I practised beforehand...

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed May 7 16:15:52 EDT 2003

Rowena warned:

>BUT they have made a huge mistake on the CDs in how they split the tracks.
>One of the Great Joys is laughing at the patter before you hear the song
>('Battersea!' 'Without having to bend down...') and yet on the CDs they've
>split the tracks so that they start at the beginning of each song, and you
>have to listen to the previous one to get the patter. Does that make

What you say makes sense, what they have done does not!

>I'm not sure that I can squeeze an ObDWJ into this, although like Flanders
>& Swann her books are enjoyable no matter how many times you listen
>to/read them.

She likes F&S?

>A Gnother Gnu!

You wish you could gnash your teeth at the CD people?

There's a reference to F&S in an obscure comic from fifteen years ago
called "Redfox".  In it there is an issue (#19) in which the Fantasyland
heroine ends up in a London-alike parallel world, in which she catches a
bus which subsequently bursts into song...  'Big six-wheeler,
diesel-engined, ninety-seven salamander omnibus' -- the internal combustion
engine in this place is run by salamanders -- and as she is thrown off for
upsetting the salamanders in the engine the conductor says 'Hold very tight
please' and the sound-effect 'ting ting' appears.

This ties in with DWJ (hurrah!) because she was responsible for the
introductory remarks, which read:

        There is a theory called the Jones-Gaiman
        Theory Of Infinite Universe Behaviour.

        This starts:

        By its nature and by definition each of the
        infinity minus one universes

        [there are actually infinity minus
        two, since one has been mislaid,
        but that need not concern
        us here]

                    is of itself
        infinite and contains *everything*.

        This means that it is not possible for any thing
        or person to arrive from outside that universe,
        since this would mean the universe would not be
        infinite, and that there were things it did not
        heretofore contain.

        Unfortunately, some people just
        insist on rambling around
        and going visiting.

        Universes deal with their
        uninvited guests in two

        Initially, they adapt to their presence by
        acting upon the assumption that, since the
        guests cannot have come from elsewhere,
        they must always have been present.
        To this end, the universe in question will
        supply a visitor with a complete personal
        history going back to birth, or well before.

        If this ploy fails and the visitor persists in
        behaving in a manner inappropriate to their
        present universe, then the universe shrugs,
        mutters a little under its breath, and
        throws them out with an audible pop.

        It then erases any evidence of their
        presence retrospectively and pretends
        that its visitors were never there
        in the first place.

        And just how does this theory
        effect our heroine [ie Redfox]?

(and the pictures start on the next page)

The credits for this issue, dated February 1989, read: 'Story: Fox and
Chris Bell.  Pencils: Fox.  Inks: Vincent Danks.  Letters: Quo Vadis.
Cover: Vincent Danks.  Story Consultant: Diana Wynne Jones.  Complications:
Neil Gaiman.'

That introduction reads like DWJ playing with alternative universes a bit,
as she has done in many of her books.


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