The Royal County Arbiter

21 June 2006

Art Classroom Note

I found this on the floor in a British secondary school art classroom. Written by girls aged between 11 and 16, it tells an evocative story of young life in today's modern urban Britain.

British Art Classroom Note

omg im so board!
same same I cnt w8 till friday till venom n c dat boi yay cnt wait
lol, do u want me 2 come?
well no lol
OMG! OK if ya dont want to hang out wid ya nanny I understand!
lol na u cn cum bt we duno how we are gettin home dogh cuz I will ask but prob say no init
well we cn walk, it wont b da late or dark & it b fun! haha
it will n ma dad will kill me
Ohhhhhhhhh [possibly written by third person]

1. Venom is a horrifying nightclub in Berkshire with an under-18s night.
2. "dogh" is easily the best ever youth culture mis-spelling of "though".
3. There are people in the world who actually write lol on paper, in real life. The nature of writing a secret note in class means you cannot actually be laughing out loud, as doing so would arouse suspicion in the teacher almost immediately. Thus, like almost all people who ever type LOL, these girls are liars.


Blogger Unknown:

Please note that the Venom Under 18s website is sponsored by Ribena. Aspartame is the new ecstasy clearly.

9:51 pm  
Blogger Robert:

I agree that LOL is completely inappropriate in a classroom. Better would be SM, standing for 'Silent Mirth', a term successfully employed in many Bash Street Kids cartoons during the early 80s.

5:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

oh dear, that just made my skin crawl... kids actually do (sort of) "speak" like that. What happened to the days when you had to read something properly so as to understand the sense? No emoticons to help you out... oh the scandal!
I sound old. I swear I'm not!

5:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

u guyz r old nd obsleet u shud preper 2 make wy 4 ur nu supriors as ur servc is no lngr reqyrd lol serusly dogh thx 4 all ur hrd wurk uve ben gr8 hehe :@)

1:02 am  
Blogger Tim F:

All young people should be shot. Sorry, sht.

2:12 pm  
Blogger Mistress Girly:

I just love your blog!

4:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous:

hahaha! i'm (only?) 24 and i don;t understand a word of that note-- is shortneing it like that supposed to make it easier??

9:45 pm  
Blogger The Dog of Freetown:

Where have you gone? This is brilliant.

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

Great ephemera...paper scraps are often overlooked but provide poetry if one looks close. Ephemera, so often under-appreciated, is a joy to see featured here.

7:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I am 15 and have often had conversations in classroom via notes and written 'lol'. I think that using 'lol' in a note to someone who undersatnds its meaning is perfectly fine and does not make you a liar. It simply implies to the other person or people that though you cannot physically do it in the classroom, you would be laughing out loud if you were actually holding a verbal conversation with them.

5:46 pm  
Blogger mig bardsley:

S as in :)
But when I read the bread recipes I did LOL, several times.

I got here by way of flickr and it's cheered up my evening, thanks :)

1:34 am  
Blogger Kevin:

hahaha, i love it

12:05 am  
Blogger bp:

I'm 15, and I don't write notes or talk like that in real life.

This is completely embarrassing for my generation.

1:20 am  
Blogger 小小:

沒有一件事情是好的或壞的,是想法改變了一切。 ..................................................

5:09 am  
Blogger 口香糖:

你的部落格很棒,我期待更新喔 ........................................

9:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous:

Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.............................................

1:34 am  
Blogger Andrea Laura:

Enjoy the ultimate guide to bars, happy hours, clubs, lounges & restaurants in Washington, DC.

Nightclub Events

8:00 am  

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14 June 2006

More foreign packaging (slight return)

This morning I received a CD from America. When I cut open the folded piece of cardboard in which it had been mailed, I discovered this printed on the reverse.

Mystery American packaging

Whatever this company is, I'm sure we don't have it in the UK. What the hell is the image supposed to be? In addition, I can think of no words beginning with BAGL.

Please help if you can.


Blogger han:

Mystery solved - it's the WINDTUNNEL BAGLESS vacuum cleaner!

8:39 pm  
Blogger Tim Lazyhour:

ZOMG! That was a very fast solution. Thank you, han! I would never have guessed that that image on the box was a portion of a vacuum cleaner. According to, the Windtunnel Bagless "sucks so hard it could leave hickeys!" Crumbs.

9:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I thought it might be "baglady". How disappointing.

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

That thing looks real naughty.

3:55 am  
Blogger Eva Wilson:

We pioneer in providing research and analytical tutorial assistance to all doctoral candidates. Our highly qualified research team will assist you all throughout your thesis.

Online Thesis Help

9:10 am  

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11 June 2006

Ways of Using Bread

We found this little post-war recipe book while helping my Grandmother move house. Its full title is Over 120 Ways of Using Bread for Tasty and Delightful Dishes, and it cost 6d (old money). Here's the back cover:

Bread Built An Empire - Recipe booklet back cover

Ah, that famous Wild West Great Bread Empire! The dusty road; the covered wagon; the smell of the crust.

A very good point is made in the introduction:

"Of course, we do not live by bread alone. Nobody wants to. Nobody needs to. We could, however, live and thrive on bread and milk, were it not for the monotony."
Over the last few years, I've come to really hate the crushing inevilability of bread. It invokes a kind of midday despair, and reminds me that at its root, life is very boring indeed. This book, then, is both my heaven and hell. Myrtle and I have picked some choice recipes for you to try at home.
¼ pint water, a little sugar, 1 thick slice of bread, 1 egg.
Toast the bread on both sides and remove the crust. Break the toast into small pieces and put into a saucepan with the water. Simmer over the fire until the mixture becomes a jelly. Take it from the fire, and stir in the egg well beaten, sugar to taste, and a little vanilla flavouring if liked.

Slices of stale bread, milk, nutmeg, pepper, chopped parsley, herbs, lemon rind, egg and breadcrumbs.
Cut the slices of stale bread into cutlet shapes, about three-quarters of an inch in thickness. Soak them in a little milk on a plate, but do not make them too soft. Mix the chopped parsley, herbs, lemon rind, nutmeg and breadcrumbs. Break the egg on a plate, dip each cutlet in it, then in the prepared breadcrumbs, and drop in deep boiling fat.

Cut a slice of bread from a large loaf about ¼ inch thick. Toast it evenly on both sides to a golden brown colour. Cool it, then put into a jug and pour cold water over it. Leave until the water is the colour of sherry, then strain and serve in a glass jug. This is a very refreshing drink in hot weather; it may also be safely given to patients suffering from Influenza and other feverish ailments.

For reasons of space we are unable to reproduce every recipe, but as a kind of blog dessert, you can try to imagine what these dishes from the book might entail:
  • Brown Bread Mist
  • Ham Mould
  • Cold Meat Shape
  • Bread Meringue
  • Brown Bread Ice Cream
  • Rice Toast
Full recipes are available on request. You might like to try this recipe too. Barman, toast water for everyone!


Blogger pinklefish:

Such pathos!
Perhaps this book is of a time when there were even less vegetarian meal choices than there are now, if that's possible.
How does bread and water turn into jelly? In bygone eras did bread get made with melted pigs hooves?
Toast water is basically carbon tea. I can see how that would be good for stomach upsets but not flu.
I really want to know what "Cold Meat Shape" is. Sounds like Engrish.

10:34 pm  
Blogger Robert:

This is hilarious.. I am definitely going to make toast water first thing in the morning.

11:40 pm  
Blogger fredblog:

Reminds me of that horrible ale-bread soup in Babette's Feast...

never understood why bread sauce tastes so good...

I presume there are recipes for bread pudding and bread and butter puddling?


2:06 pm  
Blogger Clare:

Brown bread icecream -- my mother used to make that. It's actually really nice. Sort of nubbly. Good with chocolate sauce.

4:51 pm  
Blogger mig bardsley:

LOL. really, out loud :)

1:25 am  

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01 June 2006

Lost Property Box Jury

Another library find, this time a mix CD I discovered buried under all the gloves, pens and reading lists in the lost property box. I was so intrigued by the drawing on it of the bird's wings and paw print that I took it home to have a listen.


I spent a good hour identifying all the tracks and, boy, do I feel gypped! This is undoubtedly the worst mix CD that I have ever heard. No wonder it got left at the library.

  1. The Beatles - I've Just Seen A Face
  2. Sam Cooke - Wonderful World (Don't Know Much)
  3. Bic Runga - Sway
  4. Prince - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
  5. Lenny Kravitz - Stand By My Woman
  6. Bill Withers - Lean On Me
  7. Van Morrison - Have I Told You Lately
  8. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares To You
  9. Katie Melua - Closest Thing To Crazy
  10. Bob Dylan - To Make You Feel My Love
  11. Bob Marley - I Know A Place (Where We Can Carry On)
  12. Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet
  13. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes - Up Where We Belong
  14. Lionel Richie - Stuck On You
  15. Bob Marley - Turn Your Lights Down Low
  16. Billy Joel - And So It Goes
  17. The Beach Boys - Disney Girls
  18. Sting - Fields Of Gold
  19. Eva Cassidy - Time After Time
  20. Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm

I feel embarrassed every time I look at the readers in the library now, wondering who the recipient was and, more pertinently, who in god's name made this MOR slushfest. I mean, I feel mortified for this person who thinks Lenny Kravitz songs are a valid form of musical expression. They'll never pass their finals this way.


Anonymous Anonymous:

:( can I have my CD back please?

1:42 pm  
Blogger ben:

'Darrell Jones 2026: All Back To Mine' there.

*Track missing: They Might Be Giants: "Here's Another Great One We Threw In A Bin, Dad"

11:11 am  
Blogger fin:

I like the winged decoration with the pawpad.

6:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

this looks the ideal soundtrack to a dinner party for late 40 somethings in the mid 80's. even then they'd be extremely conservative for the times..

9:22 pm  
Blogger fil:

Lenny Krav's drummer is quite good. I saw her once.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day digitally remastering compilation tapes from my childhood.

7:40 pm  

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20 April 2006

I'll give as much milk as possible

I was handed this flyer yesterday by a middle-aged Chinese lady:

Quan Yin Alternative Living vegetarianism flyer

Any fool can tell you that a flyer with a drawing of a chicken saying "We Pray for You" on it is worth keeping.

Who is behind this campaign to convert people to vegetarianism? The links at the bottom of the flyer point to which, despite the spooky name, is a sort of Buddhist group led by The Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Being vegetarian is a major facet of traditional Buddhism but Supreme Master Ching Hai has some further explanations about why we mustn't eat eggs:

"We can drink milk, yes we could, no problem about milk because we don't have to kill the animal for milk. About the egg, even if it's no fertilized egg, it still contains a kind of symbol of life and death, born and reborn, and also the egg has the potential of attracting the negative energy. Perhaps you would read or know or heard that many of the magicians, they use the eggs to attract the negative entities from some of the possessed persons. Therefore we do not like to attract the negative force into ourselves, because now we try to reach the positive nature."
"Because egg is a symbol of life and death. In it contains life, yeah. And many of the black magicians or white magicians they use eggs to withdraw some of the negative possessive spirit within some people, yeah. Therefore, if we eat eggs too much we tend to attract this negative force toward ourselves. Yeah, that's one of the reasons why we should not eat eggs, hm."

Here, have an egg-free fortune cookie. I can absolutely guarantee it will not attract any negative entities.


Blogger ben:

That list of It's (It's Peace?!!?)seems to be crying out for an additional "Its Dot Com!" at the end.

I promise not to drink any cows on my way home.

10:50 am  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I like the way that Supreme Master Ching Hai occasionally loses patience with the Frequently Asked Questions and responds rather irritably: "I am vegetarian because the God inside me wants it. Understand?"

Hey! Be mellow Supreme Master Ching Hai!

12:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

Isn't the idea of a chicken praying for human lives somewhat blasphemous?

1:22 pm  
Blogger Christopher D. Bate:

Bang goes my 'eggs with soliders' evening.

Those cadets are going to be dissapointed.

4:50 pm  
Blogger Jan:

unfortunately, I'm eating a chicken salad (with egg) sandwich as I read this. Oh, the dreary bread and the negative energy and the death of the praying chicken...they cry out to me.

woe. is. me.

3:04 pm  

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04 April 2006

The Free Object

My very favourite crafty arty internet person, Sarah Neuburger, has declared it a week of download fun at The Small Object. Huzzah! She'll be uploading a new free downloadable mystery item every day this week, all week.

So far we've had these great envelopes and labels:

free downloadable envelopes and labels to print out and make, created by Sarah Neuburger at The Small Object

I printed some out this morning at work and sat with the glue and scissors making them. I can confirm absolutely without reserve the radness of these designs. And I can't wait for the stationery that I ordered to arrive!

Download from the Small Object Steno Pad.


Blogger Spider-Sam:

Thumb wrestling championship belts!!
At last, something useful on the internet!

1:14 pm  

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02 April 2006

Natsume Soseki Am A Cat

We found this a little while ago on a Japanese imageboard:

Natsume Soseki, money-folding origami cat

It's a folded 1000-yen banknote, featuring the face of author Natsume Soseki. The creator of this piece is sadly unknown.

Try as we might, we have failed to find any instructions on the internet on how to make this particular kind of origami money-folding cat, either for Japanese money or our own trusty British sterling. I can, however, make a lovely Japanese crane. Myrtle says she can make a lily, but this is unproven.

On researching this entry, we've just discovered that these 1000-yen notes were phased out as legal tender just after we left Japan, replaced by ones bearing the countenance of Hideyo Noguchi.

...All this holiday money is WORTHLESS!


Anonymous Anonymous:

That's fantastic! Soseki is one of my favourite authors, and probably the sole reason why I now own a cat. What Impudence! Foolish Humans! I love it.

If you do find out how to make these let me know.

You know there's a funny little trick that you can do with an australian 5$ bill featuring Queen Elizabeth II - though it's not quite oragami. When folded in the correct fashion you can turn the queens portrait into 'the coming together of the male/female genitalia'- to put it nicely. It really has to be seen to be believed.

12:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I googled 'royal arbiter' and got this chap :) I expect you know that?

On paper folding tricks I like to make these using bank notes

1:46 pm  
Blogger Tim Lazyhour:

Steve Jay - You'll have to take a picture of this folded money featuring the 'coming together' of genitalia! Failing that, just send me a picture of the same thing happening in real life.

routard: That is an excellent link! I'm going to try it myself today. And yes, I know all about this 'Dickie Arbiter' fellow. He's on our patch, and you don't want to know what happens to people that muscle in on our patch.

(we send them pictures of the coming together of genitalia.)

1:57 pm  

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28 March 2006

The World of Mimiyo Tomozawa

There doesn't seem to be any really good online English resource for excellent Japanese artist Mimiyo Tomozawa. She isn't even on Wikipedia, for Christ's sake! So:


Mimiyo is probably best-known for her artwork on two Jim O'Rourke album sleeves (Eureka and Insignificance, both released on Drag City):

Mimiyo Tomozawa's artwork for Jim O'Rourke's albums Insignificance and Eureka

As you can see, there is a theme running through her work. Put simply: Round-headed people who often look unhappy. In that sense, she's like a Japanese Charles Schultz. Several books of Mimiyo's comics and graphic art have been published in Japan, and her work is a regular feature of underground comics and magazines there. Several years ago, a ten-page Mimiyo strip, Through The Looking Chest, appeared in Tokion magazine's 'Happy Issue 3'. It was presented in Japanese and English. This is the only Mimiyo comic to have ever been officially available in English, though a slim French children's book called Viens chez moi describes what a house will be like in the future. In French.

This dreadful lack of English Mimiyo content has prompted me to translate a two-page manga from her book Kinoko Ryokou (Mushroom Travel). Here it is! Just for fun! With acknowledgement that all copyright lies with Mimiyo and her publisher! Click the links to see each page.

The Royal County Arbiter presents a translation of Mimiyo Tomozawa manga Shimeru

PART 2: THE MUSIC OF MIMIYO TOMOZAWA (cribbed from here)

In 1990, Mimiyo Tomozawa and Missa Fukuma formed a 'Spacy Folk' group called RISU ('squirrel' in Japanese). They had one release only - an "Official Recording Cassette Tape" - which the pair decided to reissue in 2000 on CD after exchanging some emails on the subject. Re-titled "The Best Of RISU - Past Future Folk Songs" and expanded to include tracks not on the original cassette, the CD was remastered by Mayo Takise, one of Yann Tomita's right-hand men. On its release, Miss Fukuma had the following to say: "The sound of RISU was 10 years early. It's 2000 that we all understand the most evil devil and the most gentle god are the same one. It's strange feeling like the light of stars finally come to the earth now."

Here it is at Amazon Japan (Japanese language link). If you think your local super-hep record store might be game, the CD was released on EMPEROR RECORDS, catalogue number ER-2003, on 2000.7.7.

For immediate thrills, you can download an mp3 by Mimiyo here, available for free as part of a 10-track experimental EP entitled "Minute Women," also featuring excellent French group Dragibus.


1) Mimiyo is married to a French musician, and they've had a child together.
2) Mimiyo and Jim O’Rourke like to sing karaoke together when they're both in Japan.

This is all the gossip I've found so far, and it concludes my brief tour around the World of Mimiyo Tomozawa.


Epileptic page containing lots of Mimiyo art, and great music by Dragibus.
Information about 2005's Stranger Town exhibition, featuring Mimiyo and Daniel Johnston.
A New York Times article on Stranger Town.
'Snap Shots' Photo exhibition at the Neon Gallery Brösart from 2002, featuring Mimiyo and O'Rourke.
Some photos of Mimiyo (in black with white polka-dots) at an exhibition closing party in Love Lab, Tokyo.
The goods of Mimiyo Tomozawa (some t-shirts and books, page in Japanese)


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27 March 2006

Dido Building Carthage, or An Unfinished Letter

I found this card today, addressed to an Officer Cadet at Sandhurst, down in the dusty recesses of a library bookshelf:

Dido Buiding Carthage, or The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire by Turner - National Gallery, London

September 12th 2005

Dear Jeremy,
I have just finished having my bath and speaking with you on the telephone. It occurred to me that the letter I had written you and was intending to send tomorrow was simply not appropriate for your first letter. I believed that your emotions were probably running high, being it your week, and therefore I decided to write in somewhat of a detached manner. Rather than follow my instincts, I wrote about... Scottish national identity and the British public's love of the secular magic of monarchy!

We have only known each other a few weeks and there is so much for us to learn about each other. I will start, I think, by providing (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

The remaining half of the card has been left tantalisingly blank. Why did this person stop writing at this point? What interrupted her (or him)? Did they use the unfinished letter as a bookmark then carelessly forget about it? I guess we'll never know.

This is why I love ephemera so much - that voyeuristic peek into other people's everyday lives, the open-ended mystery of these fragments, the imagined human dramas. The nosy, speculating, storytelling part of my brain explodes when I come across precious scraps like today's card.

I hope that I can sate your burning curiosities by providing some (not particularly interesting) facts about myself:

  • I have two brothers.
  • I don't like it in winter when I enter a room and my glasses fog up.
  • I have a scar on my knee from a childhood fall.
Over to you, dog.


Blogger Brit:

Wow, that's really cool. Such an old-fashioned letter to be dated 2005. I wonder if they were romantically involved.

10:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

- I have a single brother.
- I think toy cars are disgusting. I hate to look at them and absolutely cannot touch them.
- One of my father's brothers died in a gliding accident before I was born and nobody ever mentions him.

9:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I thought I was being clever thinking it was an Emily Allchurch recreation of a classic (Turner in this case) but old squinty eyes has got it wrong and it's the original ;)

- I've had a beard for nearly half my life.
- I once snogged Tracy Shaw from Coronation Street before she was famous.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Unknown:

Other things I've found in the library while on shelf-tidying and shelving duties include: a cheque for £30.00 from 2003; a manga-style drawing of three people inside this book; and a packet of Indian chewing tobacco.

8:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous:

I wish i had your job.

10:49 pm  

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25 March 2006

The Sickness

A few years ago, in the UK Japan Society newsletter, I found the best reason for cancelling an event that I've ever seen.

I'd love to get that rubber stamp.

Though this lecture was cancelled, and was due to take place two years ago anyway, you haven't missed your chance to see some beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture at this Buddhist Art Photo Library.

They're a little bit dull, but here's a link to the UK Japan Society.
This link is much better.


Blogger ben:

I dig you guys. I hope you will one day dig me too. Up. Did you get my letter yet? As the motto goes "My Other Car's Got A Lecturer In It". I dont use that one so much. Yeah.

12:33 pm  

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