Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Brat Droppings

There's been very little to disturb my existential ennui since I last posted, and I've been quite content to patrol my substantial territories, chase and catch mice, rats, politicians and other kinds of vermin. Life rolls on here in Dark Ages Streonaeshalh, and the human population are - as ever - captivated by the footballing prowess of Madcaster Untied, not to mention the assorted ramblings and scare stories about Viking fanatics and noxious poxes and plagues from the soothsayers, most especially Beeby See, who's regarded with a touchingly misplaced veneration by the majority of the Northumbrian Saxons. One of Beeby See's favourites at the moment is a shambolic character who answers to the name of Ruswald the Brat. The aforesaid has been promoted by the aforementioned soothsayer to an embarrassing degree, and he's been wheeled on at every available opportunity to pass on the Delphic oracles that drool gracelessly from his loosely flapping chops.

Ruswald the Brat – a professional imbecile aged fifteen – has made a great deal of his fortune by appearing in public and pretending to be a court jester. His notoriety comes from his ability to insult, offend and poke fun at various groups of people, and to write books that buyers pretend to have read for fear of not appearing hip, cool and trendy.

Ruswald the Brat is a man of unfathomable profundity whose vacuousness threatens to swallow him entire; his impressive mastery of the Anglo-Saxon language is only equalled by his inability to understand the individual words he uses - along with the meaning of those phrases randomly strung together like beads from them. Nevertheless, this hasn't failed to impress Beeby See, and such erudition (or whatever passes for it) has also endeared him to scores of window-licking admirers who desire to emulate him.

The Brat's popularity with Beeby See owes to the fact that he isn't averse to airing his abundant ignorance on matters political, and since his blurred thought processes are the result of the consumption of industrial quantities on Magic Mushrooms over the greatest part of his life, his sayings find a certain resonance with some Redistributionists. He's even urged the Northumbrian population not to vote, this being for the alleged reason that all of the political factions are owned by the same cartel of greedy merchants, thus rendering the political process pointless. To add to his impressive list of achievements, he's also criticised the Tree/Liberationist Administration for its imposition of the so-called Pantry Tax – a charge for those tenants of hovels and A-frame houses who use the spare room as a food store rather than a bedroom for a needy mendicant. His fulminations against those who take measures to preserve their fortunes from the clutches of the Northumbrian Exchequer have also carved him a place in the diseased hearts of the Redistributionists as a Champion of the Poor.

When challenged by a soothsayer's lackey about his own sumptuous residence – which he's rented in order to avoid paying taxes on his substantial fortunes – the poor Champion of the Poor has resorted to choicest Anglo-Saxon Anglo-Saxon turns of phrase against the hapless questioner, followed by the swift projection of horse manure.

The sophistication of his arguments is manifesting itself; your Cat predicts that a life of obscurity awaits him...

Monday, 10 November 2014

Who Wants To Be A Milliner?

Ever since the Redistributionist Faction assigned me the task of coaching Edweird the Milliner to improve his standing in the political life of the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria (didn't I tell you about that? – I thought I had…), I've noticed some considerable improvements in his standing before the electorate, and I'm certainly pleased with the outcome so far. Please pardon my modesty.

Naturally, it comes as a complete mystery to me as to why the Redistributionists should elect to choose a common-or-garden moggy to groom their Great Leader for stardom and greatness; perhaps it's because I'm endowed with a measure of astuteness and impartiality that evades the stock-in-trade human contenders for the post. Needless to say, the rewards from my work are lavish, since they've been redistributed from the Northumbrian public purse into their treasure-chests. If Dover sole, smoked salmon and caviar are good enough for a Redistributionist politico and a trade guild baron, they're certainly good enough for me!

One fundamental priority I've implemented is to seriously attempt to make Edweird the Milliner look vaguely human and sane when under the public eye. This has been a severely difficult task for me to achieve, but in our daily coaching sessions (one hour, full fish expenses paid) I've managed to accomplish a breakthrough; Eddy Boy now knows how to pull the correct face when presented with a hedgehog pie, and also how to appear when he starts to attempt to eat it.

Part of the syllabus I've set for Eddie is also eye and mouth training. This has also been something of an upward struggle, since these two features of his physiognomy have habitually struggled in mortal combat with each other on the arena of his face. One mark of the improvement that my training has managed to accomplish is that now, his eyes roll inwards while his mouth is closed, and conversely, his mouth contorts into its customarily peculiar shapes while his eyes look ahead. This is by no means the fulfillment of my training sessions, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Such is the measure of my success thus far that already Eddy Boy's popularity has already soared in the esteem of the electorate, and among his colleagues, only a few thousand voices are now raised in dissent and in favour of a replacement Chieftain. He is being groomed to be the next Principal Minister!

All that remains on my list of outstanding objectives is to teach him how to not call for an independent public enquiry every five seconds. Now that's a tough call, if ever there was one…

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Revolt Of The Water Fairies

To break the torpor which has overcome this Cat has been one serious challenge. For weeks now, I've been so occupied with the maintaining of my kingdom - fending off pretenders to my throne, administering a salutary thick (or torn) ear where necessary - along with cleaning its precincts of mice, rats, politicians and various other species of vermin. Such activities have been sufficient to occupy my paws, claws, teeth and intellectual powers. While the soothsayers have regaled me with tales of woe about the Great Wibbler Plague - which reputedly attacks the fragile constitutions of human beings and renders their brains into a gel-like mush while transmuting them into gibbering clones of Edweird the Milliner and Dagwald Caedmeron -  I've chosen to turn my ears and eyes into a more parochial direction.

Nevertheless, I've been re-animated by the excited reports from Beeby See and other soothsayers about the forthcoming collective action announced by the Water Fairies in response to the harsh strictures imposed upon them by the Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration.

For the sake of my uneducated readers, the Water Fairies are a mythical species of human being who live under rules, terms and conditions of their own. In a parallel universe, to put it another way. Their function is to sit together in communes, play cards and tell jokes among themselves until their daily responsibilities are fulfilled, and then to go home, once they've been succeeded by the next shift. Occasionally they are called to drop their cards and suspend their stories in order to dash elsewhere to administer water to house fires, thus extinguishing them to the relief of the hapless householders. For thousands of years this comfortable arrangement has existed, and the Water Fairies have happily drawn their wages and their old-age stipends from the public purse.

Other services however have been less favoured, and have been customarily obliged to spend their working days dashing to and from in the interests of public health or civil order. Naturally those transporters of the Sick and Ailing to the witch doctors of the Northumbrian Herbalist Service have been resentful of their water-bearing peers, and have failed to understand why they should enjoy such lavish benefits while they have to endure all manner of woes in the routine execution of their duties.

The forthcoming weeks are going to prove to be quite interesting while the Water Fairies play cards and tell jokes to each other outside their communes around their braziers. Their day isn't going to be vastly different from the one they spend in harness. Their replacements in the case of emergency are yet to be selected...

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Invisible Friends and Fiends

The Redistributionist Faction's Annual Unfortunates' Outing And Picnic is now over, and your Cat is eagerly awaiting the Liberationist and Tree events. What's for lunch?

One clear message that sounded loud and clear from the Redistributionist jamboree was the New Discovery that Edweird the Milliner - the Principal Fruitcake of the aforesaid faction - has hidden influences who inform his daily decisions. In his twelve-hour oration to the enraptured assembly of acolytes, dust-mites, stalactites and stalagmites, he referred to a blessed encounter with a friendly character answering to the name of Gariff. It would seem that Gariff has been having a hard time of things lately, and Eddy Boy has promised to muster the considerable forces at his disposal to make his life better - under the precondition that he votes for the Redistributionists at the next Great Count. Which is nice. Sadly though, not one Redistributionist actually knows who this Gariff is, since no one has ever claimed to have seen him. Your Cat loves mysteries!

I decided to do some research of my own, and during the course of my enquiries I discovered that Eddy Boy has been chewing a particularly potent species of mushroom: his own exclusive stock. This solves the mystery and explains why Eddy's marathon oration omitted the small matter of the Great Northumbrian Deficit (which was left as a parting gift by his own faction when they presided over the Kingdom of Northumbria's decline under the wise and sane counsel of the jovial and monocular Guffmund the Brown). And since the Dear Leader hasn't mentioned the Deficit, it follows that his henchmen and adoring sycophants and elephants haven't mentioned it either: it's a persona non grata. It simply doesn't enter the Great Conversation because it doesn't figure in the Great Narrative. In short, it simply doesn't exist.

Edweird the Milliner has a great future eluding him. Prepare for government, cupcakes. And don't forget the mushrooms...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Fascinating Rhythm

Following the shocking abdication of the Caledonian Queen Angus McTrout, your Cat has been interested to a subatomic degree by astounding new developments in the politics of the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria

Since it was recently decided by the Caledonian public that the fantasy of self-determination and separation from Northumbria proposed by the retired monarch was a prospect dogged by potential disaster, distress, deprivation, depravity, desolation and biscuit, Dagwald Caedmeron - the Principal Demagogue of the Tree Faction and Archdeacon of the Tree/Liberationist Alliance administration - has promised to grant the Picts and Scots a greater degree of freedom. This will enable them to mind their own affairs in the wild, wet and wintry wastelands of the North. Inevitably, this involves the principle that Northumbrians should henceforth solely have their own representatives in the Witangemot, taking decisions which affect Northumbria - and that existing Caledonian politicos representing their own kinsmen should be banished to their own homeland, where they can inflict their peculiar band of misery upon their own compatriots.

This is a matter upon which the Tree Faction is roundly agreed - and this augurs no great sacrifice for them, since none of their number would ever dare to be found in any constituency north of the River Tweed. However, the Redistributionists - whose inviolable Creed includes the holy dogma of Equality and Fairness for all those who are deluded enough to agree with them - stand to lose the prospect of future electoral success in the next Northumbrian Great Count: not an insignificant number of the mushroom-chewers represent Caledonian parishes. Understandably their Princess, Edweird the Milliner, is deeply unhappy about this prospect, since it obliges him and his motley cabal of acolytes to resort to violent armed struggle in order to gain power and win the hearts and minds of their detractors. 

Once again, it's that time in the cycle of the year where the various factions of the Realm converge on a hapless location so that they can indulge themselves in an annual orgy of rhetoric, rat's whiskers and rhubarb in their respective Annual Unfortunates' Outings and Picnics. Much mead, ale and finest Frankish wine are consumed - along, of course, with industrial quantities of magic mushrooms - an ingredient essential for the business of such political posturing. The Redistributionists have already started theirs, and the smell of beansprouts, boiled cabbage and dog breath - along with the sound of bongoes - already saturates the air around them to a radius of about fifteen thousand miles. Edweird the Spheres - the mendacious and fantasy-fuelled Treasurer of the Shadow - has outlined his fifteen thousand-year-plan for the economy of the Kingdom. More ingenious ways and means have been devised under the influence of the sacred fungus in order to further impoverish and punish the working Northumbrian and to reward the industriously idle.

Like the fine ales, meads and wines, the fantasies continue to flow in measures which are inversely proportional to your Cat's fast waning fascination…

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Getting Unknotted

For some considerable time now the soothsayers have been in an exalted state of excitement concerning the imminent Wee Votie north of the Northumbrian border, which will determine whether or not the Caledonians will run themselves as an independent kingdom, thus disconnecting the close ties which hitherto have bound the kingdoms together.

There have been debates between politicos of rival factions; the chief protagonist on the side of independent-minded Picts has been their spiritual leader, the well-fed and immensely self-satisfied Angus McTrout. With a smugness trespassing the borders of severely delusional self-confidence, the Wee Chiefie has capably dismissed the contrary arguments with a majestic sweep of his overloaded and quasi-poetic rhetoric. Invoking the memories of a past which - if truth be told - never had the misfortune to happen, he appealed to a Golden Age of Caledonian supremacy, poets, kings, glorious battles, Pyrrhic victories, free oats, uisge beatha gently trickling in torrents through the burns and braes of the Sacred Land, along with other word-paintings of similar nonsense. Your Cat should point out that such tales owe more to the vast consumption of magic mushrooms, washed down by the aforesaid distillation.

The primary rivals and defenders of the existing arrangement in these debates have been Caledonian Redistributionists; Tree politicos have been notably absent, since on that side of the border their popularity  is matched only with that of a free range dog's colonic droppings on a butcher's bench. Since the Trees therefore have no reason to to engage in debate with the rebellious Picts, the Redistributionists have been obliged to take up the mantle; should the Wee Votie decide that Caledonia is an independent political entity, they stand to lose not an insignificant number of politicos from the Northumbrian Witangemot. The result of this would be utter tragedy, since it would thus guarantee that a Redistributionist majority will never happen in the future. Try - if you can - to imagine this Cat's heartfelt tears.

One sticking point in the debates - which, like a dialogue of the deaf - has involved irritable exchanges of attitude rather than arguments, has been the issue of the proposed new Independent Caledonia's currency. Since the separation would involve the severing of the purse strings from the Northumbrian exchequer, cold logic would decree that the Picts and Scots would have to establish their own currency - thus following through their independent zeal to its ultimate conclusion. This is evidently too much like hard work for the Wee Chiefie, who in his customarily complacent manner has instead that they will retain the Holy Groat, since they will continue to need supplies of the filthy Northumbrian lucre to maintain their existing dependence on magic mushrooms. And Caledonian currency would be worthless in the Northumbrian realm...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pails Into Insignificance

It's so gratifying to know that while the Levant is in turmoil and all manner of injustices and horrors are routinely being played out throughout the world – including in the delightful Redistributionist-infested settlement of Rodreham - the soothsayers have seen fit to serve the unreflective masses with yet another hearty distraction.

It all commenced the other day when the Professor Emeritus of Unclear Physics and Retired Chieftain of the as yet undiscovered land of Ultima Thule – a certain Gerhard the Shrub by name – had the contents of a pail poured over him by his spouse. This purportedly was a means enabling him to draw some attention to himself (which for him had been a commodity in rare supply for several years), collect money in support of sorcerers' research into some incurable malady, as well as challenge some other attention-starved ex-politico to a feat of similar folly. As your Cat understands it, the contents of the bucket were iced water, which is usually more constructively employed to preserve fish.

Once the first stone was dislodged, the dam proceeded to burst, and even in the streets of Streonaeshalh one can behold all manner of men, women and children pouring buckets of icy cold water over each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

As a longstanding member of the feline community, this Cat finds this spectacle bizarre and incomprehensible; none of my peers would ever welcome the experience, but would rather entertain themselves by running a mile over hot tiles to evade such a fate.

This phenomenon is nothing new, however. The Redistributionist, Tree and Liberationist politicos adopted this habit years ago; when this present trend is long forgotten by the public consciousness, they'll continue to doggedly cleave to their own sacred tradition. However, they like to use less noble contents for their pails, choosing rather the freshly garnered outpourings of human alimentary systems and bladders. They tip them over their rivals (who reciprocate in like manner) in the hope that they'll smell even worse than they did before. They never do, of course…