the 24-hour drink: TEA

February 15, 2015

If You Go To The Larder And Find ____

Excerpted from “COOKERY FOR MEN ONLY” (or “I. Y. G. T. T. L. A. F. -“) by Wilson Midgely, 1948.

The 24-hour drink:


“This is no earthly liquid . . .  but a special nectar sent

down by the gods to sustain mankind in every sort of trial”

ERNEST BRAMAH, “Lai Lung unrolls His Mat.”

Cancel your present order for tea, whatever it is, and economize [sic] by ordering tea twice as expensive. When you think how many cups of tea you can get from a quarter of a pound, and when I assure you that a good brand of tea will give you at least twice as many cups, and good ones, as a cheap brand, you will realise the economy. Only do not make the charwoman’s mistake of judging tea by it’s colour. If this has been your life-long habit, shut our eyes when you drink it and train yourself to realise the flavour.

The next point is that the tea-pot must be hot. If you can put the tea-leaves in while it is dry but has some steam in it, so much the better; this will begin to take the curl out of them. Then pour on your boiling water with a wallop so that it stirs the tea all round the pot, and let it brew for five minutes. This usually ruins cheap tea, but it is the making of good tea. The only other advice I ca give you about tea is to brew it like this and drink it at any hour of the day or night. If any drink can be harmless and enjoyable, this is it.

Before the war and rationing, there were two literary men (save the mark) whose tea you could buy under their name in London. The Army and Navy Stores continued to sell a mixture they had made for George Meredith. Twinings in the Strand, who had an old-fashioned trained tea-mixer behind their counter, made a special mixture for me to my particualr fancy. It included a little of that wonderful China tea with the noble name of Lapsang Souchong. This I used to give to Americans and other foreigners who, poor things, in their addiction to coffee and chicory mixtures, had no idea either how to make tea or how to enjoy it. They would say, “If this is tea, then we can enjoy it” and go off secretly to Twinings and secure some of “Mr. Midgely’s Mixture’ to put in their homeward-bound luggage.

Tea Economy

If however you want to economize in tea, here is a method I got from a Chinese [sic] and which many old country wives have long used. I am not quite sure whether it makes better tea; but there is no doubt at all that it makes far stronger tea, and it answers a problem I have never seen raised yet. Many experts are very keen in insisting that Indian tea must be brewed for exactly three minutes, and China tea for exactly five minutes, but none of them ever realise that if this is right for the first cup it will be all wrong for the second.

The Chinese method seems to to avoid this dilemma, and by using it you will find that 11/2 tsp will be enough for the ordinary tea-pot. Make sure of course that the pot is hot when you put in your tea, then splash over the tea enough boiling water just to cover it, and at intervals of about half a minute pour on more boiling water until with the last fill up of boiling water you have your brew ready. I must confess that in practice I do not go in for all these stages, because, for one thing, I cannot bear to have a kettle steaming about the place for any length of time; but merely to drown the leaves with boiling water and then to fill up twice or even once makes an incredible difference to the strength of the tea. Do no argue that my Chinese friend and I are both wrong. Disbelieve us if you like, but try it once for yourself.


baby arthropods

August 3, 2013

Narwhals once gifted me a black cottoned hardback, a chronicle of one Laurie Anderson‘s shattered manic dreams. Each recounting is illustrated by pen scribbles, febrile.
In the forward, she explains that she initially started translating her dreams while on tour, “in literal self defense”.

How do you interpret the dreams of others? I think I put to [ ] a trick question; simply don’t do it. Those dreams generated by our cranial yoghourt are particular, personal; inscrutable even to their agents. Whatever about the relativism of semantics or perception, I’m skeptical that true images make it to this side of the bleary lens; I’d flat out refute that you could ever convey an entire dream to an [other], shake head, return to crossword.

I dream of the ocean, almost every night. Not in the distance, or below landhead; being in it, thick with bizarre, tasseled life I cannot properly visualise when I wake. Like dreamt text. I’m terrified that if I write it here, or say it, it will stop.
Last night the constellations were fishes and I had to pilot the ship through an automated offensive, using a spherical, corruscating shell of EM to neutralise and disperse their drones. Then through a wheeling gate of flashing jacks, which were also the zodiac, which were also faces? I don’t know.

I’m sitting in a frigid store room, and some kid has taken samples from forests in jam jars.


Bone icicle

March 4, 2013

   Start the day roll out cold already. Smugly construct schematics while you clutch yourself in the shower. Kiss your heat goodbye with a long mouth and remember to do this but not why.



July 1, 2012

The Minister for the Extremities has forwarded a memorandum through higher levels, warning that a steady decrease in sock integrity though-out Fourth Age stockpiles could spiral critically in the coming months.
The Chancellor of Problems has played down the issue as “minor”, but MinExt insists this concern requires attention. “We’re already seeing mass sequestration of mainstream pairs.” it stresses. “It was lax attitudes of the Interior and the Super-User Cabinets which led to Pyjamagate. We cannot afford a similar debacle; nor need we.”
Pyjamagate saw T4A attend a stranger’s formal wedding in pyjamas, due to inadequate outfit planning.


new socks on carpet

May 30, 2012

Imagine, first, that it’s night-time. A low ceiling of scudding cloud reflects the city’s sodium onto a hundred glossy cement planes. Buildings throw long echoes between the streets, and the drunks are heard for blocks.

Imagine then, in a warm dry house, a girl wakes to a sudden crash in the hall. She won’t know until the next day that her housemate has broken his hallux, the big toe, kicking the wall in the dark. The rest of his body saved by the banister, clutched for madly in the black.

The peas, they do nothing, but make a good snack.


I’m writing this one like Spider, and that means, for the most part, hunched, scowling and naked.

May 25, 2012

I try to write down the dreams that interest me (or any, at all, that I remember). I’ve got a set of conventions that help make some sort of two-dimensional sense out of something that consists of at least four:
firstly, record all details. This is the biggest problem with writing this stuff down: it takes a long time. To write down everything that you can remember about what happened is a arduous process, but it goes a long way to awaking details that had been misplaced when you started.
The second is the use of the ellipse. I work on a 2 – 5 period scale, which is semi-exponential: things that happen moments apart, or that may even be contemporaneous but disjointed or of uncertain connection get two ellipses. Things which occurred in differing, subsequent realities get 5 (and sometime things which may as well have been different nights get 6). However, some ellipses are just that: ellipses.
A third semi-convention is the tone: it’s described in the first person, as though this is a real diary, and there is a real Other listening to my story, with some sort of nihilistic patience or amour for mundanities.
The saving grace about dreams is that often, in parallel with our metabolism of real-world events, you tend to only remember the interesting bits: perhaps it is more correct to say they are last to fade.
Do I think there is any significance to what occurs in my dreams? Only in one special case: Where I see something while dreaming and sincerely think “Of course. OF COURSE. That’s genius! WHY did I not think of that? I’d never think of that.”

….We’re in the countryside [state unknown], large, rolling hills … some sort of adventure or journey, much distance covered .. there is a house, a house that strikes me as a perfect house. There are three other people with me, they may be my brothers. The house is recessed into a prominent green hillock, it is low, redbrick with two stories made obvious by the external architecture: there are several subtle Georgian windows, and ivy growing over much of it, although the hosue itself shows no sign of being aged. The roof is flat, and upon it a patio which may well connect to the rest of the hillock, contained by neo-Georgian crenelations.. we pass it, heading down the prominence to the beach (long open strand, black sedimentary cliffs, bright green grasses) when we realise there is a tidal wave coming. The entire ocean lifts itself up for miles, more or less becoming glass: we can see every single detail of the ocean for miles quivering inside the oncoming mountain of wave. Colossal table corals, reefs, fish, grouper and hundreds of sharks, etc. The quantity of detail is indescribable. We are all mesmerised even with the wave heading directly for us, and we stare through the waves at the islands revealed through the mounting water: the closer the wave gets, the further we can see. There is an issue of parallax, we crane to see just over the horizon’s curvature: one person who could be Maurice, or Jack can see the Perhentians: the wave hits, and we are thrown vertically hundreds of metres, suddenly we are contained within a bus or large-bed lorry, spinning and discussing …

…Traveling again, perhaps with the parents, in a city which may be any and every city I have been to thus far: low slung, manic, organic, congested, self-assuredly sedate… we are driving; there is the sense that perhaps this dream city I am in is the beginning of a new civilisation, which, though lacking polish, or rigid order, seems hopeful, which I realise I have not felt in a long time. … However, someone tells me that the more you stray from “the blue arrowed walks”, which are designed to allow visitors and residents to navigate easily, and see the city, the more you the signs of disillusionment, apathy, decay, collapse, isolation… … I reflect on this when I see these blue signs, note when we do not follow them: the brief person who told me this appears to be right … The car halts by a park, and signage shows a number of frayed but intact posters predicting, or commemorating or promoting the collapse of our civilisation, perhaps as an exhibit:
The posters are design-heavy, multi-layered and dark, with much overlying chaotic text done as transcripts, or screenshots, and there are three designs. The third design is and will remain lost to me, or perhaps never “existed”, but the first is thus:
the usually confusion of text permeates the background, and there is an unreadable header, so that I am unsure what it is for: dates and similar bodies of text you’d find for an exhibition crowd the edges, but the sloppy application of the posters prevents ease of distinction. That is inconsequential though. The central image, viewed through a loupe of some sort is of a wide disheveled feverent mass; in their centre, supporting the focus of the image, are a group of select fanatical zealots, dressed in gothic christian robes; browns, oranges, reds and the inference of gold in the clothes, but not giving any suggestion of opulence. These priests, eyes and mouths wild in ecstatic fury hold aloft a holy dais: on it, the perfect empty white skeletons of four (three?) astronaughts, still in their EVA spacesuits, gold visors open, eyes and jaws wide open, they loll in a semi ridicule of their misappropriation. Their suits are clearly old but have been maintained as relics, with a slight confusion as to purpose, as well as small adornments. This image. Is brilliant. These four chaps are the centre of the image.

The second poster is far more simple: there is more pre-apocalyptic text imposed (statuses, blurred screenshots?) but the main image is of a shopping list from Tesco’s. The paper is old and darkened, thought otherwise intact, with a crimson splatter extending from the top right, obscuring the logo somewhat. The receipt’s header is embellished with the usual crap that nobody reads : clubcard points, repetition of the store’s name etc. The contents of the receipt are hundreds of items of preserved food, as well as batteries, paper, tampons, cans, knives, rope etc.
..We drive on, having passed this, and I despair that I didn’t bring my camera; Eoghan would have loved to have seen that. … We head down a road, through a lower part of the city .. we crest a hill, and stay airborne for longer than we have any right to: there is a swelling sensation of my stomach dropping as we continue to not rejoin the road: I wake to a persistent vertiginous sensation




May 22, 2012

9496.5 / 312 / 104 / 26

A good friend of mine has tabs on how long we’ve all known each other, holds it in their left hand like a guyline. Conversely, some of my favourite people are untethered; steering a dissociated course, a repulsion quite different from disaffection. They possibly pull themselves aloft from without, searching for the thing.

Sarah, thank you for the cake

T4A: Hi-G rainforest gear

you are some sort of wizard

These people switched the lights, and flattened the gain, and began to sing as there was, against probability, a cake for you, drifting out from behind a door. Home has something to do with people doing things, things never looked for. That was what they gave you.

Height: 186?
Weight: 85Kg?
Type: A+
Tea: we have: Barry’s loose, chai, earl grey, lapsang, rooibos, strains of green, some sort of apple thing and this: I don’t. I don’t know what that is.


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