An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


We are all aware that the munificence of the NHS system is not unlimited. Nor has it ever been. The system is and always has been rationed. Countless people wish that it weren't but those countless people are not prepared to pay all of their earnings into the system: and it could absorb the entire GDP of the UK and still not be able to guarantee an unrationed system.

How the rationing that is a fact of NHS day to day adminstration is exercised is a matter worthy of public debate but such debate cannot happen unless and until the need for rationing and an acceptance of that rationing is accepted by the NHS users: the electorate. In the meantime we will continue to have alarmist news items about post-code rationing and more importantly the adjudications of N.I.C.E who are seen as the main rationing body in the system.

My own preference would be to come up with some logical equation for each treatment-patient pair: one that balanced improvement in life quality (quality improvement years) , against cost per treatment, against likely positive outcome, against  x, y, and z - (I don't have or expect to have a definitive list).

Whenever this debate comes up I am reminded of a decision that a friend of my sister, a consultant surgeon, took some time ago. It was around the time of the first few heart transplants. He resigned as a consultant surgeon and has, as far as I know, never practiced medicine since. HIs problem, as he explained it, was that a heart transplant would cost perhaps £10,000 and involve x weeks in hospital, plus the cost of anti-rejection drugs for the rest of the patient's life whereas for that amount of money and other NHS resource investment he could perfom perhaps 20 or 30 hernia operations that would significantly improve the quality of life for all those patients for the rest of their natural lives. He could not countenance that trade off and left the profession.

The revelation today that an ex-MP is fighting to have prescribed to her drugs that might save her sight LINK while fertility treatment and trivial cosmetic surgery is widely funded by the NHS brought the argument into focus again (forgive the pun).

A public debate is overdue. An informed public debate. But in order for that to happen we have to confess to the need for rationing first and that doesn't seem to be a debate that anyone is keen to have - least of all big pharma.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Polluter Pays - or rather, no he doesn't

I guess t senility must be setting in because this latest nonsense from the BBC (LINK) just doesn't jibe with my view of reality. As far as I am aware the mess that Lebanon is trying to clear up was caused by an illegal mass bombing and invasion of their country by Israel. And yet I read in this piece that the following roster of states has lined up to help pay for the clean up:

US: $1bn (inc new $770m)
France: $650m
EU: $520m
Saudi Arabia: $1.1bn
World Bank: $1bn
EIB: $1.25bn

No sign of Israel on that list. Didn't there used to be some new wave idea that "the polluter pays" should be the model for the 21st century? So where is the polluter here? Why are European taxpayers who probably opposed the aggressive Israeli action being told that they are cleaning up the mess? Maybe if these clowns had to pay to fix what they break they might think before they act - think once at least.

This little item prompted me to follow up what happened vis a vis the ecological rather than politico-economical pollution that was directly caused by the same action: the 95 mile oil slick released when Israel bombed Lebanon's infrastructure. Turns out I couldn't find a single piece about Israelis or Israeli money helping to clean up. I did find this LINK as the latest report though.

Like I said - it must be senility.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Unholy Trinities

I want the right to discriminate based on my beliefs - old style first - new style next

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Suffer the little children and blackmail the government

This man -

believes that atheists are intolerant (LINK)

believes that the Act of Settlement discriminates unfairly against members of his cult

has very strange ideas about paedophilia (LINK)

This man works for an organisation -

that has a long and illustrious history of both oppressing peoples directly (LINK) or supporting the oppression of peoples - (LINK)

whose most famous member so far has been Adolf Hitler

whose current head of operations was a member of the HItler Youth (and before anyone claims he had no choice they should try asking Dietrich Bonhoeffer LINK)

that routinely and systematically discriminates against all womankind despite worshipping a woman albeit a "virgin mother"

This man wants for himself and his organsation a special exemption from British legislation to outlaw discrimination against homosexuals so that he and it can continue to discriminate without legal let or hindrance.

And Tony Bair, who appears, to this writer at least, to be a closet Catholic and his henchwoman Ruth Kelly LINK who is a member of the cult within a cult Opus Dei (LINK) and is currently Minister for Women and Equality, might just give him what he wants.

In the name of Turing what is going on?

Monday, January 22, 2007


Dear Sir,
I write at the conclusion of your latest assignment. Your author appears to be finished with his current text. Should I rather, say that he has abandoned it? I once heard a poet say that no poem is ever finished - only that the poet abandons it. Despite the wonderful conclusion that he has wrought for us the text still seems, to me at least, as a discontinued thing. But let me not put the cart before the horse here.

Your briefing for this assignment was most detailed and despite, as you know, being familiar with his oeuvre I was yet surprised and delighted by turn with the way he carved his text out of the self-imposed narrative constraints. I find his artistic journey fascinating and await his next essay into this struggle that he seems to be taking on single handedly. He is clearly not frightened of failing and in fact fails regularly in the subtexts that contribute to the construction and pursuit of his obsession. Before beginning this piece I re-read the interview that he gave to The Dalkey Archive last year and am frankly amazed at his literary hubris: to "annihilate lisability" is a towering ambition; to " ... invent the 21st century text ... from the modes and methods of literature past and the new, technologically informed cultures of the late 20th and the early 21st century ... in a way that acknowledges the new delivery technologies ... " even as an idea, takes my breath away. I suppose that what you really want of me is a progress report for his project.

Indulge me not to answer as to his progress in his individual quests in the order presented - I simply have no way of knowing which is his primary goal. Nor which he considers to be the contributing sub goals - I am not convinced that he even sees the overall project in the engineering model that I have used to describe it.

The outstanding area in which this latest text marks a progress is in the adaptation of the text to the delivery technology. In previous work, his "episodes" have veered alarmingly away from the terse and sometimes abrupt delivery that so suits the evanescent twinkling of the pixel oriented internet. In this piece his length and periodicity are, without being obviously so, carefully crafted and interspersed. His delivery pace, if you will, is much improved. Not perfect perhaps, but with a reassuringly sure footed precision he chunks the text so that it is easily digested. Where previously the novel has been moved on by the rise of a new technology that in some way appropriated the content or method of the novel this is the first time since the invention of the printing press that the medium itself has contributed significantly to the need to adapt. That he reverts in some manner to the serialisation techniques of the early novel while reflecting the modern lack of extended attention span is to be applauded.

Another feature of this latest text that I find interesting inasmuch as it supports his quest is the distance that he has opened between the creative and the craft sides of the maker and the making of a text - his disjoint of the author and the writer here is masterly. By making his author more productive and his writer lazy he has taken another, and very long, stride toward his idea of obliterating concrete language from the text. There is not a memorable phrase in the entire text. The ideas and conceits resonate, melodise, and harmonize above a backcloth of a drab, near inaudible, unmemorable, parole. When the text has been read and the screen goes blank, when each last pixel has switched off all we are left with is the idea, or the ideas, of the text. It is wonderfully effective as a mechanism but I remain skeptical that there is mileage in it - long term. Or even that it is to be desired but that is his choice and not mine. Will I seek out an author who serves me a dish that has only an aftertaste?

Three cheers and a hip-hooray more are due to his clinical disavowal of that much hyped trope of would be avant-garde textualists: the hyperlink. Those who would have you believe that hyperlinking is the future of the text have never garnered much support from our man and in this text he eschews it entirely for the first time. Bravo that man. It is a brave move.

Finally let me return to the ending that he has conjured. The idea of a text that critiques and analyses itself is, I believe, revolutionary. His execution is neither perfect nor complete and I am not sure that it, as a concept, has a future but then again after this piece his innovative capacity is not in doubt and I hope he will prove me wrong.

In short I believe your man is making meaningful progress and his new work reminds me of both Laurence Sterne and Julian Rios. Need I say more? I look forward to any further assignments that you might put in my way and I particularly enjoy the prospect of your esteemed author's next work.

My invoice follows under separate cover.

Yours faithfully


____________________________ DONE ____________________________

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Charlie roused himself from his lustful reverie and forced his eyes open. He poured himself a mugful of coffee and lit another cigarette. He scratched behind his left ear with the long, shaped, thumbnail on his left hand. He put his cigarette to rest in the clean ashtray and steepled his hands before his mouth before waving the left dismissively and raising his eyebrows. "I'm sorry guys - you'll have to work the rest out for yourselves - from the spiral - I just can't be arsed any more." He ground out what was left of the cigarette, dusted some ash from his thumb, stood up, adjusted his shirt and strode out of the office.

_______________________THE END (or is it?)___________________________

Friday, January 19, 2007

A glimpse of stocking

The silence had evaporated amid a babble of speculation. Charlie was dismissing fervently each of Power's hypotheses as to what the new developments might be.

"Please gentlemen - can we simply wait a few moments? It should take no longer than ten minutes. Serena will be back soon and then we can continue. Chas - please feel free to smoke. AGAIN. Don't worry about the ashtray - - - you haven't so far."

Charlie lit a cigarette and lent back in his chair thinking once more of Petra whilst visualising Serenas divine cleft. He remembered fondly and sensually."

Mr Power straightened in his chair, he had attended Alexander technique classes, and sat looking across the desk at the door - waiting for it to re-open. His hands rested limply in his lap and he emptied his mind.

Lory powernapped.

They waited.

Eventually Serena pushed open the door and entered the office trailed by a slight dark haired girl who carried a full tray. Charlie pegged her at about 18 years of age. Pretty, in a common sort of way but with an uncommon figure that took his breath away. She had large, firm, insolent bosoms that were pushed up and out by an undergarment of some ingenious manufacture. She showed almost no discernible ribcage. Her skirt was low hoist, sitting squarely on her hips and an inch or two of perfectly, pubescently smooth, bronzed stomach peeked out. That, and a shadow of pubic hair.

The girl put down two more cafetierres and a clean ashtray. She removed the accumulated detritus of their meeting and left silently. Charlie sighed audibly and followed her exit. As he returned his gaze to the desk Serena was leaning close to Lory once more and whispering into his ear again. And Charlie glimpsed into her cleavage again, refreshing his memory and re-arousing his libido. "Lory serves himself well on totty" he thought.

Serena pulled the door closed as she left and Lory quietly called them to order. A suspicion of Serena's body musk hung in the air and Charlie breathed it deeply.

"Sorry gentlemen - I have wasted your time - and my own - the two supposed developments were no more than trivia - it transpires. I apologise. Chas, please continue ..."


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


A silence, stunned, descended upon the group and hung there. The coffee pots were empty now. The ashtray was full: full to overflowing. As they waited for someone to break the silence the door handle turned slightly and a gentle rhythmic rapping at the thick, panelled, door was heard. All heads turned toward the door. It swung open noiselessly on its strong brass hinges and Serena stood framed in the doorway. Lory nodded here into the room and she said, as she passed the desk and glanced at the detritus, "Would you like more coffee sir? And can I bring a fresh ashtray?". "That would be good Serena, thank you." said Lory as she came up behind him. She leant forward from the waist, she was about six feet tall, and whispered into Lory's ear, cupping her hand around it. Charlie caught a tantalising glimpse of cleavage. Warm, slightly plump, smooth, and deeply inviting. He thought fleetingly of Petra's recently perfect bosom and dismissed the thought almost immediately. Almost. Serena straightened up and again Charlie glimpsed that small warm flesh pot. She stood and waited as Mr Lory visibly digested whatever it was that she had just told him. Silence. "Serena, please bring us some more coffee and see if you can confirm that will you? Talk to D5. They'll know for sure. And please close the door behind you". Her elegant legs and fine turned ankles carried her out of the room confidently as Charlie turned to watch her exit. She pulled the door closed and it set into its jamb with a whisper.

Both Charlie and Power turned to Lory expectantly. "And? "

"Gentlemen, Serena has just apprised me of two new developments that might, and I emphasise the word might, alter our perceptions.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Whence Ignatius?

"Since I can't tell you, Gee, anything about the ur-writer - he is outside of our knowability - there can be no point explaining the issues for you, Mr Power. Suffice to say that the distinction between the author and the writer is more than enough for us to grapple with and that the author only shows his hand twice that I can recall in this piece of ours: once in Sonia's flat and once where he talks briefly about himself working with the spiral text. These two incidents show us that he wants to stand outside of the writer. That he wants to distinguish the two parts of a novelist - if novelist he is - essayist, short storyist, whatever. The distinction that he draws is between the artist at the conceptual level - our author, and the artist at the phrasal level, more, he suggests, a craftsman. He points to his interest as being primarily at the conceptual level and he behaves as though he the author does all the thinking and then just hands the concepts over to the writer to concretize."

Power huffed loudly. "Can we get on, please? You guys might find this author writer thing fascinating and I can see how it relates to the second layer of our palimpsest but can I ask something a tad more mundane? It is related, just a little more down to earth."

"Sorry Power, we didn't mean to keep you out - please go on - ask away"

"Now I am assuming that all of the characters that we have come across here inside the plot or narrative if you want are pretty much the same sort of thing as we are - Sonia, Alex, Boris, you, me, Charlie, the other Alex all off these are just like us - yes?" Charlie nodded "More or less, that's close enough". "Well in that case what about the others? The ones outside of this main text - the ones in the comments? Are they like us? This Merchant of Menace and the derek guy and etchie and linka-sofia and edscoble, are they all just characters? Are they some sort of Greek chorus invented by the author?"

Charlie sucked in his cheeks and reached for another cigarette. "Mmmm ... that's a hard one ... it's been keeping me up nights ... wondering ... surprised you even noticed ... but the answer is probably a qualified no ..." "After your high handed performance in Sonia's flat I started checking out the blogs regularly - I even read back through them, and every so often one or other of these jokers would turn up in the comments section. What do you mean by a qualified no? They are real? As in they exist outside of this thing - this palimpsest?"

"You both understand the blog thing, yes? OK, Well most of the comments are real ... as in external ... as in not written by the writer or the author or the other guy ... most, but not, I think, all ... I'm sure about all of them except one ... his comments are too critical ... he seems to be a figment ... something that's been put outside ... but from the inside as it were ... he's too ... too one dimensional ... like an ill tempered attack dog ... somewhere I detect the hand of the creator ... it's as if he was created to carp like a cheap literary critic ... we know his opinion of professional critics ... below body lice ... he doesn't ring true ... the others are sufficiently human to pass muster for me ... close enough for jazz anyway ... this derek though is almost certainly a created cretinous carper"

"Well," said Lory "if he's fictive he's a wonderful creation, reminds me somewhat of Ignatius O'Reilly. A learned dullard. But, if he is real then he is just a little prick with a little mind - the mind of a sad little stalker I'd say."

"I'm with Mr Lory on that judgement" said Power harrumphing "but I'm not sure I understand why you, Charlie, came down on the fictive side of the argument, I think he's just an obnoxious twat - there are enough of them around so I'm told - especially on the world wide web. Anyway he finally shut up."

"No he didn't. I shut him up. I intercept his witterings and whinings. I'm saving them up. We shall see. But he has definitely not shut up."


Sunday, January 14, 2007


"Thank for that Chas it makes everything a lot clearer ---- or at least I think it does - sadly, it doesn't explain, or it doesn't explain to to me, why the individual episodes are so short. Do you have a handle on that? His last work had much longer pieces interspersed with the short ones."

"Good point Gee and one that vexed me for a while too - you are right about his previous stuff being much more elaborate and I wondered for a long time about the new short format episodes. I thought, initially, that he was mirroring press coverage length but I'm not so sure. It might have been his starting point but maybe not. It's almost as though he has been tailoring the length and spacing of these episodes for some literary reason. I know that he had some issues with his immediately previous work, one of which was complaints about the longer pieces being so difficult to read online. He is very sensitive to the delivery technology if not to his audience and I think that he has been trying to curtail lengths so that no episode dominates any other. One of the other issues that readers brought up on that previous work was the print option: people wanted to be able to print the thing or to buy it in paper format so that they could more properly study the text and when he came to try publishing it in book format he could find no way to typeset it. I think that that is why he has kept this text free of external links and why his multiple threads are presented in a single host. You noticed that change too?"

"I did as it happens Chas but I didn't see the significance of it I guess - so you think it's about the author fashioning a text that is designed primarily for online consumption but that allows for an offline version to be produced from it? Interesting! By the way, this author writer dichotomy - are both of them constructs? and if so where is the ur-witer and what do we name him? It's becoming difficult to talk about the real creator without confusing, or conflating, him - or her, who knows? - with either the writer or the author within the text or both. Always supposing, of course that there is an exterior or ur."

"Sorry guys, I'm lost. What the fuck are we talking about now?"


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Involuted spiral

He put his mug down - it was a large white bone china mug with drawings of a Bauhaus chair depicted on its surface and it was drained of every last vestige of coffee - and lit another cigarette. The second packet was opened and its predecessor lay crumpled beside the cheap Bic lighter in its odd black rubber cover. His left hand held the cigarette and his right snaked out to fondle the lighter - "Questions so far? On this layer?"

"Why", ventured Power, "the Litvinenko story? Why that one? Of all possible threads to hang his text from, why did he choose that one?"

"Two reasons I'd say. First, the very contemporaneity of it - it was all over the papers all over the world when he started and so that alone gave him the grounding he needed. Second, the intrinsic nature of the story as it was unfolding then. Nothing to do with the deaths or the poison or the foreignness of the whole thing, but the nature of reportage, the nature of story-making to serve ulterior motives. It was, you see, an opportunity for him to have the inner story a reflection of the outer story. Just like his own text to be. But here we are getting ahead of ourselves - like the text itself our session is traversing layers already. It was clear that there were many ways that the real-life story could pan out but that the press would would decide the nature of that unravelling and the ultimate "truth" of the matter. And that is where his second layer comes into play: the nature of the relationship between truth and the written. Of course the fact that the spy like tenor of the defining layer story allowed him to indulge his own favour for the noirish genre would have tempted him to the story too. One might almost imagine that a lot of what we are was already worked out and that the Litvinenko story drew it forth from him".

Charlie drew a piece of paper from his pocket and laid it on the desk between Lory and Power. As neither of you deciphered the whole spiral text I have made a copy of it but with the text direction reversed. Now that we are into the 2nd layer of the palimpsest it would be as well for you to appreciate the whole of that defining text.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

NOT Captain Corelli's Mandolin

They were regathered in the nearly bare office. A tray bearing a pair of full cafetieres and a motley trio of bone china mugs dominated Lory's ascetically bare desk top. No milk. No sugar. Serena knew them all well, it was typical of her to keep things minimal, she had worked for Lory for a long while now.

"Two bloody days! That has to be the longest communal piss in the history of the novel. What happened?", Power was very obviously consumed by anger. "I haven't got time to waste you know. I'm a busy man." Lory smiled knowingly, and in his very softest voice he inquired, "... and we aren't? We have time to waste? What exactly is your point Power? Chas - the floor is yours - and you asked me to remind you about the locations".

"Thanks Gee, but first let me address our irascible Mr Power's point. I'm only guessing but I suspect that what we have just experienced is a mismatch in outputs: the author is rushing ahead while the writer, being a lazy and slightly sloppy individual, is dropping back from the pace being set. It would appear that the sheer bulk of the author's outpourings of late had frozen the writer into complete inaction - hence our existential hiatus. There might be another explanation but this one will do for now and we do seem to have the thing back on the road now so let's continue." He poured three mugs of steaming hot, strong, black, coffee and distributed them. "At least he got the coffee hot".

Charlie sipped his coffee, letting the steam rise. Lighting a cigarette he looked up and across the desk. Lory opened his top left drawer and drew forth a heavy aluminium ashtray. He passed it to Charlie. "Try not to get it on the carpet Chas - locations - tell us about locations - why Tooting and Earlsfield? Something to do with that de Bernieres fellow?" Charlie was rocked back in his chair (Herman Miller by the way) by a burst of spontaneous guffawing. "Boy do you have our author wrong! Right idea Gee, but a long way off target. No, it's a reference right enough but it's to Derek Raymond, not that ponce de Bernieres. Raymond was a real hardcore writer not some dilettante. Our author is incorporating a reading list for us in the text - in a less direct way than Johnson did in his Aren't You Rather Young - but a reading list nonetheless. Your identification of "pure Len Deighton" was wrong too - it is Raymond's factory series and "the sergeant" from that series that those early scenes redole. And the main protagonist in all of those "factory" books was himself based in and around Earlsfield. That - and of course the fact that the author himself lived in the same area for some time in the eighties."


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Who is Sylvia - what is she?

"Godz rot Chas, isn't it blindingly obvious? Look we're all ex coppers, ex-detectives, at the end of our careers in the force we moved to this organisation. The office, the relationships, you - it's all pure Len Deighton. We have to be an arm of government - if I had to plump I'd plump for MI6. It's obvious."

"Well Gee, you've clearly fallen for every clue he's given but in a text such as this, a 21st century text, the obvious, the patent is least often what it seems to be. Power, what's your take on it? Come on earn your keep!"

"When you put it like that Charlie it kind of took me back a bit, I'd never given a second's thought to it but I suppose, on reflection, I'd have to imagine that Lory and I would be editors and you'd be the investigative journalist. You're following up the Litvinenko story an we are the office politics - a reflection of incompetent, and not necessarily well meaning, British middle management but with that slimy veneer that Waugh smeared on us in Scoop. Isn't that what all those toilet scenes are about - the grubbiness, the base side of our lives and ways?"

"Now there's a turn up for the books - Power, I never thought you had it in you - the Waugh reference I mean - very good but the thunder box is in Sword of Honour not Scoop, nonetheless very clever ... I'd missed that altogether ... and me a literary detective!"

Power and Lory looked at each other from behind the desk and then turned their gazes separately on Charlie. "Literary detective? What the hell is that?", Power. "Never heard of it - that's not a real profession is it? We are supposed to be a literary detective agency then?" Lory.

"Precisely, exactly. The leading literary detective agency in London - that's us the Power and the (G)Lory Incorporated, as in Murder Incorporated. Our mission is to expose the literary backbone of this very work,its beating heart, in which we all feature ... and in order to do that we have a layer one task which is to complete the Litvinenko mystery to everyone's satisfaction ... that's where our prime fictive motivation and purpose comes from ... that layer one task ... that is the surface layer of our onion. Do you remember this line? 'tell the man that he can forget ever getting this thing into print - there's not a publishing house that'll touch it ..." OK that was the giveaway - why would a secret agent know anything about the current state of publishing? That was the author acting through the writer to get me to write his way out. It fingered me fairly definitively. As for the toilet breaks - that's his homage to Johnson who notably berated himself in print ... in one of his own novels ... for not including enough toilet breaks in his own work to signify the true nature of humanity. That's where the revelation of his lower layer purpose seeps through between the layers again but let's clear up the top layer first before we move on to the more complex stuff. As we sit here Alex one is on his way to a date with death. He will be poisoned - this much we know from the exterior world. Boris, Bruno and our unnamed Italian will come together somewhere near Regent Street and will conflate into the classical assassination triumvirate. Our other Alex will surface sometime in the next days claiming inside information which he does not possess. Alex one's dossier on a certain Chechen businessman is his death certificate. Leaving it where Alex two could read it was his biggest mistake - not his only mistake but his biggest one. The Italian contact was clearly a major ricket too. Like they said - his greed got the better of him - he got sloppy. Greedy and sloppy - a specialism of the newly liberated east european states and their peoples. They, Alex's colleagues, will try to stick his death on the FSB/FIS but it will not stick - trust me it will not stick. This is Chechen shit - plain and simple - and Chechen commercial shit - fuck all to do with statist forces - and even the wankers in the British press will know that soon enough. Expect the whole story to flare brightly and dwindle quickly once the press start digging. Once they know - or even suspect who is really behind this shit. ..... OK - time for a toilet break. Gee, please ask Serena to bring us some coffee - I know it's a diuretic but I need it. I'll take questions when we come back. Remember to ask me about the locations."


Saturday, January 06, 2007


"What this amazing little text in front of us does is twofold. I was sent the original because I am supposed to use it to deconstruct our surroundings, so that I can explain it, and them, here and, to you. And the readers. If any are left at this late stage. This spiralised text was, I believe, written directly by our creator - the author. Note that I use the term author rather than writer. The writer, as he appears within our cognizance, is a different entity to the author. In some vague sense the writer and the author are the same person but for our purposes they are significantly different and separate the writer is one of us whereas the author is not. The writer is a character - because the author makes him so. He, the author, chooses not to be. I suspect that the distinction that is key is that the writer is the linguistic craftsman, the persona responsible for the words themselves, whereas the author is the real and present creative force behind our very existence. Our god if you will. And here we have a hint of how or rather why our world exists. If we keep this in front of us we can better comprehend the majesty of what is being revealed through us: better unpick this text within which we exist, and its significance. So it is partly to inform us and it is secondarily my script for today: I am duty bound to follow its spiral. And to respect its initial reference to an onion. While we cannot see what the author has in mind because he cannot represent it visually he can plant the necessary verbal description, the essential truth, and this he does in his opening. An onion, a layered object, an organic object, a permeable object, with the possibility, or perhaps even inevitability, of leakage betwixt the layers, the necessity of leakage even. Yes, necessity I think. A well chosen metaphor, I am sure, a carefully chosen metaphor. So - first - to the surface layer of our onion, the Litvinenko text - the one that we are all supposedly involved with - the one we are grounded in. My job is to resolve that story - yours is to hep me - to give succour to my journey. We are all - well all of us in this room - portrayed as some investigative organisation - we might be a branch of government - a branch of journalism - private investigators - the transcripts and intercepts set the scenario up early on - now, what do you think we are? - in the story? what sort of organisation?"

Mr Power looked shocked, "how do you know it's to do with Litvinenko? and why him?"

"Come on Power - lift your game boy - think about it. He gives us enough clues - the two Alexes - Goldfarb, who worked for Soros and Litvinenko - Anna, is clearly Anna Politkovskaya, the Chechnya references, the mode of death - clearly it coincides with the start of the episodic divulgence - backdated from Litvinenko's illness - it's his anchor into supposed objective reality - his jumping off point - his start point maybe - and it's his way of examining at a trivial level the relationship between "reality" and the written word - how does what people write dictate what we perceive as "reality"? - how does the writer get to drive reality?- it's one of his abiding obsessions. It's what he wants to share with his strictly limited audience - the writer and the word."

"And how do we know that that isn't his only agenda? - the simple Litvinenko story? Maybe that's all there is to it. Plain and simple." Mr Power glared at Charlie, "How do we know that? Apart from your reliance on this spiral text thing of yours?"

"Good question - or rather it allows me a good answer despite being a crap question. First off he sets up the expectation that this narrative of his is roughly contemporaneous - so that puts us in October of 2006 but then he dashes it immediately with his Joycean reference to the Gold Cup and the horse Hedgehunter - which is in March - from Ulysses, but you know that - so right away he reveals his duplicity - his sleight of hand with time - and of course on top of all this we have the post dates of the blog entries themselves that dissolves any idea of real time or even any temporal continuity. He shows his hand - and the hands of his multiple internal clocks, calendars - deliberately. Good enough?"

"OK." acknowledged Power, "I'll buy that".

"So what kind of organisation are we? Come on guys, do you know?"


Friday, January 05, 2007

Overture and beginners

Charlie strode to the desk behind which everyone else was now seated. "You all have one of these I take it?" he asked, slapping the spiral text fragment on the desk. Lory took a folded scrap from his breast pocket, straightened it, and put it carefully, fastidiously, beside Charlie's - in exactly the same orientation. Power copied Lory but placed his so that Charlie's was in the middle. All in silence. They turned as one man toward George. They quizzed him with their eyes. He shrugged. "I don't have one - should I?" "Not necessarily," intoned Lory but I am afraid you will have to leave us now. Isn't that correct Charles?" "'Fraid so Gee." He turned once more to George and spoke quietly but firmly, "Mr Lory is spot on there Georgie - off you go now" he motioned toward the door with his head. George did not quibble but left softly.

Charlie remained standing and looked directly at Power, "Gee knows what these are about, do you? Mr Power - do you know?"
"Why should George have one? And why doesn't he? And no I don't think I do know what these bits of paper are all about."
"First things first ... you two had copies of the spiral text - I have the original. George had none. As far as you are concerned that just excludes him from this meeting and for now that will have to suffice as explanation. It will become clear as to why later. One text remember - several copies - remember that - it's important."

Charlie gathered the 3 scraps together and pocketed them. He drew out a handkerchief from the same pocket and blew his nose noisily and wetly. "Would you share your insight with us Gee? Please?". He sat and crossed his right leg over his left after putting the handkerchief back in his right trouser pocket. He adjusted his trouser legs so that he displayed no bare leg flesh and settled back patiently.

The silence stretched before them. Mr Lory cleared some phlegm from his throat noisily. Mr Power wriggled, almost squirmed, on his seat - clearly uncomfortable. Charlie refused to puncture the now almost tangible silence. He sniffed and pinched his nose. Finally Mr Lory leaned forward and cleared his now dry throat - just formally.

"As far as I can make out" he started "this spiral text is a map of our world and its near environs. It seems to sketch, from what I could make out, the very structure and composition of what could best be termed our fictive universe. In a world other than ours it would be an hermeneutic, a visionary, even an holy text. It explains our whys and wherefores or at least it maps how we might explore those things. Might explain them."

Charlie clapped his hands "Bravo, Gee. That is substantially correct in as far as it goes ... and it goes a fair distance to be honest. Now why, do you imagine, that I was given the original and you two, as well as perhaps some others, have been given copies? Any idea? .................. No? Well never mind - I shall explain. Mr Power, are you following this? .................. No? Well never mind. All will become clear as I progress."


Thursday, January 04, 2007

The denouement begins

Lory's secretary - a youngish, quite tasty little morsel ushered him onto the room where they were already seated and waiting for him. He was not late but they rather were early. Too eager he wondered? Across the desk Lory sat with his arms crossed. The desktop was immaculately empty - pristine. To his right sat Power, and to his right George. George sported a shiner of fairly spectacular lividity. "Who gave you the mouse little puss?" asked Charlie. He wanted to establish his sang-froid straight off. He turned his head no more than 20 degrees, "What's he doing here?". The phone was unplugged - nice touch, he thought to himself - a little too ostentatiously unplugged but ... Clearly intended to draw attention to itself. "George is taking notes, do you have an objection to that Charles?". "No, not really, not to him but to notes yes I guess I do, in principle. The room has been screened yeah? OK. George, sling that projector out with Serena - draw the blinds and shut the fuck up. No notes - get it? NO! leave the flip chart - that'll be handy" George unplugged and wrestled the projector through to the outer office. "By the way Gee, I've, sorry, we've picked up an online stalker, do me a favour and silence the fucking freak will you? IP address is 62dot103dot188dotsomething or the other - kill the cunt wiil you? He's a prick - OK? Shut him the fuck up and warn him off. No George - don't switch the fucking lights off you twat - we're not using the projector - remember? Now -s it yourselves dwn and get comfortable - anyone need a piss go now because once I start nobody leaves till I'm done. Anyone? No? OK sit down, fasten your seatbelts and button your fucking lips - we're in for a rocky ride"


Monday, January 01, 2007


Sonia was on her way back from the bathroom when she saw it on the doormat. Empty bowels and two more tablets of Fluoxetine hydrochloride. Her hands were still wet - she had never quite mastered the art of completely drying them. They were chapping now. She picked up the paper and unfolded it. The message smudged under her thumb and forefinger.

Her mental state was crumbling and she seldom left the sofa nowadays except for toilet visits. The cushion and the upholstery was now Sonia shaped. She flopped back into the still warm womb. On the coffee table in front of her was a chaos and somewhere in that confusion were her spectacles - she'd given up on the contacts days ago. She felt them out and, adding further smudges to the lenses, she slipped them onto her prominent nose. She looked at the paper and turned it back and forth, puzzling over both sides as they flipped past. Her eyes slid into focus and she zoomed in on the spiral text. She found her eyes drawing her being into the maelstrom - round and down - and she could not draw herself back. Her head spun and a wave of nausea washed over her as a vertigo overcame her. She vomited into the mess on the coffee table, her mental confusion mirroring it.

A copy of the spiral text had been delivered to Bruno but Bruno was still out working.

Two further copies had been delivered: one to Mr Power and one to Mr Lory.

The final copy had been delivered to the apartment of Alex G.

Charlie was still studying his original. He had lifted much of the staining with a moistened cotton swab and was copying the text that he could decipher onto a yellow pad when it finally dawned on him: this was his script. Or at least it was the foundation, the skeleton of his script.