Sunday, 16 August 2015

Revolving Door Catastrophe Brings Stotinkian Studies to Standstill

We regret any inconvenience caused by the two year hiatus in the release of material from the Stotinki archives. This is due to a combination of unfortunate incidents: the extended absence of Chief Archivist, Harriet Kronk, on the disappointingly fruitless search described below; and the difficulty of removing a semi-fossilised piece of pumpernickel bread from underneath the uniquely sensitive mechanism of the famous revolving door at the Institutio Stotinkiano. For the first time since 1913 the back door of the Institute was opened, only to reveal a passage hopelessly blocked by jars of marmalade  which slumped in great drifts to the edge of a vast chasm of unknown depth. The door was promptly closed again.

It is with great pleasure that we now confirm that Ms. Kronk has safely returned from Somerset where, using ancient telephone records and the services of a renowned psychometrist, she has correctly identified the phone box where Gospodin Stotinki left his complete translation of the Voynich manuscript (including marginal commentaries by the mysterious Dr. Cumberland), after he was "distracted by the simultaneous appearance of a beautiful young lady dressed as a 22nd Century Martian speleologist and a salted cashew nut in the coin-return slot."(Diaries, Vol.5) Realising his mistake on the bus to Shepton Mallett, Stotinki was plunged into the period of despair that led to the writing of Oh, no! and other haiku. Much speculation has been made as to the identity of the potential time-traveller, whether she seized the manuscript and whether Stotinki ate the cashew nut.

Needless to say, Ms. Kronk did not find the manuscript in the phone box, despite the psychometrist's assurance that nobody had entered since Stotinki's visit in 1982. Enquiring at a local second-hand bookshop, the elderly owner told Ms. Kronk, "I think we had something like that once, awfully dull read." Ms. Kronk was struck by the curious artefacts displayed around the premises, including a strange head-lamp covered in fine red dust.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Red Dog Green Dog and Wod, Live at Cannings Court 14th September 2013

When, in the spring of 2013, a gigantic hexagonal 'monolith', flawlessly constructed from an unknown substance, was discovered in orbit around the moon, Gospodin Stotinki was among the group of scientists, artists and chefs who were sent up to investigate. Left alone on the spaceship after the on-board computer mysteriously decided to kill the rest of the crew, Stotinki spent the lonely hours in a weightless melancholy. As the beautiful planet rolled over itself in the night, he felt his feet longing for the reciprocal pressure of the earth. In his mind the ground pounded beneath him to the be-tranced steps of the Breton dances of his youth, that ancestral shuffle and stamp, the whirling cytoplasmic daydream of.....

Hearing a thud, he approached the cockpit of the spacecraft. Outside, requiring a space-walk to retrieve it, a small paper flyer was held against the windscreen by the wiper blade. Reading it through the grimy glass, the aching void of stars framing the paper on all sides, he pondered the nature of coincidence then, rubbing his hands with glee, he donned his spacesuit and stepped into the escape pod. He was on his way to Cannings Court.

  "Cannings Court is back!" blurted the flyer.

  "Red Dog Green Dog and Wod", will play for dance, late into the night.

  "Saturday 14th September 2013", it informed.

  "Cannings Court, Pulham, Dorchester DT2 7EA", it directed.


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Beast of Bartcombe

When the mysterious disappearance of livestock in a Somerset village began in 1982, a variety of theories were put forward to explain these phenomena. The surrounding countryside was searched, armed vigils were held at the epicentre of the disturbances. Anecdotic evidence abounds, much of it contradictory. But recent discoveries in the Stoat Inc. Archive may reveal the truth.

Paranormal investigators, Stoat Inc. (formerly O.H.K.), were called in by Lord Heron of Chanter's End Manor after repeated sightings of a large mammal prowling through the grounds of the estate in twilight led to allegations that a big cat had escaped from the Lord's menagerie. The villagers were terrified. Strange tracks had been discovered.

Agents from Stoat Inc. were called to a country barn where a crepuscular stalking animal had been captured by a terrified farmer. Further investigation revealed the 'beast' to be a domestic cat.

But strange goings-on continued. The thatched roof of a village pub was gnawed through leaving a hole big enough for a tractor to pass through. Stores of grain were raided. Walkers were pushed over in the darkness and "sniffed by a snout of sorts..... a silky, snuffling snout," as one witness chillingly recounted. G.S. Poden of Stoat Inc. became fascinated by legends in the nearby village of Bartcombe linking the deserted manor house with ancient legends of Peruvian witchcraft and possible human sacrifice. According to his analysis of the data, events linked with the mysterious beast had Bartcombe Hall as their centre. He decided to investigate. Sensationally, we can now publish evidence of what he found. 

G.S. Poden was reported missing on the 7th of October 1981. A polaroid camera belonging to him was discovered in woodland adjoining the Hall. It contained this photograph. Despite repeated campaigns, his disappearance has never been explained.

The Hexagonal Society of the British Isles would like to thank Perran Anderson Brightman for his help in bringing the Stoat Inc. Archive to light after decades of obscurity and conjecture.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Man In The Hills

"We report here a legendary and, apparently, unique use of mosses for man camouflage, something previously seen in some insect larvae and weevils."
                                                                                Journal of Bryology 23: 264

It was in 1976 that Helvetius Kronk gave a copy of the newly released Burning Spear album Man In The Hills to his friend Gospodin Stotinki. Little did Kronk imagine the effect that his gift would have. Ignoring the vinyl disc within, Stotinki mounted the cover on the wall of his workshop and set his chair in front of it. His diary explains,

"Day after day I have looked upon that scene, imagining myself a homonculus shepherd wandering upon that face. In inclement weather I would shelter in the nasal caverns or build my fire out of the wind beneath the beetling brow cliffs. As I walked out into the world around me I saw evidence of great presences lying patiently in the landscape. Some were hidden in the hills and valleys. Others had been formed, perhaps unconsciously, by human endeavour."

Stotinki read the work of Katherine Maltwood but was frustrated in his attempts to recognise consistent patterns in the figures that he discovered. "I craved ever deeper levels of communication with the beings in the land. I had to become..." 

On a visit to Bèjar in Spain he happened upon the curious rites of the Moss Men. This was his epiphany. "Indistinguishable from the land I will recline like a moss-covered mountain, until I am the moss man, the man in the hills."

Stotinki was found in a partially desiccated state several weeks later. He was clasping the trunk of a tree and had a nuthatch nesting above his left ear. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

On the Map

'About the year 1215, a Zen priest called Mu Ch'i came to Hangchow, where he rebuilt a ruined monastery. By rapid swirls of ink he attempted, with undeniable success, to capture the moments of exaltation and set down the fleeting visions which he obtained from the frenzy of wine, the stupor of tea, or the vacancy of inanition. Ch'en Jung, about the same time, was noted for the simplicity of his life and he competence with which he fulfilled his duties as a magistrate... Finally, he was admired for his habits of a confirmed drunkard. "He made clouds by splashing ink on his pictures. For mists he spat out water. When wrought up by wine he uttered a great shout and, seizing his hat, used it as a brush, roughly smearing his drawing; after which he finished his work with a proper brush." One of the first painters of the sect, Wang Hsia, who lived in the early ninth century, would perform when he was drunk real tours de force, going so far as to plunge his head into a bucket of ink and flop it over a piece of silk on which there appeared, as if by magic, lakes, trees, enchanted mountains. But none seems to have carried emancipation further, among these priests, than Ying Yu-chien, secretary of the famous temple Ching-tzu ssii, who would take a cat-like pleasure in spattering and lacerating the sheet.'
                                                                Georges Duthuit, Chinese Mysticism and Modern Painting
Gospodin Stotinki's contributions to the visual arts have been discussed in these pages before. Inspired by the extraordinary approach of 13th century Zen painters, a near-fatal incident in which he was unable to withdraw his head from a wooden bucket of ox's blood, marked an inevitable change of course from active painter to art critic. Stotinki's interpretations were often unconventional and have been unfairly branded as 'nonsensical drivel.' In this extract he considers Coldstream's 1937 painting On the Map:

'In a haze of uncertain heat two figures are baffled by a landscape which does not exist, an absence of countryside that can only be represented by a map of nothingness held facing away from the one who reads it. These are not, as is often suggested, the artist's friends Graham Bell and Igor Anrep. Close examination shows that they are aspects of the same person. A man, standing baffled by the cartography of the void, is accompanied by his spirit body who sits, barefoot, spattered with the dirt of a desperate flight or furious pursuit through tangled woods and mud-mired tracks. Now he sits in exhausted contemplation of what? A towering spectre of horror just out of sight? Beyond the figures, the Mister Punch simulacrum tree feeds its hungry dinosaur brood with unseen arboreal plankton.'

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Homage to the Remarkable Mr. Hoban

'Some times thers mor in the emty paper nor there is when you get the writing down on it. You try to werd the big things and they tern ther backs on you.'
                                                                                                        Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Fictional Entry

In 1971 Helvetius Kronk moved to Oxford to complete his studies of the flute music of Esrum-Hellerup. In his moving memoir, 'Leaves in a Darkened Room,' he described his two years there as the happiest in his life. He had found lodging at number 23 Fictional Entry, a small street that once formed the entry to Peake College from the High Street. 'The architectural exuberance of the street, so vividly portrayed in Gospodin's paintings, nourished my soul and delighted my senses. The daily task of finding my front door among the shifting geometries and impossible perspectives seldom tried my patience, so beautiful was the puzzle set before me by those ancient hands.'

Fictional Entry was built in the Middle Ages by a team of craftsmen selected from across the known world and briefed with the task of building a street of such complexity that it would be impossible to replicate. With the increase of tourism and the lack of reliable maps and signs, unscrupulous operators had succeeded in diverting visitors to Oxford into convincing life-size models of the city built on the approach roads from every direction. The impossibility of recreating Fictional Entry allowed pilgrims and visitors to verify their arrival in the true Oxford and ensured that the important income from tourism would not be diverted into the hands of charlatans.

Fictional Entry at Night, G. Stotinki
It is hard to imagine the widespread horror that accompanied the destruction of Fictional Entry in 1973 when a young American student called Lilian Mountweazel caused a vast explosion in the neighbouring room to Kronk. He managed to avoid the explosion only through the wilful avoidance of his official responsibility as Captain of the Apopudobalia Team- had he not feigned illness and hidden in a public house several miles away from his lodgings, his return from the playing fields might have brought him home seconds before the blast.