Monday, March 31, 2014
Jokes kept for a season of woe, an almost biblical undertaking on the part of the Bellman, whose storehouse of mirth has been sorely depleted by divers chasms and crags. But to this geologically disheartened hunter of the Snark, we say, in the finest demotic vulgate we can muster : lighten up, dude! Like, get a hobby!
Hmmm … how about music? Music is nice, musical tones are even nicer. How about the fiddle? It’s an instrument that’s still welcome at hoe-down and rave alike. And all the girls love musicians, especially those hirsute ones (musicians, not girls) who emote over their Boojums in smoky Parisian cabarets, the kind of place where Kiki de Montparnasse might toss her turban at sugar-dada Man Ray or Jean Ingres pops in to play some violon airs upon a g-string behind her naked bach.
But the Bellman knows it will never work out. From the vantage point of his solitary table in a dark corner, he sighs aloud and weeps a solitary English tear into his hemlock and branch water. He knows he’s the wisest man in the place, simply because he’s the only one aware of his own ignorance. That and the numbness creeping up his legs … and up his back …
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
We're frolicking through yet another exegesis of my Snark GN … deep in the anapestic bowels of Fit the Second …
All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely Snark hunters: they have their exits and their entrances; and one Bellman in his time plays many parts, his acts being eight Fits. We have arranged things so that our players shall now disembark into a romantic comedy of the sort calculated to warm the cockles of even a Boojum’s heart.
While our snarkistes peek backstage, the action downstage is upstaging them. A painted backdrop of the Desierto Pintado has set the mood. Love is in the air and will soon compel the Mouse pictured at stage-left to propel a fortuitous Brick upon the noggin of the unsuspecting Kat.
But is it true love, ask the critics? Is Mouse + Kat + Brick = Love a suitable proposition for the hardnosed, Gradgrindish theater of today? A Boojum in Surrey … a Brick in Coconino … an allegory of the search for happiness or a quick krease to a Kat’s noggin … the course of true love never did run smooth.
Things running unsmoothly … sounds like a good definition of Snark Hunting to me.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Another wordless sighting of the HMS Snark, observed tacking ‘round the Bonnet-Maker, whose resemblance to Friedrich Nietzsche borders upon the implausible. But plause we must, nonetheless. After a promising start in hunting Snark on the Continent, Nietzsche was surprised by a Boojum on the streets of Turin* in 1889. The shock was fatal … in his own words …
"Since I am condemned to amuse the coming eternity with bad jokes, I have set up a writing business which actually leaves nothing to be desired … Last autumn I attended, dressed as lightly as possible, my own burial twice … negligé of one’s attire is a pre-requisite of good form … I go everywhere in my student jacket, here and there I tap someone on the shoulder and say : ' Siamo contente? Son dio, ho fatto questa caricatura (Are we happy? I am god, we did this caricature today) . " **
Apart from this, our communal Snark enterprise, to this day no one has ever taken Nietzsche at his final word, preferring instead his earlier, less humorous work. What a brilliant career this Prussian Snark-hunter could have had in the realm of Wilhelminian nonsense literature …
Let this be a lesson to all those who hunt the Snark — some Boojums one will never discover, unless one invents them first!
NB. By habitually linking the words "Friedrich Nietzsche" with the word "Bonnet", I plan to create the seed of a semiotic oxymoron (triggered by some unusually google-gullible undergraduate searching for a quick copypasteprint) which should bring western civilization as we know it to its arthritic knees. Cue evil laughter here!
* Empty piazzi, depopulated train stations, the eternally recurring backdrop for our Snark hunt, de Chirico, Hebdomeros, Savinio, Calvino … all the lost and emptied portmanteaux of European protosurrealism.
**Black Letters Unleashed: 300 Years of Enthused Writing in German, Ed. by Malcolm Green, Atlas Press, London, 1989. Not only does this excellent anthology contain brilliant comic gems such as Nietzche's above quote, it also has my late, dearly missed maternal aunt, Monica Tornow, rubbing literary shoulders with the the likes of Lichtenberg and von Sacher-Masoch. We move in exalted circles chez Snark … so watch it.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
In a world without words, only the small-minded will be tongue-tied. Although our gallant crew aboard the HMS Snark is none of the above, they are maintaining strict radio silence as they slip by the pictorially-fortified beaches of the deadly Festung Schnark. The tension is palpable, our brave lads (and lass) are straining every nerve as they man (and miss) their weapons.
And what weapons are these? Steam-powered concussion-primed pencils? Petrol-driven semi-automatic violins? Pshaw to such antiquated music-hall-cross-talk-claptrap! Our snarqistadores are armed with only an indifferent somnolence, punctuated by an insouciant nasal susurration … they are snoring, they are snorting, they are sniffing and sneezing, they are speaking that most ancient, somatic and asemic dialect of the body physical, proof positive against all visual illusions and cognitive man-traps of the so-called higher intellect.
Hold on, what’s all this, you say? Lost in the disorienting farrago of my mixed metaphors and strained allusions? Missing the connection, the old brain-box gone off-track, signals crossed somewhere? Don’t panic! I shall refer you to the classic solace of the dislocated and confused Victorian bourgeois Snark hunter — a Bradshaw’s Guide!
Look here, sirrah, here it is writ out, plain as can be! All the lost luggage and missed connections of long-dead phonemes, waiting on long-gone railway platforms for a linguistic rendez-vous with a common usage that never arrived … schnarren, schnarchen, snarren, snerka … and yes, dare we say it — SNARK!
I think I’d better go and have a nice lie-down now. To sleep, perchance to snore — aye, there’s the snark.
Monday, March 3, 2014
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a snark
At this point in my Snark, I thought it best to go wordless for a few panels, to let the reader wallow in a blissful surfeit of lines, blobs and squiggles which simply mean themselves and nothing more. In short, I want you to have your wordless cake and eat it too!
So, enjoy these yummy bits of Sir John Tenniel, a juicy morsel of Dora Maar (with a succulent Alfred Jarry center) and all of it garnished with the abraded glyphs of Oysters à la Alberto Savinio!