‘Poetry is Weird and Quite Possibly Illegal’

I have found that poetry describes itself in terms of both feet and meters, thereby flouting European Directives on measurement, which may still be a hanging offence in parts of Scotland[1]. Worse, I discovered that poets communicate using an exclusive and arcane language that looks like a hybrid of algebra and a medieval incantation. There are iambic pentameters, metonymys, tankas, and tragic flaws. There are also words I’m pretty sure have been made up and get changed, like code, so that only insiders know what they mean. I’m onto them though. These are some of the ones I think I’ve … Continue reading ‘Poetry is Weird and Quite Possibly Illegal’

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‘Fish and Chips’

There are days when, having polished off your last borrowed book and even cast a worryingly enthusiastic glance over Alan Titchmarsh’s column in Radio Times, there’s no other way of avoiding the stack of unopened Scientific Americans than checking out the Parish magazine[1].  In the last issue there was an invitation to write in with a send-up of a local business.  At least I think that’s what it said.  Anyway, inspired by the floods that had paralysed the village some while back, I get cracking on a description of ‘my’ micro-chipping service for fish…   Fish n Chips Fish n … Continue reading ‘Fish and Chips’

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‘Trapped by a CAJE’

After an unenthusiastic flurry of activity, job descriptions are submitted to a central panel for the purpose of matching them to particular pay bands.  Equal pay for equal value – a fine and admirable principle.  Well yes, just so long as your job description is not being analysed by a psychotic software package keen to wreak revenge for unspecified wrongs perpetrated on its mother – in my case a Commodore 64 upon which I once wrote a programme that scrolled bugger bugger bugger on a loop like a set of vindictive credits. CAJE is a semantic analysis package which responds … Continue reading ‘Trapped by a CAJE’

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‘When the Borg Took Our Payslips’

I have occasionally been accused, by the terminally unwise it has to be said, of showing a preference for the sci fi fantasy world of Star Trek over twenty-first century reality.  You know reality: that’s where the cat throws up over your foot just as you sit down to eat and the gift you ordered on line for fast delivery is sitting in a DHL depot, fifty miles further away than the shop you didn’t have time to go to in the first place, because you weren’t in when they called[1].  Neither are they when you phone them, but we … Continue reading ‘When the Borg Took Our Payslips’

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‘The One About the Home Guard’

The local Parish newsletter arrived last week and there, among the notifications about malfunctioning streetlights, an incidence of malicious roundabout furniture knocking-over and the news that we came second (out of three) in the South East in Bloom (Rural Villages) competition, was the alarming revelation that we have a Disaster Committee. In the event of a nuclear or biological attack, the Committee will immediately set off to guard our water supplies, man the village hall into which we will all be evacuated, and scoop up elderly residents in order to feed them soup and biscuits from supplies stored, it seems, … Continue reading ‘The One About the Home Guard’

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‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

Breaking in a strange vehicle (or vice versa) is for me a rather prolonged and edgy affair.  Not only are the wipers invariably positioned where the full beam headlights used to be, thereby prompting an episode of energetic windscreen washing when trying to send a message about courtesy to some oik in a beat up Cortina with speakers the size of Kent on the back shelf, but all manner of other instruments have generally been transposed to novel and entertaining locations. Men seem able to climb into new  cars (or vans, trucks, and quite possibly tanks) and instantly blend with … Continue reading ‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

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‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

Something else likely to result in periods of isolation in a single room interspersed with episodes of careful questioning is Bluetooth technology.  My phone has it[1].  In addition to keeping my diary, taking pictures, downloading emails, and signalling the arrival of texts with a burst of birdsong (the first time was a shock – there seemed suddenly to be a flock of sparrows in my pocket), this thing is voice-enabled so you can give oral instructions to have it answer calls, make calls, and sustain conversations while located completely out of sight[2].  You’re advised to choose for activation an unusual … Continue reading ‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

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