Why call this ‘The Mare’s Nest’?

A ‘Mare’s Nest’ is an old fashioned and particularly English phrase for a ridiculous situation or imbrogilo.

We thought it apt and got across the point (which some still seem to skip) that whatever humour one may find in here will be a British one – and if that’s too broad for some, tough titty!

It’s come back into use in modern times with some IT technicians referring to the horrid muddle of wires beneath most computer desks in places of education or work (and the all-too-often accompanying accumulation of dust and debris resultant from creating a difficult to clean environment!) as ‘Mare’s Nests’. And of course, this comes to you c/o of the games people play on IT.

Rudyard Kipling (writer of exceedingly good prose) – who subtly parodied the English (particularly their Empirical attitudes and societal mores) – wrote a poem of that name themed on that most British style of humour, the comedy of errors (without which 99% of all sit-com writers would be even more lost for plots than they are), which have been on the go since Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, etc (and which are very good, in a hey-nonny-no sort of way).

Later, the surreal band Cardiacs (Marillion and Blur’s support band for many years) – with their very bizarre British sense of humour – had a song (and album) called (All That Glitters Is A) Mare’s Nest – a phrase we thought very apt considering a lot of the squabbling in the Simmers world stemmed from people attaching too much importance to self-styled ‘gurus’ or to their creations and less about having fun and each other.

So, The Mare’s Nest it was!

* * * * *

Rudyard Kipling’s The Mares Nest

Jane Austen Beecher Stowe de Rouse
Was good beyond all earthly need;
But, on the other hand, her spouse
Was very, very bad indeed.

He smoked cigars, called churches slow,
And raced – but this she did not know.

For Belial Machiavelli kept
The little fact a secret, and,
Though o’er his minor sins she wept,
Jane Austen did not understand
That Lilly – thirteen-two and bay
Absorbed one-half her husband’s pay.

She was so good, she made him worse;
(Some women are like this, I think;)
He taught her parrot how to curse,
Her Assam monkey how to drink.

He vexed her righteous soul until
She went up, and he went down hill.

Then came the crisis, strange to say,
Which turned a good wife to a better.

A telegraphic peon, one day,
Brought her – now, had it been a letter
For Belial Machiavelli, I
Know Jane would just have let it lie.

But ’twas a telegram instead,
Marked ‘urgent’, and her duty plain
To open it. Jane Austen read:
‘Your Lilly’s got a cough again.
Can’t understand why she is kept
At your expense.’

Jane Austen wept.

It was a misdirected wire.
Her husband was at Shaitanpore.
She spread her anger, hot as fire,
Through six thin foreign sheets or more.

Sent off that letter, wrote another
To her solicitor – and mother.

Then Belial Machiavelli saw
Her error and, I trust, his own,
Wired to the minion of the Law,
And traveled wifeward – not alone.

For Lilly – thirteen-two and bay –
Came in a horse-box all the way.

There was a scene – a weep or two –
With many kisses. Austen Jane
Rode Lilly all the season through,
And never opened wires again.

She races now with Belial. This
Is very sad, but so it is.

* * * * *

As for Cardiacs, you can listen to free full length versions of their songs at their official site. We recommend ‘Come Back Clammy Lammy’ and the single ‘Day Is Gone’ followed by ‘Fiery Gun Hand’ and ‘The Duck And Roger The Horse’ (if feeling brave).

Their biggest hit song was this one, Is This The Life?

Although they’re probably more notorious for the following moment on TV doing a song called Tarred & Feathered – prepare to suffer the most bizarre 3 minutes of your life:

(we assume they were locked up in the nearest loony bin afterwards)

And this is the song (All That Glitters Is A) Mare’s Nest. The sound quality’s fine, but the video itself is dreadful (unless you like badly filmed stop-animation), and we are sorely tempted to do one ourselves using TheSims3 at some stage to replace it. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

And here’s the first ever Cardiacs song made into a machinima: