Archive for the 'steampunk' Category


The final deal

     Hello there readers. I have been staying with friends of mine in the south of France. It is quite pleasant actually. The natives are reasonably civilised, and have a plentiful supply of gauloises and pernod.


     Having very little communication with the empire I have to scratch the limited information that I can from the wretched red tops. They arrive a week late and the crossword is invariably half-finished. Bizzarely, it is attempted in French; although twice it has been italian and once what I believe to be sumerian. I think that someone is trying to send a message to me, but I cannot for the life of me think who. The steamlink has been on and off. Apparently the natives are a little restless over a decrease in garlic subsidies.

     I read with interest an article detailing the demise of the ex-exchanger of articles, a one Noel Edmunds. It seems that, for some as yet unexplained reason, a freelance homicidal maniac has “done him in” as the vernacular in the criminal classes would put it. Noel’s body parts were – post termination – sliced up into separate parts. Each of the jigsaw pieces was then inserted into a numbered red shoebox. The plot thickens, like Mrs. Trousers’ gravy. The murderer is prepared to reveal his identity as long as his one demand is followed to the letter. It is this: That a live episode of Deal Or No Deal is televised with an audience of senior figures of the establishment. The host has been named as one Derek Akorah who has been given the task of deciding which box Noel’s head in apportioned to. If he predicts the location of the cerebral remains then the murderer will reveal which audience member he is. I for one will be tuning in the old zeotrobe for that one.

     I shall keep you posted on further developments. I, myself, have a side-bet on Paul Daniels.

     It probably means nothing to you, but here is a picture of a frenchman that I met today.





For Whom the bell tolls

     I am typing these words from the discomfort of my commode. As again, dear reader, you are ahead of me…as you would have to be. Yes, I have entered the 20th Century (albeit as most have already left it – still, there’s plenty of legroom.) and purchased a mobile communicator.


     Ah that’s better – I’m back on the main machine now. I was persuaded to purchase my communicator, as I have recently calculated that the average number of rings on the trusty AlexanderG is six. This takes one second less than the time for Grimblethorpe (my wrinkled retainer) takes to pace down the corridor and elevate the handset. As such, I can ensure that I am in immediate communication for the illumination my public. Although, I do have my reservations. The keyboard seems to have only ten tiny keys. It seems to be primarily designed for a small child with desire to be back with his Activity Centre. You would have thought the overpaid designer could have slapped a proper keyboard on the thing. No fear, dear reader, with a brief consultation with Dr. Brunel, I have managed to fashion a punch card-reading mechanism in place of the keys. Of course, this was no mean feat. The miniaturisation of the 19th Century technology down to the size of the communicator.  Much more straightforward, I’m sure you’ll agree. This has the added advantage that I have a business card ready for each of my contacts. However, if you do wish to use the text facility then you will have to utilise my pack of playing cards that I have encrypted with 52 common English verbs, nouns and prepositions. Rather than being an extra burden, it nicely balances the bulge in your waistcoat.

     To be honest, I do see some use to the textpusher. It nicely allows you to determine valuable information from an associate without all that tedious mucking about with the time wasting pastime that is mockingly referred to as the art of conversation. By my calculation this suggests that I will reduce my hourglass turning with Dr. Brunel to the extent that I will pretty soon be able to open my own Bakery. I have already noticed that he gets quite steamed up if you text your reply as “Pardon?” Ho Ho.

     What exactly the point of the ‘Camera feature’ is I am not sure (this sentence is sponsored by the Rhetoric Society of America.)  I am sure that it appeals to any connoisseur of the photographic ‘shot through a dirty sock’ movement that was so fashionable in Notting Hill in the 1870s. I believe the mechanism is based upon the Camera Obscura – so you really need some strong light to produce a decent image. A strange accessory that seems slightly pointless is the incorporation of what is referred to in the manual as an MP3 player (Miniature Platter III actually.) . Included are two tiny vinyl discs. The choice seems a little curious. I have tried playing Laurel & Hardy’s perennial favourite On The Trail of the Lonesome Pine and Rabbit by Chas & Dave. The number by the former Combo must, I admit, has some merit if you listen between the scratches. The second duo were excruciating despite some quite well-balanced production. As a point of note, I noticed that if the communicator moved by a thousandth of an inch the needle would fly away from the disc. Definitely one for the Must Try Harder file. I will look forward to reviewing the MP4 technology in due course.

     Well, that is it for news of my latest look into groundbreaking technology. A small vibration in my pocket calls me away.


Christmas Special

     Let me regale you with the curious events of Christmas Day A.D. XXIX. Dr. Trousers was in fine form (as usual.) He was showing off his new Christmas trousers, and as such he was enshrouded by a halo of steam. He held court by showing us a most peculiar method of inflating balloons. Let me tell you, gentle reader, that we were all in fear of a single incident of balloon-burstage for the remainder of the evening. I will not relate in which room of the East-Wing this was hosted for reasons of sensibility. At this juncture, Dr. Brunel burst through the French Windows. As usual his timing was less than immaculate. A point of interest for future historians was that he was resplendent in a white suit. On gaining our attention, thus, he explaining in exquisite details how he had just purchased this new fabric, and the said fabric was fresh from the loom. His enthusiastic explanation of the science behind this revolution was slightly marred by the obvious scarring of the aforementioned suit (of the Sauron variety.) It seems that the charcoalesque motif was a tattoo of disaffection embroidered by running into a mob of angry ex-factory workers. Ho hum. He quickly descended upon the drinks cabinet. Stefan IV was in attendance on this occasion. Having not seen his erstwhile son for some years, there was a certain smile of pride on the elder’s visage. As you may recall from earlier missives, Stefan IV is, shall we say, a gentleman of letters. Having travelled far and wide, he has recently returned from an expedition to Madagascar. It seems that he had found a secret city, wherein he had discovered a secret route to the mythical Atlantis. Unfortunately this peculiar story was disturbed by Dr. Brunel falling upon a particularly large red balloon. The party was rapidly dismissed to the Venetian garden. As soon as the havanas were ashen, we were greeted by Mrs. Trousers. The dear lady was resplendent at the focus of the Farting Room, proudly displaying her Christmas Buns. She does this every year, and it is nothing to be worried about, but it still makes me smile. Unfortunately, on this occasion she had taken it into her pretty head to impregnate candles into the centre of her buns. The ignition of her husband’s methane forced her forcibly through the French Windows and (fortunately) into the arms of the deflated Dr. Trousers. As if that were not enough to cope with, this was the exact moment that Professor Huntingdon appeared. Call it an eccentricity, a foible even bloody-mindedness, but he does insist on always driving that damned clowns’ car. With an arrival accompanied with a honking of horns and wheels spinning hither and thither he had made his arrival. With a flurry of activity he rushed a strange contraption into the Smoking Room. With great anticipation he unsheathed his device. What was revealed to our eyes was a Rontgenesque device of baroque design. Huntingdon revealed that had improved the capability of the X-ray Visualiser. Indeed his calibrations made it possible to look into the very soul of the interrogated. Eager to investigate the alleged powers of the device, Stefan III was the first to brave the rays. Curiously his image revealed the largest stovepipe hat that I have ever seen. Before any analysis of the image could be made, Mrs Trousers fell under the influence of the beam. As I stand here today I must confess that I was surprised to cast my eyes upon a Graff Zeppelin. One can but wonder.  Dr. Brunel made the point that the very soul, as a matter of fact, cannot exist. We unanimously concluded that perhaps his didn’t. As for myself, my own experience of the beam revealed a rather risqué image of a very young Betty Boop. Dr. Trousers, for some reason was making copious notes, in a notepad entitled  “The Dummies Guide for the Industrial Spy.” Ho Hum. The rest of the evening was skilfully obscured by custard and curmudgeon. A merry Christmas to you all.


Snowmans Land

     It is nearly that time of year again, dear reader. Although, not quite yet, is it acceptable to welcome the fir tree into a small corner of your home. One may be attracted by the many splendourous needles that they bring into the home; their little way way of saying  “thank you for a warm place by the fire.” . Lo, there are 12 days in the re-christmas period. Not a mincepie longer, nor a melting snowball less. Yet soon unlucky 13 will meet with the 12 which once was 10. I shall leave the rest to Spunky.


The French Connection


Dear reader, in these uncertain times it does seem that very few individuals have the perspicacity to stamp their mark on the hallowed pages of history. Let me take you on a journey beyond the chalk cliffs of this island.

May I introduce you to Herr Franz ‘thirsty’ Reichel. For Reichel had a vision. He believed that he could be the first airborne tailor in history. He was fresh from his recent success at the Paris Exhibition of 1910 – where he became the first man in history to ejaculate across the English Channel. Reichel was drunk on his own success, and determined to capitalise upon this adventure, by producing the first suit with aeronautical aspirations. Reichel spent the next year perfecting his design. Equipped with his double-ended candles, needle, thread and the finest tweed; he worked long into the cold Gallic nights. After months of trial and improvement he was eventually ready to show to the world that there was more to him than his monstrously large testicles.

Come the day, cometh the man. So it was that on a cold February morning in 1912, Reichel ascended the Eiffel Tower. As he reached the summit he unfurled his contraption to an astonished gathering of selected dignitaries. It transpires, from recently disclosed documents, that Herr Reichel promised that the first test would be using a mannequin. This was not to be. Our moustachioed hero’s design of an overcoat with encased parachute was designed for the wearer to gently descend to the ground. We can only speculate at the exact thoughts that may have crossed his mind as he stood there as the historian dipped his quill into the inky depths of history. Posterity, unfortunately, had other plans for young Herr Reichel.

As you can see from the video clip, he seems to have a moment of self-doubt as he stands upon the lips of the precipice. He is said to have died of fright before hitting the ground. Who can tell? Although, French authorities seemed keen to measure the size of the crater that he left, there is no record of the purpose to which this data was put to. His ejaculatory record remains unbroken to this day.


Dreaming of Androids not Sheep

Dear reader, as I was fiddling with my cantankerous wheelie bin this morning I was struck with thoughts of deceit and obfuscation. Twas only the other day that I was discussing the very matter with Dr. Brunel. He is of the opinion that his car is fully automatic. Nay, I cannot agree with this confused opinion. Surely he has his hands to the tiller? A misunderstanding of the term automatic no doubt. I shall set him right in his ways never fear. Though he is a proud one, he is also a confused banana.

Of course we have all been misled a propos the level of robotic technology that we should currently be enjoying. I am surprised that Gordon Brown has not set targets on Robotic Technology.  Science and Innovation Minister,  Professor William Heath Robinson said: “What’s important about Androidhorizons is that we’re inviting anyone and everyone to get involved in the discussions, not only the scientists. We want discussions about science to involve the whole community. Will we all be using Ray-Guns at 80? Or sitting in self-driving cars? Will robots be serving us breakfast? Will our fridges be talking to our shopping trolleys? Will history be a thing of the past?”

The level of robotic technology is frankly a little shabby. Look at this pathetic excuse for an automaton.

The dream of the future was much more along the lines of Robby the Robot. Yes, Jeeves reimagined as a whirring butler, fitted out with replication units, and a baffling internal logic system. The dressmaking skills seemed a little effeminate – but there you go. A dream of sliding doors and hoverboots seemed only around the corner. I still clearly remember our old year 6 teacher, Mrs. Bradbury preparing us for the Age of Leisure. Our every need and whim would be catered for. The main purpose of education then would be to intelligently fill our extensive free time. Still waiting. While I’m still waiting I have 101 chores to do, which I am sure could be fulfilled by Robby. So much for a robotic dystopia, with armies of domestic assistants rising up to overthrow their masters. The only thing the ones we’ve would probably run out of batteries half way through booting up. Ho hum. So much for the G-1-RL Portable Leisure, Exercise and Adventure, Self-Utilizing Responsive Escort (P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E.) robot.

Stuck in an ironing loop again.

Stuck in an ironing loop again.


Victorian Steampunk

     I probably should reveal a few things that have hitherto, remained latent. I do have a penchant for the days of yore. Not particularly for sentimental reasons; although inevitably there is a modicum of that. It seems perhaps inevitable that an island such as Old Blighty, not emasculated by her (wink) loss of Empire should have a yearning for the former glory.

Mappa Tuesday

Mappa Tuesday

     However, the zeitgeist of the day is cheap and cheerless – the land of the miserable shopper. Our £1 lands have replaced our Woolworths. Yes cheap tat and proud of it. Brunel would be spinning in his grave.

     But let me take you back to a land that served a purpose with style. You just have to think of the Crossness pumping station.

     Yes indeed, the Victorians even ensured that their turds* travelled in style, albeit to end up washing up on the sandy shores of bathers at Southend-on-Sea. It is true, however, that their wives and children fared well they could not bear for any of their fine erections to be looked down up.

it's a shitehouse

it's a shitehouse

     Wot ho! It was indeed, as old Charlie would say the best of time & the worst of times. In fact it had a hint of the Curate’s Egg about it, albeit encased in a Faberge suit. It was a time when a gentleman would toss his cape into a geographically inconvenient Dr. Foster, and hang the bill the Chinese laundry man would threaten him with. Exactly why the Chinese crossed half the world to stir steaming tubs of shirts, well, that’s another story….

     It was a time when a gentleman would dress for dinner, and after he had retired to the Smoking Room, (as opposed to sitting on the back porch and hoping an Easterly didn’t send wafts of aromatic Arabian tobacco back into the sitting room for fear of the asthmatic cat having another attack,) and gazing out at the gas lit pea-souper. Conversation would fall on affairs of state, the Empire and, of course the latest invention that one was tinkering with. Yes, for dandyness, etiquette and style aside, it was at least a time when one could have a stab at inventing a unique contraption with out possessing several degrees in advanced Squibullery. A time of crystal phials and shining brass. A time of sparks, whirring engines, and – by God – proper noises. A gentleman could travel from King’s Cross to Edinburgh in a proper mode of transport, a Steam-powered train. The sort of vehicle, that one could well imagine, could at any point leave the tracks and end up Le Voyage dans la lune.

     The Victorian Age was the Age of Invention. The zeitgeist of boundless optimism and achievement, where anything is possible. Of course, you had to be rich enough to benefit from it, but then I’m sure the Great Pyramid wasn’t that impressive if you spent all day shoving tons of granite up a slope all day. As the bard has it, “it’s the rich wot gets the pleasure, and the poor wot gets the pain.”

     Please, give me a little indulgence fair reader of a time when at least you knew where you stood, even if that meant with both feet in raw sewage, dying of typhus. Look at use now; gone is the age of Oak, of Iron, the MFI age is our day. Can you imagine the Swedish selling wood to us, for cripes sake.

     Let me end today’s entry with a few places to visit to recapture that certain style.

Hey Ho. It’s time I should be winding my collection of crystal chronometers.

Don’t you know what day it is?

January 2019
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