'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Script Kids & Silver-Screeners

One of the delights of life as a rural lexicographer - besides all the blameless drudgery - is the occasional uncovering of genuinely pleasing neologisms.
One such is 'script kid', computer hackers' slang for an inexperienced or incompetent hacker - presumably one who relies upon running scripts written by other hackers rather than originating his own. It has pleasing layers of nuance from script girl to knowledge boy via slip kid.
The other's one that I invented myself the other day. I'm involved with a local film club, many of whose core members are, shall we say, genteel ladies & gentlemen of a certain age. Silver-screeners, which popped spontaneously into an email last week, seems the perfect way to characterise this demographic - retired persons with the means & leisure to spend a lot of time watching movies . . .

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sounds of Africa Part 1

I make no apologies for this. This is the post apartheid South Africa. In fact it’s 11/14 years since the end of apartheid (depends when you measure from). We are in SA again for January and despite the 10 plus years of democracy all the gardeners are black or coloured. I have yet to see a white gardener here unless of course he is some chancer posing as a landscape and outdoor space consultant.. There’s plenty of those (chancers that is). This place is hard to beat when it comes to people being landscape consultants 1 week, architects the next, interior designers, aura specialists, … hey I might re-invent me as a ………… gardener? The title of the blog though – ‘what has that got to do with it’? Well. The most common sound in the village here is ‘the strimmer’. All the gardeners have strimmers. In fact they do not seem to do anything else other than cut grass. No lawnmowers anymore just the cricket like tinnitus that is massed strimmers. Yesterday on the way to Cape Town the motorway verges were being (s)trimmed. Not a gang mowing machine or men with long scythes. Instead: an impi of tripod strimmers. Must have been 30 of them. It looked like War of the Worlds, or Zulu Dawn as ballet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

So Long - And Thanks For All The Beer

It seems that a stray dolphin has made the terrible mistake of swimming into the harbour of my home town. The response of the locals? They've been pelting it with cans of lager - a typically warm Maryport greeting. My sympathies are all with the dolphin. I've wandered around, alone and late at night, in the Boston Combat Zone, dodgy parts of South London, Manhattan and New Orleans - and emerged unscathed. My home town is still the only place where I've had beer bottles thrown at me in broad daylight on main street. The dolphin can console itself with the thought that it's probably the most intelligent life-form within several cans' throw of Maryport Marina, but he should take the advice of another escapee: just leave.

Friday, January 13, 2006

From The Underworld

Another moment of chance epiphany, and further testimony to the power of loud music in cars. Driving home late last night I turned off the A595 at Moota: from the radio there came the sound of bells tolling, bass harmonies, trumpets and guitars that always makes the hairs of my back stand up straight: the opening bars of From The Underworld, The Herd's symphonically psychedelic reworking of the Orpheus & Eurydice myth. As concentrated expressions of loss, longing and memory go it takes some beating. In fact, it does just what great pop songs ought to be doing: taking complex, unmanageable emotions and cramming them into miniature, giving them voice using the simplest possible forms. Cineastes will also recall that the song's playing at the moment that Bill Paterson, stuck in a Glasgow traffic jam, first sets eyes on CP Grogan in her ice-cream van in the wonderful Comfort & Joy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Winter On The High Frontier

To the Red City to see my accountant and, being overcome with inspissate gloom thereafter, decided to take the afternoon off rather than return to work. So I drove up to Birdoswald on a warm January day and explored part of the High Frontier. Birdoswald Fort's now thoroughly heritagised, but on winter days you still get a feeling of the bleakness, exposure and sheer extremity of a place that once was the uttermost utter. Depending on which semi-superseded scholars you choose to believe, Birdoswald's name used to be Camboglanna, the Crooked Glen, which goes to Camlann, a name with meanings well outside the consensus of history. So the High Frontier's a place with echoes of myth and legend as well as secret histories and contentious heritage. I walked along the wall and looked over the horizon towards Spadeadam, site of Britain's independent ICBM building in the Cold War. The moors to the north are quite desolate, a beautiful, empty quarter of Britain, open country and deep forest miles from any road. Paradoxically, yesterday this unmanned desolation lifted my spirits and I returned to West Cumbria restored.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Housebling Son et Lumiere

Readers will recall the recent Houseblinging post in which I gave thanks that no-one had yet thought of adding musical accompaniment to their Christmas decorations. Be afraid. Life's ability to outstrip blogging never ceases to amaze me. Be very afraid. And yes, Cardiff City Council should be ashamed . . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Housebling League Table

I do not know why, but I decided to analyse the data provided at http://www.houseblinger.com/index.php (see Nick's previous blog). I was hoping for a socio-economic revelation linking poverty in West Cumbria and this house bling thing. Explain this then: Cumbria does not figure at all in the 260 postings to houseblinger.

However Essex comes first with 19% of the postings followed quite a way back by Cheshire on 11%. All other areas are also-rans by comparison. Essex hey? Cheshire?
Come to think of it - white stilletos, gold jewellery..... and have a look at the society pages of Cheshire Life maybe not so surprising after all.