The Gecko Awakes

I keep returning, like a restless dog, to the oft-sucked bone of strange search terms. I claim a literary interest (the procrastinater’s habitual excuse), but it is probably a mere thirst for the absurd, or the simply silly, that draws me back to this peculiar well. And why not assuage this chaotic thirst of mine? Especially when there are so many bizarre search terms shuffling around the ruffled fringes of this blog.

To explain. Someone has found their way to this site by typing the words ‘gecko waking up’ into a search engine. Why they have done this I cannot say. How they found themselves here, well, I can only guess. I suppose it must have been this rather ancient post on the subject of Art Gecko. This, as far as I can recall, is the only occasion on which I have evoked the name of the famous sticky-toed lizard. I don’t remember, all the same, ever dealing with the issue of a gecko emerging from a somnolent state. And why would I?

Perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps the sight of a newly waking gecko would overturn the old bucket of my tiresome life. Perhaps it would tear a hole in the dirty blanket of my existence. Perhaps it would offer a bloody kick to the rough shins of my most cherished traditions.

Or perhaps it would amuse me, briefly – to be forgotten, gladly.

Tiny Pieces

It has, I think, been some time since I brought your worthy attention to a favourite ‘search term‘, perhaps because so few of the recent examples I have come across have caught my elegant fancy. Either that, or my mind has been on other things. In any case, a suitably strange term has just emerged. And this, if you will, is it:

‘animals breaking a rock into tiny pieces’

Is any further comment required? I can only hope that my humble blog offered this particular internet-surfer what they wanted. Somehow I doubt it, but one cannot be so hasty as to assume that one has a hold on the expectations of the contemporary web-wanderer. Perhaps this site is just the place for someone seeking information on/footage of/poems about rock-breaking animals. On the other hand…

As doth the pissing dog

Sometime over the last week, someone was drawn to this blog by the following search-term: “active reading without damaging books”

I am, as ever, intrigued. Is this person seriously seeking a way of reading actively without damaging books? You might as well desire to travel to the North Pole without having to see or touch snow. Damage is an inevitable outcome of active reading, just as it is an inevitable outcome of living. It is not the purpose of it and, on rare occasions, books may emerge relatively unscathed. But to openly try to avoid damage would be a dangerous thing indeed. The pristine book is something to be feared. A book without scratches, like a face without wrinkles, is something to be highly suspicious of. As doth the pissing dog, so life will leave its mark.

Unless the text becomes completely unreadable, one should not worry about the physical damage a book suffers. One should care only about the relationship between the book and the reader. Only if this is damaged is there cause for concern.

Time and Underpants (or What Is It All About?)

To be typed into a search engine one day: Why do people insist on asking search engines questions they can’t possibly answer?

As long-time readers will be aware, search-terms fascinate me. There is a tendency for them to be either eccentric, banal, or both. Here, for instance, is a recent example:

what was the european novel about?

I can’t help thinking that this particular web-surfer has unrealistically high expectations. Like any tool, the internet will help you get a job done. It may provide the nails for you to build a cabinet – what it won’t do is assemble the cabinet all on its own.

Having said that, I am a kindly soul in a kindly mood, so here – for your immediate edification – is a brief answer to the question above:

Apes, abstinence, adventure, amorality, baguettes, bathos, bathrobes, Belgium, coiffure, coffee, combat, death, delinquents, delicatessens, eugenics, eternity, equivocation, France, farce, families, gigolos, Germany, glamour, hagiography, hesitation, heretics, Iceland, indoctrination, infants, jam, jounalism, jurisdiction, kissing, kleptomania, knives, light, life, love, machinery, masculinity, marmalade, nihilism, nostalgia, nouveau riche, old wives tales, oligopoly, onanism, paradise, pretence, politics, quarrels, quarantine, quattrocentro, rats, relics, retribution, sex, Scandanavia, seafaring, tea, testoterone, time, underpants, unification, uprooting, valuation, variation, vegetables, women, weaponry, weakness, xenophobia, xylophones, x-rays, yesterday, yogurt, Yugoslavia (former federal republic of), Zionism, zoophytes and zealots.

Overrun by Wolverines

After mentioning Tomas Lurgsy’s pet wolverine a week or so ago (here and here) this blog has been inundated by those desiring a wolverine of their own. ‘Buy skunk juice’ used to be a highly popular search term around here; ‘buy pet wolverine’ is clearly the new kid in town. Barely a day goes by without a potential pet wolverine buyer ending up at this site, only to leave (no doubt) with disappointment written all over their strange little faces. The idea that people should wish to purchase skunk juice used to concern me deeply; the concept of someone wanting to buy a wolverine – an animal primarily celebrated for its violent streak – is equally disturbing. Lurgsy’s experience should not be setting a precedent: he was a half-crazed Bulgarian poet – not someone whose behaviour we should be wilfully imitating. Indeed, Pyetr Turgidovsky aside, I can think of few less worthy role models.

In short, allow me to be blunt with you, dear deluded readers. If you want to buy a wolverine, this is not the place. Perhaps other places are (or claim they are) ‘the place’. Should that be the case, however, I implore you to stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and exercise that damp, pulsing, slimy grey stuff that sits within your skull. Consider your options carefully. Do you really want an animal nicknamed ‘glutton’ or ‘skunk bear’ to share a house with you, or would you prefer something a little more docile (a cat, perhaps)? A wolverine, remember, is not only an endangered species, but an animal likely to put in its owner in no small danger. Examine this image, if you will. Replace the rock with your living room sofa. Now, answer me carefully: do you still want to buy a wolverine?

Oh, I see. Well, have it your way then…

[Whilst we’re on the subject of wolverines, this came up a few weeks ago. Visit ye, visit ye..]

On Sertin’s Terms

Last night at The Crippled Bee, Jean-Pierre Sertin and I, after a drink or five, got down to the business of discussing search terms. I say ‘got down to the business’: this sounds as though our discussion was pre-ordained. It wasn’t, of course. Sertin’s mind, and mine, move along uncertain channels of wind. Our thoughts flutter like flakes of late winter snow. Down the weird stream of fancy we flow. Through the tides of…

Anyhow. Where was I? Yes: search terms. This is the subject to which we turned, apres much meandering. Sertin had, I fancy, read this post and it had, as well it might, turned on a switch in his creative mind. He was, as ever, full of ideas. And one idea bobbed to the surface more than all the others. And it was this:

To create a work of fiction directed solely by search terms. One starts – on a blog, perhaps – with a story. In time, restless web-adventurers find themselves paddling in the sea of your story. The search term that has brought them there offers for you, the writer, a new departure. You leave by the route by which people came to you. The reader directs the writer, but without knowing it.

There are all sorts of implications, no doubt, though one (i.e. ‘I’) would need to see how such a thing worked out in practice before offering full judgement. Which brings us, I guess, to the tricky part. Sertin is already notorious for working on twenty or so projects at once. His creative pockets are overflowing. He has more ideas than he knows what to do with. Will he, can he follow this particular one up?

Google Knows Your Grandmother

It’s been some time, I fancy, since I last lowered my hairless hand into the lucky dip of search terms (last september, as it turns out). One would expect a sea of strangeness waiting to engulf me – and one would be right, for strangeness is certainly never far away when it comes to search terms. The world is simply jam-packed full of people typing peculiar things into search engines, only to arrive, for one reason or another, at my battered old door. Today I have picked just four of the many weird and wonderful lines I found lurking on my search term list. Trust me when I say that there were many more.

The first is ‘it becomes difficult not to fall in love with death’: an unsurprisingly mournful statement – one which must have led, I imagine, to one of the many articles on everybody’s favourite miser Pyetr Turgidovsky. But who might have written this, and what exactly were they looking for? Consolation? Like-minded nihilists? Or is it the title of an early Turgidovsky short story?

The aim of our second searcher seems more obvious. One doesn’t type ‘bapless burger’ unless one is, well, after a bapless burger. The question remains (and it is, I think, one of the big questions of our age): why is one after a bapless burger? To what extent would a recipe for a bapless burger differ from a regular burger recipe, save the absence of the bap? And how did this phrase link to my website? (is this, too, a title of a short story by the young Turgidovsky; the bapless burger being a symbol of his empty adolescent life perhaps?)

From the profane to the sacred. ‘Sunday of last judgement simplified’ is our third term (and here’s the article, I fancy, towards which it led). Now this one moves my mind in all sorts of ways. People do yearn for simplicity, and who am I to roadblock their highway of desires? Having said that, the Last Judgement (one of those strange historical things that is nonetheless yet to happen) is one of those things that, I would say, tends to resist simplicity. Here is someone, however, who clearly wishes to have the whole thing not only cut down to size, but timetabled. Maybe their Sundays tend to be busy, and they’d rather the Last Judgement didn’t encroach too heavily. Would it be possible to be judged after lunch, since I was planning to invite the vicar? How long do you reckon the judgement will take? Will there be toilet breaks?

Talking of last things: ‘conclusion on my grandmother’ is our last term (this the destination, I presume). Yet another case, it seems, of using the internet to seek the answers to purely personal questions. Someone is perplexed by the behaviour of a grandparent. They seek elucidation. Options abound. They could use their own mind. They could ask the help of other people: family, friends or professional counsellors. Or they could, of course, just see what google says. Google knows your grandmother like nobody does. This, as we well know, is nothing short of a fact.