Big Fish, Little Fish

There will be no cardboard box – there’s no use crying! – the title has an entirely different derivation.  When I was but a callow youth (as opposed to the callow adult that stands before you today), there was broadcast an American TV series called Big John, Little John.  In this a middle-aged man would revert to being a 12 year old boy at random (or, more plausibly, when required by the plot) as a result of sipping from the fountain of youth.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never partaken of the fountain of youth – and the growing decrepitude of my body would support this assertion – but I oft feel that mentally I swing randomly between Big Fish (a man with a mental age broadly cognate with the physical) and Little Fish (a man with thoughts more appropriate to one with roughly 12 summers under his belt).

In my last post, I was trying to project the Big Fish at salivating hordes that comprise the GofaDM readership – but over the two hours of the film both fishes (oddly appropriate for a chap born in late February) had their part to play.  Given the subject matter of the film, the vast majority of the slightly sparse audience were younger than me – though there was an elderly couple and she clearly had poor eyesight so he had to read any text to her in a rather loud stage whisper (it was like being at an audio-described performance).  Little Fish was rather hoping to spot something in the audience, and was almost disappointed – but finally, it did yield a single chap with a T-shirt advertising a band at the metal-end of the musical spectrum and sporting both a pony tail and curious facial hair.   Either the audience was very low on people from IT, or fashion has moved on from my stereotype.  Does anyone else add this I-Spy element to their people spotting?  Are you more diligent at updating your stereotypes?  Anyway, Big Fish re-asserted himself in time to despair at how little he had achieved (or was likely to) compared to the 29 year old Ed Snowden.

Yesterday, I had a shower: yes, I do like to be able to show a clean pair of heel to my readers.  For some reason, and for the first time in 48.5 years on this planet, I found myself attempting to see how effective my bath towel would be as a toga.  I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this before – though I will have to admit that even a bath sheet is less than wholly successful in emulating Roman garb (a fact ignored by Douglas Adams).  The material is both too thick and lacking in surface area to en-toga the full, fabulous extent of the author.  Little Fish will have another go on laundry day when a real sheet can be put through its paces – though the fact my sheets are fitted (too lazy to make my own hospital corners, I’m afraid) may count against them.

Today, I had to sign some official forms and ask a neighbour to witness my signature (which I will freely admit is not one of the more exciting physical activities which I can perform and could have asked him to witness – I’ll have to save my Dying Swan for another time).  These forms have a rather serious purpose, but Little Fish has become obsessed by the organisation which issued them.  He now wants Alan Eccles job.  “Who he?” you ask, like the easily-led simpletons a lesser author might take you to be.  He is the man in charge of the Office of the Public Guardian and so has the job title of Public Guardian.  I do like to imagine him with a cape and lycra, though his photo on the official OPG website shows him in Clark Kent mode (suit and glasses).  I feel his secret identity would have been better preserved had this website not also revealed both his name and super-hero identity:  Schoolboy error!  (Or if you prefer, and in the interests of gender quality, schoolgirl error!).

Well, I suppose both fishes ought to go off and do something a little more productive this Sunday afternoon – or Big Fish will continue to bemoan how little contribution he has made to the world – but first I think we will both enjoy a pear (the ideal fruit for the bifurcated personality with a love of homophones).

Not just a Sudanese River

Well, Egypt always receives any plaudits related to the Nile, I felt it was time to redress the balance a little.  Yes, as you will have realised, this post is all about denial.

Some of you may have read a story in the news stating that surveys have recorded “brainless fish” – here is but one example of this scurrilous piece of journalism.  I would like to make absolutely clear that this story in no way relates to me.  I’ve never even been to Orkney – though if anyone’s offering I could readily be persuaded.  I’m sure Up Helly Aa would be a lot more fun than anything we Sassenachs are offered in early January (though, on a personal level,  my own weekend is looking rather good – even without a (known) Viking component).

Talking of the weekend, how long have people been using the acronym NYE?  I don’t recall seeing it before and so have spent most of the week wondering what was going on in New Amsterdam (as was) beginning with “E”.  On reflection, I suppose it makes some sense, in many ways the end of 2011 is indeed NYE (on the reasonable assumption that it is pronounced to rhyme with lye or bye).

Fish Tales

I realised that I had mentioned Fish Towers in the last post, but have never explained Fish – who and wherefore he?  By the way, Fish Towers is one of the many aliases I use for my demesne in the (very slightly) rolling countryside of South Cambs.

So, in this blog I will tell you of Fish, and in particular of his genesis.  I should warn you that, in its original oral form, I can generally make this tale last over the course of several months – but I shall try and rein in some of my worst excesses and take brevity as my watchword in this written formulation.

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away… George Lucas imagined a series of science fiction films (if only he had also imagined some decent dialogue…).  For the purposes of this tale, we need only look back to the dying years of the last millenium and to the London borough of Southwark.  Harris (not his actual name, but the one I generally know him by) and I, after a hard day of graft in the service of electricity, repaired to the Mug House to partake of a battered pewter mug of bitter (or perhaps a warming glass of sercial).  We were joined in our conviviality by Harris (also not his actual name, but the only name I know him by).  I could explain Harris (and possibly Harris) and their nomenclature, but frankly this is usually where the story gets away from me – let’s just allude to BT engineers and leave it at that.

That evening, underneath the arches, was my first encounter with Harris – obviously, I had encountered Harris before as we shared an office in those halcyon days.  At some stage, over subsequent mugs of dark ale, Harris (not Harris) described me as “a rather highly spiced fish”.  At the end of the evening, we allowed a 4-CIG of Network Southeast to whisk (or rattle) us back to the various parts of Sussex where we were then resident.

In the days that followed (as is very much their wont) I found myself rather taken with Harris’ description of me, but felt it was rather a mouthful for every day use.  As a result, it was abbreviated to the Spicy Fish – a moniker I use to this day and which usefully shares the initials of the name with which I am registered with the UK state.  However, even this was too long for some occasions and it was divided into two quite separate appellations – Fish and Spicer.

At this stage I may need to make clear that I am both Fish and Spicer, or at least they both (generally) share my body and that which lies between my ears.  However, Fish and Spicer are also quite different people – Fish is the earthier of the two and is most known as a bibber; Spicer is a much more cultured individual, given to enjoying choral music and the finer things in life.  Perhaps oddly, Fish is the founder of the feast, as it is very much he who acts as host for any dinner parties I throw, lending his name as he does to “the Fish Suppers”.

Fish is also the source of the parenthetic generally used above: at a wedding in Ipswich many years ago I met a group of strangers who all knew Fish and regaled me with stories of the nights out they had spent together with my erstwhile counterpart.  Lest you think that ethanol may have played a part here, let me assure you that I do not drink to forgot, or drink and forget; these people had never met me before, though they had heard tell of some of my exploits.  Fish appeared to have declared independence from the more fuddy-duddy Spicer (and, indeed, me) and set out to pursue his own life.  At my advanced age, I find myself more of a mind with Spicer anyway, but it would be nice if Fish could report back on his escapades from time-to-time.

I presume finding that a named aspect of your personality has struck out on its own must be an experience common to most of my readers – but they do say “write what you know” (so I have).