Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cheer up

I had some bad news about a friend this morning. She's found out she's got some horrible disease that could mean impending, although without a definite timetable, wheelchairyness followed by dribbling from all orifices concluded with death. I sent a "buck up, old bean, worse things happen at sea" email (I fear I may have been cramming a trifle too much Wodehouse into the old noggin over the last week or so).

I have the choice between writing this entry and reading Orwell's 1984 on the train this morning. Orwell's book is not exactly crammed with hilarious set-pieces. Quotably pithy one-liners, yes, but also soul-crushing misery. Would it have hurt the story at all to have some more jokes? To give Winston Smith a wisecracking sidekick? Or a talking dog (this was supposed to be the future after all)? I don't think so.

Anyway I thought I would write down all the cheery things I thought of but didn't put in my email.

1. We're all going to die anyway. (not on first reading the most cheerful, but think about it for a while, you'll soon have a smile on your face. Suit yourself.)

2. At least it's a non-communicable disease, so people will still talk to you. At least until you start looking a bit weird. Nobody likes a weirdo.

3. There's always someone worse off than you. Find them. Laugh at them.

4. Wheelchair races.

5. Free licence to be as grumpy as fuck to all and sundry. Damn this cursed disease, it makes me say the most awful things, you horse-faced harridan.

6. Perspective. You will realise the pointlessness of most of the little things we do. Like making sure our socks match, wearing ties and getting up in the morning. Go wild, wear mismatched socks.

7. Cripples are a shoe-in for heaven (it's in the bible, go on, check), so you can do all those things you've been holding back from: covetting you neighbour's oxen, questioning the existence of a merciful, benevolent God, etc.

8. You can finally take up smoking, eat fatty foods, smoke crack. It's not like it's going to shorten your lifespan.

What do you think? All cheery thoughts, every one.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bowen Therapy

I sauntered past the pharmacy at lunchtime and noticed a small, blue sign that read: “Bowen Therapy – enquire within”. My rumbling stomach precluded indulging my curiosity, so I fear I will never find out what is involved in Bowen therapy. Several definitions presented themselves, all involving the only Bowen that I could picture.


At first, I thought it must be a programme of help for people whose Sunday teatimes have never quite recovered from the cancellation of their cherished, darts-based, game show. They can be found wandering forlornly around speedboat showrooms, muttering “Look at what you could have won” to themselves. A normal game of darts holds no interest for them, for they have grown accustomed to the heady exhilaration of a quick-fire general knowledge round.


Alternatively, Jim Bowen may have branched out into alternative healing, developing his own branch of acupuncture. Patients are strapped to a giant, rotating dartboard while a heavy-drinking, chain-smoking, blindfolded ex-professional darts player hurls surgical needles at them. Points are totted up using an abacus, in accordance with the ancient Chinese principles regarding the flow of chi around the body and the law of “You Get Nothing In This Game For Two In A Bed”.


The other option was that it was therapy for Jim Bowen, or people that think they are Jim Bowen. It would probably also cover Ted Rogers, Larry Grayson, Tarby, Kenny Lynch and Dusty Bin. Perhaps even Isla St Clair, at a push.


The truth of the matter is that Bowen Therapy is some sort of Australian-invented massage that sounds like it involves wiggling the flesh gently while removing uncomfortable wodges of cash from the wallet. What do I know, though? I’m not a doctor, and wouldn’t know an “all embracing vibrational energy therapy” if it bit me on the bum.



Sunday, January 14, 2007

VanderWorld (under occupation): READING STORIES

VanderWorld (under occupation): READING STORIES - That nice Mr. VanderMeer, author of my favourite book (City of Saints and Madmen), lays the smack down on lazy writers.