Is Dark Matter Actually Karma?

According to Mark, dark matter is actually karma.  ‘That’s interesting,’ I said.  I can’t remember his explanation now, but he did comment that the Beatles are like quarks.  This is because four Beatles form a stable group of isotopes, whereas other (so-called ‘fifth’) Beatles vibrate on other planes.  So that clears that up…

Speaking of vibrating on other planes, I saw the photos last night from Richard and Jenny’s trip to Tanzania where they had to take a flight in an extremely small and rickety plane; it made a stopover on a runway which was basically a dirt track with a small hut somewhere in the distance.  We were also shown videos of Richard dancing (very entertaining) and evidence of the extreme dryness of the area (the river-bed completely dry just weeks after the annual rains: I remember going to Andalucia and being struck by seeing a totally dry river-bed.  Whereas here we start wringing our hands if the canal level drops by a couple of feet.)  All of this reminded me of a couple of experiences of mine.  The first was in Morocco where we visited some tanning pits: in order to obscure the smell we were each issued with a large clump of mint (mint is very popular there and mint tea is often drunk*).  We had to shove these under our noses like some preposterous vegetable moustache, so that we could smell nothing else: I took mine away for a moment and the stench was overwhelming.  There were grown men standing up to the waist in the tanning pits – I hate to think what effect that had on their health.  The other notable experience was in India where we disembarked from a boat.  Due to the mud-flats we couldn’t get right in to the shore: just as we were wondering how we were supposed to get there, gangs of two women appeared, stood one on either side of each of us, grabbed hold of our arms and frog-marched us across at great speed.  It was all rather bewildering but as usual I was preoccupied with how much money I was going to give them at the end of it.  I forget what I paid them but these transactions caused me a great deal of discomfort, since I am very English and Alan Bennett-ish about haggling.

That was all at Craft Group, where I also read out three poems: my update of Craig Raine, ‘A Martian Writes an Email Home’, was well-received.

I have now decided to boycott the magazine ‘Closer’.  They are totally out of order.  Oh, wait – I don’t think I’ve ever read it: which makes me feel like Dory at the sharks’ meeting when she says, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fish.’

I haven’t eaten a fish either – well, not since 1992 anyway.  That’s 20 years!  Probably just as well, as the debate about fish stocks continues (and not in a ‘Delia’ sense…)


Kirk out

*Unlike us as it is a Muslim country and we happened to be there during Ramadan