Perchance to dream

I should perhaps start by stating that I have no real reason to predict my imminent demise: though I shall leave you, the reader, to decide whether my toes will soon be turning up and my clack rattled.

Looking at the weather forecast, I could be swept or blown away today: a particular concern given my rather high surface area to mass ratio.  I’m also struggling to shift some form of cold-like infection from my lungs – and yesterday’s cold snap, brief though it was, did little to help – but I’m not expecting this to carry me off.  Similarly, there is no reason to believe that the multiple cuts to my right hand incurred attempting to form chilli-chocolate truffles (or Frankenkugeln as I have named them) with a melon baller are life threatening: merely annoying.

Nor am I planning to indulge in any unusually risky activities in the near term.  I will not, for example, be sharing a photo of my sweetheart with any trench-mates while claiming that we plan to be wed as soon as this war is over and I return to Blighty/Omaha, probably before Christmas.  I may be an idiot but I am no fool…

No, the primary intimation of impending mortality was the decision of my rather tired brain, bouncing as it was between insomnia and hypnogogia, to flash my entire life before my (closed) eyes.  Well, I say ‘my entire life’ but large chunks had clearly been forgotten beyond recall and some rather curious editorial decisions had been made about the memories that were retained.  A largely uneventful walk home from Honor Oak Park to Crystal Palace in the early 90s was given far more screen time than it justified while more major life, and interesting, events were rather rushed through.  The replay also took place in an order far from chronological: which was somewhat confusing to me and would have been incomprehensible to any other viewer.  I shall not be allowing my subconscious to write, edit or direct my life story!

My actions in many parts of this showreel were frankly mystifying to the current me, but were true (insofar as any memory can be thought of as true) records of past events.  I was struck by how useless and unworldly the young me was: which contrasts rather unfavourably with the young people I know today.  Other memories suggested a stronger strand of consistency in the self than I usually recognise: despite overcoming much of my original programming, I have changed less than I sometimes like to imagine.

In popular fiction, such a flashback – poorly constructed as it was – should be an almost immediate precursor to the sweet embrace of death.  However, in my case, I have had time to get up, eat breakfast, carry out some work for my employers and now write a blog post and still seem to be numbered among the quick.  Either this is another oddly vivid and detailed – and very dull – memory being recalled or this veil of tears may be stuck with me for longer than I was expecting.  In the latter case, I can only apologise for raising your hopes…

 

A GofaDM Scoop!

After a savage bidding war, I am pleased to announce that GofaDM has won the right to serialise the most explosive publishing sensation of the 21st Century: The Lundiary.

Eschewing the modern vogue for bingeing, GofaDM will be ‘dropping’ (as I believe the modern vernacular would have it) one episode of The Lundiary for each of the next six Sundays.  This will allow any readers with access to a water cooler to discuss the latest revelations with colleagues or loved ones (which need not be mutually exclusive categories) in a stereotypical ‘moment’ on Monday morning.  Readers without access to a water cooler need not despair: while such sources of cold water loom large in the modern imagination, they are, in fact, entirely unnecessary adjuncts to the art of conversation.  Humankind managed to talk together and discuss matters of mutual interest without such devices for many thousands of years prior to their invention.

As well as its serialisation, a limited edition of physical copies of the The Lundiary will be produced: ready to grace the coffee table of even the most genteel of homes.  Actually, scratch that thought: a genteel home may wish to keep their Lundiary under lock-and-key, away from the eyes of servants and minors who could become inflamed, or develop a complex, on reading some of its more salacious content.

While the binding of the Lundiary is yet to be finalised, the fine art that will grace the cover has already been created.  Any reader who has had the misfortune to be exposed to my attempts at creativity in the visual arts will be pleased to know that only my patronage, and a degree of life modelling (my offers to pose nude were firmly rebuffed), were involved in the creation of this artwork.  While I know many talented artists, sadly they lead busy lives and would, quite reasonably, expect some form of financial remuneration.  So, my plan to commission the Aleksandr Rodchenko de nos jours had to be downsized to meet my budget and location in South Hampshire in 2019.  Luckily, I knew someone with time on their hands who was willing to bring their meagre skills in the art of photomontage to the project on the promise of a pint of West Coast IPA and the occasional chilli-infused sweetmeat.  Yes, once again I fell back upon my partner-in-crime and co-conspirator in (N)YTMG: gawpertron.  While I manage the data collection and data entry and can, if required, be expected to show off in public, gawpertron handles all the coding, web and visual design for the site.  Where something more than a data-entry-clerk-cum-gob-on-a-stick is needed, they are to whom you should look for satisfaction.  Despite my low expectations, I have to say that watching this artwork grow over the last week has made a foolish middle-aged man very happy and occasioned regular laughter: a commodity of inestimable value in these dark days…

In an attempt to build ‘buzz’ around the forthcoming serialisation, I am concluding this post with the Lundiary cover art.  Like a truly great artist, I believe gawpertron has managed to capture the essential truth of their subject (The Lundiary) in this arresting image.  While one should not judge a book by its cover, I believe this cover does allow for a degree of judgement: though I do worry that its contents will fail to live up to the glory of their visual herald…

the-lundiary-final-less-red

John the Badpost

This is not the post that you might have been expecting but, like the figure to which the title alludes, it can be considered as the forerunner to that post.  It is the post that comes before and prepares the way…

I am willing to reveal that I did go to Lundy and, unless I am haunting the internet, survived the experience.  I will give no further details in this post, much of what occurred – and much that did not – will be revealed when the Lundiary is released into the world.  A first, rough draft already exists and I spent a very foolish morning yesterday IMing with a friend (or more accurately, accomplice) preparing additional visual content to accompany this forthcoming blockbuster.  So vast is this tome that it will be serialised, over a number of instalments, on GofaDM: once I have obtained the necessary clearances from the team of lawyers I’ve retained to keep me out of the courts and/or jail.

While I have spent much of my time since my return in my writer’s shed (or the couch as come might call it) drafting the world’s next publishing sensation, I have still found time for the usual busy schedule of gig going and disparate range of other activities that form my life: music, acrobatics and baking (to name but three).  New Franken-bakes have been brought forth from my laboratory including my first attempt at a Frankenmas cake: which is still being fed (spiced rum) on its slab before it is chased from my kitchen by a mob of villagers wielding torches and pitchforks towards the end of the month.

You will be pleased, if perhaps surprised, to hear that I shall not regale you with tales of all of my cultural activities: just a few selected (by me) highlights (or, to be more accurate, opportunities to pun).

One Friday evening, I found myself at Humanities Late: part of a broader festival of the humanities organised by the local university.  Along with the rather stunning current exhibition of work by Haroon Mirza.  This was my second visit and this time I had the acoustically rather fine white box in Gallery 1 to myself.  It really does flatter to deceive when I attempt to sing a clean note I sounded like a bass angel.  If only I could have those sort of acoustics whenever I sing, I might be inclined to greater diligence when it comes to practising

However, my highlight was a musical/sonic event which took place in the building’s goods lift: sadly, we were not allowed to travel between floors during the performance but I feel that our spirits were still raised by proceedings.  The lift had a three second reverb which made it a stunning setting for the Prelude to Bach’s 1st Cello Suite (I assume only the economics prevent all performances from being staged in goods lifts) – but a disaster for Steve Reich’s Clapping Music.  There was also a sonic evocation of a cave and a short piece written especially for the space by Drew Crawford.  It was, by some distance, the finest 20 minutes I have ever spent in a lift: despite manage to achieve no change in altitude.

The event also gifted me, for free, a white post card with the words “I am human” printed in a clear, pink font which I now carry with me at all times to answer the doubters and sceptics.

That same weekend, I headed up to Cambridge to catch a little of its annual jazz festival: including my second time seeing Marius Neset in 72 hours.  I had a lovely, if slightly inebriated time, and also had a chance to catch up with an old friend.  On the Sunday, I needed to get to Lewes and so had my first ride in the new(ish) Class 700 Thameslink rolling stock which delivered me to a replacement bus service at Three Bridges to continue my journey.  The Class 700 does have very swanky information displays: though my rake did believe we spent the entire journey at King’s Lynn: a destination not served by Class 700 rolling stock.  I can only assume that the onboard computer harboured a secret longing to visit England’s most important port (in the 14th century).  The passenger experience was rather austere with something of the feel of the monastic cell about the hard, very upright and rather close together seating.  Unlike refurbished older rolling stock, the Thameslink passenger is expected to supply their own power.

I was racing (albeit slowly) to Lewes to see a friend sing in a choral concert of French works with Duruflé’s Requiem headlining.  This is a fine piece of choral work, though my highlight was the first act closer: Vierne’s Messe Solennelle.  As with the Duruflé, the choir was accompanied by the organ (in theory two organs, but St Michael’s could only offer the one so the chap at the console had to work harder), and as the programme notes had advertised was not always the most subtle and reflective piece.  I am sometimes thought to be “good” audience but this is at best partially true.  Despite being a sober as a judge, the presence of an organ sends a large proportion of my brain off to work on finding the very ‘best’ doubles entendres.  This was my effort from the night in question:

The choir delivered a few introductory motets before the main meat of the first half.

To fill the church with their messe (solennelle) they needed the help of a chap running his hands up and down his mighty organ.

Let’s just say that he brought Gloria to a noisy climax…

I find that I am simultaneously proud and ashamed: very much “on-brand” if not wholly appropriate for a place of worship.

The final gig I shall mention was on Monday and featured the Chris Potter’s Circuits Trio at Turner Sims.  This contained some quite stunning jazz and quite the burliest piano player I have ever seen, clearly the master of all four keyboards he was using.  However, it was perhaps most notable for the huge audience: not far off a sellout which is not usual for a jazz gig at the Sims in my experience.  The jazz was very good and Mr Potter may well be famous (just not in this flat) – but I wonder if the timing was important.  The gig had been re-scheduled and so rather than being in the usual Thursday-Saturday evening slot, it was on a Monday.  I saw a lot of musicians in the audience, who would have been absent for a gig later in the week as they would themselves be gigging.  I suspect that it is not only musicians who find they are busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings but who do have leisure time as the sun sets on a Monday: and such gigs could also ease the way into the working week.  I did ponder whether Monday nights have been unfairly neglected by the city’s venues: while there are often just too many gigs later in the week…

Anyway, I should return to editing the Lundiary prior to its serialisation. Prepare yourself people: this is the (or at least, a) big one!

The Red Queen

To the extent (disputable) that I have had any conscious control over the man I am today, I might imagine that I have modelled myself on a small range of almost exclusively fictional characters.  I think I like to keep my ‘heroes’, or at least ‘role models’, fictional as one can usually rely on them not to suddenly reveal new, deeply troubling sides to their character.  This is rendered easier if I avoid unnecessary sequels and re-makes: where a turn to the dark appears to have been de rigeur for quite some time now.

A worrying number of these characters came from a handful of movies released between roughly 1985 and 1995, none of which could be considered entirely serious.  Other people have seminal music that still defines them from their teens, I must have been seeking my way in the world as I headed into my twenties: always a late developer…  I think we must also place considerable blame on the Fourth Doctor who entered my life during an earlier impressionable phase.

In practise, I suspect the man I am today, while clearly path-dependent, has been subject to almost no conscious direction and has just involved the accretion of random bits of other people (real, virtual and imaginary) that seem to have stuck: like pocket fluff to a forgotten boiled sweet.  The original sweet is still in there but all anyone (including the conscious me) now encounters is the multiple strata of fluff that have accumulated over the years (this metaphor does pre-suppose a very lax approach to laundry).

In fact, following the unexpected receipt of a meme – and the even more unexpected fact that I understood it – I have realised that in the game of life I have completely stopped pursuing the primary goal: indeed, I can no longer recall what it was or ever having tried to achieve it.  Instead, my life is comprised of an ever more Baroque selection of side quests.  Sometimes a side quest may be parked for a decade (or two) before I return to it, but very few are ever entirely abandoned.  I like to imagine, in the final reckoning, I will have built up a decent score: albeit, not one that will trouble people who have pursued the actual objective of the game.

I recently realised that one fictional character that I have come to resemble is the Red Queen, from Through the Looking Glass.  I tend not to think six impossible things before breakfast – though only because my metabolism requires the prioritisation of victuals and their ingestion pretty promptly upon waking.  I have to save my counter-factual thinking until I have some fuel in the tank.

I certainly share her tendency to derail any serious conversation with wordplay and other such nonsense: though there is no evidence that, if shaken, I will reveal myself to be a black kitten.

My main area of congruence with the Red Queen is in my need to be constantly in high-speed motion (not always of the physical variety: I mostly refuse to run), if only to devote at least some time-slice to my myriad side-quests.  There are always more things that I could be doing if only I could move faster: without hurtling through life at full pelt I will just lose ground to some perceived, if undefined, substrate.  I have the feeling the pace of this movement is accelerating as though my psyche is subject to some analogue of dark energy.: or perhaps, I just lack sufficient psychic dark matter to hold myself together…

Normally, my mad race to fit as much into any given period as possible only involves myself.  Others will see me from time-to-time and,  if they know me, are rarely surprised to see me in almost any location: even if they thought I was in a distant city a few moments previous.  I think some people suspect I have a number of identical siblings (or clones) or access to time travel…

However, on the evening of the Saturday before last, a friend came along for the full ride: I assume they had taken out suitable insurance in advance…  It was one of my finest performances: having started in the Guide Dog for some Bishopstoke courage, we departed for the evening’s musical delights at around 19:40.  At the end of the evening, I was safely in my own bed by midnight but somehow we managed to fit in four musical gigs in four different venues in the intervening time.  Even now, I’m not entirely sure how we achieved this – I am forced to assume that the speed of travel between venues must have led to a degree of relativistic time dilation.  Not only did we fit in four gigs, I also managed to invent a new cocktail: organic whisky with chocolate ice cream – it probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, but the venue was very short of alcohol and had no ice, so I had to extemporise.  It was surprisingly potable, but I don’t think Harry’s will be beating a path to my door in search of the recipe any time soon.

It was a seriously enjoyable evening but I fear it might form the basis of a sustainable life plan: though, to be fair, I have been living it for a few years now.  Could it be time for a change?

As part of a potentially dangerous experiment, for which ethical approval has not been sought in the expectation that it would be withheld, I shall be spending this next weekend in a very different way.  Despite a plethora of gigs in both Southampton and Cambridge that I am itching (or Itchen in the case of the local gigs) to attend, I am going to be cast away on a tiny island, like a modern day Robinson Crusoe (though hopefully I will be a little more ‘woke’ than Defoe’s ‘hero’: I do at least have my insomnia to fall back on).

My island will not be of the sand and palm tree variety, but rather a granite rock mostly covered in dry heath moored in the liminal space where the Bristol Channel and North Atlantic meet.  Yes, I am spending a long winter weekend on Lundy: an island without music venue, art gallery or theatre – though I am told there is a pub.  In theory, I shall be deposited there by helicopter on Friday morning and returned to the mainland on Monday morning.  In between, there is no escape!  Indeed, I believe the weather can get quite spicy, so I may find that I am unable to leave on Monday – though, at time of writing, the weather looks to be relatively clement.

The island is some 3 miles by 0.6 miles – so a circumnavigation on foot shouldn’t take long.  According to Wikipedia, the island has a few features of historic and scientific interest and there is some hope of sighting some interesting flora and fauna.

I shall not be there entirely alone as I am going with six friends – and I believe the island has a tiny resident population and may have a small number of other visitors.  I am told there is little or no mobile phone signal and no wifi: so I shall probably have no access to the internet for approaching 72 hours.  Will I cope?  Are the share prices of various social media companies tanking even now?  There is also no power overnight, so this excursion may be good practice for the future of the country as a whole…

All of this means that my life will be required to slow down significantly from its traditional break-neck pace.  There is a worrying risk that my actual thoughts may surface and not been drowned out by the constant stream of incident and moment that normally keeps them nicely out of sight/harm’s way.  What I have I been keeping locked in my mental attic?  Who is the previous Mrs Rochester in this metaphor?  The island has had a turbulent history, is its near future going to involve more of the same at my hands?

The people with whom I am sharing a large classical villa (I’m not slumming it on my island redoubt) all know me, however, we have – heretofor – experienced each other in managed doses with plenty of opportunity for escape, if required.  Since I have lived basically alone for more than 30 years now, I wonder what weird idiosyncrasies I have acquired in all that time that will come to light?  How terrifying am I on a 24/7 basis?

I shall be bringing plenty of reading material and, part of me, is viewing it as a writer’s retreat.  I am certainly planning to keep a Lund(iar)y either to bore you dear readers with upon my return or to act as a partial explanation for the bodies that will eventually be discovered.  It could also be the perfect time to finally write that sestina!  I have some hope that the villa will provide some space for hand balancing practice and I might get in some musical practice too.  Yes, I am already trying to convert an emotionally (if not climatically) tranquil retreat into my normal life.  Either that, I shall I channel Dylan Thomas and never leave the pub…

Will I return with a yen for the life of the hermit?  Will I return in a straight-jacket?  Will the Southampton cultural scene collapse in my absence?

Some of the questions posed in this post may be answered when (if) I return next week: stay tuned…

 

Self-abuse

Fear not, this post will not contain graphic images, or even descriptive passages, of me following in the (presumably rather sticky) footsteps of Onan.  Any reference to the bashing of the holders of a See will be limited to argument on purely theological grounds.

No, the self-abuse to which I will refer can, perhaps, be explained by reference to Edna St Vincent Millay’s splendid (and short) poem: My Candle Burns at Both Ends:

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light!

This does rather describe the way in which I appear to have chosen to run my life, careless of my body’s wax.  The excessive burning of my personal candle seems to have accelerated in the last few years, but the tendency was always there: especially when on holiday.  Indeed, in some ways I seem to have switched to permanent-holiday-mode in my life.  I can see elements of this metaphorical persoanl auto-da-fé in the differing genetic inheritance from both of my parents, the combination of the two making for a potent mix.

The urge to fill my life with incident and moment, some of it really quite physically and or mentally demanding, is really rather strong and I (mostly) get away with such foolishness with very few ill-effects.  This is despite, I think rather than a cause of, the chronic insomnia which has been my regular companion since my late twenties: easily making it one of my longest maintained relationships!

However, from time-to-time my mind does continue to write extravagant cheques long after my body’s ability to cash them has expired.  If this is coupled with a lack of sleep (not uncommon) and should the black dog also happen to have returned from fetching that stick that I had hurled from me in an attempt to keep it occupied, then I find it harder to maintain the social ‘construct’ which passes for my personality.  So that the reader does not concern themselves unduly, I should be clear that I do not suffer from depression (nor particularly enjoy it) but am sometimes less naturally ‘up’ than at others and a I am naturally a worrier (perhaps also a warrior, but this has not really been put to a proper test) .

Mostly, I get to deal with these situation where my mind heavily overdraws on its account with my body ‘off-stage’  However, last night my body did decide to forcibly remind me that I was not, in fact, a superhuman of infinite resources but was an all-too-finite middle-aged man while in public.  This reminder was issued quite early in the thoroughly enjoyable, Halloween-themed – and very busy – folk and acoustic session at the Steam Town Brewco.  Frank(enstein)ly, I have only myself to blame for this situation as I have been sleeping badly, was rather busy at work and did contrive to fit in two hour-long – and rather strenuous – hand-balancing sessions before going out for the night.  I think we might also blame a combination of clock change and the accompanying cold grey days and dark evenings for a slight drop in my normal unnatural ebullience.

Anyway, to maintain my monstrous leitmotif, it became necessary to make an early bolt for the door.  Just as well, as I barely managed to maintain consciousness on the short train ride home from Eastleigh before collapsing at home onto my ancient mattress.  However, this did disrupt my plans to mash a monster, a tune and the assembled ears at Steam Town at a single stroke (don’t you just love a chance to use zeugma!).  The world will have to wait to see whether I would have been a graveyard smash and whether the denizens of Eastleigh were ready for my pelvic thrust, or would have been driven insane (an increased risk given the increased hip mobility arising from all this hand balancing)…  Some clues may be gleaned from the unfortunates gathered in the Dog House on Monday night and who experienced a trial run (with the emphasis on the ‘trial’).

What I did discover, when my batteries are deep in the red zone, and my ego-depletion is at its maximum, is that I revert to a previous (presumably more primal) personality.  A version of me that I had assumed long dead appears to be used as a battery saver: the psychological equivalent of minimising screen brightness, shutting down non-essential apps and only allowing emergency calls.  This reduced operating mode (which used to be my only mode for social interaction in a crowd) is as a wall-flower alien observer preparing a report on the planet’s dominant lifeform, while suffering from an odd form of hiraeth for its long forgotten home (oh yes, even as an alien I’m keeping those Welsh roots!).

Still, a night with at least some sleep has restored me to more normal function and early 20s me is safely back in his bottle and I shall shortly be heading off into social media purdah.  This has nothing to do with the election or last night, but because I am visiting my parents’ house and will not be returning until the morrow.  For my whole adult life, they have chosen to both live, and holiday, in locations where any mobile phone signal is a distant dream.  This is coupled with my dad having his wifi secured more tightly than anything the used by the NSA: I can only wonder what he is getting up to on-line that requires this degree of electronic prophylaxis…

I had always assumed the lack of access to the marvel of wireless communication was the result of a conscious choice by my parents.  However, earlier this week I started to wonder if my dad just naturally jams a certain portion of the EM spectrum: he is, after all, the common factor in the wide range of afflicted locations.  I may be able to put this theory to the test later today…

Should I stay, or should I go…

Now, this is going to be a very different sort of post to the usual nonsense that appears on GofaDM.  It will be unusually serious and some of the protagonists will be readily identifiable – so it may not stay “up” for very long (like me, GofaDM is no longer in the first flush of youth, or even of middle-age).

It is “on brand” in that it is about me (obvs) and an attempt to use a blog post to work an idea through: though usually the destination is something that can only very loosely be defined as a conclusion (but is more normally a weak, over-worked pun).

In three weeks time, I should be on the island of Lundy with a bunch of friends.  It is a place I’ve wanted to visit for many years – though have discovered that it lies rather further to the west than I had imagined –  and my accommodation is already paid for.  I’m sure that I will have an amazing time if I go and am only slightly nervous that people who are used to seeing me in small doses will be trapped with me for a long weekend in a single building on a small island: however, I think we can be reasonable sure that I will not run amok with a blade (there are no certainties…).  As regular readers may have surmised, I seem to have developed some sort of fear of missing out and not going does feel like I may miss out on an important episode in the continuing drama of my life.  However, once I arrive on the island on Friday morning there is literally no way off until Monday morning.

Over the summer, both of my parents had fairly serious strokes  – in one case, the hospital had the R or DNR conversation with my sister – and have been rather regular visitors to their local hospitals ever since: finally getting some serious value for money from all their NI and tax contributions over the years.  I have no reason to believe that either are likely to have a serious or terminal incident in the weekend that I am planning to be away.  There is also very little that I can do if such an incident were to occur: let’s face it, I dropped biology in the third form and struggle to successfully apply a plaster to my own fingers.  However, it is not impossible that a window might exist, had I remained on the mainland UK, whereby I could make back it between the start of an incident and its terminal conclusion: possibly by use of an expensive taxi ride through the night.  This would clearly not be an option from Lundy: I am not that strong a swimmer…

I generally think of myself as a cold-hearted monster with the emotional maturity of a child.  I have managed to fake my way through adulthood by learning how to emulate (to a somewhat convincing degree) the appearance of the emotional functioning of a normal (albeit perhaps towards one edge of that distribution) human adult.  Nevertheless, I suspect that should I fail to be present to say goodbye purely because I’m off on an island having fun then there might be a degree of regret occasioned.  Life does not have an Undo function (though I am planning to re-spawn) and some errors are unrecoverable.

This is one of an annoying class of problems that also affect my working life in modelling: of electricity wholesale markets rather than sexy kecks (though for some reason, the vast majority of ads being shown to me by the Facebook algorithm at present are of sexy kecks: I’m not sure who it thinks I am or why it has decided this is an area of interest, perhaps it is trying to suggest a change of career?).  These are known as High Impact Low Probability (HILP) events and are a real pain to take into account: how high a cost should one incur to avoid something of very low (and generally impossible to accurately estimate) likelihood.  At work, the stakes are generally measured in (somebody else’s) money but, in the case at hand, we are playing with potential higher and much harder to measure stakes.  How robust am I emotionally?  Will my mild(?) psycho/socio-pathy protect me?

Lundy and my friends will continue to exist into future years, I fondly like to imagine: though in the world’s current politically febrile climate one can no longer take these things for granted.  Equally, my parents health is likely to remain uncertain and may continue to decline for many years yet.  Is it reasonable or even practical, given that I do have to leave the mainland UK for work, for me to remain within a taxi ride of an East Sussex hospital on an indefinite basis?   I am in life, generally, very risk averse which is probably impacting my thinking, possibly in an unhelpful way.

I have until Friday to decide or I shall experience a “no deal” option of my own, whereby the chance to go to Lundy will lapse.  I am currently vacillating wildly between the two options: last night I had decided absolutely and irrevocably that I would not go to Lundy.  Writing this post, I am sensing that my internal quorum has shifted significantly towards going.

To try and break this deadlock, I have fished Gerd Gigerenzer down from my bookshelf in the hope that he, or perhaps learning some more of the key statistically techniques to use when evaluating HILPs will provide the insight I need (I’m starting with the Blackett Review).  A decision will be made and time will tell how easy it is to live with…

Area SO51?

Today I bring you an unreported tale worthy of Fox Mulder, finally exposing a cover-up that goes all the way to the very highest echelons of government.

I refer not to the infamous Bitterne Triangle, a storied location where so many hopes and dreams are alleged to have disappeared.  I visited that area on Wednesday and can report that it is entirely free of unearthly happenings:  conk-heavy crooner Barry Manilow was wise to focus his musical memorial on another, more temperate triangle.  I’ll admit that one of my preferred (or most used) local chippies has vanished, but I believe this can be explained by commercial forces and does not require any recourse to the paranormal.

No, even the most ardent conspiracy theorist will have been lucky to have heard even the remotest of oriental whispers about the scandal I am planning to reveal.  I am only posting this in a public forum in the hope that it will deter shadowy forces from having me ‘disappeared’ following my shocking discovery.

Last night marked the start of the SHOCC ceilidh season, and I offered to give a friend a lift in my car from Bishopstoke – a modest hamlet, attested to in the Domesday Book –  to the Hilt in Hiltingbury.  The latter is much less exciting than its name might suggest, it’s basically a sports hall and is not connected to the Sword nor, indeed, to the Mailed Fist.

It was while making this apparently simple journey that I discovered the shocking truth that the Eastleight/Bishopstoke conurbation marks the site of an alien battlefield.   It quickly became clear that a powerful alien weapon, of a nature beyond the ken of current human science, had been deployed there.  The locals appear to be entirely unaware of the appalling damage wrought to local spacetime by this doomsday device – but the impact is all too obvious to the visitor from outside the blast zone.

As I drove from Bishopstoke to the Hilt, and again when I drove back, something of the order of 90% of the many turns that I was required to make, as I navigated the lanes of this part of Hampshire, were right turns.  As any competent geometer can tell you, this is not possible in anything that approximates to Euclidean 3-Space: unless travelling in some form of spiral.  While we have known, following the sterling work of one Albert Einstein, that we do not live in a Euclidean space, the curvature is quite modest at the scale of a few miles and in the relatively modest gravity well of the Earth.  The only way this excess of right turns could be accommodated is if the very fabric of spacetime has been fractured across this whole region by the detonation of some form of dimensional bomb.  Shards of unrelated space are now pressed together and my car was skipping across these boundaries: with the excess of right turns suggesting that the underlying spatial geometry is strongly chiral.  This opens up the intriguing possibility that we could identify the epicentre of the original blast…

While the primary impact appears to have been to create spatial distortion, there was some weaker evidence for an effect on local time.  On my own short journey, I did feel that time was skipping by small amounts – just a few tens of seconds or a minute or two here and there – but never quite enough to be sure of the effect: I will also admit that my instrumentation (the clock built into a Ford Fiesta) was not ideal for taking precision readings.  When, oh when, will the car manufacturers listen to my pleas and produce a car with a decent atomic clock (and, indeed, engine) to properly measure relativistic effects?  However, the political complexion of the local area does suggest that ideas from the past (including the distant past) may be leaking through into the present day.  I would not be wholly surprised to encounter a Megaloceros wandering the Bishopstoke Woods, living on a diet of leaves and discarded takeaways…

I suppose some readers my question my veracity as a source, though regular readers will be aware that GofaDM is a beacon of truth and journalistic integrity in these de-based times.  In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that my own body is currently a battlefield between a cold virus, that has been working its way through my friendship group, and the plucky T- and B-cells of my immune system.  The forces are evenly matched, with neither side yet able to achieve a decisive victory.  Vicious fighting is now occurring house-to-house (or cell-to-cell) and, at this moment, the good guys appear to be in the ascendant.  I think the virus may have been so shocked by my Terpsichorean grace on the dance floor that it has been forced into retreat.   However, I can assure you that this infection was not interfering with my critical faculties or perception.  The Bishopstoke spatial anomaly is real, sheeple!

While I know that many will will be tempted, I would caution readers against trying to visit the anomaly themselves.  I had the advantage of a local guide, but there were still times when I felt that we might become trapped forever in the liminal space between our universe and somewhere else.  If you insist on making the voyage, I might suggest setting up a base of operations at the Steam Town Brewery which lies at the edge of the abyss and fortify your spirits with a pint of their excellent Road Trip (as a stranger, they may try and sell you something calling itself Hop Party – but you will know better).  For the price of a carry-out (or two), you may even be able to procure the services of a local guide…

Those with access to Google may complain that Bishopstoke is in the SO50 postcode area and dispute the validity of the title to his post.  I would counter that this is merely further evidence to support my spatial disruption hypothesis and how deep the cover-up runs!