Sunday, 24 April 2016

Ordnance Shot Off

'Well, well, Piglet.'
'Well, well, Pooh.'
'Four hundred years, eh?  I wonder if my hums will still be hummed in four hundred years.'
'You never know.'
'That's true, I never do.  But I wonder if my hums--'
'They could be, Pooh, is what I'm saying.'
'Ah.  Yes, well…thank you.'
'You're welcome.'
'Funny thing about his plays, though.'
'Well, Tigger was saying, in the ones where there's, you know, fisticuffs…'
'Bangs and crashes.'
'Yes.  Sometimes it says "Alarum sounded" or "Hautboys…Hautboys…"'
'That's the one.  But then it says "Ordnance Shot Off".'
'Well, I was wondering…whoever that happens to…in the play…do they have their ordnance stuck back on?'
'Stuck back on?'
'I mean, right away.'
'I shouldn't think so.'
'Well, look, Pooh, say one of them might have his ordnance shot off and some…well, medic, I suppose…comes rushing on--'
'Maybe with a tunic to identify him?'
'Yes, exactly.  Ordnance Sans Frontieres or something.'
'Could be bright blue, I suppose, with the letters in orange in a circle--'
'Let's not get bogged down, Pooh.  I'm just saying, if someone like that exists and comes rushing on…'
'Well, he might be in the middle of sorting out one ordnance when someone else's ordnance hits the deck.'
'Ah…ah, yes.'
'And there they all are, trying to get on with the play, and the medic chappie is dodging between them hell-bent on ordnance affixing.'
'I suppose it'd slow things down.'
'Stop them altogether, I should think.  Especially if there's a mass shoot-off…you know, ordnances all over the shop.'
'The rest'd have to stop.'
'Precisely.  Get their sandwiches out.  Well, get their ordnances out, too, I should imagine, to check they're alright.'
'I see what you mean.'
'No, with that kind of play, Pooh, it's more likely they'd wait till the end and then someone'd sweep all the ordnances up and they'd be reaffixed in the order they were shot off.'
'How would they know whose was whose?'
'Well…I suppose they'd put their names on in marker-pen before the start.'
'Ah, like with the cups in that coffee-shop.'
'Springbok's.  Yes.'
'That's a shame.'
'Shame?  Why?'
'Well…suppose your ordnance wasn't…suppose you'd grown up with an ordnance you didn't like.  Suppose it was…was…'
'Well, for argument's sake.'
'Or languid?'
'Certainly that.  Can you imagine trying to take on the milestones of life with a languid ordnance?'
'Well, yes, Pooh, it's not unknown.  Owl says there's glossy magazines with stories like that all over the cover.  "My Ordnance Hell"…"I'm Not An Ordnance Wrecker, Says Amanda Holden"…all of that.'
'There you are, then.  If you didn't like your ordnance and they didn't have their owners' names on in marker-pen, you could swap yours for a better one.'
'Hmm.  Might be tricky.'
'What if the new ordnance was happy where it was?  What if it…you know…doesn't take to you?'
'I hadn't thought of that.'
'It'd start pining, Pooh.'
'I suppose.'
'Lose its lustre.  Turn freckled and languid.'
'Gosh, you wouldn't want that.'
'Then there you are…lumbered with a freckled, languid, pining ordnance.'
'It'd turn against you.  Sulk.  Stay in its room.  Get photos of its real owner out and sigh.'
'Really really loudly.'
'Oh, well…maybe the best thing is to tell the director that you'd rather not have yours shot off, not this time, if it's all the same.'
'True.  Though you may get paid extra for it.'
'And if you have, you know, ordnance issues, you could put it towards having surgery.'
'Have it fettled with that stuff plastic surgeons use.'
'That's the one.'

Friday, 22 April 2016

formerly formally...

'Oh dear, another one.'
'Sorry, Piglet?'
'Another one gone.'
'Who's that?'
'The Artist Formerly Known.'
'Formerly known for what?'
'Who can say?  He stopped being known for it.'
'Was that his name, then?'
'Sorry, Pooh?'
'The Artist Formerly Known.  Was that his name?'
'For-ma-lly.  But his followers knew him as [Insert Name Here].'
'It's so difficult to say square brackets, isn't it?'
'I always think they sound a bit Norwegian.'
'So he had informal followers formerly, then?'
'Oh, right.  So why did they formally follow him formerly?'
'Presumably to try and find out what he was known for.'
'Ah, yes.'
'Although my guess is that he knew they wanted to know so if any of them thought that they knew they knew he got himself formerly known for something else.'
'Sometimes, when they weren't looking, he would even [Insert Name There].'
'They do sound a bit Norwegian, how you say them.'
'Don't they, though?'

Sunday, 3 April 2016

'Training? Draining?'

'Rabbit was telling Owl that somebody has just won a big national prize for a poem.'
'Really? Good for him or her.'
'Him. Apparently, he's an Ear Trainer for Poets, the chap who won it.'
'Have particularly unruly ears, do they, poets?'
'Well, Rabbit's trying to write poems at the moment and he can do 'Permission to Lie Alongside' in naval semaphore with his.'
'Can he, now? I've only seen his shadow-puppet stuff. Remarkably lifelike, those humans he does.'
'Always a Christmas hit.'
'So what does this chap train poets' ears to do?'
'Oh, the usual, I'd say.'
'The usual?'
'Fetch the evening paper, you know. Round up sheep. Answer the phone and say "Thank you but we have no interest in a bespoke distressed gazebo at this time." Handy helpful things.'
'Hmm…bit of a snag, though.'
'Snag, Pooh?'
'Well if a poet has his or her ear trained to fetch the evening paper, doesn't that mean that said poet gets dragged along with it?'
'Ah…I see what you mean.'
'So it isn't strictly fetching the evening paper for the poet. The poet's getting the paper as they would anyway.'
'Well, not quite as they would, Pooh. I mean, if the ear's leading the way, the poet's probably shuffling sideways all stooped at an angle.'
'A severe angle, I'd wager.'
'Undoubtedly severe.'
'D'you think Rabbit got it wrong? Or Owl misheard?'
'What this poet chap does. Strikes me that he might actually finesse Cockneyisms for aspiring bards.'
'Sorry, Pooh? I don't--'
'And that's his advert strapline: 'Ere!--Trainer fer Poets!'
'Ah, so they can familiarise themselves with all that rhyming gubbins.'
'Goin' up the apples and pears…'
'Ter see me god forbids…'
'A lot of yer poeticals is just glove and mitt. That sort of thing.'
'Well, I suppose, Pooh, but Owl was quite adamant that--'
'Ah! Ahahaha! Yes!'
'Pooh, could you not bounce up and down like that. It's--'
'Ear Drainer for Poets. I'll bet that's what it is.'
'Now, Owl is mentoring Rabbit with his poeticals.'
'Goodness. Does that leave a rash?'
'I didn't enquire, Piglet. But Owl says that a poet is a thing of woe and dolour.'
'God wot.'
'That's what you have to say at the end. You know, like when you say, a garden is a love-some thing.'
'So Rabbit will have to become a thing of woe and dolour.'
'But he's a thing of teeth and carrots. Take a bit of a push, I'd say.'
'And then, Piglet, with a poet, the woe and dolour build up…in the seat of muse-borne fancy.'
'Seat of--?'
'Ah…ah…so the bonce needs a good old drain.'
'I wonder how this poetry-winner chap goes about it?'
'Oh, the usual.'
'The usual?'
'He'd arrange a time for a seasonal drainage. You know, specified day between 8 and 1 or 1 and 6. Then couple of telephone calls or those Tiggery texty-things, reminding the poet that it's in the offing.'
'Of course. Then a phone call the day before saying that, due to a high volume of emergency dolour round the poet's postcode, could we possibly say--?'
'Six months' time. And he'll throw in a villanelle-by-numbers as a sweetener.'
'Because your muse-borne fancy is important to us.'
'And we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to your onward woe.'
'At the end of the day.'
'Or the top of the flagpole.'
'But history will forgive us.'
'God wot.'