Pixemones: friendship, love and gender in the blogosphere

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

Mending Wall. Robert Frost.

Pheromones are faff-and-nonsense. That’s sex – rather than aggregation or alarm – pheromones that I’ve weighed and found wanting. The reason why it’s virtually impossible to think of them, any longer, as the indispensable physical component in attraction between the sexes is, naturally, the explosion in romantic relationships on the internet.

In its first two paragraphs on the subject, the Wikipedia wobbles between the Greek phero = ‘to bear’ + hormone = ‘to stimulate’ – and pherein = to transport + hormone = ‘to stimulate’ for an etymological breakdown of pheromone.

I’m sticking my neck out to suggest pixemone for a replacement. I decided that we really do need this neologism last Christmas, after a razor-sharp twenty nine year-old friend neither a reader nor writer but a rancher, photographer and restorer of old cars and houses — who mostly behaves as if computers had never been invented — found a girl absolutely perfect for him on MySpace. (Well alright, his little sister found her, technically – since she designed his page there and wrote his profile, without his permission.)

The arrow of the small, fat Greek god is no longer a metaphor for the transporting of chemical secretions between humans but – more and more – for digitally-mediated signals conveyed in pixels.

As far as species-perpetuation goes, the question of the hour is surely this: is all the hand-wringing over relationships formed on the net, rather than between people in their flesh-and-blood states, warranted? Most interesting is to consider whether communicating in this medium might be superior to embodied conversations, for the early stages of friendship and love. I mean, could it be a more reliable guide to deep compatibility, and a finer-grained filter of character and integrity, without the distractions of chemistry – which notoriously changes, and has a notoriously poor record as a foundation for relationships that last?

I found a good, searching, wide-angled discussion of the subject in Are Cyberspace Relationships Underrated? — but my own interest is more specific. It’s in connections between people in the only parts of the blogosphere I know well, which are text-based discussion and debating sites, rather than Facebook and other e-spaces designed for socialising. Three things in combination could give them an important advantage over real-life meetings – from the point of view of anyone who, like me, believes that serious relationships should only be entered into when over-determined and inevitable, in the sense of not merely ‘certain,’ but ‘that which cannot be avoided, evaded, or escaped.’

Relationship-hunting is not their primary raison-d’être. This means that behaviour is likely to be natural and closer to people’s everyday selves than to the best-foot-forward — with appropriately artificial window-dressing – of ‘dating’ encounters, and their social networking equivalents. On the contrary, the idea of giving up the relaxation of conversations unburdened by expectations or responsibilities for ones laden with risk is close to anathema.

They spark involuntary revelations of What Lies Beneath from debating under pressure, especially when the arguments strike sensitive spots or trigger psychological complexes. Talking through screens and keyboards can make some people more inhibited and others less so. But even with wide gaps between blogging and real-life personae, debating sites give everyone a chance to observe behaviour in extremis that they almost never get in contexts specifically designed for romance or relationship-building.

I once heard from a worldly-wise old matriarch a horror-story involving a mutual friend who had had to flee a brief marriage to a man with a Rhodes Scholar’s educational profile and a ‘gentle-and-unworldly’ persona that fit his profession – because he had turned violent soon after the wedding, and was found to have a history of domestic violence that went a long way back. The matriarch said that the only way our friend could have uncovered this aspect of the man was to have deliberately created pressure-cooker conditions in the courtship phase of their relationship, and see how he reacted.

I’m not sure I’d recommend going that far – but it’s worth considering that debating sites create such pressures naturally.

They expose sexism in its ugliest forms – particularly the kind directed against women, because men rather than women or bloggers who choose gender-neutral roles tend to dominate mixed-gender debating sites.

Many, reading these words, will be part of a group of us who blogged together at a British newspaper site for a year or two. Even if I supply just Limerick, Kuwait and Berlin as clues, some of these comrades will know precisely which incidents in our joint history I’m thinking of when I say that one male blogger linked to each of those places was distressed with the course of an argument – about facts, not opinions — with a gender-neutral comrade, an argument that he most certainly wasn’t winning, when he chose to refer to this comrade as ‘she’ in a last-ditch tactic.

Okay, I am that comrade. The effect of their wishful, gender-focused unmasking on my estimation of those fellow-bloggers — who have no way of knowing which sex I belong to in real life — was something like, ‘from hero to zero in ninety seconds flat,’ where I don’t actually mean hero as much as something like, dear old funny old bean.

I know I’ve upset some fellow-bloggers with my frostiness towards the Limericker, ever since (what is the right word for a denizen?) – but that was because of everything deducible from, and offensive about, the particular form of attack:

monumental obtuseness — for imagining that it would hurt, and for failing to realise that I’m as delighted to be taken for female as male. After all, in this medium, where — as the saying goes, any of us might actually be a dog – I could choose to blog as male, if I were a female unhappy with her gender.

atrocious manners . . . basic netiquette frowns on violating anonymity or any other form of privacy related to identity

a tendency to passive-aggression . . . to mention a style of hostility of which I myself have been accused (unsuccessfully: see Marginalia on this site)

hypocrisy of a most childish kind: the man from Limerick is fond of advertising himself as a ‘feminist’. How is that supposed to square with effectively shouting, ‘Woman!’ as a furious parting shot?

misogyny … a fighting word, I’ve discovered, so chosen with the greatest care. That’s another obvious implication of my last point.

. . . If I’ve emphasised the negative possibilities of relationships it’s only because these text-based conversations have created ways to uncover what’s usually well-hidden that didn’t exist for us, the masses, before the last decade or so.

The very best thing about friendship on the net, even the romantic kind, is that it need never progress to anything heavy-duty, such as a real-life commitment.

To how many can we promise all of ourselves in a single lifetime, anyway? Earth is a place of limitation, as I once read in something old and Chinese. But now we have the ether, too. We can admire and cherish facets of fellow-humans the way we do masterworks – a painting locked behind glass, or a marvel of ancient statuary in a case – only, good grief, the work of art is alive, and reacts to things that we do and say.

Such, such . . . are the joys of pixemones.

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75 Comments

Filed under Psychology, Social trends, The blogosphere

75 responses to “Pixemones: friendship, love and gender in the blogosphere

  1. ISA

    I didn’t accuse YOU of being passive aggressive. On the contrary.

  2. wordnerd7

    Hello, @ISA … where can you be now, o wanderer? Enjoying yourself hugely, I hope …

    No, I certainly wasn’t accusing _you_ of accusing me of that when we discussed the subject here … https://acacciatura.wordpress.com/marginalia/#comment-2867

    I was referring to a group of former comrades who attack in a pack, like hyenas — something else that gender-neutral and women bloggers have to contend with on male-dominated sites and themes. Behavioural psychologists, take note. 🙂

    As I said then, I thought that you might have been referring to the persistent chuntering on a pack animal site about my ‘insinuating’ style. Deeply ironic, because I nearly always substantiate, and/or supply details of what I’m accusing someone of — unless that would be redundant (I simply don’t name disagreeable people when all the regulars here know exactly who I mean). … Whereas the chunterers are always vague and unspecific in what they claim I’ve done. _That’s_ insinuation.

  3. ISA

    Wordy, it kicks off, for me on the 15th May. The servants used to tell us stories about hyeanas eating little boys when our parents were out in Nairobi. I must have been four or five. Can you hear that. They would say. Those are the hyeanas. I could never hear them. We lived in Langata. In those days it was in the countryside far away from town. In the dark the headlight would catch the eyes of animals which would light up in different colours.

  4. Wordy, this multi-layered post reminds me of a brook with rivulets.
    I am especially interested in the subject of gender neutrality and will write about it here, later.

  5. wordnerd7

    @ISA, isn’t it odd how perfectly the looks and ungainly lope of hyenas suit their behaviour? There aren’t too many animals I consider sinfully ugly, but these creatures with their pale yellow eyes … On the other hand . . . and I don’t want to bore with specifics, … I’m often somewhere listening to coyotes howling together and though they are close cousins to hyenas, I don’t find them quite as hideous or offensive. Might have something to do with reading about Coyote the Trickster in American Indian mythology. By far the most engaging character in their stories.

    Naturally I’m casting no aspersions on the appearance of people I’ve compared to hyenas since I have no idea of what they look like. . . Comparing childhoods — the idea of hyenas as cowards was the first fact I was taught about them.

  6. wordnerd7

    === a brook with rivulets ===

    A perfect reading of my intentions — if you ignore the too-kind but very beautiful metaphor.

    I’ll be all eyes, reading you on neutrality.

  7. Dear Wordy,

    May I for the moment, dispel the idea of romantic notions on the internet – and the foreseeing of a serious relationship which I fear in my case and Des’s, lies hereafter more as an exception to the rule – and plunge instead, into one of your other very interesting rivulets – the subject of gender neutrality!

    I well remember the arguments of the past – how you were unfairly judged for withholding your gender and name – and today, this is a topic Des and I still can’t agree upon, not anything at all to do with you of course, but in general terms. The very idea that people speaking with intended casualness on the net, may have to present themselves appropriately at some point and this, with some indication of their real identity, so as to be taken seriously, I feel, holds on to a myopic version. And this failing which, the mysterious individual may be regarded as a suspicious oddity and one, invisible to the sensibilities of the senses, completes the picture.

    Wordy, I beg to differ.

    As regards the projections of the inner self with no affliation yet towards others:
    I view gender neutrality as an elevation and an extension of the human consciousness and certainly, a new age step towards a universal human advancement.

    The liberty of the intellect that allows for an open-mindedness and creativity and an elated freedom that mocks at the necessities of daily life which in turn borders rather safely, I’ll say, on predictability, routine, rigidity and expectations, is a luxury only the truly liberal can enjoy.

    I view gender neutrality as separate from the human spirit, yet not alienated by it. I view the embrace of such a subject for an individual as the said person’s everyday conscious mind being shoved up a ladder of ideologies by the ambitious and more secretive subconsciousness spirit that rests within.

    The fact that one can stay comfortable with identity and sexuality and still probe further discourses for communication without betraying a protected privacy, is what offers extraordinary and exciting challenges. It is what devoids the mind of any limitation and makes even the golden rule of positive thinking look like ‘child’s play’.

    Gender neutrality in my mind especially with web identity also satisfies the aesthetics for the crafting of a flawless personality; the apt intelligence that shadows an anonymous poster from never having to let on. The power then lies solely in the hands of the said anonymous poster, and in the time when he/she decides if ever on a revelation. It speaks of a skilled personal control, but one that remains progressive in its constant journey for perfection. It is not damaging.

    This of course, has to be a studied cultivated art.

    Once, a poster in your links presented himself as female, early on as you say when we were all blogging together and where trolls were rare. I knew this couldn’t be the case as the personality appeared too bland for any womanly signals. The person has since confessed, that he is indeed male. Hence, a crossing-over, is always riskier when it comes to discovery or clever guesses.

    On the web, it also helps to contain and curb internet fraud.
    Think about it. User names or images from flowers to comic characters or deliberate macho abbrevations are often a dead giveaway to identity. It would be easy to piece the rest of a personality or gender as well as to understand the habits of any obvious blogger over time.

    Many new age ideas with futuristic notions already embrace gender neutrality, no matter how subtle. Intelligent buildings or a home that prefers clean white spaces or drawers and walls that hide clutter, as opposed to say, lavish floral chintzes for armchairs or the display of Queen Anne silver for example, reflects this.

    I believe that someday, a compulsory environmental-consciousness future will walk hand in hand with gender neutrality without a second thought.

    Wordy, it is true that I often battled a boy’s club. This was also pointed out to me by a psychologist friend in Melbourne, someone to whom I had related everything. She said to me straightaway, “Susan, it’s a boy’s club. Can’t you see?” At one time, yes my personality suited my feminine poster name. Now my personality has changed but the user name continues to betray me. So I shall have to do something about this soon.

    I think female user names…comprising fairies…the Tinkerbells or Pinkerbells? does not hint of a wide intellect, not to the quick observer, so commentors like this would be no threat at all to any boy’s club, if you get my drift, Wordy.
    Names like these project femininity indeed, but in a harmless way and certainly not someone attempting to break any kind of a glass ceiling.

    My perceptions were never this bold before…but constant travel and this great love I have for world literature opened up the mind, in ways I myself could never have dared imagined to respect the advantages of gender neutrality for what it is. It is a heightened self-awareness, that provides for an exhilaration, a silent language – if anything that – gender neutrality with a view to personal identity – is only the first step to a deep self-shaped intelligence that matches impossibilities with real possibilities.

  8. Dear Wordy,

    So sorry but I forgot to add that the open-mindedness I spoke about above, is one that does not outlaw any form of decency that may be attributed to a universal humanity. It is one that does not outlaw the ethics of the human conscience. For what is the use of cleverness if there was no desire for goodness attached to it; is how I would see things.

  9. wordnerd7

    @Suzan, a great deal to think about, in what you say. I’m in the middle of a conventional weekend — magnificent birthday celebration (no, not mine); full moon over water, etc. — as opposed to the kind I usually try to arrange, with lots of skiving off to blog. So I hope it’s alright if I pause before I reply, this time. . . A typically generous answer from you, _thank you_ … particularly since you and @ISA have been the only comrades brave or reckless enough to post in this thread at all …. 😉 …. Well, in fairness, the others are probably busy with rites of spring in the warm weather you mentioned.

    On my first quick reading, I did particularly notice:

    === …I view gender neutrality as an elevation and an extension of the human consciousness and certainly, a new age step towards a universal human advancement. ===

    Nothing to do with anything ‘New-Age’-y for me. But I certainly agree that the everyday invisibility that the net permits gives us all a chance to try out ways of being that didn’t exist for ordinary people, before. . . I suspect that this could have far-reaching consequences that we can only guess at, now. The opportunity to look closely into what these might be was part of its attractions when I slipped into my experiment. There was nothing like a plan, in my first adventures in blogging.

    === The liberty of the intellect that allows for an open-mindedness and creativity and an elated freedom that mocks at the necessities of daily life which in turn borders rather safely, I’ll say, on predictability, routine, rigidity and expectations, is a luxury ===

    It is indeed deliciously freeing and stimulating in the way you describe.

    === The fact that one can stay comfortable with identity and sexuality and still probe further discourses for communication ===

    . . . more on this later . . . perhaps others will join in …

    … Am only surprised that you don’t think that anyone else will ever be as lucky as you and @Des . . . no, I’m sure that isn’t quite what you meant to say . . . ; )

  10. ISA

    But perhaps quite a few people have read the thread Wordy as I linked it to Georgina Henry’s. I suppose that it’s quite hard to butt into a raggedy conversation between pixel friends.

    Glad you had a good celebration.

  11. Didn’t similar relationships tend to build in the past through letter-writing. Friendships between those who had (often could) never meet or see one another could blossom over years into deep affection, even passion.

    Although not entirely analagous, I’m reminded of an ancestor of mine – I’m simplifying this a little – who was so sensually and emotionally affected by reading Walt Whitman’s poems that she began a long correspondence with him, eventually relocating her family to Philadelphia – I think – in order to be near to him. Quite extraordinary for a woman at that time – or anyone, in any era.

  12. Also, Pixemones is a good word.

    I suspect, with online identity being so malleable, if the tendency to project one’s needs/desires/hopes onto somone that one develops an attachment/alleigence to isn’t intensified in certain online environments. After all, every physical aspect of the cerebrally-admired other is likely to become (even if unconsciouly) wildly idealised.

  13. Hi Wordy.

    i am sure i read here somewhere about the s/he in the lit lovers gaffe when i acted in an appallingly incorrect manner to your good self and, anyway, can’t find the piece of writing you wrote. if you supply a link to it i will come out with the prepared spiel about how this was the one mistake i ever made which i know was me getting it wrong, even though at the time, i was convinced i was in the right.

    . it was only after time the lesson bore in and indeed shabbily ignored any reference to it so instead of just saying, this was the one mistake, the only transgression in respect of gender neutrality i had erred into making because of plain old male stupidity (for it was ever thus) – was unable to locate the language of redress competent enough to frame the said disreputable offence against the spirit of:

    “gender neutrality as separate from the human spirit, yet not alienated by it” – which Suzan spoke of above. I too “view the embrace of such a subject for an individual as the said person’s everyday conscious mind being shoved up a ladder of ideologies by the ambitious and more secretive subconsciousness spirit that rests within”..and unaware of this, thinking there was a serious principle at stake which the paranioa of one’s own mind cobbled to be with nought but a wishy washy grasp of online reality, seeing spambots as human and vice versa – such was the disordered frequencies setting off about my swirl within the noggin, i completely failed to learn until seeing it outed by yourself (very eloquently and with immense dignity) what a tosser i had been.

    As i did not say wordy, i apologise unreservedly for this mangy behaviour on my part and can only say, in the words of the great late John Lennon who i stumbled across today whilst at the magic bookstall, at Heavenly Cafe, in the London Times, by a Canadian sound engineer who recorded the Montreal Bed In with Lennon and Ono:

    Everybodies Talking
    Bagism Shagism Dragism Madism
    Ragism Tagism This-ism That-ism

    Minister
    Sinister
    Bannisters
    Cannisters
    Bishops
    Fishops
    Rabbis
    Popeyes
    Bye Byes

    All We Are Saying, Is Give peace A Chance..

    slainte

  14. wordnerd7

    === I suppose that it’s quite hard to butt into a raggedy conversation between pixel friends. ===

    What a perfect sentence, @ISA, and I think the diagnosis is spot-on. . . But many thanks, all the same, for putting the notice there, since it gave the click count — which was already good — a decided fillip 😉 …. Yes these spinoff blogs do seem clubby, but all the newspaper sites are dominated by small groups of regulat posters, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

    Clubbiness is also the reason I don’t post on Cif and didn’t on any of the other arts blogs at the GUlag. . . I got hooked on the booksblog not just because @Sean (Murray) welcomed my first post there, but to my utter astonishment, referred to ‘the likes of wordnerd’ about two days later……Well, I remember thinking, I must really exist in this strange medium if people are mentioning me …

    … And I think you must have put up a second link of the Georgina Henry thread, since I’ve seen Fillip II today, on the stats chart . . .

  15. wordnerd7

    How nice to see you here again, @exitbarnadine. I have been grinding my teeth a bit about Berlin stealing you from us. The url for the discussion of Cyber-relationships mentioned in the thread-starter has this sharp observation — making your point:

    === sunburntkamel
    Sep 1st, 2007 at 8:15 am

    […] Long Distance Relationships … There are gorgeous civil war letters that make it abundantly clear that LDR’s are not a new phenomenon. […] ===

    … But those, you see, were like the ‘best-foot-forward’/ window-dressing communications of the typical romantic relationship or friendship. What I’ve tried to show is that on the discussion and debating sites we’re all occasionally making involuntary revelations — under pressure, as in furious arguments on certain subjects.

    So glad that you like ‘pixemone’.

    === if the tendency to project one’s needs/desires/hopes onto somone that one develops an attachment/alleigence to isn’t intensified in certain online environments. ===

    … am thinking about this. Very interesting. At the extremes — love or hate — there can’t be a difference, since you usually reach the limit of emotional intensity at that pole. . . It’s points in-between that I’m wondering about … I suspect that you’re probably right.

    === After all, every physical aspect of the cerebrally-admired other is likely to become (even if unconsciouly) wildly idealised. ===

    I think that that might vary with what a person associates with physical beauty. . . If I meet a wonderful stimulating mind that then turns out to belong to a face and body that include attributes I usually find off-putting, those attributes tend to be less repellent the more I admire the mind and spirit . . . One consequence is that the range of physical types I admire seems to get wider the older I get — although striking flabbiness or nicotine-related scrawniness, because of all that they say about health, are even more discouraging, now, than in my twenties.

  16. wordnerd7

    @Des, … your 9.09 pm post in this thread has been liberated from the electronic leper colony we call spam (thanks for letting me know, @Suzan) …

    Absolutely no apology necessary about that old business when I outed myself as human and not a Google crawler-bot (Googlebot). . . You couldn’t have been lovelier about the mistake, once you found out … If I tease you about it once every few years, you’re only supposed to giggle.

    You have, … I mean, @OhGodNotHimAgain … btw, been dazzling on the CADuffy thread this week (just ending) in your argument with that jumped-up bit of second-hand furniture.
    There’s one post I’m tempted to put here, in Long Posts, as a sort of communal treasure.

    … So many of your screen names are so ingenious that I’m surprised that you so consistenly claim to dislike the games people play with them — and anonymity. . . And then, @Suzan, who wrote such a stirring defence of gender-neutrality in this thread, _seems_ never to have tried it out herself. . . Why, I wonder.

  17. Thank you very much Wordy.

  18. oOPS, forgot to say, i sent you some recordings i made in dublin, to the e mail address i had from lit lovers (not sadly scrubbed from the blogosphere, coz i didn’t log in for ages, so most of the reams of blather there, gone forever, unless you know a way to get them back, where redundant chat gaffes get cached in some online graveyard?

  19. wordnerd7

    @Des … thanks, I’ll check that email account (very clever to let me know which one 🙂 ….) in my next break, which mightn’t be for some hours. Must leave now to buy bookshelves … how funny those will seem to people of the future, when their libraries will be conjurable from the air, wherever they go …; and stores for the larder and freezer here …

    I’ll find a way to let you have what I saved from the forum. Can’t believe that it has really gone missing, but you’d know, if anyone did …

  20. @Des, …an extra big thank-you, I like the clips so much that I think that someone should put them up on your blog or here. . . . I have some ideas for an introduction, but we could have more than one such umbrella: you might be able to sketch brief portraits of the poets and some other background, for instance? … @ISA’s site, where he wants to try another flash blog, is a possibility – only he’s off on his odyssey this week, so presumably wouldn’t be able to help … I can’t do anything like that myself for a week or two, so you might just want to steam ahead on your own.

    … I enjoyed discovering this site … http://www.myspace.com/dublinpoet
    and the woman singing By Your Side struck me (not that I’m any expert on this sort of thing) as every bit as affecting and gifted as Janis Joplin. I’ve listened to her at least three times, so far (no, don’t you listen, anyone who hates eg., Joplin, Baez … or Leonard Cohen … it’s a torch song.) … Who _is_ she?

    I can’t work out why she chose that title when this appears to be well-known, a completely different song with the same name:

    http://www.last.fm/music/Sade/_/By+Your+Side/+lyrics

  21. That woman Wordy is actually Addy, a MAN !!!

    a ha ha ha ha ha ha..

    Yeah, he has a beautiful voice and that was recorded at the Monster Truck Art Gallery on Francis Street in the South city centre district of the Liberties, which is where you get the real real Dubliners, and because it is so close to town, five minutes walk away, lots of scangers prowling the streets high on drink and drugs.

    Addy is Dubliner and part of a foursome of young UCD graduates, three from Cavan who set up a now defunct poetry night after the gallery gigs, called Naked Lunch which ran for 18 months.

    This is Mike reciting a piece of his on Balcony TV, which is a small multimedia crew in Dublin who film performances on their veranda overlooking Dame Street. The Rosanna in question is Rosanna Davidson, former Irish Miss World and daughter of singer Chris De Burgh whose best known song is Lady in Red.

    She is a twenty something society gal, always in thew pages of what passes for the local Irish Celebrity industry, talking of nightclubs and other stunna pals she promotes very worthwhile commercial and charity causes with, silently, posed semi-clothed by dishwashers, delf, shoes, shops and competing for the most natural actor award as she performs standing next to tyres and the like.

    Both Addy and Sleepy Rise (Stephen), another of the quartet, are very talented singer-songwriters. This is Stephen singing Blood On The Splinters at the 2007 Love Poetry Hate Racism gig in Crawdaddy in Dublin, which Shirley Dent sneered at one year and embraced the next, and the originating reason for me going to that forum.

    The quality of the sound, being not perfect like on MTV rock shows, does not do true justice to this ballad. When you hear him singing it acoustically with just his gob and guitar, his voice is an instrument of immense power. He is a young man at peak capacity and loudness. I remeber the first time I heard him nail it in Naked Lunch and the hairs on the back of the neck, like a young Liam Gallagher before the ale and fags took 80% of his voice. The sheer force of it beyond putting into words.

    There is a long tradition of world class Dublin balladeers, who start busking and playing the pubs and go onto world fame, the most recent ones like Damien Dempsey and Paddy Casey, because of their tunes getting featured in those Californian teen shows about teenage angst.

    cheers, i will send you more via e mail shortly.

  22. === That woman Wordy is actually Addy, a MAN !!!

    a ha ha ha ha ha ha.. ===

    Oh that’s FUNNY, @Des. . . But could anything make the point about the irrelevance of gender in the arts any better than that?

    If something’s done really well — is as ravishing as his performance — I really don’t care whether Addy is a he, she or a s/he-squared with knobs on.

    The sound quality must have some bizarre flaws if I completely grasped the first part of this and the second … well, I wasn’t sure at the beginning, then I was … and was a hundred % mistaken.:

    === his voice is an instrument of immense power. He is a young man at peak capacity and loudness. ===

    Can’t follow your links at the moment, but later[x] … that was a 😉 for @Suzan, whose diary I’ve been enjoying. I feel as if you’re giving me a tour of Dublin, between you … should we swim in the Liffey, next? (properly slimed in whale blubber, of course … or in wet suits)

    … Anyone curious about how information gets around on the net and who responds to it will share my fascination with this turning up as a site that has linked to this thread in the last 24 hours:

    === http://shehitmefirst.com/index.html ===

    … as the Yanks say, go figure …

  23. Would Addy’s chances of being ‘discovered’ and turned into a mega-star be significantly better if people thought he was a woman able to sing like that?

  24. ISA

    I’m off on Friday Wordy. I can still join in the Flash blog whoever wants to do it. Des? Who or what do you want to flash? Aim high.

    The party is by a lake in the English gardens in Munich at 12pm on Friday.

    I shall be wearing a cream linen suit so I hope it doesn’t rain.

    Heini will be 99.

  25. ISA

    Sometimes I feel a bit like Jerry Cornelius, but without the drugs.

  26. ISA

    erry Cornelius:

    Secret agent, superhero, adventurer, all things to all men (and women). A figure of almost complete anarchy. Typically destroys repressive authority. Later exposed as a false Harlequin, a tragic Pierrot at heart, or simply an adolescent fantasy (fantasist?).

  27. Hi isa.

    i can offer a flawless rendering of five minute theatre, in a collaborative enteprise between at work colleagues from these very pages, cobbled into a script titled Ars Taedica, conveying the static and highly fluid drama of everything which happens at this lidl ole magaportal for people who are practicing in the art all here practise with varying degrees of confidence, encouragement, ability, facilities for empathy, agony, ecstasy, hatred and love, the world as it exists, as it as written by us collectively and as unique speciperson/s in both the private and public spheres of musical reality which form the unconsciious order of knowable and unknowable truth, tune and Tone.

    when Tone is practiced at the well of haters, well, it all gets happy (NOT) because being Happy is all all in the mind of us all, as both geniuses and everypersons. As the single and the whole.

    And to be an artist in the discipline of Boring, (as interesting) is perhaps the essence of what we do.

    Reading back the commentary and ping pong between the lovers on the bus, the dialogue – there is immense actoary gravity in the words when spoken, in a performative sense, when enacted verbally.

    Perhaps, i knew, this caper here is natural lines in the mouths of narrating entities, conducting themselves as figures imbued with a reality-to-life one could imitate orally oneself. And as the life force of the text manifest in speech, it was clear, here is the stuff of comedy.

    The script is already written and the next stage is to remove the appropriate speech, the long winded waffle between various protaganists exchanging real life news and pleasantries, rather than having to be imagined by the dramatist, are already here, buried in the less buoyant flannel one hears Doctor Phil, Oprah, Jerry’s show with Canning Town’s Jeremy Kyle, who helps people by humilating them.

    ~

    Being boring, whilst holding an audience of (millions) two, using everday ephemera, stray incidence from amazingly pedestrian and usual lives of people like us who are just like the millions of potential haters (lovers) exactly the same as we, caught and re-rendered into the BBC4 version of Jeremy Kyle: I’m Only Being Honest: Straight Talking from Britain’s Favourite Talk Show Host.

    Satirical theatre, uplifting dramatic art which the audience just like us, human beings in possession of aural and literary faculties with which to be bored (entetained) by us the scriptwriters of the short recording to appear in the collaborative project between, Philip in Berlin linen, Wordy in wherever being whoever she isn’t for us the fawns fascinated with the mystique of Wordy’s potenital in the part of W. Rody, service provider for our psychic silt, Odrwy on stilts declaiming from the top of Snowdon, calling to one and all in a poem by the very unfamous late AM televsion humiliation expert and all round ranter at the masses who form the audience of the Lemy Jerk Podcast: First Edition personalities and principles within ones cunningly uncreative blueprint holding the keys and secrets of being a first rate chopper and changer of the po-mo mon amis.

    ~

    But more than this, i feel it will bring goodness to the collective fawns-as-audience beyond the borders of the individual wordy texts made here for the purpose of spreading ourselves amongst those we love us as they hate us. Drone rivals, s/he who can bore and ignore the abundence of goading as we do so, looking for the unity of spirit i came across, from the end-bit of an Annie Finch comment at another palace of bores in Harriet’s bog:

    “..the end of James Russell Lowell’s “Fables for Critics” which I am compelled to share. It’s a totally different take on the whole question of reviews, ie who needs them anyway?” said Finch:

    “My friends, in the happier days of the muse,
    We were luckily free from such things as reviews,
    Then naught came between with its fog to make clearer
    The heart of the poet to that of his hearer;
    Then the poet brought heaven to the people, and they
    Felt that they, too, were poets in hearing his lay;
    Then the poet was prophet, the past in his soul
    Pre-created the future, both parts of one whole;
    Then for him there was nothing too great or too small.
    For one natural deity sanctified all. . .”

  28. @ISA

    === I shall be wearing a cream linen suit so I hope it doesn’t rain. ===

    We do too. Couldn’t take a re-run of your Franco-Spanish windshield glass adventure … aaaargh!

    === Typically destroys repressive authority. Later exposed as a false Harlequin, a tragic Pierrot at heart, or simply an adolescent fantasy (fantasist?). ===

    Well you have been a bit confusing lately. Glad you’ve noticed … Hope you also noticed that the GUlag has been stealing ideas — again — from the Spinoffsphere, … Join me in chanting, ‘No imitation without citation.’ Couldn’t your good friend @carolru have linked to your comments on girls vs. boys and mirrors in the last thread here, and your Velasquez Las Meninas piece at Xuitlacoche, and acknowledge that she was inspired by them for this week’s potw?

  29. @Des

    === by us the scriptwriters of the short recording to appear in the collaborative project between, Philip in Berlin linen, Wordy in wherever being whoever she isn’t for us the fawns fascinated with the mystique of Wordy’s potenital in the part of W. Rody, service provider for our psychic silt***, Odrwy on stilts declaiming from the top of Snowdon, ===

    Dear @OhGodNotHimBabyToesBambiAgain … , just so that everyone knows where to lay the blame if I don’t make it … my ribs are being taped, even as I peck out these words … it’s that shy, wilting lily DES WOT DUNNIT …’She,’ eh? Well, your voting in that direction is most illuminating about the psyche of our Mr. Swords … et tu, etc., etc., …

    ===beyond the borders of the individual wordy texts made here for the purpose of spreading ourselves amongst those we love us as they hate us. Drone rivals, s/he who can bore and ignore the abundence of goading as we do so, looking for the unity of spirit i came across, ===

    Do you know, that sounded just like classic CofE liturgy in my mind’s ear, reading ….. and then I got to this, when I could have sworn I was kneeling on a cushion without any stuffing left in it:

    === My friends, in the happier days of the muse,
    We were luckily free from such things as reviews,
    […]
    The heart of the poet to that of his hearer;
    Then the poet brought heaven to the people, and they
    Felt that they, too, were poets in hearing his lay; ===

    he’s caught the church-y rhythm exactly.

    … I’m not interfering with your conversation with @ISA. . . will only say that I can’t wait for the production.

    Yours faithfully, in cringeing expectation,

    W. Rody, P.S.S.P***

  30. @ISA,

    Great to hear a reference to JC. I rememer trying to baffle my way through the Cornelius Quartet when I was around 14 to not much avail. But it did all seem impossibly hip and psychedelic. I almost picked up the Final Programme the other day in a marvellous 70s paperback edition but I’ve read it in other editions already and am still holding out for Condition of Muzak or the English Assassin, which I’ve never found. I suppose they’re available on Ebay but that’s not the same as digging them out amidst a paperback pulp in some dingy basement.

  31. @exitbarnadine,

    Do you remember our discussions about setting up a joint site, a few weeks ago?

    The last few days show how difficult that could be.

    I think @ISA might have picked up from @Des’s last post what I only did the second time I read it, which is that he doesn’t want to do a flash blog posted on Xuitlacoche – or here. I detect a touch of irritation in his referring to this as a ‘magoportal,’ something it so obviously isn’t. . . but perhaps he thinks that Phil and I are hatching some such plan, and doesn’t like the idea, and that’s independent @Des all over: more power to him. . .

    But there is no such plan, since @ISA and I are acting independently, as usual . . . except for agreeing that continuing experimentation might be fun; trying out successors to the first flash blog in which we all participated, on Xuitlacoche. . . And I’m guessing – haven’t asked him – that that’s the spirit in which @ISA invited @Des to post.

    Then, @ISA might be distressed by my complaint about @carolru – and/or GU — not linking to or making at least a small professional thank-you curtsey for the idea he obviously gave her for this week’s potw (see my last post addressed to him in this thread). . . Recent posts by him in more than one place suggest that he’s torn between his genuine passion for Cif and his genuine affection for all our rebel and spinoff blogs, not least because he has one of his own.

    … On the other hand, @Des could just be waiting for @ISA to answer his question …

    … And then I hope @Suzan isn’t upset by my dislike of the term ‘New Age’ and everything associated with it. .. It has nothing but negative connotations in parts of the world where I’ve spent a lot of time. . . One para in the wiki on the subject says it all:

    === It is also claimed by Paul Heelas that the New Age may have grown too entrepeneurial, as is evident in the title of LeMusurier’s book, “This New Age Business”.[citation needed] Certainly some New Age practices have been used to encourage financial gain (see the article Transpersonal business studies.===

    ‘The attainment of the highest individual human potential’ is a fine ideal, and ‘spirituality’ used to be a beautiful word before the snake-oil salesmen appropriated it … But that’s just in my experience of the world … @Suzan’s could be very different.

    … Anyway, personal ‘issues’ seem to be getting in the way of, shall we say, transpersonal blogging. . . What’s the solution, dear @eb?

  32. If I may I would suggest that the personal issues happen through mention of them as much as anything else. Obviously one doesn’t want to tread on eggshells all the time but in a medium where gender, personality,age are ambiguous whilst opinion rules an element of conflict seems unavoidable.

    I try to keep it objective as I don’t have time to argue with people who I don’t know and who I am unlikely to ever meet.

    I’m with you on New Age matters. I read a very funny and also quite sharp comment piece on how serial murder was a logical progression from New Age-ery several years ago. Now that was offensive but also very enjoyable as the arguments and logic were thought through. Helpfully of course I can’t recall who wrote it. Steven Augustine who has had a classic bohemian upbringing has written great stuff about the pitfalls of this way of life. Interesting for me as being brought up in a military household where things also went spectacularly wrong I longed for the sort of lifestyle he had to chew through.

    Grass is always greener etc. etc. I suppose.

  33. ISA

    @Des,

    I don’t have to ask what’s on your mind as whenever I read what you have to say I get exactly that. What’s on your mind.

    Ars Taedica is good, but “Ars Notoria” is better. You could do a blog on Ars Notoria, with your near magical ability to offend. Magical because from whence doth the offence come?

    Heroic bardic fights.

    St Thomas Aquinas wanted Ars Notoria banned.

    @Wordy,

    Thanks, but as for Carol Ru I would say she was just riffing, I don’t think you need to give too much credit when you riff.

    @exitbarnadine

    I had exactly the same reaction as ypou to those books with the additional fact that I lived in Notting Hill in the early 80’s for a couple of years, near Portobello Road, and there was still a sort of memory trace of hipsters like JC.

  34. Hi Wordy,

    Why on earth would I be upset? Especially when on reading my blog, you’d know me to be in a proper blissful state. What with Romanian gypsies, Dave Brubeck soundalikes and that biography I just purchased on my beloved Jean Rhys. 🙂

    I’m an optimistic soul and made strangely happier this year for some reason, after Africa.
    Actually, thanks for giving me a platform to voice my views on gender neutrality. I’m very happy with the way my thoughts ran and plan to write an essay on it. I want to expand on the analysis and get it published somewhere.
    As to why I haven’t embraced it myself, I couldn’t possibly say Wordy even if I had, or wouldn’t my confession defeat my own purpose to the experiment?

    My perceptions are ever-changing because of my constant adaptations towards different cultural conjectures in the Arts so these opinions are newly-formed but unlikely to dissolve. I can feel the tidal-wave swing of my own mind and enjoy the exhilaration.

    Of course, we don’t have to agree with each other. I actually wanted to write something for you yesterday, but have been outdoors for the longest time and was a bit tired. I’ll make up for it afterwards. Promise.

  35. ISA

    Or, Des, as Robert Turner said in the Epistle Dedicatory to his Ingenious and respected friend Mr. William Ryves, of St. Saviours Southwark, Student in Physick and Astrology.

    “Sir [Des].

    The deep inspection and dove-like piercing Eye of your apprehension into the deepest Cabinets of Natures Arcana’s, allures me (if I had no other attractive Magnetick engagements,) to set this Optick before your sight: not that it will make any addition to your knowledge; but by the [iv] fortitude of your judgment, be walled against the art-condemning and virtue-despising Calumniators. I know the candor of your Ingenuity will plead my excuse, and save me from that labour; resting to be,

    Your real affectionate Friend.

    [Phil]

  36. 3potato4

    This Blog probably had no influence at all. Having said that, we are 12th of 47,000 if you Google the subject.

    http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/

    possible flashblog associate,,?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    @des
    i can offer a flawless rendering of five minute theatre,

    fabulous idea

  37. @Alarming … if you ever remember where you read this …

    === how serial murder was a logical progression from New Age-ery several years ago. ===

    … I’d love to see it. Could come in handy.

    @ISA,

    === I don’t think you need to give too much credit when you riff. ===

    You must please not become an apologist for that place. Part of the culture of _inter_netting is mutual acknowledgment, linking, etc. … so that everyone grows _together_. Old Media people still don’t get it. They still see bloggers the way they do readers — as passive observers in the stalls, instead of people who want to be onstage or have their performances acknowledged, too. . . But if they refuse to do that … well, look at the post count on the biblioblog now compared to what it was before so many of their liveliest bloggers were driven away by their bone-headed intransigence and narcissism.

    @Suzan, I don’t see myself as disagreeing with _you_ on the supposedly New Age philosophy mostly cobbled together from very old ideas. My argument is with the crooks and shysters exploiting those ideas. . . I posted a comment on your site yesterday and when it wasn’t approved, assumed that you must be upset about something.

    How nice to see you again @3p4 … but 12th on what subject, please?

  38. Hi dear Wordy,

    Not to worry. I understand.

    First I think our time zones differ greatly. The thing is I was outdoors the whole day, vagabond that I am. I returned to the flat late in the evening. Much later in the night (UK/Dublin time), I did go into my WordPress dashboard and saw your interesting remarks.

    I was pleased of course, and straightaway posted it. I also answered your comment straightaway. I said, “How the sudden cold winds raged today to scare away the summer sun” or something like that.
    Wordy, could it be that you had inadvertently posted on the post below the latest one, which talked about Wicklow Street…

    Your quip had instead turned up on the post which said that I had interviewed this controversial writer Farah Damji and was going to put the interview up. So could that have explained why you missed it?

    With the format of this current blog, comments appear at the head of a post and not below it.

    If it’s any reassurance,
    firstly being, if you ever feel the need to comment and I hope you will, I will have your words up within 24 hours, as I check my dashboard at some point every day.

    Second. You stood up for me during the long days in this last 2 years. I won’t for a second, forget it.

    Third. I understand how others may see a new age differently. I had something else in mind, am fascinated by the subject and would like to share with you more thoughts, if I may.

    That is what I said I wanted to write for you but was too tired yesterday. 🙂

  39. Sorry @Suzan, I’m sure you’re absolutely right in this guess:

    === Your quip had instead turned up on the post which said that I had interviewed this controversial writer Farah Damji and was going to put the interview up. ===

    … I’ll scroll down on my next visit — the next time I take a break.

    Lots of good has come of the investigations of ancient lore and philosophy classed as ‘New Age’ — for instance, the move towards ‘complementary’ rather than ‘alternative’ medicine. But …. but … a relation of mine, a doctor at a clinic on a university campus, lost one of her patients following the advice of some guru who prescribed a herbal tea for an abortion. When I say ‘lost’, I mean that this immensely likeable young girl actually died. . . Lots of stories like this, of course — as horrific, and worse.

    … You must please only ever post here if you feel like it, never from any sense of obligation. You might never have heard of anything done on your behalf with @cynicalsteve’s help if I hadn’t been confronted so nastily by the perp. 😉

    … I’m curious about why you’re giving a self-promoter like this Damji so much attention — is it just for fun (nothing wrong with that) or do you think she has anything of any real importance to tell the world? … Had never heard of her before I read your blog.

  40. Dear Wordy,

    If you google Farah Damji, you’ll see that she’s been labelled as an international fraudster, a con artist who was said to have cheated many people out of thousands of pounds and of diamond rings and credit cards. She has since admitted and confessed to these crimes. As a result, she has been imprisoned in both New York and England and has escaped prison in England, turning fugitive for a short while before the police finally caught up with her. She led them on a wild goose chase through a blog she deliberately opened up on MySpace while on the run. While at these crimes or rather as was concluded by the courts and reported accordingly by the media, Damji also edited and published a high-flying magazine in London, that eventually through some hiccups also ran foul of the law. She is a socialite, the daughter of a tycoon in South Africa and has just served 3 1/2 years in prison.

    All that’s been written about her has been news reports as well as slander and hearsay. She hasn’t really said anything to anyone in her own words. She says she has reformed while in prison, has spent tens of thousands of psycho-analysis and is coming out with her autobiography this summer.

    I’m actually the first person she has talked to, since planning to bring this book out. I wouldn’t call it self promotion. As a former journalist, I’d call it a bloody good story.

    Wordy, all these sceptics and cynicism about new age trends and fads which is supposed to boast the theory of New Age the label and now as you say, herbal medicine – while I greatly sympathize with your distress -, these topics were the furthest thing from my mind.

    My views were of subjects in the here-and-now, of situations that were real e.g. globalisation and of its affliation with technological advancement, derived mostly from a society or nation’s circumstances rather than choice and for these to eventually heighten the protocal and structural sciences – for example ever-progressive laws at airports so as to keep a passenger safe, self-checking counters, biometric passports, things like this…
    just one example out of hundreds of other-changing ideas and applications that befit everyday living and so will eventually change the face of an international social culture at a rapid pace. And also, of how gender neutrality could be so easily associated with these situations to heighten safety and other things.

    I was referring to a new age era – the year 2009 – and how I view it on an international platform. But maybe its better to just reserve my thoughts.

  41. In a New Age magazine that used to sell in Manchester there were ads offering help for those who’d been damaged by alternative therapy groups.

    With no qualifications available, no monitoring of the competence of those offering treatments it was ripe territory for chancers and the delusional.

  42. … No further comments from me on Damji, @Suzan. I’m sure your instincts about her appeal are spot-on. I’ll read your interview because it’s yours …

    ===I was referring to a new age era – the year 2009 – and how I view it on an international platform. ===

    I know that, and was only explaining that while I couldn’t agree more about gender-neutrality being futuristic (think of how much more easily college-age people accept same-sex relationships than codgers, according to one survey after another) … I’d be wary of tainting any good idea with a ‘New Age’ label, simply because of what that says to people like @Alarming and me.

    No of course I didn’t think _you_ had alternative medicine in mind — it was just a remark inspired by the Eu/$ 630 masala-dosa massage I just had to stimulate my inner third eye and give my chakras a lift. . . ahem …

  43. Dear Wordy,

    A label and a new era are as different as chalk and cheese and I think it would take only a few seconds for any reader to sort them out while reading what I had to say earlier. I think what’s more important, stays an open mind and expanded horizons. With a determined scoffer – not you, but just generally – there’s really no pointing in talking, is there.

    I would still hold the phrase a new age as relevant and closest to what eclipses a fast-changing era. I see laws, social institutions and an aptitude to the world arts among many other things constantly in motion while being on the move myself. And I certainly see myself as living and travelling in a new time, compared to what the world wore in its personality, 3 years ago.

    I think my early article on gender neutrality defined clearly what I meant in the first instance.

    I was talking mostly about a psychological disposition towards the practice of a neutral identity on the web and the interesting revolving ideas that surrounded such a digital feature. That definitely breeds a revolutionary thought and couldn’t even to the dim-witted soul be mistaken for a label.

    Nowhere in my article , are superstitious disasters bearing their poison from any form of alleged mystical powers, shamans, medicinal attributes, street peddlars, creative masseurs or bohemian Woodstock performances anywhere close to what I wrote at the very start.

    Maybe it’s time to view the words new age differently, instead of avoiding it altogether. After all, the labels that create heightened forms of exploitation are often fairly obvious.

  44. === A label and a new era are as different as chalk and cheese ===

    Dear @Suzan, would it be alright for me to think about that for a while?

    About,

    === Maybe it’s time to view the words new age differently, instead of avoiding it altogether. ===

    … Hmm, I’m afraid that you _do_ mean me, when you say ‘determined scoffer,’ because it’s true. A repeat offender, even – when the subject is the ‘New Age movement.’ But since you’re too far away to lock me up with only bread-and-water for a week … 😉 … is this a case of, ‘Would skunk cabbage by any other name smell as sweet?’ . . . Remember, please, that I’m thinking of what NA means to me, not you.

    Perhaps ‘holistic thinking’ triggers fewer alarms for scoffers and is a fair description of most of the better ideas associated with ‘NA’?

  45. It’s little steps for little feet, apparently, on the biblioblog on a certain newspaper’s site. …

    @carolru could be acquiring better inter-netting manners … unless I’m only imagining that she was responding one hour later to a 7.27pm post on this thread yesterday, which castigated her for not thanking @ISA for inspiring this week’s potw. Her praise for @deadgod and @OhGodetc. in her 8.30 pm comment could stand as a definition of fulsome. . . But she still hasn’t grasped the point she was supposed to, which is that GU thread-starters like her need to start acknowledging, citing and linking to GU spinoff blogs.

    What she’s done is a bit like me responding to a charge of stinginess by feeding myself an extra slice of chocolate cake. . . If you do no more than thank people who comment on your own blog for their posts, that only serves to extract more posts from them – and in @carolru’s blogging spot, that’s an important index of success. It doesn’t do anything for footfalls on _their_ sites.

    As you know, @ISA, if you catch this post on your voyage out (happy trails, again!) … when you post a comment on the GU site that contains a link to one of our spinoff sites – as you so thoughtfully did for acciaccature on the Georgina Henry thread – GU sends us traffic. . . That’s only fair, after all the discussions we’ve helped to enliven and expand on that site. . . So what @carolru should have done was link to your intriguing Velasquez post on your site – or at the very least, thank you for being her inspiration.

  46. @Wordn

    ‘personal ‘issues’ seem to be getting in the way of, shall we say, transpersonal blogging. . . What’s the solution?’

    Need there be one? The idea of a solution suggests a problem and everyone seems happy swerving in and out of radar, keeping to their agendas and generally enjoying freedom of mobility.

    Perhaps the idea of a collective enterprise was rather pre-Web, in hindsight? Trying to contain that which does not need containing. Either way, it would seem that there are at least two good places outside GU where many of us know we can find one another for conversation and elucidation (whatever you and Mishari may think of one another ;-)).

    Oh, and…

    West of the Jordan
    East of the Rock of Gibraltar
    I see the turning of the page
    The rising of the New Age
    I see the Groom’s still waiting at the altar

  47. === Need there be one? The idea of a solution suggests a problem and everyone seems happy swerving in and out of radar, keeping to their agendas and generally enjoying freedom of mobility.===

    Oh good, we’ve come over to the same side, then, @e-barnadine … Independent blogs inter-linked, just as we are. No blogging on the same site. . . I was persuaded that it might be fun to _try_ a few more collaborations on the same site — but I think we’re all a bit too grouchy … sorry, of course I meant Groucho, here ….. 😉

  48. === Perhaps the idea of a collective enterprise was rather pre-Web, in hindsight? ===

    Wonderful sentence, and absolutely right, I suspect.

  49. Hazlitt

    What’s wrong with alternative medicine?
    Using a secondhand brace drill I have successfully self-treppaned my shaven cranium in seven places.The seven cranial discs have been drilled and hang on a necklace around my neck.As I sit in the lotus position meditating,I can hear the exposed brain tissue expanding as it foams and gurgles towards Nirvana.In a gurgle I shall leave you all to surf the celestial consciousness and understanding ..*/%%&çç**…….Ping.

    PS: I shall return occassionally for a pint and some pork scratchings.

  50. === As I sit in the lotus position meditating,I can hear the exposed brain tissue expanding as it foams and gurgles towards Nirvana. ===

    Thank you so much for that sharing, @Hazlitt. I wonder how long it takes to learn to do that, and whether it can be done at all without a Phd. in transpersonal neuropsychics … sorry, I mean neurophysics.

  51. p.s. your next pint and pork scratchings are on the house, of course. . . absolutely any time … seeing as you’ve blown our collective hive mind. The primitive precursor, I now realise, to foaming and gurgling.

    @Suzan, would you like to come in, here … ?

  52. Hmmmmm … no @Suzan 😦 … I hope she realises that teasing in this wicked space is a mmwah-mmwah!

  53. WN Trepanning can be done cheaply with a cordless drill and a steady hand.

  54. @Wordy, Hmmmmm … no @Suzan 😦 … I hope she realises that teasing in this wicked space is a mmwah-mmwah!

    Tsk! Tsk! All this fuss, Wordy. 🙂
    I’ve been outdoors, tormenting my favourite Dublin booksellers, with obscure titles they happen to know nothing about.
    It’s an overcast day…cold and muggy… and back to shades of winter.

    I actually think that persistent scoffer sounds better than determined now, that you mention it and Wordy no, I never meant you at all but only in general terms.

    P.S.: Did you miss me? Hee-hee!

  55. @Alarming,

    I was sure that you’d understand @Hazlitt’s post better than the rest of us. . . You visual artists seem at home in crannies of life on earth about which the rest of us — or certainly I — know very little. So you are consistently the most stimulating category of comrade — post comments so surprising that they might almost be a reversal of the magnetic poles … or something like that.

    I thought he’d invented this application of trepanning, of which I had only the vaguest idea. So I’ve had to look up “trepan’, which led to a blog entry on Hazlitt’s thrilling hobby. Such a very good thing that I was sitting down when I read it .. and this brazen tautology seems to sum up the problems so many of us have with … let‘s call it alternatives to comprehensible thought: ‘people who think trepanation is a load of crap are simply suffering from ill-effects caused by lack of trepanation. ‘

    ===Self-trepanation: try it and see!

    While preparing a lecture on evidence based medicine, I decided to find an old medical practice that is now considered quackery. Trepanation, the practice of drilling a hole in the skull to expose the brain, seemed to fit the bill, and off I went to find a suitably gory image to keep the students awake. Which is when I came across the modern advocates of trepanation, the “International Trepanation Advocacy Group – Third Eye Innocent & Open Wide”. Some people even do it to themselves – with interesting results.

    +++After some time there was an ominous sounding schlurp and the sound of bubbling. I drew the trepan out and the gurgling continued. It sounded like air bubbles running under the skull as they were pressed out. I looked at the trepan and there was a bit of bone in it. At last!+++


    Of course, most rational people will not consider this a sensible use of their Black and Decker drill, but this is, according to one advocate, a sort of false consciousness about the nature of trepanation.

    +++According to Huges, the trepanation led him to a higher state of consciousness. (The mescaline he took just after drilling the hole in his head had nothing to do with it.)

    Huges claimed that as a result of this operation he became “permanently high.” Huges also claims that people who think trepanation is a load of crap are simply suffering from ill-effects caused by lack of trepanation. If the skeptics just had holes drilled in their heads, they’d understand. +++

    http://www.blacktriangle.org/blog/?p=1256 ===

    . . . Strangely, no mention of returning for pints and nibbles, though … Huges(?) is obviously not going about it the right way at all …

    @Suzan, … indescribably relieved to find that you were only out enjoying yourself. . . Well of course I’d have missed you if I’d been looking in here, checking for posts, but I’ve been too busy myself. . .

    Just look at what you’ve started, though — I hope we don’t have any monkey-see monkey-do consequences from these discussions of skull-drilling. . . dearohdear …

  56. Hi all,

    ISA’s references got me thinking last night; here’s something for fans of 70s underground sci-fi.

    http://revenantsandrigmaroles.wordpress.com/

  57. Hi Wordy,

    Just look at what you’ve started, though — I hope we don’t have any monkey-see monkey-do consequences from these discussions of skull-drilling. . . dearohdear …

    I don’t quite understand this line but I was talking about a subject that started on the top, as important to me, even it was so easily read wrongly and dismissed as frivolous – why, am I perceived to be the silliest of your commenters here? – and it would have made perfect sense elsewhere if not here. Indeed, in reading your reply to others and then to myself, I do feel disappointed.

  58. WN I’ve seen trepanned skulls in the British Museum. Your quotes are fantastic – the sort of logic one would expect from someone who has drilled a hole in their head.

    An acquaintance of mine Trevor Stuart on the alternative theatre circuit does a fantastic act called “The Man who ate his brains out”. He wears a sort of fez which he can lift the top off. As he explains the function of the brain in an informative manner he puts a spoon in the top of his hat and ladles out a steaming lump of brain. As he eats this the various motor functions of the brain get scrambled – the more he eats the worse he becomes until he’s a mess of incoherence and random impulses.

    It’s brilliantly done being hilarious, disturbing and borderline offensive. It was part of a show called “Circus Lumiere” in the late 70’s and he still does it from time to time.

  59. Hazlitt

    Suzan,
    I am going back up thread to read your comments…I only had alternative medicine on my mind when I riffed about treppaning……besides which,no one who has travelled as much as you…which I enjoy reading about,needs their mind expanding with the aid of treppanation.By the way do you need anyone to help you carry your luggage?….:)

  60. Now, … dear, dear @Suzan, … name me another website where you’d get an offer like that — and from a @Hazlitt, an endlessly imaginative, not to mention perfectly mad and fascinating conversationalist. Where else would you meet someone who can go ‘…..Ping!’ floating on a gentle current of meditation?

    Please consider context before you get so offended. .. You, who have a clown picture for a gravatar and were telling us that this blog’s discussions reminded you of a circus, only last week — ? You, thanked over and over again for your kindness and warmth and affection? … I’m still puzzling over why you couldn’t work out from all that that I could only have been teasing you about being responsible for any future experiments in skull drilling and their consequences.

    After a serious discussion higher up in the thread about wildly different associations that intelligent people can have with ‘New Age,’ a few of us have been having some fun with its lunatic fringe. . . And since you say that you’ve spent years living in or near the little islands off France or in Oz, you surely know that this is perfectly ordinary behaviour in the culture of Blighty — or what accounts for roughly three-quarters of the reason why I infinitely prefer conversations there to the style where I am now. . . Then, … how will you survive talking to the friends of your beloved if you won’t less us tease you affectionately? Just look at what _he_ gets up to.

    …. ‘hilarious, disturbing and borderline offensive,’ … says @Alarming about this Trevor Stuart he’s described, without handing out barf bags, as he should have done (but yes @Alarming, you’ve nmade him sound irresistible, even so). … You surely know how perfectly that fits certain incarnations of @Des, too — ?

    Sometimes I feel like using smileys and sometimes I don’t. I know that it would help if I made a point of sprinkling them liberally in _every_ post I wrote to you … but then I’ve seen you make naughty remarks with a poker face, too. .. Please advise.

  61. @Hazlitt“By the way do you need anyone to help you carry your luggage?….:)”

    No, I couldn’t do that to you, Hazlitt. Security officers will suggest maddening checks, every half a kilometre down the departure lounge. But thank you for all the rest. 🙂

    Wordy, it wasn’t at all about the smileys. But never mind. I sincerely apologise.
    Love you as always.

  62. Dear @Suzan, absolutely no apology necessary… just _please_ think of giving any nerds you might know the benefit of the doubt, will you? : )

    Sorry for answering at snail speed … some extremely unusual distractions, which also account for my sluggish response to …

    @exitbarnadine … but I’ve replied on your site., as I hope you saw. Please keep posting alerts about new entries here, if you feel like it — and I wish that @Alarming would make when-and-where announcements of WRAS performances in this space. Too far for me to come, of course, but I like the idea of comrades letting us know what they’re up to, and even using this site to build an audience. That’s because I don’t think we have a single emetically self-promoting fatcat among our regulars. . . or rather, at this point, I know that we don’t.

  63. WN the dates of the summer should be up in a few weeks on the web-site – I’ve been snowed under with production and premiere of a new show and rehearsing a seperate pig touring team and sending them to Spain.

    The new show will be filmed in June and put up on YouTube asap. It’s gone well so far ….. but you never know! I’ll let you know as and when.

    You are right of course – as I get older I find it harder to self-promote. Time and energy as much as anything but also wanting to let the work speak for itself rather than through marketing. The Arts Council these days seem more interested in how work is promoted rather than what it actually is – we’re constantly having to tone down their demands. The idea that work can be genuinely popular rather than PR’d to within an inch of its life seems an increasingly alien concept to them.

    God I’m a dinosaur aren’t I?

  64. === The Arts Council these days seem more interested in how work is promoted rather than what it actually is – we’re constantly having to tone down their demands. ===

    Not a bit surprised, and nor are you, I suspect. Mercantalist excesses have been contaminating institutions that were set up to resist mercantalist criteria and considerations. That’s close to the ultimate tragedy for the arts, … for me, anyway … so I must be a fellow-dinosaur.

    Anyway, that’s all the more reason to post dates for shows here, @Alarming: extra brownie points from the Council … I’m amazed by how seldom readers follow links to websites posted here or anywhere else, so you can’t count on them trotting over to your space to look.

  65. === rehearsing a seperate pig touring team and sending them to Spain. ===

    Would v.much appreciate some scraps of dialogue from these sessions. What do you have to tell them to do better — or is it worse?

  66. In a 10 minute show for 10 people in an intimate space like the inside of a pig you have to concentrate on economy of movement to achieve maximum effect. This avoids the performer’s awkward movements distracting from what the movement is trying to achieve.

    We don’t do emotional acting or lines of dialogue, the show inside the pig is not a story per se more of an animated environment so the emphasis is on performing an action which hopefully will engage and surprise the audience. There’s a lot to learn in the relationship between a puppet or an object and a performer. It;’s finding the right balance each time.

    I think of it as boiling down an action so that every gesture you make is clean and resonant. Doesn’t always happen like that but it’s a worthwhile aim.

    So what’s said is ” Can you do that without getting up and down so often?” ” Do that with your left hand not your right” “If we do a.) before b.) does it work?”

    The show is childishly simple ( being designed primarily for children ) but requires a lot of work to get it right. And of course the performers need to make it their own. We have one performer who is a classic street performer who has added a level of one-liners to his role. Normally I would be suspicious of this as language can detract too much from the overall effect but he makes it work very well so it stays in.

  67. === I think of it as boiling down an action so that every gesture you make is clean and resonant. Doesn’t always happen like that but it’s a worthwhile aim.

    So what’s said is ” Can you do that without getting up and down so often?” ” Do that with your left hand not your right” “If we do a.) before b.) does it work?” ===

    Thank you, that’s exactly the kind of detail I was looking for — seems something like a cross between being a Chinese watercolourist of the old school and a contortionist, if you both design and perform…. Hard not to keep thinking of Groucho’s ‘Outside of a dog … inside of a dog it’s too dark to read’ … with the name of a certain other animal.

  68. … or was it Thurber?

  69. Haven’t heard that one if it was Groucho or read that one if it was Thurber.

    I was always very influenced by Hitchcock’s interviews with Truffaut ( a fabulous book ). Not because I wanted to make tense thrillers with a macabre sense of humour in them or torture the blonde leading actress but because I liked the pragmatic approach to creating intense tangible sensations that Hitchcock achieved.

    In the book he underdoes the artistry at the expense of the commercial side to film-making but I think that’s his self-deprecating Brit side in full play.

  70. . . . right the first time … he’s definitely one of this blog’s tutelary spirits:

    === Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ===

    — Groucho Marx

    === Not because I wanted to make tense thrillers with a macabre sense of humour in them ===

    And yet there is something not unlike that in parts of Compost Mentis, @Alarming … With luck there will be more in your next video, promised for the month of __ . . . [coughs delicately]

    … At least you can’t complain that your audience here isn’t interested.

  71. the physical appearance of me in Compost Mentis also has many parallels with Hitchcock’s cameos !!!

  72. When i was at the National Student Drama Festival in 2004, there was a show from Hull University’s Scarborough School of Arts, called Unlucky For Some.

    The audience was limited to 13 and in the space were 13 boxes big enough to house two people. Each member of the audience were given a ticket with a number on it, and this determinded which box they went in and once inside were given a performance by the actor in that box.

    The actors the set about insulting their audience, challenging them to respond.

    Another show that year was Leicester College’s Dinner, in which a twenty strong cast and audience were seated at a vast dining table. No food was served, but the actors acted as though they were at dinner.

    My gig there was writing for the daily paper, Noises Off, run by the Cambridge Mafia, with the winning critics and editor, now working as Guardian bloggers on the Theatre Blog. Andrew Hayden the editor both years i went in 2003 and 4, and the winner of The Sunday Times Harold Hobson critic of the festival award, Chris Wilkinson, who i sat next to many times exchanging pleasantries.

    Ed Lake, the winning Cambridge critic in 2003, is a blogger on the Telegraph literature blog, who i also knew, briefly.

    Robert Hewison and Ian Shittleworth, critics for the Times anf Financial Times, also attend, and i spoke to Shutters as we knew him, a number of times.

    These people are at the very heart of theatrical showbiz life in England, and have actually seen me and all the rest of it.

    ~

    I am in the middle of recording the piece now wordy and will post it up in the next few days.

  73. Do you really want us guessing, @Alarming? … I can imagine you telling Sue, ‘I just don’t understand how that nerd thought I could possibly be him — I mean, I adore him, but honestly…’ etc., etc..

    Hey ho @Des, I look forward to reading or listening, when you’re ready.

    === These people are at the very heart of theatrical showbiz life in England, and have actually seen me and all the rest of it. ===

    Hmm. 🙂

  74. ISA

    Back from Munich

    http://xuitlacoche.blogspot.com/2009/05/little-moments-make-hour.html

    Apparently Mills and Guardian are going to publish an anthology of the books blog poems after all. Two or three of my crappier poems are in contention. Lots of everyone else’s. You need confirm to Sarah Crowne that the poems are yours.

    One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.

    Your new blog looks ser interesting Wordy.

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