|Humiliated Hancock and his friend, Ms. Covid Angelo|
|PPE against bioterrorism|
- extreme tiredness
- shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
- changes to taste and smell
- joint pain
I don't see many people, I hate speaking on the telephone and I don't like the sound of my own voice. I like, well enough, the tones and cadences, my accent and intonation, the sound per se, it's just that I know, come tomorrow, I will bitterly regret much of what I said, today; best keep schtum. Any time I talk to people all Hell breaks loose, for me, at any rate. Doesn't matter how I do it, in person or on the phone, I always regret it, could always have done better
Much of my life has been like that, style over substance, form over content, flash gibbering. When I was twenty, I had a silver Dunhill cigarette lighter, cost a fortune, and I wore a suit with a little inside pocket, low down, into which Mr Sophisticate could slip his lighter. Most people had Ronson or Colibri lighters, some had Zippos, all of which cost a fraction of the Dunhill.
Marshal McLuhan described the frying pan as an external stomach, advance-processing the food; I feel that my word processor, similarly, is my external brain - raw, uncooked thoughts as unpalatable as raw, uncooked liver.
It's the as-though-to-persuade-another aspect that's important - first of all it has to persuade me, must have an internal consistency, a beginning a middle and an end, maybe an inversion, maybe a chorus, must have a rythm but most importantly, it must make sense, there may well be paradox but things must resolve. If it doesn't persuade me, how dare I put it before you?
If only talking was like that, if only you could hear it first, not just the broad thrust of it but, you know, every you know; if you could hear every hesitation, every clutching at the air for le mot juste; if you could foresee every arch, verbal device, every blunder, contradiction, solecism, every insincerity, if you could hear it all in advance you'd give up talking altogether, as I almost have.
I don't have that facility, though, of editing my speech before it comes out; wouldn't want it, I don't suppose and so, more often than not, conversation is a matter of regret, requiring apology and clarification for which the moment is gone, forever - I know that even if I were to chase after people and say, hang on, I didn't exactly mean what I now realise you may have thought I meant, even if I did that I would, in talking about talking, only make matters worse.
GIVE ME MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE.
And the tele-phone - a voice from afar - is infinitely more dangerous than talking face-to-face; only really for emergencies, I think, the telephone - so-and-so's dead, come quick; send lawyers, guns and money, that sort of message. The sort of thing which was quite adequately accomplished by the tele-graphic message - writing from afar - or in it's bastard construction, a telegram.
Somehow, though, it has become a huge, indispensible part of their lives for many people talk incessantly on the telephone to other people whose faces they cannot see and with whom, therefore, they can only communicate most imperfectly - the visual signals are ninety per cent of human communication and you do not observe them on the telephone. I know that there's Skype and stuff but it's shit isn't it, like Richard Branson's spacecraft, all bollocks, unreliable, fucked-up, over-ambitious.
I can do business stuff on the telephone, goods and services, can do that as well as the next consumer-initiating-certain-disappointment, what I can't do on the telephone is converse - be with, keep company with - another person.
I haven't had a portable telephone this century, there is nothing important enough about any aspect of my life to require my permanent contactability. There is no conceivable emergency which would prompt me to carry such a thing, even were I able to operate one, which I am not. When travelling with mrs ishmael she always has a phone in case of breakdown; travelling alone, I don't bother. I simply don't care enough about danger or inconvenience to go through all that business of charging-up bits of junk and remembering how to do things, remembering numbers, putting numbers in speed dial. Fuck it, I travelled all over the country for decades without any of that. And that was in old and unreliable vehicles. All my cars now are new and well-serviced. Am I supposed to worry myself to death that one of them will break-down in the middle of the Highlands? What's the worst that can happen? I might have to walk some distance, I might have to flag a lift. I got this far, didn't I, from the ocean and the swamp and the caves; I'm sure I can get along the A9, without the help of Nokia.
Maybe it's seeing so many people walking along talking to thin air, maybe it's being forced, unasked, to hear - listen to one side of - other's stupid, miserable fucking lives, detailed in loud voices; maybe it's hearing increasingly bizarre and annoying ring tones, whatever it is, I hate the fucking things, engines of Satan, Ruin's junk-mail.
But I hate them most of all because they don't do what people are led to believe they do. And they do do something else.
Both anthologies of the work of mr ishmael and his young Polish friend, Stanislav, Plumb Cheap for You: Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack - are available to purchase for mere money at Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Here's how to buy your own copies:
shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:
Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :
Link for Paper Back :
At checkout, try
PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or TREAT15 in the coupon box, which takes 15% off the price before postage. If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for "Lulu.com voucher code" and see what comes up.
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89