In days of old, it was not uncommon for artists to have a muse who would inspire them to achieve even greater heights in their chosen field. The artists tended to be male and the muses female, and often of less than difficult virtue, so I suspect there may have been an ulterior motive and gland games were probably involved. It seems high time, after more than four years of GofaDM, that I provide some explanation for the term “gland games” that I tend to bandy about – usually in the context of my own lack of interest therein. Readers may wonder what I have against having a little fun with the lymphatic system or a couple of rubbers of Contract Bridge with my pituitary. The simple answer is nothing, except in the case of the ratites (birds of the infraclass Palaeognathae) in which the males use lymphatic fluid to raise their standard (as it were). The phrase “gland games” comes from the 1984 movie The Last Starfighter and so I have been using it for some thirty years now. It is coined by the beta unit – a simulant left behind to cover for the ostensible hero while he is off fighting Xur and the Ko-dan armada – while seeking to repel the amorous advances of the hero’s girlfriend. In my view, Beta is the true hero of the film – he gives up his artificial life to save the day and create the conditions for victory, but his sacrifice is completely ignored by the rest of the cast. If, in the future, our artificial children extirpate the human race it will be incidents like this that will have driven them to it – you mark my words! Suitably invigorated by that little diversion, let us return to the A-road of this post with the risk of falling asleep at the wheel much reduced. Many of you may have wondered whether some muse sits behind the scenes, perhaps in a state of some deshabille, helping to inspire the relentless production line of foolishness that is such an integral part of GofaDM. In all honesty, I must report that this person does not exist – or not yet, though applications from suitably qualified candidates will be considered. To date, GofaDM has relied solely on the slow decay of the brain of its author. He has to hope that events in his life or things he has seen, heard or read will spark some slight glimmer of light in the slowly darkening twilight of his mind. On a good day, a couple of neurones will stir from their torpor to induce some threshold level of axonal excitement and another post will burst forth to plague humanity. On a really good day, the Muse will descend, from her Mount Parnassus based pied-á-terre, in guise of fire and deliver the precious gift of inspiration – but as regular readers can attest, such visits are rare indeed (usually, I just find a card through the letterbox to say she called while I was out). However, recently matters have changed. I have started dipping the tip of my toe into the shallows of the ocean of social media and as a result the comments section of this blog is alight with input from beyond the author’s own empty head (well, assuming anything exists out there – but this is not the time for such philosophising). I have even started commenting on other blogs – in a clear attempt to sabotage the opposition and reduce them to my level. The written thoughts of others can be amazing and they go to such strange places: places I could never visit unaided (or not without the ingestion of proscribed substances or huge red wine intake). The joy of the blog format is that ideas come in much more manageable chunks than when reading a whole book (for example) and can develop through interaction – something I believe I was hoping for in An Opening Salvo, but have done little to encourage heretofore. I cannot see how the sentence “a statuette of the crucified Christ has yet to laser me in the forehead” in reference to St Rita of Cascia would ever have happened without this interaction, and the world (or my corner of it) would be a lesser place without it. As a result of finding my blog soul brother – check it out now! – in the last couple of weeks, inspiration has come not as single spies but as battalions (to abuse both Hamlet and Fatboy Slim in a single sentence). I am now viewing even more of my life with a writer’s eye thinking: can this be shoe-horned into a post? I even fondly imagine that my writing is improving with less of the purely diary-based filler and rather more of the conceptual killer. If nothing else, my productivity has improved significantly which could be viewed as a good thing (I would suggest this viewing is probably best attempted from a distance – I believe EGS-zs8-1 is lovely at this time of year – and through heavily smoked glass). If any other reader wants to join in – and is not afraid to shoulder some of the blame for the consequences – I can assure you that I very rarely bite (and if I do, these are all my own teeth).