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Everything’s going down the tubes

     It all started during the course of a rather baffling conversation about the dark art of the lawnmower. Dr. Brunel was, of course, the interlocutor in question. Pork pies aside, he was explaining the invention of the Telectroscope. The subject was as foreign to me as the contents of Lady Jennifer’s handbag. A mysterious and baffling region, inhabited by dragons and badly mangled coathangers. I listened with interest.

Dr. Brunel grandfather, yesterday

Dr. Brunel grandfather, yesterday

“Of course, as you well know,” he continued. I didn’t; the fiend had the edge on me here. “The Telectroscope was opened last year. I’m surprised that you were not on the VIP list.” image003

His was possibly not pregnant, but certainly had been given a good seeing to. It seems that recently disclosed MI5 documents had revealed that a tunnel had been drilled under the Atlantic Ocean, just after World War I. It seems that it was built so that England could use small pockets of New York as an East of Ealing overspill. The papers were originally leaked by one Paul George, who happened upon a packet of dusty papers in a trunk in his grandmother’s attic. On further inspection he discovered that they had been the property of his great-grandfather, an eccentric Victorian engineer, Alexander Stanhope St George. Paul began to read through the papers and discovered a veritable treasure trove: diaries, diagrams, correspondence, scribbled calculations, and even one or two photographs. At first, Paul felt a detached interest in this first hand account of social and cultural history. But as he read on, he became more and more absorbed, until, with a sudden thrill, he realised that these papers could have a greater significance than was at first apparent. The notebooks were full of intricate drawings and passages of writing describing a strange machine. This device looked like an enormous telescope with a strange bee-hive shaped cowl at one end containing a complex configuration of mirrors and lenses.telecdiagramf

 Alexander seemed to be suggesting that this invention, which he called a Telectroscope, would act as a visual amplifier, allowing people to see through a tunnel of immense length… a tunnel, the drawings implied, stretching from one side of the world to the other. The idea, it seems – this was the real breakthrough – was to employ the “suppression of absence.”

     How I missed out on this peculiar technological innovation, I don’t understand. Surely intercontinental travel should cost mere pennys. Someone’s raking in the loot I’ll be bound. Could it be that as we step onto the plane, jetting off to such dream destinations as the airports of our allies, that they’re secretly drugging our G&Ts, and posting us off down the telectroscope? I’ll get to the bottom of this.


Job Search…


He doesn't seem overly busy to me

     As you may have noticed, I have been rather inactive on the diary front of late. I would not really make a Pepys, I fear. (Still with the Great Plague and the Fire of London he certainly had more material to get his teeth into, to be fair.) All I have is the imminent destruction of life as we know it (again,) the global collapse of the money lending system, and deciding whether I need to register myself with the Ministry of Nosiness if I open the door to accept a copy of the Daily Mail from the teenage member of Mr. K.W. Patel’s news-emporium (logistics division.) In fact, dear reader, I have been busying myself with assisting a colleague of mine, young Stefan, whom, as you may recall, had just failed to enter the Guinness Book of World Records with his nearly tragic attempt to pass through the digestive tract of a Sperm Whale unassisted. His latest project has a little more merit to it. Indeed, he aims to employ himself in the greatest number of jobs during a 365-and-a-little-bit day period. So far he has stocked his library up with the complete selection of the Dummy Series, printed out WikiPedia, and had a long conversation with Dr. Brunel on the merits of an unpainted window-drip. I have, of course, been facilitating his endeavour to become the new Renaissance man. I am not sure where this particular lifestyle choice is leading him, but surely even Leonardo didn’t do his own shredding.

     So far, he has turned his hand to the following activities of gainful employment. Web-Site Design; Antique Dealer; Chimney Sweep; Chef (I wish that I could embellish, however, there is the unfortunate matter of a court case); Legal Secretary (though technically, this was working for himself, and was more of a quick job to keep the restaurateur in question happy); Structural Architect; Brain-Surgeon; Lollipop Man (although illegally, not having time to fill in the appropriate JM453/23 Lollipop Awareness Declaration Form); Lawyer (see Lollipop Man); Suffragette (I’m not sure this counts really, but hid did gain some unwanted publicity) and today he’s off to try his hand as an X-ray engineer. I did give him a stern lecture about the perils of Röntgen-ray, but to no avail. I think he’s using one of those phonebook pads, with a dialing gadget at the front. He obviously doesn’t use it for said purpose, as he hasn’t got any friends. Indeed if you ever ring him up, after exactly 73 rings of the Graham Bell, he screams “I’ll show you who’s a pretty boy,” and slams down the receiver. This happens every time. Apart from 3.05 a.m. once when he played Old Man River with a collection of unreturned milk bottles.


I believe transvestite fire-eating is no longer on the itineray

     I do, in a sense, admire him. Obviously this would have to be an extra sense to the normal five that we are all hopefully equipped. If you are disabled (or differently if you like – say it how you want, unless you’re mute,) then, tough break, (oops,) although I must inform you that I have suffer debilitating random memory access to my short to medium term memory. If I think of anything really important, I have to immediately tell someone, whatever they are doing, so that I can ask them later on when I have a pen handy. It’s very annoying. Oh, and my showlaces never seem to stay done up for long. Obviously the Sixth Sense is taken, something to do with seeing ghosts. I am probably using the Seventh Sense. I think that we’re safe there. Bergman had the Seals, but I don’t recall a Sense. Well, getting to the point, if there ever was one. Which makes me think of Jesus turning water into wine. He wouldn’t even get his one cathode-ray show these days. If he’d materialised a HD-Ready widescreen TV with hot dutch action, he’d have got a bit more interest in my book. Wine? You couldn’t move for wine in those days – it was virtually the only thing you could get to cause your brain to malfunction. Anyway, I think it’s a pretty good idea to sample as many jobs as possible; at least you might perchance upon one that you like. Anyway I must go now, I’m reading up on The AntiPope for Dummies.


The march of time

     I was enjoying the traditional delights of an English summertime, the other day. I believe “topping up the tan” is the parlance. After I had felt that I had received my optimum melanin level, I bade Mr & Mrs Loompah a fond farewell & vacated the Oranj-o-Tinge, that being the name of my local U.V. emporium. With a slight spring in my step, veins pumping with vitamins of the D variety, my eardrums were assaulted with the tuneless tinkling associated with one of the village’s Crème glacée vendors. The clunky Oranges and Lemons revealed the wagon to belong to Mr. Softee. Had the tones of Yankee Doodle Dandy filled my pinna, it would have signalled his Nemesis, Mr. Whippy. For many a year now, the interlocutors have been circling the square in their Pied-Piperesque sirening of the youth of the parish.

     If you have any other tunes of the cream of ice wagon, that fill your far flung end of the empire, or indeed, could suggest some appropriate humorous tunes please feel free to let me know.
     This moment, with the smell of vanilla mingling with the odour of freshly cut grass, I had a brief Proustesque moment, as I wondered how these tunes had evolved over the years. On the one hand Oranges & Lemons suggests the citrus delights of the summer; whilst Yankee Doodle Dandy reminds me of macaroni cheese. However, this brief reverie was quickly curtailed as my left plate of meat sank into a freshly laid conclusion of a local canine’s digestive tract. Curse Mr. Darbyshire and his uncouth hound – I shall see him on the Heath at some dawn in the not too distant future.

     Still with thoughts of evolution foremost in my mind, I began to muse upon the career of Mr.C.Darwin. Of course, he had an eccentric ancestor’s blood coursing through his Victorian veins. I am, of course, referring to his erstwhile grandfather Erasmus. A curious fish was Mr. Darwin senior, a scientific gentleman, who had the peculiar habit of composing his theories in verse!

“ The Giant-power from earth’s remotest caves

Lifts with strong arm her dark reluctant waves;

Each cavern’d rock and hidden den explores,

Drags her dark coals, and digs her shining ores.

Next, in close cells of ribbed oak confined,

Gale after gale, he crowds the struggling wind:

The imprison’d storms through brazen nostrils roar,

Fan the white flame, and fuse the sparkling ore.

Here high in air the rising stream he pours

To clay-built cisterns, or to lead-lined towers;

Fresh through a thousand pipes the wave distils,

And thirsty cities drink the exuberant rills.

There the vast mill-stone with inebriate whirl

On trembling floors his forceful fingers twirl,

Whose flinty teeth the golden harvests grind,

Feast without blood! and nourish human-kind.”

     Imagine, our very own Stephen Hawking composing his latest musings, in the manner of the Bard.    

One is not amused

One is not amused

The first meeting between an Orangutang and a Queen of the Empire developed as follows. On meeting Queen Victoria in 1842, Jenny the Orangutang (for that was her name) was reported in the Times of London to have described the monarch in questions as. “frightfully, painfully and disagreeably human.” The very next morning, the Zoo-keeper, Mr. J. Morris, found Jenny’s cage with the bars bent asunder; the cage bare apart from a slightly bruised banana, and a solitary bowler hat. Several astute commentators were later to make a connection between this mystery and the subsequent murders of Mademoiselle L’espanaye and her daughter in the Rue Morgue, Paris, later that year. On this line, I read with some interest, recently, the it is thought that Neanderthal man are now thought to be gingers – and they’re extinct.

The perils of foreign journalism

The perils of foreign journalism

     With this grotesque image, fresh in my mind, I began to think about, down which stream the flow of evolution would take us next. Now that many of us, across the Empire are living in metropolises, overwhelming conurbations of the modern age, bringing with them fear, alienation & schizophrenia. A lump at the rear of the cranium, still yearns for the humble communities of village life (bar Mr. P. McGooghan, obviously.) Now, many of us, with the steam-powered Babbage Engine, are free to create our virtual villages with VisageTome, MyVacuum and the like, of a much more Amish-size. It could, and has been argued, that many of the friends that we invite, into our hermetic villages, are not really friends at all. So, it has always been the case in the pastoral village. Yet, this is a more modern village, with no strict hierarchy and no real laws. How so, I hear you cry, does one gain kudos in such an environment free from the curtailments of property and money. At last, a vehicle for social experimentation is at out fingertips. Of course, many, indeed most merely see it as a forum to express to out community some drab commentary about their squalid little lives. To say that you are doing some paperwork (read Status not Status Quo,) is the pastoral equivalent of saying “Oi am watchin’ moi sheep fer a little bit, todoy.” Some will actually vote on such banalities. This is akin to raising your pitchfork in the village square. This non-verbal communication is even more pitiful. Reader, there is a very real opportunity, to experiment with how you can seize influence in your virtual communities, bereft of heritage and upbringing. I despair.

On a more uplifting note; of late, there is growing evidence that people are prepared to forgo the lures of property and wealth for the personal rewards of status and reputation, in providing their toil for free in such ventures as Wikipedia, Linux Fedora and Digg, to name but a few. Such individuals are prepared for the common “good.” Although, we always have to bear in mind one critique of Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, that such philosophy can lead to the dictatorship of the majority, it is a promising sign of the future of online collaborations.

I was still pondering, the future path of evolution, when I looked down upon my fork. Dear reader, one of the prongs was slightly askew. We still await the principles of evolution to be applied to inanimate objects. What I really need is a Darwin box, in which we can place our imperfect objects, let them incubate for a week, select the “best fit” baby object, then pop it into a time dilator, to save all the pesky hanging around. This theory will need to be developed, but for now, my hedge needs trimming.


Next Week: The New Economic Theory of Noel Edmonds.


On Leaving School

Part of an occasional series of guidance lectures.

     The young man has the distinct advantage in the world of work, as he is necessarily, more mature due to the fact that his brain is significantly larger than his female counterpart. He has plenty of room for remembering important facts, and imperial measurements, which will ,of necessity, require 86% of his impressive cranium. In the real world he faces the challenges of a day occupied with a succession of relatively tedious and uninteresting duties. To the dull boy this will be more grist to the mill, and thus life in the office will be less dangerous for the dullard. An intelligent boy, contra wise, has the burden of curiosity on his back. The intelligent boy can become a danger to himself, and the wise Manager will frequently ensure that he moves from department to department on a regular basis, to guard against this Achilles’ heel. In the final analysis, the best route to success depends on the mental ability of the individual.

     In order, young master, that you can have the most capital adventure in the world of work. First you must determine which of the mental modes best suits your position. There are those so dull as not to know that their work is dull, and they are content with their lot. The dull boy is best suited to life as a Civil Servant, Bank Manager, Bomb Disposal Expert or Minister of Disease. Then there are those of keener understanding, who see that they are engaged upon work that of itself is hopeless and dull, but have not quite enough strength of mind to look beyond, and so they lose hope. This is the sure route to middle management. They know, but see “as in a glass darkly.” The lad of true intelligence, the blight upon any capitalist enterprise, drifts through life in a hopeless haze of pessimism. Often to found pottering around the office muttering “Oh, what is the point” under his breath. On no account young man should you associate such anarchists. Such individuals are easy to spot. They will often start conversations about subjects clearly unassociated with the task in hand. Common examples are the works of Plato; the merits of Spartan society; what your particular philosophy of shoes may be; and more tellingly if you know how to make a bomb. These are clear distraction techniques. They are the type that will sit in instructional lectures, doodling women in bizarre positions, and curiously, hedgehogs on stilts. Only sparingly approach these denizens of the workplace, and even then only to find the solution to a problem.

It's a short, but a merry life at the workhouse

It's a short, but a merry life at the workhouse

     On your first day at work, always ensure that your apparel is immaculate. I strongly suggest Arkwright, double reinforced Geronimo Trousers, a quadruple breasted straight-jacket, Tom Thumb Patent Cork boots, an ultra-marine tortoiseshell shirt and a stovepipe hat. I leave the fine details to your own taste. Do not forget that first impressions count. No one will bother two whits if you turn up for the rest of the year wearing a clown’s outfit, and an extravagant codpiece, from which you dangle a parsnip. You will then be subjected to a tour of your workplace. This is completely ordinary and nothing to worry about, unless of course the tour ends at the fire exit. You will be introduced to almost everyone you meet. Ensure that you shake their hand politely, but not too firmly (this will be remembered and could be the cause of interdepartmental bollock-baiting in the months to come.) On no account attempt to remember anyone’s name. You will never, ever see any of these people again, apart from social occasions (which you will avoid, for fear of extreme jetsam and the dangers of underhanded flotsam- be advised.) The next step in your voyage extraordinaire will be a huge tower of paperwork. This is to ensure that you make no attempt to extract a single penny from your employer. They see you as a way of earning money, and care not a two-penny for you. You will receive training on how to correctly file balloons, blow up elephants without busting a hernia, and holding a pen in the correct, ergonomic fashion, thus reducing any back strain. Again, this is perfectly normal. Following this you will be instructed to endure a six-hour portrait painting, for company files. There is no reason for this, as it will never be referred to. It keeps many a portrait painter in work, so don’t knock it.

Next week: The pros and cons of a Photo reproduction device in the workplace.



Magic Beans My Foot

     Short, balding, millionaire Paul Daniels was today, it was announced on the run from the police, with his son,  Mr. Gary Daniels (Jnr) who was convicted two months ago on the serious charge of stealing Unitab stocks from Accrington Stanley Football Club. He was also serving time on a secondary charge of running an inflatable rabbit farm in Holmfirth, for the purpose of supplying evil Paul Daniels with rabbits that would mysteriously disappear inside his magic top hat. The rabbits would then be inflated using a hidden gas canister sewn into the brim of the hat, to give the impression that they had magically reappeared. He was also dealing with the trading of human legs. Mrs. Daniels’ wife, Debbie McGee, revealed exclusively to The Daily Strumpet that the legs were used on a nightly basis to restore the legs that Paul would cut off as part of his magic act. To make matters worse, a raid of Mr. G. Daniels’ magic shop in Wigan, revealed that he had been selling cannabis and magic beans. The Governor of Slade Prison, Mad Frankie Fraser, in a press conference revealed the evil truth behind the Daniels family. Paul Daniels had suggested to Mr. Fraser that he perform an impromptu Magic Night at Slade Prison G2 Wing (crimes against the Magic Circle.) At the end of the evening Mr. Daniels asked for a volunteer to enter his magical cabinet. At this point, Paul and Gary slipped into the cabinet, and disappeared from the prison. The problems that can be caused by malignant magicians in our communities, cannot be exaggerated. Take for example the case of Jack Vs The Giant (Edwards Vs Trouserfog, 1843.) The resulting damage to the economy of a 12 ton gold egg took nearly a decade to smooth out. UniTab is not the same as Magic Beans – be warned, delicate reader.

An Artist Impression of Mr. Daniels (Snr)

An Artist Impression of Mr. Daniels (Snr)

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