Provincial Letters

Far from the mad crowds of the city, Blaise Pascal passed comment on the strange behaviour of this urban contemporaries in his Provincial Letters. The connection between them and this blog is somewhat tenuous.

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Location: Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

My star sign in Superstition. And I didn't believe in reincarnation last time, either. The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance. I am a fanatical ant-fanaticist. I am bigotted only where bigots are concerned. I am a fundamentalist atheist. I'm proud to be a product of evolution; I know it in my genes.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Posted @ 17:44"So Long" - available online

Just a quick note to say that you can now listen to the single So Long online. It's available at x l flynn and the more people who listen to it, the higher it gets in the host site's charts.

NOTE: The song is in not-terribly-high-quality MP3 format. The quality on the CD is so much better. And you get a pretty cover for it as well.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Posted @ 17:21Bits & Pieces I

Recording Notes

As some of you are aware, I strum the guitar in public now and again (not something I'm proud of, but someone has to do it). A few of you have heard the persistent rumour that I'm recording a few tunes for an album with Mark W and others. The lucky ones have bought the preview single, So Long, which was released in December. What all of you are perhaps unaware of is the deep psychological disturbances caused by the processes of recording. At Mark's insistence, I would like to share some of these with you as a warning to anyone imagining that there is any fun or enjoyment in this project.

The first problem we had was that we wanted drums on the songs. Unfortunately this meant that we'd need a drummer[1]. We solved this by the simple expedient of having Mark - who is a bass player and not a drummer - play the drums. The fact that he owned some drums and is able to play them was an added bonus. Mark worked hard at impersonating a drummer and even perfected the technique of going to recording sessions with a truly remarkable hangover. We eventually became worried that he might actually become a drummer but regular (and excessive) doses of alcohol and bass playing have, we hope, kept this catastrophe at bay[2].

Another major problem was the effect entering the recording studio had on Mark's personality (apart from the effect of impersonating a drummer which, of course, could have removed his personality altogether). Just as lycanthropy (or taking part in Celebrity Big Brother) can turn a mild-mannered human being into a slavering, blood-hungry beast, entering the recording studio as a producer turns Mark into a fascist dictator who forced me to drink beer. More than once.

As yet we have no solution to this problem.

Other, less major but no means minor, problems have included:

  • Being chatted up by women in The Salutation in Nettleton.
  • Getting up early (i.e., before midday) on a Saturday.
  • Listening to Trev's jokes.
  • Listening to Trev rehearsing pantomime (Oh no, it wasn't a problem; oh yes, it was) especially when he was dressed as a crocodile.
  • Thunderstorms and their effect on digital recording equipment.
  • The reflex action of the human brain to the red recording light going on which immediately makes one forget the song that you've been rehearsing for the last hour and have probably played five hundred times before.
  • Mark making up silly versions of lyrics.

We shall return to this subject at a later date.

[The single So Long is available now, priced (very reasonably) at two of your English pounds (plus post & packing where required); e-mail for more information.]

[1] For more drummer jokes see For jokes about roadies see

[2] Although he still taps the table with a sort of arrhythmic thud in moments of stress or intoxication.

Chocolate Shoes

The title "Chocolate Shoes" is not an attempt to create a fusion fashion to satisfy females' greatest obsessions, it is a cruel and vicious trick perpetrated on your humble and innocent author by the people who should know better (and who are known only by their noms-de-guerre, Rob L & Tina).

There are people who think that it is amusing to place chocolates of the Terry's Chocolate Orange variety in your shoes on, say, the 23rd of December so that you spend the whole of Christmas Eve going about your business with thin layers of melted chocolate on your socks only to discover them late in the evening when you finally take off your shoes and settle back with a beer. Of course, no normal person would notice these footwear insertions in the normal course of events and it is not funny. And you should not laugh at those upon whom such "jokes" are inflicted. I wouldn't laugh at anyone who had this "joke" played on them, especially if it was me.

And putting chocolates in beer glasses, cigarette packets and guitars is not amusing either, Rob.

Agony Aunt Required

I am perplexed and need advice. If there are any decent (or, indeed, indecent) agony aunts out there, could they provide me with the correct, sensitive and appropriate response to following social quandary?

I recently received this text message from a person of the female persuasion:

"Do me a favour Woja, if M***s still there tell him im horny as hell n to ring me when hes in. thanx R***"

The individuals involved have been disguised by asterisks but I'm open to bribes to reveal their true identities (and larger, regular bribes from the individuals themselves to keep them secret: this is not blackmail, just entrepreneurship).

The quandary is how to respond to such a request: is this the sort of thing one should be asked to do? What should be my reaction when asked to be a conduit for sexual arousal? How do I cope with the images generated in my head if I notify M of R's desires? Will I be scarred by recurring dreams? Ultimately, is it good for any man to know that their lady friend is "horny as hell"?

And, when I do decide what to do, will R still be horny?

Answers in the usual manner.

Do not try this at home

It has come to my attention that some people are taking my ideas a little too literally. In a recent post (see: Up Tqimmoph, below), I suggested that "Ford Fiester is a kar" might be an answer to, for example, the causes and consequences of the Irish potato famine. Little did I expect that someone - who shall remain nameless except under the pseudonym of Rachel - used the answer in a mock exam at Grimsby College recently. Explaining the motive to her tutor proved a little difficult: one should not be surprised that teachers don't understand modern language usage, after all, they are old.

In order to avoid embarrassment or physical injury you should avoid experimenting with my suggestions. I am a trained professional idiot and can get away with lots of things in my imagination; you may have trouble with them in the real world.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Posted @ 13:27Up Tqimmoph

Let's begin with a little game. The following are versions of the same, well-known thing, can you identify it?

"shld i be a playa or jst 1 ov th kwrd thatz wot fux me up is ut kwla to sit bak & tak al th sht or jst get twld, shwt the bstrds & wtch th wnkrs di"

"vu ci us pus vu ci sjev ot vji raitoup xjivjis iv ot pucmis op vji nopf vu cies esnt eheoptve e tie ug vsuacmit us ca uqqutoph ipf vjin"

"bb | !bb i.e. ? etc."

It probably goes without saying that this isn't a competition and answers will not be published (unless they are).

All the above are examples of the sort linguistic and orthographic freedoms which are supposed to make us all more creative and all texts more relevant. If spelling is unimportant and the writer has no duty to encourage communication, then why not use an orthography like the second example above. It's logical and consistent and, with a little work, intelligible. Some may take exception to it's consistency: consistency and rules are bugbears which stifle sponteneity. The third example takes things a little further.

But why stop there?

Surely if spelling doesn't matter and it's up to the reader to understand the writer no matter what then surely "$$$" could be a suitable rendtition of the above (I know what it means and it's your fault if you don't understand).

Think of it: if you have to sit an exam which asks you to detail the causes and consequences of the Irish Potato famine of the 1870's you could answer "Ford Fiester is a kar" secure in the knowledge that the examiner will work out that you really do understand the subject and deserve an "A" rather than being too lazy to bother.

So let's finish with a joke:

"whjj hello Nijell. chikin saled. Blanc."

Hillarious, eh?