Thursday, February 28

The Lost Myth of the Venus-child

Dear Imogen,

You speak of the delicious Mr Depp.

Perhaps I should recount a little known myth that it is imperative your classics students become familiar with. I cannot reveal from which source I came to know of this myth..... only that it is true, and if it not be so, may the knarled hand of The Fates cut short the very string of my too, too sullied life and send me winging to the very bowels of dark Hades........

As the end of the Golden Age of the Gods approached, all-mighty Zeus, tiring of the jealous ways of his wife-sister Hera, bid Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, to fashion a mortal male from the very core of her ambrosia-being. This mortal male, so delightful in looks and in radiant beauty, would serve to enchant the eye of Hera, turning her watchful gaze away from the adulterous mischief of her all-powerful and salacious husband. In return for her efforts, Zeus promised to free Aphrodite from her bond to lame-footed Hephaestos, and to unite her for all eternity with her true love, the war-like Ares.

Aphrodite, unable to resist such an offer, left Mount Olympus alone, leaving even her favourite behind, the light-winged Eros, to seek peaceful and concentrated refuge on the Island of Cyprus, which island she was fond of more than any other place on mankind's earth. There she began her work in creating a male more beautiful than even that most beautiful of all mortal beings, Helen of Troy.

So consummed with her work did Aphrodite become, that she failed to hear the call of Zeus for the gods and goddesses of his realm to leave Mount Olympus and to abandon mortal men and women to their fate forever.

Aphrodite, alone in the world, continued to work as if in a timeless trance, as she fashioned her most sublime personification of her nature. More inspiration and thought had Aphrodite never before bestowed into one single task. Her spirit and mind was absorbed for centuries with the perfection of her incandescant male. All her essence of being was poured forth over these long years, ensuring that Aphrodite's child-of-mind would be forever filled with the very quintessence of empyrean beauty.

In the year 1963, Aphrodite's work was finally complete. The sublime mortal man was ready for unveiling to mankind and to the now-vanished eye of Hera.

Her creation was sent forth from the Island of Cyprus to the unlikely town of Owensboro, Kentucky, his care being charged to a simple-born man and woman.

The god-child grew into his fated beauteous form as simply as a leaf swirls in the gentle breath of restless Eurus.

And now, though the time of the Gods has passed, men and women of the mortal kingdom can still recall the supreme power over beauty of this most lovely of all goddesses, by gazing upon the pinnacle of male exquisiteness that is Aphrodite's swan-song, Mr Johnny Depp.

Wednesday, February 27

'Twenty questions' (or at least some of them)

I haven’t written a list in a while and given that I bored to an extent previously unknown to man, woman or sentient being, I shall fill my final forty-five minutes in the office ‘listing’.

What to list though…..

I am creating some lists at work at the moment actually, based upon the personalities of our team. Our team has just doubled in size and as the ‘Initiator for the creation of team joy, unity and a happy, inspirational work-place’ I have decided to create a booklet for new starters and trainees etc that will give them an alternative introduction to the team… beyond the usual age, extension number and work history crap you normally get.

I’ve basically presented the team with my favourite ‘twenty questions’ list that I like to bark at strangers who accost me in bars, in place of normal conversation.

Anyways, I suppose I could recount the list that staff members are currently filling in – not with their responses of course. That would be unusually indiscreet even for me. No. I could, for my own amusement, fill them in myself. This prospect equally bores me though. I know my answers already and could recount them in my sleep.

OR, in fact, I could list my already installed Eclectic Initiatives to Personalise the Office, Create Staff Unity and Harbour Laughter and a Lightness of Soul never before experienced in a corporate law department ….and develop more. THEN I am, whilst blogging, also working! No guilt here then.

Just let me turn on my ‘Non-chargeable’ clock… this is clearly ‘New product development’….

On second thoughts. So good are these inspired ideas, they would clearly be stolen by the raft of rival law-firm fee earners who daily visit the spaghetti junction that is my blog. I cannot let this be.

Additionally, Roll On Friday have recently been spying into the affairs of close Manchester colleagues of mine and I am aware of the insiduous gaze of the legal profession into areas you never expect them to intrude or discover.


OK, in no particular order:

Ideal three dinner party invites:
Bill Clinton, Johnny Depp, Alan Bennett

What other job would you most like to do:
Zoologist at the Virunga Mountain Research Facility

What did your school report typically say about you:
Natalie needs to put as much effort into her written work as she dos into her oral work

If you were a jungle animal what would you be?
A bonobo

Which literary creation do you most identify with/would most like to be like:

Scarlett O’Hara OF COURSE!!! – for COUNTLESS reasons. She was independent, headstrong, passionate, ground-breaking (for clarification here – she was a female from the deep south in 19 century who owned and ran her own businesses, created a cotton plantation, physically defended her own territory and negotiated with the enemy at a high level of authority to protect her own family – not of this was ‘acceptable’ for a mere woman at the time) authoritative and intelligent. ‘Tis a height sincerely to be aspired to.

If you could have one super power what would it be:

See Super power blog below.
That, or immortality.
Saying that - I recently came across a beautiful but fated idea somewhere recently that I can’t identify in my memory. Something is saying in Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s latest film that I recently went to see (In place of Johnny Depp!!!!! THATS how much I love Morgan's voice) but I’m sure it’s not that. Anyway, the idea was: Would people accept immortalty if offered? To prompt consideration, this story was told……A woman was offered a vial of liquid that would make her immortal. She decided she would accept immortality, but she only drank half - saving the rest for her future lover that she immediately embarked on a search to find. She realised immortality alone was no fun and so her key to beating the immortality Achilles’ heel was to find the person she could spend the rest of her life with and give them the potion. Unfortunately, so important did finding the right man become, that as time passed, it became more and more impossible to find the person worthy of the immortal liquid. After all, this would be the only person to could exist in eternity with. After the passing of centuries of disappointment and finding all men lacking to her ideal, she began to view all men as failures and resigned herself to a life of lonely immortality.
‘Tis the age-old vampire problem. Part of what adds to their romantic stature I guess. (Poor Lestat….)

What colour best represents you:

Yellow – loud, happy but sometimes overwhelming…..
‘Tis also the colour of the mighty leo Lion.

Would you rather have a face for a bum or a bum for a face:

Face for a bum. :)That cracks me up every time. Surely NO-ONE says ‘bum for a face', though’???

Lose a leg or lose an arm:

Leg definitely. You can cover up the leg and leg prosthetics are developed enough to mostly replace the natural leg function. Not so with an arm as the hand and fingers are so dextrous and complex and technology hasn’t advanced to replicate this yet.
(Also – you could get one of those legs the Olympic runner has that is made of sprung steel or something that means you can bounce along the road at high speed.)

If you could one one of the four major talents; Musical ability, Literary ability, Artistic ability
Mental ability, which would it be:

Musical ability. "I think music can express subtleties that neither literary nor visual artistic endeavours can."

If you could save one item from your burning house, what would it be?

My Victorian pearl and ruby lavaliere. That sounds odd as it is jewellery based and I am not a jewellery fan – not real ‘gems’ anyway. I find real gems gauche, for one – I am not someone who would be delighted by the presentation of a diamond necklace for example. Gems/modern jewellery are a minefield of ethical implications so it is best just to stay away – it’s not like I’m missing out on much either, a small bead of glass looks just like a diamond – why does it HAVE to be a diamond? It’s only social snobbery/vanity that distinguishes one from the other.

No. The reason why is 1. Because I do have objections to jewellry, being ‘second-hand’ it’s the few/one piece of ‘real’ jewellry I am happy to wear. 2. It was my Grandma's and is the only item of hers I have. 3. I have another sentimental attachment to it beyond it being my Grandma’s – my sister wore it for her wedding and I was soooo touched by this. I know I shouldn’t take it personally – lavalieres are beautiful (and no longer made really – it was the Victorians and Edwardians primarily who loved them and they went out of fashion with them. Lord knows why.) so of course she should want to wear it. It was a perfect fit with her dress too. But I was still chuffed knowing Caroline was walking down the aisle having chosen to wear, of all pieces of jewellery, my favourite. (it was of course her something borrowed and something old)

What would be the best aspect of being a member of the opposite sex?

Childhood games. Boys games are sooo much better than girls. Cowboys and Indians, tree-houses, camping, digging for treasure/insects. They are all also all more out-doorsey than girls. They have adventure at their heart too.

OK. The class-room bell has rung and I am free.

Any reference to time zones or physical location at the time of writing (“the Time”) is purely fictitious and should not be viewed as a genuine reflection of the writer’s actual status at the Time.

Monday, February 25

It Is Like It Ought To Be - A Pastoral

I recently attended THE MOST BIZARRE theatre experience I have ever been 'exposed' to.

I don't even know how to explain what I witnessed for seventy minutes.

Probably best is just to explain the rough sequence of events:

Upon entering the theatre, we were greeted by five actors in 19 century clothes, most playing folky-tunes on instruments (accordion, cello, violin/trumpet... yes, it was violin-trumpet COMBINED.. I didn't understand it looking at it and still don't) who stopped playing every so often to hand out glasses of cider...and to invite us..... to apple bob.

Several people apple bobbed with the help of the cast. (remarkably - mostly women with full faces of makeup and freshly coiffed hair - fair play) Then, volunteers having dwindled, one of the two actresses began to bob herself, with much fanfare, because she could, we were told, fit TWO apples in her mouth at once.

And so she could.

On her final extraction from the bath of water, the actress exploded out of the bath and started SCREAMING, with no seeming reason, in 'tongues' or witch curses... or something. I couldn't really hear as I was too focused on the fact that her cast mate was now, head-locking her, and fully immersing her head in the bath water, before dragging her out - by her throat - to allow her to 'tongues' some more. Several times. Then he kind of flung her onto the floor, where she collapsed...apparently 'unconscious'.

She was then bound up, and the audience was ushered into their seats - by the remaining three actors - swishing branches and long twigs (!) through the air in front of us.... and shouting 'Move along! Move along!' :)))))))))

Then twenty minutes of poetry about living in the country, away from the city, creating your own 'society' hidden in a valley ensued.

Then twenty minutes of the actors interspersing playing their instruments with making FARM ANIMAL noises. They didn't just make the noises, they recorded their noises on little dictaphones... and then walked up and down the stage.... not saying A WORD, replaying the noises....for the ENTIRE twenty minutes...every so often, walking in and out of the audience seats, and playing the noises to the faces of the audience members.

So far, so surreal.

Then, one of the actor went into a suitcase, and proceeded to unload roughly thirty mechanical fluffy white rabbits, set them around the stage, and set them to hop around, blink their red-lit eyes, and make 'squeaky noises'.

This we watched for some ten minutes.

Just sat.... watching the hopping, squeaky rabbits.

Then, poetry again...a storm is coming.

Instruments out again - loud stormy music.

Two of the actors begin disrobing (the advert had said 'Not suitable for children: Contains nudity') the male disrober, produced a bowl of mud, and having revealed his sinewy frame in its entirity, rubbed mud over thia entire, and I mean ENTIRE, body.

He then, got down on his hands and knees, and crawled in a circle like a dog making a bed. :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Then he got up onto his hands and feet, and walked around the stage like a bear on all fours.

The female disrober at this point, had revealed her boobs, and was laid out on the floor, rubbing dried leaves all over her clothes and boobs. And rolling.
At some point she started madly eating apples... and spitting and dribbling the mulch from her mouth onto the floor.

I think the other actors were playing music and screaming at this point. I don't know. It was all very confusing for me. :))))))

Then, onto the stage walks a women covered in a long velvet black cloak. She stood on a podium and shouted some brutal, storm-related words. While her cast mates rolled in leaves spitting apples and walked around like naked, muddy bears. (The little rabbits were still going by the way).

Then, with a loud bang, everything stopped (the storm...was over....)

Veeeeeerrrrrry slowly, the cloaked woman turned around.... to reveal her face...which was...a horse's face.

It was very freaky. David Lynch would have been proud. It has given me much fodder for future nightmares.

Then they put their clothes back on... and proceeded to kill a fake horse. It was blugeoned to death. And left in the middle of the stage. The poor horse (previously billed as 'the love horse' that audience members had been invited to 'speak to ' and record messages of love into it... for the love horse also contained a magical dictaphone)

The little rabbits were then set on the fake horse... to 'eat it'.

Then, light folky music came back on.... and all quietly sat down on the stage, got out A KETTLE and made a cup of tea. And just sat quietly for some minutes.
We sat watching them drink tea.

Then they recited nice poetry about rivers and kissing.

And that was it.

They disappeared off stage, and came back on for their applause, wearing plastic animals masks. A hound dog, a pig, a sheep, a horse and an owl.

And that was it.

And I will end this blog in the same way I came out of my surreal theatre experience, with a ????????????????? :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))) ?????????????????????

“The latest show from Uninvited Guests is absolutely brilliant… this is a clever, engaging and tightly controlled show.” The Guardian

Thursday, February 14

Am enjoying watching Masterchef at the moment, though the overly dramatic, 'Cooking DOESNT get much tougher than THIS' opener always makes me chuckle. It's a line more suited to bare knuckle fighting than the controlled application of olive oil to a non-stick pan.

I love cooking and am I suppose passionate about food, compared to some - I will go out of my way to visit a local store stocking good ingredients, can spend hours wandering around markets and delis and am blissfully happy with a complex recipe necessitating hours in the kitchen. Despite this, I do wonder about the unadulterated passion for food that some of the Masterchef contestants and presenters display. Food appears to literally rule their lives. Food is culture of course and deserves to be considered as an integral part of life's rich tapestry just like art and literature. But unlike the latter, food I don't believe can enrich the soul or challenge the mind so I find it somewhat baffling that some-one can devote their lives to the pursuit of the perfect hollandaise sauce and believe they have found nirvana - as Masterchef implies they do. Food is ancillary to life surely?

Anyway, some good food quotes below.

Being a cheese-lover, I can't agree more with GK Chesterton - though I doubt he was quite so sincere as I!

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." ~G.K. Chesterton

"Condensed milk is wonderful. I don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans." ~Fred Allen

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." ~Calvin Trillin

"If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?" ~Author Unknown

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. " Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 7

Japanese whaling

An Australian Custom ship has within the past few days captured emotive footage of whaling activities by Japanese hunters. Horrifically the photographs taken witness, for example, the piercing of an adult whale through its hump by the use of explosive harpoons, before the still-live and undoubtedly painracked whale is hoisted slowly through the air to bleed out the last of its life in fear and agony. Additional footage hints at a heartbreaking end to the peaceful lives of a mother and her calf.

Japan has used the International Whaling Convention's permissive measures relating to whaling in pursuit of 'scientific research' since the outset of the Convention's ratification. Since its creation in 1946 the International Whaling Commission has failed abysmally in its mandate to protect the stock of whales 'for future generations' - a mandate which in itself is based upon state self-interest, is entirely sterile and wholly theoretically imperfect.

The IWC has done little more than provide a permisive gloss to decades of slaughter of whales and stood by as to allow us to witness the systematic depletion of race of rightful inhabitants of our planet.

The IWC should be immediately and shamefully disbanded even were it not to be replaced by an equivalent, and hopefully more substantial organisation. If only to deny whaling nations such as Japan, Norway and Canada with the opportunity to legitimate their actions by reference to a fictitious provision that provides them with the outward conceit for the bloody murder of sentient creatures.