Lost in Worcestershire

This time C and I are standing in the middle of a huge apple orchard when it happens.  That feeling; the one you get at some point on every countryside walk.

If only the guide book could list that moment when the trip slips from a pleasant outing to forced march.

It’s there on every walk. You take another step and suddenly you’re aware that, of all the things you could be doing on a summer Sunday, trekking through these fields should have been the least of them.

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Do people wear band t-shirts anymore?

You can tell a lot about a person from what they choose to wear. For instance, every day on my way to work, I walk past a man who I have never spoken to. Yet I know he is overly confident.

I know this because he always wears trousers that are far too tight to be decent. He happily goes to work looking NSFW. That takes balls. Balls that we can all see pressing against his chinos like shrink wrapped quail eggs.

He also wears brown leather slip on shoes and no socks, so I can also comfortably predict he is a terrible person and has one of the jobs that has the words ‘social’ or ‘engagement’ in its title.

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Sticking me with a sword proves nothing

I am always grateful that no one is expected to fight duels anymore. I would definitely have been murdered in one. Strident opinions and access to machinery of death do not make good bedfellows. Like delivering champagne by pogo stick, it’s combination that can only lead to screaming, excitement and a carpet cleaning bill.

That handiness with a deadly weapon somehow proved you were right on a point of honour or etiquette seems incredible. Continue reading “Sticking me with a sword proves nothing”

On fire

Electric light is a hopeful thing. A blaze of hope. It strings us together and tells us we belong. With electric light, you are connected to something larger, that stretches between you and your neighbour. It is communal and inclusive, binding us together. It speaks to us of civilisation and order and at its base safety.

Fire light is a more elemental thing. We command it and have tamed it, but it is inconsistent and fickle. It needs to be cared for. It is a more lonely light, as it is individual. It casts its light on you alone. It keeps the dark at bay and the safety it affords is fragile, an atavistic protection that can withdraw at any moment.

While the lost traveller will feel relieved to see a flicker of light ahead, as they stumble in the dark. After all to see lights in the dark is to see humanity. But how would the type of light create a different timbre of relief to flutter through them? Seeing electric lights means the edge of the civilised world. Their illumination needs planning, technology and organisation to create. It’s sparkle says here we have infrastructure that has followed at path, which you can follow home.

Fire light on the other hand says here is the edge of the wilderness: the point of the edge of a pin we have pushed into the dark fabric of the wilderness. There is a way home still, but it is still through the terrible night.

But does that make fire light more hopeful?

If we are looking at a glimmer of hope, it is frail and unsteady. It has no permanence, flickering, fickle and still mounted by danger.

When you see a glimmer of hope, it means not safe yet, but soon.

This cod profundity was written in response to the prompt glimmer.

The strange gunpowder smell thinking causes

Who is the guy in Kung fu movies who always appears halfway through a fight going totally berserk swinging huge knives around?

It’s probably that it’s not really his fight. He’s got a lot on already. He’s got a punch up due and he’s already behind on it.

But suddenly his boss is at his desk, saying “sorry Craig we’re having a bit of trouble with a fist battle down by the docks. Could you just step in and see if you could project manage it a bit? You know, [clicks tongue does hand chops] work your magic?”

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The easiest things to steal

Before email existed, some authors would mail out their manuscripts to publishers and another copy to themselves.

They did this to make sure that no one pulled their work out of the postbox, ripped off the front cover and sent the newly altered manuscript to a publisher as their own work.

Whether this strategy was a successful way to prevent stealing can be measured by the fact that the number of postmen turned novelists fell to zero after the advent ‘send with attachment.

While pilfering whole books has become much harder, thieving sections has become much easier.

As soon as CTRL C/CTRL V popped into existence, reading went the way of travelling by horse. While some people did it, it was an anachronism reserved for only a few people who had nothing better to do with their time.

University students could now construct an essay in a matter of minutes, before returning to watching gameshows and making cups of tea. In fact, it got to the point where the only two people who had read one well-used text book were the author and his wife.

But where technology can facilitate criminal behaviour, it can regulate, too. Student essays are now regulalry cranked through plagiarism software.

With access to databases of thousands of academic essays, this software runs its own version of compare and contrast on the each essay.

The only way to beat it is by producing original work, leaning heavily on significant quotations from published work.

This way, everybody wins. Academics know that carte blanche copying is kept to a minimum. Meanwhile, students can still rely on copy/paste for their erudition, with the liberal addition of inverted commas.

Ok, the above suggests that theft is rampant and young people’s deal thirst for knowledge has been quenched by technology’s lure of laziness.

Not so, even before digital technology, people were lazy and taking huge reams from other people’s work was a feasible shortcut. It’s just previously you’d have to copy it all out by hand.

Hand copying meant that nothing was identical. Each copiest adding their own errors, like the world’s longest game of Chinese Whispers. These copy errors piled one on top of the other until what had started off as The Iliad by Homer became, thousands of copies later, Jilly Cooper’s Riders, which in turn morphed into Chicken Soup For The Soul and the first four pages of The Little Book of Calm.

This abject nonsense was written in response to the daily prompt identical.