IN SEARCH OF LOST TIM by CHRIS IFSO www.insearchoflosttim.net * "TIME IT WAS AND WHAT A TIME IT WAS IT WAS" - Simon & Garfunkel *
In Search of Lost Tim They hit the Futurizer One drinking nanofizz cocktails One drinking Mikki and Tizer In Search of Lost Tim A crime busting partnership blooms You in your 21st Century space pad Him in his Sixties bedroom In Search of Lost Tim So, let our story unfold: One man of tomorrow One boy with a future untold TIM TIMES TWO! * Published by The Ifso Press www.ifsopress.com 127 Rathcoole Gardens London N8 9PH firstname.lastname@example.org * This Special Edition Copyright @ Chris Ifso 2018 All rights reserved
First published online in 2008 For added videos, puppetry and songs go to WWW.INSEARCHOFLOSTTIM.NET
1. TIM IN HIS SIXTIES BEDROOM Hi me, it’s you here. I can’t talk long – my power pack’s going flat and I have homework, but I just wanted to make contact. Agent T. You know who I am. I’ve been picking up your brainwaves on the Futurizer, so I adjusted the coordinates on the starblaster and quantified the substanciator. I hope this gets through to you this time. To me rather. I need your help urgently and I’m worried about you – I can’t wait for our next adventure. Where have you gone?
A strong wind blew last night upturning our sun loungers and smashing a chunk out of the plastic table we gather round for breakfast. And, as happens on holiday, at night we each dream and lay awake not dreaming, our nocturnal thoughts filled with the unsaid, with the anxieties and sorrows we bring with us from home along with the underwear and sun block. This house at night alive with sleepless souls mulling over careers and love lives and mortality, overdrafts and things to do lists. At breakfast in the sun we recount our dreams. I open my laptop to check for the latest emails re. tax and the will and find another of these messages.
3. YOUNG TIM AND THE BRAND NEW ADVENTURE Sorry. I’ve been analysing the energy fluxions and I realise my mistake. I’ve got the right year and approximate dimensions, but you’re not in the allocated geo-zone and – you are not me are you? I’m terribly sorry. But you’ll know me for sure, so can you please ask me to get in touch? It is really quite urgent.
2.JENNIFER’S HOLIDAY BLOG During the day we do what we godless always do on holidays: go pink and visit churches. At nights we grill fish and slabs of lamb and talk. Everyone is being very careful with me. And when we gather on the veranda in the evening around the big plastic table for meals of barbecued fish, lamb and fresh vegetables, alongside the round of talk about work problems, life decisions, plans to move house or switch jobs, the subject of death is tiptoed around. It is very beautiful here. Maybe that’s why I feel so ugly. Our neighbour Yoshko left us a tray of figs for breakfast and now my fingers are sticky on the laptop keys as I tap away in the sun on the terrace overlooking the bay; he brings these every morning and is now out on the water standing up, paunchy, silver haired, red-bellied, in his rowing boat checking fishing lines attached to old plastic bottles which he uses as floats. All around are mountains, and opposite us a beautiful small town of warm grey stone and red slate, palm trees and church spire.
His Lordship will be at the House probably. You could jetpack over and rap with him maybe? Or perhaps he’s on the road with his band. If you go to the stage door and tell them I sent you, they’ll stamp your wrist and let you in. Please see if you can find him. That would be so kind.
4. JENNIFER AND THE MISSING CHEESE-GRATER I dream of things I thought we had and now I can't find, like evidence of his love and our savings. Meanwhile things I was sure had gone missing long ago turn up again: photos from several of these holidays with Dan and Veronica; D&J's girls growing and blossoming as the rest of us flesh out and grey up. And that cheese-grater. When we went to Ghana that time, for a conference on trends in development at I think it was called the Golden Tulip, which sounds exotic, but was just an international business hotel, albeit with a swanky poolside bar. My only real taste of Africa was sneaking off one morning to the thrilling chaos of
Accra market: dried fish in baskets, coconuts sliced open by men with machetes, stalls of teaching equipment: giant rulers, exercise books with uplifting mottos on, many copies of Things Fall Apart, alphabet slates, and everywhere constant, relentless haggling.
5.POPPING UP LIKE THIS Did you find him? Hello? Look I don’t know who you are, popping up like this.
Nothing had a fixed value, so every transaction involved negotiations bordering on violent argument. I bought, and for probably much more than it was worth but much less than anything costs here, of all things, a cheese-grater.
Come in Century 21. Come in please. Look will you stop messing about. How are you doing this?
I was so pleased with it. I liked its crude tin shape, its fearsome serrated edges and holes punctured in the sides with a nail. When I mislaid it back in London, it felt as if this cheese-grater was the most precious object I had ever owned. I became convinced it had been stolen by a friend of my husband’s. I found myself concocting a whole story around what had happened to it, why this wicked woman had taken it and how I might confront her or even go to her house and try to steal it back again. Making up explanations, like I’m trying to do for these messages I’m getting.
I’ve got to find me. Haven’t we all! All what?? Got to find ourselves. You don’t understand. To reach a better understanding.
Then I opened a drawer in the kitchen one day and there was my cheese-grater. So I immediately forgot all about it again.
Look, this is serious!
Until the other day when I found a picture I took back then.
6. YOUNG TIM AND THE SMOKING ALTER EGO Maintaining my disguise isn’t easy. Although I wear school uniform and try to act like any other ordinary schoolboy, I carry with me always my IFF badge and membership card, and a walkytalky disguised as a cigarette packet. I got the cigarette packet from this girl I know - not a girlfriend or anything… she's fourteen, she's older than me has very nice hair. I cut the tips off the cigarettes and glued them to a piece of balsa wood which fits exactly into the top, so when you flick up the lid you can see what looks like twenty cigarettes, then pull out the tips and there’s a secret compartment underneath for my ray gun. I have to report: the other day I got caught by Mister Moore, fiddling with the packet in the playground.
I wonder where the thing is now.
Death is a clear-cut loss, though sometimes awake from dreams with the smell of him on me and reach out for him lying beside me and then know that he isn’t.
He said he was shocked that I was a smoker at my age. Then I had to admit it was a fake. He didn’t confiscate it, though, or make a big fuss in the playground about it. Thank goodness. I think he may be an IFF sympathiser.
Today in the sunshine, our last full day here, the girls splashing and giggling in the water, Yoshko in the distance waving, everything around me says be happy, and everything inside me says that can’t be.
8. CYBERBULLYING VOYEUR I’ve been double-checking and you are definitely my sidekick. Look, I don’t know how you keep popping up on my screen like this, but I wish you’d fuck off.
7. JENNIFER ON THE SMUG WHITE THING
That sounds like you. I am nobody’s Sidekick, thank you very much. But you are. And you are some cyberbullying voyeur. Sorry I don’t know what that means, but I hate bullies. How are you doing this? Is it some kind of viral thing? I’m off school with a bug if that’s what you mean. Actually, my headache is a fake. I’m fine really. Although faking a headache does give me a headache after a while.
9. YOUNG TIM’S SECRET MISSION REPORT
My computer’s hard drive broke just before we came away and the equivalent of a filing cabinet of photos and letters were as vanished as if the house had caught fire, but there’s no wreckage, no lingering smell, just a sudden, utter gap. Curiously cruel.
I think you must have been brainwashed, but I know you are Kick. I’m in my room, which is in the basement of the house – my den, or pad rather.
Sitting here in the mornings on shiny new laptop, with coffee, wi-fi plugging me into the galaxy, I find myself thinking about all the objects this smug white thing is in the process of hoovering up and replacing: cameras, telephones, televisions, typewriters, post offices, filing cabinets, bookshelves… the chunks of bakolite and metal and plastic, the carefully designed knobs and casings, the crates of paper…
I’ve stuck posters and newspapers and stuff all over the walls and ceiling. My friend Potter got hold of these great new fluorescent paints: little tin pots of thick plasticky gloop - and we spent a whole weekend painting psychedelic swirls all over the furniture.
myself in the future, with white hair and beard, at my computer console with its screens and dials and lights, But I instantly knew I was actually, really there, in the future, sharing brainwaves with me.
Mum wasn’t pleased. But really mum lets me do what I like down here now Dad’s gone. There’s French windows that open out onto a set of steps up into the garden, but the downstairs bit just outside my room is my space. It has a rockery, with nothing much growing in it, but very good for games with toy soldiers and Dinky cars. Well it was good when I was young and played that kind of stuff.
And we’ve been in contact ever since. As you seem to have forgotten, we’re now a crime fighting team. We tackle villains together in our different times, me and… me. And you.
Now my sunken hideout is good for smoking in – yeah, okay: so Mister Moore was right all along. And in my room I have a bunk bed, just the top bunk with nothing underneath, so I can only get into it by running across the room and leaping.
Here’s more from the Information Factfile on my schoolboy alter ego:
a) I go to a prep school which I hate hate hate hate hatehatehatehatehatehatehate but my mum doesn’t have lots and lots of money. We live in a part of London which is quite posh, but it’s my granny’s house – she lives upstairs and I like going up there to talk to her about things as she lies on her sofa watching her new colour TV, and she gives me little squares of Terry’s dark chocolate from a little box, and glasses of Tree Top orange and passion fruit squash. Downstairs mum buys plain biscuits and the hard kind of toilet roll in bulk from the supermarket, so that proves we can’t be really rich. My mum works for a women’s magazine. She tests out new products for a column supposedly written by ‘Brenda Shine’ which is actually her. We got a dishwashing machine for a bit, which made a lot of noise and left thedishes smelling of rubber with little chunks of Corn Flakes welded onto them. But we also get games and toys to test sometimes.
Look the thing is I need to trust you so… Please Read This:
10. TIM TIMES TWO: MISSION REPORT 009. AGENT LOCATION: LONDON, ENGLAND, EARTH, THE UNIVERSE, CENTURY: 20.
Anyway in your time I’m sure you’ve heard of me: Lord Timothy. I will have had a successful career in the Spacefleet, but by your time I’ll be back on Earth to play an important role in the new Government, as well as being an eccentric millionaire pop drummer. But he is/I am a secret agent too, communicating with me in what to him (and you) are the olden days, so we can exchange information between the 20th and 21st centuries and work together to defeat The Warp. But now I can’t reach me and I need my help with a case. There is a man living across the road from us who I know has been watching me. I’ve been observing him with a pair of binoculars. He is very wild and scruffy looking with a big army surplus coat and he looks at our house strangely. The other night I saw him at his window staring at our house, and I’m sure he’s blown my cover.
a) I was a quite a bit younger when I made the Futurizer out of old cornflake packets and balsa wood and cotton reels and sellotape and string… but it took me ages. It has carrying handles like an attaché case and opens up to reveal screen and keyboard. When I finished it and opened the lid, there I really was. Okay, so it was only a picture I’d drawn myself of
Why would he be spying on a little boy like me if he didn’t know I was a special agent?
11. KICK’S EMPORIUM OF ENTHUSIASMS AND PLEASURES The Keep Kafé sells brainfodder designed to replicate the effects of different books, movies and all kinds of amazing experiences.
Lord Tim jetpacks to the new Carnably Shoperama Centre to drop in on his sexy friend and secret sidekick at her boutique: Kick’s Emporium of Enthusiasms & Pleasures. It’s 21st Century retail at its twentyfirstcenturymost!
“Welcome to The Keep, Lord Tim. How can I serve you?” “Hmm… Let’s go into the changing room.” “Lord Tim!” Inside Kick flicks a switch and the room transforms into their secret H.Q. “The IFF time satellite has detected a warp plot. First hatched in 1968, it’s now on the verge of fruition!” Lord Tim tells Kick. “Someone back then must have found out about the Futurizer and has been tailing me ever since!”
The Keep only stocks items guaranteed to be mindexpanding and life enhancing – all stock comes recommended as a source of special pleasure to a fellow shopper.
“Oh no!” cries the Kick, juttingly. “If The Warp managed to corrupt me as a boy, they could use the evidence now to discredit me – and maybe bring down the Government!” “We must warn Young Tim before it’s too late,” The Kick replies.
As well as clothing, delicious food capsules, intoxicating drinks and guevaras, cool sounds, groovy posters and brilliant books and mags, The Keep sells musical instruments including astraleles and percussomatics plus jetpacks and hoverscooters..
This is a job for
Tim Times Two! 5
13. YOUNG TIM AND THE PARADOX OF ETERNAL TIME Thanks to the Futurizer I’ve been able to look forward in time quite a lot and I long to grow up to be Lord Tim in many ways, and yet I think I like it here and now best. I live almost entirely in my imagination. My mum cooks meals and washes them up, I have a room of my own in which I’m free to dream. Except there’s school. Mind you, with some clever adjustments on the Futurizer it’s possible to spend most of my time in the holidays. It’s an old time travellers’ trick which, as they say on Blue Peter, you can try yourself at home. On the first days of terms I wake up as early as possible and apply Zeno’s paradox whereby it is impossible for the time before I have to get up ever to end. Zeno’s paradox works like this: The moment of having to get up will never arrive because the time before that can be divided into an infinite number of minutes, seconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds etcetera, it can be chopped ad infinitum into small and smaller sections and so it should logically take an infinity to experience them.
12. HAZYFAZYLAZY – A SONG Itchycoochy yellowmatter hurdy-gurdy futurize Dreams of cosmic seas and space cadets and girls with smiling eyes Licence me to thrill to kill to feel to fly to foreign spies A time machine that takes me to an age when I can realise If it’s too late to save the day The Hazyfazylazy daisy day In the park till after dark the walrus hunts a quiet boy Electric lovers hand in hand watch the clouds for shapes of joy Feel the vibes of mister strange his death wish paranoi a white haired wizard walks and spots the mounting signs of cunning ploys Is it too late to save the day? The Marmalady lady janey day. The Hazyfazylazy daisy day Is it too late to save the day?
I lie in bed and force myself to savour every precious second so that each slows to an eternity that I can wallow in for as long as I wish to. It’s only when I choose to that I get up, get dressed and watch the hideous sight of my family chewing on their spoonfuls of Sainsbury’s Own Brand Corn Flakes, and then walk to school. I pass the time by not treading on cracks in the pavement and wondering what I would do if an agent from Warp kidnapped my granny and threatened to kill her unless I promised to walk to school stark naked. I discuss(ed) these things with Lord Tim on my wristwatch communicator sometimes, or just in my head. This is for the benefit of my viewers in the early 21st Century when my 24 hour adventures are a popular entertainment on the cosmo-box. (They’ll be wondering what’s up).
On the way home I stop off and buy a Zoom or a Kinky from the sweetshop run by a bald man with what mum says is a goitre on his forehead who we call, for obvious reasons, Mister Bumponhishead. There’s a barber’s shop at the back where I went for what he lamely pretended was a Beatle-style haircut, but I knew it was only a not quite so short back and sides.
I walk home with a boy called Cottingham, whose real name is something very hard to say in Polish but his father decided when they moved here after the war that they would take on the most normal of identities. When he told me this I was amazed; I thought he was just an ordinary kid and now suddenly he had all this history involving bombed out buildings and purges and flight.
Roger Bacon, circa 1,000 AD Predicted flying machines and created a mirror in which you could see what people were doing in any part of the world Karl Marx: ‘The Proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.’ Communist Manifesto 1848
I know I am very fortunate. I know life can be cruel for many people on this planet and I feel quite passionately that this shouldn’t be so. But it’s hard to shake off the gentle harmoniousness of everyday life, hard not to believe that normal is if not happy then certainly profoundly all right. Am I happy? I don’t think so. And yet I am. Never more confident since, nor more shy.
HG Wells, The Time Machine 1895 1931 proposed a world encyclopaedia that would ‘keep the thought of the world in a perpetual lively interchange’. The worst futurist: In 1937, John Langdon-Davies predicted the end of democracy by 1950, the working day reduced to 3 hours by 1960 and, by 2000, Britain having a population one tenth its size and no crime whatsoever!!
And sometimes I don’t go to school at all. I walk up to the bus stop at Whitestone pond and then wander off onto the heath. Spend the day wandering about. But the other day I saw the agent from Warp there too, lying in the grass smoking a big cigarette and spying on me.
You too can see into the future. What do you need to make an accurate time machine? T rends – look out for future ones A nalysis – of their impact on your market sector R eview – how will this effect your business? D esign – great new products in the light of review I nnovation – be sure to be original S pecialists – you need the right experts to keep on track
14. A BRIEF BRIEFING ON TIME TRAVEL
Time Travel isn’t impossible. Look at the stars and see into the past. Move faster than light and see the future. Small businesses need to look far and move fast Middle ages: nothing changed – each generation the same. Industrial Revolution: notion of progress and prophesies of doom. Sixties: Sci-fi obsession with the ‘space age’. Now: awareness of finite resources; no escape to the stars But: potential for sustainable abundance, playfulness and creative connectivity in the digital age? Presentation by Futurlusions inc. for Waverley Retail inc.
Why be a futurist? • At a global level to ensure our survival as a race,
• and for small companies such as yours to ensure you have the competitive edge and innovative ideas to stay ahead of the pack and survive and thrive in the retail sector.
The first futurists: The Delphic Oracle, 800 BC – 300 AD Drug induced soothsaying backed up by political nowse.
15: Tim Times Two! & THE THREAT TO TOMORROW Lord Tim, spaced up on funpills, jetpacks down Hampstead Megaway to his secret pad. He speaks into his wristwatch communicator in which he can see the face of his boyhood self back in the 20th century.
"But if you did, you wouldn’t admit it to me, would you?"
“I need you to shadow a potential warp agent.” “Sure thing, Lord Tim.” “Thanks, young me. The time satellite has identified that the villain was someone close to you in the olden days.” “What do you know about him?” “That’s all the intelligence we have.” “What do you think is his plan?”
"What are you getting at, kid?"
“Hmm… well, it's my theory that this proto-warp agent discovered then that I was going to become so important in the future. He obviously also has some kind of grudge against you, or other reason to harm you/me.
"You’d keep it to yourself, your terrible secret, where it would eat away at you and corrupt you." "Look here: the main thing is to find this agent and neutralise him." "but how?" "Well – either befriend, eliminate – or make so much trouble for him that he never wants to see you/me again.” "But how do I identify the agent?" “The If Time Satellite has located a suspect in our time: “Mister B”, bald headed villain, spreading bad vibes and stirring up insurrection on the moon colony. He has the slitty eyed, green-skinned hue of a Venusian immigrant. “Our new neighbour isn’t bald, he’s got very long hair. He’s not green exactly, but smokes a lot and looks pale and pasty. He talks a lot to the kids who live on the street. I’ve seen him taking photos of them too with a strange looking camera. He laughs with them and winks at their mothers who hurry by, alarmed. If I befriend him, how will you know if I’ve neutralised the threat to you?"
So I think he is deciding to spy on me over the years until he finds out something he can blackmail me about. Then he's waited until now, when I've become Leader of The House, to reveal my secret and discredit me and the whole government!" "But do we have a terrible secret, Lord Tim?"
“Slight fluctuations in reality – peculiar occurrences, minor historical inaccuracies occurring.”
"No. Absolutely not, Young Tim."
“And if I fail?!”
“Unimaginable!” says His Lordship coming into land on his rooftop jetpack landing pad where Kick awaits him, clutching a bottle of nanofizz, clad in her own design pink pvc cosmosuit through which she juts and perts.
Bailey gapes down at me as he feels himself topple. He’s a big lad, a rugby player, good swimmer too, complete wanker. He flails his arms, twists in the air to try to land straight but there isn’t time – he crashes against another desk and lands on his big fat bum. I scoop up the book and ram it into my satchel, flee for the door, Wilkinson howls – he’s twisted his ankle badly. Bailey yells out my name and comes to get me.
“Over and out.”
Then my Coup De Grace, I run into the next classroom where Mister Moore is just starting an English lesson. “Sorry to interrupt, sir, but I think Bailey’s hurt himself sir.” Bailey didn’t even bother accusing me; he knew no teacher would believe it. David Jackson and fat slob Goliath.
16. YOUNG TIM AND THE UNBEARABLE SHITNESS OF SCHOOL
He avoids me after that. I begin to think he’s vanquished, will never touch me again, will come to treat me with a new awed respect.
I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school I hate school the stupid rules the stupid boys the horrible teachers the boring work I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it and today in the break between latin and maths Bailey leans over and snatches a book from my open satchel. “What’s that little red book, Jackson, you weirdo? Let’s take a look”.
Then when I go to my locker to get my coat at the end of school I don’t even see them coming. Out of the shadows: wham – a fist slams into my stomach winding me badly. Grunts of exertion as they punch and kick me, leave me snivelling. But I’ve discovered a potential in me for cold-blooded deception in pursuit of my personal goals. Walking home tonight I try to make contact with Lord Tim. If Bailey is Mister B, I’m not sure he’s been neutralised effectively. It’s no joke trying to reshape history.
It’s my Tim Times Two book where I write ideas for our adventures and clues and other things too – poems and drawings and stories. It’s an ordinary exercise book except I painted the cover with that fluorescent paint so it’s bright pulsating red. Inside I do drawings and write stuff. Why did I take it into school? Why oh why.
17. DISORDER IN THE HOUSE
“Hey look at this, boys.” Bailey scrambles to stand on the seat of his desk so I can’t get him. His friend Wilkinson grabs me from behind, twists my arm behind my back. “Jackson’s stupid book of secrets. Well let’s see…” The bastard. I go limp. I’m known as a weed who never fights back when the bullies are after money or sweets. “Exciting adventures.. “
Lord Tim and Sidekick take off from the roof of the house, land at the entrance to Downing Street and walk through the usual security checks. PM’s Angels frisk them before they take off their jetpacks and walk up to that famous front door.
It’s not exactly planned, I’m just so angry and embarrassed that I can’t stop myself. With a roar of pain I break free of Wilkinson’s grip and launch myself on Bailey, grabbing his leg. Astounded,
At the door a Vanguardist enjoys a guevara with a robochick in the fetching uniform of the Angel Brigade. Sidekick recognises her as a customer at The Keep and they start to rap.
“Your moon-dwellers are exploited, your regime decadent, your leaders corrupt! You'll find out soon enough what scum your leaders really are!”
Lord Tim walks in and up the stairs lined with paintings, photos and holopix of all the previous Prime Ministers. In the Cabinet Office someone plays the astralele for an Angel dancing, another paints silver flowers and planets on the walls of the supercomputer that fills half the room. At the centre of the web sits PM himself. Once charismatic guerrilla leader of the Neo-Grooves alongside Commandante Tim, PM has grown reclusive these days. Tiny and frenetic, he glides towards Lord Tim in the hoverdesk of state.
The angry man was removed by the Angels, and soon discussion moved on to how to raise funds for the next issue of If Times, the national newspaper that appears whenever the mood takes its editorial collective, available in print, digivision and now in liquid form. “PM, I think it’s imperative that you speak to the House!” “You think so, Lord Tim?” “Absolutely - it's the moment for firm leadership! You must seize the time and tackle the warp once and for all!!”
“Good afternoon, Prime Minister.”
“Wow - far out!”
“Uh, hi man. We’re redecorating – sorry about the mess. What's up?”
PM zips across the carpet on his hoverdesk, calls out to his aides: “Hey guys! We're going to the House! Let's make a picnic!”
“PM, I have your trust, don't I? If you heard vile rumours about my past, you wouldn't believe them would you?” “No.”
In the beginning was the Word and the Mum and the Dad and the Stories at bedtime. Then came prehistory with Dinosaurs and Stig and Ursula Andress in a fur bikini. Then the Ancient Days when elves and hobbits and piglets and wizards and tiggers ruled the earth.
“No you would or no you wouldn't?” “No, I don't think the silver's working, maybe a blue computer would be best.” Lord Tim thinks back to this morning and a debate in the house about the Warp threat. A bearded stranger with intense eyes - and perhaps something of a greenish complexion? - shouted out:
His father read tales of these times to Young Tim, in the days before the Many Arguments and Tears and The Leaving.
Next, the History Years: Tudors and Saxons and Plantagenets and Suchlike, each with dates and wars as appropriate. Eventually Queen Victoria invented Childhood and Christmas and Industry and Victorians. The First World War followed, fought by poets in trenches; the Second was between Good and The Germans. After that, things went modern, but first in a drab way, until Rock and Roll and satire and then that was the week, that was. The Age of Aquarius dawned and men walked on the moon and everything was liberated.
President Qwertyuiop was assassinated and riots erupted around the globe. Sit-ins at Space City, street fighting in the Moon colony, Then dawned the second Aquarian age of astralele bands and happyjuice. PM and his Neo-Groove revolutionaries swept to power. Rumours spread that Buzzer had been a double agent of The Warp, that he had fled to the moon where he was stirring up counter-revolution. Maybe Brett Buzzer is the sinister Mister B!
18. JENNIFER VESPAS Back in London now, drowning in paperwork and a feeling paper thin. I’m positively glad to escape to my mother’s and show her photos she pretends to be interested in.
But soon it was The Future and the planet became run by Commanders of the Space Fleet: men and women like Zogg Qwertyuiop of the USSR, Zak Zapp of the USA and Lady Pink of Modonia. Leader of the UK was Commander Brett Buzzer, who was also centre forward with Albion United.
Riding my scooter fast through London, I challenge death to come for me, can cry freely as I ride, on my odyssey from our neighbourhood of shabby kebab shops and graffitied shutters, pound shops and bookies, down the hill past the café-loads of young mums and the half recognised out of bit parts in soap operas, then sweep up leafy avenues to the school I so loathed and the boys school beside it whose inmates we were intended to breed with, two cages of privileged rodents in the social laboratory. Now I zim past the heath on my beautiful, shiny, pearlised white Vespa, resplendent and howling. This machine is like those hovering things that science fiction films imagined we’d be riding about in, except it has wheels. So much of this city changed so utterly, and meanwhile the heath is exactly the same as it was when I lost myself here as a girl. Mum is sharp as a knife much of the time but her memory is threadbare in some places and other stories get repeated and repeated. Time bends around her a little. But what’s the point of leading a life if you can’t savour it sometimes, replay the good bits, try to edit out the bad?
The populace wore bri-nylon suits and walked like supermarionettes through tubular cities. Great Britain colonised the moon having won it off the Americans and Russians in the competitive sport that replaced warfare under the World Government. Meanwhile supercomputers the size of skyscrapers invented superobots which invented gismos to make life ever more futurish. The Warp, an evil alliance between the Mafia, racialists, SMERSH and the Venusians, began to threaten democracy with bombs and infiltrations. Repression grew.
Maybe if I’d always lived here it wouldn’t be like this, the whole city would have matured with me, but I find myself turning a corner and I’m in a street from my teens, or in a queue for a museum I remember I last visited at the height of 2 foot, my sweaty little hand in my mother’s serene grip. Mother doesn’t talk much about the past, and never about mine; it’s her own childhood that’s most on her mind. When I recall a family holiday from my childhood, she’s vague.
“I must have been such a pain. I was so bloody selfrighteous. Do you remember how cross I got when you told me to cover my head in cathedrals? “Oh, yes dear.” “Us in that campsite with you in your homemade trendy shifts, Dad driving that cool white mini. Looking back on it now you were ever so chic.” “Oh heavens – was I?”
19. BIG EYE-LASHED KARATE-KICKING
Was she? A mystery to oneself, an intriguing stranger. All that effort we put into stockpiling wealth and experiences to find our minds burgled – a gap in the room where our memories ought to be.
Oh Jesus you again. And turning pornographic now. This is too much.
Sidekick? Is that you? Honey blonde, mini-skirted, big- eyelashed, karate kicking, fabulous cleavage.
Sorry. The hair is white now and the legs you’d find less tempting. But you are her, aren’t you. Why won’t you own up? You have to tell me: where’s Lord Tim? Look, I really don’t know what you’re talking about But you’re sure as hell stuck in the past. That I know. And all this nostalgia is such a sickness - an endless, pointless sigh. You don’t understand – we’re trying to stop the future from giving up the ghost.
20. Tim Times Two! SHOWDOWN WITH MISTER B Jennifer vespas through a vast and a complex city, Jennifer vespas between the forceps and the stone Jennifer vespas between the heathland and the wasteland, Between very lost and
very different kinds of home. Remembering things past Jenny zips across North London, Stops at lights in the midst of bought and sold, Then as she flies, sees the blur of constant changes, Beneath her feet streams the cold hard road.
The end of a long hard day at the House. Lord Tim and Sidekick walk by the river towards Chelsea Bridge. Deep in conversation about the increasingly angry debates at the house, they fail to notice a man on their tail. Then the man steps forward, calls out: “Lord Tim?” “Yes? What do you want. “I thought I’d be the first to tell you: your time is up.”
Lord Tim and Kick turn to face their nemesis, fixing him with steely glints.
"To do unspeakable things you can't quite imagine quite." "Unhand her this instant or I’ll blast you with my nano-ray.”
“So - Mister B. We meet at last! But I know about your tawdry plan to discredit me with smears to my character. Well, I’ve wracked my conscience and i’m convinced: I have no dark secrets.”
“It didn’t work! Suddenly my nano-ray transformed into nothing but a cheap tin toy!”
“No dark secrets, you say? Ah – but my plan has been far more subtle. My younger self has been changing your past gradually, influencing you to make many slightly different choices over the years - you’ll never join the Moonfleet, you'll never become leader of the house.”
Lord Tim reaches into his utility belt, flips open the top of what looks like a packet of nicotine-free guevaras, talks into the microphone hidden beneath. “Young Tim! May day, may day. Help us, please! You are in deadly peril! Beware Mister B! For god’s sake beware!”
“Pah! But here I am!”
But there’s an ominous silence on the end of the line.
“And here you won’t be for long. This particular branch of the Multiverse is fading already – an illusion, an aberration. Other versions of time are beginning to impose themselves, futures where Tim is no Lord but some mere minion, where the Warp triumphs, the moon is never colonised, the astralele never even invented..”
21. YOUNG TIM & THE TIME TO ACT I’m still aching from what that bastard Bailey did to me. And now I’m watching the house opposite. He talks to schoolgirls at the bus stop. I saw him the other day and he was taking photos. He talked to my mum and that night I came downstairs and found her crying. She was smoking her Sovereigns - I was hoping she hadn’t noticed that a few had gone missing - sitting at the kitchen table, sobbing. I wanted to say something, go up and give her a hug. But we’re not a very huggy family. When I’m ill she strokes my brow and calls me honey, which is nice. She dissolves Disprin in milk for me. I know she loves me and I love her but we don’t spend time saying so. Finding her like that all I could think to do was stand there gawping.
“What a sad, uninspired future that would be. Unimaginable!” “Maybe so… but realisable.” “You fiend! “And now I must go. And I’m taking your feisty sidekick with me.”
“Honey.” She said. “You all right, mum?” “I’m fine, Tim. Just sad that’s all. You go and play. I’ll be fine.” Another time I’d have pointed out that I’m too old these days to play. But I went downstairs meekly. Sad about what? Dad’s gone away but they always argued anyway – she must be pleased he’s not around anymore.
23. YOUNG TIM: CAT BURGLAR
Think, Tim, think: what would Lord Tim tell me to do? There will be a hidden device; there will be copies of papers. I saw him go out just a few minutes ago, leaving his window open - and I need clues. I must climb through it and take a look around. Oh yes.
22. THE MOURNFUL TIME OF HER LIFE When I was in my twenties a friend of mine was killed in a car smash. We were all living together in a shared house in Sheffield then: cooking rotas, kitty, house meetings, telephone tree, open relationships, the lot. Laura hadn’t lived with us for long when it happened. Looking back it was a kind of orgy of grief. We all bonded like mad, sat about all night weeping and smoking and hugging each other. All our friends told us later they’d felt completely excluded – lovers faded into insignificance, seemed like outsiders when they came to our House of Grief. We talked and smoked and wept and snuggled like puppies and felt profound.
Lord Tim, still no sign of you but I’m sending you this report just in case. I entered the suspect’s front room armed with ray gun in hand. The flat was an absolute tip and there were highly suspicious photographs pinned onto the wall, even one of my mum, at the bus stop in that black dress of hers, looking quite smiling. I was about to rifle through a chest of drawers I saw open when I heard the door open and so I hid behind his dusty old sofa.
And I ended up shagging the man who had appeared out of my past the week Laura died, to scrounge a bed for a few days on his perpetual wanderings. I had a good weep on his shoulder and a cigarette afterwards of course, talked about how death made one randy in a life affirming kind of a way. How we wouldn’t tell our partners because they just wouldn’t understand. I never admitted it to myself before but, my god that time was sexy. When the parents showed up I remember being secretly shocked at how much more upset about it than us they were. Devastated – ruined – broken. Whereas we were having the mournful time of our lives.
The man walks in, takes off his coat, farts, then looks over the top of the sofa and sees me. “What the fuck you doin’ in my room, man?? I remained silent. “You burgling me?” Still I held my tongue. But then I decided I ought to pretend to be an ordinary boy. So I burst into tears. “Hey - I didn’t realise it was you – you’re the posh kid from over the road with the nice mum.” How dare he bring my mother into his fiendish plot. “Fuck - you freaked me out.”
Now my grief is entirely mine - the anger too. And I’ve even laughed at the irony: my husband, the professional Futurist, no inkling in advance of the heart attack that felled him, oh so so suddenly, unprepared, uninsured, mid-stupid tiff about getting the car fixed.
Then he sat down on the sofa. “Glad you dropped in. Want to take a look around my lair?” I stood up, confused, took a look around. It was a terrible mess. There was a mattress, the sofa, a pipe in the corner like in Alice in Wonderland, a record deck, amplifier and huge speakers, a poster of I think it’s Frank Zappa sat on a toilet, and a camera with a big lens on it. I wiped my eyes and decided it was time to confront the villain.
“You were spying on us.” “You what?” “I saw you – with that camera, looking at my window.” “I’m a photographer.” “Oh really.” “Take a look.” He picked up a copy of a newspaper, found a page and thrust it at me: a photo of three rather bored women, two of them topless. The paper was called ‘It’ - International Times. ‘Photo by B’ it said. ‘That’s me” he said pointing at the words. “You take sexy pictures? Dirty old man!” "Oi - I'm only twenty!" “And I take all kinds: documentary, portraits..” “Spy ones.” “Oh yeah, like James Bond. Anyway – whose that bird I see you with? Your older sister? “Who?” “Red hair, long legs.” ‘Jennifer” “Jenny. She’s nice.”: “Jennifer.” “What’s she doing hanging out with you?” “She’s a friend.” “Yeah right.”
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He put an album cover on his lap and opened a little tin box with rainbow patterns all over it. I stood and watched him snap a cigarette in half, crumble it onto a piece of white paper, lick it, roll it, shake it. He lit up and this acrid bittersweet smoke enshrouded me. He inhaled with an impressive gasp and held the smoke in his lungs. I thought it was going to start coming out of his ears and eyes. But he blew it out in a big cloud. “You mustn’t tell your lovely mum about this.” I shook my head. Then frowned.
Copyright JEEP productions 2008
“So when’s your friend Jenny coming round” “Jennifer” “Bring her to see me, yeah, man?” “Okay.” “Cool. What’s your name?” “Tim” “Hi Tim, I’m Barry.” “Hi Barry.” “Far out,” said Barry.
25. TIM X 2 & THE MULTIVERSAL REVERSAL Lord Tim and Sidekick on their way back from the house are stopped, asked for their autographs by a man called Barry. “Do I know you?”
“Oh, we go way back.” He says, smiling.
casserole with new potatoes and mum’s home made chocolate mousse. Jenny looked bored during the meal, snarling at her mum as they talked about her good results and teased her about the state of her bedroom. Afterwards we left them upstairs drinking coffee and Jennifer followed me downstairs. In my room she went straight to the French windows, yanked them open then pulled out a crumpled roll up from a matchbox in her pocket and lit it. I switched on my record player, took Sgt Pepper out of its sleeve, put the disc on the spindle and watched it clunk onto the turntable, the needle swing across, drop down - and the music played.
26. YOUNG TIM & THE HOT BODIES STRUGGLING
“We were talking.. about the space between us all” . Those green eyes surveying my room with its coating of posters and newsprint and drawings. She exhaled and smiled. “Wow, Pipsqueak.”
Hi, it’s me. Um… me and my brothers are going to the Roundhouse on Sunday. Dyawanna come?” “Uh. Yeah.” “Ok. See you outside Chalk Farm tube at twelve then.” “Uh, Yeah.” “Far out. Don’t tell your mum where we’re going.” She puts the phone down.
Then her eyes lit on the Futurizer on my desk. She rested her cigarette on the edge of the windowsill, picked up my cardboard time communicator, opened it, looked into the carboard screen, laughed. “Oi!” “Go on, Pip, let me take a look.” I jumped up to grab the futurizer but she held it high. I jumped to reach but only bumped into her body. I jumped again. She laughed and twisted away, Then I grabbed her, started to tickle. Jennifer howled, squirmed and wriggled. “Hey!” Then she was tickling me back. We fell on the floor, her hot, strong body struggling against mine.
Other boys of twelve might run around the house laughing, or rush to phone their best friend or seek out their older sister to confide in. But not this one. My self is a big, private space. I invented a word to describe it: aloneliness – the state of being solo but liking it that way. And I have friends and a mum I like – but they all seem a long way away from the real me. I live in my room and on the walk to and from school, somewhere between North London and the 21st Century, full of ideas and imaginings which I type out on an Olivetti portable typewriter which my Dad had in the war and wrote sexy poems on which I got to see once before he left, and I illustrate my adventures with coloured crayons and stick the words and pictures in exercise books and paint the covers with Potter’s psychedelic paint, and I love doing this.
Then suddenly I was flipped on my back, Jennifer straddled me, her knees on my arms. “Ow!” I pulled my arms free. “Stay right where you are.” I lay back, felt the heat of her on my tummy, smelt her soap and tobacco breath, that long hair tickling my face. She looked down at me triumphant. I wriggled to get free. Then I looked up at her, noticed a button had gone on her blouse. I stopped struggling. And she stayed sat on me, rested the Futuriser on my chest and opened it. “This is great. A cardboard time machiney thingy.” She said, “I used to do cutting and sticking stuff a bit like this. I sawed the roof off my dolls house and turned it into a boutique once and designed all the clothes for it. Far out, Pipsqueak.” Then suddenly she rolled off, lay down beside me looking up at the ceiling. She pushed open the doors and relit her cigarette. She sighed. “Too old for all that now.”
And I love Jennifer I love love love love love her. I love to say her name. In my head. She is two years older than me. She has amazing red hair, like a flag, not too many freckles and grey green kind of eyes, and the best smell ever of soap and mints and tobacco. Her parents are friends of my parents, sort of, and once they came round for dinner: avocado vinaigrette, Chicken
28. ABSOLUTELY NO CLOTHES WHATSOEVER
The sides of our bodies pressed together. And we lay there in the dark staring up at my ceiling which I’d covered with silver foil and stars, and our wonky reflections looked down on us and our eyes nearly met and it was good.
Queuing up the steps in that crush of people was a bit scary. I liked getting my hand stamped at the entrance. I sort of liked the music so loud it made my heart pound and my willy buzz. I loved the strobe light that made everything like a Charlie Chaplin film. I didn’t like Barry coming with us along with Jennifer and her older brother and his friends, and I didn’t like them calling me ‘pip squeak’. I loved the band. It was the afternoon still, and I had to be back for supper at seven, so I missed Tyrannosaurus Rex and Jimi Hendrix, but I personally think Dantallion’s Chariot are the best group in the world.
27. BURN BABY BURN! This is Lord Tim to Young Tim. Come in, please – please! I must talk to you. When did we last speak? Seems like ages. My memory’s been playing tricks on me lately, and I find myself sighing loudly whenever I stand up. Nobody seems to know who I am at The House these days – meanwhile there’s all sorts of strife going on: tear gas on the streets; rubber bullets and food shortages… I get confused about what it’s all about. Stay in and keep my head down.
That’s what I was going to say when I turned round to Jennifer and there they were: her and Barry, tongues in each other’s mouths, kissing like mad.
Kick says I’m boring and sexist, goes off with her Angel friends to the Venus Lounge and comes home paradiddled, boinged up on bamalam, to find me asleep in the hoverchair, snoring, the Futurizer on my knee, your face frozen on the screen, across it the words ‘ACCESS DENIED’ flashing on and off. And the other day Kick found this poster, stuck to the window of her shop, a cartoon of anarchists looting and fucking. “Burn baby Burn!” says a man as he hurls a molotov cocktail. Two chicks shout:“Nihilists! One more effort if you want to be REVOLUTIONARIES!” “Whatever the eye sees and covets, let the hand grasp it!”
I felt this sudden rush of adrenalin that made me feel like I might faint. So I just went - I set off walking around the Roundhouse and it was like one really long shot in a film – 360 degrees –walking through a haze of what I knew now was dope smoke, that patchouli oil, beer in plastic pots, those stalls in alcoves around the brickwalls, voices calling out through the din and the dark:
And I don't know if it was put there by IFF or The Warp, that’s the thing. Am I establishment or underground? Yesterday’s man or tomorrow’s? Oh and my poor, defenceless younger self – I’m so worried he’s in danger. And if the Warp gets you then I know I’m doomed.
“Dyawanna score? Dywanna score?”
They sell incense and magazines like OZ and Zap Comix and Black Dwarf and Gandalf’s Garden and IT which Barry’s picture was in. Then there’s one room which is dark where they’re showing black and white movies of early cartoons: Mickey Mouse in Tugboat Willie, Felix the Cat, rubber lipped minstrels and ostriches grinning and boogying scarily to the sound of the band. I walk through the dark, stepping over and around reclining figures.
It’s only six oclock. I walk up the hill in the sun. I get home and do my homework. But I think maybe all that pot in the air has affected my concentration. I may well be stoned.
Then walk into the bar, which is packed. Nobody seems to notice me or how young I am. At the counter there’s a man in a gorilla suit, his gorilla head under his arm, a pint of beer in his hand, talking to a woman who is drinking a Coca Cola and wearing no clothes. Absolutely no clothes whatsoever.
29. JENNIFER'S AMAZING DISCOVERY I’ve been doing so much throwing away lately. The sorting and sifting, the trips to the dump, to the charity shop, bags of stuff, and the fear always that I’ll throw out something irreplaceable.
I walk out into the sunshine. On the decking, looking down over Chalk Farm Tube and Marine Ices. A group of hippies are in a circle, drumming. I stand watching and a woman with big frizzy hair smiles at me and waves me over to have a go on her African drum. There’s someone playing a few chords on a guitar over and over, and we’re all humming, droning more like.
I was in the attic looking for a suitcase when I came across it, in a box of old letters and school reports, a soft toy called Piglet I had as a baby. And, wrapped in a plastic bag, two cornflake packets stuck together with tape. A handle of string. How long has this been here? And I remember. This dusty block of cardboard like a time bomb exploding a whole era in me.
And I know: I am happening. Young Tim is happening. Oh, My Lordship you’d be proud of me. I am Lord Tim in waiting, I am Tim, time traveller, drug taker, player on drum, naked lady and gorilla witnesser.
Amazing. A little window opens up in time and I feel I could step right through. I dusted off the box and took it downstairs, put it down on the kitchen table. The sellotape holding it together was yellowed and brittle, the glued on drawings faded, the balsa wood and cotton reel knobs no longer properly attached, but it still had the earphone from an old transistor radio plugged into its side. I put it to my ear. Amazing. Unlike any iPod, there’s an infinite choice of sounds not to hear.
“You were ages. Where did you go? “Outside.” “What?? “OUTSIDE!” You ok, pipsqueak?” “Fine. Far out.” “Good.” “But I’d better go home.” ‘WHAT?”
I also found some pictures Barry took of me then, bare chested, pouting and spotty. He was petrified when he found out how young I was. Which was a
“Yeah? I might stay a bit. You okay getting back?” I shrug. “Yeah. Of course.”
shame because snogging sweet, stubbly Barry was delicious, I remember. No wonder I fell madly in love with him when he showed up at my shared house in Sheffield some years later. Amazing he’d survived after all those drugs he was ingesting then – so many of our generation didn’t. But by then he’d dropped photography and psychedelics to be a Reichian therapist, his pasty body his temple. It wasn’t such a big step from there to being a personal trainer of thrusting young yuppies. And from that into futurism. Oh yes, always a trend-surfer, my husband, my happy, hopeless husband, my beautiful Barry.
“Sure, man.” “Fly me to the moon, your Lordship.” “Will do, Sidekick!” Lord Tim glances down at his communicator - still no sign of Young Tim.
31. PIPSQUEAKICKSPEAK “Pip!” “Hi, Jennifer.”
30. TIMESLIPS AND SNOOZE MODE
“You want to come in?” “I was just passing.” “Come on in.”
That was close! Thank goodness Lord Tim had put the Futurizer on snooze mode, so just as time was about to disintegrate entirely, the machine switched itself on automatically at full nano-vrooms per doobry and sucked all the dreaminess out of the situation in a trice. Mister B suddenly lost all memory of his evil plot and decided to devote himself to conservation.
“No, better not.” “Ok. Well.” “It’s your birthday isn’t it.” “Yeah.”
Fully revived and rebooted, Lord Tim and Kick jetpack down to Number 10.
“I brought you something.”
“Remember me, PM?”
“Look I’m sorry about the other day… The Roundhouse.”
“Of course I do. You’re my soul brother, man.”
“No, it was far out. Really. Amazing.”
“Thanks, PM. Now will you give me permission to take Kick here for a weekend break to the sea of solitude?”
“What’s in the bag?”
32. BLOOD ON HER FINGERS, SAND IN HER HAIR – JENNIFER’S LAST BLOGPOST
“Oh well, I was having a clear out. It’s that thing you found.” “Oh wow – your computer console, briefcase thing.” “Yeah, the Futurizer. I was going to chuck it, just wondered if you might…” “For me? Hey, thanks, Pip.” “That’s fine.” “Really. Thanks.”
Recently I’ve kept a radio by my bedside tuned to the World Service all night long so drift in and out of sleep amidst news of suicide bombs, corrupt leaders clinging to power, plummeting markets and rising waters, protests by the poor who can’t afford to buy grain and bread, shells pounding Afghan deserts. I don’t know why this should help cure insomnia, but it certainly puts my sorrows in their place and I wake from dreams with sand in my hair and blood on my fingers, and half remembered fragments of bizarre conversations with world leaders and old friends. I dreamt I’d found that grater too. I went with Dan and Veronica to the coast at the weekend. The beautiful cottage we all stayed in as kids is underwater now, lost to the floods. I went expecting devastation, but already the new coastline looks as peaceful and beautiful as it did before. A heron drifts leisurely across the vast blue sky, comes to rest on a chimneypot, sits watching awhile, then launches itself towards the reed beds which seethe in the wind. And now I’m getting down to clearing out the past, selling it off on eBay, item by item. I’ve started cataloguing everything, where I think we bought it, what it meant in my or Barry’s life. I’ve put all that on the website so I’m not just selling objects now, but emblems of our enthusiasms and pleasures. And in exchange my buyers are telling me about the objects and activities that have mattered to them. It’s rather therapeutic – and also financially rewarding. Talking of financial reward, I’ve made another decision: I’m going to have a stab at running Barry’s business myself. Dan and V were very encouraging,
said they were sure I could make a go of it. Futurism’s got to have potential as a trade in these uncertain times, at this moment in history which, unlike all other moments since the beginning of the uni verse, is taking place right…
ThankstoTheBettertonesBillMayblinChrisJosephCindyOswin DoraMeadeDorothyMeadeHattieCoppardJoeCoppard JulieDalmonKareeBarclayKatePullinger NickDalzielSueThomasToniLeBusque Wehopeyouhaveenjoyedtheshow ChrisIfso
IN SEARCH OF LOST TIM by CHRIS IFSO
‘I love Lost Tim… the story is masterful.’ - William Shaw, author of The Birdwatcher
“The story of a blogger who is contacted by a boy who claims he lives in the 1960s and is communicating via his “Futurizer”. Young Tim is trying to contact his future self, the political activist and secret agent Lord Tim. It’s a jeu d’esprit, but also, just possibly, the future of fiction.’ - Suzy Feay, Independent on Sunday
WWW.INSEARCHOFLOSTTIM.NET 2018 Special Edition
A Magical Musical Graphical Digital Fiction