Friday, August 31, 2007

Sain bain uu! Ool zalgui, udlaa shuu! (We have not met for a long time, viewers)

I can only assume that most of you have given this blog up for dead, if only because I told you it was, back in February or so. More fool me. You see, like when Kenny met Dolly, when the material’s this good, you’ve just got to keep on singing. Islands in the stream, that is what we are. Except as we know, no man is an island. Hope that clears things up. Let us begin.

We open on the forecourt of School Number Five, usually the forgiving concrete and broken glass play space of Number Five, where 3,000 schoolkids hurl themselves around playing full contact hopscotch, flaming jumprope and ultimate fighting. This year, said kiddies are in for a surprise when the school year starts, for smack in the middle of the apron a square has been sectioned off, surrounded by spikes and iron grates.

Within the square, a mysterious black plinth has been formed. And from the navel of that, a monolith. Was Arthur C. Clarke right after all? There are no chimps around to ask. Equally mysteriously, the fellows tasked with laying the marble/polishing this plinth are distinctly lacking in most of the major Mongolian attributes. In fact, they are undoubtedly gadaadi hun, (people from outside) viewers. They appear of a more generally European persuasion, but indeterminately so. Aside from a fondness for cigarettes, they reveal no clues to their identity. What on earth is going on?

A day or so thereafter, a stern bust is placed atop the monolith. Resplendent in gold (or gold effect paint), the serious brows and mighty forehead of a man of consequence is firmly stapled to the monolith. Having stared long and hard at the fellow, his identity is as mysterious as those who put him there.

By the next day, the veil of incomprehension had been replaced with the underpants of confusion. A foreign fellow comes along with his Letraset stencils, a ruler and some gold nail polish, and paints on the front of the monolith the identity of the tenant in three languages. The gold visage who will greet youngsters as they prepare to decline the accusative is none other than Mustapha Kemal Attaturk, founder of modern Turkey and the hardest rocking bass player in history (Kerrang! Aug 1995). What is relationship is to School Number Five is still unclear. Judging from his general choleric look, he seems pretty uncertain about the whole thing as well.

Maybe he’s upset by the forbidding portcullis he’s forced to remain behind. Maybe so, because a day or so later, the ironmongery is torn up and removed, leaving six holes for poles, perhaps suitable for losing small children down.

Or maybe he doesn’t like all those people looking at him (bit of a liability for a bust, really), because, despite the cat being pretty firmly out of the bag vis a vis who this cat might be, he is then shrouded once again, rendering his once patrician visage into that of one of the Imperial Guards in Return of the Jedi, as we discovered him this morning.

What could it all mean? I await your expert analysis, viewers.

More updates on this breaking news as it happens. Any other sightings of unexplained statesmen of the 20th Century cropping up in world capitals will be reported with equal urgency.

STOP PRESS 04/09/07: It seems that the orginial portcullis was judged too unfriendly or something. In a last minute rethink, it has now been replaced by friendly yet dignified bollards, which also have the added advantage of filling in the holes in the tarmac.
Phew! A real bodice-ripper, this story. Try not to overheat.

Bi sain mit ugui (I really don’t know) viewers,


Friday, April 20, 2007

Ella It is.

Manai naights (our friends, viewers),

We emerge from our self-imposed blog retirement for just long enough to announce the birth of daughter Eleanor Kay, known as Ella, born on 11 April in north Yorkshire. We were pipped to the post by the Pieters-Sherlocks by a full two days (see here for the annoucement of Orla's arrival), but feel certain that we'll make up the distance over the stretch.

All parties interested in expressing the joy in monetary form are encouraged to do so. Checks, phone credits, wire transfers and in-kind donations to the usual address.

On which related note, much much thanks to all of you throwing cash into the books for Mongolia hat- I am most grateful to you all, and astonished by how many of you have dived between the couch cushions and come up with the necessary. Mash ikh bayarlaa, hummus (many thanks, people).

Returning to the citadel,


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Interregnum, or Pony Up Some Dough

Greetings viewers, U bain? As some of the keener intellects out there may have noticed, (specifically, Emily, Swith, and our mystery Settle correspondent) a six month hiatus between posts does not bode particularly well. I wish I could report it was because we were in the studio working on new material, with more keyboards and tablas than our last offering but that would not be true. Fact is, we have been distracted by such hobbies as getting pregnant and doing masterses. Seems unfair that the blog should suffer, but there you are. Either way, Time magazine (not that we read it, but um, we found one) reckons 13 million blogs were started last year, so I trust you've not been short of material. Besides, now that the kids have got hold of the internet, the whole thing's become too hip for us to keep up with. So, like the grizzled old dogs of rock we are, we're bowing out gracefully, doing a farewell tour of arenas across the world, and then we'll step off this madcap whirl which is blogs & blogging. We throw our drumsticks into your outstretched hands.

But! Before we go, I want some money.

Not for me.

However, we are running a book buying/distrbution project in 2007, whereby folks in the deep steppe with nothing to read except the ingedients list on a sack of flour weill be provided with as many kilos of books as we can score. Literacy in Mongolia is about 97 percent, but there's nothing to read. So the plan is simple. We buy books. We give them away. We do it again.

Cost to you?

A measly buck. Less than a quid. Less than a(n?) euro. Less than a New York subway token. Books are cheap in Mongolia.

So go find a dollar and then click here

You'll find us between the sanitary pad and the flipflops. Feel free to stock up on those items as well.

In the meantime, ural (a kind of blessing/good luck thing, viewers) to you all, and see you somewhere anon!