Google+ A Tangled Rope: 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Towards the Edge


What becomes of all this when we can no longer take our days and use them as we once did? There was a time when this was our world and we could walk through it as if we owned it. Now we find ourselves out here, pushed further towards that edge that leads to the sheer drop, where we fall off and fall forever.

There are no heavens, not any more, to console us as we are edged more and more to the sides of things as the younger ones come and take our places, places that we thought were ours forever.

Then, though, we realise how little any of this matters, knowing that we turned away from this world long before it turned its face away from us. We knew back then that this was not really our world, that we had no real place in it. We saw it as little more than a stage where we acted out the public roles expected of us, while back here, amongst the green and living, we began to create our own world, built to our scale and meeting our needs, not shaping us into some role we did not really fit.

Now we know that we have a place out here, near the edges of the places those others will not go as they carry on with their tired dances, still thinking that this turning world belongs to them, while we sit here together, watching the sun go down and smiling.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Poem: Song of the Sailor’s Wives


Song of the Sailor’s Wives

Far across the seas there is a land
Where she stares over the waves
Watching for a moment she can understand
All these times that she saves
Up in her memory for a time
When she sees the ships return
On the waves that move to a rhyme
Of that song all sailor’s wives learn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Woke Up This Morning


Sometimes it seems as though this may just be an ordinary day as you fall out of the arms of whatever being your dreams had you wrapped up in an intimate embrace with, and your dream-fuddled mind wonders why you have woken up thinking about water buffaloes, as you stumble out into the day that has been up and about for hours before you've even begun to get ready to face up to it.

It is somewhat of a mystery, you decide, somewhere along that long journey between the bathroom and wakefulness, as to why the days need to start so early in the morning, especially before you are ready for them.

Then there is that great mystery of sleep in that the better you do it, the less of it there is to remember and the quicker it seems to be over.

And why the water-buffaloes?

And what were they doing in Tesco?

Especially as it is not really on their traditional migration routes across the Serengeti.

Then the day itself just sits there watching you as you do all those things you need to do in order to face it, and it knows that it has you beaten before you even stumble out of the door into its waiting arms.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Abundance of Eggcups


Then there were the times when we thought that maybe there were just too many eggcups in the cupboard. After all, at the time, there were only the two of us and it was not that we tended to have boiled eggs all that often, maybe once or twice a month... if that. So, we asked each other, why did we have so many eggcups?

Of course, being the sort of people we were, we advanced many theories as to why we seemed to have an ordinary cupboard, but one which contained – seemingly – an extraordinary amount of eggs cups. Not only that there were several different sorts of eggcups in there: from metal ones – stainless steel – to porcelain ones to novelty plastic ones, and a couple that were made from a not-easily recognisable substance.

Another thing about the eggcups, apart from the seeming excess of them, was that none of them, not a single one of them, seemed very good at being an eggcup, either being too large or too small, or just too badly designed to hold, an egg in the position which was best for eating it. That is, except for on particular eggcup, made out of some gaudy plastic material, coloured bright red, in which a boiled egg would sit easily, properly and almost regally, except that when you put an egg in it, it fell over.

All of which goes to prove... something or other, but quite what that something is, I'm not really sure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Poem: Body Language


Body Language

Those were your eyes staring
at the hands telling stories in your lap.
You didn’t want them to speak
with such open eloquence

While your reluctant uncertain words
struggled with each other to escape
from the thoughts that held them
as silenced prisoners for so long.

You did not want this cold world
to see those thoughts you kept inside,
secrets safe from numberless cruelties
that would tear and break them.

You wanted the hands to rise up
from your lap and hold themselves
tight across your lips to make certain
those secrets could never escape again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The River and the Words


What is this that begins here? Something grows from these words we plant in this soil. Something comes from these notions that haunt our minds as we walk these paths. Something turns in the shadows and creeps away back into the darkness that bred it. Out here, we are in the sunlight and there is warm new green grass underneath us as we look up into skies that are forever blue and the few clouds hang there as if only to add a touch of decoration.

The river flows on, but we remain here; tending these words that we planted in the soft soil, waiting for them to grow into something beyond themselves. For words can take root in this soft soil of the imagination and grow up and out into something far beyond what we first planted back in those early days.

Of course, we must tend to the growing words as they grow and spread across this blank page where we planted them, watering them with imagination and thinning out those words that could choke the rest, leaving little more than a few desultory paragraphs that fade away into silence on the edges of this garden we have made.

Soon though these words will have taken over, so what was once bare barren ground devoid of thought and imagination and possibility is filled with verdant thriving words that go on for paragraph after paragraph, page after page all down along the banks of that flowing river.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lion Tamer


After a couple of hours of sweating, they had cleared enough space to get the gear set up and working. Matt spent a good ten minutes with Johnny, admiring and discussing Johnny's new drum kit. While they waited for them, Pete chatted with Jenny and Spike.

‘So, what do you think of him then?’ Pete inclined his head towards Johnny and Matt, who seemed to be talking about cymbals.

‘I like him,’ Jenny said. ‘He makes me laugh.’

‘Yes,’ Spike said. ‘I just hope he can play.’

‘I don't fancy telling him, if he can't though,’ Pete said.

‘Why not?’ Spike seemed genuinely puzzled.

‘He scares me.’

‘Really?’ Jenny laughed. ‘But he's only a tiny little thing.’

‘I dunno.’ Pete shrugged. ‘You just get this feeling with some blokes. I dunno… perhaps it is a male thing.’

Spike and Jenny nodded, almost in unison.

‘Besides that, he has been in the army. He probably knows loads of ways of killing with his bare hands and all that.’

‘But he wasn't in the bloody SAS or anything. He was only a musician, a drummer,’ Spike said.

‘Perhaps he knows of a hundred ways to kill someone with just a drumstick then,’ Pete said. ‘Anyway, he still scares me.’

‘But you work with him,’ Jenny said.

‘Only in the way a lion tamer works with lions,’ Pete replied.

[Taken from Dance on Fire – A Novel by David Hadley – available here]

Thursday Poem: Dreams Like Waves


Dreams Like Waves

These are our own small dreams
flung like waves against the solid rocks
that fill this rough stormy world
to trickle back to the sea in defeat,
only to be thrown forward
once again against these cliffs.

Slowly the rock will learn to take
the shape the waves demand
and to be sculpted by time
and all it throws against us
while we stand here
waiting for it to happen
knowing there is nowhere else
and we can only be these rocks.

Even though we know one day
we will be worn away, down
to just these grains of sand
the wind blows across these beaches
and we will be long forgotten.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arbitrary Geographical Locations


Still we have to ask ourselves just how well prepared are we for the 2012 Olympics – apparently – and therefore making sure that – when asked – we know absolutely nothing at all about what is going on there, especially if – hope against hope – someone who happens to have been born in the same arbitrary geographical location as ourselves seems marginally better at some particular task than those not born in such an arbitrary geographical location.

With the proliferation of the media now going beyond the ubiquitous into the almost obsessively silly, it is getting harder and harder for the ordinary bloke and/or blokess to totally ignore stuff that is going on, especially the sort of stuff the media thinks we ought to care about, such as sport and its vital geographical demarcations. Just why the media think I should care that some bloke can run one tenth of a second faster over some differentiated distance than some other bloke, especially if we share some geographical designation by accident of birth, it has never really made clear. Why I should want to watch it live, yet again and again over the various news programmes is even less unclear. Not that I begrudge the man or woman who has trained so hard, worked so hard for that tenth of second difference, if that is what they want. I just don't know why I'm meant to be interested, let alone why I should care.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Looking a Bit of a Tit


Oh, do not ask for whom the weasel performs calculus, because that is the sort of thing that makes you look a bit of a tit. Especially, if you happen to ask it of some minor z-list celebrity whilst wearing you grouting shorts, a trilby and slowly masticating a cheese and carpet fluff sandwich.

However, we all wish we had realised that… at the time.

It seems though that looking a bit of a tit every now and then is the common fate of all mankind from the highest to the lowest – such as politicians. Normally, of course, we would not allow politicians to saunter into the hallow spaces of our minds, being much more concerned with the doings of real human beings, not these poor simulacrums. However, if we find an example of a politician being a bit of a tit, it is all around the interwebnets in a matter of hours, doing much to increase the gaiety of the nations.

In fact, such is the almost universal ubiquity of recording devices and the pervasiveness of sites such as YouTube, there are enough recordings of even the most humdrum of humans being a bit of a tit to keep used vaguely amused until 'ere we draw that last breath, if we find the failings of others entertaining, which we do, no matter how much we try to deny it, or feel ourselves, personally, above such shallow pleasures.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How I Became the Fat Bloke and Other Stories

fat bloke cover pic

How I Became the Fat Bloke and Other Stories is a collection of 19 short stories by David Hadley, including – in the title story – how one man realises what he had become while his attention was elsewhere. Socks – you should always be careful about who you let buy your socks for you, just in case they remember and you don't. The Mystery of the Lupins – what happens when a woman wearing only a coat and carrying flowers turns up at your door. Barn - a nightmare that becomes a bit too real. Mermaid – the tale of a mystery woman and her daily ritual on the early-morning deserted beach and many more fascinating, memorable and involving stories.

Monday Poem: Flight Over Open Seas


Flight Over Open Seas

I will go down to the sea shore
and I shall invent the possibility
of flight taken over open seas.

I will take flight and soar
out towards the open skies
that are always blue and forever.

I will see all those seas spread out
and all those distant lands below me
where you search through your dreams

To find a country that feels like home
and where everyone you meet knows
your name and why you live as you do,

Floating through a slow life that pulses
with the heartbeat of some loving thing
you know is waiting in some far-off land.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Social Justice and the Cabbage


If – and only if – you have a particular interest in the political use of cabbage, and - especially – if you feel that social justice would be best served if there was more attention paid to the role of cabbage in the just society, then – I'm afraid – this post is not for you.

However, if you think that too little attention is paid to the erotic use of cabbage, especially in a long-term loving relationship, then it would be best if you took your cabbage and your freely-consenting partner of choice (if applicable) to somewhere more suited to such matters and leave the rest of us to get on with it.


I was hoping this meeting would be between more than the just two of us.... Not that I wish to cast any aspersions on your love of the cabbage – may I say what a fine specimen it is too, if somewhat wilted by your somewhat... er... shall we say, over-eager attentions.

Anyone, without further ado, let us move on to discuss the socio-economic importance of the cabbage... Now, as I said as far back as 1982, I...

Where are you going...?



I see....


Er... you wouldn't mind leaving your cabbage behind, would you...?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kant and Shopping


Spadgecock Environs was not only the UK's first Slut Badger Awareness 'Tsar', he was - and this is, relatively, unknown - a person who was in no other way remarkable. In fact, he is only mentioned here because I can't think of anything else to write about.

I suppose there must be some who would be intrigued by Spadgecock's full and remarkably perverted sex life, especially the notorious incident featuring Environs himself, the traffic warden, several under-age small woodland mammals (including seven slut badgers, ironically enough!), a headmistress from a local Private school and the swimming pool filled with custard.

However, I know that the readership of this… er… thingy have their minds set upon much higher things than mere prudish 'revelations' about the failings of those in the public eye who, through their own weakness, find they cannot live up to the high and exacting standards maintained by this island's proud tradition of noble and upstanding tabloid journalism, of which we have heard such a wearying amount over the last few days.

This being so we will swiftly move on sometime in the very near future to continue our discussion of Kant's Categorical Imperative and its relationship to the modern shopping experience - especially in relation to out-of-season strawberries.

Thursday Poem: Never Cry Again


Never Cry Again

This is how she walks this land
long dress blowing back in the wind
head up, despite the rain that falls

washing her long hair back
and running in rivers down her cheeks
as though she has cried forever.

But she promised herself never
would she ever cry again
even if her world falls apart again.

She is not going to let those cold hands
take her ever again or lie there
to watch him walk away and not return.

Even though she waits at her window
for a sight of his familiar homecoming
she knows so much better now

how such promises as he made
can be blown away by the wind
and washed away by the rain.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Words Enough


It is not easy, but then no-one ever said it would be. There are times when even stumbling forward one word at a time, seems more trouble than it is worth. After all, who needs more words? There are words enough, already. There are words for everything, after all. Every new thing too, needs at least one word to name it and hundreds more, sometimes, to describe it.

Each new moment too changes history. Pundits and commentators love to talk about the times that change history, but every moment changes history, history is always changing. Whether or not you have that next cup of coffee, eat that biscuit, smile at, or ignore, the next person you walk past on your morning street, all will change the history of your life. Time is full of moments like that big or small, all changing history into new shapes, and who really knows which are the significant ones.

Time and words are always changing, that is why we will always have new times and new words and why we can only ever go forward and – perhaps – is why history and the past are far too messy for anyone to really go back and change anything.

Lunch Boxes


Those were the times and those were the cheese sandwiches. Of course, we were young and we dared to try things that would have made older generations blush. We experimented with sweet pickle, cucumber, tomato and even – the more daring ones amongst us – lettuce.

There was even talk, late at night, of people who dared go beyond cheese on their sandwiches. Talk of tuna, salmon, beef, roast pork chicken and other such wild imaginings, far beyond anything we had known.

We were young then and knew little of the contents of other people’s lunch boxes or what secrets of the soul could be ensconced between two slices of bread.

Now, though, we are older and, if not wiser, at least able to talk the utmost bollocks with a fluency that would make our younger selves blush in self-consciousness, and we believe that we have seen all that can be seen put between two lightly-buttered slices of bread. We have even witnessed the horror that is peanut butter and lived to tell the tale, even if in a somewhat hushed and shell-shocked manner.

So, it is with some complete lack of surprise that we look upon the lunch boxes of those here gathered around us and find none of it that strange, not any longer, not even when you have cheese, but eschew the sweet pickle as the work of the devil.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Our Past Times


Then the days pass… which when you think about it is bloody lucky really. I mean these days it is hard enough finding room for all the stuff we do seem to accumulate, let alone having to find some loft space for a whole month full of used-up days. Then there are the weeks and months too, obviously some sort of filing system would be necessary, unless you just want to pile them all up in some corner somewhere day on day, week on week, month on month, year on year.

Think of the health and safety concerns alone, though, if a few years worth of days fell on you while you were up in the attic rummaging around in the wife’s discarded old clothes for… er… research purposes. Just think of what the ambulance crew would be sniggering about.. it would be far worse than that time you accidentally fell on the switched-on Hoover whilst wearing some of her discarded lingerie… er… I imagine….

Anyway, moving on….

Really, you’d think that these days with all their alleged environmental concerns that local authorities would have set up some Used-Up Days Recycling Centres. I mean what with fashion, pop music, TV programmes and whatnot all seemingly intent on plundering the past for their ‘inspiration’ you’d think that there would by now be quite some demand for refurbished recycled days from years gone by. By way of example, I wouldn’t mind seeing some of those days from the very hot summer of 1976 again, especially some of those days when the woman from next door used to lie out on her back lawn in her bikini all afternoon.

Tangling the Sheets


So, what will we call it now? These times used to have names when we had simple lives, when these things we do together were what other people did and we could so easily disapprove of them and dismiss them as the failings of others. At least that is how it was until that moment when we met and our lives up to then, up to that instant, faded away as though we had both woken up – at the same time – from some dark brooding dream that left us tangled in sheets in some strange dark room. At least until we too could escape to this room together and tangle the sheets ourselves in that search to find what we now realise we've been searching all our lives for.

We found it, here, together, not realising until we found ourselves alone in this strange room that this is what our lives have been missing for all these years, for two lifetimes lived separate and alone, despite the people we surrounded ourselves with. Out lives up to that moment now look like some rehearsal for a play that will never be performed with actors unsuited for their roles seemingly out of place on the stage of our lives, while we waited, each alone, on opposite wings of that stage, waiting for that moment to come and set our lives into action.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Somewhat Disconcerting


Obviously though, you have to make do with what you've got, after all complaining doesn't really get you anywhere, especially as the penguins have a habit of not really listening and a way of looking at you as though you are a fish, which can be somewhat disconcerting. However, it is not all doom and gloom, at least not until those aforesaid penguins work out how to open the sardine tins by themselves, that is.

Sometimes, I wonder if – after all – we are rather making too much of the penguins, after all they are flightless, despite their undoubted swimming abilities. I mean you only have to look at the difficulties the penguins have in your local supermarket steering their shopping trolleys, and reaching into the lower depths of the freezers to find the fish fingers. When all is said and done, it hardly seems like the abilities of any Master Race I've ever seen. Therefore, I would – tentatively suggest that the threat from the penguins has become a bit of a media panic and perhaps we should take the penguins attempts at world domination a little less seriously in future.

Having said that, though, I have noticed the very.. Very suspicious lack of penguin contestants in all of this summer's major sporting tournaments. Maybe, as some sports commentators have suggested that this is because the penguins are saving all their efforts for the forthcoming Olympic games, but I wouldn't be too sure about that.

Monday Poem: Watching the Sun Go Down


Watching the Sun Go Down

I have been here before
and I have given names
to everything I can touch.

I have held this world
in the palm of my hand,
feeling its tremulous heartbeat.

As the days go by I know
that one day all of this
will come to an end.

And you and I
will have no world left
to walk in hand in hand.
And we will have no river
washing all of our discarded days
far out to the sea.

No trees to shelter under
to hold each other close
kissing as the rain falls.

No soft grass left for us
to lie upon as the sky
revolves around us

No dreams left to tell
each other as we lie entwined
watching the sun go down.

Friday, July 08, 2011

There Was a Time


Once there was a time, but the minutes fell off and we had to take it back to the shop to have them replaced, but it never seemed to work right afterwards, the seconds seemed to take forever to pass and the hours had a strange whiff of elderberries about them, at least during the hours of darkness. There was something not quite right about the years too, the way they seemed to require us to make some rather dubious fashion-related choices and avidly watch TV programmes that in later years always turned out to be utter crap.

Still, at least the weeks worked all right, except for that odd thing with the occasional weekend which seemed to end up with us seeing rather more of the wife's relatives than would otherwise be the case in a more... shall we say, clockwork universe.

Say what you like about progress, but at least you knew where you were with the old-fashioned Newtonian universe, if you time did start going a bit out of whack, all you needed was to give the billiard balls a bit of a nudge now and then and everything was back to normal, bung a bit of top-spin on them too and you could – with a bit of luck - miss out on those wife's relative-visiting weekends altogether. Yes, those were the days... when you could get them to work, that is.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thursday Poem: Open the Dark Door


Open the Dark Door

I do not dream when those creatures
who inhabit the dream world come out.
Instead I stay here inside the ordinary day
until the night is defeated and the dream beasts
slope off to lurk in the dark shadowed forests

to wait for the night to come and cover them
so they can crawl out into your empty dreams
and take them in their claws, ready to bite
With dripping fangs until you are consumed
by the eternal darkness you can never escape

and you too become one of those beasts
that crouches there on the sleeping chest
waiting for the dreams to open the dark door
and show you a way in.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Weight of a Fingertip on Skin


When we begin there are tentative moments that seem to hold themselves still in silence between us. Each touch is sharp as though the weight of a fingertip on skin carries some charge that passes between us. My hands seem to hold the weight of you as you sigh into my arms as though coming home from a long fraught journey through strange lands.

There is peace here, in this world we have created between ourselves, and silence too. Even the distant sounds of the world going about its usual business outside this room seem muted, distant, lost in their own irrelevance. We have here, we have now and we have each other and that is all and that is more than enough.

Your lips move, unsure between words or kisses as your eyes close and your body finds its own rhythms of movement, building a need that my hands, my fingers can answer and shape. Our bodies are as close as they can get without becoming one, even though we move together as though we are one and both, as one, searching for that escape route that will make this small temporary world we have built into a universe that will last beyond eternity.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tales of the Unexpurgated

Unexpurgated cover

Tales of the Unexpurgated is a miscellany of inconsequence that tells you – quite possibly – more than you need to know about such subjects as: All-Nude Chicken Intriguing, Underwater Cookery, Naked Orienteering, Weasel Appreciation Day, How the SAS (Secret Accountancy Service) began, Worldwide Admire Your Own Genitals Day, Homing wasps, the sexual peccadillo, the latest in film, TV and celebrity culture, some of the latest scientific research including why weasels go pop and the Mathematics Of Cupboard Space, as well as features discussing the arts such as: the vibrant world of car park design, conceptual art, the life of opera star Hernia von Volenipples and much, much more including – frankly – rather too much about cheese.

The Black Tower Stands


It stands. It remains. It stands sentinel over us always. The tower stands, high above all these streets we walk down, black, silent, distant. It stands out from all that surrounds it, not only by being higher than everything else around it, but by its seeming alienness. It has been placed there to stand out, to be separate, to be apart. The very strangeness of it compared to all that surrounds it seems to only emphasise that there is a difference between it and all that surrounds it.

It is the watcher. We are the watched.

The black tower is serviced, weekly, by black blacked-out lorries, flanked by black motor bikes and black cars, that provide protection for them, that reverse into it to keep it supplied. There are also the black helicopters that land and take off from its roof, either patrolling above our streets or bringing new staff shifts and taking the old ones away and other - more mysterious – unknown journeys.

There are as well, the black vans with blacked-out windows that suddenly emerge at speed in multiples of three and race down the streets to a place the black tower, or the constantly hovering helicopters have marked out. Then the miscreants – whatever their offence – are bundled into one of those vans by the black riot-geared officers and rushed back to the black tower... and never seen or heard of again. And, if you know what is good for you, never mentioned or alluded to again.

Nowadays we tend to watch each other... and ourselves, just as much as the black tower watches us, almost doing its job for it.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Monday Poem: Whether the Sky will Fall


Whether the Sky will Fall

There were moments when it seemed
the sky could fall and we would feel
the weight of that eternal instant
crushing down on our heads forever.

Then history came to an end
and the world fell apart
and has not found a way
of coming back together,

escaping older histories
that the historical inevitable
was to replace as the world
marched on into destiny.

Now though, truth is still far away
from any of those hands
that reach out for it
held back by old superstitions

and old men’s power games
that twist and distort what is true
to leave women dying in agony
for daring to ask to be human.

And we wonder now whether
the sky will still fall someday
or if we ourselves will instead burn
on those roaring fires of ignorance.

Those Yo-Yo Days of Yore


Once there were spanners we could call our own, once we had tins of salmon too. Those were the days of long ago though, days when you had both a yo-yo and the knees for it. These days your yo-yo lies forgotten in a drawer, its string long since broke and you had to sell your knees to a Chinese toast merchant after the incident of '89.

We still have dreams though.

Even though those dreams are somewhat incoherent and seem to involve a great many sweeping staircases and a rather larger quantity of penguins than would normally be the case, at least this side of the Pennines anyway.

Back in those younger, more carefree days everyone had knees aplenty and even your rather wizened, but surprisingly sprightly, old great-grandmother had some knees rumoured to be about her person. Although, what her person was doing with so many knees, especially after they'd had to flee the 'old country' with such alacrity had never adequately been explained, even at the trial.

Still, though, at least you had some happy days with your yo-yo, before its string broke, anyway, and – these days – how many Assistant Commercial Premises Caretakers can say that?

Friday, July 01, 2011

Looking Askance at the Tulips


It is easy to look askance at the tulips, especially when you trainee supermarket manager plays the solar-powered mandolin with such eloquence and grace while the supermarket shelf-stackers perform the traditional dance of Putting Desired Items On The High Shelf Just Out Of Reach Of Everyone But The Tallest. Once we too danced away our hours down the seemingly endless aisles of the supermarkets of all our dreams, but now we grow weary of dancing our joy at their now seemingly-jaded special offers and we turn to look beyond the shopping trolley strewn car park for adventures that take us beyond the now mundane retail shopping experience.

Even our gizmotronic wonderments lie where we last left them to sit silent, unused and unwanted to eke out the last of their battery charge as we search for something else to touch, stroke and fondle, something that does not have that once so-beguiling shiny bright screen that we used to believe contained all the world we would ever need.

It seems our once so bright and shiny lives have grown dull and tarnished so quickly. So now instead of all that we turn back to stare at the tulips themselves and slowly begin to wonder if – in fact – the answer was somewhere around there, all along.

A Crucial Role in Stepladder Development


Obelisk Doldrums is often regarded these days as little more than a footnote to the enthralling history of stepladders, but there was a time when he was much more famous, and surprisingly enough, not for his crucial role in stepladder development.

Doldrums started out as a music hall wardrobe impersonator, thrilling sell-out music hall crowds with some of the most highly regarded wardrobe impersonations in the then very popular field of furniture impersonation. While not quite as famous as the footstool impersonator 'Titch' Malevolence, Doldrums was at least Titch's equal at conveying a well-polished surface, purely through the use of facial expressions and economical and precise hand gestures.

Of course, film and later TV brought about a decline in the music halls. Unfortunately, though, furniture impersonation did not translate to the silver screen, especially in the silent era when the all-important furniture noises such as squeaky hinges did not translate well to the screen despite the well-telegraphed use of the knee. There was a brief revival in double, and – especially bunk-bed – impersonation in the early years of the talkies, but the sound quality was never quite up to task of successfully recreating the all-important squeak of the bedsprings, especially on the ever popular 'Wedding night' skit that Headboard Wellsprung made his own.

However, what really bought about the rapid decline in wardrobe impersonation was the adoption by the film industry of wide screens, which did little for anyone attempting to impersonate something tall and relatively narrow such as a wardrobe. On the other hand dressing table and sideboard impersonation flourished in the new wide-screen environment. In fact it was a short film of sideboard impersonator 'Fatty' Malodourant that introduced a certain Norma Jean Baker to cinema audiences, before going on to change her name to Marilyn Munroe.

Consequently, as the furniture impersonation work dried up, Doldrums turned more and more to his other great love: stepladders. After 17 years of research, Obelisk Doldrums made the great breakthrough that earned him his place in stepladder history when he realised that a third step on the stepladder could easily replace the hedgehog shelf that had traditionally been placed there. Doldrums realised, in a sudden flash of inspiration, that very few people needed a shelf on which to place their hedgehog when mounting a set of stepladders, and therefore that tricky big step over the integrated hedgehog shelf could be omitted if that shelf was replaced with another step. Thus was history made.