Graticules and Pippy Bags

I note that a Google search for the word “Spegdroth” turns up only one result, a comment on Frank Key’s fascinating and edifying website Hooting Yard (he also writes and narrates a weekly radio show of the same name on Resonance FM) at the end of a long thread about pippy bags. To wit:

Mr Key. I am a busy and important man. My automated manservant, Spegdroth, is driving me mad with his relentless demands for a pippy bag to call his own. His wheedling will be curtailed only by the failure of one or more of the components along his desire/whinge nexus, for instance a brain pipe, or his throat-plate, or the giant granite bearings on either side of his monstrous gob. But I will be dead long before such a failure occurs.

All day and night he clumps up and down the corridors of the institute keening for a pippy bag. Geraldine and I have not had a nod of sleep for months, and I’m too tired even to caulk the primary heat exchangers these days. He’s ruining my research right when it’s entering the crucial phase!

I don’t even know where he got wind of such a thing – he certainly didn’t get it from me, and my wife has never so much as acknowledged Spegdroth’s presence (apart from running screaming from the house when he first lumbered from his birthing pod). I suppose it’s possible he read it in a magazine that one of the Burbage twins left lying around – Italian Vogue, probably, or the Damart catalogue.

To begin with I thought he might mean a bag emblazoned with the likeness of Astrid Lindgren’s well-loved children’s book character Pippi Longstocking, and risking imprisonment (or at least a hefty fine) for copyright infringement, I fashioned him a stylish hessian shoulder-bag bearing an iron-on transfer of her pigtailed countenance. Alas – it was all in vain. He plucked it from my outstretched hand, studied it for a moment, and hurled it sullenly into the lake.

I was momentarily disheartened but the thought struck me that I may simply have made a slight mistake in the rendering of Pippi’s face. Perhaps her hair colour was not red enough for Spegdroth’s eye-graticule to resolve, perhaps his objection was to the work of Viveca Serlachius, who portrayed the character in the 1949 film, and he preferred, as Lindgren herself did, the child actress Inger Nilsson. These variations and countless more I explored as I sat up night after night, weaving my fingers raw. I tried hessian, denim, polyester, chiffon, oilcloth, calico and a hundred other fabrics. I tried black and white photographs, screen-printing, applique, patchwork, embroidery, and methods of textile production as yet too advanced to describe without inviting derision. I tried satchels, holdalls, haversacks, clutch-, tote- and kit-bags. All of them beautiful, strange and wondrous. All of them offered up hopefully to the metal tyrant. And all of them now in the lake.
In God’s name, Key, I beseech you, tell me where to get one of these infernal things so I can shut his ceramic cakehole up once and for all!

-Fitzmaurice Trenery-

Incidentally, Frank Key’s new book “Gravitas, Punctilio, Rectitude and Pippy Bags” is available from Lulu now. It is a riveting read and will answer all none of your pressing questions about pippy bags.


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