Saturday, July 31, 2010

I sing the thing

This morning, I carefully packed a book, scissors, glue, paper, a plastic folder, a long-armed stapler, and a jar full of paper clouds into my bag, my wallet into one pocket, my keys into another, my transport card into another, and a photocopier card into another, and with no further ado, and a minimum of fuss, walked out the door.

All very pleasing and specific you might think, especially the jar of paper clouds. As I was halfway down the street to the tram stop, however, it occurred to me that I had forgotten to pack the thing.

Just what the thing was I can't say exactly, because I had also forgotten what the thing I had forgotten to pack was. It's quite frustrating, you see, because I always seem to be forgetting to pack the thing, whatever the thing is, or was, that I had been forgetting to pack. Of course I suppose you could say that the thing that I forgot to pack last time (whatever it was (or wasn't)) was a different and discrete thing to the thing that I had forgotten to pack this time (whatever it is (or isn't)). But who's to say that the thing that I forgot to pack this time isn't the was or wasn't the is that I had forgotten last time? Or, for that matter, that the thing that I had forgotten to pack the time before the time before wasn't the same as the other two things (or was in fact a completely new thing) that I had forgotten?

In case I'm making too much sense, my lack of a point is this: it's bloody irritating to keep forgetting the thing, and also to forget what it is that you have forgotten. The anxiety caused in thinking about whatever the thing is after you have left the place where you should have remembered to pack the thing, whatever the thing you should have remembered to pack is, is a very anxious anxiety indeed. There ought to be a law against it. Thank you.

Types of dance

The Conga - line dance

The Tango - two person Latin-American dance

The Mango - As above, with fruit

The Quango - one person dance performed by public servants for the entertainment of their political masters

The Mambo - similar to the Tango

The Rhumba - No idea, but it sounds fun.

The Bhimbo - Something involving blonde people.

The Tarantella - Dance imitating the fevered throes of a person who has been bitten by a Tarantula spider.

The Banktella - Dance imitating the fevered throes of a person who has been bitten by a local bankteller (the venom is said to be fatal).

Budgies make for cheep jokes

I kind of like the Tony Abbott (formerly the John Howard) Ladies Auxiliary. Can't help thinking that this style of joke is one election too late, though.

Fight the people who fight the power, ladies! After all, the power is doing a pretty good job in fighting with itself.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chique leave

Chique leave – when you’re just too gobsmackingly cool for one shabby workplace and you need to take a day off to be gobsmackingly cool in the company of other gobsmackingly cool things, such as chaise longues, velveteen smoking jackets, and cheeky short black coffees being drunk by zingy beat poets in frisky little city lanes (or any combination of the above).

The man on the bus

'I have no idea what he's talking about', I thought as I sat on the bus with the Baron and Mum, opposite to the man who, notwithstanding the fact that I couldn't understand what he was talking about, talked about it anyway, at great length. Indeed, occasionally there would be pauses in his talking about whatever-it-is-that-he-was-talking about, and you would have time to put in a little 'oh no!' or 'how true!' or 'remarkable!' depending on the tone of his voice. For some reason, both he and I felt completely comfortable with this arrangement, though for all I knew, I could have been making completely inappropriate exclamations: 'My finger got chopped off the other day.' 'Excellent!' I wouldn't know. After all, as you will remember, I had no idea what he was talking about.

After the Baron and I got off the bus - Mum having got off a few stops earlier - the Baron turned to me and said:

"What on earth was he saying? I couldn't understand it at all."

Later, we met back up with Mum in the city*. She confessed to us: "I'm never able to follow his conversation. I talk to him whenever I see him on the bus. No idea what he says though."

I wonder what he thought of us? Maybe "what nice people they are. If only they could talk a little more. I've no idea what they're thinking about..."

*The city being Newcastle.

It's amazing what sort of things can move you to poetry

The cat puked on the modem
The cat puked on the floor
Underneath the kitchen table
Underneath the bedroom door
She puked twice in the hallway
And then she puked some more
And now she's curled up on the couch
While I'm mopping up the gore.

Not doggerel exactly. More like it's opposite - caterwauling. Speaking of doggerel, though, I was on the telly with my poodle poem, along with some of the other Dan poets. Look! Here! The bit to avoid is probably at the three minute mark. I'm not saying any more than that because I'm a man of mystery...

Monday, July 26, 2010


The man who is tired of London is tired of life. The man who is tired of Morpeth is tired of Morpeth.

You could either go to work or go to sleep. Going to work is harder. Going to sleep is closer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good news for sink sniffers

Been cleaning up, and I concluded the proceedings by pouring what I think was a fresh heaped teasponfull of choc-chip chai into the sink. Bummer.

On the other hand, good news for sink sniffers, since the sink smells extraordinarily delicious right about now. I think I'll go and snort some sink right away.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I am filled with happy glee
By people dead who are not me.

But if they could be me, then – oh!
I'm overwhelmed by grief and woe!

18th century expletives are the best sort of expletives


- somewhere in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Possible obituary #2

After all, it’s fun to talk about death. It’s such a life-affirming subject.


It is with sadness and regret that we announce the passing of former world conker champion, Ms Noreen Fuggles. Her motto in life was, as always, ‘I came, I saw, I conkered.’

Monday, July 19, 2010

Long sock short sock black sock white sock this sock that sock sock sock sock

Socks all seem so simple, don't they? They just sit in a drawer waiting until you want to put them on your feet, and you take them out, and put them on your feet. I mean, what could be less difficult than that?

On the weekend I conducted an auditing process of the household socks. I removed them from all the drawers and boxes that they had been lurking in, draped them over the beds and chairs, and began to set apart the socks that seemed to have no partner, to see if I could partner them all up again. I had done a similar thing some months ago and my intention was to do the same thing now.

Unfortunately the number of socks without an obvious sock partner seemed to have multiplied since last time. Or had they? I found a number of socks that were the same size as one another, but a different colour; other socks were of a different size but of the same colour; many socks had pictures on them, and indeed, many of the many that had pictures on them looked quite similar, but the pictures were different.

If truth be told I started getting a little panicky. What if, indeed, some of these socks did not really come in pairs, and had always meant to be sold as single socks for monopedal travellers? Another thought had occurred to me as well: that, indeed, many of the socks of the same size, and the same colour, but with different pictures on them, were meant to go together anyway, because sometimes it's nice to wear differently-coloured socks on either foot. I would almost have put these socks together - on the general principle of 'if the shoe fits, wear it', the shoe in this case being a sock - but then I didn't. Because, after all, how was I to tell for sure that these socks with different logos were really meant to go together? And what if, a day or a week or a month or a year or so in the future, I uncovered the real partner of these socks? I would be left with another odd sock, and I would probably not remember what I did with the first (or perhaps it was the second*) odd sock in the first place.

In other, stranger cases, I seemed to turn up a few examples of three socks of comparable size and colour that may or may not have been meant to go together. This naturally suggested that there was a tripedal person in the house, though I'm not sure whether that was the Baron or myself. I thought I had better check about that one, but for some reason the Baron scoffed at my 'three legged freak beast' suggestions. Perhaps the triplets of three matching socks were for the cats, but I've never seen them wear socks. And besides, that left us with another odd sock, since cats typically have four feet (and ours are no exception (I think)).

Gradually the socks were sorted and sifted, and I managed to pair up a good deal of them (not all of them. That would be asking too much.) There's about ten single socks sitting around the house at the moment waiting for their odd partner to turn up. They may be waiting for months. They may be waiting forever. People may suggest to me that I just put the socks together and not worry about it, but if you ask me that sounds distinctly uncouth and unmannerly. There's just something about the thought of unmatched socks going together that gives me the willies.

As a matter of fact, I had been looking at so many socks, and thinking about so many socks, and indeed talking so much about so many of the socks, that with all this sock this and sock that and sock the other thing, I went to bed with socks on my mind, and tossed and turned, possibly with sock-related dreams, until early in the morning.

In other news apparently an election was called on the weekend as well. Well I ask you, are either of the main contenders, Abbott or Gillard, going to do anything about the household sock crisis? I didn't think so.

*Do conventional numbering systems apply to odd socks? Is the missing sock really the second sock, or is it actually the first sock? Was it thinking about the arithmetical and logical complexities of odd socks that drove many mathematicians to formulate their complex theorems and theorise about their difficult formulas?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Scenario that may or may not have happened

You have been sweeping up. With the broom. There is a big pile of dust, hair, and scraps sitting in one spot on the floor, which is the result of your sweeping up with aforementioned tool of sweeping up, the broom. All is as it should be.

A cat enters the room where you have been doing the sweeping up. The cat sits down on the floor in close - fairly close, but not very close, and certainly not absolutely - proximity to the results of the sweeping up, with the implement of sweeping up resting on the other side, resting upon the table. The cat looks cheerfully smug, in that way that cats have.

You are sitting on a chair. The broom leaning on the table. The cat is sitting on the floor. The pile of dust is sitting in fairly close but not very close proximity to the cat on the floor. It is a scene of domestic peace and tranquility such as, one imagines, happen all over the world in such circumstances. And then, an idea comes into your head.

You stand up from the chair on which you have been sitting. You grasp the broom firmly in both your hands, and take it away from the table on which it has been leaning. With one brisk stroke, you sweep the pile of dust from the position it has been sitting on the floor to a position in very close proximity indeed to the cat. You return the broom and yourself to their static positions on table and chair, respectively. You watch with pleasure and satisfaction as the cat walks into the middle of the pile of dust and curls into a neat ball and lays down to sleep.

It is after all a pleasant and satisfying thing to provide just that extra little bit of help to others to achieve their goals.

You will be interested to know that this scenario, that may or may not have actually happened, didn't actually happen. But oh, how easily it could have...

Rejected ideas for blog posts

- A collection of six word fictions with one word missing.

- A recycled anecdote about a croissant that I have been rerecycling to just about every person I meet.

- A collection of sayings by me as the anti-Oscar Wilde.

There now! Aren't you glad that instead of doing those posts I just did this one instead? Aren't you? Ha! It's a good thing I'm not telling this to you all in the flesh, I don't think I could keep the mob of ravening fans at bay.

Friday, July 16, 2010

All-purpose obituary

I present to you the following all-purpose obituary. I’m sure you’ll all be very sad, happy, or indifferent about the event.

Someone in particular died today. Whoever it was that died is survived by whoever it is that whoever it was was related to, and is mourned by whoever they are that whoever it was that died happened to know, whoever whoever it was, was. Other people who knew whoever it was that died, whoever they are, however, will not regret the passing of whoever it is that whoever it was was, and their differences with the other whoevers who knew whoever it was may never be reconciled now.

He or she was the first, last, or middle of his or her generation.

Deliciously evil, or just deliciously delicious?

Today, I bought some chocolate. A completely normal thing to do, yes. But also, if you believe the advertising, quite wicked and evil of me. Wicked! Yes, just like Vlad the impaler, who, you know, impaled people. Only with more chocolate, and less impaling. Evil! Just like Beelzebub torturing doomed souls in the infernal fires of hell for ludicrously over-rated sins, like farting in close proximity to archbishops, except not. It’s basically a way of being evil and wicked without any of the responsibilites that entails.

I think I’ll buy some more.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A very literary post

The literary community of Melbourne expressed grave concerns when the seventeenth page of creative writing publication Page Seventeen went missing. Rumours were initially rife that editor Tiggy Johnson had accidentally take the seventeenth page with her on holiday, but she could not be contacted to confirm or deny these rumours.

Acting editor Vicki Thornton expressed concerns about the publication following this crisis: "I really don't know what will happen to Page Seventeen now that the seventeenth page has gone missing. Perhaps we should call it Page Sixteen? But then what if the seventeenth page turns up again? Will we have to change the name back again? These concerns that I have are very concerning."

Other Melbourne literary figures have been pushing for Page Seventeen to turn the third page into the one hundred and third page, for the one hundred and third page to become the new nineteenth page, and for the nineteenth page to be transmogrified into the new seventeenth page, thus alleviating a number of concerns amongst the reading and writing public. However, others have said they are 'worried' about what this means for the ongoing future of the one hundred and third page, and several Facebook groups have sprung up with names like 'Let's keep good old page one hundred and three the way it is.'

The disappearance of Page Seventeen follows a spate of other high-profile disappearances amongst the media world at large. The ABC's national television show The 7.30 Report recently mentioned that several minutes had gone missing from their program, including the minute covering the 7.30-7.31 time slot. Due to ongoing budgetary difficulties, ABC management have been unable to find new minutes to replace the old, but they are 'pursuing the matter with the police'. Suspicions initially fell upon competing commercial network, Channel Nine. Later, however, it has emerged that rival show 60 Minutes have lost their 60th minute too.

Still, things could be worse: partially government funded network SBS recently reported that one of the S's was stolen from their station name. Now, in an effort to keep up their corporate identity, they have been rotating the remaining 'S' while they save money to get a new letter for their station. They are now called 'SB' and 'BS', on alternate nights.

Staff at Page Seventeen are in contact with the police. They have also released a statement to the media saying that, 'if anybody has the seventeenth page out there, please return it to us, and we will not pursue the matter any further.'

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Announcing the discovery of a new poetic form

Today, while sitting at the Dan O'Connell listening to poems, I invented a new poetic form: the pooku. Its rules are as follows:

1) It loosely follows the three lines, five-syllables-seven syllables-five-syllables structure of traditional haiku.
2) It is about poo.
3) Because the subject matter is so juvenile and disgusting, only one pooku can ever be written.

With that in mind, I set to work and wrote the first, last, and only pooku ever to disgrace the face of the earth:

Bobbing in the wet,
Flush after flush after flush -
It won't go away!

After writing the only pooku, I showed it to the people around me. Unfortunately, not only were they not disgusted, but they proceeded to break rule 3) and wrote several more pooku, much better than the original, which just goes to show how neglectful people are of poetic traditions these days.

See also: new possibilities in verse.

Friday, July 09, 2010


01010100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100101 01100100 01110101 01100011 01100001 01110100 01100101 01100100 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01101011 01101110 01100101 01110111 00001101 00001010 01001000 01101111 01110111 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01101110 01101111 01110101 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01010000 00100111 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01010001 00100111 01110011 00101110 00001101 00001010 01010100 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110010 01101110 01100101 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110011 01110101 01100010 01110011 01110100 01101001 01110100 01110101 01110100 01100101 00100000 00100111 01100100 01110101 01100100 01100101 00101100 00100000 01101100 01101111 01101100 00100001 00100111 00001101 00001010 01000110 01101111 01110010 00100000 00100111 01101010 01101111 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101111 01100100 00100111 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 00100111 01110110 01100101 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100100 01110010 01101111 01101100 01101100 00100111 00101110 00001101 00001010 01000010 01110101 01110100 00100000 01110111 01101000 01100101 01101110 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01100001 01101001 01100100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100100 01101111 01101110 01100101 00101100 00001101 00001010 01000011 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100100 01101001 01110011 01100011 01100101 01110010 01101110 00100000 01110100 01110111 01101001 01111000 01110100 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 00111111 00001101 00001010 01000001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110011 01101111 01110010 01110100 00001101 00001010 01010111 01101111 01110010 01100100 01110011 00100000 01100110 01110010 01101111 01101101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01110011 01110100 01110010 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 01110100 01110011 00111111

Binary translator

Proposed titles for academic essays

Contents and their discontents: Chapter titles and the 18th century novel

Colons, and semi-colons: punctuation and body parts in Victorian literature

‘The’: an article on Shakespearean articles.

A Soon-to-be Important Article: analysing how the Soon-to-be Important Article came to be, and critiquing the arguments that it engages in critiquing itself.


‘A series of random words yanked out of the dictionary and placed in close proximity to one another’: stochastic pullulating porcine stalagmites and their malcontents.

Was going to be: a critical analysis of the so-called Soon-to-be Important Article, and an analytical critique of its so called self-analysis

Nose picking, and Colonialism


Deconstructing the malcontents of the analyticially critical retrospective prospective perspective: the critical legacy of Clifford, the Big Red Dog.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Surprise is an important element in comedy: a poem

You have a cough
A little cough
What do you do?
It might be cold?
It might be cold -
It could be flu -
What do you do?
You see the doc,
He says, 'say ah!'
So you say, 'ah!'
He says, 'congrats,
You've got pneumonia!'

Oh ah ha ha!


You have an itch
A little itch
On your left foot,
You little toe
On your left foot
Begins to itch
Begins to twitch
Begins to shake
A little bit
Within your shoe -
What do you do?
Take off your shoe?
(You take it off.)
Your leg drops off -
A little bit.


You're dead. Not dead.
You're almost dead.
The bombs have dropped
The power's down
The food is gone
You are the last
Survivor in
This post apoc-
-alyptic world.
You're dead. Not dead.
You'll soon be dead,
And as you lie
Stark raving mad
Upon the floor
Then what should burst
In through the door
Except a clown?
A happy clown!
A laughing clown!
With funny hair!
And bright red nose!
And bright red mouth!
And bright red eyes!
And honking horn!
What should he cry?
I do declare -


The Screw

It is finally time to tell the tale of the Screw. It is an old tale, but no less true for all that. And perhaps you will find something inspirational in the tale of the Screw. Maybe it will even inspire you to go forth and Screw in places you have never Screwed before.

The Screw was in the cupboard door, see. It was keeping the door open. Screws tend to do that. It is really amazing what good a little Screw can do, if you let it.

But over the years, the Screw became looser and looser. What had once been a good hard Screw had started to fall out. And there was the sound of weeping and wailing all over the earth.

But! Along I came with my Screwdriver. I had got the Screwdriver that morning from Bunnings. It's amazing the things you can get from Bunnings; they are extraordinarily eager to encourage the delightful practice of Screwing at work, and at home. Well, as I say, I wandered along with my Screwdriver, and I picked up the Screw, and I commenced Screwing. Never before or after has there ever been such a Screw as the Screw I had that day in the cupboard. I Screwed determinedly in the cupboard, and I Screwed some more, and then after that, I did a little bit more Screwing until the Screw was all Screwed.

And when I had finished, the Screw was completely Screwed once more.

And over the vast aeons of time - well more months and seconds actually - one generation has handed down to the next generation the tale of the Screw. Not that there has been any generations to tell the tale. But still.

Go forth and Screw!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekend travel special

Mountains! So big and tall and mountainy! They are very impressive objects, especially the ones that are made out of rocks, which are most of them. Unfortunately, the tallest and the mountainiest of the world's mountains live overseas, and are consequently very un-Australian. All Australian authorities agree on this important point. But there exists one type of very big, very tall mountainy mountain that you will find plenty of in Australia - and that is where we go for the Weekend Travel Special today.


1. Mount Horizontal, Hay

As you drive along the Hay Plains, the glorious contours of Mount Horizontal rise up at a flat angle to the otherwise undistinguished countryside. Many travellers have tried, and failed, to ascend the treacherous steeps and the craggy cliff-faces of Mount Horizontal, only to be brought down by its unyielding flatnesses. In one tragic incident, world famous explorer Mountjoy de Joymount attempted to scale the deadly surfaces of Mount Horizontal, only to fall to his death on the Hay Plains, far below.

While visiting Mount Horizontal, take time to look at other attractions of the area, including the hardy mountain beasts known as 'sheep', the interesting cultural artefacts known to the locals as 'fences', and the ground made up mostly of a rare mineral called 'dirt'.*

2. Mount Werribee, Werribee

Several distinctive geographical features mark out the area around Mount Werribee, including the world's least convex valley, (the famous Vale of Mere), occasional inclinations of up to one degree or more from the horizontal, and a an attractive local decoration known as 'rubbish'. Mount Werribee is not only one of the tallest horizontal mountains in the world, but it also has an unusually thin circumference, just metres in length: therefore its peak is particularly shard-like, and is considered too dangerous for mountain climbers to attempt (several locals have impaled themselves on Mount Werribee over the years). Mount Werribee is shown above with some 'rubbish' decorating it as part of Werribee's recent Christmas celebrations.

Mount Jones, Simpson Desert

The Simpson Desert has in recent years become a thriving tourist centre - so thriving that it's locals all live somewhere else. Nevertheless, it is home to the impressive Mount Jones, which rises up with majestic ordinariness above the otherwise undistinguished plains below. In recent years, it is true, several geologists and orographists have argued that Mount Jones is actually not a true 180 degree mountain at all, merely a hill or protuberance. One or two have even gone so far as to maintain that Mount Jones has been diminishing in size; however, these arguments are considered unorthodox.

Aside from the looming flatness of Mount Jones, the Simpson Desert also boasts another feature of worldwide significance - 'Ayers Other Rock', a pebble rising from the ground, about one centimetre in diameter and two centimetres in height. If you do want to attempt the challenging climb of Ayers Other Rock with friends, please be aware of the sensitivities of the local Indigenous people (or rather the local-but-living-somewhere-else Indigenous people), and take all rubbish with you afterwards.

*If I could just add as a footnote that I grew up on the Hay Plains, and they certainly lived up to their name: they were very plain indeed. Actually, while doing some research for this post, I found an interesting recommendation for the area on the Hay Shire website, which I quote to you now:
"Located on the vast open and virtually treeless Hay Plains, the main regional centre of Hay is situated at the intersection of the Sturt, Mid-Western and Cobb Highways. The other main towns in the Shire are Maude and Booligal, made famous by the Banjo Patterson poem Hay, Hell and Booligal."
So what are you all doing? Visit Hay, you bastards!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Little read Biblical passages

From Solomon's Extended Proverbs, Chapter 5

7. And if thy dog must crap, then let thy dog crap on the lawn of the neighbour thou most dislikest;

8. For as fresh honey is to thy tongue, so is a green lawn to the bottom of thy dog;

9. But if the neighbour thou most dislikest is thy only neighbour, even so, forbear;

10. For what thou givest, verily, thou shall receivest back tenfold;

11. Seek out wisdom, my son! It is more precious than fine gold!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Scene from a future dystopia

Society must, at some stage, accept that not only is there a widespread demand for pornography, but that it also has the potential, in the process of adhering to certain values, to aid healthy adolescent sexual development. It may seem ludicrous to envision government-funded pornography, but there is no reason why such an enlightened initiative would not be theoretically feasible. Through broadcasters such as the ABC, the government already gives funding to comedy, entertainment, current affairs programs and sport; the only reason, it seems, that pornography could not join those ranks is its general lack of perceived legitimacy.
Looking at porn doesn’t have to be a dirty secret
– David Heslin, National Times (via Andrew)

It was nearly eleven hundred and in the department they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and into the board room in preparation for the Two Minutes Masturbation.

A small bespectacled secretary with mouse-brown hair was fiddling with the controls to tune the telescreen into ABC69, while all around the lights dimmed. The next moment the sound of a synthetic saxophone wafted from the screen. If you were from a previous generation you would have identified the sound as belonging to a certain Mr G, first name Kenneth, but if you had the good fortune to be an enlightened citizen of 2084, it would have set your heart racing and made you gasp in anticipation. The Masturbation had started.

The contours of an extremely voluptuous woman became outlined on the screen. She was, of course, naked. As the screen lit up, you could see that she was sitting opposite a person of the opposite sex, also naked. Both their lips were moving, but you couldn’t tell what they were saying yet. The saxophone faded out, and it gradually became apparent what the actors were saying: they talked about feelings, about love, about commitment, about whether they felt they were emotionally ready for one another, about adequate protection, and about the importance of living in an open relationship of mutual trust and respect.

Barely twenty seconds into the Two Minutes Masturbation, people had already begun to burst out with exclamations about sexual tolerance and the importance of listening in a relationship. Looking around the room, Winton could see the faces of his colleagues bursting with the urge to live in an open relationship of mutual trust and respect with the woman or the man on the telescreen. Some had inadvertently let their mouths fall open and were panting at the possibility. Seconds later, of course, the man and the woman collapsed on the bed in sensual ecstasy, and Winton and the rest of the audience gasped.

The scene changed. This time, it was a steamy bathhouse full of buff, well-toned men. A breathy singer intoned wordless vowels as the men stroked and kissed one another. At the bottom of the screen the caption flashed, ‘It’s okay to be that way’. This was replaced in a few seconds by another caption, ‘So long as you have protection’.

In its second minute the Masturbation rose to a frenzy. You could hear the gentle plop, plop, plop as people’s pants or stockings dropped to the floor as soft-core gave way to hard-core and the shots became closer, more tantalising, and flicked from one to the other with increasing rapidity. Here there was a couple in the doggie position while the caption below told the viewers that smoking was bad, there again there was a bedroomful of people giving one another oral sex, while the caption flashed up telling viewers to keep their room tidy.

There were more images; a breast here, an armpit there; half a buttock, a penis, a nipple, someone’s waving hair – Winton seemed to have only a dim recall of the scenes afterwards – as the Two Minutes Masturbation reached its climax. Moments later, he and his other workers filed back out to their cubicles, full of panting desire to do good, enter into respectful relationships, and keep their rooms tidy, no matter what. One or two workers stopped mid-way and scurried back to the boardroom to retrieve their pants that they had forgotten…

2084, Georgus Huxwell
Email: timhtrain - at -

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