Maybe meandering, possibly peripatetic and indisputably irregular.
So here it is.. a blog. Repository of some of my present musings and interests.|
Sometimes things pop into my head that should probably stay there - it is possible I shall share at least some of them here. (Naturally I shall filter out the ones about my sordid obsession with the culinary dark arts, one has to protect the innocent!) Please feel free not to take this too seriously, much of it could wind up being snippets of things that amuse me.
Yesterday I came up with this:
Few politicians can be considered first class, but not a few are number twos.
What can I do with it? Nothing springs to mind, except perhaps blog it. Perhaps in some other life I'm a failed stand-up comedian.
I have the beginnings of an idea to introduce another player into the Mr Moonlight story, a nice visual has occurred to me, and a summoning gone wrong seems appropriate. When I finish up here I shall literally put pen to paper. I find writing at least initially longhand helps my ideas flow. When I type up what I've written, I give it a first revision at the same time, and as a bare minimum check my spellings and grammar .
I do want to keep tabs on my current reading here. I usually have several books on the go at the same time. Currently I am working through 'Pyramids' by Terry Pratchett. I reread Pratchett's books over and over - usually at work where they provide much needed amusement whilst I eat breakfast.
'The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle', by Stuart Turton was loaned to me by a friend who shares a love of murder mysteries, (especially Agatha Christie's works). It is a new take on the genre and very very clever. The protagonist occupies different bodies - a selection of the guests at the house where Evelyn is murdered. Each day he spends in a different guest, and he has been tasked with discovering the murderer - or maybe saving Evelyn from actually being murdered, it is hard to tell. The book twists and turns and is quite intriguing.
'New Science - Principles of the new science concerning the common nature of nations' is an English translation by David Marsh of 'La Scienza Nuova' by Giambattista Vico, published in 1725. Not far into this yet, I had to find a copy of the frontispiece online, as it wasn't included in the Kindle edition. The first part of the book explains the idea - and uses a detailed description of the frontispiece to convey this. So being without it would have made things somewhat harder.
'The Complete Works of Michael De Montaigne' is again a translation, this time by Donald M. Frame. Montaigne's Essays are famous, I kept reading about them, so treated myself to a nice hardbound copy to dip into - usually just before bedtime.
So there we have it - a blog entry - enjoy! (whispers almost inaudibly 'Bon Appétit).
|Sometime life just gets in the way, with a vengeance. Many of my good intentions come to naught, though some do not. (Like everyone else I imagine). So, the blogging challenge was left incomplete.
Then there's been the Whatever Contest adverts. Now that has been a major source of fun and joy for me. I loved interlinking them, often in ways that folk didn't imagine, like the Billy Bonkers/Bar Trek crossover parodies.
What next? Well several things. In July I shall be taking part in Wonderland, and I am very much looking forwards to that.
Alongside that I shall be running my first contest, the Sound & Vision Contest. Naturally I shall be promoting that.
Actually, that's probably enough for July, I did consider Camp NaNo, but I don't want to have too much on my plate, and do none of them well.
|I'm signed up for another blogging event, just a short one this time, the last five days of March.
Prompt 1 asks:
What do I do to relax?
Nowadays I play a game called Stardew Valley. It's a low graphics farming game, but with quite a lot to do, which is all the more impressive that it seems to be the work of one man, (who styles himself Concerned Ape incidentally). He even wrote and I think plays the music, several hours worth altogether. The game is demanding enough to keep me happy playing, but doesn't stress me at all. Sundays are not especially restful though, often they are one of our busiest days at the shop. This makes sense as having someone else cook your breakfast on a Sunday sounds a great idea. When I close the shop I put on laundry and head to the shops, then home. About two hours later I go back, put the laundry out to dry, and do several cleaning jobs I can't do during the week because washing pans full of hot oil is an impossibility.
Share a memory of a peaceful, restorative Sunday from your past.
When I was a lot younger Sundays were restful. During the morning I'd read or walk or play. I did a lot of walking even then, wandering down 'The Lane', past the common to the canal bridge, over this was the sewage farm, and beyond that another lane that was very quiet and hardly used. Then there would be Sunday dinner, served on my plate, which for a long time meant one with a picture of an Aberdeen Angus. Usually we would watch a film on the television whilst we ate. Once there was a season of dance films, and I was deeply impressed with Fred Astaire, and I longed to be a tap dancer. Usually after dinner I'd fall asleep with full belly syndrome. There were no shops open, only very occasionally would we go out on a trip, but when we did they often involved steam trains, which my father loved.
What keeps you up at night?
If this means what keeps me from my bed at night, then the answer is 'very little'. My job means early starts, and I'm a poor sleeper anyway, so I have to at least try and sleep when I can. What keeps me awake is worry, worry about money, about things I haven't done, worry about upsetting people, you name it, and I can probably worry about it. When I wake in the small hours, (the ones before I get up), and have to use the toilet, I have a real risk of not being able to get back to sleep. Two or even three hours of trying, and having my mind grind around in circles is tiring. Then I start my day wishing I was ending it. In the evening, when I have settled after work, I often find myself falling asleep in my chair, sometimes whilst trying to play Stardew.
|Some time ago I blogged my intention of writing a poem called 'A Love Song To Whoever'. "Love song for whoever" The idea behind it is that somewhere in the world's ten billion odd people there is one that is the best possible match for you and vice versa, (i.e. you are their best match). Of course it could be that they are your childhood sweetheart from the same small town, and lucky you if that is the case. It is perhaps much more likely that the two of you will never meet.
In a small burst of synchronicity, which I am well used to, there was a post in the WDC Newsfeed a couple of days later asking about perfect partners. I posted something to the effect that I thought they were out there, but that most people made do with who they got, and that loving someone dearly who wasn't your perfect partner was the common state of things. This wasn't phrased or meant as a negative, love doesn't require perfection, indeed love exists in spite of their, AND YOUR faults, and making allowances for each other is one of the manifestations of love.
Recently I finished reading Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that, when I'd done I reading, invested in the 1974 film based on the book. The film I think was one that you couldn't possibly understand or enjoy unless you had read the book, and perhaps not even then. It had some elements I liked.
One of the key points of the novel is that the eponymous Steppenwolf thinks of himself as a hybrid of man, who likes literature, classical music and fine art, and a wolf, who despises the bourgeois life and all it's trappings. As the book progresses, he learns that he isn't just two conflicting personas, but in fact a multiplicity of souls, thousands of them, in various states of neglect or development. He learns that he can disintegrate the personality and rebuild it re-arranging the mix. He is immortal.
The book reminded me of another, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, (the pen name of George Cockcroft). In it Luke, a psychologist realises that the idea of us being one is a nonsense, and that we suppress all sorts of facets of our potential personality. His solution is to start playing a 'game' where he assigns different actions or expressions of potential a number and using a dice to decide which actions he takes. Naturally his family, friends and colleagues are horrified. The Dice Game plays out with most of them gradually becoming converted to his ideas.
Do not however imagine that in writing about this I am suggesting we should all start destroying our personalities, this is decidedly NOT for everyone. However if your inclination is to alchemy you will already know the significance of the idea.
One of my favourite authors/poets is Raymond Queneau, (1903-1976). A French encyclopedist, who worked as Director of the French Encyclopedias l'Encyclopédie de la Pléiade. He was a co-founder of the Oulipo group, which explores the structures and patterns of literature and poetry, and explores new ways to utilise them, producing some very interesting works. For example La Vie mode d'emploi, (Life A User's Manual), by Georges Perec is based around an apartment building and the lives of those who live and lived there. The chapters are not random, but based on a chess knight's tour as it moves around the building. The book as a whole does have a plot, but some single rooms could have easily been expanded into another separate novel.
I digress. One of the ideas that Oulipo uses is that of restriction, or if you prefer structure. As a man who had a wide and indeed literally encyclopedic mind, with many interests, Queneau knew that exploring all of them was impossible in one lifetime. The secret to getting anything worthwhile was structure. The limitations might be arbitrary, but they enabled him, and the other members of Oulipo to create some quite fascinating works.
|Bonus Prompt: What happened at Adherennium's Birthday in the Banana Bar?
What did Andre give Adherennium for his birthday?
I think I just have time to set the record straight on what really happened at my birthday bash at the Banana Bar. Except, well it is still a bit of a blur to be honest. I know it was only a couple of days ago, but it's all sort of hazy in my mind. I do know that there were a lot of banana rums involved. Oh, I remember telling Andre about cooking bananas on a grill till the skin turns black, then serving them hot with ice cream. Pretty sure we tried that, and added rum to it for some reason. They turned out well though, and were quite popular. Side note, you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties, cooking is one of my things you know.
There was a lot of dancing, in fact I'm pretty sure I danced with everyone. In particular, I do remember dancing with Schnujo to Christina Aguilera's Candyman, and I only trod on her foot twice!!
Later I seem to recall doing the Charleston with Rhymer Reisen , that was a blast, and though I do say it myself I looked great in a flapper outfit. Smart beard and pearls, what a combination!
When things quietened down a bit, I sat with Andre a while, making notes for his biography. I found the binding contract on my desk this morning, with a few bananary fingerprints and at least one dried rum splash. I'd better get typing, the first draft's due April 1st.
People kept buying me drinks,fortunately I'd learned a trick or two reading Terry Pratchett. I had several hot water bottles secreted about my personage, and they were all filled. I was sloshing, but not sloshed, an important distinction. It was a good plan. People kept buying me drinks even after the bottles were filled. Obviously I couldn't offend anyone.
I lost count of exactly how many I did drink, but when I ran out I was surprised to find that I had several hot water bottles full of banana rum secreted about my personage, clever stuff eh!
Being the generous host he is, Andre offered to get me a birthday present, and asked what I'd like. This was tricky as I don't especially like presents for the sake of it, so I asked if I could fulfil one of my life's ambitions, and DJ for a night. Andre said that would be okay, and made a note on his calendar, (the note said "Adh = DJ. Increase rum order for night". I'm booked for April 1st, it's going to be a very interesting play list, make sure you come along.
Thanks Andre for a great birthday party.
So there you have it, just a couple of nights ago I was partying, and admittedly I felt a little delicate afterwards. I must have been crazy drunk, because I changed my calendars so they all show it to be the middle of March.
Word Count: 491
|Prompt 10: How did Andre get into the bar business? How did he acquire The Banana Bar?
So just how did Andre come to own The Banana Bar? I mean we know he's made lots of money in his long career, all those hit records and lucrative tours. Right? Ah!, but, then there was that little thing in that Andre likes to make secretive donations. Yeah, the sort that don't end up plastered all over the media in a virtue signalling semaphore party, or something.
Anyway, point being that Andre usually gave away money as fast as he made it. There's lots of good causes over the years that have found themselves on the receiving end of a mysterious stash of cash, with only the faintest lingering aroma of bananas.
So let me take you back to Andre's first love, remember, the banana warehouse. Andre literally ran in off the street and got a job there. Six years later, he'd bought the place. Andre works hard for the money, so hard for a monkey. Ahem, sorry.
Across the road from the banana warehouse was an authentic Irish theme pub. Andre was soon frequenting it regularly as he has a particular fondness for proper breakfasts, albeit supplemented with the odd bunch of the finest. He became good friends with the owner, a genuine Irishman named Shameless O'Shaughnessy. Shameless' father swore on a stack of Irish phone directories, (this was in the pre-mobile phones era), that he had not been drunk when he went to register his son's birth. No one believed him, not even himself.
Whilst frequenting the Genuine Irish Theme pub, which at the time rejoiced in the rather obvious name of 'Shamelesses', Andre made the acquaintance of Richard's Fall Cleanup! . The two soon became firm friends, especially when Andre learned that Richard too was a secretive philanthropist. They would spend long evenings drinking, jamming together, Richard played a mean trombone, and generally enjoying the company and the atmosphere.
Not infrequently they would plan some furtive donation or other, once they even staged a drive by donating, with Andre driving in a disguise that was basically a pair of Elton John's more flamboyant glasses, a souvenir of their time together at the Circus.
Then one day Shameless surprised them with a surprise announcement. (Hard not to really.) He had received a letter from a lawyer in Ireland, informing him that his second cousin Aimless O'Shaughnessy had, (and this was in no way contrived at all), died and left him an entire castle and estate. Shameless was going to retire to lead the life of an Irish aristocrat. The estates were by chance the largest peat bogs in the world, and Shameless could live the high life on the proceeds.
Shameless was so happy with this turn of events, that he was going to give Andre and Richard Shamelesses. (Now that is a sentence that thankfully is never likely to be repeated again in human history.) Richard declined on the grounds of sanity, and so Andre acquired the place gratis. In less than a month Shameless was flying back to his Irish castle, and Andre was bringing in decorators and re-themeing the place. Naturally he kept the breakfasts, bananas optional.
Quickly his business acumen and general love of the yellow berry, (did you know bananas are technically a berry?), ensured the now renamed 'The Banana Bar' was the huge success it has become. Of course in part this relates to his team, especially Richard's gentle advise that keeps Andre from manifesting some of his scarier ideas, and not least of which, his amazing Bar Manager Lilli ☕️ 🧿 .
Word Count: 586.
|Prompt 9 Did the collaboration between Leonard Cohen and Andre result in a One Hit Wonder? Why or Why Not?
The collaboration between Leonard Cohen and Andre was only ever meant to be a one off. Despite agreeing amiably to the 'world tour', they then went their separate ways. So Hymn 2 was destined to be a one hit wonder. Ah yes, but what a wonder. It was taken as the theme tune up for a gritty British drama called 'Choirboys', and once again marched up the charts destroying all before it.
When all the fuss about the show was dying down, Hymn 2 suddenly hit the headlines around the world when French techno wizard Jean-Michel Jarre used a built in synthesiser aboard the Martian Euro-Robo-Explorer or 'Eurex' for short to play the first live music on another planet. The sound was beamed back to Earth and 'Hymn 2 (Martian Mix)' was storming to the top spot once more.
Two years later, Cohen was invited to take part in an International Day of Awareness of Something concert. Performing in Hyde Park in London, Leonard did an acoustic version of Hymn 2, with Andre's lines covered by insanely annoying comedian, but generally good bloke really, Rick Gervais. Put out as the worlds first glittery MP4, the song once again assaulted eardrums across the globe in sufficient measure to grace the top spot.
By this point the whole thing was going a bit Forrest Gump, and indeed yet another version of Hymn 2 was soon Top of the Pops (Again). This time it was a cover version recorded as a Halloween/Christmas crossover long play, long duration, dance version. The cover was made by a previously obscure group called the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Nor was this the last time that Hymn 2 took number one, very sadly the last time (so far) that happened was the occasion of Leonard's demise. Hymn 2 and Hallelujah soared to number 2 and number 1 respectively, then swapped places several times before being knocked off by 'You Want It Darker'.
The upside of all this was that Andre was on the receiving end of quite a lot of royalties. More on that next time.
Word Count: 347.
|Prompt 8: The World Tour
The not unexpected success of Hymn 2 caught Leonard Cohen's management team by surprise. Hastily they agree that a tour should be organised to capitalise upon the singles mammoth sales worldwide. Naturally enough they concluded that a world tour was just the ticket to reap the benefits of equally huge ticket sales.
Putting the idea to Andre, they were immediately appraised that there was one tiny snagette to their plan, vis-a-vis Andre's fear of flying, (except through the air as a daring young trapeze monkey, but we've already gone over that). Solutions were sought. and then they realised that neither liquid Dettol nor lukewarm bathwater were actually going to be much help here.
One enterprising executive suggested that Andre could hitch a lift with a passing Greta Thunberg, but this was deemed environmentally likely to result in lawsuits, and so the plan was scotched, and then bourboned for good measure.
Andre made a suggestion, and Leonard gave it his backing, so despite their reservations the tour was held in Andre's garden shed. Various cunning visual trickeries were employed to give the illusion of their moving from country to country. In France for example, a couple of onions, (which later turned out to be Spanish, but it was generally agreed that it's the thought that counts), were laid next to a 3 cm metal model of the Blackpool Tower, (actually the base for a gyroscope). clever camera angles and a picture postcard of Grenoble lent the whole thing a very Gallic atmosphere.
Andre was keen that they should play some African dates, and here a few pot plants and a pack of medjool dates were brought into play. Andre made sure that Willy Nelson was later given appropriate accreditation for the loan of the plants.
Leonard of course wanted to include his homeland, so a brief departure from the shed to the local IHOP was made and large quantities of Maple Syrup consumed. Then they got take out coffees from Tim Hortons and headed back to the shed.
Making full use of what was available, they next went to 'Ireland', where a sack of potting compost and some seed potatoes lent verisimilitude to the occasion. Andre asked his friend Richard's Fall Cleanup! to guest, which went down a storm.
Initially Andre's neighbours were rather against the tour, and there were several 'not in his backyard' conversations. Andre however soon talked them around by suggesting that they could charge for parking, renting out rooms for fans to stay in, and by erecting stadium style seating above their homes make a further killing. In fact the whole thing went so swimmingly that the next year Andre's next door neighbour invited Tina Turner to perform in his swimming pool, which he drained especially for the purpose, (though of course he did take the opportunity to give it a bit of a clean and to touch up some of the tiling.
Leonard's management were delighted. A DVD of the tour sold like a DVD of some largely popular musical event, and once they'd taken their modest 'cut', both Andre and Leonard were able to purchase a further couple of coffees, and even some doughnuts at Tim Hortons.
Word Count: 530 words.
|Prompt 7: Write their Song (Andre and Leonard Cohen)
Whilst Andre's musical skills are considerable, his actual song writing ability was related to how he generally sets about the task, which I have on the very best authority involves a lot of bashing on a typewriter. This being the case he was content to let Leonard Cohen do most of the writing for their collaborative effort. However, I present it here with some of Andre, and Leonard's deleted lines, (the ones that didn't make it onto the recorded version):
The song is called 'Hymn 2'
When I asked You for a kindness
You smiled sweetly, and gave me two
Said I need one for my brother
then You just laughed and said him too.
Because I was falling a-part
in due course You became my glue.
I was in need of direction
and so You told me what to do.
Peel bananas, man that's nice
They're so good I could eat them twice.
I feel Your presence always, through each dark night and every day
Listening to Your quiet voice, find comfort in all You say
Oh I need You in my life my Lord, in all the things I do
All my trials and tribulations, I lay them out for You.
Can I lean on You discretely?
I asked with some real concern
and You held on to me tightly
with such a love I can't return.
For my every indecision
You would explain what I must learn
When life's problems hurt me sorely
then for Your solace I would yearn.
A shame we don't hear You clearly,
and I gave such a heavy sigh
Why is that? You asked politely
a merry twinkle in Your eye
The mistakes we make in Your name
It's a wonder that we scrape by
Not all of us see too clearly
You will judge us after we die.
Don't step on the banana skin,
You may slip and do yourself in.
Every one of us makes mistakes
You see the best in each it's true.
Know the intention in our hearts
when we just haven't got a clue,
teach us how to live correctly
how we must start each day anew
I, my brother need Your blessing
You say yes, and yes to him too.
Everybody was Monkey Poop fightin',
It was very, VERY frightnin'. (This was actually written by Leonard, who'd had several banana rum on the rocks by then).
Chorus. (repeat and fade).
Word Count: 408
|Prompt 6 - Your muse and Andre decide to collaborate. They want to write a song together. Tell us why they decided to collaborate.
With a discography spanning decades you would think that Andre would have great difficulty choosing just one stand out track amongst them. Yet when I asked the question he answered without hesitation, it was 'Hymn 2', Andre's collaborative effort co-written with the late Leonard Cohen.
It came about like this: Andre was guesting on the quaint English radio show 'Desert Island Discs'. For this he had to choose ten pieces of music to take with him whilst stranded on a fictitious desert island, and say a little about why he chose them. Though they were in no particular order, Andre made clear that 'One of Us Cannot Be Wrong' by Mr. Cohen, was a particular favourite. When asked why, Andre sang this line
"But you stand there so nice, in your blizzard of ice, oh please let me come into the storm. " Telling the presenter that it just sent shivers down his spine, and they talked briefly about the fact that Cohen was a poet who happened to put his poetry to music. Andre confessed that he was in total awe of Leonard's writing abilities, and wished that he could write a song with him.
A few days later he was surprised to receive a call from L. Cohen's agent Warren Coathanger. Warren explained that Leonard had been listening to the program, and heard Andre's comments, and wondered if they could meet up. Naturally Andre jumped at the chance and that weekend the two dined together at the Savoy Kosher Sausage Kabin in Greater Gurling Street.
Over coffee and brandy, Andre making a departure from his usual banana based beverage preference, the idea of them writing together was kicked around, blue sky-ed out of the box and generally agreed upon. Leonard was looking to do something different for his next album, and apparently getting together with Andre at the Banana Bar struck a chord, (a G Minor actually.)
Writing went well, and soon a song took shape. Naturally Andre deferred to Leonard's superior skills, and though some of his more enthusiastic contributions were vetoed they were both very happy with the result. Then they gathered together an unlikely group of musicians, including Eric Clapton, Ron and Russell Mael, and Avril Lavigne and recorded the track 'Hymn 2' live at the bar itself.
Word Count: 383.
|Prompt 5 - Andre often listens to one song over and over again - What Song, and why?
Andre The Blog Monkey has eclectic, some might even say exotic tastes in music, but there is one song that he listens too often, never tiring of it. That song is Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love'. He is especially partial to the 12" version. For those of you who have only ever heard of MP3's, a 12" record lasts about 12", hence the name.
Though he would never admit it publicly, Andre is a bit of a softy at heart, and when he listens to the soaring lyrics, and funky synth sounds, he still gets goose-bumps. Naturally, the question occurs, "Why does he love to love that song?" The answer is entirely predictable, Andre first heard it played when he fell in love for the first time.
He was being chased by a gang of finger-snappin' swaggering, crab dancing hoodlums, all of them high on Bernstein. Dodging down an alley, he realised that he'd run into a dead end. Quickly he tried the nearest door, and it opened into a whole new world for the young monkey.
Andre had entered a huge warehouse, and it was full, FULL of bananas. Our monkey hero stood flabbergasted, drinking in the sight, and that smell. His saliva glands went into full on Pavlovian reflex, creating a small pool beneath him. Over the tinny tannoy he heard Donna Summer.
"Oooh! I feel love, I feel love, I feel lovvvvvveeee..."
And so he did. As Andre stepped forwards into this fabulous ripe fruit repository, the gang chasing him came charging in behind him. The first of them slipped in the pool of monkey drool, and crashed to the ground, with the rest of his men piling up on top of him like a Keystone Cop reunion party.
The foreman, came over to see what all the hullabaloo was about, and seeing him approach, the gang skedaddled. Only Andre remained. The foreman took one look at the glazed eyes and ga-ga expression and said, "Hey Kid do you wanna job?" Did he ever, within five years Andre was manager, and the year after that he bought the original owners out.
From that day to this Andre only has to hear the opening strains of "I Feel Love", and he is instantly sent back in time, to that first day, the first time, his first love.
Word Count: 389