Both of you will be aware that in my copious free time I edit Mallorn, the Journal of the Tolkien Society. After humunguntious efforts by my Production Editor Mr C. S. of London (now marooned in Italy thanks to the Sons of Muspell), issue 49 is now in press – and by way of work avoidance behaviour celebration I thought I’d subject inflict treat you to an edited version of a piece I posted on my other blog back in the mists of time.
The world has changed.
I can feel it in the water.
I can feel it in the air.
I can feel it on my foot. Drat. I must be more careful with that seeing-stone next time.
The story so far.
Much that has changed will be the same. Much that was the same will have changed. Much that is, will be, or would, perhaps subjunctively. History becomes legend. Legend becomes Myth. Myth becomes the Release of Calcium from Intracellular Stores.
Heroic, muscle-bound Kenneth Williams peers over the battlements, standing on brawny, bearded Betty Marsden, son of Gloin. The phallically helmeted Gondorian guard, played by elfin Hugh Paddick, lights the beacon provided by pointy-eared Bill Pertwee. Just then a horn blows.
Drums, drums in the deep. We cannot get out. We cannot get out.
They are coming.
The demonic hordes of calcium ions swarm the battlements and break into the keep. The Finger of the Shadow extends impudently over Middle-earth, remorselessly, rick, cot and tree, until all that is left is a small valiant band of the Faithful, holding out against Beelzebun Demon Bunny of DOOM the domination of Middle-earth by He Who Must Not Be Named until the World’s End, whichever comes first. The Free Radicals Peoples of Middle-earth are confined, at bay, in their last redoubt, the Hidden City of Peasemouldia. But heedless of the commands of He Who Must Not Be Named, a cock crows, and, riding for three days straight, hope against hope, a great and valiant voice is heard: “Hello, My name’s Kenneth Huorn”.
KENNETH HUORN: I have come in search of J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock, Prince of Peasemouldia.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: I have not passed through fire and death to be addressed as J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock. Oh no, I am Gruntfuttock the White, returned from the dead to defend Peasemouldia and All Its Realms.
KENNETH HUORN: Remarkable – how did you effect such a startling transformation?
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: It was the voices, you know. There I was, plain Gruntfuttock the Grey, being chucked out of the Green Dragon at closing time, and I was just passing the ‘orsemeat shop in the Bywater Road when I ‘eard the Voices. The Voices, Yes. They says to me, ‘Gird up your loins, Gruntfuttock, my child! ‘Gird them up’, they said. The voices, you know. ‘Gird up your loins, and go forth unto Middle-earth. And get us an ounce of lembas while you’re about it’.
KENNETH HUORN: Fascinating. What is the extent of your domains, Noble Lord?
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: Alas, the Dark Intracellular Calcium Ions of He Who Must Not Be Named have tried us sorely, until we are confined here in Railway Sidings, Hoxton The Haven of Imladris, and up Buttermould Street as far up as the Prancing Pony.
KENNETH HUORN: Your ears trials are sore indeed. But I am here to release you from bondage.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: The Lay of Leithian?
KENNETH HUORN: Don’t bring her into it. She’s supposed to be in Rivendell. and She’s not as good with a sword as Peter Jackson would have you think.
THE LADY BUTTERCUP: That’s not what I’ve ‘eard, cheeky face.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: Get down, Lady Buttercup. I’ve told you before about meddling with the Large Hadron Collider in the affairs of wizards. And anyway, Mr Huorn, how do you propose to save us? A couple of dozen suspiciously well-washed elves against ten billion trillion calcium ions? Pour your shampoo over them?
KENNETH HUORN: better than that, My Liege. I have brought salvation on wings of minstrelsy. After all, in a book like this you have to interrupt the action now and then with a folksy ballad.
RAMBLING SID RADAGAST: ‘Ello Me Dearios! It is I, Rambling Sid Radagast, come ‘ere after roving the length and breadth of Middle-earth, with naught but the sky as my coverlet, the hedgerow as my bed and a hedgehog for my pillow, and naught for company but this bird called Galadriel wot I found a-moolin’ and a-wogglin’ under a Mallorn Tree in Caras Galadhon.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: Not you again. And how do you propose to release Middle-earth from the tyranny of He Who Must Not Be Named?
RAMBLING SID RADAGAST: I shall sing at them. Believe me, it usually clears the place. Those Calcium Ions will be back in their Intracellular Stores before you can say Elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo.
KENNETH HUORN: Oh, all right then, you may as well give it a go. We’ve nothing else to lose. What Lay or Air of Ancientry do you intend to lay on us this week, Rambling Sid?
RAMBLING SID RADAGAST: This be an ancient Numenorean ballad, retrieved, as it were, from the Downfallen West in the Deeps of Time amidst the Innumerable Stars. I made it up last week.
KENNETH HUORN: Sing us, then, O Rambling Sid, of the Music of the Ainur, of the Beginnings of Days, of Aule and Yavanna, of the Chaining of Melkor, of the Oaths of the Noldor, of Feanor and his Disobedience, of the Battles under the Stars, or Thingol and Melian, of The Coming of Men into the West, of Luthien and Beren, of Turin the Accursed, of the Fall of Gondolin, and All That Other Stuff I Can’t Remember.
RAMBLING SID RADAGAST: Grummet up my scrurdies, o! Tom Bombadillo!
Plurdled are his nadgers, o! By the weeds and willow!
Posseted are thy futtocks, o! Tom Bombadillo!
Snurgle dandle doodle o! Tom Bombadillo!
KENNETH HUORN: Is that it?
RAMBLING SID RADAGAST: Well what do you expect in half an hour, and in an economy with no visible means of support?
KENNETH HUORN: It’s worked, though, the Calcium Ions are once again Bound in their Intracellular Stores.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: But what’s that ahead? That evil, red glow? What is this new devilry?
SARUMAN: Oooh, ‘Ello, I’m Saruman, and this is my friend, Sauron.
KENNETH HUORN: Whatever your terms are, foul spawn of Morgoth, we reject them utterly.
SAURON: Charmed, I’m sure.
SARUMAN: And he hasn’t even ‘eard what we’ve got to offer.
SAURON: Oooh, yes. We’ve gone into business together, see? The genetic manipulation subcreation game.
KENNETH HUORN: Oh, all right. I can’t pretend I’m not intrigued. What are you up to?
SARUMAN: Well, we’ve called ourselves ‘Bona Balrogs’.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: I am a Servant of the Secret Fire! Wielder of the Flame of Anor! The Dark Fire will Not Avail you, Flame of Udun! Get back to the Shadow!
SAURON: Oooh, ‘e’s very bold, inn’e, Saruman?
SARUMAN: Very bold.
GRUNTFUTTOCK THE WHITE: You Cannot Pass!
SAURON: Speak for yourself, ducky.
SARUMAN: Come on, Sauron. I don’t think we’re welcome ‘ere. Let’s go and read the Two Towers.
SAURON: So that’s what you call it in Quenya Polari? Well, I’m game, if you are.
KENNETH HUORN: What we need now is a continuity error. Smith, you know what’s expected of you.
DOUGLAS SMITH: Oh, very well. After having his staff broken in Orthanc, Gruntfuttock the White magically comes up with something exactly the same in the Council of Elrond, only to turn up in Fangorn Forest with something completely different.
KENNETH HUORN: That was close. Escaping from the Balrog when some eagles turned up in the nick of time, I was just about to edit all the jokes out of The History of Middle-earth when my palantir rang. I picked it up.
HAVERSTRAP: Haverstrap here. I’ve got Brown-Horrocks on my extension.
KENNETH HUORN: That calls for Elvish medicine.
HAVERSTRAP: No, Brown-Horrocks, Intelligence.
BROWN-HORROCKS: Ah, Huorn.
KENNETH HUORN: Ah, Brown-Horrocks.
BROWN-HORROCKS: Listen, Huorn, we have a crisis. All the trees in Hyde Park have started walking about.
KENNETH HUORN: Walking about?
BROWN-HORROCKS: Yes, Huorn, walking about. And singing.
KENNETH HUORN: Singing? What about?
BROWN-HORROCKS: About how they’ve lost their wives and don’t know where to find them.
KENNETH HUORN: Some people don’t know when they’re well-off. Don’t they know there’s no sex in Middle-earth?
BROWN-HORROCKS: I know, Huorn. But perhaps it doesn’t apply to walking trees. Anyway, I want you to find out who’s behind this – and stop them.
KENNETH HUORN: Only one being in Middle-earth could be responsible for such treachery. I knew what I had to do. I jumped out of my tower onto a conveniently passing eagle. He took me straight to the Tower of Cirith Ungol, Tel Aviv. I knocked on the door. It was answered by the Lovely Ramona. I looked at her quizzically. She looked at my quizzically. Her mouth was full of extraordinarily large teeth a scarlet wound. My lips found hers, exactly where I expected them to be – underneath her nose.
DOUGLAS SMITH: Three days later…
KENNETH HUORN: Three days?
DOUGLAS SMITH: Just doing my job, sir. I mean, it’s a trilogy – you’ve got to pad it out somehow.
KENNETH HUORN: Oh, if you insist. I ran Ramona through with my trusty Blade of Gondolin …
SARUMAN: Oooh, vada! ‘ark at him!
KENNETH HUORN: Don’t you start. And leave the blessed Varda, Queen of the Stars out of it.
SAURON: I was dragged up a lovely Queen of the Stars, once, weren’t I, Saruman?
SARUMAN: Yes, ‘e took ‘is part lovely, ‘e did, Mr Huorn. Fantabulosa!
KENNETH HUORN: Be gone with you. Now, where was I?
DOUGLAS SMITH: Bottom of page 347.
KENNETH HUORN: Thank you, Smith. I ran her through and bounded up the stairs. I reached the topmost chamber. I recited the magic spell – speak ‘artichoke’ and enter. The doors flew open, revealing:
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Ah, Mr Huorn.
KENNETH HUORN: Ah, Chou.
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Bless you, my preciouses.
KENNETH HUORN: Look, Chou, what’s your game, making all the trees in Hyde Park walk about, singing?
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Because it’s my birthday, precioussss, and I wants it. But before we parlay, I shall summon Laurelin, loveliest of all my cucumbers concubines, to entertain us in the Hall of Fire. Laurelin, joy of my heart? Light of my life?
LAURELIN (gruffly): I hendeavour to do yore biddin’, cock.
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Sing us the one about the elf princess who runs off with the hero and turns into a bat and dances naked in front of Harrods.
LAURELIN: Oh, the hokey cokey
Oh, the hokey cokey
Oh, the hokey cokey
Knees bend arms stretch rah rah rah.
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Does not that stir your blood to fire?
KENNETH HUORN: No, I can’t say it does.
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: No. Doesn’t work with me, either. Anyway, Mr Huorn, what was it you wantses? Not my preciouss?
KENNETH HUORN: Is that what you want, what you really really want?
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: No, what I really wantses is a better part, that’s what. They make me troll out this rubbish, week after week, all this nonsense about ‘we wants it’ and ‘my precious’. Do they tell me what it’s about? Do they? No. Just get on with it, they say. And to think, I could have been an actor. I could have been a star. ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends’, you see, ‘and fill up the walls with our English Dead’, you see. A star. I’ve got the calves for it. Look at my calves. Just look at them. That’s the problem with fantasies. No love.
KENNETH HUORN: No love? What can you mean? Just listen to this. (Brings out palantir).
ARAGORN: Oh, Arwen. We must stop meeting like this.
ARWEN: Oh, Aragorn, surely not. I live for our brief meetings. When I think of them, I become thrillingly, heart-throbbingly, tongue-chokingly, chthonically, eldritchly, preternaturally, utterly, utterly, utterly excited. And yet, somehow, calm.
ARAGORN: Yes. I feel it too.
ARWEN: I know.
ARAGORN: I know you know.
ARWEN: I know you know I know.
ARAGORN: I know you know I know you know.
ARWEN: I know you know I know you know I know.
ARAGORN: I know.
ARWEN: That’s what I like about us, Aragorn. We don’t need words.
KENNETH HUORN: I’ve seen through your little game, Gollum! Take that!
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Aaaah!
KENNETH HUORN: … And That!
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: Aaaaah!
KENNETH HUORN: … And that!
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: No thanks, I’ve already got two of those.
KENNETH HUORN: Chou-En Gollum climbed up to his full height of eight foot three (he was standing on the windowsill) and with a cry of ‘my preciousss!’ he threw himself out of the window. I looked out to see his receding form, and as he fell, I heard his last, foul cry, as if in unutterable terror -
CHOU-EN GOLLUM: You may have beaten me this time, Mr Huorn, but you haven’t heard the last of Dr Chou-En Gollum, M. A. Failed – GOODBYE!!!