J Bov Explodes Rhetorically

The Riots

Christopher was sitting at the kitchen table when the announcement came.

A tinny voice from the cheap portable radio next to his bowl of boring cereal that came in a rainbow-hued box covered in flashing LEDs said that the rioters had breached the barricades and the police had fallen back. Christopher stared into the constantly flickering, ever changing nano-ads in the gossip-paper, not really seeing, just listening.

The riots had started a few weeks ago and grown in both number of participants and targeted brutality. Christopher once noted to a colleague that they were less like riots and more like an organised movement. To what end, he didn’t have the words to speculate.

The riots had started when the libraries had been made to burn all their useless books and replace them with vid-files. The riots had worsened when schools had started adding ‘Celebrity Studies’ to the curriculum. The riots had reached fever pitch when the TV channels stopped playing the news.

Christopher stirred his beige, tasteless breakfast, wondering if the rioters would come to his street. Whether he would be dragged from his bed and pontificated at, like his colleagues-cousins-friends-brother had been. The people on TV had never explained what ‘pontificate’ meant, but Christopher thought it sounded bad.

The rioters had adopted a name, ‘The Learned Minority’. Christopher and his colleagues had a good chuckle over this, at least when the boss wasn’t in the voice-chat.

“Honestly,” one had begun, “How can they claim to be so ‘learned’ when all they ever do is read old, stuffy books and never switch on the TV?”

Christopher nodded. Then and now, responding and remembering, respectively.

For a second his eye was caught by an ad for a new radio. This one had a bigger power-button than his current model, more lights too and a second liquid-crystal display so he could keep up on the gossip that was happening on channels he wasn’t tuned to. For only £500 a month, this struck Christopher as a good deal. He’d wait, though, until he knew what the Celebs thought of it.

It was around now that Christopher heard the first window smash. They were on his street now. No doubt they would be here soon. Christopher turned up the volume on his radio and tuned to CelebGoss FM. He had to know if he should be afraid.

“I can’t get enough of those slogans they have!” A voice drawled, excitably. “I’m going to mix a few into a new track and play it loud!” Hearing the popular singer’s catchphrase comforted Christopher. He allowed himself a small grin as he returned to his breakfast.

They were coming closer all the time, though, and apprehension reared its ugly head as Christopher checked the bolt on the door. He returned to the table just as something heavy and brown shattered his kitchen window, landing right on the radio set and sending the cracked plastic and still-flashing LEDs careening across the floor. It was a book. It had landed open on a list of words. ‘Pontificate; to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner.’

Talking? Christopher didn’t know how dogs were involved, but he was pretty sure he could handle people talking at him. They weren’t Celebrities; he didn’t have to listen. He sat back down just as the bolt of his front door gave and people began pouring into his flat.

If they were just going to talk at him he’d just listen to his iPod instead. He was going to drown them out, he thought with a little smile, he was going to play it loud!

Not Like This.

I’d always assumed that when the world ended I’d be with my friends and family in a meadow on a hill, watching a city crumble in the distance. The sunset would paint the sky purple and red and orange, Sigur Ros would be playing from somewhere in the background and we’d talk about the good times.
As the end drew near we’d exchange our goodbyes, crack some jokes and then there would be quiet and peace; drawing comfort from the futility of worrying about anything. A bitter-sweet ending, an idealized finale.

That’s why last nights dream struck me to my soul.
The world was ending, but my friends and family weren’t there. They were away on some exotic beach, being massaged by supermodels and chuckling to themselves, this I knew. Nor was I in a meadow. Instead I was on a bus, surrounded by knobheads, the reek of urine ruining my journey.
Occasionally someone would flick the back of my head and when I turned to glare at them I missed the crumbling city behind me, turning around in time to see just settling dust, a horrible grey in the garish yellow midday sunlight. The bus was now parked, but nobody got off.
From the window I could see the panic, hear the running feet. Here and there was looting, I saw a group of children repeatedly stabbing an elderly shopkeeper for a mars bar.
Over the din I could hear Jedward being played from some invisible speakers.
Then, projected enormously against the wreckage, began an endlessly looping video of David Cameron violently robbing a poor, old woman. Perhaps because it was projected onto an uneven ruin, perhaps not, he had taken on the aspect of a six-limbed monster bedecked in hideous spines and scale-like plates. From between two of the plates grew the constantly, sickly grinning face of Nick Clegg, like a tumor.
I could see both Milibands and the rest of Labour springing to and fro, wearing signs which read “the end is nigh!” While I couldn’t question the validity of their warning, I also couldn’t shake the feeling that they were slightly late to this party.

Suddenly I was on my feet; I grabbed and shook madly the nearest person to me.
I continued to shake him as I heard myself screaming; “No! This can’t be the end! It can’t all end like this, can it!? We worked harder than this, didn’t we!? DIDN’T WE!?”
His face remained impassive, staring straight ahead rather than watching the world fall apart around him.
He squinted at me through the pudgy rolls of flab around his eyes, unblinking, and without a word he put another handful of fries into his idiot mouth.
I began to yell incoherently, a wordlessly protest that any sane person would echo. I yelled alone. The insistent sound of a siren began then.

I awoke with a start, drenched in cold sweat, slapping my alarm to stop its wailing. I looked about myself; everything was as it should be, from my window I could see a thin mist, rising quickly in the bright but gentle morning light.
I breathed a sigh of relief and after my morning ministrations I made a cup of tea. I lit my first cigarette of the day and, mug in hand, waited for my jangled nerves to calm.
Sufficiently relaxed and now assured that what I had seen was only a terrible dream, I turned on the television. Eventually, bored of sitcoms, I made a huge mistake; I switched to the news.

I haven’t stopped screaming since.

Random Spatterings Spark Debate
26/08/2009, 4:34 PM
Filed under: Arty-Type Stuff, People, Philosophical Bollocks, SCIENCE!

There’s been a hullabaloo on the internet! Hands up if that sentence surprises you (aside from the term ‘hullabaloo’, obviously).

There have been arguments recently about Wikipedia’s article on the Rorschach Test, the infamous inkblot test administered to psychiatric patients, according to the New York Times. You see, nobody is supposed to know what the cards look like except the doctor who administers the test, to avoid preconception of answers or ideas; the test is supposed to take into account the first response the patient has to the image.
This argument, then, has been over whether or not to keep the image of the first inkblot test on the page, as doing so may decrease the effectiveness of the test.

Then James Heilman, an emergency room doctor from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, decided he would post all ten images on the Wikipedia article, saying

I just wanted to raise the bar – whether one should keep a single image on Wikipedia seemed absurd to me, so I put all 10 up. The debate has exploded from there.

Alongside the ten images, Heilman has also posted research data on the most prevalent responses to each.
It’s possible he may face disciplinary action, although this seems highly unlikely as he is not a psychologist himself.

The images were developed 90 years ago and as such are no longer under copyright in most countries.

Anywho, I thought I’d take the test myself and post my responses here for all to see and judge, so here goes:


Two classical style angels either high-fiving or leaning on each other like drunken Irishmen, engaged in song.


Two dogs facing each other, noses touching. Above that are two weird, red, alien-esque heads.


A person with a boombox checking their style in a mirror. In the center is a red butterfly. The higher red parts look a little like foetuses.


Some animal pelt or skin. Looks a little like a dragon at the bottom. A dragon pelt.


That’s a moth.


If you tilt your head left ninety degrees it looks like a boat with a canon that has only managed to fire a few feet (the top of the blot looks like the splash from the canonball). It is reflected in the calm waters.


Two pregnant women in headresses facing each other.


Lizards climbing a tree.


I see clouds and then some kind of firery gateway or bridge. It looks like a visual interpretation of a journey to heaven painted by an evangelist.


GAH! It looks like a rainbow burst!

That’s all of them.

Incidentally, Wikipedia’s article on the Rorschach Test can be found here.

If any budding psychologists want to tell me what all this means, feel free. In the meantime all this talk of Rorschach has given me a Watchmen craving, so I’m off to read comics.

Catch you later.
J “I’m not crazy” Bov.

On The Whys and Wherefores of my Love of Magic

I love magic. I love seeing it, I love performing it and I love the idea behind it.

The above is a small selection of tricks I’ve managed to learn, ones that I could perform in front of my laptop camera at short notice, but you get the idea.

I’ve been a fan of magic since I was very young, when I was around six I was bought one of those all-in-one boxes “50 tricks for you to perform” type of deal. I learned them all and spent a lot of my time showing them to people, trying to make them seem as natural and easy as possible. Unfortunately I mislaid my box of tricks (PUN!) around the time I became interested in videogames (my love of videogames can be explained with one word ‘escapism’) and haven’t bothered with the all-in-one sets since. Partly because I have no money and secondly because I lost interest.

Just recently I began to feel the urge to learn some bar tricks (Hell, I can go to the pub now, so why not?) and from that stemmed an urge to learn some coin manipulations.
After several years off I was hooked again. I had to watch every magic special on TV, I began to realise that David Blaine is a twat who dresses up cheap tricks and shows them to idiots, I went looking for gimmicks to buy and lamented the lack of a good magic shop near my home (although I hear there’s one in Wakefield).

Now I suppose some people might consider magic tricks to be a childish pastime, brightly coloured toys and flashy movements and I can see why they would. I like to call these people ‘Dead Inside’. The majority of the time these folk will try their damndest not to smile or react in any way besides a derisive snort or sneer even if they’re genuinely impressed. I feel bad for these people. “It’s all just tricks, sleight of hand, magic’s not real.” No, it isn’t, that’s not the point; I’m not trying to make you think I have real magical powers, I just want to impress and shock and engage people with an art form older than balet and almost as skillful. I want people to suspend their disbelief as one would for a film or play and think ‘Wow! That’s impossible!’

Then there are others, the people you want to perform for, the people for whom you begin to get into magic. They will go along with anything, believe any slick talk and hold any object (real or not) just for a chance to be amazed. These people’s faces light up when you vanish a coin, when you make a card explode in front of them, when their initials are on THAT VERY COIN OH MY GOD! Those people are why we learn difficult manipulations, sleights and gimmicks. Those people are why we even exist. If the naysayers had their way magicians would be burned at the stake.

I love magic because of the look on people’s faces when something unexpected and exciting happens. I love magic because no matter how impossible a trick looks it usually has a deceptively simple solution. I love magic because it’s technical AND whimsical.

I love magic because it adds something to the grey drudgery and depressing monotony of our lives. It adds some brightly coloured toys and flashy hand movements. Why do you think juggling has survived so long?

So I write humourous pieces, I make music, I try to make jokes, I juggle and I learn magic tricks. I do these things so I have some ammo in the war against mediocrity, so I have a way of making some people smile, so I can fight off sadness, should the need arrise.

I don’t do it so I have something I can keep from people; I’ve told many people how I do some of the tricks in the video above. I like people to appreciate the practicle side as well as the effect. I don’t do it to be different, hundreds of people enjoy magic. My driving instructor was/is a magician of great skill, a man who owns a restaurant near my home sometimes does tricks at people’s tables for his own amusement.

I love magic because it makes people smile. I love magic because it accessible to almost everyone.
I love magic because it makes you, for a few seconds or a few minutes, forget that the world hates you. Makes you forget bills, accidents, terrorists, CCTV and the fact that you are constantly watched and judged and evaluated on your actions. It allows you to step away from the evils of the world and exist in the moment.

I love magic because it falls into the category of selfless action.
That’s the only heroism left in this world.

I love magic because I like other people to love something.

But most of all, I love magic because there is nothing more fulfilling than making someone smile.


Found Some Lost Pages (Poetry)
21/04/2009, 4:58 AM
Filed under: Arty-Type Stuff, People, Philosophical Bollocks, Writing

Found four sheets of paper under my bed from a while ago when I attempted a spot of poetry. Beat poetry, I suppose. I haven’t tried reciting it over jazz yet but whatever. Still, here it is. Speaks for itself really.

Today, read Ginsberg over a cigarette,
looking for truth and beauty – false legacy of the beat generation.
Visions of grand happiness – deluded by alcoholic, manic-depressive Dharma bums
on the road.
Found a tired old man, sad, missing his mother,
missing his friends,
missing his country.
Confused, indecisive basketcase communist
How I love him.

Sad, read Kaddish (Paris Dec. ’57 – NY ’59)
on verge of tears,
unsmoked stub lay forgotten
on dark slabs outside 11
the Bowie house.
No magic or majesty lost.

Beat poetry –
Beatnik –
Beat Generation –
No ecstacy here, nothing grand.
Sad men and women missing themselves,
looking for happiness not forthcoming.
Angry at the world – disappointed optimists, all.

Perhaps they didn’t realise –
Perhaps they didn’t want to realise
that nothing grand is truth and beauty?
Perhaps it broke them –
mad, gibbering in dark rooms and the endless universe, most,
the rest dead, ungrateful.

Broken by Allen’s sadness
to see the joy anew.
It’s nice to know the universe wastes nothing.
I am point something percent the atoms of him,
as I am of Hitler, of Ghandi, of my ancestors.

Every seven years, every cell in the body is replaced,
I have only been three different people so far.

Explore with pen.
Ink safari, ye faithless.
In jungles of us, you, me,
Savana of humanity, bare on barren page. Who are we?

Those who scorn with pain filled eyes.
Those who, cynical still, encourage.
Those who see and who don’t –
Those who speak and who don’t –
Those who rise and who fall to rise once more.

Those who quit and who fail.
Who are we?