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Roboto il Diavolo

3 July 2000
Dan missed the season finale of "Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane". That's why people have to suffer.

So. I'm lying on my belly in the playroom/study/home worker's Xanadu, playing idly with my Fisher-Price civil engineer's kit. And let's get one thing straight. There is nothing effeminate whatsoever about civil engineering. No. It's what men do. With other men. When they want to do things with other men. Which they don't. Ever.

So, anyway, there's me, and I've finally sussed how to get the torture victims into the arms of the badinage drones without affecting local transport links. Quite an issue - nothing so unpleasant as finding the only seat left on the bus is next to a guy from the flensing lines, wearing an ill-fitting suit made from his own skin. A golden age beckons, of City Fliers unbesmirched by left-over body fat.

Then, suddenly, I lock up. If you receive an e-mail with the subject "Badtimes", do not open it. Total immobility, as I am assaulted by a sudden and painful hunger to know the name of the little blue kid from Ulysses 31.

Viral memes. With the pollen count high and the wind low, they're spreading on the breeze, carried by the bees. Nobody is safe, except arguably Brian Sewell.

Of course, you apt pupils know all about spontaneous memetic transmission, morphogenetic field resonance, all that crap. If a hundred silverback gorillas learn something, suddenly every silverback gorilla in the world knows it as well.

Very impressive. Let's see what happens when there are less than a hundred silverback gorillas left. Not going to be so smug then, are you, you loveable forest-dwelling primate shitbirds? You might even learn the value of a little hard studying. For five points, spell "extinction".

All of which is fine and dandy when you're transmitting something like "If somebody is walking towards you with a metal tube, he wants to grate your penis for medicinal purposes. Don't be tempted by that second Belgian waffle." It's slightly less all-singing when survival has become such a piece of piss that there is no vital, in the exact sense, information left to communicate. The transmitters and receptors still work, but there's nothing to transmit. Which is why some days you can't stop thinking about Thundercats.

Well all right, I ask myself, idly picking up a scale-model replica of Enkidu's Eats'n'Treats ("For service that'll make you go Ur!") and swapping its position with the King's Arms Transplant Hospital ("Hard-working livers for hard-living workers!"), thus destroying a carefully-balanced commercial infrastructure, so, if these memes are so all-pervasive - Panthro, Tigra, Lion-o, Wilykit, Wilykat, Snarf - why can't we see them? Why is science powerless to explain?

Because they exist as conceptual entities? Because they are intrinsic, ethereal constituents of that ka, chi, prana, soul that makes us human?

Or, because they're very, very small?

Some of the greatest achievements of science and magic have been by accident. Some might believe that Dr. Alexander Fleming was trying to brew up a batch of lethal melba toast when he discovered penicillin. If it weren't for a full and frank apology from his breakfast buddy, we'd have a cure for cancer.

Such idleness cannot stand in the way of a true visionary. So, a quick reconfiguration of the old civil engineering kit for more bijou work, a little hard work and there we had it:

The world's first nanomeme. A tiny, quasi-intelligent machine, no bigger than a breath through a mobile phone, able to replicate itself endlessly within a human host, generating crystalline lattices of utterly pointless information.

Why? Why Everest? Why the Moon? Why automated flensing solutions? Maybe, just maybe, if you hadn't been so wicked tiresome with your tedious, emotionally adolescent fixation on the minor media of your youth, this needn't have happened. All you need to know now, grasshopper, is that soon you won't be able to leave your bunker without total synaesthetic trivia overload. Then, a lingering death as you lie, retinas burnt out, repeating dialogue that lost all meaning even when your mind still functioned, whispering it through bubbles of black slime, through cracked lips.

Prepare for the pop-cultural assimilation of Earth.



Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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