisdom and pithy proverbs that are printed across the head of each page:

Page 18. (The rank is but the guinea stamp*)
In Season in October.
i. Fish.
Barbel, bloaters, brill, carp, cockles, cod, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dace, dory, eels, flounders, gudgeon, haddocks, hake, halibut, herring, ling, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, smelts, soles, tench, thornback, turbot,whitebait, whiting.

Page 104. (An evil conscience is the greatest plague.)
Champagne Lemonade, composed of two bottles of champagne, one bottle of seltzer water, three pomegranates, three lemons, and of sugar sufficient, is a princely beverage in hot weather; only care must be taken that perspiration is not thereby too much encouraged.

Page 372. (Little strokes fell great oaks.)
Mis-related Participles.
Many errors occur through the use of mis-related participles. The following are examples of this very common mistake:
“Shattered by the fever, his friends left him to his fate.”
“A plague to his parents at home, the master could make nothing of him at school.”
“Having got to the top of the hill, the city was seen in the light of the setting sun.”

Page 442. (A willing heart lightens work.)
Charcoal Ventilators.
It has been proposed to employ charcoal ventilators, consisting of a thin layer of charcoal enclosed between two thin sheets of wire gauze, to purify the foul air which is apt to accumulate in water-closets, in the close wards of hospitals, and in the impure atmospheres of many of the back courts and mews-lanes of large cities, all the impurities being absorbed and retained by the charcoal, while a current of pure air alone is admitted into the neighbouring apartments.

Page 224. (Begin well and end better.)
Servants.
Dismissals.– A servant may be dismissed for wilful disobedience; for habitual neglect of duty; for breach of good faith; for gross acts of immorality; for gross insolence or rudeness; for gross incompetence.

*I have no idea what this means.

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So, where do you want to meet?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to unwrap the membrane and lay it out on a flat, yielding and welcoming surface such as a lush lawn, or a dewy meadow with wild flowers; use the iron stakes (supplied) to pin it down to the ground at the corners and edges in case the wind gets up. Put on the goggles (supplied), you must remove your sandals, slip the monk’s cowl up over your head, and squeeze underneath, remembering to take with you your flask of tea and your packed lunch; activate the interositor (supplied) and wait a few minutes for the alien craft to settle down near by.
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‘Yes, alright… Shall we meet, oh, say, about three-ish?’
‘Yes, okay, I’m fine with that.’
‘Whereabouts would suit you? Somewhere in the town centre would be best, don’t you think?’
‘Yes… Look, I’ll tell you what, let’s meet under the man sitting on the invisible toilet.’
‘What?…’
‘Under the man sitting…’
‘Yes, yes, I heard you!… What are you talking about? What man sitting on an invisible toilet?…’
‘He’s in the middle of town, near the station – it’s a hanging banner – you can’t miss him – it’s probably something to do with the UK City of Culture stuff…’
‘Really?’
‘I think so…’
‘Alright, I’ll see you under him at about three… Is there a cafe nearby?’
‘Oh yes…’

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

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s interesting china teapot is the one shaped like the head of President Putin – he’s a very good pourer is Vladimir…
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The fragrance for him – half-price sleep event! – a blocked nose? – relief from constipation? – feel confident! – juicy chews! – milk from the British Isles – when my IBS flares up – from the very first sip! – two-for-one tickets! – it now de-puffs and brightens! – we give you something to smile about! – ha ha ha ha ha! – taste the rainbow! – you have five days to change your mind! – lucky there’s Virgin games! – live a little! – mouth-watering scenes! – an effortless solution! – original recipe chicken! – we give you natural hydration! – it’s our unique powerful system! – Ant and Dec’s free spins! – it cleans up the impossible! – rewrite the rules, always! – the price snap ends soon!…

Copy these lines and email them to your bank, your insurance company, the government, the UN, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, and every one of your friends and enemies without delay!

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Danger – film rant, film rant…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: booming, chorographic, prenasal, wauling, glyconic, mancando, and rotting.
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Films…
I like watching films – Some people like to call them movies by the way… I don’t…
I wonder what happened to British films? I can’t think of a British film that I’ve liked, in oh, the last twenty years.
They used to be pretty good, and even the bad ones had a bit of ‘class’ about them. They were not really anything like Hollywood films, or even like European films, they had a style of their own, they were, er, I suppose ‘British’.
Those early Hitchcock ones, the Powell and Pressburger ones, the Ealing comedies, those 1960s black and white ‘social realism’ ones…there were lots of those; the marvellous Hammer Horrors; the early Bond films (sort of British); The Ipcress File, Blow Up, If…, Dr Strangelove; not to mention the Carry On series and the Monty Python films… So, what happened?
‘Well Dave, the world changed…’
I reckon you could sum it up by mentioning the word ‘money’, and slip in the phrase ‘must reach a world-wide audience’.
I think the old films were made by people just loved the medium of film and they elbowed their way into it, taking menial jobs in the studios at an early age – just to be there and learn – to be part of this great magical creative thing called cinema.
I’ll bet the people who write and direct films now were all fresh out of school, not having done anything else, straight to drama school or film school, to study and learn ‘how to do it’, and have probably seen loads and loads of films there, and have gleefully absorbed what is popular, and what will attract an audience, and will make plenty of money. I get the feeling that these people have never been moved to tears or been gobsmacked by a film in their lives.
I suppose British films used to be made to be shown in Britain, and if they were exported around the world and liked by people in other countries, that was because they were good…
The British film makers are probably all now competing with each other in trying to be ‘American’ – and to be a magnet for US and world-wide money. So they knock out violent London gangster films with cockney thugs being unpleasant to each other – or they try to sell cute ‘Britishness’ to the world another way, using images of the past, with grand English country houses, emotional weeping servants bobbing around the place and cut-glass posh accents wafting stiffly on the warm breeze during tea and cakes served on the terrace…
Is it that today’s film makers don’t have any good and original ideas, or is it that the interesting ideas just can’t attract any cash from nervous investors to make the thing?
And then, there are those well-known British theatre directors who drift into films thinking that directing film must be just like directing a play – no, it isn’t… A film with a two or three actors doing a bit of suffering, and acting their poor hearts out, in a couple of ill-lit rooms is really pretty dull viewing… in my opinion.
Oh, and while we are at it, look at television, it’s going the same way – hundred of channels showing mindless popular pap, amateur talent shows, cookery shows, endless brainless sport, cutest animal shows – and relying on reruns of old museum pieces from those days when we used to make novel, interesting, witty, and meaningful television…
Damn it!…
There, I think I’ve finished now… Thank you for staying with me to end dear reader… I do feel a bit better now… but you probably don’t…

Posted in adjectives, art, brain, British film, creation, drama, fashion, Film, history, observations, theatre, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mail Art Postcard No. 4624…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like the smell of a freshly opened packet of coffee.
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Ah, another of my mail art postcards!
Just a simple collage on bright card using clippings from that rubbishy British TV listings magazine What’s On TV – I really only buy the thing to cut it up – well, no, I do glance at it daily to see what puerile trash I have to wade through to find something marginally interesting to half-watch on an evening whilst playing my guitar… But that’s enough about my sad lifestyle…

No, but these fellows could be fraudsters couldn’t they?…
I mean, if a group of ne’er-do-wells hired suitable uniforms, and instruments, oh, and a mace, and gathered early in the morning at one end of The Mall, and formed themselves into the right shape for a marching band – who would suspect? Who would try to stop them?…
Imagine a couple of bored coppers sitting in their patrol car:
‘Hey Bob, look! What the hell are that lot doing? There’s nothing on today’s list about an early morning  parade…’
‘Eh?… Hang on a minute Billy… Damn! I’ve just dropped my Big Mac on my trousers… Oh, I’m sure it’s alright – they probably forgot to tell us back at the office – useless buggers that they are!…’

No, but wouldn’t it be great? Especially if the chaps couldn’t actually play their instruments, but blew them and made noises anyway – I don’t suppose they would be very good at proper marching either – they’d be a right shambles!
Me, yes, I’d go and see them…
As you can imagine, I’m not a great one for all that pomp and patriotism stuff…

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Some song lyrics misheard over cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one annoying everyone by smoking a large Meerschaum pipe filled with strong shag tobacco.
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‘Babe, the night will be towels…’
‘Oh, girl – you sunshine on the paths…’
‘So Caucasian, a pair a dice, cool cool.’
‘This is the pipes that never breaks girl.’
‘It’s been on you before – I’ll say no more, no more.’
‘Porty porty in every heart, I’m short of things, moon moon…’
‘I woke up on the drains, shake shake me…’
‘You know how I whine girl! Oh, oh, oh…’
‘Shame change shame change shame change!’
‘When I go stop-stop, you pray for my wood.’
‘Gob-smile, it raining ladles, baby don’t you know?’
‘Murk-knee, murk-knee, in fat you Asian.’
‘We have a sane waiting day now – now-now…’
‘My name now is fur…’
‘Though I do swear – something is like a wig so…’
‘I gotta bomb-star, I’m gonna, I’m gonna!…’
‘Whoo, corn among the meat, lay that thing on me girl!’
‘Oh summer, you make me down a fool…’
‘Now, all of the sighs, kiss me this egg moment.’
‘A Tuesday night, knocked on a rigged note!’
‘Whoo-oo-oo… Lovin’ your eyes! Undo my tie…’

For some information on how these lines are collected you could click here.

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Spatter painting No. 18…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: barghest, barilla, baobab, banxring, bantling, and flamfew. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie’s Jack Russell terrier first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. The Professor will not attend tomorrow’s lesson, but ‘Podgy’ will take charge in his stead.
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Hm… rectilinear!…
What a very nice word that is… everyone should say it out loud at least once a day.

No, but here’s another of my ‘spatter paintings’. This one is on good quality watercolour paper about 27″ x 21″ and is done using bright acrylic paint and black drawing ink. Busy isn’t it?…
I suppose the trouble with using fluorescent green and orange and letting them mix on the paper is that they form a rather unpleasant earthy brown; thankfully there isn’t too much of that going on here.
As you can see there was a lot of fine spatter dropping into the blank areas between the main, er… I don’t know what to call them… Shall we say ‘stripes’, or perhaps go for something more ‘arty’ and call them longitudinal elements? No, let’s go for ‘stripes’ eh?
Yes, a lot of fine detail – it took several hours of radio and tea drinking to go round them all with the black ink.
If I ever sold this one, I’m sure the hourly rate for the job wouldn’t be enough. But then who’d want to buy such a thing? Perhaps I’d charge either £4.99 or £14,000 for it, one or the other, I wouldn’t be prepared to haggle…
I remember hearing a story about the great Scottish Surrealist poet Ivor Cutler:
He was phoned up and asked to do a reading of his work at some University – the chap on the phone apologised that the student union only could afford a fee of £150.
Mr Cutler responded with something like, ‘No, no! That’s quite unacceptable! It’s far too much, I’ll do it for £100…’

Click here.

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