Sunday, March 13, 2005

"What wrong with bell?" and other inanities

I think it was Wednesday night, although it may have been Thursday, that I discovered my smoke alarms do actually work. I'd turned on the oven, really what I wanted to do was turn on the grill but they don't do ovens with separate grills over here, and left a pan on the bottom shelf. I don't think there was that much smoke, but being as I haven't managed to set the blighters off before I suppose there must have been a reasonable amount. At first I was very composed and rationale and went and opened a couple of windows, then the second of the two smoke alarms started blaring at me and I started to get a little bit more frustrated. Being as I have nice high ceilings, and a severe lack of furniture, I had to go and fetch my coffee table to stand on to reach the smoke alarms. The first one was easy enough, just take it down and pop the battery out and it stopped wailing at me. The second one proved to be rather more difficult, as it didn't want to either shut up or come down from the ceiling. In the end I had to rip the entire unit off, screws and all, and stick it in my duvet to quieten it down a little bit. Even now I can't seem to put it back in place with out the annoying little sod making noises at me.

When ever I set off a smoke alarm, or (on those thankfully rare occasions) a fire alarm, I am reminded of What wrong with bell? man. His story took place — or at least the part of his story that involved me, I can only assume his story is still taking place somewhere — in a big old Victorian (or earlier) town house that had been converted into student accommodation, and in which I managed to live rent free for over a year. Anyhow, WWWB? man was original from somewhere in the Far East (China, Korea, Vietnam, I just don't remember) and every single time he cooked during the first two months, he set off the fire alarm. The third or fourth time this happened I went upstairs to the third floor kitchen where he was 'cooking', all the while the fire alarm was blaring at its ear-deafening volume, and the kitchen was so full of smoke I could barely see WWWB? man. It was at this moment that he uttered his immortal line, What wrong with bell?. I don't recall what I said to him, sadly it probably didn't include the phrase, There's nothing wrong with the bell, you fucking moron.. Forever on he was known, to me at least, as What wrong with bell? man. Still it could be worse, the other thing that I remember this guy for was an incident involving a newspaper, a toilet and something you should be doing in the toilet directly and not in a newspaper first, then folding it up and putting the newspaper into the toilet. But that isn't a savoury story and I plan on cooking later this evening.

On the subject of memories (okay we weren't really on the subject of memories but I'm segueing gracefully away from discussions of unpleasant toilet activities), what is it about certain songs that makes me associate them with particular moments and places? Today, thanks to the joy of random music selection, I was transported to Beaufort Street, London (by The Slide — The Beautiful South), the laundromat in Tower, Minnesota (by Sk8er Boi — Avril Lavigne) and Victoria Tower Gardens, London (by Have You Seen Her — The Chi-lites). The last of which is still my favourite place in the world to go when I'm depressed, there's something strangely reassuring about the Houses of Parliament, the Burghers of Calais, the anti-slavery monument and of course the river (somehow Olentangy river doesn't quite have the same effect on me).

Oh well, that cooking thing calls. (Chicken curry in case you're curious.)

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