DAY 52 – Wotan

July 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments

I’ve finally achieved my aim of becoming the victim of a digital crime which I didn’t know existed. Nothing to do with the deep net, or the silk road, or even bitcoins. Nearer, I think, to identity theft, in that  I came to consciousness, sort of, yesterday to find that my phone line had been stolen.

Of course it wasn’t that simple. I rang the ISP to complain the broadband wasn’t working; they said it was because the landline wasn’t working. I rang BT repairs (on the mobile), and they said my number wasn’t a BT number. There followed two hours, by turns angry, pleading and tearful with a succession of bright Scottish ladies whose starting point was that I had asked for my BT phone to be disconnected. (Punctuated, of course, by five-minute extracts from ‘The Planets’.)


Claims that  I had not, I never, I was a lifelong loyal BT customer, were ignored. Why had I asked for it to be disconnected? Avoiding the term ‘Kafkaesque’, which cuts no ice, but whimpering and referring to my feeling of being in a paranoid science fiction world, I finally got them to agree to re-establish the services in eleven working days (a fortnight in real money).

On ringing Ofcom – yes, reader, I had become a complaining-phone-calls junkie – I was told that this kind of theft which BT claimed didn’t happen, is in fact quite common, and is known as ‘slamming‘.

stressOfcom: ‘My phoneline has been switched. What shall I do?’ (Note worried eyebrows.)

Who does it profit? Is someone in China making millions of calls on my non-existent phone line at my expense? Kafkaesque doesn’t come near it. My long-term plan is to extract a crawling letter of apology from BT, plus a cheque, say for £25, to Medical Aid for Palestine. Dream on.

And so to the news you’ve been expecting I would place first – that Mrs Cambridge has been safely delivered of a human with a penis. (At least, that’s what I deduced from the word ‘boy’ on the bulletins, but I expect Prof Judith Butler would give me arguments for querying it.) Does that mean without penis-envy? With no works more scholarly than Wikipedia to hand, I don’t want to take a chance. I’d take a reasonable bet on the infant being, besides male, a white and – in due course – a Protestant. He needs to be since the 1701 Act of Settlement (remember? post number 33) is still in force although Gordon Brown was thinking it over. As a mathematician, I could have hoped to be called in to cast a nativity, but I expect that’s handled by GCHQ; and there will be the usual half-baked tips from the amateurs at the Metro and the Standard.

But, in the hopes of pre-empting the name question, I’ve been pointing out to anyone who will listen that the auspicious circumstances of the child’s birth – 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth, Barenboim conducting Das Rheingold on the day of the infant’s birth – point to a restricted selection of name choices. I personally favour Wotan wotan(hence the title of this posting); with such a monicker I’d expect that, even if he were teased at school, he could fight his corner. While ‘King Alberich’ seems a more untrustworthy customer.
So, here is Wotan’s farewell, and don’t say I never play you Wagner. And, in a different vein, something I’ve been wanting to play since the very beginning: Roger Miller’s ‘King of the Road

Oh, and I’ve forgotten to include a poem. I suppose that Sylvia Plath’s ‘Morning Song’ is an appropriate baby poem. Don’t argue about the disparity in lifestyle, etc, between Sylv and Kate. Both arguably victims of celebrity, as I was telling Jean Baudrillard the other day.He maintained that neither of them existed, and the conversation rather ground to a halt.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.

The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry

Took its place among the elements.


Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.

In a drafty museum, your nakedness

Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.


I’m no more your mother

Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow

Effacement at the wind’s hand.


All night your moth-breath

Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:

A far sea moves in my ear.


One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral

In my Victorian nightgown.

Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square



Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try

Your handful of notes;

The clear vowels rise like balloons.

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