Vortex. aka The Frog Spinner. Meet the Delvaux twins, Maryse and Jean-Loup. Jean-Loup doesn’t do anything much; he’s a bit of a nogoodnik flâneur, really, but he’s very pretty, very clever and he throws the best tea parties in & around that neck of the woods. His sister Maryse is a professional frog spinner. She spins frogs, that’s what she does. She throws a handful of young frogs (sometimes infant wyrms) into the Vortex and makes them whirl and turn and twirl all the way to the bottom of the funnel until they vanish and reappear in the adjacent dimension, where they are picked up by the Shoggoths and their trusty inter-dimensional minibus, the Colometa, and returned safe and sound to their homes, their mothers and their choir practice. All the girl frogs and girl wyrms love Jean-Loup because of his good looks and his tea parties and his delightful crappy jokes. The boy frogs are not exactly enamoured of Maryse but they submit with good grace to this bizarre practice of being spun because it gives them kudos with the girl frogs and earns them extra cuddles from their mothers and the odd exemption from choir practice. The frog mothers thoroughly approve of this rotating caper, for it’s demonstrated that it fortifies the hide and tones down the superfluous testosterone; also, it gets the kids off their hands for a while without the venomous side-effects of day-time telly.
This wee Loony Tune is for my friend Maryse, who loved Mercè Rodoreda and with whom I lost touch some time ago, unfortunately. Here’s looking at you, kid! NB. No frogs were harmed in the making of this illustration.
Haghesa & Friends. aka El ídolo de las Cícladas. For Julio Cortázar, gone but not forgotten & all that.
It is a little known (and even less publicized) fact that the Minoans inherited the essentials of taurokathapsia (or tauromaquia to you and me) from the earlier Cycladic civilization with this fundamental difference: that in the Cycladic cultures the bulls were the ones doing all the jumping and leaping and soaring and all the attendant acrobatics and pretty capers. Cycladic bulls were a truly fierce lot and no sane human would have dared touch them with a ten foot barge pole except, in very rare occasions, to stroke them affectionately, Haghesa permitting. For these beasties were under the protection of that most fearsome of all fearsome Great Mothers. A person would have to be thoroughly off his or her bonce to cross Haghesa even ever so slightly, for Milady was notorious for her short temper and erratic disposition. She’d as soon bestow her graces and favours upon a mortal as she’d disembowel him just for the pure joy of it.
Another creature under her aegis (or, some say, in cahoots with her) was Erythros, the wild boar, or porc senglar*, as they are called in my erstwhile neck of the woods. He was allowed to take liberties that no other animal was permitted, not even her beloved bulls. In some respects, this ancestor of the famed Erymanthian Boar, fulfilled the triple task of confidante, touchstone and court jester to Madamina -hence the enhanced quota of freedoms.
*Here be a wee link for nostalgic Catalan ex-pats:
Children of Chaos. Our friend Jimmy-Two-Tails vanished into unnamed territories in 2015 following the disappointment of his less than brilliant political career. He’s now resurfaced with a young son in tow. When asked who the mother is, or where, for that matter, Jimmy looks vacant, or distracted, or like he’s gone suddenly deaf.
Last night he took himself and his love-child to visit Old Mother Chaos, to introduce the kid to her and her latest brood, and to discuss with the old girl the ins and outs of parenthood, single or otherwise. Bubbles went along for the ride and also to see if she could grasp the underlying principles of a practice that, frankly, is all Greek to her and her kin since Shoggoths don’t reproduce; if they feel they are short of a few bulks they simply divide like amoebas and Bob is your uncle! When they no longer need the extra discrete protoplasm they reabsorb it collectively.
The visitation went splendidly. Jimmy and the First Mother had a jolly good bitch about irresponsible significant others (that is, Jimmy had; the grand old lady never had a mate -nor did she ever need one, for as well as self-begotten she is self-sufficient in the begetting department- but she is terribly empathic and polite to a fault, so she listened and nodded and tut-tutted in all the right places), the baby was duly impressed by his father’s oratory skills, the young Chaossettes were vastly amused by Jimmy’s vibrant and lavish terms of abuse and Bubbles had a ball, flirting something chronic with all and sundry, an activity she has discovered recently to have a natural talent for.
Rum thing about the Peripheral Grids: they seem to contain more single fathers than you can shake a stick at. Or it might be that the ratio of hard-nosed females to weak-willed males is disproportionately high, who knows. By the way, Jimmy’s baby is called Maloof. Jimmy wanted to call him something Russian, to offset this unending Russo-phobic hysteria, but in the end he went in for an Arabic flavour in the off-chance that it might vex Donald the Orange Canard.
This is for me lovely mate Rhishiart, who brings reds and sends hot-beverage kits. May your cellar never run dry, toots! Look-see! The return of the Stolen Goodies. Some more of that nonsense forged from borrowed & reprocessed clipart I’m becoming so fond of. Here we can see Mistah MuchaVista, the ocular sharpshooter, preaching to the wildlife that populates the delta of the mighty Urook. He’s cast his sharp eye around the p’litical scene and now dispenses an equally sharp brand of rough-rough-and-ready wisdom to whosoever wants to listen. Or to the fresh air, if nobody wants to listen, it’s all the same to him. His real name is Chindasvinto Malatesta Jones. Of decidedly mixed ancestry, he hails from Reus, of all places. The wonders of uncontrolled migration, I dare say. Long may it live! -be it only to aggravate the likes of Nigel Farrago and the Trumper* -or Agent Orange, as my other good pal David calls him. The verses quoted by Chindy are from Martin Fierro. And because I can’t be arsed to give a good translation, you’ll have to make do with this:
Don’t tell me your woes because I live in grief myself. And don’t get cocky even if your foot is on the stirrup. The best of riders often finds himself with his ass flat on the ground.
*To trump. v.intr. Games: To get the better of (an adversary or competitor, for example) by using a crucial, often hidden resource. In this Trumper’s case Homer Simpson and his tribe; a crucial, often hidden, vastly ignored, regularly abused by the soi-disant liberal elites, and definitely neglected resource. Think twice before you engage in ritual humiliation, folks. It tends to backfire spectacularly. Think Germany and Versailles and what came 20 years later. Hell, think Israel, if you feel like living dangerously.
You know what it’s like. You’re sitting at home, quietly minding your business, when a Random Morphogenetic Event drops in out of the blue and next thing you know you have become an effing monster. Oh, well…
Crossroads. Recently, and not for the first time, some clever clogs tried to tell me how I should or shouldn’t speak, and how I should not use “bad” language and so on. I retorted that a): there is no such thing as bad language. There’s bad grammar and bad syntax and bloody awful spelling, not to mention sadly misguided folks that say “nukular” instead of nuclear. End of. And b): that I’ll be buggered if I let anyone tell me how to speak. Ever. Why, they’ll be telling me how to think, next; and then how to behave, and then that I have to fall flat on my face and worship them because their fucking angry sky gods have put then at the top of the feeding manger and so on. That’ ll be the day…:-)
In addition to its Rage of the Gorgon spirit, today’s pic and its blue companion are the first in a random mini-series marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
Let’s make one thing clear: I have no romantic beliefs in this specific Revolution in and of itself, as it all ended in floods of Stalinist tears and further rivers of Blood of the Proletariat. But it happened, and, for a while, it worked. What once was could be again. And it could be better. Or better done. Or better managed. Or better something. Any road, it’s worth keeping in mind.
Up the Potemkin!
AntiValentine2017. So here we are again; another round of consumer frenzy’s in the air –not to mention the telly. And while the general public are busy contracting the pseudo-organic roses and the soi-disant fair trade chocolates our little corner of South Hackney boils and bubbles with the traditional Anti-Valentine knees-up., which will begin officially tomorrow and may last, easily, until the end of next week.
This year’s MC duties have been allocated to the capable and ever-cheerful Big Beata, a third cousin twice removed of the delightful Venus of Willendorf. See her here, carrying the Cantankerous Wheel of Fortune, assisted by that hardy perennial awkward git, Emiliano, a veteran of several successful insurrections, three young Shub-Niggureths on furlough, a devious Flying Fish and, as a link to last year’s card, our old pals the defecting Lloigor, Rhys and Rhodri.
The entertainment will be unsurpassably groovy, if I say so myself. As well as the usual tableaux vivants (and mourants), Bach concerts, poetry recitals and bulk waltz-ins, this year we also have a few seminars on Post US Election Mass & Meedja Hysteria and discussion groups on the many health benefits of schadenfreude.
As ever, entrance is free and all are welcome, even fifth columnists and agent provocateurs, since the Shub-Niggurath herself will be attending -and she simply adores agent provocateurs, especially if sautéed in a light batter and served in a bed of Lilloorian salad with some allioli.
This year we have taken over the whole borough and there’ ll be room aplenty, so there’ s no need to book either. The usual free kit is available at the designated dead drops: de-stressed ice cream, real Chinese meals, subversive T-shirts, universal de-hypnotizers, all–gauge bamboozlers, Guardian Sludge antidotes, I Love Rosa rucksacks and so on. And because 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution we’re also giving away gloriously proletarian caps and high definition repros of my top ten favourite Rodckenkos.
Happy Non Valentine Day me old hearties!
And here be the B&W version. Bon profit, nens.
Another year in. Fuck knows what it may bring. Really, today I’d rather do a Scarlett O’Hara…and think about it tomorrow. Today, here be Fifi “Red Socks” the Hyper Penguin and her young protégé, Oops, one of the far-too-many Young of the ineffable Shub-Niggurath, wishing you a wonderfully contrary 2017. She’s taking Oops to visit the oracular Cthulhian roses, to enquire about the New Year’s odds on the integrity of the EU, the Trump presidency and the outcome of the 3.45 at Kempton Park. On the way there she catches up with the latest inspirational bon mots, plastered all over the frail walls of the reality tunnel to relieve monotony and for the amusement and instruction of the weary traveller. ‘ppy New Year folks.
Is that time of the year again. Darkness drifts gently away and the days get longer by and by. Not physically noticeable, but the blood and the imagination know it’s happening and that’s good enough for me. This year the honour of leading the celebratory shindig falls to Ding and Dong, the Bomber Harriers. Dong takes away the gloom and the bad taste of the Scottish debacle and the moronic Brexit that lingers between my clenched teeth. Ding brings light and merriment and frippery and large doses of persiflage. Something tells me this coming year large doses of persiflage are going to be much needed. Overseeing the ritual is Manolito, the Hardy Perennial Alien, wielding his astral chums and wearing his rude T-shirt, assisted by my favourite alter ego, Spikky, the Spaniard in Your Works and her bosom pal Emiliano “The Mexican”, the Problematic Penguin. And behold! Even the timid and antisocial Repulsive Moon Beasts of the Plateau of Leng have emerged from their quarrelsome seclusion to bid farewell and greet the darkness and the light respectively. All is fluffy. Happy Transition, folks! PS. I’m truly amazed that I’ve actually managed to finish this here thingy in time, what with the crappy health scene and the high levels of New Computer Neurosis and all. And it will have to double as both solstice card and the Ashok Chandra Patel Memorial Service. Ash left me bereft, bored and bewildered 4 years ago come Friday. I buggeringly miss him so… L
They just don’t make them like him anymore, do they? Here be a little something to mark the passing of one of the greatest irritants of the Bastard Right ever. Made out of residual affection for the guy and possibly “con ánimo de offender”* the bien-pensants on Main Street. Hasta siempre don Fidelito. It was a pleasure to have known of you.
*Con ánimo de offender. (With the intention of offending/Aiming to affront). A collection of some of the most delightfully outrageous articles published by Arturo Pérez Reverte in El País, some ages ago. Highly recommended.
So… perhaps the Scottish vote and Corbyn (twice!) and Brexit were not a gaggle of Black Swans after all. Perhaps there is a trend on the rise. Dodgy, true, but possibly better than the BBC/Guardian/NYT/etc. party line.