Monday, 29 September 2014


Take 8 texts and 8 people.
Each person selects five lines and copies them out.
Re-distribute the copied lines amongst the contributors.
Attempt to construct a narrative by each person placing a line in turn.
Illustrate the story.

(this may take some time)

I have, however, a hundred objections to make. Uncle Jerry had a smell too. His looks repel him; their brown backs and their dusty tops seem to jeer at his loneliness. Hear him, with voice thick and husky, a cracked laugh, talking rubbish and ribaldry, and in the midst of balderdash gleaming now and then a gorgeous sentence that drivels away again into a cadence almost idiotic. In this manner hours passed by without further interruption. 

"Upon them were found the letters from Hannibal to Philip..."

Then, for the first time, Hawkeye was seen to stir: how could anyone compel her to submit to someone who had so insulted her? Two powerful warriors cast themselves on Heyward, while another was occupied with securing the less than active singing-meister.  Upon them were found the letters from Hannibal to Philip, and a copy of the treaty.

"Our feelings ought to be respected!"

The Senate, after making such an answer as pleased all the ambassadors, ordered M. Valerius Levinis, the proprietor, to advance towards Macedonia with a fleet, in order to examine matters nearer at hand, and be in a condition to give immediate aid to the allies.  

"Well, you wouldn't credit how ladylike she looks. Were you fond of Venetia? You could scarcely bear to see her walking. "

"Yes, and it's over now."

"The interested eyes of the lieutenant sort her frequently..." 

The interested eyes of the lieutenant sought her frequently, and he felt a secret pleasure at the thought that probably he would be allowed to enjoy her society for a whole week, maybe two, for the marching orders ran "until further orders".  A gentle murmour expressed the sentiments of all that were present. Daddy was getting angry. 

"I know they would, I heard two religious ladies talking about me."

"The Welsh?"

"I hope your beast won't bear malice, Tom, for this would be an awkward place for him to try his capers. To say that is only [****] is on many accounts a thing to be deeply deplored."

"If I may venture upon a suggestion," said old Mrs Von Bock blandly, "it would be to fetch them both at the same time with the carriage."

"Then Miss Eden raised her to her heart and told her her sweet secret."
Then Miss Eden raised her to her heart, and told her her sweet secret. Venetia was astounded and hurt.

"Noa," said her father, "what does she want wi' readin' an' larnin'? It ought not so to be!"

"Who will say to the wife of Merawgwa that her fishes have his scalp, and that his nation have not taken revenge! The Lord has done great things for us these last hundred years. If any man thinks that our cause is in no great danger, I can only marvel at his blindness. One thing is very clear, and that division is a great cause of our weakness."

"Venetia, but fore her shadowy legs, was a plump child."
Venetia, but for her shadowy legs, was a plump child. She was a hedonist, but she was intelligent enough to be sceptical of pleasure. She did not seem to guess the vicar was there...

"Anciently, my tributaries!"

""Bringing before his mind's eye the symbol of his faith..."
Bringing before his mind's eye the symbol of his faith, he strove, by contemplation of the sublime love and pain, to melt his heart into tenderness for the suffering wretch he was going to see, and to bring more vividly before him his terrible condition.

By this time Duncan was thoroughly awake, and he immediately lifted the shawl from the sleeping females. Didn't I tell you he was going off his head, and that I wanted to know what is best to do for him? Romans. Romans to bring over other kings to their fide by the attractive charms of advantage.

You were all horribly afraid, I know, at the beginning, that it was going to be a love-story; and one is really so tired of them. Venetia's childhood is not that interesting.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


You teased her about her accent, strange RP-Cumbrian hybrid, she admitted she was posh. It was a dance, of course: contrived and spontaneous, utterly affected yet entirely uninhibited. So you allowed yourself a smirk, pleased at producing something passably insightful at this late hour, in these unfamiliar arms, beneath an alien sky.

The details of the dance are never the same but the theme is constant. As in the city, you were empowered by your own insignificance. You felt small and unimportant and it made you feel sublime. A pixel in the bigger picture. Lurking, always, was the terror- part of you clung to itself. Part of you was unwilling to be swallowed by the glorious whole. This quiet yet persistent voice was the ghost of you, trapped in meat and bones, trying to find itself. It searched for its own reflection in the eyes of others, and in reaching to embrace its own echo, became entangled in flesh. Only then did it realise its purpose. Only then was it truly you and you truly yourself... or some idea of yourself with which you were comfortable.

You could tell she liked horses, it went with the accent. You had a piece prepared, something about a song and something being lost in translation... about the primitive instinct of all children to cover their cavern walls with animals. It wasn't necessary, you'd both got what you wanted. Maybe you wanted something more. Maybe you were asking too much.

You were asking too much. Distantly, a plaintiff cry of "Terrible presence! Eat me or perish!"

Her arms were wrapped around your neck, you stared up at a canopy of man-made fibres. Suddenly everything became very real: outside, dawn broken, no stars but one shining down on the city of mud and ketamine. You didn't want to leave, did you? You wanted to remain entwined within her, long and lithe, a heaven of flesh and black curls, but the world was seeping in, slow and insidious, mud and ketamine. Then the alarm, something out of sync. Though it wasn't meant to be so the exchange of numbers felt cursory, and with disappointment you entered the new world.

Stretching into an improbable infinity an ocean of poorly erected tents buckled and writhed beneath hammer-and-nails rain. Man-made fibres in gaudy colours, flapping in the south westerly, monuments to haste, their crooked poles creaking, filling the silence of muddied youth face-planted in the sodden ground. One foot falls in front of the other, clumsily edging around the quagmire, a dance too, of sorts.

Men in luminous jackets guide the way. Don't climb on trees. Don't enter where it says exit. The Lord of Misrule ordains that the misfits now set the boundaries. Toothless meth grin and a walkie-talkie. The marginalised becoming the respected; the respected the marginalised. Inversion, carnivalesque. Bakhtin.

Bakhtin? Bullshit.

Just one of several visions of the same thing, invisible city inside every city, endlessly repeated kaleidoscope li[v]es... you are lonely. You think predetermined, pre-packaged thoughts. You are xerox, simulacra, you are nothing.

You are nothing without someone else.

I followed your breadcrumbs into the woods.

"We're in the woods?"

"You dropped these."

"Where have we just been?"

"Where are we now?"

"That won't be important until later."

When everything became realistic again, you called her number. It was not recognised, predictably. 

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