1. A DRINK AND A LAUGH
28 March 2009
Yesterday evening, rather late, I was working over the messageboard with the international editors, significantly joining a general cry for the need of a drink and a laugh, after haven ridden out a conflict in the editorial group. I had also been referring to that book about belgian surrealism, and one of the last things I did before leaving work, late, was to desperately look for Xavier Canonne's email address, in order to ask him about several things in his book, including about the apparently longstanding connections between Hainaut surrealism and wallonian nationalism, which he acknowledges but does not discuss critically. I couldn't find a personal email address to Canonne, only an info address for his work at the wallonian museum of photography.
Still thinking about that "drink and a laugh", I decided to at least have a beer on my own at the central station on my way home (I never do that). When I was paying for it, a guy behind the counter was asking "So what the hell is a walloon?". He wasn't asking me but I couldn't resist answering. "It's a person from Wallonia, the francophone part of Belgium" The guy got a strange look on his face, surprised and somehow guilty, stammering "Excuse me, I didn't know, I assure you, I really didn't know".
It took me some time to remember that it vaguely related to that "octopus novella" which was building up a couple of months before.
2. WAYS TO FIND BELGIAN SURREALISTS
- a dreamt recipe
7 nov 2008
Belgian surrealists are not easy to spot. Their preference for the
shadows necessitates very particular preparations. Strangely enough,
it all is, or should be, connected with sexual arousal. But not in a
causal way, but rather in accordance with some vaguely leibnizian
scheme of predestinated harmony, the same historical factors which
will manifest the belgian surrealists will also cause sexual arousal
in those looking for them, without the two actually having any real
It is of crucial importance to have a decent lab. As the process takes
a couple of days, it is crucial to find a lab where people would be
religious or lazy so they won't come in to work over the weekend. Then
it is just a matter of staying behind when everybody leaves friday
afternoon. Search through the women's toilets and collect all used
tampons that could possibly be found. Empty them into an aquarium and
allow their free development. It is, or will become, a bit smelly, but
it is necessary to endure this, since this is the only thing which
will create seahorses from spontaneous generation. It will also create
the rest of the environment of the aquarium, the water, the plants
etc. The seahorses will peacefully swim around in there. By this they
will attract the attention of a secret octopus, who will sneak into
the lab, eat the hippocampi and then assume some elaborate disguise
and await monday morning, since the feast will have made it fat and
clumsy enough to be unable to sneak out in the same serpentinous way
it came in. This disguised octopus is the erotic very ideal for the
belgian surrealists, who will soon converge in the city and find ways
to enter the lab.
3. As a response to my communicating that dream, Jonas Enander immediately sent me a photograph of a beautiful octopus picture hanging outside his room at McMurdo base, Antarctica, which indeed looks like an illustration of the scene where the octopus has entered the tampon-seahorse aquarium.
4. A second response to my communicating that dream, Eric Bragg shared this news clip:
Otto the octopus wreaks havoc
(from the UK's Daily Telegraph - 30/10/08)
An octopus has caused havoc in his aquarium by performing juggling tricks using his fellow occupants, smashing rocks against the glass and turning off the power by shortcircuiting a lamp.
Staff believe that the octopus called Otto had been annoyed by the bright light shining into his aquarium and had discovered he could extinguish it by climbing onto the rim of his tank and squirting a jet of water in its direction.
The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.
A spokesman said: "It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.
"It was on the third night that we found out that the octopus Otto was responsible for the chaos.
"We knew that he was bored as the aquarium is closed for winter, and at two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out a the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water."
Director Elfriede Kummer who witnessed the act said: "We've put the light a bit higher now so he shouldn't be able to reach it. But Otto is constantly craving for attention and always comes up with new stunts so we have realised we will have to keep more careful eye on him - and also perhaps give him a few more toys to play with.
"Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better - much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants."