Author Topic: 20 Questions with Ian


20 Questions with Ian
« on: April 09, 2024 »
This is the second in apparently a very occasional series.

I've never met Ian, perhaps best known to faithful readers as that Ian. Could you first please confirm that you're not a figment of my imagination? I'm sorry about this, it's just procedure.

that ian, risen again

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Re: 20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2024 »
We may be all figments of each other's imagination, but as far as I understand it, I am indeed that Ian, though I confess some of my more febrile contributions may have been ghostwritten by my surfeited intern, Sophia Langoustine. She is, alas, currently brining olives with Dan Brown in Umbria.

It’s also true that I tutored under Finestre, the Demon of Such Things, and the current CEO of Hell. It’s less of a case of who did she have to kill to get that job, more who she didn’t have to kill. Yes, among the many such things, she is perhaps most famous for the slogan “It’s a HELL of a destination’ back when Hell had to advertise. These days, the demons complain about those damned immigrants, the leveraged buy-out of Heaven by JesusCorp® has taken the shine off a celestial retirement plan. The price of an apartment Styxside would make your eyes water (admittedly so would the smell). Don’t even think about older neighbourhoods like Be'er Shachat or the painfully with it Dress Down Friday unless you’ve got practically a party conference of unlaundered souls to mortgage.

I do share the load of being me with Jess, certainly not the only deceased librarian in South-East London, but definitely the most animated dead librarian in South-East London. She puts in the un in her own personal dead. I don't recommend taking her to a vegetarian restaurant unless you don't like the waiters.  Some good library news for her, at least.


20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2024 »
And we're off. (We may revisit Hell.)

My next question concerns earthly delights. Have you made it through the Kama Sutra? Be as detailed as necessary.

click then ignore
Quote from: the big W
the Kama Sutra is neither exclusively nor predominantly a sex manual on sex positions, but rather was written as a guide to the art of living well, the nature of love, finding a life partner, maintaining one's love life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life.

that ian, still risen

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Re: 20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2024 »
Having been brought up a thoroughly English working-class household – we were so English that we didn’t deign to get indoor plumbing till the early 1980s*, a good five years after the rest of Britain – there was no entertaining a book title written in a language foreign. We were some years away from the debut of the town’s first Indian restaurant and tinned pasta in orange sauce was viewed as being something of an exotic food adventure, a culinary Timbuktu. Adults often wouldn’t take the chance, but this was fine fayre for children, for whom Government Authorities had determined Orange as a vital food group essential for growth and development (even if the main side-effect was bouncing off walls and reflecting any and all attempts at education). There was a lot of consumable orange back then as there was little that couldn’t be breaded and frozen into orange perma-suspension (bless you Clarence Birdseye, disappointingly not a fishily fingered seaman) to be reheated in the oven and served with beans or other orange-coloured tinned produce and a side helping of For Mash Get Smash (made by Martians).

It’s quite possible tomatoes were orange in the late 1970s or they were still adjusting the world’s the colour settings after the grand black-and-white to colour switchover in 1973. Orange food was served with orange drinks that didn’t taste of orange, but who knew what an orange tasted like, which was no one given the effort they took. My gran had a pet orange but it had mummified with the rest of the fruit bowl in the early 1950s (the fruit only existed as a status symbol in rationing times; back then you needed two apples and an orange, now you need a £70k SUV to impress visitors). Actual orange juice was a bonafide restaurant starter (that or prawn marie rose with its lettuce perm and underdeveloped brown bread sideburns). Pretend orange juice was as gritty as the canal but generally had less sewage content (in a nostalgic Proustian fug – or possibly cigarette smoke – we were served this concoction on a boat-el in the recently post-Communisted Prague, and ordered seconds – a wish granted with a stern admix of Slavic admiration and condemnation – the glorious fluorescent sludge left a the bottom of the glasses a testament to our childhood’s place in time and history. There was more to the world than orange though, we did have marrowfat peas, to which a few drops of surely-now-banned green food colourant administered during soaking guaranteed a hue abhorrent to nature. Once a year, my grandfather would eat his garden crop of garden peas, safely silvered in bacon fat to ensure the vitamins didn’t get any ideas.

So yes, the Kama Sutra, not just an exotic title, but an exotic content. Like any child equipped with a basal understanding of that, sanity must be protected with the assumption that one’s parents did not do that. Of course, there’s a certain age when a boy does begin to check the house for sexual contraband. Mine was sadly disappointing, but not a friend of mine, who found a venerable copy of the venereal classic, The Joy of Sex, whose pencil-illustrated, censor-dodging drawings cause a few cricked necks and a subsequent fear that any all parental gathering may have been the gateway for constituted swinging. This friend did have more advanced parents in – it turned out – many ways and whose cache of modernity included one of the first held-held video cameras, an arm-straining behemoth that at video tapes in a format lost to time (if I recall, to play them back, they needed a – of course – Betamax tape adaptor. You will remember that they also had The Joy of Sex. I don’t think he ever recovered from the shock of playing one of those videos and finding out just how much joy The Joy of Sex was bringing to his parents. Oh that indeed.

Back to the censor-dodging drawings, they were supplemented – if I recall – with random pictures of Indian temples, presumably to restrain levels of ardour to suitably 1970 levels. The posing and photography from which the drawings were made was, if I remember the article (and the internet doth confirm) done over two hectic days during strike-related power outages, and in the world before colour was invented, so there were challenges other than legal (the infamous Oz Magazine trial echoed, and let’s face it, Rupert the Bear in an explicitly sexual situation is not a sentence anyone expects to write, never mind see). The British establishment did not react lightly to sexually compromised cartoon bears. They may still be the case. In the conjugal spirit of obscenity, I do share the same starting point as DH Lawrence, infamous deployer of the Last Remaining Swear Word To Threaten America!

Innocence wafted through that era like the smell of boiling cabbage on a Sunday morning, where a boy’s sexual thrills came from glances at catalogue lingerie sections and inadvertently finding a discarded magazine in a hedgerow or a toilet and having to figure out the grandest of plans to (a) surreptitiously obtain the profane literature without beginning to effervesce with guilt and (b) get it into the home without detection. This was your mission, if you were boy of a certain age, and if you chose to accept it, knowing something worse than disavowal awaited upon discovery. Still, I was many years old before I discovered Durex wasn’t a male hair care product (which I don’t feel bad about because why else was it sold in the barbers, eh?). The first adult(ish) movie we were invited to watch (again, liberated by friend, from an errant parent’s collection), well, we all turned up with popcorn and snacks. All probably orange.

*For much the 1970s our heat came from a gas fire (a heavy source of sibling rivalry, not to mention carbon monoxide intoxication) and glowing bowls of Ready Brek (which only started to glow – orange! – in earnest after Chernobyl).


20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2024 »
I have a phobia of Rupert the Bear. It's not something I'm proud of, but it feels good to confess here.

On the subject of orange,

everyone can be a mug!

Brew, la?

what would be your advice to a re-elected President Trump?

ian, ready to knead

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Re: 20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2024 »
I think I’d go with ‘be less orange’, as established, it’s the colour of 70s, a lush burst of everything from saffron to burnt sienna that marked the debut of the colour era. He mostly looks like he’s been wrapped like a Coronation Street confectionary. He may noisily ruckle as he moves, like a badly shrink-wrapped a gorilla (not an art to be practiced to perfection, leave the gorilla alone, but some news for Chompsky).

Not a brag, but I was in St Lucia when he was first elected, in the bar with a bunch of vacationing Americans teetering on the edge of their own holiday resort civil war. I date my Beard of Authority (an ongoing source of epithalamic lament) to that holiday. My facial hair will forever be entangled with the election popularistic gibbon. It had almost reached the age of hirsute maturity as he was inaugarated. I feel this gives us some common ground.

In a nod to The Other Place, the tribal nation of the Yaccaffaffla, I did once muse on the Sunny Delight’s appeal to his voters (as a former resident alien, they never asked for my opinion, taxation without representation only applies to aliens – don’t park in Roswell – and DC), only to find that idle speculation branded me a racist. It’s true I have eaten my lunch several times by the infamous status of Robert Lee in Charlottesville. Less of a pilgrimage, more of a sandwich in the park. Can you catch racism from eating a sandwich next to a monument to the leadership of the south, enquiring minds need to know. Probably wise that the statue of Colston went swimming, Bristol wouldn’t be ready for an epidemic of slavery. I should send thoughts and prayers, I’m sure the publication of the Cass report has caused much distress and searching for suitable Nazi metaphors, alas, unicode lacks formal support for the doppelte Siegrune which would have provided a suitable ending for CaSS. I’m sure they’ll work it out, a Nazi fetish isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life.

So advice for Trump? I’d stick with ‘don’t’.


20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2024 »

Having recently learned all about shape and drape, now I must fit shrink-wrapping into my brain [your link again]. Almost thought I'd clicked into a forum bestiary.

Admin & mods, here to service your every need

As for what sounds like a manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome, my understanding is that this has its roots in Bush Derangement Syndrome as coined by Charles Krauthammer, who may have been a character in Inglorious Basterds. It's more contagious than Covid.

Is there anything you miss about The Other Place?

ian, gently kneaded

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Re: 20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2024 »
Shrinkwrapping brings me to mind of the wrongosaurs of Crystal Palace. Finding an entire colony of somewhat imperfect saurians in a local park otherwise famed for its incendiary conservatory (and my wedding photographs, unrelated) is a delight as are more those occasional Victorian paleontological abbreviations that put the wrong in a concrete saurus. Of course, the ichthyosaurus is not a dinosaur at all, rather – as everyone knows – a large fish. I like the fact that dinosaurs are now widely believed to have been feathered, but before we think them friendly, consider The Terror Birds of South America. I wouldn’t have tried to shrink-wrap one of those. Revenge of the Turkey Twizzlers.

Is there anything I miss about the other place? Interesting question, my internet adventure has been random, and one of the delights of the internet is that you meet people who perhaps you wouldn’t otherwise, which I think is a valuable thing (and one annoyance is then when people start to thought-police that diversity out of existence, for what fun is a life of constant unerring agreement). I was never really a cyclist per se, more the functional and practical variety, so no real interest in cycling for its own sake, so a cycling group wasn’t something I sought out, rather stumbled in and didn’t leave. There were some peak moments and it served as a handy distraction activity and I like writing random things for no particular gain or purpose, but like all groups, it shifted over time, and recent unpleasantnesses made the decision for me. If someone keeps throwing their faeces your way, better not to pick them up to fling them back (even if you are a chimp). It’s a shame I don’t have grandkids because that’s the advice I’d give them and they’d surely be thankful.

It is, of course, a little sad to leave a group you’ve been a contributor to for over a decade, but equally, there’s a sense of liberation when you know it’s no longer the right place for you.

To return to Trump, deranged indeed. The fracturer of the American dream and many other crimes in waiting, I suspect if he wins, the less the advent of new fascism, and more four years of tawdry incompetence and gaudy headlines. He’s the merry opposite of fascism’s brutal corporatist grind. Admittedly, the election looks grim, two old men who ought to know better slugging it out like the monsters suits at the end of a Godzilla movie. Won’t someone think of downtown DC!


20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2024 »
Quote from: ian, gently kneaded
my wedding photographs

If you saw Hill Street Blues, you may remember she used to call him "Pizza man".

Quote from: still ian
There were some peak moments[1]

At the risk of flattery, which can kill a good interview dead, if I could put together a dream forum[2] team, you'd be my first draft pick.[2b]

1. Archived for the benefit of anyone else who has been comprehensively banished (not having your DIY sense) and doesn't wish to download Tor.

2. Forums are for dinosaurs which still walk the earth.

2b. I recently watched Draft Day, Kevin Costner's best performance since The Big Chill.

I'd also pick a number of peeps who probably wouldn't expect to be on my wish list.

And it would sound like music, and the music would sound good

You were expecting maybe a question:
Quote from: Rodney King, more or less
Why can't we all just get along?

ian, kneaded more

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Re: 20 Questions with Ian
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2024 »
I believe I can date my first crush to the delightful Joyce Davenport. Worryingly I note she’s now older than my mother. Well, she was back then too. Joyce or Colonel Wilma from Buck Rogers. I was spoiled for love in the early 80s.

I’ve still not read Inferno, though I do have a paperback somewhere. I like to impress guests with my library. I did plod through the Da Vinci Code but then I’ve also read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover (I was, for my many sins, marooned in a Durango hotel by a snowstorm). I think the Continuing Adventures of Moroni beat Robert Langdon hands down. Sorry Dan. There’s no animosity between us, we’re both terrible writers, and share the same delightfully grumpy intern, the aforementioned Sophia Langoustine. She’d get a real job if it weren’t for her trust fund. Neither of us would find our ways out of Tuscany without her.

Why can’t we all get along? Everyone wants to be right, but sometimes to the exception of ever being wrong, which can too easily become a fundamentalist pursuit. Then the tribalism, perpetually caught in an approval spiral with your peers, so concerned to step out of line that you are forced re-script reality. That often winds into modern ridiculousness online, and probably warheads and bullets in the real worlds. There's a sunk cost. I try to be wrong five times a day. It's not as hard as people think.