Friday, September 30, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Chequered Door

Susan the Biplane made an approximate landing and the Wabbit and Lapinette lurched out. A skeleton lay across the doorway. "Its bones have bleached in the sun," murmured the Wabbit. "Look!" said Lapinette. A familiar figure sauntered from the doorway. "Wabsworth!" yelled the Wabbit. "What are you doing in these parts?" said Lapinette. "How did you get here?" asked the Wabbit. Wabsworth stopped and spread his paws wide. "I was just doing a small experiment in our shed - and there was a sudden flash." The Wabbit gave a snort. "Any models involved?" Wabsworth was an android and not given to much emotion. But on this occasion he tapped into his 'surprised' algorithm. "As it happens, yes - there were models involved. Kendall Jenner came round for a cup of tea." He laughed in a silly way. The Wabbit and Lapinette figured the event had gone to Wabsworth's head. Lapinette placed her paws on her hips. "What about the skelingtron?" she asked. "I've no idea, he doesn't say much." The Wabbit jumped forward, reached behind Wabsworth and pressed a button that Wabsworth kept very secret. He shook his android head. Even a partial reset was hard on his system. "Where the binky am I?" He looked down and saw the skeleton. "Ah! I do recall," he said. He looked at the Wabbit. "He's from the ghost train." Lapinette jumped up and down. "So what's inside that building?" Wabsworth gave a snort. "An Amusement Park."

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

2. The Wabbit in the Model City

The Wabbit and Lapinette looked in awe. Lapinette scrambled onto a wing tip and looked down. The Wabbit shuddered. "I wish you wouldn't do that." Lapinette wrapped her legs round the struts. "Perfectly safe," she said. Susan the Biplane sniggered and looped around. "Whoah," said the Wabbit. He was reminded he hadn't had much for breakfast. "I see skelingtrons," said Lapinette. The Wabbit ignored Lapinette's mispronunciation because, sure enough, a couple of skeletons were lying face down at what looked like entrances to a strange building. "This looks like a model," observed Lapinette. "Big for a model," said the Wabbit. "Maybe it's a full-size model," chuckled Susan. The Wabbit mulled that over. "Can you have a full-size model?" The Wabbit craned her neck around to see more. "Yes, you can if it's made of a different material. The Wabbit shook his head. "Look for a place to land, Susan." Susan checked it out. "There's a place where I can land but I might roll over that skeleton." "He won't mind," said the Wabbit. Lapinette scrambled back into the cockpit. "We've had to deal with skelingtrons before, remember?" The Wabbit gently guided Susan in. "I was expecting an uneventful trip." Lapinette hummed a tune. "You wouldn't like it."  Susan dipped her wings. "He never likes anything, does he?" Lapinette nodded her head in agreement. "Except Prosecco and a salad sandwich."

Monday, September 26, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Wingtip Stunt

The Wabbit and Susan the Biplane flew in over Eur and picked up Lapinette. It had all been arranged in advance. Susan swept down between apartment blocks in a highly illegal manoeuvre and Lapinette jumped from a balcony onto a wing. Susan laughed. "Welcome aboard, Marquesa!" Lapinette grasped a strut and scrambled towards the Wabbit. It was always windy at Eur, and it was touch and go. But Lapinette was delighted with herself and she smiled a broad smile. "Call me Madame la Dangereuse." The Wabbit threw his head back and laughed. "La belle dame sans merci!" He looked around to check for police helicopters. The skies were empty. Relieved the stunt was a success, he shook his head and set a course for downtown. "Steady as she goes Susan." Susan was appalled. "I'm not a sailing ship, Commander." The Wabbit smiled as they wheeled above Eur. "Why is it called Eur, plenty of euro here do you think?" Lapinette was quick to reply. "It's an acronym. Esposizione Universale Roma." Susan hung on a wingtip. "It looks like an exhibition all right." Lapinette was about to give a lecture on fascist and post fascist architecture but the Wabbit cut her short. "It's Italian rationalism - but that's really only a simplified neo-classicism." Lapinette hooted. "Wikipedia?" "No, I read it in a book," said the Wabbit. They flew over the Museum of Roman Civilisation. "Any sign of a bar?" Susan ignored him. "What's that over there?" Lapinette gasped. The Wabbit stared. "You don't see that every day..." 

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered in the porticos. Skratch was late as usual and prowled stolidly from the back. Wabsworth paused and looked on. The Wabbit had become established in the corner. Lapinette leaped out with a loving cry. "Monsieur Wabbit!" The Wabbit grinned a lopsided grin. "Zut alors, Lapinette" Wabsworth had a few words of French which he took from his universal translator. "Cou cou Lapinette. Tu es splendide aujourd'hui." Skratch was in full cat mode. "Je suis à bout de souffle," he purred. Lapinette turned and smiled. "Welcome Skratch. What was that for a sort of Adventure?" But it was Wabsworth who answered. "A repetition of subject object configurations - as perpetual becoming!" Skratch clapped but held up a paw. "Yes and the story gave freedom to a main character, the Raven. As did Edgar Allen Poe and Roger Corman." Lapinette nodded. "Perhaps our Raven was really a transformed Wizard." The Wabbit agreed. "Our Raven was a milder character than usual, but he concealed something. I've no doubt we'll find out more in due course." Skratch leaned back. "Like Goddard, you treat mainstream as a conceptual property store to be looted at will." Lapinette grinned broadly. "Perhaps the Wabbit also employs derive or detournement." The Wabbit fell about with laughter. "I'd say we did that a lot - as a deliberate policy. And we refuse to be bound by any rules." Wabsworth was most amused. He waved both paws. "Is there any rule about Prosecco?" Lapinette hooted. "Buy as much as you can."

[I'm indebted to Peter Wollen for his 2002 essay on Godard, republished by Verso.]

Friday, September 16, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Raven's Window

The Wabbit and Lapinette were at the bottom of the stairs. "Look up," said a voice. There was the Raven, wings outstretched. He was lodged in the window glass and he hung there happily. "I hope you enjoyed your stairway tour," he cackled. Lapinette smiled. "It was you all along?" The Raven shook his head. "No, no, no. Every tour is different. I am like all birds - merely the carrier of messages. What happens to you is entirely yours to discover and interpret." The Wabbit didn't grumble. "Is there a charge for the tour?" The Raven gave small series of sounds indicating approval. "Nothing fixed. Perhaps you could delve in your fur and see if you a have a pair of internal circlip openers." The Wabbit had a rummage. "They're in my workshop. I'll pick you up a pair at the Dora Market on Sunday." The Raven snickered. "Just leave them by the stairs." Lapinette knew that ravens had a reputation for building things. "I know where I can get a whole set." The Raven nodded again, grinned a kind of a grin. "Be seeing you!" Then he melted into the glass. The Wabbit narrowed his eyes. "Did all that really happen? he asked. Lapinette thought for a moment. "It's a coded message and I think I know what it means." The Wabbit's ears twitched. Lapinette waved her paws. "Always always take the lift."

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Stairwell Plunge

When it happened, it happened quickly. The found themselves pushed over the balustrades by a massive force. They turned head over heels - and tumbled from the rails. The Raven flew after them. He grew to extraordinary proportions and spread his wings to stabilise their fall. "Hold on, I'll get you," he shouted. But the Wabbit and Lapinette had nothing to hold on to. Caught in an invisible force, they were buffeted back and forward. Then everything froze. The Raven too was caught in the jowls of whatever it was. He tried to move his wings but they were stuck fast. "This is unusual," said the Wabbit. Lapinette was upside down and she looked around. "Wabbit, it doesn't matter what way we look, it's all the same."  The Wabbit would have nodded but couldn't. "It's an optical confusion." Lapinette corrected him. "An optical illusion." "Same difference," said the Wabbit. He tried to shrug but it was impossible. Then Lapinette began to intone a verse in a voice as deep as a thousand oceans. "Music of sombre motion. Break the spell's Power and bid the spirit fly, who has come near to dwell with us." They were suddenly free of whatever held them - but they were still falling. The Wabbit grimaced. "I didn't know you could do spells." Lapinette stuck out her paws. "Worth a try." The Wabbit stuck out his paws too. "Abracawabra!" Much to his surprise they stopped falling and drifted towards the stairs. He laughed. "You've got it or you ain't." The Raven fluttered down too. "I thought I'd wing it!" He chuckled. But Lapinette put her paws on her hips and snorted. "Everyone thinks they're very funny." 

Friday, September 02, 2022

3. The Wabbit and Beelzebub Cometh

"Ah there he is," said the Raven, "Coming from downstairs exactly as I said." The ghostly apparition moved stolidly forward. "I am Beelzebub!" he said. He took a step forward. "I am Beelzebub." he repeated. "I am cometh. For I am Beelzebub." The Wabbit paused on the stairs. "He reminds me of someone." The Raven had seen him before. "Pass foul fiend, pass." Beelzebub moved forward at a steady pace. He rounded the corner of the stairs and advanced on the Wabbit and Lapinette, one step at a time. And all the while he intoned. "I am Beelzebub, I am cometh." Lapinette's paw gripped the bannister. The Wabbit's held out a steadying paw to Lapinette. Maybe it was for his own safety. He gritted his teeth. Beelzebub faded and passed through the Wabbit as if he were nothing. The Wabbit felt icy cold and then all was gone. Left behind was an acrid sulphurous smell. The Raven chattered and croaked and that was spooky enough. "I told you. The stairs are spooky." The Wabbit turned to Lapinette. "Did you feel that?" Lapinette shivered. "I did." The Wabbit took a step forward. "May as well go on down. Is that all there is?" The Raven cackled. "Not at all. There's much worse to come." "Can you call these spirits from the vastly deep?" asked the Wabbit. "Anyone can," said the Raven. "Can you make dreadful discords too," asked Lapinette. "Aye and chattering pies," said the Raven. The Wabbit's stomach rumbled. "I knew I could smell food," he said.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Spooky Stairs

"This is the stairway," said the Raven. "I'd never have known," said the Wabbit. "Look! There's a spook now," said the Raven. The Wabbit shook his head and pointed. "That's Lapinette. I know she can be scary. But she's no ghost." Lapinette floated down in an ethereal kind of way. "Wabbit, I wanted to be sure you weren't getting into any kind of trouble." The Wabbit grinned. "Everyone wants to look after me." The Raven addressed Lapinette. "You look like a funny kind of rabbit. You're sure you're not a spook?" "Some say," responded Lapinette. "I warned the Wabbit not to use these stairs. They're haunted," said the Raven. "Just like in books?" replied Lapinette. "A Raven is like a writing desk," ventured the Wabbit. "Now don't you start," said the Raven, "I've had all I can take of writing desks." The Wabbit looked up above. "Shouldn't we check upstairs?" The Raven snorted. "Of course not. Ghosts are seldom if ever upstairs. they're usually downstairs with the unconscious." Lapinette joined the Wabbit on the landing. "But isn't the object to get downstairs without meeting any ghosts?" "You're as bad as he is," muttered the Raven. He made a series of gurgling croaks. "Please lead the way down the staircase and keep an eye open for spectres." At that moment they heard a haunting cry. It lasted long and sounded chilling. "I'm up for it if you are, Wabbit," said Lapinette. "So many horrid ghosts," shrugged the Wabbit. "How dare they?" said Lapinette. "Words spoken cannot be recalled," croaked the Raven," so think twice before you speak." 

Monday, August 29, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Raven's Warning

The Wabbit was back in Turin inspecting the works on the Department of Wabbit Affairs. He was not altogether pleased, but then again, nothing much pleased the Wabbit. He wandered through the building looking it up and down. The Interior Designers had their messy paws in everything he noticed, but altogether it wasn't that bad. He'd reached the top of the building and was going to sneak down the emergency stairs when he saw a strange display. "Oh really," he said, "they've gone too far this time." He stared for a bit because the figure looked familiar. He'd seen a raven just like it at the old castle. "Beware!" said the Raven. "Beware of the stairs!" The Wabbit often received beware messages and he generally took no notice. He gave the Raven an old-fashioned look. "What's wrong with the stairs. Are they a bit rickety?" The Raven lifted its hooked beak and spoke in a quavering voice "They're not rickety, they're ghostly stairs and you'll be doomed, doomed I tell you." The Wabbit looked all round and squinted into the distance. The stairs looked perfectly normal. "It's the quickest way out," he said. He noticed no-one else was using them and he wrinkled his nose. "I'll just go and have a look." The Raven swallowed hard. "I'd better come with you. In case you get into any trouble." The Wabbit laughed. "Trouble is my middle name." The Raven wanted to know whether the Wabbit had any other names. "Double," said the Wabbit, "Let's go." Then together, they went to the staircase ... 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered early morning at a Caffè in Testaccio Market. There was hardly anyone around. It was a holiday and very few market stalls were open. They grinned at each other and said together, "What was that for a sort of Adventure?" Skratch purred. "It was purportedly an environmental adventure with dire warnings about what was in store for the earth. But it was about something else." Wabsworth raised a paw. "The backdrop was more of a considered awareness of the natural world." Lapinette shook her head. "There was a key duality between environment with a post-apocalyptic flavour, and the question of waste itself." The Wabbit raised a paw in the air. "Real questions about what to do with waste." They contemplated for a second. Skratch was first to break the silence. "Charles Soukup poses an interesting question. He says techno-scopophilia and the voyeuristic portrayal of military technology itself is highly sexualised." Everyone's eyes went large. Lapinette pursed her lips. "There goes the family audience." Wabsworth tried to rescue the conversation. "Soukup also points out that the power of technology can be portrayed as both unwieldy and uncontrollable." The Wabbit threw up both paws. "I'll go with that, Wabsworth. We surely aren't victims of the sexualised scopic gaze." Lapinette smiled sardonically. "We're more art house than grind house." The Wabbit leaned back and looked around. "I fancy a Prosecco. Anyone joining me?" "It's 9 o'clock in the morning," gasped Lapinette. "I love the smell of Prosecco in the morning," said the Wabbit.

Friday, August 12, 2022

7. The Wabbit and the Ghastly Waste

Susan flung a grappling hook at the container, and they were off. But before they cleared the horizon a green ship rose from behind a ghostly moon and fired a single shot. It was a bolt of yellow lightening and it struck the container dead centre. The container glowed red, then exploded. Green toxic waste spilled out, bubbled onto the planet surface and into the reaches of the atmosphere. "Change of plan?" muttered the Wabbit. "They'd rather pollute than purify," said Lapinette. "Not much we can do at this stage," shrugged Wabsworth. "Interstellar Mode," snapped Lapinette. Susan didn't wait for an instant. With a roar of her propellers she vanished into a single white light. Space seemed different. Quiet. Eerie. "Not much to look at," said the Wabbit. "In Interstellar Mode, there's no-one to hear you complain," quipped Susan, "How long until we get home?" said the Wabbit. "Since I don't know where we started from, I've no idea," replied Susan. Wabsworth offered a solution. "I made some measurements. We'll be home in time for tea." Lapinette laughed. "None of us drink tea." "I'll do them again," said Wabsworth. He whirred a bit. "Time for Prosecco." Susan chortled. In Interstellar Mode it's hard to tell time." "Must be late then," said the Wabbit. "Or even early," said Lapinette. Susan switched off the drive and the earth swam into view. "Can you see a bar?" asked Lapinette. She wiggled her ears. "Because I can." The Wabbit had a fit of the giggles. "Take us in Susan. It's opening time."

 [Background Picture Pixabay.]

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

6. The Wabbit and the Toxic Trouble

Night fell. The desert gave way to a barren landscape. They could make out alien planets in the sky - or were they suns? There was no way of knowing. The team were on the Ice Mice before they knew it. Massive ears could be seen as they worked on one of their installations - the usual assembly of giant ice cubes. But there was a difference. A giant canister protruded from the dusty planet surface. "Let's go," yelled the Wabbit. He jumped from Susan's wing and so did Lapinette. Together they inspected the canister. "Toxic waste," murmured the Wabbit. "How can you tell?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit grimaced. "It always comes in rusty containers like this. Destined for earth no doubt." They saw two more Ice Mice emerge from beneath the container and run for their lives. "Technicians," said the Wabbit. Lapinette agreed "They have notebooks." Susan circled overhead with Wabsworth. The Wabbit made a sign for Wabsworth to release the grappling hook. "What's your plan?" queried Lapinette. "Get it off-planet," said the Wabbit, "We can't destroy it. It'll hurl crap everywhere." Lapinette frowned at the Wabbit's use of bad language, but decided to let it go. "What about the Ice Mice?" The Wabbit had no idea. "We'll decide later?" He fished in his fur for a package of dynamite and passed it to Lapinette. "You throw it. Keep em busy." Lapinette pitched it as far she could. The Wabbit took brief aim and fired a single shot. There was a distant explosion accompanied by mice-like squeaks. "Fire in the mouse hole," said the Wabbit.
[Background pictures from Pixabay   ]

Sunday, August 07, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Unnamed Desert

The team had nicknamed the place Chuck a Luck, but they weren't having much luck at all. The further they trekked, the bleaker it became. The ground beneath their feet was super parched. The sky turned from red to black. The few clouds there were, refused to give up their payload. No water was to be had, except for weak rainfall around an old dead tree. It was Lapinette that spotted it. She took a cup from her frock and held it out to the meagre shower that surrounded the branches. "Yeugh," she yelled. It was brackish and undrinkable. The Wabbit felt in his fur for a water flask, but there was none. Susan the Biplane flew overhead, dead slow to conserve fuel. They could have travelled with Susan but the Wabbit insisted he could see more from the ground. He began to regret it. "This was once a sea," he said. Everyone had noticed the abandoned barge and they nodded. "Climate change," said Wabsworth. "Maybe this is our future," remarked the Wabbit. Lapinette began to sing again, and everyone slapped a paw to their heads. "After three days in the sun. I was looking at a dry seabed. The story it told of a sea that once flowed. Made me sad it was dead." The Wabbit stared at Lapinette. "What's with all the singing?" Lapinette smiled a strange smile. "Passes the time when we're looking for Ice Mice." Wabsworth laughed. "We'll sing them into submission." They trudged on. "I'm imagining a glass of Prosecco," said the Wabbit. "Imagine one for me too," said Lapinette. 

[Background Picture: MartySeb Pixabay.]

Thursday, August 04, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Alpine Recce

Susan flew into the Alps and for a while her visibility declined. It was as if they were in a fog. But then the fog began to clear. They all blinked. "Where are we?" asked the Wabbit. For once Wabsworth was nonplussed. What lay beneath them was a hot ocean. Above them, two alien suns. And there was rain in copious quantities - but the rain was warm, and it poured down their backs like a hot shower. They jumped from Susan onto a black, charred beach and ran jumping. Lapinette pointed. "Over there. I see rocks." The rocks were hot too but not as hot as the beach. They rested there for a while. Susan hovered over the hot sea. "I'll wait here," she said. "I'm not keen on Turkish baths. They rust my mechanisms." Lapinette had been thinking. "Maybe this is the Ice Mice Hideaway. In a time warp in the Alps." Wabsworth chortled. "Like Rancho Notorious." The Wabbit was amused. "We'll call this Planet Chuck a Luck." They turned, astonished, as Lapinette pirouetted and began to sing in a haunting voice. 
                                      It began, they say, one summer day,
                                      When the sun was blazing down,
                                      It was back in the early seventies,
                                      In a little Wyoming Town
                                      So listen to the story of Chuck a Luck,
                                      Listen to the Wheels of Fate, 
                                      As round and round with a whispering sound, 
                                      It sings the old old story of  ...
                                      ... Hate, murder and revenge.
"What's that got to do with anything?" asked the Wabbit. "I quite liked it," said Wabsworth. "It's a gambling song," said the Wabbit, "but what about hate murder and revenge?" "I'll get to that," said Lapinette.

Monday, August 01, 2022

3. The Wabbit & the Ice Mice Installation

It happened in an instant. They found the Ice Mice and their installation. It was in the shape of a tower and seemed to fulfil a particular purpose. Susan flew back and forth chopping their ice blocks to pieces. Then she activated her air conditioning unit and added a few more ice blocks for good measure. Lapinette and Wabsworth chucked ice on the Ice Mice without mercy and watched them turn tail and run. "That was too easy," commented the Wabbit, "but what the binky were they doing?" Lapinette scrunched up her eyes. "I think it was some kind of reverse air conditioning. It makes ice blocks and leaves the rest of the land ... just desert." Wabsworth was thinking too. "Evapotranspiration?" The Wabbit brought Susan round. "Something of the sort. And the possible end of the line for Turin." Susan wheeled about again in a corkscrew fashion. "Were not going to allow it. Let's hunt the rest of them down!" The three squeezed into a cockpit that was only big enough for one. The Wabbit boosted the heating. "Do a recce of the Alps, Susan," he murmured. "Right away Sir," said Susan, "What music would you like?" Lapinette jumped in because she somewhat disapproved of Susan's affection for the Wabbit. "It's cold outside," she suggested. "OK fine, just another drink then," joked the Wabbit. He delved into his fur, took out a hip flask and poured whisky into three stainless steel glasses. "That took a lot of convincing," laughed Lapinette.

[Background photo: