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Old 07-23-2009, 02:58 PM   #26
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Location: Paris, France
Device: eb1150 & is that a nook in her pocket, or she just happy to see you?
since i've just recieved the latest mail (N░ 49) from mil millington i thought i'd share it here so you could get a taste of his style :

How to Lose.

Here's one of the many things Margret has taught me: you might lose to a weaker opponent if they are faster; you might lose to a slower opponent if they are stronger; but you will *always* lose to an opponent who doesn't tell you the rules until after the game's over.

I was quietly sitting reading a book yesterday when Margret surged in, all insectoid with rapid, jerky, scanning movements and leaking urgency everywhere. She hissed with irritation, and then - brisk; insistent - said to me, "Have you seen the whatsit?"

This is obviously ludicrous.

There wasn't even a mime-clue to accompany the question. (The indicative waving of a foot, say, or that thing some people do where when they're asking for any object whatsoever they hold their hands apart to illustrate the general size of it - Mouth: "Have you got a stool I could borrow?"; Hands: "The top of a stool is about *this* big.") Now, it's hardly unusual for Margret to sweep into a room in the company of ludicrous, but I'm quick to see that the way she's done it here gives me the opportunity to Make a Point. So, at the speed of brain, I script the remainder in my imagination. This is how the whole exchange will play:
Margret: "Ssss... Have you seen the whatsit?"
Mil: "Yes."
Margret: "Yes?"
Mil: "Yes, but it's more impressive viewed from the air than when you're actually travelling across it."
Margret: "What?"
Mil: "Oh - I thought you meant the ěresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Were you asking about something else?"
Margret: "Ah, I see what you've done there. You've used the rhetorical device of a vastly unlikely assumption to wryly spotlight the preposterous lack of specificity in my question. Yes, indeed - that gentle arrow was well-aimed and much-deserved, Mil: you are brilliant, handsome and charismatic, and I will start doing some of the washing up from now on."

As I say, this is formulated and performed entirely in my mind, and so it takes only a flashing instant for me to view it, mentally. In Earth time, Margret's words have barely had chance to dissipate into the air and she's looking at me for a response. Thus, without any audible comma, I can begin the scene for real. It goes, *in its entirety*, like this:
Margret: "Ssss... Have you seen the whatsit?"
Mil: "Yes."
Margret: "No, not that." (She makes a geysering, 'You're useless, you are'-style sigh and strides out of the room.)


I defy you to come up with a way in which that makes any sense at all, other than as an exercise conceived *exclusively* to confuse, unsettle and defeat me for sport. And let's be unflinching about how utterly I was taken down here. Not only was my plan made to explode in the barrel, but I was *also* left completely baffled, *and* with A Point, now doomed to be Unmade, lying like a constricting weight on my chest, *and* I couldn't even carry on reading my book in peace as the words now no longer sank in; I read the page multiple times, but each time I got to the end I realised I hadn't absorbed a single thing I'd read as my head had actually been given over to repeatedly re-running our short scene and wondering, "Um... what just happened there?" Quite honestly, she might as well have simply marched into the room and tasered me.

Right, two quick announcements:

The paperback of 'Instructions for Living Someone Else's Life' is finally out in human-world bookshops or, postage-free, at
and you should probably buy it to avoid the gnawing regret of not doing so sabotaging all chance of your forming any lasting personal relationships between now and your lonely, squalid death.

Also, the Sexton Blake radio mini-series that Mr Nash and I have written starts on BBC Radio 2 at 9.15pm on Friday 31st of July. There's a video trailer at this link:
Its comedy is distinguished; its adventure is thrilling; its plot is next to impenetrable.
(Caution: this is Excellent Humour of the kind Mr Nash and I enjoy baking at or that's spiritually not unlike director Mr Maggs's other radio work - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently, and so forth. Anyone tuning in expecting some manner of TMGAIHAA, contemporary rom-com-style shenanigans faces stun-eared bewilderment right from the off.)
Possibly each show will also briefly be available via Radio 2's Listen Again facility, for those of you who are unaccountably away from your wireless at a quarter past nine on six consecutive Friday evenings, but I'm not sure(1).

Well, I'm afraid that's about - oh, the 'short stories 'inspired' by Smiths songs' book I contributed to is out now, if I haven't mentioned that before

Well, I'm afraid that's about it for this Mail, my delightfuls. However, may I suggest that you don't risk the unhealthy jarring shock of leaping back into work immediately? Medical experts (homeopaths, aromatherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, qualified Reiki practitioners, etc.) would surely provide rigorously scientific anecdotal evidence that such an action could result in spiritual misalignment, energy depletion, or possibly even the vague feeling that those people said they liked that wine you brought the other evening but they didn't really; they thought you'd just bought the cheapest bottle in the shop, when you actually made a point of buying the third cheapest - which is a whole one pound fifty extra you could have kept in your wallet and like anyone can really taste one pound fifty's difference anyway and even if you'd bought the most expensive one there I bet they'd have all given you that look exactly the same just because you forgot to take off the sticker that said "Special Offer" and "Netto". So, I'd advise a period of 'staring unfocused into the distance' for fifteen to forty minutes, to safely ease the otherwise gear-clashingly dangerous re-adoption of paid labour. Your health comes first, right?


(1) Incidentally, Mr Nash and I would like to initiate a rattling cheer for the manly and terrific - an invaluable, and also a valuable, source of reference on the Blake canon's 116 years of freewheeling chaos and contradiction.

All possible queries about all possible things are dealt with here:

Last edited by zelda_pinwheel; 07-23-2009 at 03:04 PM. Reason: that's "millington" with 2 L's, thanks.
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