Sunday, February 7, 2010

Light Flight

We went to Brighton today, later than intended because I was only up and ready after mid-day. The light here on the edge of the forest was soft and benign, though there was a sharpness in the air, it is still winter. I dressed in my elephant-motif quilted coat, wore pashmina and knitted gloves. The business that took us to Brighton is our new place: a one-bedroom, large-windowed, beautiful flat not far from the sea, which is to serve as the Signs pied-a-terre and possible workspace for Mr. Signs and me. It has needed a lot doing, is not yet ready, but the walls have all been plastered and the living room painted a colour that is almost white, but with a gentleness in the hue. Every time I see the place I feel happy, and lucky. We walked along the sea front, and the clear light from sea and sky - the light! So different from forest light, it went right into me, spirits rose effortlessly to meet it. We had late lunch in an old Edwardian sea food restaurant, ate oysters on ice with lemon wedges and tabasco sauce. The sun began to go down, Mr. Signs missed the match between Arsenal and Chelsea, but Arsenal (his team) lost anyway, we listened to snatches of it on the radio driving home.

Yesterday, a poetry group meeting in Lewes, a new beginning in a room above a pub. Someone said, the buds are beginning to appear, and I know she was talking about real buds out in nature, but somehow I took it personally, as a kind of positive diagnostic assessment of the inner aspect of things.

In the coming week, things are needing, wanting my attention. I wish for strength and vitality, beyond wildest dreams (used to dream I could fly, we all have those). If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride or, in some versions of the rhyme, they would fly. Let them be horses then. I'll ride, fly.


Zhoen said...

I grew up on a large river between two huge lakes, and always dreamed of living close to water, ocean for preference.

Mim said...

All good luck with your new place!

Here's to daily pleasures!

Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen, I remember my mother-in-law (whose legacy made this little flat possible) saying that she always felt safe living by water - though her house was right on the beach, and it was sometimes rough and stormy.

Mim, thank you for the good wish. Yes to daily pleasures!

Cusp said...

Oh it's lovely to hear you sound hopeful and looking forward. I know your little seaside retreat will bring joy and strength and I hope you have plenty of the latter for whatever you need to do in the coming days and weeks. (*)

Reading the Signs said...

I feel and hope it will bring these things, Cusp - still lots to do but others (needless to say) are doing most of them.

For some reason I picture you also living by the sea.

Cusp said...

Yes I picture me living by the sea too. I used to and long to do so again but, alas, the needs of children and their sense of security makes that impossible at the moment. One day.......

tpe said...

Hello. I tend to agree with (the first comment of) Cusp (hello, Cusp), although I’m a little disappointed that nobody seems to think that a quilted coat with an elephant motif is anything out of the ordinary. I’d wear something similar if I were a (heavily drugged-up?) hippy, Signs, I can promise you that.

Anyway, this all felt rather splendid (and was very nicely written, by the way). And Brighton, for some unfathomable reason, is always splendid, isn't it? There’s something in the air (and light, yes), I think. Anything goes and everyone comes and everything feels higgled and piggled, a melting pot of already fairly melty (or melted, in the good way) people. You’ve done extraordinarily well to nab yourself a slice of this particular magic, poet. Respect.

Fingers crossed, then, that strength and vitality come calling when you need them most.

Nerve-wrackingly attractive regards etc...


(Sorry. A belated happy new year to Montag, should he come calling. I saw that he’d wished me a happy Christmas elsewhere on your blog – it’s my first time in Blogoslavia in ages – and so now feels like as good a moment as any to return the (happily accepted) greetings. Plus, happy new year to Nicola, too, should she find herself back in your home. Phew. That’s it.)

Reading the Signs said...

Cuspie, I was going to say that I would put a wish into the ether for you -

TPE, I was going to demonstrate the salutary effects of your attractive regards, but -

clearly my wish horses are neither riding nor flying because I have gone down with some kind of sickness (bug?) thingy - all carefully-planned things for today scuppered, have been lying in bed shivering in spite of heating being on max, extra duvet plus hot water bottle.

I decided to be Pollyanna about it, play the "glad game", only there's no-one but the cat here to see me play it.

TPE, I try and do my bit, and if good old lebanese gold and affie black hadn't become nasty skunk I might still be having the odd, you know - actually shut up, shut up (me, not you), for the brighton council poleees are already after me for taxcrimes, to which I say Pah! free spirit that I am.

Lawks, I might be about to chuck up - gladness can wait

Cusp said...

Oh Gawd....looks like 'the bastard' heard us and seeks revenge ! Cast him out and get thee to a seashore retreat !

I think (hello 2u2 TPE) that elephant motif is rather chic. Myself, I have a rather attractive dressing gown in similar vein ( well actually I think it's supposed to be a long jacket thing but that's how I wear it in the summer)

I shall not enter into conversation about dodgy smoking habits. Dear Signs you must keep your nose clean ...don't want the Brighton rozzers knocking at the door in your first week. Thank God you're not moving to Hove. God only knows what they'd make of a poet in safari-print smoking jacket: or maybe they'd think it was chic ?

DO hope that you can recover from bug double quick ---not the oysters is it ?

Reading the Signs said...

norovirus :(

Cusp said...

Bl**dy Nora. How on earth did you get that ?? Been near any hospitals lately ? You poor thing. Hope you get better soon.

tpe said...

Hello again, Signs. Once more I am forced to agree with Coosp (just trying to imagine how her name sounds in a thick northern English accent, sorry), which is a tragedy in itself: but bloody N**a. You must be feeling awful, just utterly, utterly awful. And this disease of yours, as I’ve only now spent some time finding out, is particularly hard to shift. What do you say to that? You’ll be entirely gutted, I imagine. My sympathies.

Towards the tail-end of last year, Cúspide, in describing some very beautiful snow-filled scenes, you knowingly and, some might say, brazenly used the term “winter wonderland”, an unpardonable cliché for which you showed only the merest hint of remorse. I let it slide, because I’m nice.

But now this. Text-speak. Why would you do this? Where will it all end? (Your dressing-gown/summer jacket/long thing sounds stylish, though, I’ll give you that.)

Bye Signs (hope you feel better soon), bye Cuspadrille.

CU2 birds L8ER,


Reading the Signs said...

What with these lovely messages and all, I am feeling a bit of a fraud - I am not a fraud though, I really was the sickest of the sick for 24 hours, it was like something from The Exorcist. I am now completely better, touch wood, but it was so horrible that you can still feel retrospectively sorry for me, and should probably keep saying the prayers. So may all our maladies pass!

TPE, I would do text speak, but what you have just put is about the limit of what I know. But I have it on good authority that it's all about abbreviation. I have just keyed this comment into Textspeak Translator, and it comes out like this:


ok so I've learned something new - I R = I am.

tpe said...

I R = I am?

But where does this leave the IRA? Do you mean to say that one of the most enduring (and enduringly awful) military movements of the last century was merely an unfinished sentence? I am a…..

You are a what, IRA? Tell us, for the love of God, just tell us….

Deary me, no wonder the talks always broke down. I’ve learnt something new here, too, Signs, thanks.

Anyway, your textspeak translation seems to suggest that you are now “completely bitter”. Why? Lighten up, Signs. And the “lively massages and Alan”…well, the less said about that the better. It’s your husband I feel sorry for, you know? Shame on you.

But there is a thing (a machine?) that turns normal, decent, morally upstanding sentences into textspeak?




Where do I find this thing, poet? Lead on…..

Near perfect regards etc,


(Wait. Why would anyone want their (proper) writing changed into textspeak? I thought textspeak existed to speed things up? So what, then, would be the point of taking the time to write a normal, decent, morally blah and blah, only to then have it turned into time-saving textspeak. That’s utterly ******* mad, surely?)

Reading the Signs said...

LSTN 2 WT I R TLN U - and go to "text speak translator". But they also say:

"this is a tounge-in-cheek website, and we are in fact taking the piss out of those of you who are sad enough to use this page for real."

Cheeky bastards, and they don't even know how to spell tongue. No wonder I get bitter and need Alan to sort me out with a relaxing massage. Look, we're very broad-minded here in Casa Signs.

And another thing. Why do perfectly grown-up people increasingly insist on having conversations via text - hours pressing the damn buttons on a phone trying to sort out complicated arrangements or wanting to know wot u bn doin 4 the last couple of years - when a simple phone call would do?

Try going around for a day talking to people as though you were texting them. It means you have to kiss them a couple of times (xx) after each utterance and laugh out loud quite often and inappropriately. It's a salutary experience.

We're all mad here, we are, TPE - LOL!! xx

tpe said...

LOL Signsy!! BCngU. xx.

I just wanted to get that out of the way at the beginning, so that it wasn't hanging over me.

Well, your directions weren't exactly precise, Signs, but I did my best and found two translation services and (naturally enough) tried them both. In order that we might easily compare the relative merits of the services provided, I offered the two translators the same slice of text to work with. Here we are:

ShaL I compR thee 2 a sumRz dA?
Thou art mo luvlE & mo temperate.
Rough winds do shAk d darling buds of mA,
& sumR's lease hath aL 2 sht a D8.


Shll I compare thee 2 a Summer's dy?
Thou art mor luvly & mre temperate:
Ruff winds do shake d babe buds of May,
N Summer's lease hath ll 2 short a d8.

I don't know, it's hard to say, but I think the version with "d babe buds of May" probably shades it. Can you imagine how good Shakespeare might have been had he had these tools to work with? He missed a trick there, poor sap.

Yes, I'm with you. It baffles and perplexes me. Texting a message (with all the fiddly buttons and pointlessness of it all) seems almost criminally insane when you could simply talk to the person instead. I've never understood it and probably never will. And if you really don't want to talk to the person, then you can do the number 5 thing and go straight to their voicemail. Or does that only work in Ireland?

(You add a 5 to the person's phone number (I think it comes after the first three numbers) and then this tricks the phone into going straight to voicemail. No, I sound mad, I can see that, but it's all the rage in Ireland.)

Gratuitously handsome regards etc...


(Glad you're feeling better. Well done, you survived.)

tpe said...

Further news on the textspeak front, I'm afraid. At the risk of provoking some trendy vicar into trying something similar (in order to interest the kids), here, fresh from the Bible, is a textspeak version of Matthew 1:15-17:

N Jacob begat Joseph d hubby of Mary, of whom wz born Gsus, who's cllD Christ. So ll d genA8tns frm Abraham 2 David r 14 genA8tns; n frm David 'til d carying awy N2 Babylon r 14 genA8tns; n frm d carying awy N2 Babylon unto Christ r 14 genA8tns.

These texters make the son of God look like a guitar chord. Unglaublich. Un. Glaublich.

Shocked regards etc...


Reading the Signs said...

TPE, clearly we are living in the last days and are all doomed. I knew this already, but I'm just saying. There is now a whole body of textspeak poetry and textspeak itself is considered to be "language in evolution."

Babe buds of May is good, though, never mind about metre.

I didn't know the trick about adding 5 to a number. I can think of a number of people I could really irritate by doing this, esp pay-as-you-go people who are low on credit, as it costs to hear voicemail. I'll tellem it was your idea.

Happy Valentines for tomorrow, Gsus, I hope you got the card, flowers, chocolates and all ready.

tpe said...

Ah, yes, lovely. Thank you, Signs. Happy Valentines to you and your husband (and Alan?), too. Back to text-speak and the end of the world once The Day of Joy has passed.

Many loves upon your home, poet.

Only good things to you,


Anna MR said...

Hello hello, Schwester Signs, how goes it? I've been away for a while and have spent some of today acquainting myself with all the goings on here at Chez Signs - and very magnificent they have been, too (although the Bloody Nora virus was a bit unfortunate. I trust you've made a sparkly recovery by now, though?). Yes, magnificent, for it seems the messianic McTPE is strumming chords out of his guitar to bring amongst us the true word of God, in fact, the son of God in various tabulatory configurations (you don't mind if I address him in person, briefly, do you? Gooooood). McTPE? Hello, handsome, and strum on, strum on, pray, lead us, lead us, oh lead us not into temptation but unto a true understanding of it all, please, and while you're at it, do deliver us from evil as well, if you can find the time, for it verily does seem to surround us from all angles (and I see you've foreseen the end of the world, too. And addressed the eternal IRA problem from an angle hitherto unexplored by the anti-terror squads worldwide. I believe the great philosophers, politicians and peace negotiators of our time should gather at your door - well no, maybe not your door as such, I know how much you value your quiet life, but maybe you would consider giving them a series of lectures? Online, if you like. In blog comment form. It might save the world and the very day, you know. Just think about it, please).

No but really, Signs (and TPE, too, naturally), can't you just picture it - his horsemanship gently teasing god-speak out of his instrument, and you and I, like the ecstatic mystics of yore, dancing across hill and dale and bridges (definitely bridges, I think, it'll make a dead dramatic backdrop for our antics), wearing skirts and scarves and shawls, dancing and laughing and generally making headlines with our new-found religious understanding? It'll be great. All manner of folk will want to join us, naturally, and then we can be High Priestesses. I've always fancied trying out my hand at high priestessing. Haven't you? I bet you have, you know.

Actually, I want to go back to the title of one of your posts upstairs from this threa, and the (rather unfriendly-ly ending) Valentine's poem you quote. For while it is just crushingly horrible to do such things, calling people quivering with the hope of friendship and appreciation and yes, love, the deep hope to have been seen and recognised, calling those people drips is just icky and dreadful and wounding to think about (and especially the public way of handing out these cards so their lost composure at receiving such a thing would be readily viewable and laughable-at by as many gathered as possible). (I am, it seems, super wordy in extremis, and I apologise. I can feel myself making no sense at all. There are clearly reasons why I prohibit myself from doing things blog from time to time, and it might even be argued it would be better if I let it remain that way. But I've started so I'll finish, as they used to say on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue - which is apt here, I find. Shut *up* and continue with whatever you were going to say. Me, obviously, not you, Signs. Sorry.) Yes, anyway, to go back to what I was going to say, I do find a real loveliness in the line and thought "When it rains I think of you". I'm pleased that you used it for some writing of your own, and just hope you gave the wonderful phrase a happy home where it could finally be a thing of love and beauty, rather than its innocent wordiness being used to hurt and mock.

Christ on a bike, I do go on. I should maybe have said all this in text speak - it would no doubt have shortened things considerably. Wait, I'll just choose better (and shorter) words than mine, and try out this fab device you folks have uncovered...

Anna MR said...

(Okay - here I had to succumb to my least favourite blogger thingumy - the limit (how dare they) on the length of comments, to 4,096 characters. Who's decided that a comment can't be any longer than that? How I hate them all. Anyway, that's why you get two comments, Signskins, not one. Sorry. Blame them. Not my fault.)

lEd us not in2 temptation, bt delivR us frm }-).


No, it's too awful altogether. Although what could beat d babe buds? When I die, I might just want to come back as one.

Signs, your house is, as it always was, still such a safe haven. If it's alright with you, I may quietly (or loquaciously, although preferably not very often) lodge here for awhile, as I try to see if resurfacing in blogoslavia would be a possibility. Shhh. Don't tell anyone it's me, k? K.

Mwahs galore, to both of you (I'd say hello to the other folks on the thread, too, but it might blow my cover)

x x

Reading the Signs said...

darling Anna, if this is you going undercover then please do not ever become a spy, or anything that might ask you to go about in disguise. For your cover is blown, liebe schwestah - I mean (even without the half-obliterated-by-celestial-light photo and your name) who but you would make an entrance like this, and after goodness knows how long, yet the stream is, as 'twere, as though we had just been a-burbling the other day.

Yes, yes and yes. To everything, really, and I can hardly bring myself to believe that Blogger are putting a limit on comments. (TPE, are you there? I told you we were living in the last days - the barbarians are upon us). And yes, of course He should teast god-speak out of his instrument, I keep telling him: start a religion, I say, we'll be there, me and the Sees, the two Marys, high priestesses (strikes a pagan note for some reason), whatever. I'm not taking off my clothes, though, just saying.

But what were we saying? Yes, ("and when it rains I think of you") I thought so too, and the lovely irony of it, for whoever composed the line never meant it to be poetic. But poetry, like the holy spirit, is anarchic and nothing can keep it out. " - and when it rains I think of you" is uttered in the hearts of all lovers, across hundreds of separating years. I stole that last bit from Marina Tsvetayeva.

So you think you might resurface in Blogoslavia again? And just as I had been thinking to die - yes cease upon the midnight with no pain (ok I stoke that from Keats), just - you know - disappear. But bearing in mind that The Doctor (Who?) and I are kindred and I would probably re-emerge in a different body, a different house. Or not. Exciting, isn't it, all the possibilities we have? We can do anything, Anna, anything at all. We're mad, we are.

But wherever, and however, I incarnate, there is one item of clothing I will be taking with me: a hand-made shawl (of the sort that used to be called a gillet on Albion's shore, it sits on your shoulders) knitted out of rainbows and twilight heather. It was a gift you see, one of the nicest I ever had, made especially for me and therefore magickal. So whatever shape I assume, you will be able to recognise me.

Reading the Signs said...

no, I didn't "stoke" anything from Keats, I am just not spelling today. Hence "teast". And whatever else bollocks you might come across.

Anna MR said...

Oh. Hello, meine schwartze Schwesterlein, es hat ganz dunkel hier bebecommen, nicht war? Mein Gott, es sehr cool und die neues Schwartz clearly hier gelooken sein, aber ich war ein bischen gestartled wenn ich deine Haus-page regeloaded, at first.

Aber hei. Wie geht es dir, mein schwester-liebling? I am prepared to fully believe it is the Night Side here, and hope that the cool new look makes you feel like the darkness has a positive, little-black-numbery feel to it (rather than that you've fallen down The Hole - an option not to be cherished, no). (I've also noted something peculiar has gehappened to your triängular Persona. Du bist sehr brave, und kein mistake, schwesterchen.)

I was probably going to say something in reply to your lovely reply, dear heart - something about how good it is that you are fond of wearing knitted rainbows and twilit heather-shades, for these things surely suit your soul, but I'm fairly blown sideways and will just content myself to saluting you for these gestartling aber sehr becoming renovations (yes, we really can do whatever and anything we like, as you've just proven to be true). Hei from the North, Signsy, I'll go back and ogle at your dark side for a bit.

Many mwahs, goes without saying, coming your way from here


Anna MR said...

(PS The word ver beasts are saying blizids. They know what the weather's been like, over here, for the past week or so. Straight from Siberia, I tell you. x)

tpe said...

Na ja, genau, Anna MR. Ich war auch ein smidgen gestartled als Ich die neuen und dunkely nature von diesen blog hier geclocked. Es gefallt mir siemlich gut, naturally genug, aber was ist mit die Signs denn los? Und du hast ihren picture auch bemerkt, glaube Ich? Heiss. Wir haben uns eine sehr attractive und ge-shaggable poet gefunden, nein? (Nicht so ge-shaggable als Ich, es geht ohne saying, aber nicht at all schlecht.)

Anyway, I praise the Lord that you noticed the magical nature of my IRA discoveries and conclusions, Finlander. I was gutted when Signs let my brilliance go unremarked. Gutted. After all I've done for her, you know, this seemed particularly cruel and very much like a calculated act of pure evil. Thank goodness for you, that's all I'm saying.

Hello, Signs. Well, I'm trapped in a world of my own making, alas, when it comes to text-speak and the like. I love language, I love words and I love the way that these things evolve. Plus, I have very little patience with those people who would instruct us on the "correct" use of grammar, language, mouth-moos and.....blah.


Text-speak is just ugly to me. I can't warm to it on any significant level (however unintentionally funny it may often become). And when I hear that children sometimes use it whilst giving answers in exams....well, this seems like a very bad turn for the worse.

So, I find myself admiring the invention of an evolving language whilst simultaneously wishing it would all stop. This makes me, I think, a conflicted Luddite. Or maybe the term is "hypocrite"?

This is why I tend to concentrate on talking about my good looks (even if the conversation is about Rwanda). Everything else is just too difficult and makes me feel bad about myself.

Unreasonably attractive regards (to you and the Finn-shaped apparition),


Reading the Signs said...

Ach, meine liebe Freunde, es ist doch ausgezeichnet wunderbar euch beide hier wieder mal zu sehen - mwah!, und mwah!

Ja, ja, es steht mir gut, nicht war, das dunkele? Und wenn ich euch sage dass die Schwarze mir immer gefallen hat dann bitte sagt mir nicht dass ich racist bin, ich meine dass die ganze business of going into the dark space has long exerted its deep and subtle pull on me (I think you know what I'm talking about, at least I hope you do because I might not, or at any rate nothing that I'd admit to). Think Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. Or walking into a dark space so as to get a bit of tunnel vision on the old innerspace.

Forgive me, Anna of Angelic Apprehensions and Luddite McTPE of the Lovely Evolving Languages. I have spent all day thinking about sinks, lavatories and grouting and am darkly (but exquisitely) mooda - fat-ee-gay, meine damen und herren. Back anon with intelligent discourse as befits your affectionate, intelligent but eminently shaggable (and now you can see the titanium spectacles so you know I spake truth) RTS

Reading the Signs said...

The language of textspeak is not an evolving one though, is it? It is the same kind of language as the kind that was fostered by the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984, the aim there being (if I remember rightly), to erode the very thing that language fosters - a soul vocabulary. No word for bad or execrable, things were just ungood or doubleplusungood. Textspeak's aim is simple abbreviation. Or? I sometimes think that there is a malignant entity behind this, clapping its hands every times someone keys in LOL! or woja doin babe? Surely the second coming is at hand (I stole that from Yeats), and we must rise as an army to rehabilitate the steadily and stealthily de-natured language that creeps into the vernacular like - er - well, the right simeli escapes me for the moment, but you know.

Which brings us neatly back to the idea of you (lookin atcha, TPE) starting a religion - well it doesn't have to be a religion as such, but a, you know, movement. Anna can be your P.A. and I'll answer the phone ("hellooo, Periodic Englishman Enlightenmeeeent, how can I help you?").

The world has need of us, this much is clear.

Anna MR said...

Great Scott. I keep thinking I land at somebody else's blog, Schwesterchen. I was going to give you all this "go to this place and that place in blogger and choose a template and blah and blah", but you seem to have all that pretty much under control yourself, you do.

All that renovation (and sinks and lavatories, and - startlingly - getting rid of stuff) and you still have the energy to write a lovely post. Hats off to you, Signs, you are clearly in a state of churning, methinks, a fertile sort of boiling point. It is clear you were a story-teller already then, you know - that you are one by birth, no doubt. And I find it very interesting that you should, as a little aside, also acknowledge that while you liked - needed - imagining the lives of those two girls, so different from your own, you didn't want their lives. This is something I've often found, you know - no matter how crappy my own (life) seems to feel from time to time, I find myself feeling something almost claustrophobic when I think of Other People (I often use old classmates for this thought exercise), about how they're still themselves and have been themselves all this time, leading their lives, year in, year out.

No, yes, I know it sounds weird and, let's face it, probably is, too. But there you have it. I almost got the same claustrophobia from your girl's fluffy eiderdown and matching slippers, and her infernal hedgehog night light - "left over from childhood". Help me help me, I need to get out and open doors and stop being hemmed in. Well done, Signsy, you totally rule.



(PS cherpo)

Reading the Signs said...

Yes, I was rather pleased with myself for sorting out the template thing - but am limited, of course, to what they provide because I can't get my head around doing the fancy stuff. It's ok, a change was what I wanted - and simple is good too.

Well, Cherpo (a connection to the angelic Harpo, perhaps?) , e'en though I says it myself, I probably am a bit of a story-teller by nature. Used to make up all kinds of bollocks as a child, that I was a native american indian, my dad a circus gypsy, me a runaway from borstal, that kind of thing. That's one way of telling stories. And then writing things down.

And yes, spot on, I really needed to imagine, come close enough to sniff at their lives, but didn't actually really want to be them, no, no.

Listen, whenever you fancy a trip to the top - because, you know, to speak of these things under the post itself would be ever so nice, a bit of icing on the cake, I was going to say, but more than that: because to have a response to something is to complete, or fulfil it, in some way. Am I right about this, I ask myself? Well I just said it, so it must be what I feel.

Welcome everywhere, though, as you know, Schwes.

Gotta go an get the fluffy slips now, fold down the candlewick. Har! Fooled you for a mo, yes?

Anna MR said...

Och and ach, Schwessie Hostchen, I understand your desire to have my sparkly presence at the top, and I apologise for this criminal creeping around the (further-down) corners. But at the top I'd be so very visible, you know - and, well, I don't know. I'm taking your gentle wish on board, though, k? It's the very best I can promise in these trying, trying times. (You don't want me to cut and paste that comment I left here? No, no, I didn't think so, no.)

Bis weiter, schweschen, and mayhap we meet north of this thread soon. In the meantime, mwahs.


tpe said...

Hello, Signs.

Yes, that’s a good point well put. I suppose you’re right, really, and perhaps it’s wrong to consider textspeak as an “evolving” language. I think I maybe should have used the word “burgeoning”.

I wonder, though, if it’s okay to call a language “selfish”? That, really, would be the thing that eats away at my sense of wellbeing. I just can’t help feeling that textspeak is selfish. Or maybe “ungenerous” would be a fairer way to describe it.

It’s hard to explain and I already feel weird (and not a little stupid) trying to do so, but the people who offer textspeak as their primary means of (written) expression seem (to me) to be offering just as little as they can possibly get away with.

As they hack, cut, abbreviate and pare down the impression unavoidably given is that they simply can’t find it within themsleves to make time for another person – and if they really, really have to do so, then they’ll get it over and done with just as soon as possible. I don’t know, this just strikes me as ungenerous and seems to hint at a greater cultural malaise – the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on one thing for anything longer than the barest of bare minimums. I find this a bit depressing.

Your blog has changed again. You'll be aware of this, though, so perhaps I shouldn't make out as if I'm bringing you news. Anyway, I'm just going to take your word for it (as expressed to Kahless in a more recent comment thread) that "dove grey is the new black".

It's very nice and simple, though. Better, I think, than the black background (easier on the eye).

One other thing: there does seem to be quite a few versions of Stabat Mater (Karl Jenkins) on Youtube. It's too late for your (most recent) post, of course, but it always feels nice to set you straight - it's a man thing.

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I'll try to drift upstairs now (or eventually).

Only good things to you,


Reading the Signs said...

Ungenerous is it, TPE or perhaps we should pull out all the stops and call it miserly, for isn't it just like someone who won't spend a single penny, if they can help it, to further anything either for themselves or another. And it makes liars and impostors of them, lets not beat about the bush - not that you were doing that (and hello, by the way, lovely to see you and auspiciously synchronicitous for I was thinking about you loudly today when in Brighton) - for they, the textspeak merchants go under a false cloak. Having no time for anyone but oneself is the new cool, but I don't buy it. Blessed are those who extend the generosity of the word - as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Ah, blimey.

But where did you find those Stabat Mater links? I could only find one with KJ waffling on while we got snippets from bits and pieces. We didn't do the whole thing, just edited highlights, my favourite being the Ave Verum and Virgo Virginum. I realise that being a man gives one untold advantages and rely on you to point me in the right direction. Thank goodness, I can relax now. Mwah!

tpe said...


Well, I simply typed a normal “web” search into Google – Karl Jenkins Stabat Mater (no inverted commas) – and waited for the results to appear.

Then, once they had done so, I clicked on “videos”, turning the same enquiry into a video search. To do this, of course, you must look to the top left of your screen where you’ll see the (blue) words “web”, “images”, “videos”, “maps”, “news”, “shopping” etc......just click on “videos”.

And then, lo and behold, there seemed to be a whole host of Stabat Matery things to look at, many of them on Youtube. (The same search done directly on Youtube, as you must know, yields nothing.) Not being familiar with the music (or the composer, really), I can’t say for absolute certain if the right thing is there for you, I only know that many of the listed results state that they are Stabat Mater by (none other than) Karl Jenkins. Ta-da!

Sorry if the description sounds patronising in any way, but I don’t like it when people explain something to me and simply assume that I have certain knowledge about computers, the internet, modernity etc. Computer help-lines are especially bad for this, I find:

“No, Mr Luddite, you just need to make sure that your bluetooth cable is attached to the docking port.”

“I should go to the harbour? And my teeth should be what colour? Jeeeeesus.”

You get the picture. Anyway, I hope you manage to find something.

Yes, “miserly” is probably a better word still. Text-speak, interactive news (for the love of God), frenzied channel-hopping, a casual indifference to the suffering of others, violence on Youtube, fractured concentrations, the ease with which barbed comments flow on the internet,’s all linked, you know, and somebody clever needs to write a book (as I’ve said before).

(I’ve just read The Tyranny of Email, as it happens, but this fails to satisfactorily nail the gathering sense of unease or those building pressures which contribute to it. Not fully, anyway. But the author did seem fairly clever, I suppose, so that’s half the battle. Email may speed up communications, of course, but at what price to our collective civilities?)

I digress. I should also probably lighten-up. Sometimes lightening-up doesn’t feel constructive or honest, though, does it?

Happily gloomily yours, wishing - urging - love upon your home (and surrounding areas),


Reading the Signs said...

Thank you , TPE. I still didn't find the bits I was looking for but pressing 'videos' was a bit of a revelation. I have pressed 'images' before but never even seen the other things, even though they were staring me in the face. There are still people who think I'm a bit of a techie because I can write my own emails, do the blog etc - but their number is dwindling.

I don't feel the same about email as I do about texting. It could revive the old way of writing letters back and forth. I suppose what happens in the comments here could be called emailing - a speedy way of exchanging thoughts. More susceptible to flaming and suchlike, though, because of the speed - one is less likely to be calm and considered in response, especially in a back and forth in-the-moment exchange. It means we (not lovely you and me, obviously) have to be adult enough to deal with the new way of communicating - sufficiently in control and schooled in the ways of courtesy and decorum. I mean, just look at the horrible things that youtube users say to each other, how a perfectly reasonable exchange can degenerate into a hostile spat, that really is depressing.

Lightening up may be perfectly honest and proper, as long as something lightening is engendered in the soul. I've used that word again - well the poetry police say it's a word you shouldn't use, so it has to go somewhere, hope you don't mind. Gloom also respectable and melancholy can be positively uplifting - as Keats knew, and as we know. Us and Keats, TPE, what a commune we could have established somewhere in Italy, if only he hadn't popped his clogs.

'Happily gloomily' sounds ok. Just. But I'm watching you. So watch it.

tpe said...

Hello, Signs.

How are you doing today? A bit iffy, perhaps, if your most recent (swimming-related) post is anything to go by? I have no advice to give whatsoever (a relief to everyone) except to say keep on doing the things which feel right - until they start to feel wrong. Then do something else. Repeat the trick until death comes calling.

Yes, emails certainly have the potential to be a force for the good and, personally speaking, I generally tend to view them as such. I may be lucky in that I tend to receive “good” emails. Or it may just be that I tend to slyly ditch the people I receive “bad” or (ceaselessly) “selfish” emails from – I don’t know – but I wouldn’t really have any complaints on that front.

The argument would be more (broadly) about attention spans, stress, the seemingly blindly accepted need for speed, the sense of bombardment....that sort of thing.

If I think of my postman and the way things were (play the smallest violin, why don’t you, Mr Luddite), then I know that once I’ve received any post for the day I don’t make a habit of repeatedly checking the mail box for anything else. The same certainly can’t be said of emails.

And one question which may arise from this, of course, is why on earth do we need to keep checking for more, rather than simply getting on with our business and leaving the thing alone for the day? I’ve had (house) guests – oh yes I have – who say, without embarrassment, “oh, excuse me, I just need to check my email”. They are on holiday, for fe*k’s sake.

In a similar vein, people seem to think it’s acceptable to text or check for texts As They Speak. My response has always beeen the same, I stop talking and/or listening and walk away. I find it unspeakably, gasp-inducingly rude. And I’ve never yet known someone to receive a message that was so important it needed dealt with immediately. Ever.

It’s a bit like a drug, perhaps, a small hit. I mean, everyone loves to get a letter, after all. So you get the hit from the bold text announcing the arrival of a letter (or text message, I suppose) and that’s grand. Then the terrible realisation hits home that you’re expected to respond. Always. Without end. Quickly. And so you may respond, only to receive something back within minutes....and so it goes on.

This doesn’t need to be a problem, of course, and it can also be very good fun, I’m just saying that the lack of space, the continual crowding, the baffling hat-tip towards a wholly invented urgency, may start to feel suffocating and toxically counterproductive.

Going back a bit, but as for textspeak itself (we may have drifted from the point, slightly – your fault), I have a degree of tolerance for such a means of communication when the fiddly buttons of mobile phones are in play. I don’t like to receive it, true, and I won’t ever respond to it, also true, but I’m far more able to understand why people may choose (or feel the need) to use such shortcuts. If the same thing appears in emails, however.....well, then I’ll get back to the person and say “write when you have more time”. If they fail to take the hint, they’ll fail to elicit a response. (I don’t just mean the occasional outburst of textspeak, I mean a letter littered with the stuff.)

Anyway, we’re both utterly lovely, you’re right, and that’s all that matters. Everything else is just so much dreary blah.

Right, I’ll (finally) get out of your hair.

Vindictively attractive regards,


(Actually, on reflection, you should join the rather exclusive swimming club. Even if you never go again, Signs, you’ll be able to stop any conversation short by saying “I’m a member of a rather exclusive swimming club, you know?” That’s got to be worth something. If someone comes to you with their troubles – a death in the family, say, or a tale of unmitigated financial woe – then this should be your first response to their bleatings. Seem mildly distracted when you say it.)

Reading the Signs said...

That's a good bit of advice, TPE. Except that (well wouldn't you know there'd be an exception, I'm special, I am!) I don't necessarily know what feels right because things change from one half hour to the next. So while in the water and immediately after, I am on a high thinking that this is brilliant and the world is indeed a wonderful place and all things work together for the good, one way or another, then half an hour later I am looking at the cloud of doom that has my name written all over it, the fatigue works in myriad ways its ghastliness to perform. So same old, really. But oh yes to your final bit of advice, I agree that is has got to be worth something to be able to lob that in my other car's a Porsche-style. And actually I can just hang out in the lounge if I want, bored housewife-style, with all the riff-raffy types playing posh on their two-for-one pamper days. I'm an infernal snob, TPE, just saying it first so you don't have to.

I had a look at my niece's facebook and realised that you and I don't know anything about the newspeak these days, or if you do you're keeping (probably wisely) it under wraps. Honestly, I couldn't understand a thing they were saying to each other apart from GTGN, which I know means "got to go now", and LYL (love ya loads). It's all become very esoteric. But at least there's a point to that - keeps les autres, aunties and such, out of the loop, they can talk a special language we don't understand. The thing is that proper grownups try to emulate this, and that's when it all goes wrong. We're all teenagers these days, innit - not that they say innit any more, that's me showing my age, but you know. Not to mention Goodness Gracious Me.

Yes, one can get it wrong with emails. Trouble is with this kind of communication that you can't hear the voice or see the face - read the signs, I mean, pick up signals, and the flow is continually broken - obviously. I am one of those who tries to answer emails as close to at once as I can because I don't like the thought of the other person waiting, perhaps thinking I've ignored them or taken offence at something or other (it's a woman thing) even though I don't expect instant response myself.

A "bad" email can feel like a kick in the guts, one is somehow less protected than if it comes in letter form. And of course if someone takes the trouble to write a letter it is much less likely to be a flaming thing written in the heat.

I wish you a good Good Friday, TPE. I will be eating my neighbour's home-made buns (good) and going to IKEA (not bad because necessary, but oh how I wish I had an Alter who could stand in for me).

Impossibly beautiful regards.