Friday, 26 April 2013

Happy returns

The life I love is making music with my friends. 
I am a lax parent in ten ways, but I do try to teach my children important values. For instance: say yes to cake, don't kick puppies, and always support musicians.

My two favorite guitar slingers turn a little older this month: Papa and Willie Nelson.

With the exception of Papa, I don't see buskers in rural New Mexico with the same frequency as I used to in London. But even here, I do come across an unexpected one from time to time, and it always makes my day.

Musicians make grumpy people tap their toes. They are even more effective than powder milk biscuits at giving shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done.

Musicians are the bringers of joy, which means you should give them your smiles and your pocket change. After all, joy is usually less remunerative than hedge fund management.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The crockery will go on

Yesterday at a Titanic exhibition, I was confronted by a set of nautical au graten dishes. Like more than fifteen-hundred souls, these dishes met with an unfortunate iceberg in 1912 and plummeted into the abyss.

Lifeless everlasting. 
The dishes did not break on descent, although the wooden cabinet that cushioned their fall quickly rotted away.

Time passed. Books were written and documentaries produced. The dishes formed no opinion whatsoever on the whopping blockbuster they had in small part inspired.

Then one day a robot reached into the deep and returned the au graten dishes to the light. They became very small artifacts in a very famous story, which of course didn't matter to them.

Yesterday, it wasn't the thought of cold water that resurrected goose-flesh on my arms. Rather, it was a pattern of burn marks on the bottoms of these dishes: the ghosts of where long-dead hands once warmed food in long-cold ovens.

Pointless material crap has such a cheeky habit of outliving humans. It does make you wonder why humans in all their brilliance and beauty are mostly obsessed with pointless material crap. In the future, perhaps only cockroaches, twinkies, and au graten dishes will remain.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Follow-up question

Does Earth have a living soul? Where's her face?

You there Gaia? It's me, Moon Unit. 
It's the best line of enquiry yet.

Sadly at the time, I could not think of a great answer. But upon reflection, I'm guessing the answer is yes, and I strongly suspect that her face is not located at Slough.

However, as a non-expert in planetary souls and geographic faces, I welcome thoughts on this matter from any readers out there in orbit.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Primary Kid's question time

"What does monster poo look like?"

It's a good question. Have you ever considered it?

Furthermore, goaded on by a five-year old, can you recall what jellyfish eat? Or what is saliva made of? Do vampires like steam baths? And what do you offer a zombie who shows up for tea?

Most parents know to fear the abstractions of "why," but I find our current phase of specific enquiry far more challenging. Like Alice in Wonderland, I am at constant risk of losing my head for the offense of being insufficiently surreal on my feet.

"The answer is clearly a bunch of crap." (PM's office)
Back to monster poo. What does it look like?

Me: "Maybe monsters don't need to poo. In place of bowels, they have really large, scary spleens."

Kid: "All living things eat, so all living things poo."

Nice one kid. Way to weaponize the potty training book from a past stage of tribulation.

Me: "Monster poo must look approximately like human poo, if we are dealing with roughly human-sized monsters."

Kid: "Monsters are much bigger than humans."

Me: "So like human poo, but huge?"

Kid is not amused. Draws finger slowly across throat.

Me: "Kid, I really don't know. I'm only an expert in zombie poo."

Kid: "Zombies don't need to poo. They are not living things."


Kid: "Why don't we go home and ask the internet?"

Oh dear. How to explain the dangers of this to a five-year old?