Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Curious Case of the Swollen Organ, part 3 (of 5).

The continuing saga continues to continue...

Holmes beamed and nodded.
“Indeed I do, his flair for creativity is unmatched by anyone this side of Bakerloo. Who do you suppose fashioned this frock jacket?”
Suddenly, Arthur roused from his slumber, his swollen organ swaying as he stretched his arms and yawned. His eyes opened wide and he looked with horror from his exposed member to Holmes and I. Then he leapt up, returning himself to his breeches. The protrusion was still all too visible, even through two layers of cloth.
“What in the blue blazes is going on here?” he demanded of us impatiently. He glanced from his wife to me and finally to Holmes, who stood upon a chair, his back to us once more, running a hand along the top of the magnificent oak armoire which was the centrepiece of the room.
“I’d sit back down if I were you, Mr Haversham” Holmes explained calmly. “You’re suffering the effects of a mild venom, hence the swelling.”
“Now, hold on a minute. Just what gives you the right to go barging into people’s homes like a thundering great clot and spouting orf all this half-baked gibberish?”
Holmes didn’t reply. Instead, he continued to feel his way along the top of the armoire. Haversham gestured wildly at Holmes’ back.
“I’m talking to you, man! And would you get orf that chair, for the love of -
“Aha!” Holmes cried suddenly, silencing Haversham as he leapt off the chair, holding something aloft.
“Just as I suspected” he said cryptically, as he threw the shrivelled artefact onto a side table. We all gathered around it, inspecting the foreign object with uncomprehending eyes. Haversham elbowed me aside to get a better view.
“Well, what is it, man?” Haversham spat.
“This”, announced Holmes rather grandly, “is the discarded chrysalis of a butterfly.”
“A butterfly?” Mrs Haversham replied, looking about the room frantically.
“Fear not, Mrs Haversham, for the Purple Empress that emerged from this is long gone.”
He stared out of the window then, and I fancied I saw a wistful expression adorning his narrow features.
“It’s probably already dead” he said quietly, “crushed ‘neath the wheels of a vendor’s cart, or else swatted like a common bluebottle, mayhaps.”
Mr Haversham stamped his foot irritably.
“Would someone please explain to me what the deuce is going on?” Holmes finally turned around to face the twitchy little man.
“It was Pendleforth the tailor who brought this upon you. The letters on this table refer to the failure upon your part to pay for a new suit which Pendleforth had cut for not you two weeks ago. You continued not to pay, even after repeated missives urging you to do so.”
At this point, Holmes grabbed a handful of the letters he’d been perusing earlier, then let them fall to the floor, one by one.
“Pendleforth grew increasingly displeased with your cavalier attitude regarding payment, so he came to see you in person, the motive for which was two-fold. One, obviously, to attempt to extract from you the money you rightfully owed him, and two, so that he could plant both the chrysalis and the natural foodstuff of the butterfly!”
“Turmeric!” Mrs Haversham ejaculated. “But how the dickens did he get his hands on such an exotic creature?”

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Curious Case of the Swollen Organ, part 2 (of 5).

The continuing saga continues...

The three of us rode post haste to where the Havershams resided, 229 Brick Lane, and no sooner had we pulled up outside the building than Holmes leapt out of the cab without a moment’s notice and bounded up the stairs three at a time. Mrs Haversham and I followed as quickly as we could, and arrived in the living room to find Holmes pacing about the room, evidently lost in thought, while Mr Haversham’s body lay slumped in an armchair near the fireplace. It was a grim scene indeed, and as though to agree with me, Mrs Haversham pierced the air with a shrill scream. This seemed to rouse Holmes from his ponderings.
“Is my husband - dead?” she stammered.
“No madam, however, I fear we must act quickly and quietly if we are to save him.”
I knelt beside Haversham’s prone form and checked for a pulse. After a few seconds, my efforts were rewarded with a slow throb. Holmes had once again been proved correct.
“I say Holmes, how the deuce did you know this fellow was alive?”
He waved a bony hand dismissively.
“Watson my dear simian, there’ll be plenty of time for explanations later. Right now, we must attend to this small matter.”
With no further warning, Holmes grabbed the comatose man’s breeches and silken undergarments and whipped them down past his knees, revealing a monstrous aberration. A small matter it most certainly was not, for the vessel one would normally expel urine from had swollen to a colossal size, and acquired a sickly purplish hue around the tip. I estimated the girth to be approximately 2 3/4 inches, and the length to be at least 9 1/2.
“What do you make of it, Watson?” Holmes enquired, standing beside me and resting his protuberant chin on one clenched fist.
“Absolutely incredible, Holmes” I replied. “In all my years as a medical practitioner, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.”
Holmes grunted and resumed his astute pacing of the room, stopping at a side-table to briefly peruse some documents, before stepping over to the open window and peering out into the street.
"Mrs Haversham, did you notice anything unusual about the room when you discovered your husband like this?" he asked, his back to us.
The young lady mused for a few seconds before replying.
"Well, now that you mention it, I did notice a rather strong smell of turmeric about the room, especially on Arthur himself."
"Turmeric, madam?" I asked.
Holmes sighed heavily.
"A herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, used as a main ingredient of many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes. Do try and keep up Watson, you cretinous gibbon."
He paced the room a few more times, evidently still deep in thought. He was often irritable and prone to sudden outbursts at these times. It was best to simply let him be.
“And who was the last person to see your husband in this room?”
Mrs Haversham wrinkled her button nose in recollection.
“Well, let me see now. My husband doesn’t receive that many visitors, but I do believe Mr Pendleforth the tailor had stopped by earlier in the day. Do you know of him?”

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Curious Case of the Swollen Organ, part 1 (of 5).

A previously unpublished Sherlock Holmes short story, this marks a real change in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's attitude towards his creation. Written shortly before the sleuth's infamous death at Reichenbach Falls.

It was a rather humid evening in spring, the 24th of May if memory serves, that Holmes and I happened upon one of our more unusual cases. We had not long retired to the drawing room after a dinner of gammon and roasted parsnips and were each of us absorbed in our own pursuits. I was poring over a book of ornithology, studying the mating habits of the common tern, and Holmes was attempting to build a house of cards, his face a mere haze due to the smoke billowing from the tip of the opium pipe he'd been intermittently puffing on all evening. All of a sudden there was a flurry of commotion downstairs, one which by now I had come to recognise as the beginnings of a case, and I rose swiftly from my seat, ready to greet our visitor. Unfortunately, the draught caused by my sudden upheaval was enough to fell Holmes's card castle, and he glanced up at me sharply, a card still pinched betwixt thumb and forefinger.
"Watson, I'd been working on this for the better part of an hour. You realise your oafishness is matched only by your slow-wittedness? In other words, you are a primate."
He rose from his seat, keeping a stern eye on my hunched figure, and flung open the double doors which led onto the hallway. There stood the silent form of a young lady, keen of eye, and ample of breast. Doubtless Holmes observed this as well, for I observed his gaze drop down to the woman’s cleavage, before returning to her face. His lecherous side was almost as commonly displayed as his brilliant deductive reasoning. It was one of his few flaws, I hasten to add.
“Good evening, Mrs -
“Haversham” she replied in a voice as delicate as it was lyrical.
Holmes showed her to the seat he’d been occupying a moment before, brushing a few cards off it as she perched on the edge.
“Now, what appears to be the problem?” Holmes asked kindly.
At this, she threw her hands up and gave a wail of such desperation as to make my eyes water.
“Oh, it’s simply frightful! It’s my husband, you see, he’s been blighted by a most ghastly affliction. I came to you in particular because” - Here, she lowered her voice - “I suspect foul play at work.”
Holmes gave a small nod of understanding.
“Whereabouts is your house, Mrs Haversham?”
“Only a few minutes walk, but I ran all the way here, I was so frightened.”
Holmes rubbed her shoulder affectionately, raising his eyebrows at me as he did so.
“Well, I suppose you’d best take us to your other half if we’re to have any hope of unravelling this mystery at all. Watson, seeing as you’re a medical man, you should prove invaluable in this case.”
He helped Mrs Haversham to her feet, and she seemed to notice me for the first time. She gave an appreciative nod, and I returned a smile.
“Don’t worry, my dear, he may have the grubby appearance and boorish mannerisms of an ape in a suit, but his experience has proved indispensable in the past.”
Without further ado, we hastened from the building, Holmes throwing on his frock coat and deerstalker as is his wont, and I deftly flicking my bowler hat onto my head, before closing the double doors behind us.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Why not wash it down with a pint of Zulu blood?

"When you've got a sweet tooth that a less imperialistic snack just can't satisfy, try new Rorke's! Hundreds of dark chocolate pieces and a few white chocolate pieces 'drift' together for an irresistible and indulgent colonial treat! Celebrate the rise of the Empire with Rorke's! Why settle for a more primitive choice? With Rorke's, it's always a fair fight! You snooze, you Zu-lose!"

Advertising campaign for Rorke's Chocolate Balls from 1880 - 1914.

And you thought the ads for Cadbury's Flake were controversial...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bagsy the movie rights...

Historians have recently uncovered what appears to be extracts from a young Hitler's diary, pre-dating Mein kampf. I managed to get my hands on one particular extract, which seems to shed some light on the young Fuhrer-in-waiting.

Dear Diary,
                   I hate this foster home! Everyone here is against me! All I said was that skullcaps look kind of stupid, and they sent me to my room without any bratwurst. Olga has no sense of humour, and Gustav isn't much better. They used to be such a laugh until they started fostering that kid with the jerry curls. Now I have to careful what I say the whole time. It's political correctness gone mad! Oh well...
 I measured myself today. 5'4", tall for my age. Gustav said if I continue eating well and getting plenty of exercise, I'll grow up to be big and strong. Then the other kids will stop laughing at me.
 I also counted another hair on my lip, that makes 17 now. One day, they will grow into a full, thick moustache and the little frauleins will be mine!
 Actually, that's another thing. All the other boys are starting to talk about girls, but I'm not really interested in them. I mean, some of my best friends are girls, but I don't feel that way about them. There is someone I like, but I haven't told anyone, not even Eva. Here goes...
 There's a new boy here, called Herman and I like him a lot. He has these hypnotising blue eyes and this messy blond hair. Anyway, I think I have feelings for him. I just want to be with him all the time. Does that mean there's something wrong with me? I just don't know what to do.
 Anyway, I have to go now. Olga's taking me to see a play by some guy called Wagner tomorrow. Sounds bo-ring!
                         Speak to you soon, your pal, Adolf (13 3/4).

Apparently, they're recording an audio book version as we speak. Piers Morgan's playing the lead role.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Old hat, I know, but...

I managed to dig out an old review I wrote after seeing 2 girls, 1 cup. I recall rushing to the computer the moment it finished, the words gushing out of me in what was almost a literary interpretation of the events portrayed in the film. Anyway, here you go:

2 girls, 1 cup (18, 2 mins) tells the well-worn tale of 2 people who, through a shared passion, overcome adversity. Nothing new there. But it's the way in which the drama is invoked which makes this film so truly unique.

The performances by the lead actresses are stunningly nuanced, giving depth and range to what otherwise could have been very run-of-the-mill characters. The direction feels fresh and engaging, never being afraid to explore areas which lesser film-makers would dare to tread. I'd go so far as to say it evokes shades of true visionaries such as Eisenberg or Dziga Vertov, while always conveying an original voice.

Overall, the film left me wanting more, clocking in at a svelte 2 minutes. The short duration only made me all the more wary of 3 hour plus epics, which could learn a thing or two from this movie. Despite this, the characters really grew as people, and I with them. I suspect the director has grown, too. I await his next project with baited breath...

Rating: *****(Outstanding)

Friday, 8 July 2011

First official post!

I had so many things in my head for my first blog, and now they've all gone, scurried off into the corners of my mind like so many frightened weasels.

Now Marmite Junction has been well and truly dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, there's no excuse for you not to do the same. Unless of course, you're a technophobe. In which case, the chances of you reading this are phenomenally low.

You can follow this blog and/or the 'official' Marmite Junction one (hereafter referred to as MJ for brevity's sake) if that's your bag. You can also follow us via Twitter, or Facebook, or just track us down and follow us in person. We don't endorse that last one, though. Might lead to court hearings and the like, and we don't want our relationship to get off on the wrong foot.

Anyhoo, that's just about enough from me by way of introduction to the sort of gubbins you can expect from this semi-regular, semi-coherent series of blogs. Hope you enjoy!