Saturday, August 19, 2006

Summer of the Meme Plague

Hey, as long as there are no hurricanes, tag away.

Carmen the Openly Spacey said "Heh, I'd love to see what Mirtika would do with this one," with regard to words and phrases that a blogger named Songbird heard while holidaying in Britain. (Oh, how I'd love to holiday in Britain!) They call it the BRILLIANTLY BRITISH FRIDAY FIVE.

Okay, sure. I'll have at it, and hope UK Steve understands it's all in the spirit of Mirtian fun. I am, after all, a longtime anglophile and thoroughly addicted to BBC America, and, well, there's that whole Neil Gaiman and Sean Bean thing. Also--confession time!--I have something of a bizarre compulsive must-watch-even-when-I-don't-want-to thing on Robson Green that defies rational comprehension or definition.(I think I just go for the accents and pasty complexions, maybe.) I might as well define something else just as bizarrely:

Adverse Camber: Once the ravages of the 17th century bubonic plague in England has passed, widespread royal and merchant class celebrations lured foreign suppliers into rushing shipments of delicacies to London. An outbreak of the lesser known, but quite vexing Great Intestinal Disorder followed the lush and gluttonous revelries of noble and monied classes. (This is one of the few recorded plagues not to affect the poor.) The Archbishop of Canterbury, being called upon by the King to bless great vats of refreshing fluids that were to be ingested by the stricken, termed the agent of the terrible illness "adverse camber" in the Easter sermon of the affected year, 1667. This phrase puzzled medical historians for two and a half centuries, until it was discovered within the secret diaries of a famed courtesan of the then Lord Mayor that the Archbishop's pronunciation of French was the object of general derision, and what he'd meant to say was "adverse camembert."

Butts Wynd: The main symptom, as noted by the royal physicians, of the Great Intestinal Disorder (GID).

Plague Church: The church, the only one of its kind in the world, was renamed as Plague Church--formerly The Church of St. Imelda the Stout--when it was hastily renovated the spring of 1667, when the GID was at its peak. The long wooden pews had large round holes carved into them at discreet intervals referred to as "the gaps." Each hole was fitted with a pipe that ran down into its own deep, lime-strewn poop pit. The church was ordered thusly altered by His Majesty so that none of the plague stricken royals and advisors need neglect their spiritual duties while afflicted. Today, it's a popular spiritual gathering place for the National Irritable Bowel Syndrome Society's members.

Free House: In typical British humorous fashion, it's the most expensive hotel in England. During the year of the GID, only the residents of this luxurious inn were spared among all the upper classes. This good fortune is attributed to the owner, Mrs. Viola Vickham, an avowed Francophobe who refused to buy or serve any French imports, including the infamous "adverse cam(em)ber(t)." Hence it was, according to the poet John Dryden in his obscure poem on the GID, "Song From A Privy," a house

free of foul disease and cheese
and by God's grace of foulest breeze.

It is widely accpeted by literary critics that the term "foulest breeze" is a reference to the symptom known at the time as "butts wynd."

Mind the Gap: A frequent, outraged cry heard in the Plague Church during the GID.

(Confession, I actually do know what "mind the gap" refers to--has to do with the underground-- because I've read NEVERWHERE. If you haven't read NEVERWHERE, well, you should. Then you'd know about "mind the gap" and have scary, fantasy-reading fun, too.)

Carmen, I hope I did not disappoint. Songbird, I hope I did your holiday proud.


Songbird said...

Mirtika, indeed you did. Indeed you did. Wonderful!

Carmen Andres said...

mir, as usual i laughed aloud and woke my kids. ah, there goes the silence of a saturday morning. but it was worth it, heh. blessings.