Ratatoueat

Comments on the experience of eating rodents and fruit while on a trip to Ghana. By Merv

Adventures In Morse Code

Some interesting thoughts about an old-fashioned comms tech that was the Tw*tt*r of its day. By Nick Sullivan
Samuel Finley Breese Morse clearly missed a trick. If only he had given Harold Bride, the doomed telegraph operator on the equally doomed RMS Titanic, the wherewithal to beef up his SOS message (perhaps with an emoticon or two, maybe a smiley being eaten by a shark or treading water) then perhaps the whole dour story of the Titanic’s maiden voyage to the bottom of the North Atlantic might have been leavened a touch.

Issue III Excerpts Pt. II

Considering the sensuality of a visit to the hair salon. By Paul Sullivan
Looking for a job?
The Wisdom Of Rainwear
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The Genealogy Of A Retail Rudeness Grudge No. 3: people who end sentences with “…so…”
A room in a pub on stag night in Surrey, with the groom done up in a wedding dress; my future brother-in-law, in fact. This was a couple of years ago. On the whole I can't stand Stag Nights, though this one was tolerable in every respect other than what the barman said to me.
I can’t remember the name of the pub, but I recall only too well thinking, when I stepped up to the bar looking for a pint, that the guy had a really c*nty hairstyle.
It was one of those a ludicrously overgelled cockatiel ’dos, the kind of thing you see in the window of Toni & Guy, which is usually a very bad idea on anyone, even emos, but especially an overweight suburban drone in a tight black shirt with unnecessarily high collars, such as our man behind the bar. I didn't actually despise the guy at that point, but swiftly did. We got into a bit of a thing about the pint he poured, you see.
After I'd ordered it, he poured the pint and tabled it, and to me it looked not quite there; it was at about a centimetre of lager too low, so I asked him to top it up. Mr Cockatiel – I'd put him at about 28 – was immediately on top of the situation, officiously swivelling the jar round and wagging his finger at the pour-line, which I hadn't seen, condescending to me in pompous Yes-I’m-Right tones that, in actual fact mate, the level of the beer was right on the pour-line of this unusually tall and slender pint glass.
Then he topped it all by concluding his piece with:
“…So…”
So? SO? So what? I thought? So you won, or like ….so… there’s something else to add, or you’re pre-empting my response, annulling it in the process, or you just can't bear the silence, or so something else entirely?
After the “…so…”, there was nothing I could say, nothing to be added, so I just walked back to the table of stag blokes and drank the pint, privately seething away to myself while making conversation with this rozzer I’m now distantly related to.
Initially it riled me because the guy’s “…so…” to me sounded like an expression of extreme Jobsworthian arrogance, the victor’s celebration in a battle worth all of, I’d guess, 18 pence-odd shared between the licensee and the brewery. I suppose his pride was at stake; it your sole meaning in life is to work behind a bar (on a Sat night, ffs) with a c*nty haircut, officiating minor wins out of a few millimetres of beer is obviously a major deal.
Arrogance is often born out of insecurity, and insecurity does funny things to people. After that episode I kept noticing people concluding their sentences with that strange hanging “…so…” thing at the end, and only occasionally when there’s a element of aggression to the conversational transaction. It seem to be a real home counties/suburban/call-centrespeak thing and it makes me think that people these days just can't abide silence at the end of a sentence, that monologue must continue at all costs.
But also, the “…so…” seems to reveal a failure of confidence in what’s just been said by the speaker; the invisible, unspoken clause that the “…so…” points towards should be their definitive truth; yet usually, it seem to suggest that they - in actual fact – doubt what they’ve just said.
It’s alright, I’m as confused as you are. But anyway, keep your ears open and I’m sure you’ll hear the “… so…” thing quite a lot. Owen McGuire… so…