Vanitas Variation. Itches must be scratched. I’ve been itching for some time now to do a re-take of the old subject and my own previous version. Also, something with a Doomsday Clock in it. Another Vanitas seemed the perfect excuse.
Love Birds. Birds wrapped in a bubble of solipsistic love, in a Love Garden, observed with forensic amazement by another couple of birdies. Totally unrelated and certainly not intentionally, I nevertheless dedicate this ‘ere doodle to all the Spanish girls who have taken to the streets, blocked roads, disrupted public life and made a wonderful nuisance of themselves, today, 8th of March 2018, on International Women’s Day. Thus I break a personal tradition of never doing “Days”. Rules are made to be broken. Go for it, quillas! Tell ‘em what’s what! And remember the old song:
A kick in the groin
Can be quite detrimental
Karate is a girl’s best friend.
In Memoriam. Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges”. 17 January 1942 – 22 February 2018
Last week another loved one, one of those I’ve never met but who had been with me from way, way back, climbed the cypress’ path, to put it with The Poet (Salvador Espriu). Antonio Fraguas de Pablo “Forges” left the world of matter and passed on into legend and cartoon heaven. He left us, his devoted life-long buffs, desolate, bereft and deprived. He left a vast and wondrous legacy, however. His gently biting humour, his irreverence, his love of life and of his beloved country and its languages will live and linger for as long as there’s ink and paper or pixels and screens. Back then, even long before Spain transitioned from the Middle Ages to Modernity, Forges was there for us with his Blasillos and his Marianos and his Conchas, his funcionarios and chupatintas, his corrupt politicians and his shipwrecked chaps, and his multifarious army of characters, both human and animal, all of them invariably sporting spectacles (yes, even his sardines wore glasses). In them dark days, the natives of “clean and noble, cultured, rich, free, clever and happy”*countries had existentialist philosophers and Noam Chomsky. We had Forges. On hindsight, and given that I never cared one fig for Sartre or his girlfriend, that Chomsky appears to have gone gaga, and that I’ve come to regard most Anglo-Saxons as a bunch of peasants, I’m so very grateful I was born where and when I was.
So, being a devout atheist yet feeling the need to formalize an expression of my grief, I betook myself to the shrine of the Great Un-Cognizable Celestial Auntie to pray for don Antonio’s subatomic particles. May they fare well and far, and fill the universe with their irrepressible joy, their kind-hearted sarcasm and their love. The pilgrimage was great fun and very educational, although most of the really juicy questions went unanswered, as I suspected they would. Like: is Auntie pregnant? If yes, who is the father of the fierce-looking maybe-baby that may or may not squat in her cryptic womb? Why are the two custodian FattyBumbums there? Have they taken to moonlighting as “security” to dodgy demiurges? And, most puzzling of all, why the scroll at Madamina’s feet bears a fragment of a poem by Joan Salvat-Papasseit? Never mind. It’s the thought that counts. And the willingness to ask the questions, especially the awkward ones.
Here’s a few links to the dearly departed stuff, mostly for the benefit of Spanish-speakers:
*Again, Salvador Espriu. Assaig de cántic en el temple
Questions. Great big bubbles of unreason have appeared in the Continuum. Very big. Very bad. Very refractory. We’ve had to send for Toussaint, the bijou anti-hero, to come and distract them with deliberately futile attempts to reason with them as we despatch a mixed platoon of Shoggoths and Penguins to undermine the bubbles’ base of ops. (And nick their reserves of Austrian chocolate while they’re at it. Waste not, want not, as we say in the Anti-Grid.) Scribe’s Note: The Shoggies don’t much care for fine chocolate -they prefer Smarties,the silly buggers- but the Penguins and I do. Deeply.
On a completely unrelated vein, I came across this line on Andy Weir’s Artemis. I liked it so much I thought I’d share it with you: “On a scale from one to ‘invade Russia in winter,’ how stupid is this plan?”
Mermaid B&W. Here’s a lass who will never-everever need to add her name to any “#TimesApp” or “#MeToo!MeToo!” mob. She has her own interesting little ways of dealing with assholes. The baby Kraken keeps its musings to itself, unlike the philosophically inclined Black Sole, who is experiencing a fleeting spell of Noventayochismo*. (It’ll pass.)
Anti-Valentine 2018. Love has always been a scarce commodity. I mean real love, not blind lust (nice though it is), or the nature-ordained and equally blind impulse to reproduce and care for any ensuing offspring (useful and pleasant as it may be), or greed (neither nice nor useful). Or sentimentality, ersatz romance, religious fervour, or any other of the socially implanted concepts that are peddled as love. One of our most un-favourite mawk-fest approaches so here we are again with our yearly anti-Valentine carnival. We shall NOT be told when or where or how or who to love! Nor shall be persuaded to buy red roses or Belgian chocolates. We do that all year ‘round if we feel like it. We dance where our hearts find us. But we would entreat you to love your friends and loved ones, if you’re lucky enough to have any, also all year ‘round and to hell with invented traditions. Look after them and be good to one another. And spare a kind thought for them who don’t stand a chance of being loved, ever, either on February 14th or December 25th or any other time of the year: the Palestinians, the Australian Aborigines, the Yemeni, the Syrians, the Libyans, the murdered women the world over who will never be able to join the “timesup” herd because their time was cut short by some imbecile with a minute brain, a small dick and a massive ego. The shindig is free for all, no booking needed. Usual times and places (you know the score by now). Goodie bags at the same dead drops as last year but contents to be a surprise. A free copy of Origins of the Family and a “Well Done Laurie Love!” badge to all attending. Free food, drink and shows. This year the Shoggoths have promised to surpass themselves in the spectacle department. As well as the Bach concerts and poetry recitals etc. they are offering a new variety of tableaux: neither vivant nor mourant, they call them tableaux zombie. They refuse to provide more details but, knowing them as I do, I can well imagine. I can’t wait. 🙂
A Sneak. I have one thing in common with Donald “The Quack” Trump: we both despise the soi-disant liberal media; and yet one thing in common with the self-proclaimed free press: we both despise Trump. The Strumpet despises the media and the media despises The Trumper. And I despise both and, were they to know me, they’d despise me. Funny thing this contempt caper, innit? Iain Banks has a rather witty rant about this merry-go-round of disdain, somewhere in Consider Phlebas. If I could be bothered I’d find & quote the full passage, but I can’t. So here’s good old Odile with her take on the subject. This here doodle, by the way, is for ALL of them toxic, mendacious, equivocating and brain-scrambling mediatic outlets but, for one day only, I dedicate it as a specific reference/ad hominem attack to El País, because it has been specially pissing me off, of late, but which I still rate above the The Guardian because it carries a cartoon by Forges, the One & Only, on regular basis. That deep.
The Dreamers3.2 Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue; never mind the sixpence in my shoe –for one thing, they don’t make them anymore. This is for Ursula K. Le Guin, who died peacefully in her bed a few days ago, aged 88, after a long life of dreaming and dreaming damned well. Ah, yes, the girl could dream like nobody’s business. So here is my tribute wot contains all the four ingredients for an alchemical marriage that happened a while back, when I was young and foolish and good Si-Fi starved. Borges said once that nobody likes owing anything to their contemporaries. This is, if it is at all, rubbish. We all owe lots of things to lots of people so it’s a waste of time liking the fact or not. Personally I rather owe to of my age group (or near-age group) that to some centuries old geezer whose ideas were dodgy to begin with but yet linger, and linger, and liiiiiiinger (oy vey!), instead of laying quietly in the intellectual elephant’s graveyard where they belong. In fact, for this modest loving homage, I’ve borrowed from myself, look, you! Bye bye, Ursy. Fare thee well, give my regards to the sub-atomic particles and see you soon(ish).
Here, this’s got everything he would have liked: Sun, Moon, wee stars, olive trees, cerros and, more to the point, gloworms, gusanitos luminosos or luciernagas, for short. The only thing missing is a river but you can imagine it meandering its way to the sea, now wild now peaceful, just behind the hills. Here’s to you, me old dead china!