Time is social. Harvests. Day and night. Diurnal clocks. Biorhythms and cycles. All that mushy wetware bio stuff I never learned but is real.
Long-suffering reader of the blog paul
The winter solstice was on Friday, and now we’re beginning the long dig out towards the long evenings of summer. So, as is traditional, let’s sit down in front of a big gold piano and reflect on the year.
As the annus horribilis that was 2018 dragged to an end, it seemed that 2019 could only be better. The Queen’s appeal that we put divisions behind us and simply make the best of what we had seemed like it was going to usher in an annus mirabilis as the newly refitted HMS Britannia prepared to begin its buccaneering voyage across an expectant world.
At home, Theresa May announced that she would be combining her passions of hiking and hating immigrants Doing Her Duty to the country by meeting the Hard-Working People of Our Precious Union™️ at the top of the highest peaks in each of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
After the unexpected cancellation of the Mays’ trip to Snowdonia in Wales, they set off for Ben Nevis in Scotland in traditional wear for the English visitor on a day trip to the Scottish mountains – Theresa in leopard-print kitten heel hiking boots, and Dishy Philip in his preferred Savile Row suit and hipster glasses. As May Maynia gripped the country, enthusiastic Scots began their trek up the mountain…
After the disappearance of the Mays in Glen Nevis, another popular favourite had to take to the House of Commons to announce the delay of the Meaningful Vote on the outcome of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
Then, just as it seemed that the fabric of British society would rupture notwithstanding the desires of the Queen, the people were united by the empathy engendered by the release of the paperback of an astonishing new memoir on 22nd January…
As the search for the Mays continued, questions began to be asked about the costs that were being incurred. Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell indicated that he would resign if the costs of the rescue operation exceeded £30,000.
When it was pointed out that Mundell had previously backtracked on promises to resign relating to Brexit outcomes for the Common Fisheries Policy and differentiation for Northern Ireland, he upped the ante considerably.
As Brexit-related turmoil continued, Gatwick Airport entered its fourth month of flight cancellation. After police had announced in December that the drone that had caused 140,000 passengers to be stranded at the airport simultaneously:
had been discovered; and
had never existed
it emerged that Gatwick itself had never existed. The so-called airport was merely a hoax conjured by mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown. Each of the 140,000 stranded “passengers” was in fact a paid actor. Brown himself had travelled in time to turn-of-the-century Ohio to deliver the plans for powered flight to the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.
Meanwhile, popular favourite David Lidington returned to the House of Commons to update the country on the status of Brexit.
Hi there! Sorry to miss you last week – Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had just spent the weekend in Skye. I’ve been particularly keen to get there since I read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse during my creative writing degree.
That linked recording of The Skye Boat Song is bonkers. The production, for a start. Then there’s the incredible whistling of Roger Whitaker – you’ve never heard anything like it. Take that, Otis Redding. And I’ve not even mentioned that someone thought it would be a good idea to get Des O’Connor in to sing it?!
Well, if there’s one thing that this week’s news has encouraged me to do, it’s go off and listen to some good music. With a hat-tip to Longsufferingreaderoftheblogpaul for sharing it aaaaages ago, here’s Reggie Watts’ cover of Van Halen’s Panama:
Where the original is – I’m told – about a race car, Reggie’s version is about the country. What do you think about, when you think about Panama?
Mrs Stroke Bloke and I spent this past weekend in the Highlands. More precisely, we were visiting family in Strontian, on the banks of Loch Sunart. One of my cousins asked if I would be writing about our trip in the blog this week. And since she took me to see David Bowie’s Sound and Vision tour stop in Ingliston in 1990, I could hardly say “No.”
I’ve put Broken Mirror – The Collected Bird’s Fate Postsback up on the site. These posts have been absent from the site for a while, as they’ve been presented in other forums. But now the true story of how I met Susanne Whyte from Bird’s Fate, and found out heroes are just people like you and me, is back in one piece.
Doing that was inspired by the posting of The Prof’s liner notes to an awesome cover of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You over at nerdbaitband.com.
Meanwhile, my short story Phoenix Park went live over at The Dublin Inquirer. It’s part of their Christmas special fiction issue, which collects stories about superheroes set in Dublin. Pop over and have a look. And if you like it, please do leave a comment.
Of course, if you’re on the distribution list for the Apoplexy Newsletter, you’ll be aware of all of this.
Interested in Nerd Bait? Before digging into this week’s post, find out how The Wee Mermannie got the girl – deleted scenes from our Book Festival Gig are part of the bonus materials included in the first issue of the fabulous FREAK Circus!
The beautiful paperback artefact is here. The electronic version that includes the unexpurgated prose version of The Tail of The Wee Mermannie is here.
Right. Now. Back to the blog.
Last Monday, I noted neuroscientist David Eagleman’s remark that the idea that we are unitary people over time is merely an illusion of continuity.
The people each of us individually are at 10, 30, 40, “share the same name and some of the same memories, but we are quite different as a person.”
During the intervening week, I wrote a short story about a man who may – or may not – have lived a succession of quite different lives. Yet there are common themes in those lives. For example, in each case, the character’s father disappears from the scene in his early years.
It wasn’t until I was reading a passage in Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel All the King’s Men last night that I realised that my fiction had been taking a sideways look at Eagleman’s theme…. Continue reading To a Tee→