Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fear and Loathing in Bangor

Agonised flares dive skyward, falter, then blister; their innards breaking through in an eruption of incandescence. Bangor dims and falls silent again. Minutes pass. A solitary scream hints at violence, corruption, deceit, or ecstasy. A dog wakes, howls its own sterilised cry; a city cry, a backyard cry of chains, water bowls, and cold concrete nights. Nobody replies. There’s nobody awake but a man writing long into the night and with only a silk dressing gown and a thermal thong to warm him.

And whisky. There’s always whisky.

The man is achingly handsome. His skin radiates life, as though lit from within by a divine illumination. Composed, refined, he is something more than the city. Something more than human. He is godlike in his every move. He shifts in his chair, gazes at the ceiling, scratches himself, sniffs his fingers, and savours the smell of pineapple or ambrosia that taints his nails. Only then does he reach for a glass and pour himself a drink. Liquid tops the glass lip and drains to his desk; a gin-soaked desk, whisky-savoured wood, and absinth-bled knots and whorls. It has known many drunken nights and even more words slurred over by a numb tongue and blurred fingers. Only these words tonight are different. They are clear. They are precise. The man has come to a very great decision and whisky has played only a moderate part in his making it. And how do we know all this? Because it is I: Chip Dale. I’m describing myself.

I inhabit these calm moments when the day’s troubles are rolled up in bed and dreaming sweet Romanian dreams to the sound of small arms gunfire played to a Euro-pop beat. It makes me understand the opportunities I have before me. I am a somewhat humble man, gifted in places between the hips, and ably supported by buttocks that the good Lord himself might have whittled from walnut. Yet I realise now that my greatness is diminished by my unwillingness to recognise it as such. It is greatness and damn any of you if you can’t see it for what it is.

At some point, a man serious about his career in print journalism learns that there’s little to be gained by wearing a cutaway muscleman vest with ‘Top Stripper in Wales’ stitched in purple sequins. He realises that he needs something more appealing to the intelligentsia of Kensington and Chelsea. What is a man to do when surrounded by blogging luminaries? If such people are to believe in a man, then he needs something more to hang on his wall other than his poster of Samantha Fox, circa 1981.

And how does such a man achieve recognition? How does he announce his greatness to the world?

That is the easiest part. He applies to become the new visiting professor of stripping at Bangor University.

Only that won’t be my title. I will be Professor of Ecdysiastics, which, I think you’ll agree, immediately gives the idea merit. It perks up the pecks, stiffens the nipples, and tightens the rear. This is a new Chip Dale I've today proposed to the good people up there at the University. This is a Chip Dale on the move, family friendly, eligible for grants, and likely to sleep through a conference by day before getting monstrously drunk at night when two hundred pounds of sexually active tweed will come alive and give chase to the slowest of the nubile postgraduates.

And if, for some as yet unknown reason, I don’t manage to become Professor Chip Dale at a Welsh University, I’ll look further afield. Manchester is rapidly becoming the place to be if you want some upward mobility in your career. Only last month, the University of Manchester announced that Martin Amis has become a professor at their new school of Creative Writing. Today, Salford University announced that Johnny Marr, the Smiths guitarist, is to become a visiting music professor. I’m sure they could fit me in once they realise how much extra research funding I could generate in a university accredited thong.

After all, what is academia but a more socially acceptable form of lap-dancing? You shake your proposals in the faces of some funding body, who, if they like what they see, stuff a handful of cash down your pouch. There, you have in one easy to remember image, a metaphor for higher education in the UK.

As much as I’m looking forward to my rise to a Chair of Stripping Studies, I can see that there might be some of you who question the validity of my vocational qualifications. But celebrity professorships are nothing new. The only difference is that a person’s fame used to be incidental to their role within the academia. Professor Tolkien had a reputation as an expert in Anglo Saxon studies quite incidental to his authorship of The Lord of the Rings. The same is true of Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor Stephen Hawking, and so many more. Even Simon Schama was a Professor at Harvard, after a decade working at Cambridge and Oxford, before he gained intellectual credibility with his shows on the BBC after Gardener's World.

Some might scoff at those of us who call ourselves Professor, but does anybody really doubt the academic credibility of Dr. Raj Persaud who is ‘Professor for Public Understanding of Psychiatry’? I think not. People might point out that his professorship comes from Gresham College, but that college has been established for centuries and has an interesting history, even if it's not a university in the traditional sense of having students and awarding degrees. But look at what the man has achieved in curing people. This intellectual snobbery has gone on too long. Look at the relatively lowly Dr. Paul McKenna Ph.D. He hasn't even got a chair, though he's made many a man believe he was one. But even he was already the nation’s top hypnotist before he got his Ph.D. Are we to look down on a man just because he could make a woman bark like a dog?

And would you look down on that demi-God you will soon know as Professor Chip Dale from the School of Ecdysiastics, the University of Bangor? My thesis, ‘Hips, Ankles, Joined at the Knees: A Study in Leg Dynamics in Ecdysiastic Flexability’ will be published by Oxford University Press next month. I recommend you read it. It will be followed by a tour of the country’s universities afterwards, with full demonstrations, disco lights, and a chance to buy a thong with the crest of your favourite university printed on it.

Now just dim the lights, turn up the Barry White, and let the good Professor teach you a lesson...

13 comments:

Mopsa said...

Whisky can be the progenitor of some really good ideas.

elberry said...

A whiskey-fuelled post if ever i read one.

Bruce Forsyth said...

You can't expect me to read all those fucking words. I'm an old man, whatever the colour of my hair.

Big Chip Dale said...

Mopsa, until the morning after when I'm in no mood to type.

Elberry, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I can't tell... I can barely see.

Bruce, yes I do expect you to read all those words. Just put on your black rinsed wig and pretend you're young again.

Bruce Forsyth said...

That's already basically my tactic. I've got a book coming out: Live Young, Die Old.

ElizaF said...

I must try blogging on whiskey or in whiskey, the results would seem to bear a lot of editing but be worth it in essence :)


E.

Big Chip Dale said...

Eliza, how cruel! I'm more hurt than you could have intended. Now I will have to get drunk but I won't bother writing.

Ian Appleby said...

Chip, your previous commenters know nothing - I would give my right hand to type a line like "these calm moments when the day’s troubles are rolled up in bed and dreaming sweet Romanian dreams..." Outstanding.

Andrew K said...

You've just typed that very line, Ian. Now about that right hand...

Ian Appleby said...

Damn my legal advice, I meant of course to add the word "first". Once I have paid the arm-and-a-leg legal bill, I will see if I have any remaining limb sections to pay off this debt. Anyone got a keyboard with very large keys?

Big Chip Dale said...

Dear Stumpy (if I may call you that), so sorry to hear that you lost your hand because of my blog. But with men like Andrew around, you have to be damn careful what you say.

Have you tried voice recognition software? I often use it when my hands are otherwise engaged. I just click here and like marble turtle listens woodwork chipstick. Iron tough oddity in the cuttlefish park. Munchkin.

Ian Appleby said...

Chip, I prefer Munchkin to Stumpy, that's for sure. Fear not, I find that your blog is one area of the internet for which I do not need a spare hand to fully enjoy.

However, you stray dangerously close to mocking the afflicted: casually bandying about terms like voice recognition is not calculated to endear a Linux user...

Big Chip Dale said...

I fear that the term 'software' might have been too close to the knuckle. Oh, sorry. Shouldn't mention knuckles, now you don't have any.

I have a Mac, which is a beautiful old machine now, but I could never find anything to work on it. I've gone back to using a PC, just so I can always find the software what whatever job I'm doing. As for Linux, I installed in on an old laptop I had, and couldn't even get the damn mouse to work. I'm happier with the odd blue screen and software, rather than a crash free empty desktop with nothing to do.