Saturday, February 16, 2008

Animal Angels

I have nothing to say and perhaps this is a good sign, meaning that poetry boot camp is taking my words where they need to go and I have been steadfastly turning up at the page. On the other hand, perhaps I just have nothing to say. I have often said this, but a good thing is worth repeating more than once: having nothing to say is never a reason not to get down and do the writing thing. Discover yourself in the act. Of course if one has an essay to write, then having nothing to say is a problem. But creative (imaginative) writing is not the same thing. A blog doesn’t necessarily fall into either camp. A blog is anything it wants to be – a place, for example, where you turn up and announce (to anyone who may be remotely interested) that you have nothing to say. But:

I have been thinking about animals, having watched a short video here today (thank you, Mr. P.E.). I have been remembering that there was a time when I didn’t think about them at all, they were not in my consciousness. I had a budgie called Benjy once, very boring, and then it died. I had a hamster called Hammy, also boring and then it either died or escaped one day when the cage was being cleaned and never came back, I can’t remember – that’s how much I cared. One day when I lived in a bedsit a tabby cat with a scrappy bit of ribbon around its neck walked in through the window and adopted me. I fed it and it stayed. When I moved it went bush and never came back. Someone gave me a kitten. It was all grey, tiny and too young to have left its mother. It piddled and miaowed and was lonely all day when I was out at work. Wee timorous beastie, I couldn’t care for it so I found people with children and a garden who could.

If someone had told me that animals have hearts and souls and will, if we allow, teach us things about truth, innocence, beauty and love I would have called them sentimental. Then I got a cat and did the thing properly. Coming into relationship with this one animal being has changed my relationship to all animals. It manifests only in the way I feel about them – that they are precious and that “if all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast happens to the man” (Chief Seattle).

And here is a poem from Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell, addressed to an otter that he loved.

"Thank you, my friendly daemon, close to me as my shadow

For the mealy buttercup days in the ancient meadow,
For the days of my 'teens, the sluice of hearing and seeing,
The days of topspin drives and physical well-being.

Thank you, my friend, shorter by a head, more placid
Than me your protégé whose ways are not so lucid,
My animal angel sure of touch and humour
With face still tanned from some primeval summer.

Thanks for your sensual poise, your gay assurance,
Who skating on the lovely wafers of appearance
Have held my hand, put vetoes upon my reason,
Sent me to look for berries in the proper season.

Some day you will leave me or, at best, less often
I shall sense your presence when eyes and nostrils open,
Less often find your burgling fingers ready
To pick the locks when mine are too unsteady.

Thank you for the times of contact, for the glamour
Of pleasure sold by the clock and under the hammer,
Thank you for bidding for me, for breaking the cordon
Of spies and sentries round the unravished garden.

And thank you for the abandon of your giving,
For seeing in the dark, for making this life worth living."


Mellifluous Dark said...

I have nothing to say – except: that is beautiful. It reminds me of my cat, he who was my friend for 13 years and who needed to be put to sleep, riddled with cancer. At 20, I was torn, felt ripped apart by that. Still makes me cry.

Reading the Signs said...

Mellifluous, re "he who was my friend" - it feels like a privilege now to be able to count an animal as friend. The thing about cats also is that they don't tend to have friends other than the humans they live with. I can understand how you would miss yours.

Unknown said...

The most common 'familiar' for a witch. I have never been long without a cat in my life and Owen, my current companion, is a true son of Bast. Snooty, stubborn, independent and adorable. When a cat loves you, you are truly loved.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put, Signs. For someone with nothing to say, you say it all too well. I've just about given up trying to articulate what my dog means to me. It feels like a hopeless endeavour, really. It's enough, though, to know that other people clearly feel the same way about their own animals and, by extension, all the other animal guys both around and with us.

You're right, there is a severe risk of becoming cloyingly sentimental about these things and forcing the fingers of startled onlookers down their involuntarily retching throats, but I still feel no shame whatsoever in saying that I love my dog. And I mean proper, deep, all-encompassing love. But there you go.

I find myself judging people, somewhat, by the way in which they treat or greet animals. Hardly fair, I know, but I do feel it says rather a lot.

The Gavin Maxwell poem was also very enjoyable, thanks.

Kind regards from Ireland (and Emma, too, obv).....


Reading the Signs said...

Hi Minx - I wonder why cats are the most common 'familiar' rather than, say, dogs. I know an accupuncturist who won't give treatments without his two cats in the room. He says they are his assistants.

Thanks TPE, I have to say I'm still equivocal in the way I greet a dog - because I don't yet understand their ways like I do cats, though I would like to and wish to have one at some point.

Greetings to you and Emma, who has a wonderful screen presence.

Anonymous said...

Damn straight, Signs. She does have screen presence, doesn't she? This is what I'm talking about. I'm thinking she could pull off Hamlet, you know, or, at the very least, a non-speaking yet strangely charismatic "townsperson" in a Nativity play. I think I may get her started on Shakespeare, though. My new project. (Thanks, I needed some inspiration.)

Well, I have no objection to people being unsure of dogs (or any other animals), and I have no objection if they don't even really care for them. No. What I don't like, however, is when this translates itself into cruelty and/or an utter disregard and seeming obliviousness towards the emotional well being of animals. This has always struck me as revealing.

I'm trying to be brief, but I hope that makes sense.



Reading the Signs said...

TPE, I think she could do Nativity Play straight off, with no coaching at all, and possibly even Hamlet too - she's a natural. Also, now that there are all-female productions it is perhaps time to consider the all-canine version. She wouldn't have to speak (she's a dog, I mean to say), there could be a voiceover, she would just need to look very, very expressive - as she does, really.

I don't think my cat would be any good at acting. The problem is that she's, well, a cat - doesn't take direction easily.

Yes to the other thing you said. And, it is a strange thing (or perhaps not) - my cat recognises at once those who are 'animal people' and those who aren't. If so, she will come and talk, present her posterior and generally show off. If not, she won't come close. It occurs to me that I should consult her more often about people in general, and who is or isn't to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Yay. Now you're talking. Definitely consult your cat on these matters, Signs. Maybe share your findings, actually, because my dog (like most dogs) is wildly indiscriminate when it comes to approaching people. Toddlers, bakers, rapists, army guys, dentists, mormons, shoplifters.....the list goes on. Everyone is fair game for friendship. (The number of bakers and toddlers I've had to take home to keep her happy. Sheesh.)

Cats are deffo different, though. I suppose they might be viewed as snootily aloof and unloving, but I've never really found this to be the case. Snootily aloof and very loving - given the right connection - seems more accurate to me. I think they maybe view dogs with a kind of tired contempt, though, no?

I share your concern, by the way. Never try to make a cat do Shakespeare - or anything, really. Although this music video shows that cats certainly have the ability to act, and so it becomes merely a question of desire. But we knew that already.

Okay, I'm off to coach Emma the basics. Expect dramatic results.

Theatrical hugs to you and your cat etc....


Unknown said...

It is said that when cats were made they had a little darkness added so they have one foot in the Otherworld. Owen usually has one foot in his food bowl!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Signs, TPE (you'll pardon me if I don't come up with anagrams here - it is so time-consuming I prefer to leave it at my house). I just need to take part in the conversation about the acting skills of animals. Sadly, this does require that I spam the thread with not just one load of my nonsense but two - because I'm offering you the unique chance of doing a comparative study of andram (animal dramatics - geddit, geddit?) Shakespeare.

Let us first look at cats...

Anonymous said...

...and then at dogs.

(Incidentally, hello to Ms Dark - how are you, London girl? Okay I hope - and howdoyoudo to Ms Minx - I don't believe we've been introduced but I'm not as mad as all that, and you seem like an intelligent person. Pleased to meet you etc).

Initially, I felt the dog did a better job (considering his much smaller budget, lack of costumes, set, etc), but now I'm swithering. What thinkest ye, gentle Signs, good TPE?

Reading the Signs said...

Ah that's clear, Minx, and speaking from experience, a little darkness added is good for most things.

TPE, my cat doesn't view dogs at all - if one comes anywhere near she's off. She's a bit of a scaredy cat, truth to tell, not very good at fighting her ground. I think you've got a point there about the acting, though: she just can't be arsed is the thing. That cat video was quite a revelation (the night club!). They were all kittens, though, and I think the mistake I made was not putting her on stage when she was still a kid. She could have earned a bit of money, kept me in my old age.

Anna - (to anyone looking in may I present Ms Future of My Past) I am off out and must look again and bethink me. You have put the cat among the pidgeons, and no mistake, this is going to be hard and one of them is going to hear the dreaded words: don't call us, we'll call you. Just saying.

Kahless said...

I have nothing to say either, except that.
Oh and hi!

Reading the Signs said...

It is a difficult choice, Hamlet Once and Twice. The cats really deserve my vote because of the cleverness of the slick production. But the dog has heart - you can see it in the eyes. He really feels the words. And he has an English accent (well, John Gielgud has) and I'm afraid that swings it for me.

My cat wasn't impressed with either. She lay on the top step with paw laconically draped over the edge, sleeping. Sometimes I fear she may be a bit of a philistine.

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless? Hi back atcha :)

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you, Signs. The dog clearly feels his words, whereas the cats - for all their high quality production values - don't seem to be taking things entirely seriously.

They never transcend the fact that they have merely had their heads stuck disjointedly onto costumes - it's not them, you know, beneath the neck - and this seems to affect their performance. Stripped of gimmickry, however, and standing alone, the dog delivers a deeply satisfying and richly textured monologue.

You may very well say that some John Gielgud or other lay behind his words, but I'm happily convinced that the dog actually delivered these lines himself. The voice is his.

Anna MR of Helsinki and Igloos - the dog wins. Next. (This is easy.)

Ms Melancholy said...

I read this lovely post with Stray sitting beside me and Ruby, her ever so cute Boxer, snuggled in for cuddles after a long day's walking. Dogs and cats share with us a limbic system, which means they actually do connect with us emotionally. This isn't just human sentimentality. Ruby is particularly good at this. She knows when she wants cuddles, and, more importantly, she seems to know when Stray wants cuddles. Their ability to resonate limbically with us is almost certainly the reason why dog and cat owners recover more quickly from major operations and illnesses. We don't really need therapy. We just need an animal to love.

Lovely post Ms Signs, as always.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna is swithering, TPE - a bit of a Scottish thing for a Finlander to be doing, but there it is.

I saw a dog who could say "sausages" on the Esther Rantzen show - but the tones were not as modulated as this dog's.

Anonymous said...

Was it this one, Signs?

(PS and NB my word ver is agsbcpaw. Yes, paw. Now if only someone could move my jaw in the right way as I say that, I'm sure a lot of important secrets would be forever revealed.)

Reading the Signs said...

Ms Melancholy and Stray, lovely to see you both - and Ruby too. I hope you have enjoyed the performance of the Hamlet soliloquy as performed by a dog (click on Hamlet Twice comment).

"We don't really need therapy" should be said under your breath Ms M.

Reading the Signs said...

Lawks, Princeling, you crept in and nearly bumped into me there. No, that wasn't the one. The sausages dog said it completely unaided. It must be said, though, that sausages was all he could say.

The word ver leprechauns have it, Anna. If we knew how to read them aright our paths would be made clear.

Anonymous said...

I remember the "sausages" dog, Signs. My parents used to watch That's Life (I think this is what the show was called?) and we were allowed to watch it as a "treat". The dog saying "sausages" was v. funny in a desolate kind of way.

I didn't like the guy with squint eyes, though.

Anyway, be that as it may, I'm glad we seem to have reached some sort of agreement here. The Shakespearean dog that Anna MR supplied is a clear winner (to date, dare I say).

Plus, I think it's best if we all have pets and therapy. Why take a chance?

Anonymous said...

I think of every post that you write as a favorite university class.

I am suddenly 20 years old, on the cusp of great understanding, and I am settling into room 203. I put my books down, take out my notebook and pen and listen to the most marvelous professor talk about writing and life and animals. I put my pen down because there is no way to capture what I am hearing. I just listen. And listen some more.

Reading the Signs said...

TPE, there was something desolate about the sausages thing - but That's Life, I suppose.

Hello Witnessing - you are most welcome to room 203 in the University of Signs where there is no set agenda and the course convenor has lost all the notes and forgotten what what it was she was supposed to be talking about. You get a gold star just for turning up.

Mellifluous Dark said...

Signs, it is a privilege, you are right. When my pet, a small, sweet rabbit, comes up to me to smell my hand or to have her head stroked, I melt. Something happens to my insides.

Thinking about my childhood (and teenagehood) cat made me reflect all day, so profound was the impact of that beloved creation on me.

How anyone could do anything to an animal that would make the creature cower (for instance a rescue dog or cat that needs a new home thanks to some lowlife crossing their path) makes me shudder with horror.

Greetings Anna and TPE, strangers not. I have been lurking, lurking, having lost passwords and the like on the photo thing. I hope you are hale and hearty, friends.

Mellifluous Dark said...

PS: Signs – I was talking about you while I was at dinner today. You are an amazing writer.

Anonymous said...

She is an amazing writer, isn't she, Mellifluous Dark? I get a good feeling from her writing (just like I do from the writing of Mr Witnessing up there, in fact). Anyway, don't tell her or she's liable to start gloat-boasting (a variant of show-boating). It's true.

I'm with you, by the way. I simply cannot fathom the mindset which allows people to treat pets/animals with cruelty. It baffles me entirely.

I'm swithering, however, on whether I feel it to be a "privilege" when I come into contact (harmoniously) with various animals. I am a devoted fan of the silent communications that can pass between human animals and other animals, don't get me wrong, but I feel myself holding back from using that word. Weird.

Anyway, it's very lovely to see you up and about again, MD. Sort out your password issues, though, or things could turn ugly.

Signs - hello. Your "That's Life" gag was shockingly poor. Incidentally, I found the sausages dog on Youtube, but he seems to say far more than just this one word. That's not how I remember things at all - and nor, it seems, do you. Anyhoo, I far prefer the memory (however bleak) of a dog that said only the one word, so I'm leaving the clip at home. You'll thank me for it one day.

Mellifluous Dark said...

Yes, indeed Signs and the wonderful Witnessing are masters of the art, TPE. I love the fact that so many bloggers are proper writers (and I'm not talking about published status here). But they are writers who have a gift to touch us disembodied lot. Fabulous.

I guess I'd use the word privilege in terms of the trust some animals afford (some) humans. M, my houserabbit, for instance, is a wild creature, filled with instinct that made her run and hide when she was a kitten. Now, she will sit on the sofa, stretched out, or stand up on her hind legs to beg for bits of apple. And, when it is cold, she sleeps by my feet when I am working. When she is scared, she runs to us for protection. Utterly sweet. The crazy rabbit we had to re-home, Albert, was a different character and didn't forge any such bond.

I fear I am locked out of the photo world. The permutations I have tried don't work. I may have to start again as I have a million photos to sort out... What's that music accompanying Emma, BTW? Gorgeous (dog and music).

Reading the Signs said...

At last, Mellifluous, I have achieved Fame - to be talked about by you in glowing terms at dinner feels special. Breakfast would be good too, but there is something about dinner that lends added shine. I feel almost tempted to gloat-boast, but am holding back in case TPE is watching.

Re. Privilege - perhaps 'honoured' might also be the word? D.H. Lawrence uses it in his Snake poem. It is something to do with being given the possibility of encountering the otherness of the animal being, and the fact of their receiving hospitality from me.

TPE, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, I think our memory is the correct version. The dog just said "sausages", and that's that. If the erstwhile That's Life team want to argue with us, so be it.

Anna - if you are looking in, get a load of this:
Post-viral pudding? Shocking sense of humour the WVLs have sometimes.

Anonymous said...

That's what I'm saying, Signs. Those That's Life guys are just sore losers, is all. We're right, they know it, and yet they simply can't face the truth. I'll take the squinty-eyed septuagenarian guy if it comes to a fight. You can take out Rantzen and the rest of the (able-bodied) team. Go go go.

"Honoured"? Hmm. It's a softer word than "privileged", certainly, and yet it still doesn't feel quite right for me, personally. I should have made clear to Mellifluous (and yourself) that I wasn't trying to say that there was anything wrong in feeling this, or that there is a correct response at all, in fact, merely that it doesn't sit easily with me.

I was about to agree wholeheartedly, as well, with how it could feel like a privilege, but then, when I actually started thinking about it, I felt less sure. I don't have any alternatives to offer, unfortunately, so I'll maybe just shut my cake-hole. (Out of interest, though, do you feel that animals should feel privileged/honoured - if they are able to feel such things - to be allowed a glimpse of gentle human contact/hospitality. If not, why not? Mainly, though, let's just do us some good and take out Rantzen and her fellow sausage-deniers.)

Mellifluous of Darkness - hello again. See above, please, for some clarification of my position in The Great War of Privilege.

The music is beautiful, isn't it? Mozart cobbled it together whilst all but dead, apparently. It's called Ave Verum Corpus and is one of my favourite pieces of music. Listen to it over and over again, in a trance, until your partner threatens to have you sectioned. That would be my advise.

I agree with everything you say about (certain) bloggy people. Periodically, it seems, bloggers must endure the sneering of those from the mainstream media and the blogless hordes. I feel sure enough of my own judgment to know good writing when I see it, however, and there is not a whole heap that anyone else can do about that. The nature of the vindictively bitter attacks are often fairly revealing. We're doing fine, thanks.

Deffo start again with the Flickr photo thing, MD. I'm stuck with people like Signs, otherwise.

Reading the Signs said...

Yes, MD, sort out the Flickr and persuade him to stop with the dark glasses already.

TPE, animals should not feel anything in the way of privilege, having no consciousness of selfhood in any case (like small infants) - and possessing, in consequence, a purity which we humans lost in the Garden. When I offered you the apple, remember? But let that pass, it was the snake's fault.

And now you have made me question: is it or is it not the right word? (Is this what it's like to be you, TPE? Respect!) Well, to be accurate, the feeling I have is one of gratitude that I am able to share a life with this creature. Sometimes she looks at me with eyes that are just like E.T. I see into her animal soul - there is intelligence there, not less than ours but different. How can there be intelligence in a creature that has no sense of self, I hear you expostulate (expostulate?) - and I have no answer.

I do not want to take Esther out, TPE, and I can't for the life of me remember what the others looked like.

Mellifluous, I like the reference to "us disembodied lot". We are as the spirits here, are we not? Some of us nearer to the angels than others, which is as is should be.

Reading the Signs said...

re. Mr. Witnessing - he's just done a writing meme. I like.

Anonymous said...

Ah, gratitude, yes. Bless you, Signs, that feels a lot more like it. It may seem pedantic, I suppose, but I imagine that a new word would have to be invented to adequately express the complex set of emotions at play in the human beings/animal dynamic - but "gratitude" feels close enough to satisfy (for the time being.....)

Incidentally, I meant the question as a hypothetical, but managed to bugger up the phrasing, somehow. And the question, I suppose, would still stand:IF animals were capable of feeling such things, should they then feel privileged/honoured/a sense of gratitude etc? If not, why not? I wasn't meaning to say that they could, in fact, feel such emotions.

Then again, the certainty of (one part of) your response threw me into another tizzy. How exactly do you know that animals have "no consciousness of selfhood", Signs? Who told you this? Why do you believe them? Are you happy that the last word has been spoken on the subject and that further understanding of what animals may or may not feel is beyond us?

I just don't know about that and have no trouble reminding myself that, according to the brains of the day, the earth was once flat. So for me, at least, the jury is still out (although when I started this response I was firmly in your camp - wtf? I'm falling apart here.)

Plus, just as a by the by, I am happily convinced that I have seen a fair number of dogs feeling acute embarrassment and shame which, at the very least, suggests a tiny sense of self-awareness.

I like the careful distinction you make, however, between human intelligence and animal intelligence. Not less, just different. Like I say, bless you, Signs.

Only good things to you...


PS. The apple was delish, thanks. I was eventually going to eat it anyway, you know, so don't be beating up on yourself, y'hear? I just feel kind of stupid that I didn't find it first.

Mellifluous Dark said...

I will attempt to repair my picture presence, Signs and TPE. I'll try. I'll try! The music is divine - thanks.

I happened upon a photo of my beloved cat, he who was my faithful friend. I can't upload it to blogger as it comes out sideways. (How do I correct that?!)

Anyway, yes, he certainly used to go off, head down, when he'd been admonished for doing something naughty. He didn't like being told off (it didn't happen often and all it entailed was a raised voice). And if he felt he had been told off for no good reason, he'd look at you – really *look* at you – and make you feel like a mouse. He was dignified and highly intelligent.

When my family went for a long holiday, he was in the charge of our neighbours. He pined, then they gave him some medication we'd left for him (guessing his sensibilities) and he perked up a bit. When I stepped out of the back door into the garden and called him, he appeared within second, miaowing and purring loudly. He leapt into my arms and stayed by my side for days. He was wonderful. Just absolutely wonderful.

Reading the Signs said...

From my observation, TPE, I think dogs would feel gratitude, but a simpler kind than the human feels because without the self-awareness that comes with adult human consciousness (yes, because otherwise they wouldn't poo or mate in public). I think our gratitude is in part due to something of the heart forces (yes, Steiner boy) being released in us that liberates from the constrictions that come with human package. Especially for cerebral types, this must be so. Do dogs feel shame? They know when they have displeased their owners, but that's something different.

Cats, on the other hand, (and hello to you too, Mel D, are not grateful, it just doesn't belong to their being. They accept what is given, sometimes with relish and deep appreciation, but as their due. Yes, but they do have a sense of pride - that makes them wash themselves with great intent, as distraction, after having done something uncharacteristically clumsy.

Caligula made his horse a consul. He was quite bonkers (Caligula, not the horse), but perhaps there was more to this than we know.

(it is gentlemanly of you, TPE, not to have made a big thing about, you know, the little slip of the finger. I will be having words with Anna, though, for shopping me).

Anonymous said...

No, it is beyond gentlemanly of me, Signs. It is saintly. (I've backed myself into a corner, though, having previously told you that I never mocked other people's typos. Why would I say such a thing? Why?)

Hello to you, too, Mellifluous - I can only really suggest that you upload the picture to Flickr, where it is easy to correct wonky photos, and then link the picture to your blog from there. Get a new Flickrdom already, for pity's sake. Or, if you want a temporary home for it, then I'll happily host the picture on a private setting (in Flickr) and give you the necessary code so that you can display the pic on your blog. (Your cat sounds like he was lovely, by the way, and you seem to have enjoyed a good relationship with him.)

Anyway. Agreed. Dogs know when they have displeased their owners and this is something entirely different from showing embarrassment/shame as we humans understand it.

However, personally speaking, I wasn't talking about that. I was remembering examples of dogs showing extreme squirminess and embarrassment having done something stupid or unseemly - too many examples to list, I'm afraid, but on some occasions the dogs didn't even know they were being watched - and so it clearly wasn't a question of having incurred the wrath of their owners.

And wait. Dogs deffo poo and mate in public - I think we are all agreed on this - but does this show a lack of self-awareness or development? Maybe, just maybe, dogs are so far advanced that they realise that neither act in itself (sex or defecation) is intrinsically embarrassing or wrong. Freed from an often pious and always restrictive set of social codes, the advanced canine is simply comfortable being entirely natural. This is the ultimate, surely, in self-awareness? Liberation from the human package you mention (Signs), certainly.

Still, I'm not sure that I would want to see people relieve themselves in public. Sex outside is lovely, though.

I've tried to keep this brief, Signs, but kind of failed. Sorry about that.. This is a ruthlessly edited version of my initial response, you know.

Caligula had some issues, yes.

Reading the Signs said...

TPE, oh no, do not ruthlessly edit, for one enjoys the essential TPEness of the long comments. Did you know, btw, that there was a play writ based on all the blog correspondences between a group of peeps - apparently very successful last year at Edinburgh festival, can't think how I missed it. Anyway, just saying, you know. We could be famous. Probably already are.

Sex outside might be lovely, but privacy still essential for most humans - whereas dogs don't give a damn who sees.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh please don't read this the wrong way. And fame, you know, never my thing anyway, or I'd have had it by now. Believe me, sir, your friend most fatiguee and brain-fried,

Anonymous said...

Evening, McSigns. Don't worry about a thing - I never read things the wrong way. Take your last two comments, for example. You may fondly believe that you've said what you've said, but my unique filtering process means that I only ever see what I want to see (a little bit like David Irving examining historical documents, in fact.) Watch:

TPE, oh...ruthlessly one enjoys the essential TPE....of the I missed it. Anyway, just saying, you know. We could be.....outside, might be lovely. Don't give a damn who sees.

Oh please. thing. Believe me, sir.

So you see, Signs, this is why I never get into fights in Blogoslavia - everything tastes so sweet and everyone seems to totally want me. Bliss.

That aside, I'm deffo going to need to know more about this play based on blog exchanges. It makes me feel like mentioning Proust and Plato and Socrates and a whole host of smart guys, because I'm not wanting to look stupid on stage.

We're going to need to clean up our act, Signs. Can you imagine the shame of being portrayed on stage as a revisionist historian or as someone who talks about dog poo? Or both?

Right, I'm off to the library to brush up on clever. You should maybe slip into something silk and dangerous. Just, you know, saying.

Reading the Signs said...

You're right, of course, McTPE, and a film noirish image feels strangely appropriate. Funnily enough, I was just about to make the "is that a gun in your pocket" quip. The revisionist thing is good and I think I'm going to borrow it, if you don't mind. Actually, this is at the heart of all the positive thinking-type self-help therapies. As I experience, so it is. I've said before and will say again that you could be a guru and make loads of dosh.

But don't worry about clever. The Byronic mad, bad and dangerous image will be more of a crowd-puller. We are talking bums on seats, TPE, lets make money.

Damn, I wish I could locate that play. Seriously, it was basically a transcript of three bloggers' conversations - and the actors might even have been the bloggers themselves. I wore silk today - well, my crushed silk-effect 80s shell suit trousers. Not dangerous enough, perhaps, but the real thing needs no adornment. It just shines, is what I find, you know - just saying.

Anonymous said...

(The Periodic Englishman enters, perfectly toned, fully conversant in five languages. In his left back trouser pocket a battered copy of Plato's Republic can be seen peeking out; in his right back pocket we see Aristotle and the Nicomachean Ethics. In his left hand he holds the receipt to the world-record charitable donation he just made to an African village, whilst in his right hand he holds a Spanish classical guitar. He is upright, striding purposefully and gracefully, listening - as if lost in the beauty - to Allegri's Miserere on his ipod (smallest, sleekest version). He is clearly thinking about clever things and remains oblivious to the cheering that accompanies his every step. Noticing Signs, a womanly environmentalist-cum-poet, he stops to engage her in elevated conversation.....)

Anonymous said...

Good morrow, Signs, and au contraire - silky shell suit trousers seem perfectly dangerous to me (in a hoodie, fighting on Fridays and shoplifting on Saturdays kind of a way.) I'm impressed.

Anyway, I'm hopeful that my scene-setting introduction up there will keep the theatre guys busy and buy us some time to clean up your act. There is much work to be done.

In this lesson we'll look at the line "is that a gun in your pocket?" and the advisability (or otherwise) of placing smutty innuendo in blog conversations (as we aim to be accepted and cherished by the theatre crowd - with a view to making some hard cash, obv.)

It's true, you didn't actually deliver the line, Signs, but you were about to. Had you done so, then there are still, in fact, a few good options left open to us as we try to lure the smart set into our world. We could have gone for a strait-laced, deadpan dialogue, for example:

Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?
TPE: No, it's an erection. I'm actually firmly opposed to gun-ownership in the community at large, you know, believing it to needlessly heighten the risk of rampaging tragedies and fatal mistakes.
Signs: I see. Broadly speaking, TPE, I share your outlook. It's curious how so many Americans seem to wilfully misread their own constitution and claim they have a right, as private citizens, to bear arms, isn't it?
TPE: It is, yes.

In this post-modern, post-ironic, past-caring world, Signs, people enjoy a bit of hardcore philosophical enquiry with their smut. It makes them feel clever and in on the joke. This is essential if we are to bag the guys who laugh loudest at Shakespeare's funnies, for example. They need people to know that they "get it". We can utilise these insecurities to our advantage, you know.

Or, we could have gone for the answer-a-question-with-a-question form of dialogue. This is a real favourite amongst sharp-witted folk and, personally speaking, I have no problem imagining us up on stage, free-wheeling, ad-libbing, basking in the roars of laughter:

Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?
TPE: Does it look like a gun?
Signs: Should it look like a gun?
TPE: Does it matter what it looks like?
Signs: Do you want it to matter?

You get the picture, Signs. This fast-paced and ding-dongy approach to conversation would see us hailed as great wits. Plus, it can be made to last for a very long time (value for money).

Here are some other styles worthy of our consideration. First up, the spare, bleak, unsettling style favoured by guys wearing black polo-necks and round reading-glasses:

Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?
TPE: Yes.
Signs: Fuck.

This would get the black coffee and Gauloises crowd on board. It is stark, Signs, and it immediately negates the inherent humour of your question and introduces elements of fear and violent confusion. I imagine a German director, say, or an overly pretentious Swede, making terrific use of our shockingly spare dialogue. Or there's this, for the stoners found on campus in American colleges (there's a huge profit to be made from these guys):

Signs: Um, is that, like, you know, a gun in your pocket, dude?
TPE: I'm like, sort of, I mean, wow, why would you even ask such a thing, dudette? It's so not a big deal, sister. Chill it, man.
Signs: Um, yeah, but I'm like thinking you know that what if it kind of went off totally by mistake and I'm sort of going oh my god dude you're all bleeding on the carpet and you're sort of like phone an ambulance dudette and I'm kind of like whatever.
Signs: LOL
TPE: But yeah, it is a gun, though.
Signs: LOL

God alive, I need to shut up. You did say, however, that you didn't mind longer "comments". Deary me. Anyway, I see that you're suffering from insomnia at the moment. Good-o. This should give you something to read as you sit despairingly in the dark. I've got insomnia, as well. It's periodic. Don't worry, lovely Signs, it'll pass soon. And I'm sure yours will, too.

Your wide-awake guru and stallion,


Reading the Signs said...

TPE, this is absurdist theatre of the highest order, and if there were any shadow of doubt about your all-round intellectual clout and artistic sensibility, then this would put the boot in. For clearly you are one helluva classy and highbrow bloggeur extraordinaire, perfectly complemented, if I may say so, by moi, femme fatale and bloggiste dangereuse in shellsuit (what are you wearing, btw?). But. This is too postmodern. Reality, as we know, is open to multifarious interpretations, and goodness knows there are, at this very moment in parallel universes, any number of TPEs and Signses having this very conversation. And what is reality anyway? is the question that your absurdist stance is positing (nice verb, underused in my opinion). But in this fractured and fragmented age we need something that touches on soul - not irony and pastiche, but questions touching on the who, where, what and how of existence - prophetic insight. In other words, TPE, it is up to us to save the world, something you probably already know.

And the other thing is, just jumping ahead a bit - who do you want to play you in the film of Blogoslavia? I am toying with the idea of Suzi Quatro, even though she is a bit older than me and wears a lot of leather.

I am glad to be reminded that the insomnia is periodic. It does seem to be so. I suppose someone has to do it - keeping the night watch. When all is said and done, it isn't easy saving the world, but try not to get worried, try not to turn on to problems that upset you, etc., as we have sung before. It was good enough for one cool dude of a guru, so may be for you too, Mr. Stallion.

Anonymous said...

We have sung that song before, haven't we? Goodness me, Signs, we are starting to develop a history together. Anyway.....

I've always had psychic abilities. I don't want to sound like a crazy person, because I'm not; I'm very grounded. But I know I have a gift. I use it strictly in private. (Suzi Quatro)

What were the chances? She is perfect for you, Signs. Perfect. And don't worry, wearing a lot of leather will seem positively Amish when you see some of the clobber I've got lined up for you/her. I'm not saying that I want Blogoslavia! to descend towards degeneracy and farce, I'm just saying that it might. We must guard against this, theoretically.

I share your concerns, you see. This needs to be something that transcends the knowingly ironic sneer-fests that so litter our artistic and conceptual horizons. And yet, as you will know, absurdism - due to it's very malleable essence - can very quickly turn itself into something quite touching, whilst maintaining a hint of, well, absurdity. A final appearance, then, for the line that formed the basis of our first workshop:

Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?
TPE: I don't know, Signs. I think it might be. Nothing seems clear.
Signs: Come on, let's get you down from here and back inside.
There is a long spell of silence as TPE seems to weigh his options, clouds race through the skies, a dog is heard barking in the distance. Falteringly, and at last, he holds his hand out to Signs.
TPE: I'm so very pleased to see you here, you know?
Signs: Yes, I can tell. Come on, let's go.

As with all great works of art, of course, this exchange would make just as terrific a beginning as it would an ending to our film. Film? How did we get off the stage so quickly, Signs? That was fast. I knew we were good, but wow. There is quicker money to be made in this medium, I suppose, and it does lend itself to greater visual impact. We must remain true, however, to our respective callings: the sharing and championing of the transcending power of words and tender language.

The doubts begin to creep in, however. It's not just that you have taken us to Hollywood, Signs, but you are already worrying about costumes and who is going to play you. This, I need hardly add, before we even have the first lines of dialogue written. What sort of a writer would even consider such glitzy, shallow, awesome things before tapping a key on their typewriter?

I've narrowed my targets down to Tim Roth, Alain Delon, Gregory Peck and Emily Watson. Troublingly, some of these people are either dead or, much worse, French. Also, if we are to include the line "is that a gun in your pocket?" - which we may still do, but won't - then, unless it actually is a gun in my pocket, there may be some technical difficulties with Watson.

I feel sure she could do me, right enough - a task I would happily reciprocate, obv - but I do have a feeling I only mentioned her name because I wanted to talk about her for a little while. As directors, Signs, we are allowed these whimsical indulgences. Everyone is scared of us now and nobody dares speak out. Oh, Emily (but only as Jacqueline du Pre), my Emily.....

So that pretty much leaves me with Roth and Delon. There is an issue of Frenchness, of course, which in itself is usually steadfastly insurmountable in any setting (except war), but I do also wonder if Delon still has it in him to generate sexual tension with Quatro. Tim Roth, whilst a bit pasty looking, true, can generate all sorts of stuff.

Then again (and you need to imagine the next words being spoken by that American guy with the super deep voice who seems to trail every single movie out there):

Alain Delon is TPE....torn, troubled and seeking salvation.

Suzi Quatro is Reading The Signs....the nude poet who offers him hope.

When these two meet then one thing is certain....sparks will fly.

BLOGOSLAVIA! Coming soon to a cinema near you.

Although we'll probably need to lose the exclamation mark after the title, come to think of it, because this will just make people think it's a musical. Anyway, the point is, Alain Delon's name suits the rhythm better than that of the two-syllabled Tim Roth. These things matter.

Although maybe not as much as a script.


Anonymous said...

One woman...against the odds.

Her mission, classified.
Her mind, certified.

Emily Watson is Anna MR... the blogonteur with more missive than mind.


Coming soon...
keep watching.

Reading the Signs said...

Well if Emily Watson is going to be you, TPE, then I'm having Johnny Depp to play me. So we'll run that through again:

Johnny/Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?

Emily/TPE: Why, should there be?

Johnny/Signs: With should and ought I have nothing to do, TPE, I am a poet and an intellectual.

Emily/TPE: There may be a gun.

Johnny/Signs: It's good to keep things fluid, everything is possible.

Emily/TPE: In Blogoslavia there are no boundaries.

Johnny/Signs: No? Well there certainly should be.

Emily/TPE: I thought you said you had nothing to do with should and ought.

(A shot rings out).

Both: What was that?

(Faintly, in the distance, comes the sound of the Finnish National Anthem. A dog barks).

Anonymous said...

No, do you know, dear both - I am not ready to give up on the live stage show idea. I know there's not as much money in it - but nothing can beat the tension, the sheer thrill of the actors being there, right there, with their presence, their palpable charisma.

I think we should give it a Pinteresque/Beckettian twist to it. Something like this:

Lights up on ANNA MR, centre stage, naked [always wanted to see if I had the balls to do nude onstage] , buried waist-deep in a pile of sand. She delivers a sparse monologue of great intensity.

Anna MR: What dreams may come.


Long pause.

Enter TPE and SIGNS, stage right, dressed in green wellingtons and purple crushed silk shellsuit bottoms respectively, leading each other by twine harnesses.

Signs: Is that a gun in your pocket?

TPE: Tomorrow he will come.

Long pause.

(You may notice I'm also skirting around a certain theme in my tentative script-devising, based on the advent of a certain anniversary.)

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, it's a bit of a cop-out if you're doing nude half buried in sand. Strictly speaking that's just topless. But I agree with you about real live theatre (just looking ahead to other lucrative possibilities and yes, a musical). I can't rightly say that I see a likeness. But then again, perhaps I do. The thing is that Emily, along with Alain and Tim, is already contracted to play TPE. So I don't know what's to be done. Perhaps after all, we should just play ourselves.

Anna MR said...

No, Signs, I think you'll find that strictly speaking it's bottomless. I realise the sand poses a problem for the nudity, but I'll leave that for the director to worry about.

And yes - Emily, Tim, Alan, Omar, Audrey, Warren, Brigitte, Gregory, Sean, Marilyn - of course they all want to do TPE. Who wouldn't? Who doesn't? Maybe they'll land up doing a TPE film along the lines of the one that's currently running (at least here) about Bob Dylan, as played by various diverse actors (Cate Blanchett being one of the more unlikely casting decisions). But it's not only for that reason that I tend to agree with you - we should play ourselves, really, because we pack quite a hefty animal magnetism ourselves, methinks (I can bring a wolf if we need to be more animal). Of course, TPE could be variously played by Gerard, John, Ralph, Katherine, et al, and you and I could play ourselves.

(I really need to get back to you on the wolf's blood thread, I have some interesting reading suggestions for you but they take a while organising. It seems.)

Reading the Signs said...

Signs exits stage left. The other characters appear, as though from air and sound no footstep!

LottieP said...

Didn't someone (John Cage?) say "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry"?

Wonderful poem.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Lottie - I love that John Cage thing. Nice to be reminded of it. Glad you liked the poem. The book it comes from is an autobiographical one, all about his life with otters - on a Scottish island.

LottieP said...

I have a copy somewhere of the Kathleen Raine poem that Ring of Bright Water comes from:

"He has married me with a ring, a ring of bright water
Whose ripples travel from the heart of the sea,
He has married me with a ring of light, the glitter
Broadcast on the swift river..."

I can't find a link to it, just this fragment, but it is worth seeking out.

I was very jealous of your visit to Iona as I haven't been there for such a long time. It is a special place.


Reading the Signs said...

I know that poem, Lottie. Although a poem about place, it was, in a sense, written to Gavin Maxwell with whom she was deeply (and catastrophically) in love. She has written all about that, and Sandaig and the otter, in an autobriographical book called "The Lion's Mouth".

Sounds like it is time for you to pay a visit home.

Anonymous said...

What - no footsteps? I don't get what you mean, Signs. I stomp around, both onstage and off, like a flock of yetis. I do.

And why are you exiting? Is the play over? Have I been left alone onstage? Did we decide on the script yet? Have I got a costume, or...?

Oh - it's the actor's nightmare...

Note from the production team: the signature link has been arrived at using "The Method".

Another note, from Anna MR - God's sakes, you and the esteemed Lottie are being all intellectual here, and I am being a dork. Ah well, so what's new. Hei, Lottie. Hei, Signs. I'll go now. Mwahs all round.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, an extraordinary thing has just happened. My cat watched that wonderful conversation with the "method acting" cats and tried to join in and climb through the screen to be with them. This is just gorgeous. Gorgeous. Mwah!

(right now, I just want to be those cats).

Reading the Signs said...

- and re. the actor's nightmare: have you ever had the dream about suddenly finding yourself on stage with no clothes on? I haven't, myself, but can't think why not.

Anonymous said...

I've had variations of that dream, yes. Not naked, though, just unprepared. Usually, however, I'm just cross that everyone else seems to be out of synch and incompetent. Probably nude, too. Losers.

Anyway, don't get too excited, hostess, my cat used to watch the snooker and try to join in. She's been dead for years now. Years.

But God alive, I turn my back for a few moments.....

Going back a bit. Impressive dialogue, Signs, it had me smiling out loud. Emily and Johnny have it right: it is better to keep everything fluid - otherwise things are, well, the opposite of that. Not a good thing, Suzi Deppo, trust me. (Plus, I prefer the feel of your dialogue to that of my own offerings. Don't do that again, k? K.)

And did I catch this right from Anna - Cate Blanchett is playing Bob Dylan? I'm asking you, Signs, because it looks like the Finn has skedaddled back to the icy plains of hicksville. What a thoroughly weird (and, potentially, inspired) piece of casting.

I tend to agree, by the way, Anna's decision to bury herself in sand is hardly in keeping with the spirit of nudity. I'm starting to think that she might not actually be Finnish, you know. This is British nudity, if it's nudity at all.

Anyway, I see from your latest post that you are feeling in need of a break. So that, in fact, is why I'm here: is everything alright? I hope so.

No, I don't, but you know what I mean. If everything was alright then life would be intolerably one-dimensional. The creative urge would certainly take a beating, that's for sure, and we may need you yet, Signs, if we are to transport our thrilling dialogue to the stage.

So mind your step.

Friendly regards and spiritual medication, if necessary. A Kit Kat, if not.


Reading the Signs said...

TPE, could I have the friendly regards, spiritual medication and a KitKat? (though another type of chocolate bar might also be acceptable). I think I need to be more like you, TPE. As I said, I haven't actually had that being on stage in the nude dream, but I have dreamed that the curtains were just going up and I'd totally blanked on my lines or even what the play was. But instead of being filled with a sense of my own fabulous rightness and going into an impromptu one-wo/man show, I felt that it was I, and not others, who had lost the plot.

Occasionally one does, though, you know - in life, as in dreams, lose the plot. But, referring to that John Cage thing that Lottie was quoting from, I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry.
(That is poetry?)

Or, I have something to say and I am not saying it and that is bollocks.

And I do want to be a cat. Or anything that is not this human creature having to deal with, you know, things. Existential angst. One is used to it, of course.

Are we having this discussion while Anna is still half buried in the sand? Oh no, we have exited - or at any rate lost the plot.

Or am I dreaming?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. You may be dreaming, yes, but does it matter? Make your dreams your reality and watch your life become a dream, Signs, as nobody ever once said. (Although I wouldn't put it past Fern Britton to blurt out such a thing or, come to think of it, Barack Obama. Those guys.)

I have nothing to say and choose not to say it - and that's merciful.


I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that's why your eyes have glazed over.

Or, further conjugated....

He/she/it has nothing to say and he/she/it is saying it and that is pretty much why I hate he, she and it so very, very much.

I bet Cage is kicking himself that he didn't think of this stuff first, you know. That would be my guess, Signsy. (I thought I'd add a Y to your name there, just to see what it felt like. I don't think I'll do it again, really.)

Anyway, hello. No you may not have spiritual medication, friendly regards and a Kit Kat (or similar). Greedy, greedy, greedy blogger. Gree. Dee.

The only permissible combinations are either the one mentioned already (medication with regards or chocolate by itself) or chocolate with regards and no spiritual medication. Never mix spiritual healing with chocolate, Suzi D.

Chocolate, you see, is an experience all by itself, and so to overload one's system with other forms of medication whilst chocolating....well, that's simply asking for trouble. I would never do that to you, Signs. Never. Get a grip.

And get a grip in your dreams, too, if you are able. You seem to feel that the other people in your dreams are all fluent in their lines and coping. Ha. I've had a few of those show-offy guys crop up in my dreams, too, every once in a while. I just follow them home as they leave my head and wait till they start having dreams of their own. And I'm telling you, Signs, I'm up on their stage, word perfect, as they sit full of fear in the wings. They only seem to know their lines - or how to put on clothes, in fact - whilst gatecrashing the minds of others. This is how it goes.

You should see how engagingly fluent and capable you are when you make an appearance in my mind, hostess. You'd barely recognise yourself. So it would seem to me - and according to the indexed archives of my mind - that you don't, in fact, need to be more like me, as suggested. You just need to allow yourself to be more like you.

Clothes, however, remain optional.

Happy Tuesday, Signs.

Anonymous said...

God's sakes, you two are prolific. Trying to catch up here, whilst brushing and shaking sand from, um, well, my person, okay?

Cate Blanchett is viewable here and now, I didn't make it up - wish I could have made up something that wacky, but no, it's true and real and nothing to do with the goings-on inside my head. Awibble, I'm mad I am. I quite like Cate Blanchett, at least her acting, and having disliked Bob Dylan all my life I suddenly developed an odd craving to listen to him in the car while I did The Tropics Thing. This craving has transferred itself to my younger son and Finland. I have only myself to blame.

The nude onstage in nightmares thing (and may I say I'm disappointed in your joint rejection of my sandy nudity. If you'd only understood the brilliance, the post-Beckettian something-or-anotherness of my vision, I could have dug myself out with the help of a little plastic bucket and spade, as the plot (or lack of it) unwound. You horrid pair of philistines, ganging up on me like that, and here was me thinking so highly of the pair of you). Theatrical nightmares do plague me but mine almost without failure follow a pattern whereby we are, for some unknown reason, resurrecting some play I have done in waking life at some distant point in the past. We are resurrecting the play, I am about to go on, and as the countdown to lights-up proceeds relentlessly (as it does in waking-life theatre, as well - time does very interesting shifts in pacing during the hour and a half from call to house being open to lights up) I begin to realise I haven't actually bothered to read through my lines and that this will probably cause serious problems, and I am neither in costume nor in make-up (and on occasion, there's been partial nudity too), nor do I know the theatre we are performing in well enough to know where the stage entrances are physically located - possibly not really even where the stage is - and, well, stuff. To my recollection I never ever have nightmares about actually being onstage, only about the terrifying certainty of having to go on totally unprepared and shite. (This is obviously because in reality I am flawlessly shit-hot and glorious onstage and a sweary-whimpering puddle of stage nerves directly before going on. Just, you know, boasting.)

What else have you total loonatics been waffling on about? Let me check. Cats. I'm pleased your cat liked the cats I sent you, Signs (there could have been meowling and furballs flying, you know, so I'm glad it turned out all harmoniously). There was actually another clip too of someone's cat watching that clip, but I can't give it to you here because Cat(e) B., that Dylanesque diva, is hogging all the space. I feel certain that you can find it yourself, though, should you be interested - and mayhap even post a clippety of your cat watching the cat watching the cats. (There was that thing, wasn't there, online - prolly still is - the Never-ending Cat Project, or something, with pictures of cats looking at onscreen cats looking at onscreen cats looking at onscreen cats looking at and et cetera ad infinitum. Remember that, Signs?)

I have plenty to say and have said plenty, and that is what it is. And as for chocolate, it is bliss and that's that.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Signs - now I'm just revealing myself as a spamster and a youtube sloth but this clip was so much better than the one I signed in with earlier that I just had to come back and leave it here for you and McTeepee to be stunned over. Going now, apologetic and blushing.

Reading the Signs said...

Right, TPE, I have eaten a whole tube of fruit pastilles. I agree that chocolate is too important, it needs to be given a space all to itself.

As you are bestowing guru-wisdom so generously I thought it only proper to go right ahead and do the thing you suggested - be more concentratedly myself: I have nothing to say and I am posting and that is not poetry and that in itself is a kind of poetic statement, and if it isn't then that really is poetry, or ought to be (sorry, John Cage).

I like Signsy. It makes me feel as though I'm running around on a football pitch, being cheered on from the sides: "Come on, Signsy!"
I am playing for Arsenal, btw. They won something or other today.
Happy dreams, McTPE.

Reading the Signs said...

Ms oh dear oh dear, I am stunned and seeing both of those clips (hadn't seen any before) really brought out my inner Princeling. But the thing is, I love Bob Dylan, particularly the young one. Cate is good, oh yes, I give her top marks, but there is something of the essence missing. And didn't you think that, underneath that Dylanesque swagger, there were times when she walked just like a woman?

No, I don't remember that never-ending cat project, but now that the image has been planted there it's as good as a memory. I played the vid again today to my cat and she came tottering in, looking hopeful. It's the first thing she has ever really watched.

Re. clothes, or lack of: Just so you don't think I'm a saddo, I've been without them in plenty of other places (in my dreams, I mean) - just not on stage.

Oh, and you should know that I actually saw the Beckett thing you are thinking about at the Royal Court theatre with Billie Whitelaw as the half-buried one. So there.

I want to say that I miss cigs, and I won't say it and will keep wanting to, and that is how it is.

Anonymous said...

Signs, my bad - it is called the infinite cat project and I come bearing it. Give your cat my best regards. Accept a mwah yourself.

(And I won't say anything about how you saw Billie Whitelaw in that thing and I didn't. No. I'll keep quite schtum about that, and instead I'll harp on endlessly how I can go ahead and kill myself with ciggies and you can't, nyah-nah-nah-nyah-nah. So sucks boo to you, Signs, and a goodnight for now.)

Mwah (and hei, I like Signsy too. To me it suggests membership of Led Zeppelin - there's Plantey, Pagey, Signsy...)

Reading the Signs said...

Oh, brilliant. That is one to keep, I think.

And, just saying, I met Pagey twice because he is the friend of a friend. I am just as rock an roll as he is, and so, I'll vouch are you. Mwah.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Don't encourage her, Anna. I've already found myself using "Signsy" elsewhere on this blog today - not a happy moment for me. It is precisely because of the fact that it sounded like something a football player would say to a team mate that made me doubt the wisdom of using such a term. And yet and yet and yet, Signsy herself seems to think this is a good thing. Wtf? And now you put thoughts of Led Zeppelin into her head. You would do this? Seriously?

Anyway, multi thanks for the Bob Dylan/Cate Blanchett clip(s). I'll go and watch them anon. Worried. (I've never really liked the music of Bob Dylan, truth to tell.)

Signs - Arsenal beat AC Milan 2-0 (away from home), having drawn the first game in London 0-0. This was epic stuff and MR Signs deserves much credit and praise for his part in the proceedings. Now would be a good time to ask him to sing to you, if this is what you so desire. And why wouldn't it be?

Quit apologising to John Cage, by the way. Not worth it. Total dunce, that guy.

Do keep eating fruit pastilles, however - even though a cursory glance at the nutritional information per 100g should be enough to make you cry into your bucket of KFC. This, though, just adds to the dirty splendour of such things. I love fruit pastilles (and such a classy name for a sweet, too.)

Okay, going to watch Cate and cats.

Anonymous said...

Signs, that is too interesting about Pagey (about meeting him, not the cool thing which of course goes without saying), because, you see

[please sit comfortably while I take a deep breath, this is a complicated relationship I'm talking about]

the mum of the other half of my best friend in Wales used to go out with Pagey, and he (the other half of my best friend) always maintained Kashmir was written in his (the-other-half-of-my-best-friend's) bedroom.

The reason I'm telling you this is not only so that I can enter this week's heat of the "most convoluted claim to fame" competition, but also because, you see, I am now convinced that you and I have mutual friends and are separated by much less than six degrees. Spooooooooooky.

(Glad you liked the infinite cats. Add yours.)

TPE McDylan, hello. I realise the error of my ways with regard to getting Signs (formerly, a lyrical poet) to view herself as a football-louty rocker. Mind you, you egg her on elsewhere to get into physical violence (verily, you haven't come to bring peace) so I'm not going to feel too bad about myself.

I'm sending you (both) the first Bob song that I actually liked (and then that weird tropical car thing happened, too). It's fairly recent as Bob songs go. The video is terrible. Hope you enjoy, or writhe in agonisingly-wonderful horror - both are good genuine human experiences and the world needs people feeling these things.

Love all round, too. That's a good genuine human experience as well.


Reading the Signs said...

TPE, Mr. Signs was filled with radiant joy last night and only for this reason I have to say that Arsenal is obviously a very good thing. He and another football-loving person hot-motored to the nearest town to see it in a pub, for we live so in the sticks here we can get nothing but 4 channels, and anyway it is jolly (one supposes) to be with other fooball-loving citizens at such a time.

Anna, this is too spooky. Your friend's other half's mum probably knew this friend of which I spake - not really my friend, but Mr. S's. But blimey. Actually, I never listened to Led Zeppelin or people like that. I was a Crosby Stills and Nash, with a touch of Abba kind of girl. But Dylan, oh yes - back then, but not now, and this thing you have showed us does not endear him to me one jot. It just felt, I don't know, not authentic, and he looked depressed, but as though he didn't know that's how he looked because he thought he was being cool and ironic.

But hey, at least my response was a genuine human experience, so yeah - love all round. Mwah!

Reading the Signs said...

Oh, and I have just been trawling through that incredible infinite cat thing again, wondering - should I put up a photo of my cat? But no. Fame would spoil her, I think.

Anonymous said...

Signs, I think you're probably right in allowing your cat to continue a catty existence, untroubled by the weight of fame. But Lord above what stuff one finds, without even looking for it (and particularly then). For some reason, this really tickled me...and I'm not usually into the idea of animals being teased. But.

Reading the Signs said...

Now I am definitely not putting my cat on the stage. That was a good-looking cat. Not a patch on mine, though.

71 comments - I think this is a record. For me, that is.

Anonymous said...

You jinxed it, surely, by mentioning how many comments there had been? Nobody will ever leave a finger-remark here again (myself included, obviously, as I hope I am proving right now), and you'll never reach the giddily pointless heights of 100+ comments. You blew it, Signs, you only went and blew it.

Happy Easter, beautiful person, only the very best of good things to you.


Reading the Signs said...

Wait - wait! Are you saying you had planned to make me famous among bloggers and now I'm just back to the ranks of ordinary? But TPE, even if I did make the ton, I couldn't compete with you and Ms Igloo could I? I am content that you grace my humble blog with your presence. There, I've said it! I relinquish fame for the communion of saints. Happy Easter to you too, and mazel tov on having resolved your computer issues. This is good.

Anonymous said...

It is good, yes. I actually felt quite isolated for a while - and not in the good way. I'm not sure how you've ever felt whilst being completely cut off from this weird community of ours? Or, indeed, if this has ever happened to you? Anyway, I didn't like the feeling one bit. Which, weirdly enough, I'm taking as a very good sign.

I could contact the Finn, sure, but she doesn't actually speak a word of English - all her contributions here are drafted in Finnish and then put through one of those internet translator machines. Same story with her blog posts. So that was little comfort at all. (She kind of grunts in a guttural igloo language. Nasty business.)

Mind you, I don't speak a word of English myself - never have. I put my Aramaic witterings into Babelfish and then sit back and hope for the best. It's going well.

And you what? Don't be hasty, Signs. Relinquishing fame for the communion of saints is all very well and noble, sure, but you need to keep your eye on the main chance. In any event, you are already very famous amongst bloggers, as far as I can, just for all the wrong reasons.

Going back a bit....

Yes, I know what you mean. Cate Blanchett did seem to carry herself "just like a woman" at times. I was a little disappointed with her (overly stylised) performance, truth to tell. But I wonder if it would ever be possible for a performer to convincingly portray the opposite sex? Mind you, I would still far rather watch Cate Blanchett being Bob Dylan than Robert Zimmerman himself. Personal preference, my dear, nothing more.

The Finn struck absolute gold, however, with her two talking cats. That was magic. (Well done, Anna, you're not all bad, it seems.)

I'm also partial to a slice or two of the infinite cat project. This seems like a project worth pursuing. There should be government funding.

Blessings all round cetra cetra.....


(I'm just sorry the comments have dried up here, Signs. It looks like you're destined to stay stuck on the 71 mark forever. Possibly longer.)

Anonymous said...

I missed out the word "tell" in the sentence "as far as I can..."

At least I think I did. Not speaking a word of English makes it kind of hard to correct the mistakes of Babelfish. Damn thing could have me saying just about anything and I'd be none the wiser.

I am dressing in big skirts and take goat for wife. Yes, a return ticket, please. I go give you all my monies plus house.


Reading the Signs said...

Oh fantastic - Aramaic is my first language too! This means we can talk to each other in the mother (or is it father?) tongue. I'll go first: TPE, TPE, lama sabachthani? That, as you obviously know (but for the benefit of you in-lookers who don't speak Aramaic) means TPE, TPE, why have you forsaken me? Which is what I was saying while you had the computer problems, but jokingly because of your secretary having, you know, put me in the picture. Ah, the old language. Your turn now.

btw I hope you are paying dear Ms Finn the proper rate for secretarial services rendered. For she has executed them with great efficiency and skill.

Reading the Signs said...

oh and, and - I have reported you to the Police, TPE, for saying "spazzer" on your blog post. You should have that sentence about your uncle going drably mad as the beginning of your novel, of course, and all the other stuff (I'd buy!) but still. I reported you so if you get a knock on the door in the middle of the night, that's why.

And Zimmerman is gorgeous, well perhaps not now, but once upon a time. So watch it.

Reading the Signs said...

I forgot to say: yes please, give me all your monies and house. Funnily enough I've been getting spam things recently saying exactly the same thing. Perhaps I shouldn't have deleted them.

That's bumped the comments up a bit. I'll make the ton if I just keep talking to myself.
But will anyone be impressed? Because if not, I wonder why I bother. On the other hand, one has a duty to maintain one's image. It's tough at the top, TPE, as you know.

Anonymous said...

Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa? Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas? Eala beorht bune! Eala byrnwiga!
Eala þeodnes þrym! Hu seo þrag gewat, genap under nihthelm, swa heo no wære.

So put that into Babelfish and smoke it, you two.

Hello, the pair of you criminals. For some reason, I really like you both. Therefore I shall say unto thee Signs, "Talitha qoum", which is translated, Go girl (this is to be read as congratulations on your ever-growing comment count), and unto thee, TPE, "אתפתח
, Kenoota, Khooba, Makikh, Abilii, Rukha and Dadcean Libhoun"
, which is translated, Be opened, love (this is to be read as me repeating myself).

And that's about all I can think of to say right this very moment. Be seeing you...go carefully. You are loved.


NB The author of this comment, so slandered behind her back, wishes to thank Babelfish for the translations into indeterminate Saxon, Aramaic, and plain old English. None of these come to her naturally, she is just showing off.

Reading the Signs said...

beautiful igloo dweller - do you not know? (ah, yes, and this is why you accost me in the Old Tongue) - Anglo Saxon just happens to be one of my specialities. Only a handful of loonies chose it as a special option at uni (and this was in addition, please note, to the compulsory Beowulf and Anglo Saxon Chronicles) so now I am obviously fluent in this, as well as the Aramaic. Where is my horse? Where is the rider? You could say I ask myself those questions every day of my life - you know this, don't you, with ancient igloo-conscious intuition, in the marrow of the bones of your webbed feet? And that was a fine vocal rendition you gave, and not guttural at all as it happens. Though guttural is good too.

But where is He, thinkest thou? Tending his olive groves, naturally, but I have my comment quota to think of - and the fact that I am on the way to making the big one oh oh. So like, you know, TPE qoum.

Anna MR said...

Ah, Sister Signs - you know what it's like, He moves in mysterious ways. I have every confidence in Him resurrecting somewhere though, when His time comes. You know.

Spring has sprung here in igloo land, Saxon Signs, and this has left me with little time to write. Maybe there are other contributory causes, too - block cetra - but rest assured, your gorgeous visits and posts and comments and general presence are keenly appreciated, and I promise to be back in action before you can say nwafoe (which sounds like Welsh).

(Or zbfhpnog, for that matter, which may take a little longer to say but may also better reflect the time span involved in my replies these days. Mwah, Signs, sorry for absence, back soon.)

Anonymous said...

Hello Signs (and the foreigner, too). No time for anything other than some fierce hugs thrown in everyone's general direction, unfortunately, as I'm running out of time here. We'll get you to triple figures yet, though, Signs - not that you deserve such a pleasingly pointless accolade, of course. But that's another matter.

Back in the blinking cetra cetra....


Reading the Signs said...

Mwahs to you sister Anna

Reading the Signs said...

- and Mwahs to you brother TPE.

Reading the Signs said...

Lovely to see you, in whatever language or guise.

Reading the Signs said...

not cheating or anything, but I've bumped the comments up to 87 now. Har!

(ok, ok, but I'm easily pleased)

Anna MR said...

Sister Signs, my webbed toes are firmly crossed (much harder to do than ordinary fingers, hence more magickally powerful) for Son of Signs' travel - I expect it's happening as we speak. (Hei also, TPE of the southern climes. My toes are always in a twist for you, let alone when you travel.)

All I can say right now over here is evklonks, which is superbly funny to any Finny - "klonks" being an onomatopoeic (spelling?) word for any clunk-clicky-type noise, for one. Also you, Signs, seem to harbour a fondness for the Lord of the Rings thing, so you'll need to be told that Gollum's Finnish name is Klonkku. Also that some young people came to thank me afterwards for my performance as the mad Solange (remember? that was ages ago) and they commented (what I think they thought was favourably) that I'd reminded them of - yes - Gollum. I didn't ask (too horrified, needing to wipe my performance off the face of existence) but I gather they must have meant the combined efforts of the actor Andy Serkiss and the computer geeks who created the Hollywood critter. Oh God.

Anyway, evklonks is a fine if silly word and I am only too happy to donate it to the world of theatre, for instance, to be used, say, in conjunction with evening actors having aspirations towards Really Expressing Themselves and managing to appear like a digital baddie in a kiddy flick. Yes.

Mwahs all round. Sorry about the snow, Signs, I somehow feel all personally responsible.

xx xx

Anna MR said...

Not like I'm trying to bump up your comment numbers, honest - but now the word ver is gnsisyee - someone expressing excitement over the first book of the Bible, or of discovering a genetic sister.


Reading the Signs said...

Your webbed toe-magic worked, Anna Klonkku, for SoS is now in New York. Being given the right antibiotics played their part, but I am a firm believer in toe-magic. So I won't blame you too much for the unseasonal weather, though it is obviously all your fault. It is also, as it happens, rather beautiful. I have blossoms and snow on my apple tree.

The WVLs are spooky, aren't they? Or is it that once we begin reading the signs we discover that everything speaks to us? Or are we bonkers? Yes, all of that.

Right, ten more to go and when I get to 100 I should have a certificate or something - you know, like the queen gives people who reach that age. Of course, I can't arrange that for myself, it wouldn't be proper, so - you know - just saying.

Anna MR said...

Hastening here with great speed, Sister Skins, to tell you consummatum est. Not necessarily what one might have expected, but there it is, neither is life (or sex), for better and for worse.

(Glad SoS is better and made it.) (Yes, it is all my fault, including the beauty.) (Yes, all of that.)

Yes, a certificate is going to be in order. We shall see what we can do, as Queen Victoria famously never said.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Hmm. There seems to have been some diabolical cheating going on here, Signs.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Just, you know, saying.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Hello and happy regards from Portugal, by the way.

The Periodic Englishman said...


Reading the Signs said...

TPE what are you doing in Portugal - other than eating no-calorie breakfasts and generally having a good time? Are you setting up a commune of like-minded artistico inellectual marginalistes as DH Lawrence tried to do in Mexico? I am sorry but I cannot join you. No, it is out of the question, for I am wedded to Albion. Next incarnation, perhaps. But still, I am a bit jealous. One does one's best with cafe lifestyle etc. here, but it just doesn't work out. Wind and hail don't help neither.

Lawks, only a few more to go till I get my knighthood from the Queen. I can't wait.

Reading the Signs said...

Cheating? No, 'pon my troth, I am an honest sign-reader.

Anna MR said...

Hmmm. I would most humbly enquire whether the commune of like-minded artistico inellectual marginalistes (currently comprising of at least His Hotness the Occasional Horse of Albion and Noddy, the Little Man in the Red and Yellow Car) takes on space members who can only be there in spirit? Because that would seem like a reasonable solution, both for The Honest Sign-Reader, Spouse of Albion, and The Hangdog Helsinkiite of Offspring Woe. A bit of cafe lifestyle in such fine company would be welcomed by the undersigned, at any rate.

(Hei, Signs. The big 00 seems ever closer. Multi much excitement. And TPE - I've had the theme tune to Noddy worming its way around my brain for days. Your fault, obviously, but not to worry, I've already forgiven you, although am still suffering.)

Mwahs all round, as always.

xx xx

Reading the Signs said...

A very good solution, HHofOW, but whereas I dig the idea of commune-ing with you and HHtheOHA, I can't say I'm a hundred per cent about Noddy. With all his virtues, he has never struck me as being particularly intellectual, and I distinctly remember lying in the cot hearing a gramophone record (gawd!) of him singing,
"I'm just a little Noddy man
I always nod my head
Except when I am fast asleep
And cuddled up in bed"
- and because it was recorded in the 50s, 'head' and 'bed' sounded like hid and bid (remember all those films where they said hendbeg?). Anyway - not brilliant, is it? You'd think that someone of TPE's calibre would have found someone more - I don't know - distinguished or at any rate hip to hang out with. But we'll cross that bridge, I suppose.

Oh! Just one more to go! Who will have the last word, I wonder? For certainly it should not be me.

TPE said...

God damn it, Signs. I've just been slaving away for decades trying to make a nice present for you - only find that my friendship with Noddy is being questioned. Mocked, even.

Anyway, I deserve to make the one hundredth comment because I'm special. That's just a fact, I'm afraid. I've nothing to say, unfortunately, as I've not properly caught up with everything that has been said here. A small mercy, probably.

So have some love, Signs - you too, Anna - and I hope you like the gift I've brought for you.

Back soon, no doubt.

Only good things to you, Signs.

Kind regards,


Reading the Signs said...

Damnation - where are you TPE? Your Majesty, I have been to the end of the internet rainbow and back trying to find you so as to give you a big mwah! And this little peephole into the antechambers of heaven (yours?) and the lovely music of I wot not what - it is a thing on its own, I perceive, apparently part of your blog, but also apparently not. I am curtseying - can you see me? I am wearing a white coming-out balldress and look a bit (in my imagination ok) like Maria in West Side Story (in a Suzy Quattro kind of way). The applause is deafening but I take it in my stride for I am about to take my place among the elite: that's you and Anna, by my reckoning. Anna? Boo! Because I know you're here somewhere, I'm psychic like that I am.

It has been a long journey TPE, but worth it to be honoured in such exquisite fashion.

As you will by now have gathered, Anna and I are coming to join you in the commune for like-minded artistico intellectual marginalistes. We will have to talk about Noddy, yes. For at present I can't quite see where he fits in the scheme of things and he doesn't (I'm sorry) look like a 100 plus-er to me - which really ought to be a pre-requisite, as we all are.


Reading the Signs said...

Oh my gawd, it's a real and proper youtube thing!

Anonymous said...

Kneel, now, good Signs, for I shall touch your shoulder with my sword, as is fitting upon these occasions, and rise now, Sir(ess?) Signs, Knight of MOCDOC. We shall exchange a sister-knightly mwah. Congratulations.

Hello. Well yes, yes, yes, I know, this all comes terribly late, Signs, but you know how the cogs of bureaucracy grind slowly-slowly, it's a bit unglamorous but what can you do, you just can't get the people these days. I am hopeful that the "actual", 3D-copy of your certificate will eventually wing its way to your House on the Edge (along with some long-promised Black Goo of Finland), but in the meantime, this is still nice enough to hang on a prominent place in your knightly quarters. Even if I say so myself.

(Hope you are well. How long is your break going to be? It's a bit dull without you, you know. Yes yes yes again, I've been silent and dull too, but I have been Close to Death's Door with A Horrible Bug. Recovering now, slowly but slowly, mostly thanks to the guarding stance Ms Wolfi has taken against the angels of darkness. And hei, listen, thank you for the sign-post leading me to Ms Far North. She writeth well. Anyway - hope this finds you well. In fact, hope it finds you. Mwah and thrice mwah and once more, congratulations on your new status.)

Reading the Signs said...

Thank you, thank you and thank you - the third being in advance, so to speak, in anticipation of the fabulous black stuff, or at least for the thought of it. Must confess I've tried looking for it here, but have had to make do with Panda liquorice bars.

What is MOCDOC? Whatever, I will be Knightling of it if you are. One thing bothering me though - haven't heard from the Queen yet but I did see her on the news the other day about something or other and could swear I saw her give a little sideways wink which must have been for me.

I don't know, my dear, how long my break will be. Not too long otherwise it gets a bit silly, mean to say either one has blog or doesn't. Trying to get a bit of focus you see, and have been a bit distracted by one thing and another. And my fave bloggers are all going stumm so I thought that maybe that's the new cool - you know - saying nought. So I'm doing quite well, innit, keeping my trap shut? And, er, I haven't got much to say. Or perhaps I have too much.

I hope you are better from nasty bug.


Reading the Signs said...

Oh my Gaaaaawd!!!

I have just clicked and seen the certificate and I am speechless!

Wait - wait - I must have another look. Be seeing you in a minute.

Kahless said...

bowing to Signs, Knight of MOCDOC

Reading the Signs said...

I humbly thank you, dear Kahless.

Anna MR said...

Ha. Hello Signs, glad you seemed to like it. Now is the time of much rejoicing and carousing, because it has been a long journey as you know. I will carouse with you in spirit from my sickbed - still fairly weak. (Kahless, nice to see you too.)

Mwahs all round...

Reading the Signs said...

Like it, Anna? I have been waiting for this prize all my life, I who never won so much as a box of toffees in a raffle draw and not even Hundred Yard Swimming Certificate after my name. OK, I'm a BA Hons, but you look at that and say, you know, so what? Whereas MOCDOC puts me in a different league altogether. Well you know what it's like, I suppose. Arise, fellow Knightling, from your sick bed. Actually, don't. Stay and look after yourself very well until strong enough to arise in glory. Good books, music, DVDs and small, delicious and nourishing things to eat. And Hauschka Lavender or Rose oil, if you can obtain.


Unknown said...

Oh look! I get to make it a round 110 comments! This is excellent going Ms Signs, I bow down and am deeply impressed at your achievement.

Having missed this post I also want to say it's utterly beautiful. I was grateful to have two beautiful golden angels accompany me on my walk through life for 14 and 13 years. In body they are gone now, but in spirit they are always with me. Animal friends never leave you.

Reading the Signs said...

A curtsey in your direction, intrepid Vanilla who has ventured thus far.

Hoping that you have an animal angel of some sort with you now. I would not like to be without the presence of one, and wish I could have a dog as well as a cat. One day I will, I hope.

Unknown said...

Write now my animal angels are the wild ones in the garden. With plans to move continents, it's just not feasible to have a dog or a cat or anything else domesticated. But I do so hanker for another Golden Retriever...

TPE said...

Oh, yes please, Golden Retrievers are brilliant dogs, friendly as loons. Friendlier, even.

Signs - hello again. Just taking this opportunity to have a look through your cupboards as you float about in Berlin.

The link I gave you (last comment) is no longer functional, okay, as I've taken the (always temporary) blog down now. The original youtube version is still out there, however, but I felt that seeing as you now have the thing in your sidebar there was no need to keep the blog version going. You know I'm right, so don't even start.

Anyway, I hope Berlin agrees with you. it would be a fool not to, really.

Bis später cetra cetra....


Anna MR said...

Signs of Berlin, my psychic abilities have alerted me to your return (don't tell me I'm mistaken. It would crush me). Just wanted to nosey here and wish you welcome back. Hope you've had a stupefyingly excellent time, Knightling (and hei, it's an absolute crime you've never won prizes and titles before (and the swimming competency thing just should be yours by the strength of your webbed feet). However, you have gone straight for The Big One, so all's well that cetra). It's been very sane in your absence. Hoping for a change now, obviously.

I need to point out that "Hauschka" is very close to meaning "fun" in Finnish (hauska).

And hello also, Vanilla. Don't leave it too long between having an animal of some description, please. I had over eleven years of none (except less than a year spent as the mama to two very charming rats). Having an animal companion is not only very hauschkaa, it is essential for the well-being of one's soul.

(TPE - hello, honey.)

Mwahs all round, as always.

Reading the Signs said...

TPE, you know when you say something like "so don't even start" I can't help it but it just makes me want to start - to make trouble, I mean. Trouble is, I can't really argue with you because, as you say, the musicians and the bird flying in perpetuity are on my sidebar. They are very happy there. Well I know the musicians are because I can hear it in the way they play, and the bird's happiness I can just sense.

Ach Berlin - ich soll ein bischen daruber bloggen - aber späters weil jetzt bin ich ausgeklappt.

Anna. Anna? Your psychic intuition never fails to astound me. It is truly ausgezeichnet. Which is more than can be said for the organisches bio salzlakritz that I purchased, hoping I had stumbled across liquorice heaven. It just doesn't have the dark, complicated soul of the Finnish/Swedish experience. I mean it's nice, but you know, that's as far as it goes. It's ok though, I truly believe we are put on this earth to endure states of perpetual longing.

Things have been sane, have they? Well a little bit of sanity doesn't harm, I suppose - a spoonful of the refined stuff now and then, as long as you brush your teeth afterwards. Things have not been particularly sane chez Signs because being abroad and in Berlin is challenging. But it was good.

My animal angel cat is sooo pleased to be home.

Can't quite muster up energy for a new post yet but you know me - can't keep my trap shut for long, and I'll be noseing around, obviously.

Anna MR said...

Ha. Es gibt absolut keines organisches stuff in das Finnische salmiakki - only ammoniumchloride and blackness and (optional) sugar and good stuff like that. Very conducive to all sorts of (dark, complicated, soulful) things (and by Jove I'll get you some one day).

Anyway, just had to swoop here to astound you a little bit more. (Man, it's good to be astounding.)

Mwah, it's pretty fecking fabulous to have you back in Blogoslavia, too.

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