It’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. It’s been a long while indeed, since I last held you enraptured with my characteristic blend of insight and intrigue.
If a lighthouse-keeper leaves his post, the ships that depend upon his guiding lamp are betrayed to a violent end amongst rocky outcrops and the ruthless scavenging of coastal folk. When a shepherd forsakes his flock, his woolly charges are rendered easy pickings for ravening wolves and Welchmen.
For Johnny Fisher to abandon his ethereal craft for two years and leave his loyal crew to the capricious whims of the Seas of Intrigue is perhaps the most serious crime of all. I wholeheartedly apologise for this uncharacteristic lapse in my characteristically prodigious levels of output.
There has never been a more urgent need for Fisherian societal commentary, and as the formerly-foremost libertarian-magicikian at large on the internet, I once more pick up the sceptre and wade into the marsh of dreck before me, batting aside false pretenders.
So where have I been?
Except for recently posting a short synopsis on a horror story idea (The Human Matryoshka), I have been absent from the Darksome Schooner for two years. Why? What happened?
Well, a couple of things.
One noteworthy event that occurred during the period was the departure of my able lieutenant, I_PWN_YER_MA_84. Pwney is no longer a member of that ancient fraternity known as the Fisherians, and although he now holds a similar status to one Dermot Davies (i.e. the status of “former Fisherian”), we should not look on Pwney with anywhere near as much derision as we do upon Dermy the Mistruther, one of Carrickfergus’ most considerable twats.
Pwney’s own take on the reasons for the schism may be found in an eloquent piece on his blog; for my own part I wish to remain silent on the matter, maintaining a position of quiet dignity. (All I will say is, he knows fuck all about Balrogs).
Pwney’s profound contributions to this blog and to the Fisherian cause in general will never be forgotten, and hosting the second most ablest mind in the world of Intrigue is something he should be proud of. I look forward to reading his own blog entries over on Pwn Alwn.
But no, shipmates, Pwney’s messy ejection from the Fisherians is not the sole cause of my recent self-imposed exile from the Darksome Schooner.
In truth, Johnny Fisher met a girl. ‘Twas a whirlwind romance, and ‘tis a tumultuous tale.
Our eyes first met through a pungent haze of Malt Vinegar, down Andy’s chip shop. That inestimable peddler of artery-destroying victuals was liberally dousing an amorphous mess of deep fried matter with said condiment when the door of the greasy establishment opened. Turning my head in a casual manner to investigate who had initiated the tinny tinkling of the door chimes, I beheld her. Long dark hair and a fulsome figure, like the goddess Nyx personified, she floated through the joint and ordered up a sausage supper in a tantalisingly exotic accent.
At first I couldn’t place it. She expanded upon her order, securing a liberal dousing of the old Salt and V and a side portion of curry sauce, while I listened carefully to her pronunciation. From the way she handled her sibilants I could tell she was not from Larne; in fact I could rule out the whole of the Whitehead region. Was she from the west, then?! Her accent was polished enough that Belfast’s earthier suburbs were excluded from my considerations, and my palms began to sweat as the realisation hit me that I was dealing with someone from even further afield, perhaps from the fabled lands south of Belfast Lough: fair Holywood where the golf course crests the emerald hills, or Cultra where the yacht-wrights labour, or mayhap even Bangor, where be-hatted sailors lounge in harbour-side cafes lunching on sturgeon.
I secretly hoped she was not from the dark peninsula known as Ards, where (if rumours are true) inbreeding is practised on a momentous scale.
I am not a gregarious man, outside my inner circle of companions, and therefore my next act still amazes me when I think of it. Perhaps, through a process of osmosis, my hands had absorbed some of the vinegar from the soggy ball of newspaper-wrapped mulch I now clasped, lending me an acid-fuelled confidence boost; perhaps I was mesmerised by her lovely black Evanescence t-shirt. Whatever the reason, I blurted out a greeting to this fair maiden.
“Hi, where are you from?” I asked.
She cast her eye over me, and I could tell she liked what she saw. This is not surprising, as I was wearing my best Rush t-shirt (Caress of Steel) and a pair of fruity greed cords recently ordered from a catalogue belonging to my mother.
“Bangor” she replied. “You?”
Bangor! That picturesque seaside village nestling on the shingly shores of the Irish Sea. I’d never been there, but I had heard interesting things about it.
“Round the corner”, I replied with a vague nod in the direction of my parents’ house, affecting an air of nonchalance. “If you need someone to show you round this area, I’m your man”.
“Well, I mean, I’ve seen the Castle,” she replied. “Is there anything else?”
This was my chance, and I leapt upon’t.
“’Is there anything else?!’” I exclaimed. “Have you seriously never heard of Kilroot?”
She stared at me blankly.
“Stick with me,” I continued, “and I’ll show you the best damn salt mine you’ve ever seen in your life!”
And so began an intense relationship between two people from markedly different parts of the world: Johnny James Fisher and Tracy Sadie Jackson. That week I showed her the awesome sights of Carrickfergus and the surrounding environs, and within a month I set off on a journey to sunny Bangor, like Amundsen, or Michael Palin (though I was self-funding a bus ride, not buggering off on another world tour at the expense of the license fee payer). Tracy showed me all that Bangor had to offer and together we explored its satellite villages, such as Donaghadee (made famous in song) and Ballywalter (first time I’ve seen people queuing for the pub to open at 11am on a Tuesday). Bangor was a taxing place, and though not nearly as extreme an experience as London, I have to say I was always glad when I made it back to fair Carrick (mainly because Bangor is absolutely riddled with spides).
8 months later our relationship was over. The reasons for this are complex, and perhaps too difficult to go into on a public blog. But I’ll give it a try.
I am – and always have been – a proud citizen of Carrickfergus, perhaps the most storied city in Ireland. I love the place, and my mind teems with local knowledge and e’er hungers after more. I know Carrick’s history, I know Carrick’s people, and I know Carrick’s environment (for instance: I’ve catalogued the majority of birdlife in the surrounding countryside). Besides this, I am, as these blog entries testify, a polymath – being an accomplished poet, rope-maker, ornithological cataloguer, blade-smith, musician, composer, writer, playwright, and, lately, chef – perpetually engaged in pursuits aimed at raising the human experience by elevating art and culture to sublime new heights.
Tracy Jackson was none of these things.
At first she pulled me in with her sirenic ways, and I was no more able to restrain myself than Jimmy Saville would be, finding himself in an understaffed children’s ward. Who could resist her treacly hair and those mesmerising curves? To say nothing of that exotic accent. My interest was further piqued through her professed love of military history and the peerless music of Rush. For several months the excitement of a long-distance relationship involving an apparent meeting of minds and – I’ll come right out and say it – pretty bestial sexual exertions, prevented me from stepping back and making an objective analysis of our suitability for each other.
But the veneer of contentment began to peel away after a while. It turned out her love for military history went no further than an annual celebration of a fairly unremarkable battle hundreds of years ago, when an effete Dutchman with a claim to the British throne beat an incompetent English claimant in the vicinity of the Boyne river, near Dublin. I prodded her for further information on this engagement, but her knowledge was extremely lacking and her analysis of the event, expressed in curiously emotive terms, was as far from impartial as I’ve ever encountered in a so-called history buff.
Yet an even more unforgivable falsehood was her alleged appreciation of my beloved Rush. Pressing her for details, it turned out she knew only one Rush album – “Moving Pictures” (quelle surprise). She expressed complete ignorance of the rest of Rush’s albums – an extremely powerful and culturally important body of work – and when I played some of these to her, her comments became increasingly derisive in direct correlation to the year of release. She “didn’t mind” 2112, but she said some unprintable things about my cherished Power Windows. When she said that Hold Your Fire was “a bag of wank”, I chucked her out of my house, there and then (thank god we didn’t get to Roll the Bones).
Nine months after it began it was all over, and ever since then I’ve struggled to come to terms with it, lying in my room grappling with despair and rising only to sit up in bed when my mother brings in a bowl of steaming sugary Ready Brek. Of course I kept up to date with the counter-Zeitgeist, watching decent pedestrian fayre such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, but also many, many arty films that most people would not be able to appreciate properly. But beyond that, my pioneering cultural pursuits came to an end, including the Ambience Engineer experiments, the re-writing of Sunder’d Axe, and the adding of the final touches to The Seven Sons of Fëanor (I still haven’t nailed the oboe parts).
But now I’m back! My restoration came about in part due to a slow acceptance of the human condition, in part due to my father’s threats to kick me out of the house if I didn’t “pull my finger out of my arsehole and get out of that bloody bed”. I realise I have neglected my flock of dedicated Schooner fans, and I will endeavour to resume and maintain my vigil as Carrickfergus’s foremost intriguer-mystic, providing insightful comment and analysis to a desperate and degenerate society devoid of conviction or purpose.