Tuesday. Criminals with a meth lab get raided. Police find the drug-makers have a pet snake which has absorbed so much of the chemical in the air through its skin the serpent is addicted to meth.
Monday. I knocked a drinking glass off a counter onto the tiled kitchen floor on Thursday, smashing it into dozens of smithereens surrounding me. Helpfully, I was barefoot at the time. Wearily, I picked up all the tiny fragments until it seems safe to move off my spot. I manage to get away with only one splinter in one foot. Days later as light shifts with the hours, miniscule curved shivers of glass continue to wink cheekily, safely nestled in the fibres of the kitchen rug. Are they mocking me? Meanwhile, inmates inside an Ohio prison build themselves two computers hidden above ceiling tiles.
Sunday. An odd thought comes to me that the young Mr Putin looked like a less-pretty version of the Illya Kuryakin character. He from the 1960s Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series with its brass-boosted bongo-drum beach-guitar music. Even odder, the young Mr Trump looked like a sort of sci-fi fusion of both the Illya Kuryakin and the Napoleon Solo characters.
April 8th; Saturday. If wind makes whistling and moaning sounds going through doors and windows even on bright sunny afternoons, does that mean the building is poorly made? I keep seeing snatches of invented 1940s movies in my head: "Damn this dark, lonely house, with its weird unsettling sounds!" So, a slightly unsettling colour-blot test.
Friday. Finish another book from generous Amanda, 'The Magician's Nephew', by C.S. Lewis. The opening two chapters felt strange, because I remembered them clearly, despite never having read the Lewis children's books. Then realised I must have heard these chapters, perhaps twice, somewhere like Book at Bedtime on BBC radio, or perhaps on the TV read-aloud show Jackanory. Soon after, I got to chapters that stirred no smidgeon of memory, rang no bell. The storytelling is good and the Ulster Christian author blends themes of morality and personality smoothly. To my surprise, towards to the end of the book as I was reading it on the 19 tram, I had to close it. At the point where The Witch or Queen is tempting Digory to disobey Aslan by stealing an apple to save his dying mother's life, my heart starts beating so hard I had to stop reading and restart later. All the way through, kept thinking of the article I saw in either The Spectator or The Salisbury Review years ago, saying that Philip Pullman, the author of the 'His Dark Materials' series, had written his new series to attack and subvert the Christian subtext of the Lewis Narnia children's stories. The Magician's Nephew is a kind of prequel to the main series of stories.
Thursday. A piece on hacking human DNA: doesn't quite deliver.
Wednesday. A very nice example of how the right choice of spooky music, a 5-minute slideshow, and very short bits of text can create an engrossing mood of mystery and unsolved thingummyness. Nos. 4 & 2 my favourites.
April 4th; Tuesday. I finish the collection of Dion Fortune's wartime letters kind Amanda sent me, 'The Magical Battle of Britain'. The calm, self-confident tone of Fortune's descriptions of how her group contact higher spiritual entities (including Arthur & Merlin) so as to defend the British Isles is extraordinary. Here she jokes about her address being bombed during the Blitz: "October 27th 1940 / In our last letter we asked our members and friends to invoke for the protection of 3 Queensborough Terrace, and in this letter we have the ironical task of informing them that we have been bombed out of it, though without casualties; so it may be maintained that the invocation was at least a partial success, though your Leader and her Librarian look like a couple of sweeps owing to a difference of opinion with the roof, which fell in on them, but tactfully refrained from hitting them.
It has often been alleged that Dion Fortune is a Black Occultist, and we regretfully admit that the allegation can no longer be denied; however it is hoped that soap and water will restore her to the Right Hand Path and her students will be able to once more hold up their heads before a world always too ready to think the worst."
The text is intercut with short news bulletins to give context of the war. Interesting to see the February 11th bulletin in 1940, Britain's darkest hour: "Paper supplies are cut by 40% as rationing is introduced. In Birmingham, five IRA bombs explode."
April 3rd; Monday. Mark Steyn on Islamist use of threats to silence critics.
April 2nd; Sunday. Sounds bizarre. Migrants' children going into comas if their families don't get Swedish citizenship. A poisson d'avril story from yesterday?
April 1st; Saturday. Interesting article about Uber trying to swing the Brexit referendum for Cameron. Strange how the URL misspells the author's name.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com