Just because I’m at the other side of the world it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be blessed with amazing tales of adventure to impart everyday. Unfortunately the mundane, and logistics are all concepts that still exist in Australia, and today has been a logistical one, essentially consisting of getting from A to B.
At 4am I got out of bed, finished yesterday’s Dollop, recorded it and then published it. At 630 we began our journey to Melbourne to take the hire car back to the airport and pick up another one for the next part of our trip.
I’d planned to spend the car journey writing today’s Dollop, but given that I’d only just written a Dollop a few hours earlier, I didn’t feel as if I had anything new to write about. All that had happened since 10pm last night, which was when I finished writing yesterday’s Dollop, was that I went to bed, woke up, tidied up the written Dollop, recorded it, uploaded it and got in a car.
My brain didn’t feel at all alert. I’d had nothing to eat yet, and I’d hardly slept, as I kept waking myself up by the sound of my nose, which was making some very odd noises when I breathed. For some reason, rather than simply blowing my nose and then going back to sleep, I decided that it would be a good idea to record the peculiar sounds my nose was generating, reasoning that I could include it in the audio Dollop. Now that I am awake, the notion that people would want to listen to the sound of my nose, or anyone’s knows for that matter, making a series of odd squeaking noises is an absurd one. But at in the morning, after only two hours of sleep, it seemed like a good idea.
So I got out of bed, and stumbled around my room, a bit dazed and confused due to the dark and sleep deprivation. It took me a couple of minutes to remember where I’d put the recorder, yet that wasn’t enough time for my brain to suddenly think, “hang on a minute, you’ve got to be up early tomorrow. You’ve hardly had any sleep at all this week, and you’re patently in need of it, as is being clearly illustrated by the fact that you’re out of bed, searching for a digital recorder to record the sound of your nose.”
Eventually I found the recorder and got back into bed to record the strange nasal sounds. Rather than quickly recording the noises, then blowing my nose and falling back asleep, I turned into a bit of a director, experimenting with different techniques to create different sounds. I played around with applying pressure to certain parts of my nose, in order to change the air flow and thus alter the timbre. I was rather proud of my seagull impression, until I realised that I was a thirty-year-old man recording himself trying to do animal impersonations with his mucus-filled nostrils, and that I then planned on sharing these noises with other people, and that realisation took the edge off my ‘achievement’ somewhat.
However, I’ve recorded it now, so I’ll put it at the end of this Dollop, in case you fancy giving it a listen. I doubt that many of you will click on it, but I might be wrong. This might turn out to be my biggest hit yet. Sometimes there is just no knowing, although I think in this case there probably is. But I’ll keep an eye on my web stats, just in case this does turn out to be my most popular Dollop yet.
Perhaps the Dollop will go viral, or maybe it’s just my nose that will go viral, due to my relentless prodding and poking, as I try and emulate more and more animals that my now millions of fans are requesting to hear. And I feel obliged to continue despite my nasal virus, especially given that I’ve been asked to appear on the Children In Need TV programme and take part in a telethon whereby people donate money to hear me do impressions of things with my nose. I don’t have it in my heart to say no, when I do have it in my nose to say yes, and save lives. The fate of so many disabled children rests upon my shoulders, or more accurately, my nose. I desperately need some medical intervention to stop my nose from eventually falling off, but ironically I can’t afford the treatment because I’m spending all my time and energy saving lives for free. And when I do get a couple of hours to rest I just don’t have the energy to do any more nose noises in order to raise funds for my much needed treatment.
But then one day my career ends in an epic fashion. I am asked to perform for the queen. There is much head scratching, partly because I am not at all a monarchist and don’t want to be seen as supporting a system which I see as a pointless totem of inequality and unjustness, but also because one of the side effects of my virus is a ridiculously itchy head. In the end I decide to accept the offer, as it would provide me with enough money to fund my medical treatment.
Before I get to actually meet the queen, I have to listen to a lecture from a member of palace staff, who tells me about proper protocol for my discourse with her. Apparently this is a thing that always happens before people are allowed to meet the Queen, according to a few people I know who’ve been to Buckingham Palace. Charity workers who have seen some of the most harrowing things, helping refugees, orphans and disabled children, heroes of World War II, pioneering scientists who’s work is saving lives, all have to receive a lecture about proper protocol for addressing the queen. What an absolute insult. As if any of that matters. The only reason the queen isn’t an orphan or a refugee is purely because of chance. She happened to pop out of the right hole at the right time. Whereas the people she’s meeting have popped out of much less lucrative holes and yet succeeded in doing remarkable things that provide value and benefit others’ lives, yet it is they who get patronised by a lecture telling them how to bow properly, and that you say “mam, as in jam,” not “marm, as in arm,” which is apparently one of the points of the lecture. You also get told that you should call her “your majesty” the first time you address her, but after that you are OK to call her mam, but don’t you dare say “marm as in arm.” Have you got all that, peasant?
“I’m afraid we have a problem. This man refuses to bow. He is therefore not permitted to meet our gracious queen.”
“But he’s Professor Stephen Hawking, one of our planet’s leading thinkers and scientists.”
“Yes, but that’s hardly the point is it? He won’t bow.”
“And he won’t say mam, as in jam, he keeps saying marm, as in arm. The sheer impertinence.”
“Well that’s hardly his fault, he’s using a speech synthesiser.”
“Look, he’s clearly a flagrant anti-monarchist. He refuses to bow, uses the wrong phonemes to refer to the queen, and what’s more, he’s clearly never stood up and sang the National Anthem. People like him make me sick.”
It was me, however, who was responsible for making the queen sick, for at the moment that I met the queen, I did something that I hadn’t allowed myself to do for twenty years, since I discovered my nasal-based talent. It’s important to keep the nose full of mucus, in order to get the best performance, and I soon discovered that the more mucus the nose has, the better the performance. I’ve therefore been vigilant about keeping the precious mucus inside my nose. I have therefore not blown my nose for twenty years, and take to wearing a clothes peg fixed on my nose when I am not performing. However, I was told that I couldn’t wear a peg on my nose to meet the queen, and so I was forced to take it off. But my nose was not used to being unpegged for so long, and in my efforts to concentrate on saying the right thing to her majesty, I let my guard down. Which is why when I met the queen, I sneezed all over her, drenching her in twenty years of mucus. Then to make matters even worse, when the queen had wiped the snot from her eyes, she saw my dismembered nose, lying on the floor – the virus had finally taken its toll. This caused the queen to throw-up, creating even more mess.
Of course, many people saw this as a deliberate act of descent. There were mass protests, calling for me to be tried for treason. The term “sneezin treason” became ubiquitous, being frequently used by broadcasters and journalists. People in the government were voicing their opinion that my motives needed to be investigated, leading to “sneezegate” becoming the most commonly used word in the media that year. The sneeze also acted as a rallying cry for an anti-monarchist movement, and there were calls for a revolution, starting with an overthrowing of the monarchy. David Cameron was livid, and did a YouTube video wearing one of his finest suits and ties, in order to condemn me and my ilk. Russell Brand set up a new YouTube channel called the a-choos, quoted some spiritual philosophers, used some big words and called for revolution.
Sadly, as much as I’m sure you’d love to hear more of this story, I have to go now, as we’ve arrived at our destination. However, don’t despair, because I’ll leave you with a minute of edited highlights from my nasal noises recording. I think you might also enjoy this Chloe because you can hear me breathing directly into the recorder.