Thursday, 28 July 2011

where do clouds come from?

There is a cloud factory behind those hills. It was built by the council when the sweaty towns people held a huddle to discuss the lack of shade in the area, and came up with the idea, and subsequently the proposal, to build a cloud factory. There was a lot of, "Well, yes we do like the shade but we don't want a cloud factory in our back gardens. Not next to our rivers. Not on our hills." and then the odd, "How about behind the hills?" and then a reluctant, "Hmm, yes... that could work.".

So it was agreed. The cloud factory was built behind the hills and has been churning out clouds ever since. The only problem is that it produces thousands and thousands of aspirins, and we just don’t know what to do with them. No one really gets headaches around here and when they do they normally occur in the bit of the head that remembers the cloud factory produces aspirin.

Actually, there was one bird who always had a headache. A poorly little partridge. He would have harrowing dreams and wake up with terrible migraines. When he heard about the aspirin from a local squirrel, he rushed to the factory immediately to gobble down a couple but they were too big for his beak. He tried to break them in half but his beak lacked snap. He cursed his beak and returned defeated to his agony.

But anyway, the council, unaware of the plight of the partridge, decided to dig “a big-a hole-a” to put the aspirin in. The only problem was that all this granite came out, and they had nowhere to put that. The granite just did what granite does best and sat there looking cold, grey and miserable. There was the customary amount of um-ing and ah-ing from the townsfolk until those who were most finicky, and had the least amount of actual things to do, wrote some impassioned letters to the council.

In response, the council drew up some papers, which basically said:

To whom it may concern,

The granite is your problem.

Lots of love,

The council.

They sent the papers to the Department of Mining, who promptly amended whose problem it was and passed them on to the Department of Rural Affairs, who also had a good go with the Tipp-Ex and sent them over to the Department of Trade, who put the granite on eBay. Despite the starting price being a lone penny, no one bid due to the exorbitant shipping costs.

That’s when, and how, John Fisher found out about the granite. He was leader of a slightly mischievous, and particularly frolicsome, guerrilla-sculpting-circle known as the Gleemasons. Their aim was to bring about societal change by carving large statues of smiling gorillas in places where you would not expect to see large statues of smiling gorillas. They would commonly remodel town statues to their own design. Public walls were also a popular target. On seeing the large quantity of granite on eBay, Fisher began developing the idea that would eventually become his magnum opus.

He planned furiously in his parent’s basement which, although not the normal way to plan, was a way in which John was very familiar. The walls of his subterranean headquarters were rapidly covered in blueprints, maps and pictures of gorillas. When he was ready he called an emergency meeting to which many of the most talented Gleemasons attended. He detailed the plan as follows:

1. Get some tools and that together.
2. Fill my van and drive to the granite.
3. Carve some fine gorillas.

Carve they did, and fine the gorilla's were. About two-hundred of them in total. One gorilla was a particularly astonishing feat; chiselled into a huge piece of granite stood vertically on its end. The gorilla carried his head with such majesty, his arms with such power, his expression with such pride. His eye’s were stern, but the corners of his mouth were slightly upturned. Fisher named him Nigel after his father who had recently passed away. To look at him, and the rest of the Gleemasons agreed, gave a calm appreciation of life.

Pretty soon a dog was out walking his owner and dragged him past the statues. When the owner saw what was entrancing the crowd of people, he text his wife informing her of the sensation and by lunchtime the whole area around the gorillas, right up to the aspirin pit, was a sea of people all smiling like the gorillas themselves. People were hugging and laughing, and someone started a little chant of “Nicey Nice Nice, Nicey Nice Nice” which got a bit more raucous then petered out.

The council, on seeing the attention the gorilla park was attracting, drew up plans for a fence around the site with a small admissions booth at the entrance. This probably holds the record for the fastest time for planning permission to be granted.

No sooner had the workmen pulled up in their trucks, it started pouring down with rain and they withdrew to the shelter of their vehicles. John Fisher smiled at the rain running down Nigel’s face; it looked like the gorilla was crying, but, with that little smirk, they were not tears of sadness. Fisher’s smile widened. Suddenly he could see a strange white foam spreading across the ground. It was lapping about the gorilla's feet. The poorly partridge flew down and landed on Nigel’s tail which was poised just above the lake of bubbling aspirin. She slurped up some of the relieving effervescence. Fisher beamed, “Well done clouds, keep doing what you’re doing.”

Sunday, 10 July 2011

a thing begins

Ah, the tenth of July. Could there be a more appropriate day for a thing to begin?

It's exactly six days after American Independence Day and two weeks and six days since the summer solstice. Hmm... six... six and six? I'm pretty sure a pattern's emerging. Off stage a faint meowing is heard. Shut up Coincidence Cat! Meowing like you exist at every coincidence that happens to coincide. Yeah that's right; scuttle back to your scratching post. Have a nice, long scratch.

Sorry about that. The place seems to be overrun with cats. But you'll meet them soon enough. Or perhaps not. Anyway, this thing that's begin-ed. This thung that's begun. It's no Declaration of Independence. It wasn't danced into existence by druids. It just began. I guess... sort of like the universe. Although, the universe is arguably a bit better. Still, neither of them existed, and now they both exist. They eased themselves out of waves of potentiality. Are they potentially waving at me? Or is it the person behind me? Shall I wave back? Potentially.

There are a lot of customs available to draw on at the start of things. We could smash a ribbon or cut a bottle. Throw a thing-warming party. State a few aims. Maybe a hypothesis? A null hypothesis even? But I think the customs are all pointless in this situation. They're null, with the null hypothesis being the nullest of the null. I can already tell that the thing is going to have a hard time being just a thing and not digressing into a majig or a mabob. And any grand visions of what's to come are only likely to be proved wrong, or unnecessarily restrict the thing's course of movements. Which may or may not be the last thing we want to do.

Still, for now it's only a little thing and I say give the poor bugger a chance. Let it go where it wants to go. Let it do what it wants to do. Let it—oh, it's slinking off. Alright then thing, off you go. Until next time thing. Until next time.

Image: Lisa Lightfoot - Wave of Love