Feb 27, 2013


ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'T is some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
    Only this and nothing more."
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore:"
    Merely this and nothing more. 

If you are a highly educated, refined and intelligent human being like myself, you probably recognise the above as the first and fifth stanza(s) of Edgar Allen Poe's poem The Raven.

It may surprise you to learn that I have not always been the well educated, highly cultured, smoothly debonair blogger that you see before you today. In fact.....

In fact, there was a time in my life when I thought "Poe"was the kind of face that you pulled when you passed the neighbour's kids in the street.

In double fact, the first time I was exposed to The Raven I was about 19 years old.  (I guess that explains everything really...)

It was winter. I was home from uni with a miserable cold. The sofa under me was brown striped. Both the sofa and myself were in my parent's living room. From where I sat, I had a good view through the mesh curtained window at the cream coloured weatherboard wall of the house next door.

The sofa really couldn't see a lot because I was sitting on it and blocking its view.

Brian, our tortoishell cat was sitting on the window sill in the sun, staring back at me. (Well, to be perfectly honest, he wasn't really looking at me - he was actually looking at the object in my right hand.)

You see, in my right hand I gripped a half full bottle of a cough mixture called Actifed CC.

The other hand (the left) was slightly numb and held nothing.

The bottle of cough mixture was half full because I had been swigging on it for the last few minutes, waiting for the cherry flavoured cough medicine to reduce my horridly rough throat to something smooth and serene . Something smooth and serene like... like - well a baby's bottom comes first to mind but there seems to be something politically wrong with that metaphor so I am going to choose "like melted butter mixed with a good helping of very warm rum and raisin icecream".

In a nutshell, the effect of the cough mixture was very interesting.

After a few more swigs I noticed that the room seemed to take on an unusual perspective, as if some mad photographer had attached a 28 to 400 milll zoom lense to my eyeballs and was twisting it from one extreme to the other every few seconds.

Of course the moral is, always read the directions before you drink more than half a bottle of cough medicine.

What's this got too do with Poe's The Raven?

Well, usually it wouldn't have anything to do with it all, but it so happens, that, at the exact time that the cough medicine bottle was in the throws of being emptied, playing on the tape deck on my father's stereo (at full blast I am ashamed to say) was an album called Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by the The Alan Parsons Project.

And it had a song on it called The Raven - basically Poe's poem put to music. You can hear it here if you like.

But the really very interesting thing about the song is that it was the first song in the entire big huge  humungously large world to feature a digital vocoder - which means absolutely nothing to me, but Wiki seems to thing that's pretty neat so I thought I'd throw it in.

So now you know.
And if you ever tell anyone then I will just have to go back and finish that bottle of Actifed CC.
So consider yourself sworn to secrecy shhhh. :)

Gah, I just realised that I have written my three hundred words for this post.

And I was going to tell you about how I turned one hundred and seventy eight last week and for my birthday I received an amazing Olympus Camera. 

And I was also going to tell you about how I won the crazy talented artist Janne Robberstad's January give away!  http://www.spindelmaker.com/ Thank you Janne I am honoured!! I'm not kidding about Janne's talent, take a walk through her blog and you will be inspired by her grasp of so many artistic techniques and her never waning enthusiasm for learning - not to mention her oeuvre. 

But more about that next time ;)

See you. I hope you are well and your life is full of joy.

PS everything gets big if you click it.


  1. ha Andrew, amusing story. But I know someone else with a similar experience...(do not ask me WHO it is)
    I was probably at the same age as you described in your story when I was realy very eager on "natural" syrup containing perennial herbaceous plant called Thyme. Very delicious. My neighbor was a pharmacologist and very good friend of me and he gave me now and than a small bottle. But when my visits were increasing he told me that thyme is not the only ingredient of cough syrup .......

    It is fine with me now. :)
    (actualy, I never need zoom lenses.....strange, isn't it?)

  2. well, I hope to see here (in the coming time) some B&W pictures from your brand new camera!

  3. Ah gees, Andrew. You are a wonderful storyteller. If I wanted to read a book, I would like the author to have as much fun as you do writing. I am afraid, if reading Edgar Alan Poe is a measure of education, then I was brainwashed because we were required to read Poe in grade school. I remember getting so scared with The Fall Of The House Of Usher. After that everything was just a horror story and I had to cover my eyes while I read. Your illustrations are perfect for Poe's stories. The dark tone blends very well with his macabre themes. Nice to see you again.

  4. Wow! You sure do look good for your age, I have to say! And it´s not often that people THAT old can handle new digital equipment at all, so you´re doubly special ;-)
    I actually have a huge textile painting of a raven in the roof of my studio. Made it years and years ago. But it´s not dark and dreary. It´s in bright colors, and he´s bringing me love. A heart in his beak.

  5. I really like the pattern on the face in #2. And mice. You can never go wrong with mice :) I don't have a cough syrup story and can't admit to any possible excesses or illegal dabblings in my youth since I have to be responsible (or at least pretend to be responsible?) these days.

  6. i love to came hier in the wonderland, the last imagine it's so nice... it's so inspired to me

    last week i wanted to delete my blog, but i have missed all my friend, a will gone on, I'm hier for you too :-)

    have a nice day

  7. Dangit, Finnie. I'm clicking my piece of cake and it's not getting bigger. I blame you.

    Wow, what an image! It's as mysterious and ominous as your French. In fact, I feel like I'm looking at your French. Twin bears with missing eyes and a boy who keeps his clock on the outside. Intriguing! Only you can make my brain go all bendy like that! I've missed that sensation. Good to see you again!

  8. Woweeeeee, Andrew! It's been too long since I've read your engaging and entertaining posts and caught up with your incredible illustrations. Goodness those rats are fantastic but I'm so glad they're not real..I have such a fear. Those images are both eerie and awesomely cool at the same time! Happy belated birthday dear Andrew..it's so wonderful to see your kind visit..thank you so very much! I hope my computer stays well for awhile so that I can keep visiting and checking out your latest and greatest. And thank you for your kind comments about the backdrop - I'd imagine they're keeping it but you never know..you must ask your wife if you could have a starry night sky in your home. : ) Have a lovely weekend my friend!

  9. Those rats are fantastic:)The illo is .....wow.....amazing:)Happy belated birthday Andrew:)

  10. Well, you make a post and I am late to the party again! Love your story and your illustrations. When my daughter was young she had a friend who was obsessed with Poe. Really, I'm serious, she carried around a monkey puppet and quoted The Raven. One hundred and seventy eight years young! I had no idea that you were a centenarian ;)

  11. Comment ai-je fait pour manquer cette jolie publication ?... J'aurais bien levé un verre et chanté : "Joyeux Anniversaire mon cher Andrew" !
    Vos illustrations me manquaient et ce matin, je suis allée frapper à la porte de votre blog... De la poésie, du rêve, du bien-être. Tout ce qu'il me faut pour me booster !... Une belle énergie, merci!
    Il y a si longtemps que je ne me souviens plus si nous nous disions "tu" ou "vous" ! alors je m'autoriserai un "tu"... Ok ?

    Je te fais de gros bisous et à très bientôt...

  12. Whoa, mama. Quicker than a bunny in a snake pit. A thing for axolotl, you say? Well, days in uni are full of experimentation. :) Cheerio!

  13. Ahoy dear Andrew! Hope you're well! Just wanted to send a quick hello and check in..it's been far too long. Hope you're painting, surfing, spending time with your lovely wife, and enjoying March (errr...April now!). Time is flying! : )

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