Dear Friends

DF 33 - Gruntled in Brazil

November 2003

Dear Friends,

When I said in my last DF that I was gruntled at the prospect of the forthcoming trip to Brasil…of course I was happy; gruntled in extremis wasn't I.

Gruntled means happy (onomatopoeia: as a pig in muck?), content or satisfied; the mood achieved after a cloud has lifted, relief, joy etc. Disgruntled means irritated, peeved, put out or displeased. I've been saying for years that they've got it the wrong way round and that's why, quite naturally I had letters of surprise and complaint …'why don't you like Brasil?' etc.

I love Brasil and we had a wonderful time there. When I say I'm gruntled I mean I feel good.

Gruntled is just one of a set of notable absentees from your OED. What have they got against reverse negatives, or whatever you like to call them? For example dulating means flat, level or possibly untroubled; it's the opposite of undulating, which means rolling, rising and falling, or surging.

Overstandable I suppose.

The ripples in the river
Giving way to waterfalls
The canopies of the forest
Where the ghosts of long forgotten gods
Lie at peace with simple things
And the parts of us that whisper
And say hey
This is a moonlight trip

It's an old abandoned route
And the dust of centuries
Obscures the many signs
It is beyond the wit of man
To farm the sea
As he farms the land

When at home I go to my secret place* most days and reflect upon these thoughts. When I'm touring I'm in a different part of the forest.

My dog…actually she's not any more or less my dog than I am her man, so let's digress along that track for a moment or two.

We are entwined, interdependent, and symbiotic. We need each other. If I have it in mind to go for a walk (and I'm quite random about this) then she'll be aware of subtle signs, like putting on my boots or merely pawsing (I'm truly sorry) for an hmmm in mid-fall from the roof of my studio. It is at moments like these when she gets a sniff of adventure.

She puts down her book or power drill (border collies are very clever), yawns and stretches, then… She's there! Head twitched to one side, one ear cocked, hint of a pant…OK let's go!!! Let's go! How does she know?

The sheep disappeared just before I went on tour. It was strange; we'd had fun all summer with deeply instinctive rituals. Meghan missed them because she'd only recently got them all disciplined and now we think they must be either woolly fish or dead.

And then just last week a fish eating vegetarian described me as a carnivore. I said I'm not a carnivore, I'm an omnivore, but I do eat vegetarians. She appeared to seem not unpleased.

One night around 2.00am I gazed out of the port side window of our bus and watched the full moon being eclipsed by the shadow of the earth as we hurtled along the road to Hamburg. I looked down under the seat on the other side of the vehicle in the general direction of the sun, and it all became clear.

It has been decreed by the Idiots of the Idiocracy (EU Commission, the dept of utter stupidity, pharmaceutical lobby) that aspirins and other analgesics shall be sold in child user-friendly capsule form. You can't buy more than 32 at once but when you get them home your toddler can easily pop them free and swallow them all.

Check out what will happen if you ingest 32 paracetamol... nasty... very nasty.

Last time I was in the States I bought 1000 aspirins in a childproof bottle for US$8.00 which worked out at approximately 0.5 pence per tablet; which is, for your information, at a generous approximation 1/4 (yes that's right one quarter) of the cheapest rip-off U.K. price, some rip-off examples of which rip-off are:

Boots Aspirin Caplets 2.2p per tablet
Boots Soluble Aspirin 2.4p per tablet
Anadin Extra Tablets 9.3p per tablet
Maximum Strength Aspro Clear 15.6p per tablet

Whilst we're in the medical department did I ever explain Dr. Gillan's Bungee Birth Method? It has proven extremely popular with the girls. No more laborious pushing from that most ridiculous (but convenient for the staff) horizontal position.

When your waters go you simply strap on your bungee and jump off the nearest roof. At the nadir of your fall the fully stretched elastic rope will arrest the drop and powerfully draw you back up against the pull of gravity. The baby, which is not directly attached to the first stage, will effortlessly release itself and continue downwards with the momentum created in the original containment, albeit still connected to Mama by its own little umbilical bungee. This can be neatly snipped by the midwife or father hanging out of a first floor window. Then a strategically placed trampoline will reunite mother and child a second later in mid-air, when suitable arrangements should be in place to return them to their bed.

Apart from one unfortunate case of re-entry this method has worked marvelously well in field trials.

I woke up one morning with the blues; my cold had migrated south from a tolerable stuffy head to a congested voice box. I sounded like a Canada goose; one of a honking skein. Deprived of any tone, all I could squeeze out was a signal of existence. Fortunately it was Wednesday, 29th October.

An Iraqi man living in Manchester was being interviewed by the BBC. His entire family back home had been mistakenly killed in a raid on his house...

The journalist asked him...'How did you feel when this happened?'

Imagine a world without television.

Let me take you back to Friday 24th October, London Heathrow Airport.

The last commercial Concorde flights have just landed at 4.01pm 4.03pm and 4.05pm. Studiously coiffured baritone captains of planes and industry have been on TV all day and are now waning lyrical about this exceptional supersonic passenger jet. Celebrities are telling their stories. Spectators are crying and waving goodbye. Ground staff and baggage handlers have announced a strike.

The captain waves his hand airily to the audience...'if this (Concorde) was being unveiled to you today as a vision of the future, you'd believe it wouldn't you'…and I thought yes, I would believe it…how could this happen? Then I realised it was an English impediment. Many significant things have been invented or discovered in England (mostly by Scotsmen); but we find it impossible to make them work successfully for us…televisions, trains, hovering things, evolution, computers, the longitude, neural disruptors (that was one of mine and I'm still working on it), etc.

However, if you get the chance, do read Flatland by Edwin Abbott; maybe it will change your life too.

Cheers,
Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2003

* See Wordography, Chandra's Coriander

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