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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Posted @ 14:39There are not two 23rds August this year

This a copy of a post to my MySpace blog; for which fact I make no apology whatsoever.

It has long been a tradition in my family that certain years possess two 23rds August. And I was certain that 2007 was one of them. It was written in the cards, the stars, my palms and the entrails of an earwig I found on the back doorstep (my family has never used anything larger than a spiders for haruspicy). It was foretold by daphnomancy1, halomancy2  and myomancy3. It was even written in the arrangement of objects that cannot be named for legal reasons4. The tradition of two 23rds August stretches back to time immemorial: i.e., I can't remember when I first got the idea into to my head.

The sheer convenience of having two 23rds August in a year — especially this one — cannot be over-estimated. For a start there's the 24-hour delay in encountering that next birthday which makes you realise just how old you're getting (with the consequent onset of the loss of mental facility which causes confusion concerning calendrical calculation and consequent atypical alliteration). There's also the advantage of having two Thursdays, this year, in a week. I sometimes think there are not enough Thursdays in a week — usually after having too much to drink on a Wednesday night. The final, and over-riding, advantage is, of course, that you can both go and see the inestimable Merlin's Keep plus the wonderful Driftnet Poets at Millfields and attend the new Open Mic at the Imperial where you've promised to help the web-and-sound wizard with the PA because Trev's on holiday.

It was, therefore, something of a shock to bump into Jim White yesterday and discover that there are not, it seems, two 23rds August this year5. To say that I was gutted is to underestimate the force with which a fish-filleter carries our their profession. I was so much beside myself that I let my other self pay for the groceries (quite a smart move that, I thought, until I got home and discovered that he'd used my money). I was so overwhelmed with regret that I failed to find a third spurious metaphor6.

I blame the government. It's a conspiracy of some sort to deprive my family and I of the right to enjoy two 23rds August7 in the years of our choosing. So, here I am, not looking forward to missing MK & Driftnet but otherwise anticipating with pleasure the night at the Imperial. My apologies to the wonderful people in MK & Driftnet for my non-attendance. It was not for want of trying. You can blame the government, too.

UPDATE @ 16:26

I have just been informed by the web-and-sound wizard that the Imperial Open Mic Night has been abducted by aliens and written into the sub-plot of Coronation Street involving the return of Elsie Tanner (or something like that, I may have mis-read the reason). That means that there are two 23rds August this year, it's just that one of them is on 13th September. See you at Millfields, people.

1 Divination by burning laurel leaves.

2 Divination by salt.

3 Divination by watching the movements of mice.

4 A method of divination unaccountably omitted from the otherwise excellent list at but for which I coin the term cryptoresomancy (lit. "hidden thing divination").

5 The shock was not that of bumping into Jim but that of discovering the singular lack of a second (and necessary) 23rd August this year. Bumping into Jim is never a shock unless he's carrying a long spear or one of those electric immobiliser thingies.

6 And, believe me, I tried. For minutes.

7 It must be understood that the extra 23rds August can only be enjoyed by myself and my immediate family. The rest of you must develop your own unfathomable delusions.


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