Friday, 29 November 2013

The Spine of a Sting Ray

An unfortunate battle has erupted opposite the newly completed Seven Dials roundabout, between Sister Veracitude’s Convent of Theodora, and Madam Cosima’s Personal Services Agency, over the fate of the illustrated manuscript of the Great Book of Kildare. Everyone knows (of course) that Penelope has sold it for thirty-six pieces of gold (which she has used to buy wool for her blue-red-black crochet blanket). Unwittingly she sold it to Telegonus (a colleague of Felix Karlosoroff). Inevitably a secondary battle breaks out between Telegonus, and Telemachus  - who strides in from the Downs to take up battle on behalf of the Cruxicogentian Sisters.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Together, you and I will change the world

There was a moment of silence by the sea-shore when the music stopped.  Two men - one old and one young - sat looking out to the horizon, consoling each other.
'Every wave carries a memory for me,' said one. 'Yes,' replied the other, 'Those days are coming back to us - those long, sad days.'
'If you want me to show you the city in grey, come, let's walk along the pavements, as the autumn leaves fall, and the evening breeze whispers.' 
'Take me under your wing.  Together, you and I will change the world...'
 Can you hear my voice?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Great Book in Kildare

In Topographia Hibernica, Gerald of Wales described seeing a great Gospel Book in Kildare. Whilst many people assume that this refered to the Book of Kells (now kept at Trinity College in Dublin), the Sisters of the Cruxicogentes Convent of Theodora at Seven Dials know otherwise, for they have the real manuscript which Sister Veracitude guards carefully in her cell. On Sunday, Sister Gertrude smuggled the manuscript out to show to Madam Cosima’s most popular young lady, Penelope. Unlike her fellow temptresses, Penelope has few scruples, and though she has it on loan, she sells it for thirty-six pieces of gold.

Friday, 22 November 2013

A bientot, Madame.

Hedre and Tabitha are in France, stocking up on calvados and camembert for the festive season. In the local village they stop off at the boulangerie and bump into a little old lady. It is Madame Recherche, who is looking for an old friend.  They chat for a while, and she gives them a lettuce and some blackberries, and a CD of folk music played on the traditional pipes of Normandy.  For an old gossip, she says very little, and there is a tear in her eye as she puts her baguette under her arm, and cycles off into the past.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Smoke gets in your eyes

‘I thought I was the last smoker on the planet,’ grumbles Sister Gertrude, and she puffs a cloud of nicotine across the entrance to Moudi’s. Ahmed frowns at her, but she takes no notice. She is carrying the oldest of the Convent’s illuminated manuscripts, this one containing illustrations that even Ahmed would blush at. And he does. She lays it out carefully on the wooden table in front of Rosetta. Ahmed brings out three glasses of his special tantric tisane, and sits with them. The three companions peered at the stunning parchment, and discuss the viability of the various positions demonstrated.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Prokaryotic Wizard

Malvolio Claxendell spots Tsetse, the bass guitarist of Scabby Felix, accidentally knock over Sister Metamoreful outside the bookmaker where she is heading in order to put a bet on the 2.40 at Lincoln. He (Malvolio) rushes forward to help her, and yells after the departing hoodie, ‘You’re a prokaryotic worm!’ Of course semantically he is wrong, but it sounds good. Sister Metamoreful sits up and rubs her knee. Thinking that Claxendell is some sort of assailant and not realising that he is trying to help, she clobbers him fiercely with her silk umbrella (since she is under an oath of silence).

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The 459 huts of Actsherley-on-Sea

Today is Tom Purdue's birthday (can you believe he's that old?). All the residents of the 459 beach huts of neighbouring Actsherley-on-Sea are out celebrating, in part because they know that the autumn is over and the snow is coming (the winter turtle is heard throughout the land).  The annual 'Make Yourself a Mantegna' competition is reaching a climax, and triumphant fresco series (plural) by local graffiti artists are appearing around Seven Dials. As they tend to do on his birthday, Telemachus and Hedre also turn up to the celebrations, though the former is depressed and the latter drunk. Ah, memories!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Noces Bretons

Let us forget the tribulations of Wosni Galbraith and She who mauls, and return to the gentler climes of Seven Dials, and celebrations. This week the Rev. Lanzarotte conducted a double wedding. Algernon Guanine finally married Serena Cytosine, and Melgram Adenine wed her childhood sweetheart, Oscar Thymine (the harpsichordist from hell). The length of Addlestrop Lane was set in the style of Noces Bretons (Norman culture now being out of favour) and despite the ferocious weather, the local residents danced the night  away to the music of Scabby Felix and their  Iron Grunge spectacular. But sadly, Rev Lanzarotte embarrassed himself again.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

She Who Mauls

Wosni Galbraith, stopping off on his journey down the Nile could not  resist the temptation to pay obeisance to the Mistress of Dread, the Lady of Slaughter or She Who Mauls. Daily, dental hygienists everywhere are practising their roles behind closed curtains or darkened windows, before emerging, triumphant in magnificent attire, with retinue of many a knight and squire, to minister their underlings. In 2006, Betsy Bryan, excavating at the temple of Mut (who absorbed many characteristics of Sekhmet) discovered illustrations of the priestesses being served to excess in festivals attended by tens of thousands.  So let us all praise Sekhmet!

Monday, 11 November 2013

20.00% of Y-Dna haplogroups found in Cyprus are E1b1b

Wosni Galbraith (curator of the Institute of Lyrian Archeology and Kabbalah scholar) is in Myluthkia (to the north of Kissonerga) to examine the Chalcolithic ruins. The Chalcolithic period occured in 3157 BCE due to a surfeit of bananas (the name chalcolithic refers to copper artefacts which first appeared alongside stone implements designed by Grayson Perry). Not far away from the site are the ruins of a tiny chapel dedicated to Saints Zinovia and Filonilli whose images appear at the beginning of the illuminated manuscripts now being perused  in Seven Dials by Sister Gertrude and Rosetta as they drink Ahmed's exotic tisane. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Breakfast at McGonagall's

Rosetta peers into McGonagall's Writer’s Cafe stop. It is the heart of darkness. In the corner, Wry Mo (the man with the Irish grandmother) is busily scribbling pages of his roman á clef about Belgian imperialism.

Tom Purdue (who is drinking cappuccino in the Local Coffee House) once bumped into King Baudouin. He was not impressed. The monarch did not have the chic of Hercules Poirot, the charm of Tintin, the genius of Jacques Brel or the skill of Rogier van der Weyden. Wry Mo finishes another 1667 words. Rosetta goes to sit next to him, and softly hums Moon River.

The Perils of All Saints Day

Sister Maleze (the Blue Nun) is hobbling around Seven Dials. She was a bit too sprightly in the All Saints Day Musical Soiree and (according to Augustus Albi) she twisted her uncle. However, needs must, and she is now heading towards the Betting Shop and Holy Oil dispensary next to the Post Office, where she puts £17 each way on 'Good Looking' (28 to 1 at Brighton) and buys a phial of Holy Oil from Zanzibar. On her way back she bumps into Frab Lotus, who offers her a free massage. She growls, 'Facile omnes quom valemus recta consilia aegrotis damus.'

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Esso Extra

Ahmed asks Augustus Albi to help him research Marconi, so Albi visits the pasta museum at Shoreham-by-sea. Hedre (who always has an identity problem when Albi is around) explains the mistake to Ahmed, and promises to help.

However in the end it is Yamima who brings the crucial knockout nugget of information. She tells everyone that not only was Marconi a fascist, but Il Duce was the best man at the inventor's second wedding. When this information is broadcast (ironically on community radio), the manager of McGonagall’s writer's cafe beats a hasty retreat and the Marconi theme is discontinued.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Man from Villa Griffone

Ahmed watches nervously as customers stroll into McGonagall’s café. He collars Sister Gertrude and demands to know what has happened to her loyalty. ‘Just checking out the competition for you,’ she replies, ‘I’ll let you know where his weakness is.’ But Ahmed isn’t sure. Twenty minutes later Gertrude sneaks back into Moudi’s.  ‘It’s full of old wireless receivers,’ she says. ‘The man is obsessed with Marconi.’ Claxendell overhears the comment. ‘Did you know that Marconi’s mother was Irish.’ Gertrude smiles – and pulls from under her habit a half-empty bottle of Jameson’s whiskey. Ahmed shrugs, and resolves to check out this Marconi.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Chanukah Money and Munuka Honey

There is a wailing from Moudi’s. The next door branch of Sherman’s Bank is closing and the manager is developing it as McGonagall’s writer’s café. Ahmed is distraught. He starts offering green shield stamps. The mood at the Local Coffee House is similarly sombre. They start offering free Wi-Fi and for the month of November rebrand themselves as ‘Infusions’. McGonagall’s responds by distributing little bags of chocolate coins as Chanukah Money. So Ahmed gives out free pots of Munuka Honey. The Local Coffee House offers each customer a freetraid chocolate rabbit called a Santa Monica Bunny. The Coffee War has erupted.