Coming to the close of the funding campaign (ONLY 3 DAYS TO GO). Please do delve in and have a read. Thanks very much to all those who have bought, followed and liked (I will write to each in person). Wishing you every success with your projects and a Happy New Year. Best wishes, Paul
Pre-order a copy of The Investigations of the Para-Usual (The IPU) and I will donate 10% of book sale profits to Green Energy research.
An honourable pledge, you might think. Took you until the last six days of funding to make the offer. Smacks of desperation to earn some pre-sales.
That's a bit harsh, though, isn’t it? This started as self-aggrandisement and now I’m feeling like I’m on self-trial. Why the pledge to Green Research, anyway? The IPU was written as an entertainment novel, but the politics of Climate Change is very much at the heart of it. The ways politicians, big business, the media and academics block the paths to pursuing alternative, renewable energy. Just a few days after signing up to CO2 emission reductions at the Paris Summit, the UK Government was issuing licences for fracking under National Parks. It’s not enough to trust Governments to act. Perhaps people need to face up to investing directly?
Matthew Isaac Sobin has brightened this Winter Solstice. Not only has he pre-ordered a copy of The Investigations of the Para-Usual, but left a glowing review. Thanks very much for reading and commenting Matthew and a Merry Xmas to all Inksharers. Paul
https://vimeo.com/101425922 Just 13 days to fund. The Investigations of the Para-Usual promises to make the ideal Xmas stocking filler. Just 370 days to Xmas (2016). Thank you
Extract from Chapter 40 of mystery-comedy novel, 'The Investigations of the Para-Usual':
O’Singh pocketed his phone and stood up to join his fellow documentary makers.
‘A propitious start,’ said O’Singh, surveying the set.
‘We’ve just had a call from the sponsor,’ replied Persil, in a foreboding tone.
‘Oh?’ said O’Singh, catching the tone.
‘I reported what we were filming here, about how Alphabetti Spaghetti was limited to just “U”s and “G”s and they didn’t like it,’ said Persil, like she was blaming O’Singh for an indiscretion.
‘The truth can be painful,’ said Mike Baby, in a regretful tone.
‘The thing is, the sponsor is in a really good position of buying up the company that makes Alphabetti right now and they want the product to look good once they’ve got it.’
‘Though undoubtedly it is a very popular teatime repast,’ suggested O’Singh.
‘You only have to look back to BC and it clearly wasn’t then,’ replied Persil, abruptly. ‘You said that yourself.’
‘The sponsor could feel proud that Alphabetti did turn itself around somewhere between now and 13,000 years ago…’
‘Not good enough,’ said Persil. ‘There can’t be any weaknesses. As far as Rappon Pillage are concerned, Alphabetti has always been strong and it just got a whole load better.’
Persil set off again with Baby, but then checked herself as they were about to round the cave wall. ‘Prof, remember!’ she called back to O’Singh, before disappearing. ‘Pleasing Everybody All of the Time!’
Professor Breville O’Singh stood perplexed and not a little crestfallen, cutting a solitary figure in among the crew toiling around him, dismantling the cooking apparatus, rounding up the cave people.
Persil was back once again. ‘Oh and prof?’
O’Singh slowly focussed to behold Persil Bland.
‘Give you some idea – the company buy-out happens tomorrow,’ she said. ‘We need Alphabetti to look good by then.’
‘How will I do that, I wonder?’ asked O’Singh, almost dreamily.
‘Come on, prof. It’s your job to know everything.’
‘Persil! Hurry yourself, mate. We’ve got a table booked for seven – Le Petit Frottage,’ yelled Baby, from backstage.
‘Actually, I’ve got something for you,’ said Persil to O’Singh, suddenly inspired.
‘Yes?’ said O’Singh, hopefully.
‘Something I thought of. What did they call arsonists before the invention of fire?’
Miss a huerga has shown demonstrable generosity by not only pre-ordering a copy of the book, but sharing on Facebook. Hearty thanks. Ms Huerga is almost quite literally a gem, a brilliant and bespoke jewellery designer (http://www.alexandrahuerga.co.uk/)
On set, O’Singh stood alone like a Queen bee at the epicentre of the activity, mesmerised by this machine acting on his ideas and projecting them to the masses. This was powerful stuff. O’Singh dared to dream what might be revealed. Perhaps what eluded the legendary Einstein – a grand unifying physical theory that held for both large and sub-atomic particles; or the definitive word on how long after midnight we can talk about ‘yesterday’.
O’Singh leapt out of his reverie like he’d received an electric shock. He delved inside his jacket pocket, snapped out his mobile phone, jabbed at the keypad and clamped it to an ear.
‘Hello. Dr Pratt? Fluff?’ enquired O’Singh, pacing to the back of the cave.
Over at Stalingrad House, Fluff took the call on vibrate and slipped into Higgins’ office. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself as a dog might answering a mobile phone.
‘Yes?’ answered Fluff, coldly.
‘What breed of dog are you?’ asked O’Singh, easing himself onto a rock.
‘You know very well. You chose the skin,’ Dr Pratt said.
‘A Labrador, yes. Fantastic,’ said O’Singh.
‘It feels terrific,’ said Fluff, sarcastically.
‘I have faith that the choice will prove useful,’ said O’Singh. ‘The Labrador is an intelligent breed.’
‘Yes, of course it will. The Labrador is extremely clever at retrieving dead things.’
‘The very thing I need to do with my career,’ replied Fluff, acerbically.
Baby clapped his hands loudly to galvanise the crew into action.
‘Okay, let’s reset!’ Let’s go to the prof with the dictionary,’ he bawled.
O’Singh picked up the book he had placed at his feet and looked around, a little confused by the hubbub. The lights dimmed. Persil sloped off to view the action with Baby on an off-stage monitor.
The professor drew a deep breath to compose himself and to recall Baby’s advice on presentational style. The crew members shushed themselves quiet.
‘Thank you! Positions please!’ called Baby. ‘And action!’
O’Singh lowered himself onto a rock, illuminated by the flickering fire. He opened the dictionary, reverentially, turned a couple of pages for effect, then stole a sidelong glance at the cavepeople resuming their original positions around the fire.
‘Closer inspection of a translation dictionary reveals how that utterance “Ug!” would threaten to condemn Alphabetti Spaghetti and the very concept of an edible text,’ said O’Singh, in a hushed tone reminiscent of the great Sir David Attenborough himself.
On the monitor, Persil and Baby could now see O’Singh turn to a page with the section heading: “Caveman-English”. O’Singh turned the page, then the next and the next… all blank pages. No caveman words under “A”, none beginning with “B” and so on. Until at last he arrived at “U”, underneath which the word “Ug!” was followed by an endless list of every conceivable English definition continuing onto the next page and for nigh on the remainder of the book.
O’Singh stopped at a randomly selected spread and pointed to an instance of the word ‘Ug!’
‘“U”, “G”: “Ug!” said O’Singh, slowly, spelling out the Neolithic communication. He snapped the book shut, placed it gently upon a rock ledge then began to creep towards the caveman sat prodding letters around in his bowl.
‘Uh-Ger!’ exclaimed the caveman, very much pleased with himself. He tipped the bowl so his wife could see the letters arranged to form ‘UG’.
O’Singh approached cautiously round the back of the primitive personage. The cavewoman sat at the fire all the while, engrossed in the stirring of her pot of Alphabetti Spaghetti.
‘Quite clearly,’ resumed O’Singh, ‘while cave people were utilising just two letters, there would remain sparse demand for a complete alphabet. Spaghetti it was, Alphabetti though it clearly could not yet claim to be.’
‘Cut!’ boomed Baby.
The lights came up rapidly. O’Singh blinked to accustom his eyes.
‘Sexy, huh?’ said Baby to Persil, as he walked her off set. ‘High drama’s what I bring, drawing the viewers in,’ he boasted.
‘Wow, right?! What was it you said was your saying?’
Baby shook his head as if to say, ‘Come on narrow it down, there’s so much you could quote me on.’
‘Square Eye, the company’s saying. Something about facts?’ suggested Persil.
‘“We don’t tell facts, we sell facts”,’ regurgitated Baby. ‘You bet, babes. That’s what ya talkin’ ‘bout, yuh? We repackage facts. Sex them up with new labels. Put them back on the shop display.’