Back to Basics

Tags

, ,

I think I’m becoming more and more fundamentalist with age.

Things that have bubbled under and informed my world view for far too many decades to count are now shoving aside all other thoughts when considering the issues of the day.

For instance, all the fuss about the notorious interview featuring royalty and a couple of members of the Windsor family (see what I did there?). I don’t give a monkey’s pizzle who said what and what was going on and how it will affect the set-up. All I find myself thinking is, We shouldn’t have a fucking monarchy at all!

Terfs and trannies. I have an annoying inability to take sides on most matters; I can see the points that concern both sides (though I lean far more to the pro-trans side). But then I’m thinking mostly that beneath it all is the fact that these issues wouldn’t exist if we had a less hung-up  society, if we all got changed and went to the loo in the same places, irrespective of what dangly bits we do or don’t have or do or don’t wish we had, or who we prefer to have play with them. Or just go back to the days when all changing was done in cubicles, which I, with my pectus excavatum always preferred anyway (what about hollow chest rights, wokeys?).

And almost every question which comes down to money or the allocation of resources (why spend trillions sending a probe to Mars or funding some friends of the Tories to pretend to set up a life-saving system, when there are kids starving in Cumbeslobodia?) — all these have me screaming, well, this wouldn’t bloody apply, if we didn’t have the illogical systems of money, capital and what Godwin called the most pernicious of evils, exchange.

All this is of course totally useless. That bugs me. I am painfully aware that it is unproductive to say that the whole damn system should have been set up differently in the first place. Like the golfer who keeps replaying the drive in their head and thinking of the shot they would have played from the middle of the fairway, rather than concentrating on the chip from the long grass that they’ve set themself.

So the next question in each case, is how to chip back onto the fairway, without going all the way back to the tee.

I think I’ve lost the ball.

Meteoric Messenger

Tags

, ,

There are no elderly angels

What colour is silence?

Charlie d’Ory (1923-2010) said, bottle in one hand while the other made its wild, expressive gestures, that everything that drops from the mouth of man is precious stones!

At night there is less talk than by day

Hasten the vine of life

I (2003-2006) would offer my own discourse as sufficient refutation, but Nicaraguan poet, Carlos Martinez Rivas (1924-1998) was scathing enough that drunken night. Everything that falls from man’s mouth is nonsense! he yelled and brandished his own bottle in the direction of the gaditano. Only by threatening to rip the Nicaraguan’s head off if he didn’t lay down his weapon, did Félix Grande (1937-2014), Extremaduran poet and flamencologist, manage to partially defuse the situation.

Someone compared Japanese writing to rain

Foolishly, I spent the years after I bought the book, thinking that Aerolitos were telegrams, aerograms, in fact, which seemed an obvious description of the brief, aphoristic pieces to which  Ory gave that name. Only recently did I bother to check the translation and find that they are meteorites. But I celebrate the serendipitous conjunction of the two translations, right and wrong.

The ancient Egyptians domesticated hyenas

After the Spanish Carlos had read out a number of these on that drunken evening, wherever it was, in 1966, his Nacaraguan namesake did at least aver, roar even, that Believe me, you have to believe me: los Aerolitos are proof that everything that fell out of the mouth of Ory was precious stones! You have to believe me!

In the Pensées of Pascal there is one about flies: Oh most ridiculous hero!

For reasons lost in the mists of drink, I decided to jot a few of my own but somehow forgot that the originals were usually very brief one-liners. Now do I continue with my mini-couplets or start over with shortness?

The ugliness of the sleeping forest

Every minute an imbecile is born (Dan Millman)

Whatever the decision, the name of Buñuelitos will remain etched in stone and custard. El very wonderful Faro de Cádiz had on it’s tapas menu when I lived there buñuelos de roquefort, which Eric Cartman would probably call cheesy puffs. Well, it seems obvious to diminutise these to buñuelitos and revel in the nominal connection with surrealist film maker Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) and thus name my own pieces, which I may or may not share with you in the near future.

We crashed into the wall of infinity

No precious stones but maybe entertaining and illuminating chunks of something. After all coal can keep us warmer than any number of diamonds. Meanwhile I can translate with the help of my old friend Huawei, the original gems of de Ory.

We may know only a few men, but we do know a great number of jackets and trousers (H D Thoreau)

el acento de Cai

Tags

,

Como complemento a la publicación más larga de hoy, aquí está mi canción de chirigota que debería haber terminado en 2001.

Cuplet: el acento de Cai

Soy inglé’, pero vivo en la Viña.
¿Como la plata? ¡No has visto mi cucina!
Primera vez, la ciudad me encantado,
Pronto lo supe — mi corazón e’ gaditano.
En Inglaterra aprendí ‘pañol muy bueno
Pero aquí se volvió — co’ un mal sueño!
Mi ca’tellano ‘tuvo bien, pero ¡lo siento!
¿Qué diablos le pasa a tu acento?
¿Perdoneme? Es difícil captar sentidos,
E’ tan rapido, y tu come’ los sonidos
En las tiendas nunca se que ‘toy comprando
Y la gente se ríe con mi fallando.
Dondequiera voy, ‘cucho la alegría
¡Estoy seguro que saben que yo quería!
No soy un burro, y no soy una cabra
Yo soy inglé’, yo ¡no entiendo … una palabraaaa!

and I even created an English version with roughly similar meaning…

In English: The Cádiz Accent

I am English, but I live here in la Viña.
Clean as the silver?! My kitchen you ain’t seen, yeah?
When I first came here, the old city worked its magic,
And soon I knew — my heart belongs to Cádiz.
Back home in London, I had learned a bit of Spanish —
When I got here all that knowledge seemed to vanish!
I thought my grasp of Castellano was quite decent
But what the hell is going on here with your accent?!
“What’d you say?!” It’s hard to know just what the sense is;
You speak so quickly — and you swallow half the letters.
In shops and bars I never quite know what I’m buying,
But the locals seem amused to see me trying.
Everywhere I go I hear their jolly laughter,
Though I’m sure the buggers know just what I’m after!
I’m not a ‘donkey’, and I’m not a ‘silly bird’,
I’m simply English —and don’t understand … a bloody word!

[La Viña — the vineyards — is the working class barrio I called home, and the epicentre of Carnaval, continuing the festivities to and beyond dawn, well after Ash Wednesday.
The street cleaning vehicles of Cádiz bear the legend “Cádiz: como la plata“, or like the silverware or the plate]

Cuplet, retrasado [el acento gaditano]

Tags

, , ,

Soy inglé’, pero vivo en la Viña.
¿Como la plata? ¡No has visto mi cucina!

In case you don’t already know, I lived in the Andalucian paradise of Cádiz in 2000 and a bit of 2001. You can read some (rather fanciful) accounts of it here; the forerunners of my blogging, as I learned to set up websites and mess around with links. Some found them highly amusing. Had I not fallen and broken my shoulder on Finchley Road on the way back after Yuletide (as the final entry explains), there would have been a great deal more.

In the latter days of my tenure, there took place the Carnaval de Cádiz, a week or so of chaos, cavalcades and costumes, that a fellow Brit there described as ‘a million people sharing a joke you’re not in on’.

I was at least able to document that, through an alcoholic haze.

One of the major features of the Gaditano carnival is the plethora of singing groups which apeear on every stage and street corner throughout the festivities (and in a good few places for the rest of the year). The mainstay of these is the chirigota, a group of about a dozen guys (though female chirigotas and even mixed teams are getting more common). The costumes are hilarious, the songs are largely satirical and bawdy (though one or two singing the sincere praises of the city and the province are pretty much compulsory in every team’s set). There’s a huge competition in the Gran Teatro Falla in the preceding weeks, and teams from each barrio will have spent much of the year deciding on their latest name and outfit Tampax Goyescas, the winners that year, have become a classic.

 

Anyway, I decided to write a song in the style (and accent) of the incomprehensible cuplets of the chirigotas (and choros and cuartetos and ilegales), about how, as a guiri (foreign Johnny), I struggled with an accent which seemed mainly to consist of leaving out most of the phonemes (the locals call the place Cai, ffs).

I got as far as the first and last couplets.

I vowed I would fill some sort of waffle in between to make a song of sorts one day.

That day was this week, twenty years later. Twenty years after this charming bastard stood on his rooftop by the ocean, resplendent in panama hat, white suit, co-respondent shoes and (plastic) cane.

So here we are, firstly in that Gaditano dialect which makes these songs incomprehensible to most Spaniards, let alone us incomers (on the other hand, if you can scrape through in Cai, it’s plain sailing in the rest of Spain).

Cuplet: el acento de Cai

Soy inglé’, pero vivo en la Viña.
¿Como la plata? ¡No has visto mi cucina!
Primera vez, la ciudad me encantado,
Pronto lo supe — mi corazón e’ gaditano.
En Inglaterra aprendí ‘pañol muy bueno
Pero aquí se volvió — co’ un mal sueño!
Mi ca’tellano ‘tuvo bien, pero ¡lo siento!
¿Qué diablos le pasa a tu acento?
¿Perdoneme? Es difícil captar sentidos,
E’ tan rapido, y tu come’ los sonidos
En las tiendas nunca se que ‘toy comprando
Y la gente se ríe con mi fallando.
Dondequiera voy, ‘cucho la alegría
¡Estoy seguro que saben que yo quería!
No soy un burro, y no soy una cabra
Yo soy inglé’, yo ¡no entiendo … una palabraaaa!

and I even created an English version with roughly similar meaning…

In English: The Cádiz Accent

I am English, but I live here in la Viña.
Clean as the silver?! My kitchen you ain’t seen, yeah?
When I first came here, the old city worked its magic,
And soon I knew — my heart belongs to Cádiz.
Back home in London, I had learned a bit of Spanish —
When I got here all that knowledge seemed to vanish!
I thought my grasp of Castellano was quite decent
But what the hell is going on here with your accent?!
“What’d you say?!” It’s hard to know just what the sense is;
You speak so quickly — and you swallow half the letters.
In shops and bars I never quite know what I’m buying,
But the locals seem amused to see me trying.
Everywhere I go I hear their jolly laughter,
Though I’m sure the buggers know just what I’m after!
I’m not a ‘donkey’, and I’m not a ‘silly bird’,
I’m simply English —and don’t understand … a bloody word!

[La Viña — the vineyards — is the working class barrio I called home, and the epicentre of Carnaval, continuing the festivities to and beyond dawn, well after Ash Wednesday.
The street cleaning vehicles of Cádiz bear the legend “Cádiz: como la plata“, or like the silverware or the plate]

Better late than never, I guess.

A Visit from St Nicola — now in English!

Tags

, , , ,

OK, I’m reasonably happy with this …

A Visit from St Nicola (Scots version)

‘Twas the night afore Christmas, but a’ through the toon,
No’ a creature was stirrin’ — we’d a’ been locked doon.
We’d tucked up the weans wi’ a smile and a song;
Ah, but we knew that they knew that somethin’ was wrong.
Their sanitised stockings were hung up wi’ care,
Wi’ the mince pies and carrots sat pointlessly there;
We’d asked a few pals roond, we’d meant tae ask more,
But they had to cry aff when we moved to Tier Four.
So we set oot some snacks and we poured oot some gin,
And settled oorsel’s for a quiet evenin’ in —
When suddenly through the front windae we heard
The jingle of bells — and a rather rude word.
I peered roond the curtains — and I could have sworn
That I saw Father Christmas hisself on oor lawn.
His sleigh in oor gateway was steevily wedged,
And Rudolph the Reindeer was stuck in oor hedge.
“Do ye need ony help?” I called oot fae the door,
But that only made Santa swear even more.
“I can manage, ye bastard; I’m magic, ye ken!
“But accidents will happen, noo and again.
“Och, I may as well hand ye yer gifts, while ye’re here,”
And he staggered towards me, a’ reekin’ o’ beer.
“It’s been a lang night, as I’m sure’s no surprise —
“So I’m trustin’ ye’ve whisky an’ no just mince pies!”
“Of course we have! But is it too much to ask,
“That before ye come in, ye could put on a mask?”
He grumbled, but, waving one hand in the air,
A glittering face mask materialised there —
But before he could cover his face wi’ the sheet,
Wi’ a bang and a flash he fell deid at ma feet.
And what should I see, at the edge of my land,
But Scotland’s First Minister, shotgun in hand.
“I’ve telt ye afore, Santa, a’ doon the street,
“Ye’ve visited mair than wan hoosehold the neet.
“While you’re spreadin’ cheer to each Ma, Pa and wean,
“I’m preventin’ the spreadin’ o’ Covid-Nineteen!
“It’s no a’ that guid gettin’ gifties the day,
“If you’re stuck in a hospital come Hogmanay.”
As she shouldered her gun and walked back to her car,
She looked over her shoulder and said, “Sorry, Pa.
“Help yersels to they parcels, but else dinna stress.
“We’ll send someone o’er to clear up the mess.
“I’m sorry to muck up yer Christmas yet more,
“But try tae enjoy yersels — Frank, get the door!”

And of course there’s the video version on YouTube, where I commit further atrocities with a ‘Scots’ accent …

But for those less comfortable with my mangled version of Scots, and for whom the final reference to Janey Godley’s brilliant ‘Frank, get the door’ is meaningless, there is now a Sassenach version (though still set in Scotland and with a few Scotticisms, like ‘weans’ for ‘kids’ …

A Visit from St Nicola

‘Twas the night before Christmas, but all through the town,
Not a creature was stirring — we’d all been locked down.
We’d tucked up the kids with a smile and a song;
Ah, but we knew that they knew that something was wrong.
Their sanitised stockings were hung up with care,
With the mince pies and carrots sat pointlessly there;
We’d asked a few pals round, we’d meant to ask more,
But they had to cry off when we moved to Tier Four.
So we set out some snacks and we poured out some gin,
And settled ourselves for a quiet evening in —
When suddenly through the front window we heard
The jingle of bells — and a rather rude word.
I peered round the curtains — and I could have sworn
That I saw Father Christmas himself on our lawn.
His sleigh in our gateway was solidly wedged,
And Rudolph the Reindeer was stuck in our hedge.
“Do you need any help?” I called out from the door,
But that only made Santa swear even more.
“I can manage, ye bastard; I’m magic, ye ken!
“But accidents will happen, now and again.
“But I may as well hand you yer gifts, while you’re here,”
And he staggered towards me, all reeking of beer.
“It’s been a long night, as I’m sure’s no surprise —
“So I’m trusting you’ve whisky and not just mince pies!”
“Of course we have! But is it too much to ask,
“That before you come in, you could put on a mask?”
He grumbled, but, waving one hand in the air,
A glittering face mask materialised there —
But before he could cover his face with the sheet,
With a bang and a flash, he fell dead at my feet!
And what should I see, at the edge of my land,
But Scotland’s First Minister, shotgun in hand.
“Och, Santa, I warned you, it just isn’t right,
“You’ve visited more than one household tonight.
“While you’re spreading cheer to each Ma, Pa and wean,
“I’m preventing the spreading of Covid-Nineteen!
“It’s not all that good getting gifts on the day,
“If you’re stuck in a hospital come Hogmanay.”
As she shouldered her gun and walked back to her car,
She looked over her shoulder and said, “Sorry, Pa.
“Help yourselves to those parcels, but else don’t you stress.
“We’ll send someone over to clear up the mess.
“Try to have a good Christmas and Happy New Year!”
So we went to the garden with wonder and fear,
But those extra gifts dispelled most of our doubts —
And reindeer’s delicious with roasties and sprouts!

A Visit from St Nicola

Tags

, , , ,

 ‘Twas the night afore Christmas, but a’ through the toon,
No’ a creature was stirrin’ — we’d a’ been locked doon.
We’d tucked up the weans wi’ a smile and a song;
Ah, but we knew that they knew that somethin’ was wrong.
Their sanitised stockings were hung up wi’ care,
Wi’ the mince pies and whisky sat pointlessly there;
We’d asked a few pals roond, we’d meant tae ask more,
But they had to cry aff when we moved to Tier Four.
So we set oot some snacks and we poured oot some gin,
And settled oorsel’s for a quiet night in —
When suddenly through the front windae we heard
The jingle of bells — and a rather rude word.
I peered roond the curtains — and I could have sworn
That I saw Father Christmas himself on oor lawn.
His sleigh in oor gateway was steevily wedged,
And Rudolph the Reindeer was stuck in oor hedge.
“Do ye need ony help?” I called out fae the door,
But that only got Santa swearing some more.
“I can manage, ye bastard; I’m magic, ye ken!
“But accidents will happen, noo and again.
“But I may as well hand ye yer gifts, while ye’re here,”
And he staggered towards me, a’ reekin’ o’ beer.
“It’s been a lang night, as I’m sure’s no surprise —
“So I’m trustin’ ye’ve whisky an’ no just mince pies!”
“Of course we have! But, is it too much to ask,
“That before ye come in ye could put on a mask?”
He grumbled, but, waving one hand in the air,
A glittering face mask materialised there —
But before he could cover his face wi’ the sheet,
Wi’ a bang and a flash he fell deid at ma feet.
And who should I see, at the edge of ma land,
But Scotland’s First Minister, shotgun in hand.
“I’ve telt ye afore, Santa, a’ doon the street,
“Ye’ve visited mair than wan hoosehold the neet.
“While you’re spreadin’ cheer to each Ma, Pa and wean,
“I’m preventin’ the spreadin’ o’ Covid-Nineteen!
“It’s no a’ that guid gettin’ gifties the day,
“If you’re stuck in a hospital come Hogmanay.”
As she shouldered her gun and walked back to her car,
She looked over her shoulder and said, “Sorry, Pa.
“Help yersels to yon parcels, but else dinna stress.
“We’ll send someone o’er to clear up the mess.
“I’m sorry to muck up yer Christmas yet more,
“But try tae enjoy yersels — Frank, get the door!”

First draft; or maybe it’ll do.

Blockhead

Tags

, ,

 

I hate blocks, me.

Not long ago I was commenting on twitter about novel coronavirus. I started to write a tweet comparing the RNA based cv19 to something like adenoviri, which are DNA based, to contrast the rates and natures of mutation. Then I thought, ‘sod that; I’ll never get it all in a tweet’, and decided to switch to comparing the ‘antigen drift’ typical of flu viruses, that makes a new vaccine necessary for each wave, which most folks know about to some extent.

Trouble was, I left the ‘RNA’ bit in, and was rapidly picked up, quite rightly, by a number of twits. Rightly but also rudely, especially by the folks on the thread who were arguing for ‘herd immunity’, which is what I was questioning originally.

[To add a bit of detail I was saying that if a vaccine was possible, it might need regular re-application, as although coronaviruses often mutate in less volatile fashion, immune systems are less prone to providing lasting immunity. I’d been discussing this with a veterinary friend only days before and she spoke of the repeated doses which have to be given to livestock for some cv, just before their young are due.]

But I was ‘talking out my arse’, as flu is also an RNA virus. Quite right, and though I hadn’t actually stated that it wasn’t, the wording implied I might have thought so. But right doesn’t need aggressive or rude — just point out I made a mistake guys. At least the one who responded to my correction by asking if I was ‘just lying’ before, became more friendly when I said it was not a lie but lazy editing (tweeting on a phone from bed when dozing is never a good idea, even for Donald J Trump), and said I’d delete the offending tweet.
But what got me was the bloke who responded by saying, “Don’t make me block you!” as if this was some terrifying threat. Our paths had never crossed before, obviously neither was going to follow the other’s account, so there’s little chance he’d have seen anything of mine again (or that I’d give a shit about his posts); mostly I tweet what I’m eating, so unless he was desperate to see a picture of my Korean bibimbap, who gives a flying fuck?

 

What is it with all this blocking and reporting these days? As I said a couple of weeks ago, folks can call each other all sorts of nasty names and hint, without foundation, at all forms of turpitude and though many such tweets remain in the public domain, it is possible to report them and have stuff removed. And trolls do exist whose only delight (or in some cases paid job) is to hassle certain twits repeatedly and nastily, so blocking does have its place. But I have seen quite reasonably worded posts, on both ‘my’ side of an argument and the wrong one responded to with the simple and simpletonian, ‘blocked and reported’. And I often say, when people ask why I am taking the trouble to argue the case against an obvious trollbot, it’s not for their benefit I attempt to apply reason, but for that of any passing rational person (just in case any exist in the twittersphere), who might fall for their bile-filled rhetoric.

OK, folks like me are beating our heads against a very rough-cast brick wall, but I’m assured that will make it feel all the nicer when we stop.

But that’s not the only blockage bugging me today. No, my drains are fine for now, thanks for asking, and my bowels reasonably so too.

What got me was coming into WordPress to do my weekly waffle, to keep them writing muscles flexed and all that, as explained way back when in March 2013. And it appears that I now have to enter my shit in block format. The old line editor has gone and the new, trendy, block method of building web pages rules.

I hate blocks. I don’t even like cascading bloody style sheets (though I can see their value on a large, corporate, site. But it’s all bland homogenisation, from where I sit. Were I setting up a site for your business, I’d use them throughout, to give a nice, uniformity and a ‘house-style’. You want to sell stuff or services, not amuse potential customers with intellectual games and fripperies. I get that.

And to be fair, I don’t hate blocks per se. Once in a while I have struggled with nested tables in HTML, to create a page which would have cried out for a block arrangement. But I want to use them as and when, not as a default.

Oh, I can use the ‘classic’ look, apparently. So I evoke that, but it doesn’t give me the classic editor, oh no, still a blocky page with huge, partially-sighted or child-friendly clumps of words. Nah, I have other things to do. I’m behind with setting up (using Squarespace and its ruddy blocks) the 2020 Scottish Portrait Awards, ready for the exhibition launch, online if not in the paint. To be honest, it never seemed to have the intended effect of getting me churning out novels anyway.

And where the fuck is the option to add hashtags and categories? I don’t doubt it’s there, but I can’t be arsed to spend hours ploughing through help screens. Bloody hell, it shows you once you try to publish.
[Hah! I’ve found my way to the ‘classic’ editor, in an attempt to assign this shit to a category. Still think I’m looking at a good excuse to stop. I don’t think there’ll be much wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the land.]

So fuck you, WordPress (or should that be ‘thank you’ for freeing me from this weekly pointlessness?). This will be my last blog on here, at least for a while (if you follow me you’ll know if I ever change my mind). I might go back to putting stuff on Lucidity Ltd, and of course you can follow me on twitter (@dailowe).

Unless I’ve been blocked and reported, of course. Farewell, friends.

You Lost Me At ‘Baby Shoes’

Tags

, , , ,

A hundred years ago, when your defatigable blogger and his ex-wife-to-be were both students, the only ways to communicate across distances, like the sides of their Nottingham-York-Manchester triangle, were carrier pigeon, post, and telephone. And remember the last two were what might now be referred to as snailmail and landlines.

Being without benefit of columbidae and only able to use said phones in boxes situated in the Students’ Unions, much of our discourse was carried on in writing, posted regularly, though not in quantities that would furnish an epistolatory novel in the time of Richardson. But a certain volume was expected. Even by the standards of the time, Yours Truly was a compulsive correspondent. At one point, having written to all the friends and family I could think of, I actually picked a random name out of the Greater Manchester phone book and sent them an anonymous and chatty letter. I didn’t give my own name and address, and it began (if memory serves) “You don’t know me, but I’m in a letter-writing mood and have run out of people to write to.”

To this day I occasionally wonder how they reacted, and how soon it completely left their mind.

The thing is, that I was often severely reprimanded by my belovéd, should any letter be shorter than four sides of well-filled eight by ten. Even if she or I were due to take the transpennine train for a weekend of rumpy and, in a very real sense, pumpy, a few days later, a copious amount of waffle was expected. Even mothers and other friends might reply to a single sheet with, is that all you have to tell me?

(as an aside, the dear but sarky mater would react to any extended hiatus by sending a letter addressed To whomsoever finds this letter, and beginning: Do you have any information as to the health or whereabouts of a Mr David Lowe, my long-lost son …)

How things have changed.

My last dear heart, still so painfully missed, would reply to any e-mail of more than one short paragraph with a plaintive question as to why I had to go on at such length.

The abbreviation (appropriately) ubiquitously used to express such impatience is TLDRToo Long, Didn’t Read. It’s now an accepted dismissal, even of short stories, so I wonder how many goodreads reviews consist of just those four letters. Sorry Victor, sorry Lev Nikolayevich, those books of yours are far too long, can you give us a one-page synopsis? Actually half a page would be better.
Summarize Proust indeed.

Now, I don’t deny prolixity is one of my traits, and I know there are times when wallowing in the sounds of words is not helpful to communication (though at some times it’s essential to put one’s idea across). But I can’t be happy about this glorification of the attenuated attention span.

Having said that, who am I to blow against the wind (as Paul Simon says in that rather wordy song of his)?

This post is far too long already. Laters.

 

*Title: there is an unsubstantiated legend that Ernest Hemingway once proved he could write a story in just six words  — For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
Bletherskite!

 

The Suspense is Killing Me

Tags

, , ,

When your humble blogger appeared on tv game show, Tipping Point, the witty intellectuals who follow the show on Twitter were quick to put up screen shots of him, along with insulting comments (as they do about most contenders, to be fair), including suggestions that I collect porn and should be kept away from small children for sexual reasons.

OK, I took it in good humour [humor] and gave as good as I got, replying to the claim that I have two terabytes of porn on my hard drive, with a simple, “Three!”

These accusations still sit on the twitter stream, without sanction and potentially harmful to me if seen and taken out of context by the ‘wrong’ sort of people (after all if a pædiatrician‘s home can be targeted by the ignorant…).

But my twitter account has just been suspended, and all because I tweeted,
Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire”.

This apparently breaches their rule that I should not give out personal information, without the express permission of the person involved.

Trouble is, Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire doesn’t exist. In fact Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire doesn’t exist either, which can be easily verified.

Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire is simply the name which I have used for decades now, in response to any rhetorical question, such as Who says you can’t have chips [fries] with every meal? or Who cares where Boris Johnson goes for the weekend? and so on.

In a similar vein of smartarsery [smartassery], I always used to carry a piece of string, six and a half inches in length, to produce, with a triumphant cry of Six and a half inches! when anyone said, How long is a piece of string?

Not big and not particularly clever, I admit, but I have used the response, Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire many, many times on Twitter and other antisocial media platforms for ages, with nary an issue.

The rule about giving out details is perfectly understandable, even on a site which happily tolerates downright lies, hate speech and random accusations of gross turpitude, but still this sudden suspension wracks me with questions, that the bland responses to appeals (we have reviewed and still say you’re in breach) do nothing to clear up.

Why has Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire suddenly become unacceptable after all these years? Has someone complained or has the algorithm that checks been updated?

How does one indicate that one is posting a made-up person or name, to avoid suspension? Must all such jocularity fall victim to the new puritanism?

Were there a real person called Mrs Gladys Weems (of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire or elsewhere), how would twitter know I didn’t have the aforementioned express permission to use her details? How could I log that I do, so I can once again and with confidence and impunity post the name of Mrs Gladys Weems of 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire?

If all they look for is a name and address, would one get suspended for a tweet saying Mr Sherlock Holmes of 221b Baker Street in That London?

It’s not a hill I wish to die on, so I will delete the tweet and get back to tweeting what I’m eating, as well as wielding the shining and good-humoured [good-humored] sword of truth among the haters and nutters on political and philosophical as well as gameshow battlegrounds.

If it must be so that I lay her to rest, a memorial service will be held for Mrs Gladys Weems once covid restrictions are relaxed. Please send floral tributes to 24 Acacia Avenue, Trowbridge in Wiltshire, marked –

if undelivered, please forward to
Twitter Headquarters
20 Air Street, That London