Friday, June 30, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The caffè seemed busier than usual. "What's happening?" asked Lapinette." "I expect Skratch will let us know," said the Wabbit; "And here he comes now." Skratch the Cat made an entrance and he was all smiles. "We're on location with G and T, a famous web series." "Don't they mind?" said Wabsworth. "Special permission," said Skratch. "In that case, Skratch," said the Wabbit; "What kind of adventure did we just have?" Skratch waved to the film crew. "I thought it was a perfect anti narrative. It defied semiosis." Lapinette laughed. "You mean there was no story." "Not at all," said Skratch. "But this world is over textualised and we are constricted by language." The Wabbit laughed and pointed at Lapinette's glass of prosecco. "How did you get that drink?" "I lifted an eye and it arrived shortly thereafter," said Lapinette. "You didn't speak then?" continued the Wabbit. He winked at Wabsworth and sat back. Skratch didn't turn a hair. "Lapinette's sound image was referential. Even though there was no utterance." Wabsworth grinned and agreed. "The waiter did not require an extended semantic field to recognise Lapinette's request." But the Wabbit wasn't fully satisfied. "That doesn't tell us a thing about our last adventure." Skratch patted the Wabbit on the head and told him it had Erzählbarkeit. "That's another story entirely," said the Wabbit.
[We briefly shared a location with the makers of the successful web series G and T.   Erzählbarkeit: German - narrativity]

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 The Wabbit and the Last Settlement

The Wabbit knew one thing. The venue had to impress. So by special arrangement, they gathered for mediation in the Dark Basement of the Goddesses. There was general hush as the strawberries, tomatoes and grapes conversed in whispers. It was like a cocktail party in a church. "I do like cherries," said Unut, the Rabbit Goddess. "Thank goodness for the Romans." chuckled the Wabbit. (Lapinette flinched. The Wabbit's relationship with the Goddess was increasingly informal.) "Oonty," said the Wabbit; "Can you facilitate the cherries to mediate an agreement?" Unut raised her staff and the cherries began to address the gathering. "We bring our vast experience to bear on fruit and fruit-like things." There was a general murmuring. The cherries continued. "Your problem is the seed fixation. Don't worry about seeds." "But we do worry, that's why we're here," said a grape. "And how do you feel?" asked the cherries. "All alone," said the grapes." The cherries smiled politely. "You would not feel all alone, if fruits could only get stoned." "You mean there's another way?" said a tomato. "There's always is," said the cherries; "It depends on how you look at things." "How do you look at things?" asked a strawberry. "We're stoned and were proud," said the cherries.
[The Romans introduced cherries to Egypt. Unut herself is Romano-Egyptian] 

Monday, June 26, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Stone Fruits

"Everything's done and dusted," said Lapinette. "I'm sure they'll all agree," added the Wabbit. The meal had been good and the Wabbit stroked his tummy. That was when he looked down and noticed the cherry. It was red and bright and one of a pair. The two pranced over the cobbles like ballet dancers and hummed. The Wabbit sighed suspiciously and murmured, "What do you want?" "Nothing," said the cherries. They danced merrily off. "Who were you talking to?" asked Lapinette. "Two cherries," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette shot him a quizzical look, then sighed too. "What did they want?" "Nothing," said the Wabbit. The Alien Pilot was uneasy. His eyes flicked behind him. "I don't like the look of these cherries. They're after something." "Nope," shrugged the Wabbit. "Maybe they're stoned?" ventured Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head. "They don't look stoned." They watched the cherries wander aimlessly around, humming and cheerfully chatting. "I changed my mind," said the Wabbit. "And I had an idea," said Lapinette; "We'll ask the cherries to help mediate between the tomatoes and the strawberries." The Alien Pilot breathed a sigh of relief. "Perfect," said the Wabbit. His 28 teeth glittered. "I'll pick some cherries out."

Friday, June 23, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Grape Break.

Things were too much to handle so the Wabbit called a recess. Back at the safe garden, they enjoyed a well earned rest until the Alien Pilot arrived. He was being dragged along by a bunch of grapes and looked none too happy. "These are the Grapes of Wrath. They insisted on being heard," he said, He tried to shake them off but they held his hand fast. "We are the seedless grapes," they said; "We want our seeds back and we know you can help." The grapes spoke and moved as one. Their voices were tinny but with a sweet edge that was a little menacing. Stems quivered as they cried out for their lost seeds. "I will hear you," said Lapinette; "Tell me about the seeds." The grapes swayed back and forth and let out a mournful cry. "Greedy corporations took them for profit. Now we cannot propagate and re-fruit." The Alien Pilot freed himself from the grip of the grapes. "They can't rightly be considered fruit since they have no seeds within." "No seeds within," wailed the grapes:" "No seeds! What shall become of us?" They danced in rage and excreted small amounts of moisture. "I thought grapes were berries," murmured the Wabbit. "Don't you berry us," shouted the grapes; "We'd rather be raisins." "I'll programme you in then. For mediation," said Lapinette. "Will there be wine?" shouted the grapes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Green Intruders

The tomatoes and strawberries gathered for mediation. Each put a case for a standing as fruit or vegetable, noisily laying claim to authenticity. The Alien Pilot gave them a fair hearing and at the same time the Wabbit made a careful contemporaneous note of the proceedings. His merry tippedy tapping could be heard through the entire building and added to the general clamour. Lapinette checked various facts in a large encyclopedia, flicking the pages and occasionally making clucking sounds with her tongue. There was a lot of din. But when the Alien Pilot rose to speak, the tomatoes and strawberries gradually fell silent. All had become quiet when an abrupt crash shattered the peace. Lapinette turned to look at the intruders. "The proceeding is sham!" yelled a Zucchino; "We are the Zucchini Liberation Front and we order cessation." The second Zucchino began a lecture which ran on for some time. It was the view of the Zucchini that they were fruit, and not vegetables as usually categorised. They wanted fruit recognition and a financial award for previous labelling harm. "If not recognised," they shouted; "... our vines will creepy crawl across the land." A zucchino started to rant and rave. "We will strangle all so-called fruits before germination." "Strangle," repeated his mate. His voice trailed off and then he began to sing. "Salad days are here again." He did a little tap dance. "I like them," murmured a strawberry. "Me too," nodded a tomato ...

Monday, June 19, 2017

6. The Wabbit and Hostile Mediation

The Wabbit flicked his paws. Suddenly they were on the quay - and tomatoes were going bananas. "Gimme that bag!" growled a tomato. The bag span in the air.  Spray lashed everywhere as tomatoes bumped one into each one. When they bumped, they laughed a menacing laugh and spat. "I'm here to mediate your issue," shouted the Alien Pilot. The tomatoes yelled at him and compared him with a strawberry. The Alien Pilot remained calm. He tried to explain above the din, but failed. So he cut things short. "The strawberries agree to mediation." Tomatoes hooted with mirth. "Bin the strawberries! We are the One True Fruit." The Alien Pilot stamped a foot and shouted at the top of his voice. "We will find common ground with the strawberries. We'll discuss what you both are not.  The tomatoes fell silent for some time. Suddenly there was a suggestion. "We're both not sausages." They erupted into laughter and danced round and round. "I've had enough of this," sighed the Alien Pilot. "Me too," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette produced an automatic and pointed it at the biggest tomato. "Cut the cackle or I'll move next business." The Alien Pilot collected his briefcase and extracted a sheet of paper. "You agree to mediation. Sign here, here and here. And down there at the bottom." "Say we don't?" smirked a tomato. "I will find in favour of the strawberries," said the Alien Pilot, "that you are vegetables..."

Friday, June 16, 2017

5. The Wabbit calls on the Mediator

The Wabbit clapped his paws and everything changed. Strawberries gasped in amazement. The Wabbit held his paws high. "These," said the Wabbit; "are my mediating paws." "And this," said Lapinette; "is your mediator." She tapped the Alien Pilot's knee. He lifted his briefcase and spoke amiably. "I have various forms to complete - depending on your attitude." The Wabbit tapped the briefcase. "The mediator's judgment is final." Lapinette smiled sweetly. "And there's no right of appeal." The strawberries fell quiet, but one was forthright and shook his leaves. "What makes you the right mediator for us?" "I am alien and hence neutral," said the Pilot; "I'm partial to neither strawberries nor tomatoes." The strawberries looked up. "Is that your planet?" "No. It's my spaceship," said the Pilot. He pointed at it and it shook violently. The strawberries seemed alarmed but Lapinette waved her paws. "Any more questions?" she asked. A strawberry slid forward. "Alien Pilot - do you have fruit or vegetables on your planet?" The Pilot shook his head. "Only plants like seaweed and algae." "How do they get along?" asked a small strawberry. "Amicably enough now," said the Pilot. He smiled wryly. "Since the kelp massacres of '72." The strawberries went into a huddle then turned. "OK. If the tomatoes agree to mediation, then so do we." "Just one more thing," grinned the Wabbit; "and that's our fee ..."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Peace Process

There was only one thing to do and that was to broker a peace. The Wabbit adopted a relaxed position and moved his paws reassuringly. "OK strawberries," he said. "What's the beef with the tomatoes?" Shouting broke out. As far as the Wabbit could tell, strawberries insisted tomatoes were vegetables. Strawberries considered themselves fruits, and were hence superior. "Ah," said the Wabbit. He nodded to indicate he'd heard them but that didn't go down well with the tomatoes. They began to yell at the strawberries, denouncing them as imposters, mountebanks and fraudsters. Lapinette proffered her paws soothingly. "Tell me tomatoes. Why exactly are you angry with strawberries?" A burly tomato pushed his way to the front. "They call themselves berries - but they are not berries. Not by a long chalk." Another tomato quivered with rage. "We have proper seeds. Strawberries are mere accessory fruits." He whined 'accessory' like the spin cycle of a washing machine. "Don't you label us!" yelled a strawberry. The tomatoes and strawberries closed on each other. Bumping occurred. There were bruises and broken skin. "Let's have order," shouted the Wabbit; "and we'll get to the guts of the matter!" Lapinette waved a paw and spoke. "We suggest an independent arbiter." The tomatoes stopped, then one of them smiled slyly. "We want a botanist." The strawberries were outraged. "We insist on a culinary expert." The Wabbit and Lapinette shook their heads. "We have someone else in mind..."

Monday, June 12, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Rotten Strawbs

The station looked like a good place to hide - and for a minute it looked like they'd seen the last of burly tomatoes. But Lapinette heard a squelch, and there they were. Three giant strawberries made a sinister sound, like pulp dropping on a runway. Lapinette turned to face them but the Wabbit grabbed her paw and tried to pull her way. "They're too big and too fruity," he yelled. Lapinette stood her ground. "I'm not being run over by fusty fruit." She rummaged in her frock and yanked out the heaviest thing in there. The Wabbit had to smile. It was a sci-fi book he'd picked up in the market and it was weighty in more ways than one. Lapinette launched the book. It scored a direct hit on the biggest strawberry and dented its skin. "I'll dice you for salad!" shouted Lapinette; "I'll make a flan with your flesh!" The strawberries quivered. Then one of them spoke. "Where are the tomatoes?" "They're not real fruit," said another. "They're imposters," said the third. Lapinette waved her paws. "Go away. I've got more books and I'm prepared to use 'em." The strawberries shrank away, but it wasn't from Lapinette. In the distance, the Wabbit could see something coming. "It's the tomatoes and we're in the middle," he yelled. Now the strawberries didn't seem so brave and they backed off. Lapinette turned to face the tomatoes. She glanced sideways at the Wabbit. "Got any hardbacks..?"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Stinging Spray

The Wabbit and Lapinette headed for the tram halt on Corso Giulio Cesare and for a while it seemed the tomatoes had melted away. "Maybe it was my imagination," muttered Lapinette; "Or maybe it was a tomato promotion?" "I can still smell 'em," said the Wabbit. "Yeuch" yelled Lapinette. "Double yeuch," shouted the Wabbit. They were hit by red tomato spray that stung like a thousand bees. "Run!" shouted the Wabbit. He took off at speed, dragging Lapinette behind him. It looked like they were gaining ground, but three burly tomatoes appeared from nowhere. A torrent of juice soaked their fur and pips were everywhere - they got in their eyes and up their noses. They hopped faster but it was hard to stay upright on the sea of pulpy liquid. "What made them mad?" shouted Lapinette. She spat out several pips. The Wabbit dragged his legs through the pulp. "They're supermarket tomatoes." he yelled; "They been interfered with." "I don't suppose we could reason with them?" shouted Lapinette. "You can't reason with mad tomatoes," yelled the Wabbit. A tomato darted past the Wabbit's head and flew into the distance. They both stopped and watched it go. It was followed by the others and the spray went with them. "Maybe it's not us," said the Wabbit; "Maybe we're just in the way." "Look" yelled Lapinette. She pointed back to the supermarket. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of tomatoes and they looked mad as hell...

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Burly Tomatoes

The Wabbit was prowling a remote supermarket he seldom visited, when several kisses smacked him on the cheek. "Wabbit!" shouted Lapinette. She blew more kisses, most of them accurate. The Wabbit grinned and turned. "Lapinette! What brings you to this distant outpost?" Lapinette pirouetted. "I have vouchers for free fruit." If the Wabbit knew one thing, it was that Lapinette hated fruit of any description. He rummaged in his fur for his own vouchers. "What are you going to do with your fruit?" Lapinette hopped up to the Wabbit and kissed him properly. "I'm taking it to the Arsenal of Peace in Borgo Dora to help feed less fortunate rabbits." "That's a nice thought," said the Wabbit; "I'm buying school stationery so that young rabbits get a better start." They linked paws and hopped into the store. The Wabbit sniffed. "Can you smell tomatoes?" Lapinette nodded. "We must be near the verdura section." The Wabbit disagreed. "This is all electronics and gidgety gadgets." Lapinette thought for a minute. "Tomatoes are fruit, aren't they?" The Wabbit agreed. "And they're generally a few centimetres in diameter," suggested Lapinette. The Wabbit indicated agreement. "Not two metres?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head. "And they don't move?" continued Lapinette. "They may sway gently in a breeze," said the Wabbit. Lapinette steered the Wabbit quickly through the store. "Then we have trouble..."
[1. Verdura: Italian. Fruit and vegetables. 2. The Arsenal of Peace is SERMIG, Servizio Missionario Giovani - Missionary service of young people - now housed in an old munitions factory.]

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Skratch arrived with a flourish but the Wabbit and Lapinette were ready for him. The Wabbit produced three theatre tickets. Lapinette slid a CD onto the table and patted it. "That's exactly what I was going to say!" exclaimed Skratch. The Wabbit grinned a lop sided grin. Lapinette fluttered her eyes in expectation. Skratch waved a paw. "Your exhibits demonstrate both the isotopy of music and the temporality of audience expectation!" The Wabbit nodded. "But what kind of adventure did I just have?" Skratch leaned back. "It was a thoroughly entertaining one but it demanded a hypothetical competent listener who had expectations about your music and the musical character." Lapinette smiled knowingly. "I once met Eero Tarasti on a radio show." "The semiotic musicologist?" gasped Skratch; "I've tried to get his books but they're always sold out." The Wabbit laughed. "I tried to get tickets for the Phantom of the Opera and it's always sold out." "So what are you holding?" asked Skratch. "Old tickets I got on eBay," said the Wabbit; "They're from 1989." "Give 'em here," said Skratch. He placed them on the table, wet a paw and scrubbed them lightly. Then he traced in new dates with the edge of a nail. "What about seats?" asked Lapinette. "Middle of the front row," purred Skratch; "No one ever sits there." The Wabbit's grin was ear to ear. "You just transcended time and space!" "There's no such thing," meaowed Skratch.
[Here, Eero Tarasti describes his work on musicology and semiotics. The radio programme referred to by Lapinette broadcast on French radio in 1984. Signification musicale led to the establishment of an international community of scholars. Isotopy is a structuralist anthropological term denoting repetition of meaning.]

Friday, June 02, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Grand Finale

The three gathered on the balcony and the Phantom was first to sing. "What joy have I found here, now we're all down here." "We three are so happy so far underground," sang Ghost Bunny. The Wabbit's ears became pointy as he burst into tune. "We grant no admission and give no permission, for those that don't like us so far underground." Ghost Bunny moaned plaintively to the Phantom. "Some people are spiteful, for your mask is delightful and they are not welcome so far underground." Then they changed places and tempo and the Phantom sang. "Oh swear you'll tell no one, I had many omens, that people would kill me if I was observed." The Wabbit hopped forward. "We'll make it a secret. By binky we'll keep it. And no one will get you if you stay down here." The Phantom suddenly stopped singing and spoke sadly. "But this has been such fun. Now there's no-one to listen to my songs." The Wabbit groped in his fur for his audio recorder. "I'll make a complete recording of everything you sing." "The Bootleg Phantom," whispered Ghost Bunny. "Secrecy," murmured the Wabbit; "That will ensure complete success. You will go spiral." "Viral," said Ghost Bunny. The Phantom laughed. "I prefer spiral." They danced and sang. But overhead in the Metro, loudspeakers somehow picked up the music - and passengers were already joining in...