Wednesday, July 13, 2005

An opening salvo

Is this working?


Yes, here's my little "is this working" post to inaugurate my shiny new blog.

Isn't it a strange thing how every blog in the world starts with those same three words: is this working?

Maybe blogging systems are specially programmed so that they only work if you start off by saying "is this working".

Maybe if you try starting a new blog with something original -- has anyone else noticed how few centipedes one comes across in Doncaster these days?, for example -- the blogging system automatically cancels your blog and no one can ever read it.

Maybe that's why the only blogs we ever see always start off with is this working. There are thousands that began with something more interesting -- but we're never allowed to see them.

"Idle musings for an idle mind," perhaps you are saying at this point. And perhaps you are right.

An idle mind in an idle body, that was our school motto, if I remember rightly, and a jolly good one it was too. I think it was probably in Latin originally, but I was never much cop at that. How did it go again? I've a terrible memory for Latin. Veni, vidi, vici, wasn't it? Something like that, anyway. I think it was Aristotle probably who first came up with it. Frightfully good stuff.

Mottoes are rather out of fashion at the moment in some circles. This is to be lamented. There is nothing like a good motto. Dictums, aphorisms, maxims, epithets, catchphrases, proverbs, all these have their place, but they are not, in my opinion, adequate substitutes for a motto.

I was lucky enough to have diligent parents, who were not content to see me swashed and backwashed up and down the pebbly beach of life armed only with whatever half-baked idiom I could lay my flailing hands on. No, they toured up and down the country looking for a school that would set me up for life, and they were wise enough to know that when push comes to shove, when hanky comes to panky, what counts when choosing a school is not curriculums or gymnasiums or redecorated sanatoriums, but mottoes. And when it comes to mottoes, there are none better than the one that has served me well throughout my life: An idle mind in an idle body.

Now, you will not have been slow to notice, I have so far refrained from mentioning bicycles in this opening salvo of the 2wheels blog. There will, I think, be plenty to come in the velocipede department, so gird up your loins (if girding they should need) and be patient. Bicycles will come.

Before they do, though, I have some hot news in off the wires from the Government. Hold on to your hats, chaps, here it comes.

Target set on Targets

The Targets Minister, John Target, today announced that the government planned to reduce the number of targets by 7% annually over the next 5 years.

"We're on target to meet this tough target, year on year," a spokesman for the Ministry of Targets said.

And who could disagree with that? Have my vote, old fellow, it's the least you deserve.

Yes, yes, the point. I know. I really should get to the point, but that is not so easy as it sounds when there isn't one.

Latest news on the 2wheels website.

Do you know how much I hate myself when I have to say things like "Latest news on the 2wheels website"? What has life come to, when we sing and dance about such ridiculous nonsense? If a man falls off a horse, or a coal-miner's wife grows a very large radish, we would be concerned for the former, and pleased for the latter, and rightly so.

But if a few words appear here and there on a website, should we really be yelping from the minarets, ululating in the cloisters, whirling in the dervishes? The same words, perhaps configured differently, have almost certainly been written down elsewhere before.

If there is anything worse than other people's bicycle journeys, it is other people writing about their bicycle journeys.

Well, fortunately in this case it is not other people writing about their bicycle journeys; no, it is me writing about mine, so relax, sit back, and enjoy. I'd get in quickly, though, if I were you, before all the bicycle stuff gets shoved in there. At the moment I'm recuperating from a lengthy spell of sitting on my back-side in Shanghai by sitting on my back-side in Shanghai. This situation will not be maintained indefinitely. A month or two hence, I will be riding a bicycle again and then the website will start to strain and sag under ponderous weight of lengthy and tedious essays about gear ratios and bottom brackets. For now, there are still a few secluded coves of 2wheels real estate where the bicycle's touch has been but lightly felt.

Have a look around. There are pictures of Bad Things on -- see them quickly before they are banned.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the day when my charming next-door neighbours decide not to boil cauldronsful of past-their-best-before fish heads at six o'clock in the morning. As aromatic alarm clocks go, it is not the most pleasant. Incidentally, someone once told me that humans cannot smell in their sleep, but I can assure you that is not the case. I have it on the good authority of my lady friend that I smell just as pungent by night as I do by day, or perhaps even a little more so.

Gentlemen, ladies, citizens all, it has been a pleasure. I bid you Good Night, and, to my non-voting friends across the manche, a most splendid veille du jour de la Bastille.


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