Friday, 17 December 2010

Lexiconic manipulations

Recently, developments at home have meant I've little time to relax and get to grips with putting "pen to paper", to furnish you kind patrons of my blog with those cerebral eruptions I'm wont to call, "my thoughts", "my writing". However, be that as it may, notwithstanding, henceforth, nonetheless, and a backward somersault with pike... in gratitude for your patronage (and as it's the season of goodwill) I thought it best to present upon you the latest offering from the part of my brain that produces daft thoughts, namely the sillybellum.

As an occasional "chatterer" on the various platforms offered by the Internet: MSN, Yahoo, and Gtalk, etc., I've noticed certain words are repeated again, and again to the point of irritation. Most culpable in my experience is the adjective, "cool", meaning fine, great, or wow. This, thought I, would be a likely candidate for refurbishment, or at least, a little, tarting-up.

At first I thought I'd simply substitute
it with a synonym, but from deep within the convoluted highways, byways, nooks and crannies of my mind, came the idea of re-spelling. This, I think, has the benefit of giving it greater visual appeal, though I'll let you decide. So...

Ladies, gentleman, and those that fit between or maybe beyond... I give you, in quasi-celtic form... KEOUGHL!

What do you think? Is it indeed, keoughl? Or do you think instead, it's the outpouring of a feoughl?

Whatever.

A merry YEOUGHLTIDE to all!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

My kind of town (circa 2005)

I love the city. I love the buzz it gives me. Once a week I have to breathe it in. It’s my fix, an antidote to calm and serenity. I love the quiet life too, but in excess, it resembles death. They say life is change, so that’s what I do, I have a change, to remind myself of life at it’s most vibrant. I treat life as a dance if I can; an interplay between quiet introspection and head on participation. A two beat rhythm between living and reflection: live, reflect, live, reflect; dah dum, dah dum.

As it happens I have no natural rhythm. I tend to miss the first beat. I pick up the second and sustain it far too long. In terms of Iife I reflect, and reflect, and reflect again, forgetting to live. I’m a one legged dancer on the floor of life. But I get the first beat eventually: then it’s off to the city. I don’t care to bungee jump, hang glide, or do drugs, so it’s enough to take part; mix in and move with the flow. It suits me, and it works.

As cities go, Birmingham is unimpressive. It has little of architectural interest; spoiled by the aesthetic atrocities of the sixties which dominate. It has history though. Set in the midlands of England this was once the industrial capital of the world. Now it’s coming to terms with the post-industrial era; the era of high technology and services.

I was there this weekend. My senses heightened by caffeine, I strolled down the main semi-pedestrianised thoroughfare, enjoying the spring sunshine, stopping only to take photographs. Being a Sunday the crowds were light, and the clement weather lent it a festive air. Amongst the midday shoppers I was pleased to see a familiar face. Sitting crossed-legged and hunched over his instrument was the world’s worst busker. Giving very little to performance he justly gained very little in monetary return. Although possessing an unchallenging repertoire of three chord hits from the sixties, his virtuosity never progressed, due to his difficulty with F - oh how I love his riffs! His music would be an appropriate soundtrack for my one legged dance of life. I may record him for my funeral service, though I hope the pallbearers don’t walk to his rhythm. It was good to see him. He made me smile.

This lack of virtuosity befits Britain’s second city, which is, appropriately, second class. The council fools no one with its pretentious claims for being “of world stature". It has tried and failed. Motor sports and half-marathons have been and gone. Vast sums of money spent on developing the central area make no difference. There is no glamour. London, New York or Paris it aint. And that’s how we like it. We Brummies have an inferiority complex after decades of being the butt of others jokes. They laugh at our strange accent, and condemn our town for being dirty. And it’s true. The grime of yesteryear still clings. We accept it. If we want charisma, enchantment and good food. we’ll go elsewhere. Isn’t that what the continent’s for?

So why do I persist in going? That’s easy to answer. I have an old chunky-knit zip up cardigan which has seen better days. Haute couture it aint but it’s snug, and it makes me feel good, just like Birmingham, my town.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My genetic heritage

Earlier this year I replaced mother's ailing television with an old, but little-used set of my own - A 14" Sony Trinitron, of the cathode-ray variety, out-dated now, but a classic in it's day. Still, it was robust and perfectly functional when delivered; but after only a few months use, it lost it's colour, though leaving a perfectly sharp, monochrome image.

Despite it's age I was surprised to see it fail. It had little use over the past 18 years, but I gave mom the benefit of the doubt and put the colour-loss down to inevitable wear and tear, and not the result of damage inflicted by a frenzied, crazy 91 year old old woman, struggling to cope with the not too user-friendly handset. After only a weeks use, I received a series of phone calls...

"The sound has gone!"

"It's too loud!"

"It's too soft!"

"I can't remove the number from the corner of the screen!"

"There's writing all over the screen, it won't go away!".

And finally,, "The colour keeps disappearing!".

With each successive phone call, and with uncharacteristic patience and serenity on my part, I replied, "Okay mother, don't worry, I'll see to it at the weekend!".

Fast forward to last weekend. I'm at mothers. Mom has been intermittently reading and dozing and I'm sitting at my computer, writing, or at least, thinking about writing. Mom stirs. Sits up, leans towards the nearby coffee-table, and of a sudden, with its characteristic clunk-like sound, the Sony fires up. "At least", I'm thinking, "mom knows where the on-off button is".

"Look!", she exclaims. "It's in colour!". Then adds with a knowing angry sneer, "But it won't last!".

This is the point where, given my experience of mother, you'd expect me to remain mute, to feign total absorption with my computer, but alas...

"I can always get you a new one. The small ones aren't so expensive!".

"NOOOOO! I'm not bothered. There's nothing on. It's all rubbish!".

"Well if it's rubbish and you're not bothered, why all the fuss? What difference does it make whether it's in colour or black and white?"

A pause. A blank look.

And then, with a hint of triumph after a struggle, as if she'd calculated the answer to a particularly difficult mental-arithmetic question, she said, "what if anyone looks in through the window and sees it in black and white?".

All I could do was stare. Unblinking.