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Culture Forum

  1. Standard member yo its me
    watch the acid...
    19 Jul '09 09:37
    Short stories compilation

    What The Water Feels Like To The Fishes

    Like the fur of a chinchilla. Like the cleanest tooth. Yes, the fishes say, this is what it feels like. People always ask the fishes, 'What does the water feel like to you?' and the fishes are always happy to oblige. Like feathers are to other feathers, they say. Like powder touching ash. We smile and nod. When the fishes tell us these things, we begin to understand. We begin to think we know what the water feels like to the fishes. But it's not always like fur and ash and the cleanest tooth. At night, they say, the water can be different. At night, when it's very cold, it can be like the tongue of a cat. At night, when it's very very cold, it's like cracked glass. Or honey. Or forgiveness, they say, ha ha. When the fishes answer these questions - which they are happy to do - they also ask why. They are curious things, fish are, and thus they ask, 'Why? Why do you want to know what the water feels like to the fishes?' And we are never quite sure. The fishes press further. 'Do you breathe air?' they ask. The answer is yes. Well then, they say, 'What does the air feel like to you?' And we do not know. We think of air and we think of wind, but that's another thing. Wind is air in action, air on the move, and the fishes know this. Well then, they ask again, 'What does the air feel like?' And we have to think about this. Air feels like air, we say, and the fishes laugh mirthlessly. 'Think!' they say. 'Think,' they say, now gentler. And we think and we guess that air feels like hair, thousands of hairs, swaying ever so slightly in breezes microscopic. The fishes laugh again. 'Do better, think harder,' they say, encouraging us. It feels like language, we say, and they are impressed. 'Keep going,' they say. It feels like blood, we say, and they say, 'No, no, now you're getting colder.' The air is like being wanted, we say, and they nod approvingly. The air is like being pushed and pulled and yanked, punched and slapped and misunderstood and loved, we say, and the fishes sigh and touch our forearm sympathetically.
    Dave Eggers.
    Saturday January 8, 2005
    The Guardian
  2. 19 Jul '09 17:17
    yes
  3. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    21 Jul '09 08:23 / 2 edits
    A short and curly history of the merkin

    Comedy terrorist Aaron Barschak has another claim to fame - he's put the merkin back in the spotlight.

    Before his royal gatecrash, the prankster amused crowds and cameramen outside Windsor Castle by lifting his pink ball gown to reveal a luxuriant, black pubic wig - making him the latest in a long history of merkin-wearers.

    The Oxford Companion To The Body traces the merkin back to 1450, a time when the bidet was a distant prospect and personal hygiene fell well short of the mark. Pubic lice were common - so some women, fed up with the constant itching, just shaved the lot off and then covered their modesty with a merkin.

    Prostitutes, too, were frequent wearers. In the days before penicillin, it didn't take long to become infected with sexually transmitted diseases. They knew it was no work, no pay, and didn't want to scare the customers off with their syphilitic pustules and gonorrhoeal warts. So the merkin was used as a prosthesis to cover up a litany of horrors.

    The Oxford Companion recounts an amusing tale of one gentleman who procured the disease-riddled merkin of a prostitute, dried it, gave it a good comb and then presented it to a cardinal, telling him he had brought him St Peter's beard. Some prostitutes even used them to give their nether regions a bit of razzle-dazzle. So a natural brunette could offer differing collars and cuffs to demanding customers.

    These days, merkins are largely the preserve of sexual fetishists - although the Oxford Companion notes that this piece of "female finery" is also an "essential piece of the serious drag queen's wardrobe". They can be made from nylon, human hair or even yak's belly, depending on what the erotic dabbler enjoys feeling against her skin. And they're either woven on to a mesh and stuck on with spirit gum, or attached to a transparent G-string.

    "I know a bit about merkins, but I don't know anyone who wears one and won't be designing one myself," says Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway. "I can't see them making a comeback, but it is a bloody good word."

    Would-be wearers will struggle to find any merkin retailers. "We're not 100% sure our customers would buy into the merkin," says Ann Summers spokesman Philip Tooney. "The trend at the moment is less is more - with the 'full Brazilian' and the 'landing strip' proving popular."

    But fanny fashion can be fickle. And if there is a return to the dense undergrowths often seen in 70s porn flicks, then the waxed, electrolysed women of today may be reaching for a merkin until nature restores their full glory.

    Gareth Francis

    [Kate Winslet wore a merkin for The Reader -- Ed.]
  4. 21 Jul '09 10:11
    Aaron Barschak performed at Birkbeck College a couple of years ago and the only thing I remember about the 'comedy terrorist' was seriously wanting him locked in Guantanamo for all time. He was awful, making the mistake that you don't actually have to be funny if you dress like prisoner and think you're the smartest social commentator since Wilde. Twat. I overheard him saying to someone after the gig that students don't get him because he's too real world and they're all closeted institutionalists.