Moonchild Etherington-Smythe, owner of the Viridian Venus gallery, gathers the post from the doormat as she breezes into her colourful domain causing the tassels on her sequined scarf to fly in her wake. She is no longer just a small time gallery owner; thanks to her huge online profile [13 million followers on Instagram and 50,000 Likes on her Facebook page] she is now also responsible for running a network of crafty workshops across the UK, and Malta. Workshops include: Whittling Abstract Spoons [spoons without handles and vice versa]; How To Express The Sound Of A Vacuum Cleaner Through The Medium Of Paint [ever popular]; How To Write Like A Two Year Old [inky fun, no previous experience necessary, only £60 per head]; AND, Generic Retailing [how to sell new-found skills online within five minutes of learning them]. Moonchild is proud of her artistic success. She is proud to be such a creative inspiration for so many people and, she is proud to be at the apex of the crafting pyramid.
Moonchild flicks through her mail before taking off her velvet coat and flinging it on the counter. A grey envelope draws her attention, she turns it over and caresses her name and address with her stubby ring stuffed fingers. The address feels raised, as if embossed.
A Peculiar E
Moonchild is familiar with the craft of calligraphy, she smiles and nods approvingly as her eyes settle on a distinctive, wonky ‘g’, and the curvy, very peculiar ‘E’. Someone after my own heart, she thinks. She pauses and decides against tearing the envelope with her fingernails, instead she takes a pair of mini pinking shears from beneath the counter and carefully cuts a neat row of shark teeth across the top of the envelope. She tries to guess the nature of the invitation, because surely this has to be an invitation?
Within the envelope there are two pieces of brown cardboard taped together to protect the inner content. Moonchild snorts and expertly makes short shrift of the tape, she tosses the cardboard into the bin and places a black and white photograph of a bottle on top of her velvet coat.
What sort of game is this? She wonders. She turns the photograph over to reveal a scribbled time, date, and address: 8pm, 21st November 2045, Mogwash Village Hall, Mogwash. As a squally wind causes the gallery door to swing open, a memory recollects, and Moonchild is chilled to the bone.
A Bad Memory?
Aunt Scarlet is refusing to write a post and has told me to do it. She said to say that she is lanquishing on a chase lounge and MUST not be disturbed. Apparently she is writing a long letter to a bloke she refers to as Moogo, or Moorgo, or something like that. She has lots of other people to write to too, such as Princess, and some calligraphy people. She keeps getting in a huff because she is trying to write in her best calligraphy but it keeps going all wrong and she is surrounded by screwed up bits of paper. She is making a mess and is causing a potential fire hazard because she is drinking gin and smoking her horrible fags. She is also swearing a lot.
Aunt Scarlet said that when I write a post I MUST include some photographs. She said to take some pictures of her screwed up balls to show that she is trying to make an effort.
Screwed up balls
Whilst being locked in the attic and fed nothing but gruel, I found these bottles. I asked Aunt Scarlet what they were supposed to be. She flew into a rage and did more swearing and told me to never ask her about them ever again. I think she is a bit mad.
Aunt Scarlet’s empties that aren’t so empty…
A bottle in a bottle
By the way, Harold and I don’t eat the gruel that Aunt Scarlet makes us. We throw it out the window and go up the chippy. We have the spare key to the attic.
Will write soon,
…smashed the bottle open only to find a message that read:
To whom it may concern….
Please Mind The Gap.
St. Johnson was adamant that this message proved beyond doubt that the Bottle of Greed was merely a result of Blue’s imagination, and her affection for pseudo-intellectual flimflam. When confronted with St. Johnson’s accusations regarding her subterfuge, Blue was reported to have smiled wryly and hinted at the possibility of there being numerous Truths.
With the benefit of hindsight it is easy for us to mock the doubting St. Johnson, he was, after all, a catalyst character for many of Blue’s improbable plot twists, which saw him drunk and slumped in a bus shelter; performing robust Abba impersonations in the Mogwash Arms, or being arrested for assault. It is easy to understand why St. Johnson has spent so many years trying to discredit Blue, and why he was inspired to write the best selling pantomime script Please Can You Make it Wear Big Pants. And a Knitting Pattern Would Be Nice. Considering the animosity between the pair it came as something of a welcome surprise to see them reunited for the first time in more than 20 years at last night’s opening show.
Peripheral characters at the event included Taramind Dewhurst, Moonchild Etherington-Smythe and Mrs Fitzpatrick, who elbowed each other for paragraph space, and were as eager as the rest of the gathered crowd to hear….
From the Scarlet Blue Journals 25/10/2032
It is all very well to make promises, keeping them is altogether another matter. Somehow I have to remember who I am, where I am, and what I am supposed to be writing about. This might be easy for most people, but it isn’t for me.
During the long hot/cold/windy/rainy British summer/winter of 2007 I was involved in a dramatic incident that left me with a fatal head injury and a not unattractive limp. Since this incident I have been trying to piece together fragments of a cherished project that I had been working on prior to this life changing event.
Sometimes I am haunted by black and white images featuring bottles. Sometimes I feel a compulsive urge to address grey envelopes, with white calligraphy, to long lost strangers who lurk in the smutted crevices of my memory. Sometimes I have completely lucid moments when I can recall the names of characters who are relevant to the plot… such as Sebastian, Moonchild, Rupert Etherington-Smythe… and there is another indistinct character I see, a character who digs up a car park next to a scout hut in a place called Mogwash… yes, I remember — a German archaeologist called Mago. Lovely Mago! And he is searching for something! After reading a series of nonsensical ramblings on a disused WordPress blog he came to believe that a great fortune was buried within the vicinity of a small English village called Luddley-cum-Mogwash. I see him with a map which, after a scuffle and some energetic Morris dancing, was taken from him, confiscated before he was deported.
Oh what a fuss that old blog caused!
In my darkest hour I remember that it is I who is responsible for creating this pother; this tumult; this pandemonium. In my darkest hour I remember that it was I who created, and buried, the Bottle of Greed….
1st April 2015
I winced as I read the comments on my previous post. How could I have made such a glaring error? No, not the one about the lion feasting on caribou… but the one that alluded to time travel. Thanks to the wonders of modern day technology I could, and would, rectify my omission. But this was not the same as getting it right the first time and my legion of readers, followers, trolls, pixies, and people who regularly clicked onto my website looking for a crossword solution [please see Calligraphy Tip No. 1 – Thickening Downstrokes], had been left bemused, baffled, perplexed and perhaps even a little befuddled. This was not what they had come to expect from me.
My head hurt a little as I fiddled around in my WordPress dashboard, I was still recovering from my Easter over indulgence and felt a bit sick, but a post had to be written, mistakes had to be corrected, relevant quotations had to be found, a Pot Noodle had to be photographed, a used teabag had to be ironed, the sound of a vacuum cleaner had to be recorded, and invitations had to be delivered…
8th April 2015
Taramind Dewhurst, the immaculately groomed curator of The Onion Gallery, held the envelope in her grubby little hands. She had always had small hands, even as a child, they were delicate but had a firm grasp on her paperwork. She turned the envelope over and caressed her name and address, which felt raised, as if embossed.
A double constrictor knot…
Not printed then, she purred, knitting her brows into a double constrictor knot, which is unflattering on anyone of any age. Taramind was familiar with the craft of calligraphy and it was not a craft that she particularly cared for, she preferred the clean lines and balanced features of printed fonts, but she had to concede that this calligraphy had an awkward, yet modern charm. She hesitated before ripping the envelope open, as a lion would do before feasting on a caribou, and tried to guess the nature of the invitation, because surely this had to be an invitation?
She reached across her desk for her letter opener. Taking the antique bronze dagger from its sheath she made an opening incision, thus removing precisely 2mm from the top of the envelope. Within the envelope were two pieces of brown cardboard that were taped together to protect the inner content. With a concentration that caused her brows to knit once more, this time into a pair of socks, Taramind picked at the tape with her manicured nails. Two hours and one broken nail later, Taramind placed the contents on her blotter.
What sort of game is this? She wondered in italics. Why would anyone send her a photograph of a Pot Noodle? She turned the photograph over. There was a date, 21st November 2045, and an address for a village hall in a place called Mogwash….
An invitation of sorts….