Monthly Archives: September 2008

Bring me my bow of burning steel …

I’m sick of being regulated. Not allowed to eat this, not allowed to park there, not allowed to do that. Pah! You’re not the boss of me! I just took a really good look at the pompous-arse sign at the edge of the park up the street, with its list of little black silhouette pictures – each of them overscored with that red circle, slashed through the middle, which means the little silhouette picture is verboten in the park.

So – no dogs, no horses, no golf, no kites, no motorcycles, no bicycles, no camping, campfires, knot-tying, dib-dib-dobbing or anything bloody else. No nudie yoga at sunrise, either, which will disappoint one of my nephews immensely.  He lives in a lovely, bohemian town which welcomes nudie yoga at sunrise, and gleefully – with quite a few Jaegerbombs under where his belt might have been had he been clothed – fronted up (at every possible level) one morning in order to dingle-dangle at daybreak. From what I gather, things were going marvellously well until the local constabulary were called and informed my nephew, amongst other official-sounding policey things; ‘… you are not in command of your faculties and it might be better if you went home, Bud.’ According to his mother, my nephew was actually semi-qualified to take part – after all, even though he’d never done yoga before, he had, on occasion, been nude. But I digress.

The point is, I’m getting more ornery as I get older and having turned 51 this week and being over halfway to a century, all these rules are making me feel as if I want to be very disobedient indeed.  I want, in fact, to get a great big motorcycle, panniers filled with dogs, kites and other random sporting equipment, and perform the shitkicker’s waltz all over that park. In the nude, too – but with a sheet wrapped around in order not to scare the horses (who aren’t allowed there anyway and shouldn’t be looking).

What was wrong with a childhood where we left the house after breakfast and only showed up in time for tea? Why was our world not populated with paedophiles and perverts? According to the Warrior Queen, you were in danger of slave traders dragging you into sinister vehicles which had blackened windows and leering men intoning, ‘Have a sweetie, little girl …’ – but I never saw any in my neighbourhood, and seeing as boredom hadn’t been invented then, none of us felt the need to cover the local shopping centres with graffiti or wrangle pensioners to the ground in order to steal their fluff-encrusted sherbert lemons and soggy tissues.

Local parks are no longer dangerous and fun. Gone are the high, steel slipperydips from which you hurtled into a hollow of hard-packed earth – which might have a few inches of mud in the bottom if your mother was unlucky – and gone also is that long plank swing, which eight kids could straddle while two more stood at the ends and made it go parallel with the top bars. Many arms were broken by the plank swing – and many more on the maypole, or from bicycles, go-carts and frenzied whirls on the Hills Hoist when no mothers were watching. Indeed, my multi-talented brother – he the inventor of so many goodly things to do – was able to sustain a marvellous head injury by hurling himself onto the bed from his top cupboard – while the ceiling fan was in full and splendid motion.

Alas, these things are merely a memory. Our park has a mean swing with a rubber sling which will only seat babies. People like me are unable to fit our legs through the legholes in order to revisit childhood even for one whimsical minute – and there would be absolutely no chance of squeezing one’s bargearse between the chains anyway . Under the swing is a pit of sawdust laid on rubberised mats. You couldn’t decently break a limb if you tried.

It’s all very well to purse our mouths, stop the fun and deprive today’s children of a proper childhood. They may not run on beaches with wild abandon and joyous dogs at their heels – nor may they eat too much icecream or climb a tree or ride a bicycle down a killer hill with no hands on handlebars nor helmet on head – and they shall not use imagination; that free and wonderful commodity which has died and been buried by technology and plastic crap.

It’s time to stick up for ourselves and be allowed to live again. Gather together in local parks this weekend with illegal animals and appliances. Build a bonfire, burn an effigy, smoke something herbal.

Bring me my chariot of fire …

.oOo.

Considering the pixilation of the species …

 

By the time you read this they will probably have fired up the Large Hadron Collider and who knows what hell might have broken loose? Some people believe there will be loud hallelujahs – and there may well be – but whether they find the God Particle or not, I dare say I’ll still have floors to clean, a particularly bad hair day and still won’t have any nice cake in the house, either. (In a shameless and brazen fit of self promotion, please refer to Archives, January 16 – Apocalypse soon.)

Technology has indeed come a long, long way – so I found it both quirky and hilarious to see a story on the news tonight about another story the news channel wasn’t actually allowed to show us yet (legal reasons and defamation being what they are) – regarding some terrorists. There followed a picture of the group of alleged terrorists in court with pixilated faces. Nothing too alarming about pixilated faces, I hear you say – and no, there isn’t. Except that the pixilated faces were on sketches of the alleged terrorists – not actual photographic terrorists at all. And even more hilarious was the fact that, poking jauntily out from below the pixilated bits, highly telltale bushy black Osama beards had been bravely rendered with a trusty Derwent No.66 – leaving not an awful lot to the imagination anyway. In this technological age I find it amazing there are still people with pencil pots sitting in courtrooms doodling frantically away – but to then use pixilation over the top of their efforts seems bizarre. Why couldn’t the court artists merely have done a big fat scribble right over the eyes and noses? Or covered them with an elephant stamp, even.

 

The very thought of anyone managing to build the Hadron Collider is mindboggling when you consider trains don’t run on time and I don’t run at all. And there are days it would be a very nice thing altogether to be able to have a pixilated face as one lurched from the safety of one’s home to face a world of beautiful people in order to collect the electricity bill and dodgy pizza voucher from the mailbox. It would be comforting (nay, only fair) to have a pixilated face when your knicker elastic fails miserably halfway down Aisle 3 of Food-o-rama – and again, when your cashcard doesn’t work as they swipe it in the machine and you are not allowed to take your carefully chosen groceries home with you. Especially when the stash contained a six-pack of chocolate eclairs and two-for-the-price-of-one toilet rolls.

 

A pixilated face would have gone down a treat in my wedding photo, too. And on every occasion Rocco’s hapless mother had to front up to a parent/teacher interview. And what about one’s driving licence? If there was ever a case for pixilation, those miniature horror portraits are surely it.

 

These days, graphic artists can work miracles on facial blemishes and cellulite with a mere sweep of the mouse. Models are smooth and glamorous and even-textured. How many hours does this take – and would it not be easier to just go, ‘ah, bugger it!’ and apply the pixilation tool? Sorry, Elle, Naomi and Heidi … we’re all sisters under the pixels! You, too, can have funny little fuzzy squares just like mine plastered all over your perfect countenances! No more zits or spots or nasty bits – or even unwanted facial hair.

 

In actual fact, I wouldn’t mind some pixilation over pretty much the whole of the past week or two. Possibly because my face did not have the benefit of a paper bag over it, my computer decided it could no longer bear to look, and blew itself up. I am doing this on Frankenputer – a machine the Hunter-Gatherer has kindly cobbled together for me out of random bits and pieces, and for which I am exceedingly grateful. Frankenputer, however, does not have my novel, my huge collection of photographs of abandoned buildings and images from ghostcams – and most definitely does not have Vista with widgets. If the data on the hard drive of my deceased machine turns out to be non-recoverable, I will need very strong pixilation indeed so the rest of the world is spared the sight of madness descending – and then rising up again – and then descending for the final time with a deafening and earth-shattering thud.

 

In fact, the Hadron Collider can then feel free to do its best work. I’ve heard those God Particles will pretty much pixilate the entire universe in a very unrecoverable way altogether  – and daft, petulant people with busted computers won’t even be worthy of a mention anymore. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much as things ought to be …

.oOo.