Graham Higgins Illustration - Literate Graffiti Dept.


January 28, 2016

25-1-16 Grit the teeth and start to type

Let me start with a special Thank You to Steve Pugh and Steve Fullerton whom I met at a comix event last year. As ever, to be in their company was as much a pleasure as a rarity. We have that kind of friendship that happens when temperamental introverts collide;’ we natter and shrug and laugh a lot and the conversation picks up as if it had been abandoned about an hour ago and we share experiences of the y’know, not much, that’s happened since last time. There’s no pressure to do any of that Hail Fellow, Well Met hearty blokeish banter, which is just fine by me. It feels as though we’ve each been dislodged from our habitual solitudes, blinking in the tumult of other people hurling themselves into a social mosh-pit.
Yesterday evening I accidentally hit the WordPress icon and there on screen was my passive-aggressive spit about wall-to-wall Sports Commentators across mediaspace, all fired with intense enthusiasm about World Cup Qualifiers and the conviction that I care.
I was reminded of Sarah Millican’s line about her interest in blanket Grand Prix coverage: those machines are built to such fine-tuned standards that from the starting-grid they can go from 0-120mph before she can grab the TV remote buttons.

Meantime I’d actually forgotten where to find which part of the bloggy bit gave me access to the Inspection Hatch where drafts are stored for last-minute changes of mind and grammatical tidy-ups in readiness for that portentous command: Publish.
There in the Drafts-loft was this short paragraph (19-8-15) eloquent enough to persuade myself to Save As and go and find something more useful to do:-

OK. The story is that four people in the past couple of months have asked what happened with The Blog? Clearly the answer is: nothing. It was nice to have a go at writing but it’s a real plus if you have something to say.

This out-of-the-way corner of cyberspace has always been a place for me to mull over inconsequential curios as a way of working out for myself whatever it is I think about them. This explains the arcing diversions that happen before my very eyes, with no discernible Reading Public to apologise to. Here comes one…
I read a fascinating article a few years ago about the growing incidence of depression, or a kind of meta-Aspergers, that shadowed the spread of cosmetic Botox treatment to achieve that lip-glossed bouncy-castle pout. Done reasonably well it’s as acceptably grotesque as any other fashion statement (Oh yes, we must call such elaborate tokens of conformity ‘statements’) but in order to have these eye-catching labia you have to accept a loss of nuance in facial repertoire. And why is this any reason for despondency?
It’s down to The Autonomic Matrix, oh yes, the network of nerve-hits feeding back mostly subliminally to the rolling newsdesk in the brain that keeps us informed about how we’re doing right now. What, for instance is the visceral cue so subtle and urgent that with our highly-evolved language processing capacity we can communicate to fellow hominid bipeds that “Phwoarh! I’m bloody parched; I gotta get me something to drink.” And having forethought and strategic planning abilities we find our way to the wadi and drink. We can all recognise the unique wave of satisfaction that follows the first chug of a long-anticipated drink. Since I no longer self-medicate with alcohol, the satisfaction-effect is very much the same if I get a hankering for a good belt of Dandelion&Burdock; Cream Soda; Mango juice; Supermalt… whatever it is that becomes the target object.
So you start to glug, and at some point you know you’ve had ‘enough’; the tank-indicator shows “Full”.
Back to Botox; our language is structured so that we express the order of events as “I was so happy, I grinned this wide”, almost as if we made a decision to smile. OK, the ability to winch up the smile-muscles is a social skill we can learn, but in normal circumstances the happiness-sensation is very close to some facet of surprise. You find yourself smiling and the autonomic reflex lets your brain know ‘Say what? I must be happy!’
If you’ve opted for that cosmetically induced moue, those signals are muted, which is why surgically glamourised subjects – who in any case are a self-selecting variety of narcissists – are prone to post-op dysphoria, a clinical way of saying “Just, you know, wossname: fed up.”

OK Steve and Steve, this isn’t what I set out to write but for the first time in ages I’ve written something, so thank you for that genial boot up the arse. I’ll return to the intended topic once I’ve loaded the WordPress hopper and dumped this on-line.

  1. Ah yes, that compulsory heartfelt smile on the face of the person ringing you up to say they’re so pleased to see you’ve restarted GHI after such a long hiatus, and by the way, can they interest you helping you claim in the money you are owed due to bank mismanagement, wobbly pavingstones or a noisy workplace. It’s done because it works – makes you feel more liked, makes them feel less discouraged by the hang-ups of their job. Your botoxed beauty is probably never going to make it as Employee of the Week at Pesterphone Ltd’s flagship call centre.

    Comment by Sue Jones — January 29, 2016 @ 9:28 am

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