memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

Eye-catching Headline

Eye-catching Headline.

A room with a view

I have just spent most my morning  admiring the sporadic flocks of migrating birds on their way north in the early spring (while at the same time catching up on Radio 4 podcasts of The News Quiz).

The birds winter in North Africa (lucky them) and then rendezvous in the environs of Algeciras in Morocco to await to their turn for streaming funnel of avian life crossing the Dire Straits to Gibraltar and beyond. My particular contingent then wheel west along the Algarve coast until they reach the Cape of Sagres before turning north and eventually crossing in front my bedroom window – left to right using the narrow corridor of pine and eucalyptus forest between the village and the ocean.

later they will build their nests in the bosky fields of Hampshire (lucky them).

A miraculous cycle of nature, a spectacle laid on just for me. The message is clear – relax and be in harmony with nature. Go with the flow.

The view from my bed in the morning

After lunch (stewed chicken with pasta – a culinary mésalliance in my opinion) I return to my room for a nap/siesta/snooze/40 winks from I wake 30 minutes later. I then dutifully carry out my physiotherapeutic exercises. First an isometric routine for beginners (even I, handicapped as I am) can do them in my chair followed by a lurch/stomp/stumble on my walker/Zimmer frame down the corridor outside my room.

Up the corridor to the right is a bathroom into which I enter/slip/pop to lean back against the radiator for my straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise (with some deep breathing thrown in). After a while I get tired/bored with the straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise and put my hand into my pocket where I encounter my mobile phone (not a «smart» phone but-pretty-intelligent-for-the-price) and take a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery – OH JUST SHUT UP WILL YOU!

RATHER EEIRY PICTURE OF MYSELF

RATHER EERY PICTURE OF MYSELF

I return back down the corridor to the end and turn right to admire the fine view of our local church (I don’t mean that the church per se is particularly fine – just the view of it).

After tea (the old dears can’t be doing without their tea, you know – it’s a lifetime habit, useful survival skill as well in case they starve to death between the twin fueling stations of lunch and early dinner. They dunk (good word) their bread or biscuits into heavy outsize cups of tea or milky coffee made from turnips (you have to be a weightlifter to be able to raise them to your lips) instead they crouch devotionally in front of the heavy cups and spoon the resultant pap into their mouths) so after tea, I spend time in my atélier working on my lastest painting.

VIEW FROM ATELIER

VIEW FROM ATELIER

Back in my room I’m beginning to run of steam.

«… Fragments, that I have shored up against my ruin»

And at the end of the day the sun sets at the orbiting rim of our world.

Lady Lazarus

The University of South Carolina has developed a sociology course dedicated to the life, work and rise to fame of pop star Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame is to be taught by Professor Mathieu Deflem, a fan of the singer. The course description aims to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga with respect to her music, videos, fashion, and other artistic endeavours. My personal opinion of this High Priestess of the Iconography of Popular Culture is that, while she is a talented singer with a great voice and is undoubtedly at the cutting edge of dance and fashion etc., her videos show a leaning towards the macabre and have sado-masochistic overtones, which (call me old-fashioned) make them unsuitable viewing for children.

LADY GAGA

LADY GAGA

Let’s listen in on a possible first lecture of the course, shall we? –          « … Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka. Lady Gaga, was born on March 28th 1986 in New York City ….. ….. right, that’s it for today; now for your assignment I want you guys to gather into groups of four or five and watch with attention the video of POKER FACE and then sit around discussing your reactions to it, kinda brain-storming session, word-association with flow-charts …. Anything that pops into your head, anything at all is cool … and even if nothing whatsoever occurs, that’s cool too (NRR – Negative Response Reflex). Later, at the Fraternity House: –          Hi guys, some of us are going round to Brad’s pit later to discuss some aspects of Wittgenstein’s theory of Logical Positivism over squash and cookies! It should be a real blast; why don’t you all join us? –          Tempting, it sounds like a real hoot, but I’m afraid we’re going to have to give Brad’s bash a miss this time; we’ve got to stay in tonight and work on our Lady Gaga assignment which is due in tomorrow; it’s important for this semester’s grades. –          What a drag, bad luck! –          Yeah, while you guys are having a good time discussing and debating the night away, spare a thought for us lot having to stay in and  get blathered and watch Lady Gaga videos and have ideas and stuff.  

Minnows in the shallows

There are lots of odd and surreal things about this place which lead me to think I have already arrived in that twilight zone between dream and reality.

MY SON - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

MY SON – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Take the case of people tapping their head significantly (but medically dismissively) and jerking their chins towards some of the poor souls who get up from their places while a meal is still in progress and start to meander in slow motion between the tables as though exploring a maze to which they have forgotten the way out.

Logically we are facing a scenario whereby one half of the oldsters are tapping their heads significantly and jerking their chins towards the other half.

(Ironically there is only person here about whom they could validly tap their heads significantly and that person is me, with my recurring brain tumours, the fourth of which I’m about to have surgically removed any time now).

Tap tap they should go

Tap tap

Tap tap

We are all just

Minnows in the shallows

The mysterious case of the uneatable pears

An  inspirational book (for my generation at least) was CATCH 22 by Joseph Heller.

Wicked and hilarious this book with brilliant wordplay brings paradox to an inevitable  Zeno-like absurdity. Published in 1957 it dazzled our generations and spread across the Anglophonic world like a wildfire.

(Now, of course, we have spawned a generation which, not only has not read CATCH 22 but also hasn’t read much else either – poor them, so many lost conceits, so much lost irony).

Anyway there is a scene in the book where everyone on the base is issued with a pill to throw away into the bushes.

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

So it is in this place. Sometimes we are distributed with green pears so hard and unripe that those of us who still have our own teeth, should we actually attempt to bite into them … but not to worry the pears are not to be eaten but to be put into our pockets or bags and consumed in a couple of days when they are ripe.

That same impulse, the same força de vontade, which is so good for my physical improvement, impels me to be difficult about the pear situation.

I enter the dining room for dinner at 7.00 sharp and notice the small rock-like green projectiles – what’s this, I think, are we going to have a window-breaking contest after dinner or have some of us been distributed with uneatable pears again:

–          Excuse me, I don’t want this fruit because it’s not ripe, is it? I’ll have the fruit pap, please.

–          There is no fruit pap left.

–          No fruit pap left!

–          You have to warn us in advance if you want fruit pap instead of a green pear.

I’m entering The Twilight Zone again.

–          Can’t you just assume that I will prefer fruit pap to unripe fruit …?

Meanwhile someone else has tactfully produced one of the apples that they keep in the kitchen in reserve for difficult cases like mine.

STILL LIFE WITH APPLES - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

STILL LIFE WITH APPLES – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Supergirl

My wife has gone to the West Indies

Jamaica?

No, she went of own accord.

STAGE 1

STAGE 1

My brother went to Eastern Europe for a holiday

Romania?

No, I went with him.

STAGE 2

STAGE 2

I’ve been learning a Scandinavian language

Finnish?

Not yet.

STAGE 3

STAGE 3

It’s not the jokes that count, it’s how you write them.

STAGE 4

STAGE 4

I’ve got Togo

SUPERGIRL

SUPERGIRL

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wanted!

The police are looking for this this man in connection with his last blog:

PORTRAIT

The general public is warned not to approach him directly but to get in touch with the local authorities, as he is dangerous and armed with a scathing, acerbic and mordant wit.

He has been known to use the following (banned) literary devices:

litotes, metaphor, paradox, paronomasia, periphrasis, epizeuxis, episthrophy/antistrophy, antithesis, oxymoron, cacophony, scesis onomation, assonance & alliteration, brachylogies,  anaphora, satire, irony and even sarcasm.

Sometimes he ventures trenchant and pithy observations on the Human Condition.

He quips puns & one-liners;

Cracks jokes & jibes;

Banters & jests;

He’s a wise guy.

And lastly he looks a bit creepy.

I would suggest nabbing him after lunch as he is nodding off for a post-prandial snooze in front of a TV show featuring a woman who makes her own pumpkin-jam according to special secret recipe from her village … yawn … yawn … snore … snore.

I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything till noon. That’s when it’s time for my nap.

(Bob Hope)

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