A PERIODICAL FOXY COMPENDIUM ISSUE NO. EIGHTEEN — 27 JANUARY 2011
F ROM T HE S NOUT When I blow my nose into my silk handkerchief, there’s nothing. Not so much as a microcrust or a rogue hair. You might feel cheated. But I’m savouring the novelty of a shiny clean square. Come back next time for the customary mess of green-grey gloop and scarlet smear. H IS M ASTER ’ S C HOICE Each installment of His Master’s Choice considers a single album that has graced the gramophone of Cocky’s creator and master, James Parker. On this occasion, we behave like frontier scientists and contemplate the Grand Unifying Theory of Zoroaster’s Matador. An analog something-or-other gurgles. A psychedelic vomit of down-tuned doom gushes. Some men intone, moan and groan. You don’t need to hear what they’re singing (if indeed there are words buried in there). You just need to swing your head slowly in front of a gargantuan speaker and suspend your disbelief. You aren’t a bedroom metaller mentally masturbating to guitar riffs until your mum knocks on the door and tells you that your tea’s ready. You are a bearded, hooded interplanetarian. You wade through lakes of primordial sludge. You clamber over bouldery asteroids. You riddle for unknown-to-man minerals in vast Venusian river beds. Echoes growl, prisms groove and pulsars pulse. You face the phasers and the lasers lay you out. You watch the sludge and hear the grey. You touch the thuds and taste the squeaks. Feedback back-feeds into feedback. There are possibilities. Eternal returns, recurrent termini, infernal reruns. Round and round and Big Bang bound. Haud igitur redit ad nihilum res ulla, sed omnes discidio redeunt in corpora materiai.
What was all that crap about? No idea. It seems that I disappeared up my own jaxie for half an hour. When the silence arrived, I was on my knees in the corner of a closet burrowing my head into the floor in search of lithospheric geotherms. That’s what this stuff will do to you. There are no songs, no notes, no words. There is just noisy esse. Zoroaster. It’s customary to link the studied piece to Parker or his vulpine homunculus. Fat fucking chance. All I can posit is that our disciplined, productive author got off to a very late, befuddled start the day he met the Universe. T HE C OCKY C OMPANION Each edition of The Sniffer features an extract from The Cocky Companion, a Rosetta Stone for decoding the less obvious elements of Cocky's London vernacular. This extract farts truths and snaps twigs.
G UFF Guff is a delightfully onomatopoeic word. The double-f that comprises its second half scoffs, dismisses and hints at fuck. “Hermenaut? I used to read that. What a load of old guff! Now I’m all about Combat Handguns Magazine.” As a flangent (a flatulent tangent), it’s worth mentioning that “guff” joins “chuff”, “trump”, “grunt”, “traf” and “parp” in the British schoolboy’s Lexicon of Other Words for Fart. To wit: “Pwoarrr! Etherington just guffed, Sir! It stinks!”
S TREWTH Like many instances of incomprehensible slang, “strewth” began life as a grammatically sensible plea for credulity: “It’s the truth!” But “It’s the truth!” soon fell in with the wrong crowd, started playing truant and became “’s the truth”. Before long, it was shoplifting, smoking crack and going by “s’truth”. And it got thrown in jail, where the cons and guards started calling it “strewth”. There were discipline problems, fights, spells in solitary. Eventually, poor “strewth” was banished by ship to Australia where it will spend the rest of its days arranging books in a prison library.
S CUPPERED If you’re a polite Cockney who shrinks from fucking and buggering, you may end up recruiting “scupper” to assist you in conveying ruin and destruction. “You let Terry work on my motor? Christ.
He’ll only go and scupper it.” “We’ve got Chelsea in the next round. We’re scuppered.” I think “scupper” had something to do with ships, once upon a time. But I can’t tell you for sure, because I’m too lazy to look it up. Just imagine rum-drenched sailors in the 17th century sexually assaulting each other and falling overboard in ecstatic abandon. That’s all the etymology you need.
her Twiggy.” I suppose “twiggy” can still mean “like a twig”. But for me it will always bring to mind an era of dull wits and unimaginative nicknames. T O T HE S NOUT Sir, When hypnotized and regressed to a childlike state, the majority of readers of James Parker's novel (in progress) surveyed uttered one or more of these phrases in connection with Cocky the Fox: Crap-Cake Tits Ecstatic Park Crack Patties I Peck Cat, Rats Tackiest Crap Scat Kit Caper Our analysts are having a difficult time making sense of these phrases — can you shed any light on the subject? John A. Leg-Sun (Psy.D., Cnsmr.Bhvr.D.) Archetype Discoveries Worldwide
T WIGGY Back in 1960s Britain, when homosexuality was a capital offence and women were allowed to smoke in maternity wards, people said what they saw. “That man’s really fat. I’m going to call him Fatty.” Sod the consequences. People didn’t have feelings and, even if they did, nobody would have cared about hurting them. This is the kind of bell “twiggy” will ring with British readers of a certain age. Actually, that should be “Twiggy”. In 1965, a skinny sixteen-yearold, probably in some black and white op-art dress designed to mangle the eyes of lecherous old men, strutted precociously on to a catwalk. Immediately, someone thought: “That woman looks like a twig. I’m going to call
*** Dear Dr. Leg-Sun, How funny you should raise the issue of incomprehensible archetypes. Last night at a psychoanalytic swingers party, I was speaking to your esteemed colleague, Professor Shane O. L. Jung. Several minutes into the conversation, he led me into a quiet corner and, with a furrowed brow, rattled off exactly the same list of conundra. Quite why I should be called upon for elucidatory assistance by two of the world’s foremost experts in cognitive socio-archaeology is
beyond me. Nevertheless, I shall tell you what I told him. If I had to guess, I’d say these cryptic mantra are designed to tease the reader with their surface meaning. Although tits, crap and scat appeal to our shared interests, the phrases in which these semantic nuggets reside are probably red herrings. To understand their full import, I imagine one needs to consider them as a gestalt that points elsewhere. And perhaps this “elsewhere” is too horrific and disgusting a place to name directly. Which would explain the desire for concealment. That’s about all I have to offer. Perhaps Umberto Eco can help you.
T HE S NIFFER
Yours cryptopathically and cacocryptically,
*** If there are questions you would like to ask or remarks you would like to make, you can do so by emailing the editor of The Sniffer (firstname.lastname@example.org). And if you are interested in displaying your allegiance to Cocky, you may care to use the same email address to enquire about the availability and price of one of the t-shirts shown below.
& WRITER Patrick Cates
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