Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Weird Questionnaire

Here's a French cultural parlour game designed to awaken your creative skills. Take the questions from here, post your responses and leave a link in the comments (or tweet me @plashingvole). I'm not sure it tells you that much about me: the problem of being a fully postmodern literature academic is that there's nothing spontaneous or innocent about anything we do: we're fully aware that everything is a second-order simulation, a quotation, a performance. Still, it's a bit of fun.


1 – Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
It was teatime in the graveyard and an anticipatory flutter ran through the assembled animals.
2 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
2.02 p.m.
3 – Look at your watch. What time is it?
1.59 p.m.
4 – How do you explain this — or these — discrepancy(ies) in time?
I have little concept of time.
5 – Do you believe in meteorological predictions?
To an extent.
6 – Do you believe in astrological predictions?
No.
7 – Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?
All I see in the sky from my flat is the police helicopter and a ghastly orange glow.
8 – What do you think of the sky and stars by night?
Astronomy is a faith-based activity in this city.
9 – What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?
BoingBoing. I should have been marking.
10 – What do cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues, and other religious monuments inspire in you?
Architectural admiration.
11 – What would you have “seen” had you been blind?
Nothing.
12 – What would you want to see if you were blind?
Everything.
13 – Are you afraid?
Sometimes
14 – What of?
Tories.
15 – What is the last weird film you’ve seen?
Jack Frost.
16 – Whom are you afraid of?
Newt Gingrich
17 – Have you ever been lost?
Yes.
18 – Do you believe in ghosts?
No.
19 – What is a ghost?
An explanation without investigation.
20 – At this very moment, what sound(s) can you hear, apart from the computer?
Traffic.
21 – What is the most terrifying sound you’ve ever heard – for example, “the night was like the cry of a wolf”?
Air-raid sirens while emerging from sleep, before the end of the Cold War.
22 – Have you done something weird today or in the last few days?
Define your terms.
23 – Have you ever been to confession?
Yes.
24 – You’re at confession, so confess the unspeakable.
I genuinely like this song.
25 –Without cheating: what is a “cabinet of curiosities”?
An early museum exhibition.
26 –Do you believe in redemption?
Depends on whether you're speaking transcendentally or personally. Yes if the latter.
27 – Have you dreamed tonight?
No.
28 – Do you remember your dreams?
Sometimes.
29 – What was your last dream?
Mixed up with a Radio 4 discussion of Jamaican patois, I was visiting a school with colleagues.
30 – What does fog make you think of?
The Hound of the Baskervilles.
31 – Do you believe in animals that don’t exist?
Yes: extinct ones.
32 – What do you see on the walls of the room where you are?
My photographs, Stoke City poster, Tom Gauld prints, Communist memorabilia, Angela Davis poster, grammar posters, Tree of Literature posters in Danish, John Peel postcard, Dickens quote, Shakespeare badge, political postcards, Steve Bell and XKCD strips.
33 – If you became a magician, what would be the first thing you’d do?
Re-order my books without physical effort.
34 – What is a madman?
Society's current category for those consigned to mental institutions.
35 – Are you mad?
Angry? Unhinged? Definition unclear. I'd be the last to know, anyway.
36 – Do you believe in the existence of secret societies?
There may be some, but they're self-indulgent. The real plots are open: such as neoliberalism.
37 – What was the last weird book you read?
Eunioa.
38 – Would you like to live in a castle?
That depends on which rooms and its condition.
39 – Have you seen something weird today?
No.
40 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever seen?
Videodrome.
41 – Would you like to live in an abandoned train station?
If converted nicely, yes.
42 – Can you see the future?
Only fragments of a second ahead.
43 – Have you considered living abroad?
Yes.
44 – Where?
The Faroe Islands.
45 – Why?
Like me, they're cold and remote.
46 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever owned?
Videodrome.
47 – Would you liked to have lived in a vicarage?
Not with a vicar. Otherwise, it depends on the architecture.
48 – What is the weirdest book you’ve ever read?
Hard to say. Gravity's Rainbow is disorienting. So's Albert Angelo, and The Erasers.
49 – Which do you like better, globes or hourglasses?
Globes.
50 – Which do you like better, antique magnifying glasses or bladed weapons?
Bladed weapons: I am a fencer.
51 – What, in all likelihood, lies in the depths of Loch Ness?
Rusty Irn Bru cans.
52 – Do you like taxidermied animals?
Yes.
53 – Do you like walking in the rain?
Yes
54 – What goes on in tunnels?
Trains.
55 – What do you look at when you look away from this questionnaire?
Academic books about Anne of Green Gables.
56 – What does this famous line inspire in you: “And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.”?
Indifference.
57 – Without cheating: where is that famous line from?
No idea. Though I've looked it up now.
58 – Do you like walking in graveyards or the woods by night?
Sometimes.
58 – Write the last line of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
Using one tentacle to pull down the blind, Alan finally turned his attention to the girl.
59 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
2.10
60 – Look at your watch. What time is it?
2.20

That was fun. Wonder if I still have any friends. Go here to see an actual, brilliant writer take the test.

5 comments:

Ewarwoowar said...

I'm going to leave my answers here as I don't really know where else to put them. Don't want to sully my blog with this shite. Right then.

1) He paused, casting a furtive glance over his shoulder, then continued. Four paces forward, one pace right as before.

2) It's 14:40. I looked at my screen, not my watch.

3) 14:40

4) N/A

5) Like the weather and shit? Yes.

6) No.

7) Sometimes.

8) That's enough about space now.

9) Twitter

10) Inside, they make me appreciate peace and calmness.

11) What?

12) Women

13) Too often

14) Stupid things

15) Total Recall

16) Gove, Gideon et al

17) Yes

18) No

19) A load of old shite

20) Traffic on the motorway

21) Fire ripping through the attic

22) No

23) No

24) I kissed a girl and I liked it

25) Fuck knows

26) The religious kind? No.

27) Last night? Yes.

28) Sometimes

29) Last night. I was watching a Harry Potter film but a teacher told me off for having an empty pencil case(?!)

30) The Hound of the Baskervilles

31) No

32) Blue

33) If a real magician - fly

34) Best question so far. Someone who is a danger to society?

35) Getting there.

36) Yes

37) Don't read much fiction. Coraline?

38) Yes

39) No

40) Eyes Wide Shut

41) No...

42) No

43) Yes

44) Bawstahn

45) It's awesome?

46) Donnie Darko?

47) Suppose

48) Dunno. Brave New World maybe

49) Globes

50) Magnifying glasses

51) Nothing, but I'm fucked if I ever get on a boat and go across it

(This is the best question so far, though they don't realise it. I'm 99.9% certain Nessie doesn't exist yet there's no way I'd row a boat over Loch Ness. The power of suggestion, right there)

52) No

53) Light rain, yeah

54) Trains?

55) The Ercall

56) Fuck all

57) Dont know

58a) No sir

58b) Why do we have 2 Q58s?

59) 15:04. I looked at the screen again

60) 15:04

Right, now what?

Anonymous said...

Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve
 Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
3.45pm
 Look at your watch. What time is it?
3.24pm
How do you explain this discrepancy in time?
Wishful thinking, I have little concept of time
 Do you believe in meteorological predictions?
No
Do you believe in astrological predictions?
Only if they sound good.
 Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?
In mild weather
What do you think of the sky and stars by night?
Beautiful
 What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?
Plashing Vole’s blog
 What would you have “seen” had you been blind?
My dreams
 What would you want to see if you were blind?
Everything
 Are you afraid?
Sometimes, more often these days
 What of?
Losing my job, intolerance, people’s anger, people in power and feeling powerless, especially because I can’t improve my lot never mind helping the worse of.
 What is the last weird film you’ve seen?
The ring
Whom are you afraid of?
See above but include politicians, religious zealots etc
Have you ever been lost?
Yes
Do you believe in ghosts?
No sure
 What is a ghost?
Someone’s essence
At this very moment, what sound(s) can you hear, apart from the computer?
Hammering
 What is the most terrifying sound you’ve ever heard – for example, “the night was like the cry of a wolf”?
Branch cracking as I climbed a tree
Have you done something weird today or in the last few days?
Answered this questionnaire
Have you ever been to confession?
Yes
 You’re at confession, so confess the unspeakable.
Already have
Without cheating: what is a “cabinet of curiosities”?
A work of art?
Do you believe in redemption?
I’d like to think so
Have you dreamed tonight?
Haven’t been to bed yet!
Do you remember your dreams?
No
What was your last dream?
Only remember nightmares, usually a troll that is chasing me and I cannot escape
 What does fog make you think of?
Birth
What do you see on the walls of the room where you are?
Useless information overload
If you became a magician, what would be the first thing you’d do?
Make David Cameron disappear
What is a madman?
Person in touch with their basest thoughts/feelings without being able to control them
Are you mad?
Sometimes
Do you believe in the existence of secret societies?
Yes
Would you like to live in a castle?
No too draughty
Have you seen something weird today?
Yes
Can you see the future?
I hope not
Have you considered living abroad?
Yes
 Where?
Ireland
Why?
Better than here
 Do you like walking in the rain?
Yes
 Do you like walking in graveyards or the woods by night?
No

I give up - I'm so bored

Emma said...

1 – Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
They day started like any other, that was until the unexpected happened.
2 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
16.56 p.m.
3 – Look at your watch. What time is it?
16:43 p.m.
4 – How do you explain this — or these — discrepancy(ies) in time?
I am wishing my life away.
5 – Do you believe in meteorological predictions?
No.
6 – Do you believe in astrological predictions?
Absolutely not.
7 – Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?
when I can see the stars yes.
8 – What do you think of the sky and stars by night?
the romantic me thinks they are pretty, the scientist they are boring gas balls.

9 – What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?
Vole's blog in an attempt to avoid any real work.
10 – What do cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues, and other religious monuments inspire in you?
Architectural admiration.
11 – What would you have “seen” had you been blind?
Not a lot.
12 – What would you want to see if you were blind?
Everything.
13 – Are you afraid?
Yes
14 – What of?
Crocodiles, failure, loneliness.
15 – What is the last weird film you’ve seen?
Paperhouse.
16 – Whom are you afraid of?
any extremists
17 – Have you ever been lost?
yes and probably more often than I've realised.
18 – Do you believe in ghosts?
No.
19 – What is a ghost?
A face on the unexplained.
20 – At this very moment, what sound(s) can you hear, apart from the computer?
Colleagues, server humming.
21 – What is the most terrifying sound you’ve ever heard – for example, “the night was like the cry of a wolf”?
the fasten seat belt sound when flying always panics me.
22 – Have you done something weird today or in the last few days?
filling this out is up there.
23 – Have you ever been to confession?
Yes, but not in 20 years.
24 – You’re at confession, so confess the unspeakable.
I cry at movies.
25 –Without cheating: what is a “cabinet of curiosities”?
collection of odd things on display.
26 –Do you believe in redemption?
Everyone deserves a second chance if they truly want one
27 – Have you dreamed tonight?
Didn't get enough sleep, so No.
28 – Do you remember your dreams?
Not always.

Emma said...

29 – What was your last dream?
don't remember
30 – What does fog make you think of?
Home.
31 – Do you believe in animals that don’t exist?
No.
32 – What do you see on the walls of the room where you are?
Notice board of outdated stuff
33 – If you became a magician, what would be the first thing you’d do?
There’s a list of people who would be disappearing
34 – What is a madman?
A misunderstood person in the wrong place/context
35 – Are you mad?
Only temporarily
36 – Do you believe in the existence of secret societies?
Yes, I have founded several
37 – What was the last weird book you read?
The Case of Thomas N
38 – Would you like to live in a castle?
Yes.
39 – Have you seen something weird today?
I am deleted 1000s of emails
40 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever seen?
Can’ think
41 – Would you like to live in an abandoned train station?
I yes.
42 – Can you see the future?
Not from here.
43 – Have you considered living abroad?
I do.
44 – Where?
Currently in England, but would consider other things.
45 – Why?
I like variety.
46 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever owned?
It is boring to say Donnie Darko.
47 – Would you liked to have lived in a vicarage?
As a (lapsed) Catholic feel obliged to answer in the negative
48 – What is the weirdest book you’ve ever read?
The Black Album is up there.
49 – Which do you like better, globes or hourglasses?
Hour glasses
50 – Which do you like better, antique magnifying glasses or bladed weapons?
Weapons are always good.
51 – What, in all likelihood, lies in the depths of Loch Ness?
A lot of dark water
52 – Do you like taxidermied animals?
No
53 – Do you like walking in the rain?
No
54 – What goes on in tunnels?
Movement.
55 – What do you look at when you look away from this questionnaire?
My desk which is very untidy as I am clearing it out.
56 – What does this famous line inspire in you: “And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.”?
What only after he’d crossed the bridge???
57 – Without cheating: where is that famous line from?
No idea.
58 – Do you like walking in graveyards or the woods by night?
If I am not alone
58 – Write the last line of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
And with that everyone agreed to never talk of it again.
59 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
17.15
60 – Look at your watch. What time is it?
17.02

Ruby Claire said...

few questions are pretty cool.




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