Friday, May 16

Lord of The Ring

I lost the gold ring that I've had almost all my life. Everyone in my family used to have identical rings, but they had all lost theirs, or had them stolen. Owning the last remaining ring had allowed me to annoy them by claiming to be the rightful family head.

So I went to the cop shop in case someone handed it in. The police were very friendly, and when I showed them a photo of the ring, they said it would be helpful if they could have the original file for their database. To reach my USB stick, I unpacked half of my backpack on the counter, including a discarded bail court attendance order that I had found in the street outside. 

I warned them that there might be hundreds of photos on the stick, but they said that wasn't a problem. One of the officers plugged my USB stick into his computer and seemed to spend a long time looking at the contents. I suddenly wondered - what the hell else have I got on the stick? Eventually he found the ring pic, and took a copy to file with his report.

When I got home, I checked the stick, and found multiple full frontal photos that Denny and I took of each other, pissed of course. 

Wednesday, February 12


How James Bond transports delicate seedlings home on the bus.

Wednesday, January 15

phone rage

One reason I hate cinemas is the interruptions from the mobile phones of inconsiderate bastards. Why can't these people just switch their handsets off? This guy agrees with me.

So I avoid the cinema, except that last week I went to see American Hustle (not bad, though you have to concentrate on the plot's bluffs and double bluffs). Half way through, a phone goes off, and keeps on ringing. Some self-centred NPD sufferer hasn't switched his phone off. Typical! Then I realise the noise is from deep in my backpack. The one time I forget to silence my phone, is the very time one of my few friends has chosen to call! And these days I have the volume set to stun. 

So what to do? Wade into my bag, knowing the ringing will get even louder as I unearth it? No, I decide to brazen it out till they hang up. Except they don't. Eventually I have to bite the bullet and bring out the phone. By this time it can almost be heard in the next cinema.

Finally it's silenced, nobody has punched me, and we can all get back to watching the film. 

A minute later, the SMS alert noise tells me the caller has left a message. Now, peering through my distance-vision specs, I try to work out how to switch it to silent. At last it's done. Panic over. 

By this time I've missed enough of the film to have lost the plot. 

A few minutes later, my friend has decided to try ringing me on my other phone, also set to maximum volume, also at the bottom of my bag, and the whole rigmarole begins again. By now the film's ruined, but it hasn't been a total waste of time. I've had the humbling experience of learning that inconsiderate bastards aren't just them out there, it's me too. I believe some people would meditate half a lifetime to achieve that kind of oneness with the universe. 

Saturday, January 11

germanic classics

The old German classic book for children, Struwwelpeter, is a collection of severe moral tales for kids. Little Jimmy Head-in-the-air, doesn't look where he's going, falls in a canal and drowns. Little Johnny Suck-a-thumb gets his thumb cut off. Message - when shit happens it's your own fault.

I live in a place not noted for centuries of intellectual writing. Sitting on a bench, waiting for the bus home from the town supermarket, I was reading Jonathan Franzen's new book. I was congratulating myself on my postmodern sensitivity - Franzen has just translated Karl Kraus's 20th century writing about Heinrich Heine's 19th century writing. The new book presents the German text on the left page, and the English on the right, but the footnotes take up most of both pages

I got on the bus and continued reading. Franzen views Kraus as a 1900s blogger, and re-casts his dichotomy - German austere functionality vs French/Italian aesthetics - as a contemporary rivalry: stodgy workmanlike PC vs glitzy cool Mac. Function vs Form. Two European cultures. And how clever of me to be reading about it!

As I got off the bus at the other end, I realised I had idiotically left my shopping on the bench in the town. I had been too engrossed in the book. So I crossed the road and caught a bus going back the other way. When I got there, my bags were just where I had left them. I'm lucky to live in a place that hasn't produced any Einsteins or Stuwwelpeters, but they don't nick your stuff.