A Year In Nadada: Week Three- The Archipenko Snake

Today The Kandinsky resembles a sea plane, the kind suitable for only a dozen passengers maximum. But my cabin hasn’t changed shape, and the outside is visible from the porthole. The crew assure me that my own room, and indeed the rooms of the hundreds of other passengers, are now invisible, but still there.

I don’t understand either. 

The icebergs are long gone, and we zoom over rocky islands and tiny fishing boats not dissimilar from Greece. Only here the men and woman catch violet squid with a hundred tentacles, their fishing lines spun from gold. Lozowick cannot be far.

I will reveal the results of my experiment next time, but for now here’s a report on how my first gig went. I originally wanted something truly Nadadian for this blog entry, but things worked out to include both! 

My show took place in the theatre, though I would have been much happier with the bar. The ceiling of the venue is stunning, even by the standards of The Kandinsky. Dolphins splash through the waves, below storms decorated in such detail they must be imagination rather than hand painted. If I was in the crowd I would stare up at the tableaux rather than worry about whatever act was on. Behind the stage is a huge window, revealing the islands, and the clouds that drift past in various shapes and sizes. A giant turtle maybe, or a cat circled up on a sofa.

The theatre was about half full, fifty or sixty in the crowd maximum. Again, I’ve no idea how this works in terms of us taking the shape of sea plane. Most passengers knew each other by this point, and a wall of chat greeted my walk on.

No one came to Nadada for ventriloquism. I can’t believe there is still a market for original acts, when if you stay long enough you can create whatever you want. But apparently you cannot fake originality and dedication. Someone described it to me like a world of robots who admire the imperfect skill of human athletes.

The first ten minutes of our routine went down with a good dollop of laughter, and they stopped talking at least. I mixed in some classic material with some observational stuff about arriving. There were still some people at the back who did not engage, and spent the time sculpting new clouds for the horizon, but in general the room followed along.

Then at the end of one line, when The Butter Mouse talked about the dangers of swallowing glitter, the crows went silent. It wasn’t offensive or anything like that, but they all shut up. I have died before on stage of course, but never have an audience looked like I committed murder.

I was about to dig my way out the malaise with my usual trick of saying it was Butter Mouse’s fault, when the thunder of breaking china drowns out any potential apology. A great white shape rockets past the window. Teapot spouts and mug handles dotted the surface of the skin. Ragged strands of seaweed stick between broken serving platters. An Aynsley hallmark was imprinted on a gleaming fan blade the size of broadsword. 

Now I know this was an Archipenko snake, but at the moment the clanking beast was death. I dropped the mike, and crashed to the floor, the Butter Mouse clutched to my chest.

For such a long time, the shipwreck was one of the worst events a human could eve happen. This is why you find so many in Shakespeare. That hasn’t stopped them occurring in the hundreds, and the skeletons of many litter coral reefs and coves.

Something that often survives the shipwrecks is the crockery. There are plates left over from the Titanic you can eat your breakfast off. And even if they break, these are items designed not to react to water. They can and will last for centuries.

Thousands of fragments and dozens of intact pieces filtered through to Nadada through the cave networks throughout the Earth. Somewhere deep in this new world, they began to fix together. They began to breed.

Now some of them are longer than tube trains, and they patrol these waters. Nothing to worry about, but they are alarming if you don’t expect them to leap past, their china blinding in the sunlight.

Which is why I ended up on the floor, staring up at the astonishing ceiling My fall got the biggest laugh of the night. We riffed on the madness Nadada to a twenty minute finish, and a decent round of applause.

There are well over a hundred more gigs to go on this tour, and so these surprises are to be excepted. But I will take a giant snake made of porcelain over a Christmas audience or stag do any day.

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