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Wednesday, 5 June 2019

The Times They Are a-Changin'



   Keats and Chapman had just returned from the Abbey Theatre where they had enjoyed 'The Quare Fellow' an innovative piece by a young playwright called Brendan Behan. Keats slumped down at the kitchen table while Chapman retrieved from the dresser a bottle of Bushmills whose contents he felt would supplement nicely the Guinness imbibed at the play's interval. 

   'What wonderful acting!', declared Keats.

   'And that song, what was it? The Auld Triangle... ', Chapman looked to the ceiling in search of the words, but Keats beat him to it and sang emphatically, 'And the auld triangle went jingle-jangle, all along the banks of the Royal Canal'. He belted out a few more lines in approximate order, all the while keeping time by striking the worn oilcloth of the table with the flat of his hand.

   Chapman waited for the thumping to cease before setting the charged glasses down. As he stood poised he noticed that the vibrations were causing the large soup bowl that had long sat at one end of the table to be displaced. This vessel had rarely, if ever, contained soup, it owed its presence to a vague similarity with a fruit bowl and as such contained old keys and empty cigarette packets. Chapman contemplated the unfaded circle that was being slowly revealed by the bowl's jouncing.

   Keats asked Chapman why he was standing there like a tree as he, Keats, was dying of the thirst.

   Chapman nodded at the table, 'Look at the colours that have been preserved all these years under that soup bowl, the azures... the cobalts... they remind me of my childhood and the idyllic house we had that overlooked Bantry Bay... '

   'The sub-tureen-ean homesick blues', suggested Keats.

   'Sounds like a good name for a song!', added Chapman snapping out of his reverie, and they both laughed heartily at the unlikelihood of such a title.




Friday, 8 February 2019

Invoking the Broader Picture



'But Miss Scallop, lots of males lack external genitalia, fish for example.'



Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A Pedestrian Exchange



   Keats and Chapman were taking a stroll through Stephen's Green when Chapman noticed that Keats had developed a faulty gait.

   'Why the gimp, Keats?'

   'It's these brogues, they never did fit.'

   'But you have countless shoes at home, why wear this pair?'

   Keats stopped and drew up one leg as would a stork. Addressing the brogue brought within reach, he slowly ran his finger along the stitching that secured the sole to the upper, 'Because the others lack such stimulating welts.' There was a slight tremor in his voice.

   'Mmm, I sometimes think your liking for shoes borders on the unhealthy.'

   'Well,' said Keats catching up with his friend, 'the jury certainly felt so when I was tried for 'Public Fondling of Footwear'. The alienist I was obliged to see said I was suffering from 'retifism', a condition named after Nicolas-Edme Rétif, author of Le Pied de Fanchette.'

   'I remember now. Didn't your predilection lead you to be arrested on several further occasions?'

   'It did, one judge called me a multi-retificist, he seemed to find my compulsion amusing.'

   They arrived at the duck pond and sat down on their favourite bench. As the pigeons gathered so did Chapman's brows, 'You've got to admit, Keats, your case is unusual'. He lifted his right foot off the ground and pointed at it, 'You mean to say that this scuffed boot could drive you to distraction?'

   'Not anymore thanks be to God, but there was a time when it would have induced a certain longing.'

   'I see,' said Chapman lowering his foot. He extracted his handkerchief and stooped to polish the spurned boot.

   Keats was staring blankly at the Mallard-strewn waters, 'During one particularly maniacal episode I even became convinced I was metamorphosing into an item of footware, specifically a Louis XV court shoe.'

   'Interesting', replied Chapman who was now admiring the results of his handiwork and appreciating for the first time the sensual interplay of lacing and leather, 'but how could you be chaussure?'



Friday, 6 October 2017

A Neat Disorder



Two cowboys with a herd of cattle walk into a bar and order beer.

The barman says, not unreasonably, 'We don' serve yur kine in here'.



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Birds of a Feather


   Under pressure to clear their slate at the Palace Bar Keats and Chapman found work sweeping up in a soft furnishings factory. As they shuffled between machines Chapman's eye was caught by an apparatus that blew flock into linen bags. He marvelled at its construction, 'Look, Keats, with one flick of a switch one can change the settings and go from filling cushions to filling bolsters!'.

   Keats carefully detached a wisp of ticking that had adhered to his tongue. 'I know some consider us inseparable, Chapman, but I never thought we'd graduate to pillow talk'.



Thursday, 3 August 2017

Imperial Measurement




   From the depths of his copy of 'The Lancet' Chapman sighed emphatically and declared, 'The scientific world is plagued with sesquipedalia'.

   'You mean it persists in using long words when short words would do? How tedious', said Keats.

   Chapman pointed to an article in the magazine, 'It says here that a man, apparently ignorant of medical terminology, consulted a chiropodist rather than a urologist regarding a physical abnormality. Not knowing how to properly describe his affliction the man promptly revealed proof of his troublesome macrophallia. With astonishing insensitivity the consultant said, “But that's not a foot”, to which the hapless patient replied, “No, but it's a good eleven inches”. The poor fella; not only deformed, but humiliated'.

   'A misunderstanding that would not have occurred under the metric system', observed Keats in an effort to take his friend's mind off the injustice of it all.

   'That's true, he would have been referred to the appropriate specialist immediately'.

   'A shrink, presumably', said Keats.

   Chapman chortled, relieved that they'd managed to salvage at least a modicum of humour from such a distressing case of penile hypertrophy.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Literally Criticism



   Keats and Chapman were discussing the relative merits of various American short story writers. Seeing as they had both expressed admiration for Raymond Carver Chapman was surprised to hear his friend's impassioned condemnation of John Cheever. At the end of a lengthy tirade Keats declared, 'Cheever was a workaholic whose prodigious output took a toll on the quality of his writing. Take 'The Swimmer' for instance, I would rather read a... a...' he searched for the most tedious publication he could imagine, 'an accountancy manual'.

'So you're talking about a textbook over a Cheever', suggested Chapman, pleased with himself.

'I sometimes think you're only in this for the jokes', snapped Keats.