I’m not so interested in people’s meals or holidays or pets but I do find Facebook a useful location for small-scale publishing of images, text and text & image work. If I ever get to large-scale, I’ll let you know. I would say my readership is currently manageable. I do not anticipate engaging an intern. At least not for the next ten years or so.

Despite my deep reservations about digital enslavement, from the point of view of the producer of clickables and from that of the consumer of the bait whose subsequent clicks reinforce the compulsions of the producer, causing the latter to feel both fulfilled, albeit for a few minutes, and incrementally anxietised, I feel held in thrall as soon as I publish.

It wears off quite quickly though. If I get likes I tend to revisit my work and admire it. Sometimes I admire it again with every subsequent click. If I get very few or no likes I often conclude, reasonably enough, that the product was insufficiently communicative. Sometimes I conclude that it wasn’t any good. Then I withdraw it.

The piece below created scarcely a ripple. I know that this is because it went too far. Not in an interesting way, however. The piece contains too much information. It is not legible.

I posted it a few days ago:

One couple of chinos my dear lady Peter said to the barrister at the counter point. Anything on top? the chirpy reply to this question. The parrot cocked its head to one side. Strictly speaking there should not be any sort of animal in this sort of establishment. The lady laid out the casual garments on the zinc. Peter liked what he saw. Pleased to see the french fly he said to her. Well it is important to have reliable closure one does not want zipper gape said the lady. I should say not! He quipped. Would you like a negroni with that she wondered? Well I would not have thought of it but now you mention it you have stirred a need yes please. I will.

I like it when a piece has more than one level of coherence. When it can mean two or three things at once. Sometimes these things are separate and discernible, sometimes they coalesce then separate again. This is an ideal, though, exemplified perhaps in the quotation at the foot of this post.

A cappuccino is close to a cup of chino: a café and a clothes shop have fused.

The barrister and a barista have the same pronunciation, almost: the barista is usually seen behind a counter and the barrister serves at the bar and, in refuting an argument, will make a counter point: a court of law has fused with the café and the clothes shop.

In asking ‘Anything on top?’ the barista refers probably to chocolate powder. But in a café and in a clothes shop goods are laid on top of counters for collection or inspection. In a bar they may be laid on zinc.

The head-cocking parrot is a novelistic, scene-setting incidental. An inducement to picture the picture.

Some of my trousers have a french fly. Extra buttoning is required but the tailoring device works well and can be reassuring.

Given that he is in a bar fused with a café fused with a clothes shop Peter sees no reason to decline the negroni offer. I went to a vintage clothes shop in Lisbon with my younger daughter and while she perused the racks I had a coffee with a glass of ginjinha the dark red, sour cherry liqueur served at most Portuguese bars. In the same shop. My daughter was happy and I was very content.

So far, so legible. Maybe. At this point we have a gewgaw that may be a source of harmless, frothy fun. But then I took a reckless swerve off what was already a perfectly capacious piste. What if the french fly were an aspect of fly fishing? And to what extent might it fuse with the bracing fusion of gin, campari and red vermouth that is the negroni? What if, indeed, there were rocks tumblers (a variant on the whisky glass) that actually bore the imagery of fly fishing?

Of course there were. Several types, courtesy, as usual, of Google Images. And the best were to be found in a boxed set of four, each engraved with a hooked and feathered fishing fly. Each nestling in a bed of crepuscular green satin.

And that was where it went south. The tumbler set was indeed enigmatic. But not in a good way. You could just about make out the engraved fly. Flawed to a fault. Illegible. Irritating.

This morning I deleted it from Facebook, having moved it first to the gated community of Strength Weekly.

I am more than comfortable with this though:




Impossible as it may be to fathom as an obscure totality, even at the level of a page, particles of immanent sense will stand out from the dark foil against which they are set, in turn to suggest connections with others, and still others, until – not necessarily in linear order – out of a web of items drawn together by association, a knot of coherent nonsense will begin to emerge; and upon this coherent nonsense, as upon the shards of a recollected dream, some interpretation will have to be practiced in order to discover an underlying sense.

Bishop, J.  James Joyce’s Book of the Dark p.22. 1986 (re Finnegans Wake)


But now and again coherence, as applied to nonsense, proves to be evasive.



Pleasant Enough