Archive for November, 2009

Scarecrow

November 22, 2009

Jerry Dorwell was a high-flying bigshot on the Manchester City Council, well-respected as a ‘fixer’ who could get stuff done by lunching and charming difficult colleagues, a young-looking and smiling politician hotly tipped as the next Labour candidate for the Salford West seat when Paul Carstairs retired. Or, he was all this until he began to be troubled by terrible dreams in which all of Manchester was destroyed by a giant crow, which would descend upon the city, terrible and black, and then all the power would be cut through fear of his shadow, the windows would smash, and he would dive, the crow, right into the Hilton tower, which would then topple over under the strain and crush all the Manchester underneath it, the only survivors so badly burned, bloodied and traumatised that they could only envy the dead. And Jerry Dorwell would always wake from this dream sweating and screaming, and his wife would murmur to him to be quiet and give her more of the duvet.

And Jerry Dorwell had this dream so regularly that he couldn’t think about anything else. He would look at Manchester, out of the window of his office or just wandering around outside, and the would see the Hilton tower, and he would see it all crashing and crumbling apart in his dream. He wasn’t able to concentrate on his work, his superiors were concerned. If you looked at his nails you’d see that they were bitten down to the cracked skin underneath, and his jaw clicked from grinding his teeth too much.

So he had to do something about it. His solution was to design and have built a giant scarecrow, the size of the Hilton tower and directly adjacent to it, so that it could be propped up using the tower as a support. It wouldn’t need to be great job, it would just need to repel the crow, when it came, and then Manchester would be safe once more. Of course, Jerry didn’t know when exactly the crow would strike, but as his dreams became more regular and more and more vivid, and yet more and more always the same, he knew that the attack must be coming soon, so speed was imperative. Luckily, Jerry was given quite a lot of leeway with things on the Construction Committee, so no one questioned his unusual plans too much, and he was able to contract a company to build the scarecrow for him.

It was, in fairness, a rush job, but the builders had stayed pretty much true (despite whatever incredulity they might have had at the idiosyncratic nature of this particular contract) to Jerry’s original designs, and the scarecrow loomed up above Manchester with a grotesque, rectangular smiling face full of gapless teeth, and dead brown eyes big and staring, great slices of Elephant Straw poking out from its gargantuan hat, and Jerry was pleased that now no giant crow would ever dare go near Manchester with a scarecrow guarding the city like this. And now Jerry could sleep soundly at night. He still had the same dreams, but now they were changed. The crow still arrived but now, with the scarecrow present, the crow was repelled. Jerry was then paraded through the city like a hero, and later on, the next year, he won Salford West in a landslide.

But alas, it wasn’t all that easy, and naturally what with the size of the scarecrow and everything and what with it being propped up by the Hilton tower and all, people started noticing and thinking: “what’s going on with the scarecrow?”, and the council got all sorts of complaints about it obscuring the cityscape and frightening their children, and so they decided to investigate who had done it, and promise to take action against them and have the scarecrow taken down. And so Jerry found out about this and rushed into the head of the council’s office and yelled: “No! You cannot take the scarecrow down! If you do, we’ll all be attacked by a giant crow. I have had visions… and now they’re gone, thanks to the scarecrow! We cannot take the scarecrow down!”

And so, naturally, the head of the council thought Jerry had gone quite insane, and had him fired for misuse of council funds, and over the course of a public inquiry into the scandal Jerry became the option of some great public ridicule, and Tom Simm was selected as the next candidate for Salford West instead. But worst of all for Jerry was the fact that the scarecrow had been torn down, and he lived in perpetual fear because his dreams had returned to be just as bad as before, and his wife could no longer put up with this erraticness, and had him committed to an asylum, and everyone agreed that this was the best thing for poor Jerry, and meanwhile he could scrawl great tracts detailing his visions, and warning people to take action, and all the time he’d be shaking, and biting his nails, and he stopped being able to eat, he would just throw up any food he was given, and by the end he was so scared he couldn’t even swallow. And so he wasted away, and died, all the time dreaming of Manchester’s imminent destruction at the beak of a giant crow.

His wife was sad at his death but no one really mourned his passing, as he had been agreed to be completely insane. Then, on the day of his funeral, Manchester was attacked by a giant crow, and it knocked down the Hilton tower and destroyed it, but in fact aside from the immediate area affected everywhere else was pretty much OK.

Caspian Sea, you’re the lake for me

November 6, 2009

Now that the sad, damned Aral Sea has finally dried up completely into history, the Caspian Sea remains the world’s one great tragic reminder of the ancient Paratethys, back when those two stagnant bodies of saline water had the brief, headrushing chance to be part of an actual ocean, for once, but now they’ve passed their middle years into old alone, cut off from all the other water in the world- lakes, yes, but saline lakes, looked down on by all the rest of the lake community. And now the Caspian’s sister is dead, and she’s drying up, a sick, chemical swamp to drink the waters of which would be certain death.

I’ve got a book on ‘Soviet Deserts and Mountains’ where the author describes a visit to the shores of the Caspian Sea ending when the jeep he was being taken around in by his Intourist-appointed guide broke down, the cause of which was that its tyres had melted due to the sulphur deposits rising off the ground round the shores of the lake. He later came across the melted face of a small boy, still attached to the rotten bones of what used to be his body. The whole thing stank of some worryingly fresh death. The guide told him that it was probably a dog, and drove on.

Things have improved recently, though, as since the collapse of the Soviet Union oil money has flown into Azerbaijan once more. Maybe my visit will take in some of the Oil Palaces of Baku, new and old. Back in the old oil-booming days Baku was built up by the newly-minted oil barons to look like Vienna. Nowadays, they build them in odd, twisted, modern shapes, like this:

Then perhaps my tour will take me to Oil Rocks, which is an ACTUAL CITY ALL BUILT ON AN OIL PLATFORM. Look, it’s amazing:

Here it is on a stamp:

The most shocking thing about it, though, is that it only has a population of 5000. I assume property prices must be through the Azeri roof, as if most people are anything like me, demand must be huge! I’m moving.

By Irkutsk Station, I’ll Sit Down and Grin

November 6, 2009

My friend once took the train from Moscow to Beijing. She passed the southern tip of Lake Baikal. She said it went on forever. That’s because Lake Baikal is really big; really, really big; a third bigger than Wales, in fact. I’m going to take the train there myself, in spring next year.

Maybe there will be the final patches of last year’s snow, like hanging shelves of ice in a badly defrosted freezer, crystallised and crumbling. I’ll take binoculars and scan the impossible expanse of sky-grey glass looking for the only species of fresh-water seal in the world. I’ll be momentarily captivated by the steam and smoke from the paper mills, spewing out toxic sludge for endless paperbacks and government documents, so the too-clear water encapsulates curling mists of chemical smoke which move with the moon and the wind across that chilly blue. I’ll drink so much vodka I’ll go blind, but I’ll have no hangover the next morning. Mark my words for it.

What else will I find those lonesome depths, three miles deep, close enough to run in twenty minutes, too far to ever be seen again? Perhaps I’ll find a monster, a giant sturgeon, and slit it open, giant caviar gleaming like pearly-black snooker ball treasure. Or perhaps some giant pinniped, a monstrous seal that sometimes roams the land on its fin-feet, barking, gnashing, gobbling up cattle and raping women to create who knows what monstrous kelpies that roam the depths.

Here is some chick buying some fish from Lake Baikal. I can only presume she's so uncool that she's made a 270 degree turn and accidentally become cool again. Or has fashion got over the Urals now? LOLZ

I suspect though, my visit will be more prosaic. In some seedy bar I’ll play chess with some old man and he’ll tell me about the old days, through the mediation of my friend, speaking broken Russia and sipping on a rough local beer. I’ll find wonders of my own though: the wonder of looking out over a fifth of the world’s fresh water, of some folk dress in a provincial museum, of geese in flight in the Siberian sky, of vodka that wakes you up fresh and clear headed in the morning.

Tories seek to castrate Europe

November 4, 2009

There’s not much I believe in anymore, but I believe in Europe. For example, I really hate having to show my passport when I go places, so I love the Schengen Area more than most members of my own family. Moreover, who isn’t curious about supranationalism? Its the way of the future and in the future all the planets will band together in interplanetary union and the EU is just the first step towards that goal.

Luckily, this French guy knows that all Tories have massive castration complexes, and seeks to beat them into inaction by hinting at Cameron et al’s one biggest fear. His next step will be to fiddle with rubber bands during speeches. He will then introduce the element of small rubber balls in bags which he will wrap the rubber bands around, and if that doesn’t sway any latent Euroscepticism in the audience then he will actually castrate an actual ram using a big knife, while he gets a eunuch to hold it down.

It’s all here in this interesting news article. Hmmmm, interesting:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8343641.stm

Additional comments: Incidentally, I could’ve sworn I heard Jeremy asking various politicians if they favoured a Mr Van Grumpy as European President, turns out it was a Mr Van Roumpy. Was it Jeremy mixing things up, or my tinnitus blasted hearing?! Conspiracy?!?! – Ingram.

Ingram Frizer

November 4, 2009

killed Christopher Marlowe by stabbing him in the eye following the argument over the bill. OR DID HE…? Current conspiracy research suggests he actually killed Marlowe to allow Francis Bacon to take over pretending to be Shakespeare. (thus, Frizer was handsomely rewarded by Bacon’s patron/reputed lover, James I)

Merry Christmas, you murderous bastard, PS: I have since been informed that this image comes from: http://tudorstuff.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/a-wild-stab-in-the-dark-the-death-of-christopher-marlowe/

sick fuck

The Kunlun Mountains

November 4, 2009

are a mountain chain in China. They are believed by the Taoists to be the actual location of paradise.

Paradise