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* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

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7 February 2002
Dan is built to spill and built with Quill

What now? >

N.

You go North

The batteries on your Discman are almost depleted. Soon you will be in silence.

You are standing in the street outside the Silver Sickle public house. The gas lamps casting an infinity of shattered droplets of light onto the rain-slicked cobbles are anachronistic, but a nice touch. As are the rain-slicked cobbles.

To the south you see Chalk Farm tube station, and safety.

You see:
The door to the Silver Sickle
A sign

What now? >

I.

You have:

In your pockets:
House keys
Discman
£5.20 in change
Paperback book
Travelcard

In your wallet:
Credit card
Cash card
£20 note
£20 note
£10 note
Organ Donor Card

What now? >

Exam 20 note.

It has a picture of the Queen's head on it, and appears to be genuine. Traditionally, notes like this can be exchanged for goods and services. This is called "capitalism".

What now? >

Marvel at wacky sense of humour possessed by programmer.

I'm sorry, I don't know how.

What now? >

Examine door.

The door is a heavy double door, with brass handles set into dark wood. Large inset windows reveal generic scenes of merrymaking inside the pub.

What Now >

In.

You go In.

As you enter this location, your Discman falls silent. You will not be able to travel on the Tube or Bus until you have purchased new batteries.

You are in the Silver Sickle. From the shit-coloured banquette-style seating built into two of the walls to the uncomfortable stools operating primarily as a knee-level navigation hazard, this pub, excepting its slightly outré name, could be pretty much any one in North London. Catering largely to a post-office crowd, the Silver Sickle has emptied out somewhat, and you find that you can navigate reasonably easy. Looking down, you notice that the carpet has exactly the same design, in stain-resistant synthetic yak's fur, as the brown-stained, peeling wallpaper. This does strange perspectival things to your head.

To the North is the bar, where two slightly knackered blondes in branded white T-shirts and their mid-twenties are clearly enjoying a reprieve from serving drinks to the grimly-smiling polyester crew who flood into characterless bars across the capital to snatch a few more precious hours with the people they have wished dead for the previous eight.

There is a door leading Out into the street.

What now? >

N.

You are at the bar. The two barmaids are desultorily pulling pints and chatting to each other in South African accents. Their T-shirts have a silver sickle logo over the right breast pocket. A similar shirt is framed behind the bar with the legend "Silver Sickle T-shirts! The Latest Crase(sic)! 10.99.

To the East is a door marked "Saloon Bar".

What now? >

Exam T-shirt.

100% cotton. 100% nasty.

Buy T-shirt.

As discreetly as possible, you attract the attention of one of the barmaids and ask her for a Silver Sickle T-shirt. She looks at you in disbelief, muttering, "Never been asked that before." As she hunts for it, a crowd gathers around you, watching with the sort of horrified fascination reserved for car crashes and rectal surgery documentaries.

Finally, she gives a grunt of triumph and emerges from the bar with a plastic-wrapped T-shirt. Removing the packaging, she hands it to you, folds grown by age into semi-permanent creases. You can already tell it is too long and too wide. She plucks the 20 note from your fingers and returns with 9.01 change, then turns away, shaking her head.

What now? >

Exam T-shirt.

More of a T-shit, really.

What now?>

Wear T-shirt.

The T-shirt crackles with static electricity as you pull it over your head. 100% cotton my parser....

You may just about be able to pass this off as irony. Or maybe not. You tuck your old T-shirt into your belt. Having ascertained that you are a harmless lunatic, the crowd drifts away in case you start to make conversation.

What now? >

Go to the saloon bar.

I'm sorry, I don't understand what a the saloon bar is.

E.

You go East.

You are in the Saloon Bar. In days gone by, this area would have charged a few pennies more for its booze in exchange for the promise of more congenial surroundings and more salubrious fellow drinkers. This distinction is no longer observed, and the only sign of its formerly exalted status is slightly less nasty nasty wallpaper and a better class of cigarette burn in the carpets.

To the West is the main bar.

You can see:
Tom and Julia. They are sitting down at a corner table.

What now? >

Exam Tom.

You see Tom, Julia's former employer and current fiancé. You have known Tom for about two years, and at various times you have pushed work each other's way or coordinated on projects. He has emerged from a period of unease about your and Julia's brief and palaeolithically distant college relationship to become a trusted friend. He is wearing an engagement ring on his left hand.

What now? >

Say to Tom "Hello."

You say "Hello."

Tom looks up and smiles. "Hello, mate," he says and extends a hand. You shake. "How's it going?"

What now? >

Say to Tom "Buy beer".

Tom shrugs and tosses back the dregs of his pint. "Good idea. Pint of Stella for you?" You nod, and he sets off to the bar.

What now? >

Sit.

You sit down. Julia smiles in acknowledgement. Your foot bumps hers under the table and you both freeze for a second.

Exam Julia.

You met Julia at college ten years ago. Since then you have been pretty much inseparable except, ironically, for three months of awkward university relationship when you actively and eagerly avoided each other. Fortunately, from the ashes of that doomed affair came a new understanding of each other and a new depth of friendship.

She is carrying:
Vintage 1920s clutch bag.

What now? >

Remember Julia.

You remember Julia. Your eye falling on last Wednesday's date on the calendar over the bed. The way her body had changed over a decade. A new and slightly surprising roundness to her belly, and a long silvery scar from when she spilled hot oil four years ago. The way you could not leave visible marks on her, and the vulpine look as she did. You remember breathing hard and blinking back tears. When you closed your eyes, you realised her voice had hardly changed at all.

Tom comes back with three pint glasses and puts them down on the table before retaking his seat.

What now? >

Look.

You are in a quandary. You can see no obvious exits.

What now? >

 

 
This is the fucking archive

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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