Monday, 7 January 2013

Adaptation and Arsewiping...

One of the most commonly asked questions from anybody who discovers that we're working on a partial adaptation of Rabelais' "Gargantua & Pantagruel" is: "Are you doing the arse wiping bit?".

And, of course, we are. In Rabelais' text, it goes a little something like this....

Once I did wipe me with a gentle-woman's velvet mask, and found it to be good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my fundament. Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that was comfortable. At another time with a lady's neckerchief, and after that I wiped me with some ear-pieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance. Now I wish St. Antony's fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made them, and of her that wore them! This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a page's cap, garnished with a feather after the Switzers' fashion.
Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and exulcerated all my perinee. Of this I recovered the next morning thereafter, by wiping myself with my mother's gloves, of a most excellent perfume and scent of the Arabian Benin. After that I wiped me with sage, with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with gourd-leaves, with beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine-tree, with mallows, wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce, and with spinach leaves. All this did very great good to my leg. Then with mercury, with parsley, with nettles, with comfrey, but that gave me the bloody flux of Lombardy, which I healed by wiping me with my braguette. Then I wiped my tail in the sheets, in the coverlet, in the curtains, with a cushion, with arras hangings, with a green carpet, with a table-cloth, with a napkin, with a handkerchief, with a combing-cloth; in all which I found more pleasure than do the mangy dogs when you rub them. Yea, but, said Grangousier, which torchecul did you find to be the best? I was coming to it, said Gargantua, and by-and-by shall you hear the tu autem, and know the whole mystery and knot of the matter. I wiped myself with hay, with straw, with thatch-rushes, with flax, with wool, with paper, but,
  Who his foul tail with paper wipes,
  Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.
Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.

If you are curious how this magnificent piece of Rabelais has been adapted into a form to fit snugly into a musical shape, read on. If you'd rather wait and see, then don't read on. Here, ladies and gentlemen and arsewipers, is the first published text-extract (textract?) of Ergo Phizmiz's "Gargantua", in which the giant baby King Gargantua details his experiments in sphincter hygiene:

I wiped myself with hay, with straw, 
a gentle-woman's velvet mask,
and after that with sage, and fennel,
(not a disagreeable task)
I wiped up with my mother's gloves 

but golden spangles they had in
and surely they scratched away
a portion of my tail skin.
I wiped myself with straw, with flax, 

a carpet and a table-cloth,
a Bible and a handkerchief,
a March-cat and an Atlas moth. 

And after all these myriad wipes
the skin around my bum forlorn
I found the most adept wipe-tool:
it be the neck of a dead swan.

If your bum, post-wipe,
keeps you up all night,
try the neck of a dead swan.

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