Just Five Shadow Puppets

I’m really not entirely sure that there’s any potential way for you to convince me that there is in fact more than five shadow puppets in existence. Sure, if you felt like perpetrating an especially egregious cheat you could cut out fantastical shapes and bathe them in light in order to project wonderful shadows. But that’s utterly out of the spirit of the thing. Obviously, I was referring to that which you can make out of your finger manipulations.

I think we’re all sufficiently adult to admit that the previous statement didn’t come out quite right. However, you still understood the sentiment. Every man and his dog knows how to fashion a canine (couldn’t say dog again now could I? You’d start to doubt my writerly credentials and then we’d all be in a right old mess, it would be a hair’s breath away from anarchy and with the world the way it is right now we simply cannot risk it) in the shadow puppet way.

But after that how many are there really? A bunny, that’s easily identifiable from the ears. It’s from that point onwards that matters get exponentially tricky. Hand digits just aren’t overly bendy and dexterity is key when it comes to this style of invention. You’re giving me a funny look, almost as if you’re doubting my latest batch of evidenceless assertions. Usually that dose of skepticism would be a healthy thing but not when it comes to me and my thoroughly flawless self. 

No, I think you’ll find that when it comes to shadows made by your own fair hands you get to five (at a maximum, I mean, I’ve been so good as to name two and I’m content to bet that you’re struggling to come up with many more that look halfway towards realistic), if that, and be unable to come up with any more whatsoever. And if you do I’ve got a convenient cleaver. Won’t be so smug then, will you?

Song choices courtesy of: Jem and Coco and the Butterfields

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Never Fly Anything Under Your Mountain

Right Martin, you’ve managed to cobble together a phrase that makes some variety of grammatical sense. Now all you need to do is invent an allegorical meaning for it and get offended when people say they don’t understand what you’re going on about. Bear down and you can totally fat dog the hell out of this situation (yeah, we both know that no one’s going to get the reference and if somehow you did then feel free to interrupt my wedding because you’re almost definitely my soul mate).

Everyone has a mountain. For a select few it’s an actual honest to goodness mountain that they’ve been meaning to climb all their lives. Perhaps Everest, maybe Kilimanjaro or simply a nice old fashioned Matterhorn. However, the rest of us have rather more metaphorical mountains. It might be establishing your very own dynasty or securing your legacy by booting someone else off the throne (I’ve been listening to a lot of Game of Thrones podcasts lately, it’s definitely not an addiction but I could tell you far more than you wanted to know about the Blackfyre rebellions).

Some of you might have set your sights higher or indeed lower. The mountains to climb might be the frontiers of space or pushing the current limits of human knowledge. Maybe you just want to outlive someone out of sheer spite (dancing on their grave is optional. Yes, I’ve gone to a bad place. Focusing unduly on the achievements of others can do that to a person. You do you, you definitely just do you).

Whatever the goal is, keep aiming for it. Never give up no matter how much time, money or effort you’ve thrown at the situation, even if you’ve sacrificed every last relationship you have. I believe in you and your fantastical plans for building that ‘What if William the Conqueror had never won 1066?’ theme park.

Song choices courtesy of: Garfunkel and Oates, John Williams, Amber Benson and Of Monsters and Men

Don’t Let Me Take it From Daddy

Oh the various ways in which I could take this (I mean, there’s only really one direction this is leading in. Potentially two but the former is the one that makes my skin crawl down to the fact that a grown man enjoys the fact that his adult daughter refers to him as Daddy. I mean, I doubt that Ivanka actually said that – without shuddering at least – but Trump is more than happy to infantilise his senior White House adviser).

Maybe you felt that my voice was laden with sarcasm and I definitely ought to lay off those who enjoy filial affection. What possible problem could I have with the term daddy? Sure, I pursue a rather more formal relationship with my own father and address him solely as ‘Dr Martin’ (if you were a Martin with a doctorate wouldn’t you firmly stick to the same?) but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, isn’t it adorable when a small child (I started out by saying tiny human but I was concerned that it might be disparaging to dwarves. This political correctness lark is exhausting isn’t it? I’m starting to see what the conservative – with a small c – right is on about, why on earth should I have to modulate what I reckon just because it might upset someone?) reaches out to their daddy for a hug or some variety of affection? What kind of monster are you to demand that a time cut off is instituted?

Because I am in charge of these matters (someone’s got to be and little old terribly decisive me is clearly the perfect candidate for the job), I’m choosing not to listen to your tired and disparaging arguments. Let the daddies reign forth and to hell with smashing the patriarchy, my feet are tired and I’m not in the mood for it.

Song choices courtesy of: Santa Esmeralda, The Weepies and Emeli Sande

Reminds Me of the Inside Strange

Sure, the strange inside would have made a bit more sense (probably not alt that much but at this point you’ve already signed up for my stream of consciousness ramblings so who really knows if you understand any of this nonsense? Anyhow, my rigid clinging to formats that don’t particular matter make me thoroughly endearing) but those weren’t the cards I was dealt. I had a completely different opening for this post when I started but grammatical oddities are always worth commenting on.

Right, plenty of people appear perfectly regular from the outside. Then you get to know them and their inside strange (that’s not even a sexual reference, I’m sure you could have a crack at interpreting it that way if you were so inclined but I wasn’t aiming for perversion).

Sometimes it’s relatively run of the mill irregularity like flights of fancy that wouldn’t necessarily occur to anyone else. More often that some are willing to admit, it’s indicative of something worrisome. This is when you turn to medical aid or therapy rather than quirky (we’ll stick with that euphemism for now) internet blogs that aren’t about anything in particular. But even if they don’t quite gel with everyone else, we ought to celebrate the inside strange – they make you different and therefore more interesting than the sheep who can go so well with the flow. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

What was it that reminded me of the inside strange? Was it the conversation I carried out with the bobble head Darth Vader who lives on my desk? Or the stab of irrational jealousy I felt upon learning of someone’s excellent accomplishment (almost definitely not but it’s generally good for my wellbeing to confess stuff on here where no one will find out about them)? Maybe it wasn’t even my own inside strange (although it’s most certainly in there) and just that of someone I love that delighted me in its absurdity. I suppose you’ll never know.

Song choices courtesy of: Emmy the Great, John Williams and Laura Marling

Join the Canadian Batman

The famous superhero who emulates the way of the bat (because of some plot. It does seem like a largely strange animal to go for given that they’re not exactly known for their vigilante tendencies in the wild. There are plenty of nocturnal predators who might be that much more fitting. I’m not entirely sure that Owlman strikes the precise level of concern in your average Gotham based criminal though) is a highly American presence. Probably. The billionaire alter ego though, that’s a highly US moulded persona. I imagine. I can’t imagine that Richard Branson would get quite the same level of acclaim.

If you accept my shonky introduction to the premise then there are plenty of ways to mix up the formula (I make no secret of the fact that I’m not massively acquainted with the minutiae of the world of comic books and feel no compulsion to remedy that deficiency). The simplest one is to change the nationality but keep most of the components the same. A Canadian Batman would be an entirely different creature, a far cry indeed from the Christopher Nolan iteration of the dubious saviour (I’m not getting involved in the Zack Snyder and am perfectly content with that decision).

Just think about it, he’d still be as growly in order to preserve that tightly protected alternative persona of his but there’d be a far more apologetic tone to his taunting of the various petty criminals and more major league bad guys he has to deal with. I think this is a more wholesome hero we can all get into bed with without experiencing the boredom of affiliating ourselves with eternal goody two shoes Superman (the guy’s a drag and I haven’t even seen the darkly toned new films). Perhaps the way to escape the relentless superhero funk we’ve got into after too many franchise films is to mix things up and join the Canadian Batman. Or just watch Wonder Woman.

Song choices courtesy of: Lucy Spraggan, Weird Al Yankovic and The Piano Guys

Saving Your Gladrags

There’s a dress in my wardrobe. Don’t faint in shock, there’s actually more than one. I’m vaguely capable of dressing in skirts every now and again. Jeans just happen to be the default, I’m a modern liberated woman and that should definitely be celebrated. But back to the dress. I’m almost certainly not going to wear it again any time soon because it’s really pretty fancy and I rarely attend occasions that merit such finery.

It was originally bought over six years ago for the leaving do to celebrate the end of school (including sixth form). Not a prom mind, my school was far too concerned with its own reputation for something as inelegant as an American import. So there was dancing, possibly food, probably drink (I definitely wasn’t remotely wasted, it was just a sufficiently long time ago that I can barely remember it) and we all partied the night and all our scholastic troubles away.

Actually, thinking about it, I did in fact wear it again at the fresher’s ball. But not since because, as I’ve been so keen to impress upon you, I don’t attend a whole lot of high class affairs where it’s incumbent upon you to crack out the ball gowns.

So why hang onto it? Wouldn’t it be a whole lot more practical to donate the gown to a charity shop or simply free up the storage space by leaving it out for the urban foxes (just think how utterly fabulous they’d look all decked out in blue)? But obviously that’s not going to occur. It’ll be the same thing with my wedding dress – I can tell myself that I’ll force a hypothetical daughter to don it one day but it’ll be pure sentimentality. Maybe it’s just that I like to pretend I’ll be attending all the balls one day and so I’ll need to have the appropriate equipment handy.

Song choices courtesy of: Thomas Newman, The Goo Goo Dolls and The Stereophonics

Running From Your Charmingly Bonkers Human

Running? No, of course I wouldn’t be so terribly rude as to obviously run away from your wonderful little soiree. It may well appear that I’m backing away as fast as my inefficient legs will carry me but I assure you that it’s an illusion. Why on earth would anyone feel the need to get the absolute hell away from you and all your assembled acquaintances? They definitely wouldn’t suddenly and powerfully feel an overwhelming fear for their very lives.

I mean, when it comes to this particular gathering there’s your very good self. Clearly, I know you just about well enough to accept an invitation to the party you’ve been so good to throw. There must have been some reason for me to believe that it would be worth my while. I must have had all sorts of exciting alternative plans for filling the time. Like sitting on the sofa, watching films I don’t overly enjoy and looking up their trivia on IMDB (literally never done that…).

But, naturally, that’s not even the beginning of the situation. There’s your perfectly lovely spouse slash significant other slash blow up doll we’re patiently pretending has sentience. And what kind of party would it be without it being blessed by the presence of your mother? It’s so good of you to have made sure that she was in attendance even in spite of that pesky dying of a heart attack last month.

Which brings us to that chamingly bonkers human you brought into the world. You’ve raised them to be a free spirit and that. It’s definitely highly admirable and the reason I’m fleeing the room as fast as possible is because I want to alert the media as to the existence of your first class parenting skills. It might just take them a little while to get in contact that’s all. Lovely to meet you all of course.

Song choices courtesy of: Bowling for Soup, Jay Gruska and Peter Robinson, Dizzee Rascal, and The Killers