Saturday, October 25, 2014

"What's it like to live inside your head?"
"Oh...! Think of a haunted house!"

A previous installment of the Riddled Cumulative Encyclopaedia of As-Any-Fule-Knoledge touched lightly upon the topic of Novelty Head-shaped Dollhouses. These are not so popular as they once were for they rely on a metaphor of 'neuropsychology as business office hierarchy' -- just as Body-shaped Dollhouses realise a metaphor of 'physiology as factory' -- which became obsolete when both sorts of jobs were outsourced.

Anyhoo, since sufficient realism in a doll turns into Creepy, it follows that a sufficiently realistic dollhouse must be even creeper. In the limiting case, the dollhouse is made for pampered royalty and like all the best stately homes is haunted by the ghosts of dolls that died under tragic circumstances in times long ago.

This is why this man has dressed up as a dollhouse to go trick-&-treating.
The dollhouse shown at right displays a curious posthumous spectral phenomenon or "haunting" causing it to sprout ginger hair. Meanwhile Another Kiwi is asperging the hair with Comfrey-&-Samphire Shampoo which he bought in bulk from Evangeline van Holsterin's well-meaning niece Dolores who works at the hair salon in High Street. There is a Carnacki Ghost-Hunter story in which a room is periodically possessed by a pair of giant ectoplasmic Irish-melody-whistling lips in the floor, but prodigious follicular activity is unparalleled in the field of psychic research.

I suspect that AK is actually dressed for Trigan-Empire Cosplay. He may win the Old Entomologist Hallowe'en costume competition anyway; other customers and barstaff have put a lot of effort into their costumes for the party but they are not entirely clear on the concept.

Readers who are familiar with the Wodehouse canon (and who else reads Riddled?) will remember the Ganymede Club, an exclusive institution frequented by gentlemen's gentlemen on their evenings off where they could enjoy intelligent conversation and argue about which of their employers would be first up against the wall when the Revolution comes. There is scope for Wooster / Wimsey crossover fiction (into which we shall not enter here) for Bunter was presumably an initiate.

It is not so widely known that Keats and Chapman had also acquired the coveted membership cards, the former because his plausible manner and forged references had earned him employment as a manservant to a dissolute scion of the ruling class, and the latter on the more questionable grounds that he was "a servant of the Muse".

Even in his pecunious and poverished situation, Chapman (relying on budgetary advice from Keats) found himself at the end of each fortnight too short of funds to buy any clothing other than the livery of manservantry. At the time of which we speak, he had been invited to a Hallowe'en party and was racking his brains for ideas for what to wear.

Keats was not particularly helpful. "Just go as you are," he counseled.

"My work clothes?" Chapman said, his mind focussed on the importance of keeping them relatively clean and un-puked-on.

"You would be an Uncanny Valet," Keats explained.


Yastreblyansky said...

I myself served on an eleven with the lads at Greyfriars, you know, but found them very standoffish and unwilling to engage, and myself too shy to perform. The headmaster thought I was being ridiculous. "It's not a cocktail party, it's cricket," he said. "What on earth difference does it make whether they talk to you or not?" But it made no difference; I remained paralyzed for weeks, till I heard Chapman speak out loud, and bowled.

Smut Clyde said...

Oh very good.
Unfortunately we've already used the "man-who-sticks-to-his-principals" joke.

Yastreblyansky said...

Thanks very much. I owe it all to you anyway. I'm only half educated, and finally had to ask Dr. Google why Keats and Chapman figured in so many of your best bits. So the principals story was the first one I found. Now I have a new favorite writer, at my age. There's a much more elegant and pathetic version of this joke at my place.