Archive for March, 2009

March 30, 2009

Uses of Twitter: Themed Tweeting

It would help to know about twitter before reading this. If you don’t know about it & would like to click here for Lucas Black’s beginner’s guide to twitter.

“What are you doing?”

This is what you are met with when you first log in to the micro-blogging site twitter.

Due however to it’s simple yet flexible & open structure, twitter has evolved tremendously in a short time to become much more than a tool for telling the world what you’re doing in just a sentence or 2.

People use twitter to say hi to their existing network of friends. They organise get-togethers. They make new friends. They make jokes. They play silly games. They provide links to videos or websites. They share photos. They share their favourite music. They share ideas & interests. They publicise their ideas & interests. They publicise their blogs. They share running commentary while watching TV shows or films. They use it as a creative or comic outlet. Businesses use it to market their products or services. Politicians reach out to their electorates. News organisations tweet the news. Radio stations tweet their playlists. Pundits tweet live sports commentary. Celebrities connect with their fans. Musicians publicise their gigs & records. These are just some of the uses of twitter of which I am aware, & I’m sure there are many others that I don’t know about.

Warming to my theme…

There’s also a use of twitter which I call “themed tweeting”. The king of the genre is RichardMadeley, who somehow manages to tweet to a different theme almost every day, but there are also twitterers who tweet as or about fictional characters, for instance DarthVader, Paranoid_Marvin, JackFacts24, MaxFacts86; spoof celebrity twitterers, like THEDavidTennant; bots which automatically pick up on & retweet tweets containing particular phrases, such as ShutUpMeg & NSFW. Then there are the mostly social users who also have a theme to their twitter personality, like Zombie_Claire, & my bad self, Drolgerg, at the time of writing an orang-utan librarian. (Why? Click here).

Most social users are content to chat & share but sometimes tweeting to a theme can be a bit of fun, or even a challenge. I recently spent a whole afternoon tweeting as the depressive Marvin the Paranoid Android from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. I enjoyed it, but none of my then relatively few followers who were around at the time seemed to ‘get it’. The only response I had was from a very caring person who was seriously concerned about my mental health. I had to DM them that I was just messing about so they wouldn’t try to talk me down from the edge!

Fantasia on a Theme of U2

More recently I announced that I was excited at getting some U2 albums as a present from my wife. A twitter-friend then replied with a slightly suggestive tweet that we might be getting a bit friendly later. I replied along the lines of “yes, when love comes to town, she’s not here right now”. When Love Comes to Town is of course a U2 song.

“Hello!”. I thought. “I have a lot of U2 songs”, (at the time every album but Pop & the new 1), “I wonder if I could somehow put them all into tweets?”. So I did, partly as a challenge to myself to see if I could, & partly to see if anyone would notice.

The rules: every general tweet had to contain a U2 song title. By general tweets I mean tweets that are not replies, not hashtag tweets, or tweets that post links - although the latter 2 could contain song titles if I chose. There must be no references to U2, the song or the album it came from. They should all be genuine, believable tweets. Not only that but I decided to try to tweet them in alphabetical order, just to make it more interesting!

Well I pretty much achieved my goal. I slipped up once or twice, letting out a spontaneous tweet or 2 without a song title. Some of them were a bit forced ( I mean what can you do with Hawkmoon 269? Had to go to the pub for that 1!) but mostly I think my tweets were as believable as they ever get.

I expect this may confuse or possibly even annoy some people – if so I’m sorry. I tried really hard to make every tweet genuine & as sincere as I could. It was actually a very rewarding experience. I like a challenge, & I actually had conversations that I might not have had & met some great people that I may not have otherwise if I hadn’t put these restrictions on my tweeting.

So if you’re looking for a challenge or for something a bit different I can recommend themed tweeting – use your imagination!

In case you don’t believe me here’s the full list of my U2 tweets, with the song titles highlighted:

The Tweets

Drolgerg ‘Morning twitterverse. Feeling gr8. U2?8:11 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg What’s the most special thing you’ve done for a special birthday, especially “40″ if anyone will admit to it?8:34 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg I think we should celebrate a national day here more, much like the USA & their 4th of July 8:56 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Who does the best duets? 2 men, 2 women, or a man & a woman?9:05 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg I hope to see some events in the Brighton Festival this year. Used to live there, so a sort of homecoming I guess9:15 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Is there a good alternative to Adobe Acrobat anywhere?9:21 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Haven’t had visit from my friends Jehovah Witnesses for ages. Looks like was blacklisted all along! The Watchtower will never get in here!9:30 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (this prompted good response)

Drolgerg I now have a new outlet for my inane stupidities, occasional profundity & frequent profanity. All because of you, twitter!9:50 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg A silly love poem to twitter: “To myspace I say: boo / Facebook? pile of poo / & bebo just won’t do / twitter, all I want is you10:10 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg I’m the hairiest swinger around – yeah baby!face it, it’s great to be ape!10:35 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg I’m the ape that stole all the bananas – I’m bad!10:40 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg The sun is shining, the birds are singing, it’s a beautiful day.10:43 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Sun, sand, heat, movement, noise, explosion, bullet, the blue sky turns orange then grey. Yep – still watching Generation Kill.10:51 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg10…9…8…7…6…5 …4…3…2… 11 o’clock tick tock!11:00 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (note the time!)

Drolgerg New York is the city that never sleeps, Rome is the etermal city, Paris the city of love. What’s London then – the city of blinding lights?11:06 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Crumbs! From your table I have now found enlightenment – thank you Mr MS Excel11:30 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergHate this spoilt brat Paris Hilton culture we’re infected with: “you can do what you like cos Daddy’s gonna pay for your crashed car”: awful11:49 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (This got a lot of support!)

DrolgergSilly poem 2.0: Oh twitter dear you light my fire/No other site do I require/Of tweeting I will never tire/You are my webby heart’s desire 1:39 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergToday is a dirty day. I am refusing to wash in protest against normality. (Wife not at home)2:10 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergUsing twitter to aid my productivity is like pouring water on a drowning man. Have to be antisocial for a bit & stop replying.2:50 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI’m the ape who gets the grape, elevation is my station3:44 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg Elvis Presley & America = ? & Britain. Discuss.4:07 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergIs @RichardMadeley even better than the real thing?4:10 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergMini-tweet over – time to make my exit.4:11 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck

DrolgergAnyone like fast cars? What’s the fastest car you’ve driven?5:32 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (A lot of replies to this one, mostly from blokes)

DrolgergIf you could who would you fire & why?6:00 PM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (A good few responses to this, unsurprisingly)

Drolgerg: Gloria be! My PC’s tweeted out. Rebooting Mar 11, 2009 06:08 PM GMT · from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Drolgerg: God Pt II: Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine Mar 11, 2009 06:31 PM GMT · from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Drolgerg: Dinner’s ready. And I’m not saying grace this time! Mar 11, 2009 06:46 PM GMT · from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

Drolgerg: Anyone remember Hawkmoon? 269 fans last I checked. Great prog-jazz-indie-dance-fusion-crossover band from the 70′s /80′s. Mar 12, 2009 05:13 PM GMT · from TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet

DrolgergShould the Midlands be renamed the Heartland of England?6:05 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck (A good response to this – mostly around which parts of UK would correspond with rude parts of the anatomy!)

Drolgergwossy keeps tweeting about the Saw ride at Thorpe Park. Personally I think I prefer the Helter Skelter owing to lessened entrails count6:35 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck (Had a lot of agreement with this)

DrolgergWhen I drink too much beer I fall down. Even when I can’t remember my own name I can l still confirm Newtonian physics.6:45 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck (This 1 got retweeted)

DrolgergThose bloody evil pixies are nicking my stuff again – I still haven’t found what I’m looking for!8:27 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhat’s the worse thing you can confess to here? Like when I was young I threw a brick through a window. Maybe tell @secrettweet if too bad!8:33 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg In gods country there was an orgy. Afterwards the introductions: “Hi, I’m Thor” “Me too but I’m thatithfied”. Thank you, I’m here all week8:54 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhen did we last have an ‘Indian’ summer? Sky full of snow for 2 months: climate change or the natural cycle?9:07 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck

DrolgergHIi! to my new followers. You might be looking at my tweets & asking: Is that all? Yep, sorry: So evil pixies, beer & orgies it is then!12:22 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg‘Morning twitterverse! If it’s windy today I think I might fly a kite 8:30 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhen life gives you a lemon, make lemonade – Mariah Carey (I think) http://bit.ly/zxxLT8:53 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergPlease note I’m giving you 6 months to get my presents & massive twitter party organised. I like a song so maybe we could all do karaoke?8:56 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergCan war bring peace? Love & peace or else written on their guns? Still watching the brilliant & challenging Generation Kill.9:13 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg#followfriday> They say love is blindness,but you gotta love these ladies: @fragileheart @KatHumble @sarahsaner @TheBloggess @penelopeelse10:13 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg#followfriday Did I say love? Rescue me from sentimentality please! Some blokes then: @Red_Moon @Braziel @cartoono @corcoran @aslan_chan10:15 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhat’s the miracle drug of our age? Prozac, Viagra, tic-tacs? Or something I don’t know about?10:44 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (Caffeine I think was top for twitterers here!)

DrolgergAnyone share a birthday with MLK, or someone equally famous? Best I’ve got is Augustine of Hippo. http://bit.ly/zxxLT10:55 AM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (Lots of responses to this one)

DrolgergKids hanging around outside Tesco. Wondering about the mothers of the disappeared 12:20 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergStill trying to figure out mysterious ways I can get any bloody work & still twitter. Twitter’s on fire today, it must be Friday.12:56 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergPC all tweeted out, rebooting. Might be back before New Year’s Day, might not.2:23 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI’m overtwittered today, my fingers are a bit numb5:44 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergHow is it possible to not be solipsistic? Not possible to know anything outside your own senses: never understood that one.6:24 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (This set off a great discussion with @christinefarmer, who’d I’d never talked to before)

DrolgergMaybe if we knew the answer to that question we’d be one step closer to knowing the answer to life, the universe & everything (waiting…..)6:26 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergForget American teen soaps: real One Tree Hill is actually the main natural landmark in Auckland, New Zealand. Not a lot if people know that6:30 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (cheating slightly, that’s actually the inspiration for the song)

DrolgergI must be the original of the species – how many other orang-utan librarians do you know?7:03 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergIs every party boy & party girl in tonight? You’d think there was something decent on TV or something!7:13 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (It was Comic Relief Night)

DrolgergWith that lovely white suit @THEDavidTennant could bring peace on Earth!7:29 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergMore cynical than I like to think?: sad story on TV, I’m struck by beautiful music: Adele, Cohen. Must take more pride in the name of love7:44 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI bet Davina McCall has never read Orwell’s 1984. Isn’t BB just a promenade of inanity?7:47 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergThe miner’s strike has been in the news. Anyone remember it? Good book about it by Tony Parker, I think called Red Hill Mining Town7:58 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergRed light: Outnumbered on Comic Relief – very funny!8:09 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergRejoice twitterverse – it’s the weekend!8:49 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhy I like weekends? During the week at work I always feel like I’m running to stand still8:51 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI think my red nose is actually scarlet. Should I still wear it, or am I disqualified?8:53 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergFrench & Saunders were funny for a few seconds. Or not8:54 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergOK I still dislike Moyles but climbing Kilimanjaro is quite an achievement – he deserves his silver & gold9:03 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergFrench & Saunders murdering ABBA: so cruel!9:25 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergSome days are better than others, but overall today has been a good day10:32 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck

DrolgergMitchell & Webb / Armstrong & Miller? Sometimes you can’t make it on your own12:50 AM Mar 14th from TweetDeck

DrolgergComic relief still going. Shall I stay & watch or get off to bed12:52 AM Mar 14th from TweetDeck

DrolgergStranger in a strange land: The Script are murdering Bowie’s Heroes. Why? In my h-fi at the moment, switched!12:57 AM Mar 14th from TweetDeck (Definitely wasn’t alone with this opinion)

DrolgergThanks gods that’s over: thought I was stuck in a moment you can’t get out of12:59 AM Mar 14th from TweetDeck

DrolgergSunday! Bloody Sunday? That means for 1st time gone 24 hours without tweeting. TA working then.Feel the need to ask Ed & Biz for forgiveness2:21 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergTo the sweet birdsong & Sunday sunshine I surrender. ‘morning twitterverse!9:54 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergShe still ate it though. Hope she’s OK tomorrow!10:11 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWife’s working again today.Hate when she does that. Makes me feel guilty for just dicking around. Maybe will write to the Electric Co.10:23 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergListening to Iain M Banks radio play: grt social comm. in sci-fi wrapper. Fearsumm Endjinn the first time I read him, not looked back since11:45 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergThe sun’s back today & so is the fly I thought I’d got rid of. Every silver lining has a cloud , I guess11:53 AM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergIf I don’t have a shower the ground beneath my feet is in danger of dissolving with my every step. Back soon!1:07 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI’ve lost my comb. I look like a refugee from a caveman movie1:40 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (error)

DrolgergSorry, should say THE refugee: it’s that bad. Or from Planet of the Apes, of course.1:41 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (correction)

DrolgergGo England! Is the unforgettable fire of 2003 returning?3:32 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

Drolgerg#sixnations Attractive, winning England rugby – the wanderer returns!3:45 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergGo England! Armitage & Flutey trip through your wires, France!4:05 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWife went shopping & came back with jelly beans & a Paul Smith t-shirt for me. Feeling warm & fuzzy, tryin’ to throw my arms around the world4:21 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWe have our moments but sometimes our two hearts beat as one.4:21 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergAnyone remember a British vampire mini-series called Ultraviolet? I thought it was really good. Shame it was never developed5:23 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI plan to be twittering until the end of the world!5:25 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWho knew that Australia was originally called Van Dieman’s Land?5:27 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhat’s your favourite Hitchcock? Mine’s Vertigo5:27 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (This got a good response)

DrolgergI am of course famous. Recently had walk on part in TV show where they play tricks on members of the public. My line: “No thanks I’m busy”5:50 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergWhen I look at the world I have just 1 question: what the hell is SXSW?!5:57 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI think Generation Kill should be ironically renamed When Love Comes To Town7:57 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergPlanning mini-holiday. Hope not to do too much driving: most of our hols r to places where the streets have no name, even satnavs can’t help11:05 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (Turned out to be prophetic: on city-break in Istanbul got lost a lot due to lack of street-signs)

DrolgergGetting your animals cared for while on holiday’s a problem. Especially if they’re exotic, I mean who’s gonna ride your wild horses for you?11:27 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck

DrolgergI try to buy lots of local goods while on holiday: for instance I LOVE the taste of wild honey11:30 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (Did actually buy honey while in Istanbul)

DrolgergNever watched The Wire. Plan to. I hear it’s quote good! FX UK started showing again from series 1- boxed & ready!11:32 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (Got response that it is also about to be shown on BBC2, so was able to clear space on the box & wait for that instead – useful!)

DrolgergI want to see U2 in Cardiff, who knows where’s the best place to get tickets? And I’ll go with or without you!9:30 AM Mar 16th from web (At this point I was rushing to finish before our city-break, thought I was dropping a rather large hint)

DrolgergThinking of organising a twitter flashmob in a zoo. Station, location & details when I think of them9:50 AM Mar 16th from TweetDeck

DrolgergThe problem with putting U2 songs in your tweets is that some of them aren’t even words. I mean what am I supposed to do with Zooropa!10:03 AM Mar 16th from TweetDeck

March 11, 2009

What Men Really Mean?

2 blokes in a pub. What they say, & what they (possibly) mean:

Hello mate, did you see the match last night? ( I’ve been sitting in this pub by myself all night; I’m so alone)

Yeah – they were rubbish weren’t they.  (I’m lonely too . Will you be my friend?)

The problem with Arsenal is that they just wanna pass it into the net.  (Yes I’ll be your friend!)

I’ll get the beers in then (Do you want a lollipop?)

Make mine a Stella (I’d love a lollipop!)

There you go mate  (Here’s your lollipop!)

Thanks mate  (Yummy!)

Yeah, Arsemal, right, they need to stop playing through the middle all the time, & use the wide men more.  (Just ‘cos I gave you my lollipop doesn’t mean that I‘m not better than you)

They’re far too predicatble: if they hoofed it up to a front man with his back to goal they’d have more variety & unsettle defences more (I like your lollipop but you’re not better than me)

The Liverpool defence was pretty good. Very organised at set pieices.  (I’ll be your friend but I‘m not gay OK?)

Yeah their goalie played a blinder. (I’m not gay either, but I like your T-shirt)

That van Persie though: what a player. Did you see the way he lollipopped 1 guy, nutmegged the next then slotted it in? (To be honest I am a bit gay but I don’t really know how to deal with it)

And what about that Spanish bloke Fabregas? He glides through the defence like Torvill & Dean skating to Bolero (Actually I’m a total screaming bender but I have no idea how to tell anyone)

Tell you what mate why don’t we go to mine & watch the big match over a few more beers  (I fancy the arse off of you ,why not come over to my place & see what happens, big boy!)

Your’re my besht mate you are you are!  (I fucking love you!)

Let’s be clear everyone: This never happens

March 8, 2009

Musactors Union

Inspired by @jupitusphillip on twitter

There’s been a warp in the space-time continuum, resulting a melding together of actors & musicians. Here’s some of what we’ve been left with:

George Michael Douglas: I Can’t Make You Love Mimi Rogers
Sigur Ross Kemp: Vidrar the River Quai
Tony ‘Smokey’ Robinson & The Miracles of Archeology: You’ve Really Got a
Hold on My Shovel
Seasick Steve Buscemi: My Donny Darko
Don Estelle: American Boy Werewolf in London (aka It Ain’t Half Hot on the
Moors)
Jean-Claude Vangelis: Chariots of Cyborg
Bob Dylan Moran: Black on Black Books
Radio TonyHead: Straight to Videotape (sorry)
Thin Lizzy Taylor: The Boyo’s Back in Town
The Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Pop Will Wheaton Itself: Everything’s Cool (in the Vacuum of Space)
Elton John Wayne: Goodbye Yellow Ribbon Road
John Lee Marvin Hooker: Whiskey & the Dirty Dozen Wimmin (aka Boom Boom)

From EmmaRhoyds

Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Trisha Goddard
Neil Diamonds are Forever
Last Tango in Paris Hilton

Musactors suggested by kenarmstrong1

The Sex Piss Tilda Swintons – Anarchy in Narnia
The George Lazen Bee Gees – On Her Majesty’s Saturday Night Fever
Deep Perp Phill Jupitus – Smoking Room on the Water
Bonzo Dog the Bounty Hunter Doo-Dah Band – I’m the Urban Spaceman (2001
Odyssey remix)
Sean Conner-Ry Cooder – From Paris, Russia With Love
Credence Clearwater ReviVal Kilmer – Bad MIG Rising
R.E.M. Night Shyamalan – Signy Happy People

Soylent Al Green
Muddy Julie Walters – Educating My Mojo
Dick Van Halen – The Grapes of David Lee Roth
The Pegg Shop Boys – Go West, Fat Boy, Go West
Kathleen Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Naked in New York Yet
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of ourTed Danson – Save Private Ryan
& the Rest Will Follow
Fiennes Young Cannibals – The Red Dragon Drives Me Crazy
Nicholas Parsons Project – I Wouldn’t Want to be Like You in Just a Minute

Thanks to twitterers RandHobart, LucasBlack, snedwan, vatimatt, MrLEdge, NickPeters, davidpwatts, Call123 for the musactors.

Feel free to add your own here.

March 5, 2009

The Librarian, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Banana

Some people, quite reasonably really, have asked me why I now appear to be some sort of weird creature, (actually an orang-utan), on twitter. There is of course a good explanation for this – or at least an explanation – so here it is:

The Story of How I Went Ape

‘The Librarian’ is a much-loved character from the much-loved Terry Pratchett’s much-loved Discworld series of books: think Harry Potter meets Monty Python. In fact before JK Rowling came along he was the UK’s best-selling living author, & I know who I prefer! I’m delighted to have discovered he is now on twitter: @terryandrob

The Discworld city of Ankh-Morpork is a city of which it is said “When a man is tired of Ankh-Morpork, he is tired of ankle-deep slurry.” The city’s ‘Unseen University’ – run for & by largely quite stupid wizards - has a great Library, the layout of which is “a topographical nightmare, the sheer presence of so much stored magic twisting dimensions and gravity into the kind of spaghetti that would make M.C.Escher go for a good lie down, or possibly sideways.”

In the second Discworld book “The Light Fantastic” (dramatised badly on Sky in my opinion – David Jason as Rincewind, I don’t think so!) a powerful wave of magic turns the Librarian, one Horace Worblehat, into an orang-utan. At the time the Wizards were too busy trying to avert the end of existence, as is usual in these matters, & so no serious attempt was made to return him to his human form.

After the magical dust settled however he found that he actually quite liked being an orang-utan. He had already developed a taste for bananas & peanuts – a very healthy diet – & had found that having 4 strong limbs with opposable thumbs came in very handy when climbing up huge book-shelves & sorting books. It also had not escaped his attention that a very large & very strong ape can make a much more convincing argument than a weedy wizard when discussing late returns. So an orang-utan he remained.

“What’s that got to do with you?,” I hear you cry.

Well, in mid-February I began a piece of work that I had been putting off for a while as I knew it was going to be demanding, time-consuming & quite unpleasant. Time was running out for its completion so I got on with it. The more I did it the more I hated it. It seemed to drag on forever, even longer than I had thought, papers were scattered everywhere, I was losing important documents, etc., etc. It also happened to coincide with the exact date of the 5th anniversary of the death of my father. My mood could be seen from some slightly surreal tweets I made at the time, for instance: “Evil pixies are following me around nicking my stuff”.

When I’m stressed I tend to lose my appetite. For some reason bananas are one of the few filling things I can eat when my appetite is off. I also have a bad habit of staying up too late (as I keep telling my wife, there are worse things to be addicted to). Hence the occasional tweet along the lines of: “Living on coffee & bananas. Have yet to decide if this is healthy”. And people think I make this shit up!

Then one day I tweeted: “Dang! Living on coffee & bananas again! I’m going to start living in a library, swinging around everywhere & saying “OOK” a lot at this rate”, referring to the Discworld’s Librarian. It occurred to me that there were worse things in heaven & twitter, & my virtual transformation began.

So I went a bit mad & became an orang-utan.

The Librarian was transformed through magic, Drolgerg through stress. As time & the job went on when I got too stressed I found it strangely cathartic to be able primally scream-tweet (new word by the way: I claim immediate copyright) “OOK”, virtually swing from virtual chandeliers & eat lots of bananas. It was strangely satisifying when 1 or 2 others who seemed to be in the same boat sometimes joined in! (Note to self: must blog some time about the cathartic & therapeutic properties of twitter).

The job was finally all over bar the OOOKing on February 27th, precipitating a banana-dacquiri orgy the likes of which the primate world had never before seen.

“So why are you still an orang-utan?”,

I hear you gasp, incredulously. Well, like the Librarian I found that after I no longer had to be one that I kinda liked it. It definitely has it has its advantages. When your life is reduced to the wonderful simplicity of when you will eat your next banana there suddenly becomes a lot less to worry about. And any time I did get stressed all I had to do was shout “OOOK EEEK”, a virtual universal language, swing from the light fittings for a bit then eat a banana. Also it’s surprising how much mileage there is in jokes about bananas & nuts.

So on February 23rd, up until when my avatar had been blacked out in the New Zealand laws protest (by the way – Go Team!) instead of bringing my face back I revealed my new apey visage. After the Facebook thing & 1 or 2 slightly weird instances on twitter I also became a little concerned about revealing too much personal information online, especially given the nature of my work. I decided then that the world might actually survive for a bit longer without having to look at my ugly mug on a screen.

I was also enjoying being a character-twitterer, having realised that character-twittering is one of the many tribes of twitter – of which ‘Uncle Dick’ @RichardMadeley is the Chief.

Obvious now isn’t it? Well OK then, suit yourself!

(When) will I revert to being human again? Who knows? For now, I’m enjoying aping about, & I still have plenty of bananas.

Oook eek eek OOOK!

Update: twittletattle has written about alter-egos on twitter  here

March 3, 2009

Strictly Come Dancing? Mamma Mia!

This is something I wrote in a hurry on a BBC Strictly Come Dancing message board, back during the John Sargeant controversy. With the benefit of time I’ve tarted it up a bit; it may even now make sense

The Dancer

“I have a dream” she said, “to be a dancing queen!”

“But Chiqitita” (for that was her nick-name) “does your mother know?” cautioned her brother Fernando

“No – but to follow my dream I must be as brave as a super trouper!”

“You mustn’t do this! You’re always rushing around: another town, another train! And when did you learn to dance?”

“When I kissed the teacher!”

Shocked, Fernando ran off to tell their mother

Rushing in she cried ”Honey, honey – he is your brother! You should listen to him!”

“This family never does anything; at least one of us is trying!”

This struck a chord. “You really want to do this?” mother said, relenting

“I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!”

So, an SOS to the BBC then the ring, ring of the ‘phone & she took the train to Waterloo & waited for her day.

Her day came: she left & she danced for the four.

“Mamma mia – you stink!” said one

“You can’t dance, but you can lay all your love on me!” said another with an unpleasant glint in his eye, at which she was embarrassed.

“Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight!” said another, & nobody was sure why

“You’d be better off knowing me; knowing you – you were rubbish” said the last.

“Aah!” she cried in despair. “Please take a chance on me!”

“Sorry love, the winner takes it all – that’s the name of the game” they told her, cruelly.

So she left, gracious in defeat, turning as she did so to say “Thank you for the music”, & vowing in her heart to dance while the music still goes on.

For when all is said & done, it wasn’t about her dancing; it was all about money, money, money!

In case you haven’t worked it out the story is based around the titles of ABBA songs. There are 25 of them – did you see them all?

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