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I had a dream April 24, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

Or I might have been awake, actually. Lying in bed. Tossing and turning. Envying my utterly somniac other half. And then it came to me in a flash.

I think it’s the lovely Ben wot started it with his mentioning of a dystopian time to come. And then I was awash in nightmare visions (though I can’t see very well in the dark), imagining a hellish future with strict social stratification, where the haves and have-nots were further apart than ever but all with a twist. There was still a place for a social justice of sorts. But once you’d been categorised, by the social fashion police that will be, you were there for ever. Not even a pretence of a glass ceiling. No, a rock-hard, reinforced, ten-metre-thick concrete ceiling without even a spy-hole to peep through to see how the other strata live.

Of course I was right at the bottom of the pile, shuffling to get comfortable with all the other undesirables.

But why should I have been there especially? I mean, was I not as deserving of a place at the top, or at least not at the bottom, as whichever types it was frothing around up there? But, remember, this social-justice-of-sorts had no moral angle. I could think I’d been as good as the next man as much as I liked. It didn’t matter a fig if I’d helped little old ladies across the road, tipped generously, watered my local tree in a drought, put in my tax declarations on time. No. I’d been declared a loser. I’d be at the bottom. Swimming in the opprobrium heaped upon me by the winners above.

And don’t you get all smug thinking you’ll be one of the finger-pointers. You’re all coming with me. In my nightmare world, bloggers will be the lowest of the low.

Which isn’t much good, is it? But I know what got this started as I lay envying my somniac other half. Yes, Ben a bit. But also that wicked combination of random thoughts flying round your head and two utterly incongruous – I hope – images naughtily settling alongside each other for a second in a neurone traffic-jam and daring to fuse and make an idea. I mentally projected my brainwork onto the wall for a minute. It wasn’t pretty. All sorts of nonsense was rushing around. (I reminded myself how much I LOATHE Dali.) (Wanker.) There was an undone tax declaration taking a piggy-back from a topless Russian soldier. An outsized cup of green tea wearing jack-boots was trampling on every bottle of red wine in the world. A snore with a huge nose was giggling at a tosser-&-turner. Guilt personified, with a tattoo reading ‘conscience’ emblazoned across every centimetre of visible flesh, chased fleeing hordes. German grammar tables sat gathering dust in an unkempt corner. Creditors with visibly empty wallets begged for food. I walked past them into a restaurant serving deep-fried decadence. But the most pernicious vision of all snuck up just as the projector was about to switch itself off thanks to a well-timed neuronal power-cut. A blogger sat tapping away at his computer. Casually, a group of Cyrillic letters sidled up with Slavic swagger. The Б was the leader. They made no sense. But then arranged themsleves mercilessly. Б-О-Т-А-Н-И-К. The Б planted flowers round the blogger. The blogger threw them aside but he was no match for the Н and К, whose spindly, thorny limbs had them back in place in no time until the blogger’s blogging window was just the same Cyrillic letters over and over again. B-O-T-A-N-I-K. Botanist. Russian for nerd.

The shock of it. In all likelihood, I tossed and turned a bit further till it got light, the cock crowed and I could get on with living in my daytime fantasy world where bloggers are cool, where we are the future, a future where we won’t be laughed and pointed at by accountants, mass-murderers and pop-stars.

But, darlings, we’re not mega-nerds, are we? I’ve been shaken to my blogging core.



1. Ben - April 24, 2007

Not to out myself by responding to your trackback ping (nerd alarm! nerd alarm!) but I would like to think that one can be cool and nerdy at the same time — especially in this golden age of stupid, knowledge is in fact a kind of power. Coolness itself, is an innate sort knowledge, the kind, like Louis Armstrong said about jazz: if you have to ask about it then you’ll never know. Nerdiness, on the other hand, comes from the kind of dedicated knowledge-seeking that can put social activities at risk but has its own rewards, hence the cyberspace-meatspace trade-off. I assume (I hope) the two things (cool vs nerd) are not necessarily mutually exclusive. But, then again, I don’t harbor any hope of inheriting the world, Bill Gates or not. And, like the demons that probably taunt Quentin Tarantino at night, the two will can either battle or complement. Kind of like a yin-yang, now that I think about it. Hmmm.

And I have to ask: when you saw that vision on your wall were you, like, ‘on’ something? Something exactly like that happened to me the first time I smoked pot. Talk about having a flashback. Jeez.

2. pleite - April 24, 2007

Ben, between you and me, you are the person who taught me what a ping was. I think I got a ping from you once and I was so excited, in a wonderfully nerdy way, that I had to go and put on my Harry Potter suit. We must wear our nerdiness with pride! Anyway, I like nerds a lot, but the one problem with them – in England, at least – is that they have to drink really ludicrously disgusting types of beer and then form a society to defend it and then go and stage mediaeval battles. That’s dreary. But otherwise, nerds are good. (Unless it gets over scientific. I’d have to go and seek out a cool type if anyone ever wanted to talk about something quantum. Mind you, I actually knew a sort of cool nerd in the UK once. He’d been so cool that he was in prison, where he became a nerd, which made him good company, but he’d try to get me chatting about mathematics, and quantum something or other. Chatting! About maths! Or quantum-something-or-other!)

I’ve slightly given up the pot-ghost. No, completely given it up. It never had any effect on me (that I noticed) bar raging, having-to-run-away-from-your-own-home-barefoot -when-you-are-meant-to-be-being-a-host paranoia. So pot and I don’t get on. Though, oddly, someone did offer me some very recently, disguised as a cigarette and I happily puffed away until I realised but we didn’t get to the running-away stage. Thankfully. And I’m such a fan of ordinary smoking that I think the experience is basically unimprovable. I don’t yet hallucinate from booze but I’m looking forward to the day that strikes. If that strikes. It might be terrifying, actually.

3. liukchik - April 24, 2007

Ich bin ein nerd, but I only drink bottled Central European beer and Guinness. Loathe dope. Never hallucinated with alcohol. Or with cigarettes. Banoffee pie does have that effect on me, though…

4. pleite - April 24, 2007

Lukeski, dearest, I’ve read about someone else and that pie today. Is it in season? I’m not working. I should be working, quite nerdily, but I don’t feel very cool at not working. In fact, I feel pukily sick with worry about not working. No, that’s a lie. I feel gloomy about not working. Not as gloomy as I’d feel if I was working, but this gloom has guilt attached.

Didn’t you used to be a bit of a dope-man, if that’s not casting stones? Or have I invented that? And I’m glad you haven’t moved onto Speckled Hen, or whatever one of those nerdy beers is called. Anyway, you’re not a nerd. Nerds are forbidden by law from liking reggae. Forbidden.

5. liukchik - April 24, 2007

Nope – dabbled, but it does nothing for me. Beer is my drug of choice. No, there are masses of us reggae nerds obsessed by matrix numbers, obscure cuts of tunes, old sound systems, etc. I am a maven. It must be bliss not working – I have just booked a week in a cottage on the cliffs in County Clare as a break… But self-employment does fill you with dread, whereas I can just lay around on my day(s) off.

6. pleite - April 24, 2007

It’s bliss not working on post-deadline days. When a piece is on the go, and you’re behind schedule, not working is very naughty indeed. Though I think working, like drinking, should, ideally, only be practised on alternate days. Which makes for a three-and-a-half-day week, which is more than enough, nicht wahr?

Not alone in the cottage, I hope? (And you don’t mean a public loo, do you? That would be a worrying development.)

7. liukchik - April 24, 2007

No, on both counts – look up ‘Loop Head’ in Google and you will get a sense. Or just watch Father Ted.

8. pleite - April 24, 2007

Thank heavens (on both counts). Looks like it should be good for bracing, blustery walks. A tad like the Normandy (or was it Brittany?) coast at first glance to me. That was good both for bracingness and little abandoned churches. Don’t suppose any churches will be abandoned in Ireland though.

9. liukchik - April 24, 2007

Nope, they even have a relic. And monasteries on the outlying islands built to celebrate St Senan banishing a sea serpent. Clare County Library has the most amazing website.

10. pleite - April 25, 2007

Oh gosh, rugged coast and little islands. That sounds fucking heaven. We’ll be talking about coracles again in a minute. There’s some monastery on a Scottish island I want to join – blogged already somewhere, natch – but I just have to get round to discovering god first. And what would I do with the Russian?

…and if god wants me to believe in him, I think it’s about time he did a miracle for me. I’m 36, after all. It’s time. God, I beseech you just to do this one translation for me. Oh go on. It’s only 24 pages, and wouldn’t take you long. (I’ll let you know if he answers.)

11. Blonde at Heart - April 25, 2007

Considering the fact that I read this while chatting over MSN Messenger about Cromwell and British history, I guess I can also be dubbed “nerd”.

B—-y scary dream. I would consider pills. Or therapy. Or brandy before sleep. Whatever you consider effective.

12. marshaklein - April 25, 2007

What a fabulous post!! I aspire to writing things like this. Coincidentally, you (or, at least, the blogosphere version of you)featured in a dream of mine recently, with this fellow http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/b/blackbooks_66600660.shtml (still can’t do proper links). Now before you go off in the huff, I feel I should point out that the Klein family loves this programme, regularly watches it on DVD and has a great affection for its characters. So, being likened to Bernard Black (for it was he) is a compliment. Anyway, you and he were a composite. I can’t remember anything about the dream though, so can’t blog about it. Bugger.

If bloggers/internet addicts are nerds, then every teenager of my aquaintance is a nerd and that can’t be right because everyone knows that teenagers are the COOLEST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET!
The geeks shall inherit the Earth!

13. pleite - April 25, 2007

Marsha, I don’t know that show, though I like the sound of it. But I’ve seen the other one of the actors – the long-haired one – when he used to do stand-up at some pub in Islington. I was quite a regular at one point, and he and Harry Hill both did their thang there. Harry Hill was very good. And quite a dish… Oh gosh, so I’m a teenager again, perhaps. I’m glad ‘teenager’ didn’t shuffle up against a blogger in my dream/hallucination/projection. That would have been more disturbing than ‘nerd’. But, anyway, as you say, yes, geeks shall inherit the earth. Hurrah for geeks. (Have I ever mentioned the time we had teenage guests who did NOTHING but play with their mobiles/the internet the WHOLE TIME they were here? I asked one of them to turn her phone off when we went to the cinema but she just scowled, turned off the sound, and carried on texting.)

BaH, excellent nerdery! Well done! I don’t wear glasses, which is a problem for the complete nerd, but I can hope for a bit of myopia in the future. I once PRETENDED I needed glasses so I could wear little, round, John-Lennon ones but I didn’t know folk would constantly ask to try your glasses on so they instantly realised I was lying. Anyway, booze before bedtime is good. I don’t do it intentionally. I mean, I don’t take a quick shot of whisky before hitting the sack. But if I happen to go to bed tiddly, which happens very rarely, you understand, I sleep like a log and dream of nothing.

14. Mangonel - April 25, 2007

That Martin Luther King didn’t know from nuthin’ . . .

15. bowleserised - April 26, 2007

I think nerdiness became cool/a lifestyle choice at exactly the moment that the first computing multi-millionaires emerged. But then I’m a cynic like that.

16. Daggo - April 26, 2007

But what do computer multi-millionaire nerds do with all their money? Have very sophisticated entryphones and cameras fitted everywhere, like Bill Gates, to keep out unwanted visitors? Hang on, that’d be a very good idea at this very moment.

17. Ben - April 26, 2007

Black Books is brilliant (1st season especially). You’d love it. All 18 episodes are online here. Sorry if that hurts your productivity quotient for today. :-)

18. pleite - April 27, 2007

Ben, what a brilliant site. I plan to watch all the episodes of Blackadder. Remember B. and I told you about Louis Theroux? Well, he’s on there too. Happy watching.

Daggo, we’ve been meant to write to Bill and Melinda for ages to get our NGO off the ground. But I’m happy to sacrifice irrigating the third world and preventing desertification. Get him to wire up your flat with the latest in booby-traps. Presumably, Bill spends the rest of his dosh on ebay.

B., so Bill is secretly a fashion-god? I don’t think I’ve actually seen him for years. Has he become flamboyant, or is there still more than a generous touch of the Harry Potter about him?

Mango, he’s well been givin’ me the evils. And I hadn’t even done nuthin’ or nuthin’, ‘cos I weren’t like even born. So he can well shut up. (I must watch that show one day. It’s all hearsay for me so far, and a bit of youtube. Thanks to Ben’s link, I now can.)

19. Daggi-NG-o - April 27, 2007

I thought our NGO was all about bringing us as much money as possible, for as little effort as possible.

I was on a bus earlier, where a load of suits (male and female) got on – and how disgusted everyone looked – all fare dodging, all wearing A5-sized dog-tags claiming they were all “Minister of Foreign Affairs” of various countries (USA, Britain, France, Russia, Germany as a rule). I doubted this was actually the case, as if you’re called “Alan Smytheison-Smythe”, it’s unlikely that you’re even the under-under-under-secretary to whoever’s got Joschka Fischer’s old job, i.e. not really German.

They seemed to all be part of a role-playing game sponsored by Daimler-Chrysler, mobile phone company BASE, the Deutsche Bahn and probably the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, turning them into the career politicians of tomorrow. Though they won’t be much good if they spend the entire bus journey complaining that they have to get up oh-so-early and start their game at 8.30am, while also complaining that the 1st of May is “wasted time”, as “it’s some kind of public holiday”.

Anyway, it was interesting to watch the suits, in a way. Instead of showing their individualism by wearing stripey ties or somesuch, it was all about having snazzy lap-top cases, or fileholders (a kind of handbag-cum-briefcase thing that might be all the rage in Italy) made out of green and red foam. The women differed through the height of their high heels, or the height of their hair. None of this applied to the genuinely German participants, who are well ahead in their game and were wearing jeans and t-shirts and looking pretty slovenly, i.e. like everyone else.

And how did I get on to this? Ah yes, they were possibly in Berlin to found some NGO. You get more money from the EU if you get people from all over the place. I must watch that film on fraudsters that’s just been released. One of them claims he’s one of Joschka’s mates. I bet his name’s not Smythieson-Smythe though.

20. pleite - April 28, 2007

The politicians of tomorrow fahren schwarz (or is that verb untrennbar)? Or they’re probably exempt. Like all those EU bureaucrats in Brussels who claim to be living away from home and so don’t pay tax and get extra money for having to cope with Brussels. (Mind you, richly deserved. Brussels is one of the nastiest places on earth, even if it has got beautiful bits.)

Leon was in on our embezzling NGO, so we’ve got the UK and Germany covered. Mind you, as the only takers in Germany are me, you and B., we’re not that international. We have to get some real German thieves on (the) board.

Have I blogged before – I’d be amazed if I hadn’t – about a pal of mine who founded some octet where all the musicians were from a different European country? Full of idealism, they were. Naturally, they all detested each other.

21. Beaman - April 29, 2007

Hello Bib! Yes, I felt the earthquake. It woke me up with quite a jump. I have some scaffolding around part of my house at the moment, I thought at first that was falling down. Anyway, the house is fine and no sign of much damage elsewhere. I finished writing a poem about it, which I’ve posted just. :)

22. pleite - April 29, 2007

Glad you’re unscathed, Beaman old boy, and gladder still you’ve written about it. Earthquakes in England though! I thought we left that sort of thing to foreign parts. You know, like France. And Belgium.

23. MountPenguin - April 29, 2007

Earthquake? What earthquake. (Tap tap tap). Oh, you call that an earthquake? (Though I must say I keep having to convince Mrs. Penguin that Europe does have the odd earthquake too, although Berlin is pretty much free of them).

24. pleite - April 29, 2007

Penguin, yes, I don’t suppose there’s much we can teach the Japanese about earthquakes. Mind you, the UK’s a right little hotbed of tornado activity, apparently. Though I might have made that up, on second thoughts. Sorry, I’m ‘in the (translating) zone’ so my brain may be playing addled tricks on me.

25. MountPenguin - April 29, 2007

Tornados? So that’s where the Bundeswehr has been sending them. Reenacting the Battle of Britain on the sly, eh? I bet the Batley Townswomen’s Guild will be up in arms about this.

26. pleite - May 1, 2007

Penguin, it must be a case of life imitating blog, but I saw a very WWII(-film)-looking motorbike with sidecar with, oddly, that Luftwaffe black cross insignia here just yesterday. Or is that cross just a general military one? I’m sure you know the one I mean. I didn’t realise till I moved here that it was still the cross of choice, or, indeed, that the Luftwaffe was still called the Luftwaffe, and that neither the cross nor the word Luftwaffe had any nasty connotations. (They would still for Brits, of course.) (Don’t know about for Russians. I think they fetishise WWII in other ways.)

27. MountPenguin - May 2, 2007

I think the one they use now is called the Eisernes Cross, a form of Tatzenkreuz,
which is somewhat different to (or possibly a variation of) the “Balkenkreuz” used up until 1945. Both have their origins in Prussia and don’t have any direct nasty (or Nazi) connotations, though I suppose most British people associate them with WWII.

(As it happens I spent an hour or two at the weekend poking around the Technikmuseum’s newish collection of aircraft, which seems largely to consist of WWII German planes salvaged from post-Soviet swamps).

28. pleite - May 2, 2007

Oh, it looked most like a Balkenkreuz, unless my mind’s eye is deceiving me, which it might easily be. What a shame I didn’t see the owner get on and ride away. Presumably he’d have had nice big Biggles goggles – did Biggles have goggles? – and a nice lady with flowing hair and flowing skirts to adorn the sidecar. I might have asked them for a cigarette and said, “This war… bally awful business.”

29. Blonde at Heart - May 3, 2007

Where are you? I miss your posts.

30. Arabella - May 3, 2007

I can’t stop thinking about the laughing nose. You need to have a different dream. Please.

31. pleite - May 3, 2007

BaH, terrible blog-block. I don’t have an imagination and nothing has happened and I don’t have views about anything. I wish I could be clever and write something fascinating about the televised debate between Ségo and Sarko, for example, but we started watching that yesterday and got bored after ten seconds and switched over to Super Nanny. Oh dear. I’m waiting for inspiration to hit any minute now.

Arabella, I mustn’t allow myself to free-associate here, but I had such a terrifying dream yesterday. I was in Munich (where I’ve never been), but I think it was in the States, and the police started wandering around with loud-hailers telling us off to get off the streets and close our windows as a nuclear strike was only 16 seconds away. But there was no explosion, but you could feel the rippling, nasty, nuclear waves. And then I was naked in a sauna, and someone asked what I wasn’t doing in Berlin. I don’t think I should blog about it in any greater detail. I did just ask the Russian what I should blog about, and he said, “Willies and fannies,” but that could make for an unbalanced post… By the way, have you read Gogol’s “The Nose”? A gent loses his and the nose has a life of its own and is altogether more successful and impressive than when it was attached to whomever it was. Quite a read.

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