Sunday, January 31, 2010


'The Virtual Revolution' on BBC2 last night says World Wide Web was invented in CERN. Seems therefore a good name for the Internet: CERN Zoo?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old UK Coinage

Skight = Threepenny Bit (pronounced Thruppinny Bit) (i.e. three old pence)
Tanner = Sixpence Bit (six old pence)
Bob = Shilling (12 pennies (old pence))
Two Bob Bit = Florin
Half a Crown = two shillings and six old pence ('two and six')
Shilling = 12 old pence or 5 new pence (240 old pence or 100 new pence in a pound)
Pound Note (quid) = 20 shillings or 240 old pence
Ten Bob Note (self explanatory)
Guinea = 21 shillings

Saturday, January 09, 2010

More Than Just Ordinarily Weird

We had more thundersnow & lightning on the Tendring Peninsular coast last night (about Midnight) together with, on this occasion, a weirdly pervasive pink light for about five minutes.

I tried to google words about this phenomenon to see if anyone else had come across it before. Apparently, one only hears thunder and sees lightning during a snowstorm if they're directly above – as the snow itself serves elsewhere to deaden the sound and the light. A rare event, but one that was at least known about. But the enduring pinkness in the air or sky seemed more than just ordinarily weird.

It was something to do with my recent interest in the new nonsense and how it compared with the old nonsense. And how crime sometimes pays even when I was taught as a child that crime most certainly doesn’t pay. To connect all these factors, in turn, required as much nonsense as I could muster, I knew.

I stared at my companion in the room, as he watched the renewed blizzard – in daylight now – through the bungalow window. Googling people was one thing, but actually living with someone took you into realms of relationship that the internet couldn’t possibly match. It is hard to grow accustomed indeed to non-internet relationships. Nothing to be afraid of, I assure you. People in the flesh can be very comforting. They’re as never nasty as they are when they are interacting on the web.

“Any luck in finding something about the pink light, Chris?” he suddenly asked.

I turned back to the screen and made a few clicks just for show.

True to say that I was looking at a site about reclaiming the word ‘weird’. Most people use that word derogatorily these days, but weird literature once had a very good name. Weird behaviour was often championed in pre-internet days. Idiosyncracies and oddness of character often being a vital part of a full-fledged personality. Now harmless weirdness of behaviour (even creative or constructive) is often decried or deemed ‘suspicious’.

I shrugged. A losing battle. I needed to give off an unweird persona to get by in life. But time and time again I fell back into stranger and stranger words that surrounded me like mental snowflakes in a blizzard.

“Chris, did you hear me? Anything about the pink light?” he asked me.

I quickly changed tack and pretended even to myself that “pink light” was what I was googling all along. Too many hits. One needed to combine it with words like ‘snow’ and ‘thunder’ and....

A swarm of killer word-bees like snowflake-ghosts crowding into the google box.

And when he finally clicked, I disappeared with the rest of them. Melted into moments of combined meaning and falsely obtained knowledge as well as undifferentiable old nonsense masquerading as new.

I never called myself Crystal or even Chris for short. Only he called me that. And I watched the snowflakes sadly melt down his cheeks from the knowing sparkles in his eyes. All happening in the weird glow of the outside world looking in.