Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Eurovision 2016 as political commentary

Eurovision song contest has always been deeply political, and not just by the way old allies and neighbours vote for each other every year. 
The program started just ten years after Europeans had been industriously mass-murdering each other. The song contest was a part of a general project of integration and mutual understanding, aimed at preventing those periodic bouts of genocide, and the simultaneous broadcasting in all over Europe was an unheard of innovation. It can be said to pre-date EU, as the Treaty of Rome was only signed a year later than the first official Eurovision song contest was broadcast. It has endured through fall of the last fascist regimes, cold war, and the fall of the Iron Curtain, enfolding the new members to its ample, oily, glitter-splattered bosom. It is only fitting to see it as a mirror of the concerns and political climate of Europe as a whole, in and outside the EU. 

Finland: Sing it away  

Vaguely ethnic-y looking woman tries to sing away the rise of xenophobia and the extreme right. 

Greece: Utopian land 

(Why not just Utopia? Isn’t that what it means?) Now the greek male has lost even his shirt and is desperately running in a bleak, barren landscape looking possibly for Grexit. Occasional flashes of a man dressing in traditional Greek garb, possibly in reference to Golden Dawn? Rising sun is after all mentioned in the lyrics. 

Moldova: Falling Stars 

OK so the name says it all. Otherwise the song seems to refer to an apocalypse by meteorite strike: sky falls, wildfires rage - Moldovans are aiming larger than just EU and its little golden stars. 

Hungary: Pioneer

It starts with a line about running away - refugees again? But looking at the pioneer boys on the stage it does seem clear that the million hearts and love seeking approval refers to gay rights - go marriage equality! 

Russia: You Are The Only One

In the beginning of the video we see a man lying in bed, signifying Russia as ‘the sick man of Europe’ - or should it be Eurasia, or the World? Whichever, we presume the rest is a love song for Putin. 

Cyprus: Alter Ego 

With Finland having dropped the ball on what comes to hard rock, Cyprus has sent a bunch of guys who look like it but, well - they are fine actually if a bit blunt (as opposed to edgy). This is not meant to be a music review.
Economy is again the theme of this performance: The guys have been left homeless, they are on a field with their furniture and their pet husky. ‘Waking up alone like a man that failed’ and ‘you know you know you know I’m still inside’ - no, you eejit, you are outside in a field! But Cyprus is sticking with EU, even if it feels like jail-time. They also sing ‘being trapped in a fairy tale,' a metaphor on how the high ideals of EU of the past seem now rather unrealistic, even childish. 

Austria: Loin d'ici 

Not much to say. A hippie girl searches for a paradise in a psychedelic landscape of Amanita mushrooms. Escape to a drug-fueled fantasy world is an understandable, but hardly a politically aware move. 

Estonia: Play 

Estonia feels alone at first but realises he is stronger together - with his allies from NATO. 

Azerbaijan: Miracle

Singer is begging for a miracle while draped in thick, yellowish fog. Maybe just cut down on coal power instead?  

Montenegro: The Real Thing

The Montenegroans (shut up spell check, what do you call them then?) are either singing about sex, or EU integration, or both. Anyway being inside feels good, as many men can attest. 

Malta: Walk on Water

Slightly defensively, the singer claims to be ‘not perfect but A-OK,' proudly referring to the tiny nations still-high credit rating, and trying to excuse recent scandals about the Panama papers, spring bird hunting etc. The tragedy of the migrant crisis is briefly referenced by showing a drowning man. 

Poland: Color Of Your Life

What colour is your life? Who you really are? - The colour is of course white, or at least sort of pinkish light beige. The song stops short of answering the question it poses, but the white Poles prefer lurking in a forest alone, or on top of a tower like Saruman, or hanging together playing violins. Certain picture of isolationism is inevitable, yet they sound a bit sad and apprehensive - but that is possibly just the general Slavic melancholy. 

Ukraine: 1944

This really does not need explaining. The soldiers came and killed everyone. Here subtext is text. 

Czech Republic: I Stand

It is hard to pull any meaning from this, but I wanted to point out that the video for ‘I Stand’  is mostly shot with the singer lying down. Perhaps a humorous reference to the state of the economy in general, or a comment on self-delusion? Then again, most countries live on debt, so perhaps it is a satirical view on the whole concept of a sovereign nation state. 
In fact it was quite easy to find a metaphor in the end. 

Serbia: Goodbye (Shelter) 

This is quite simple: Serbia is feeling betrayed, living in the on-off relationship with EU. Serbia was hoping to join in the blessed union by 2014, but it was delayed, and while the process is moving on, the final happy day is still years away. 

Belarus: Help You Fly

Jesus? You have shaved?

Israel: We are made of stars

Now it is would be easy to just presume everything coming from Israel has something to do with the Palestine conflict. There are however people on both sides who would rather have peace - and the singer here could be either seen to lament the cultural homogenisation, global Coca-Cola-ism overwriting local cultures, by writing Tel Aviv on the wall using Latin alphabet rather than either Hebrew or Arabic - or is he celebrating it? All of us are made of stardust, the Morrissey-lookalike concludes, taking a larger view. 

Belgium: What’s the Pressure

A group of multicultural youth dances in a grim concrete set, asking What is the Pressure?
Sorry. It is just seems too soon. 

Australia: Sound of Silence

The Australians have sent an Asian-Australian to show they are not completely Fortress Australia. I find there is way too many references of drowning in this whole competition series of songs (many of the ones not analysed did also contain imagery of the stormy sea). Also, if her heart beats to the sound of silence, does it mean it does not beat? Quite grim. 

France: J'ai cherché cherché

Another repeating theme this year is songs about singing. This is split in two parts: French (obviously first) end English (secondary). The singer looks a tiny bit like younger, less slimy Sarkozy. The video suggests that disaffected youth of the banlieues should pursue physical hobbies, such as dance and martial arts: not a bad idea as such, but what about employment? The two young people find a profession through their hobbies, but surely it not possible for all? Especially people who age at normal rate.

Germany: Ghost

Frankly I only include Germany here as it SHOULD have been interesting, but it seems she is still just haunted by ghosts, with the toys and Christmas decorations of the past stuck on her head as so much gaudy debris from the boom years.

Italy: No Degree of Separation

A woman is stuck in a cage of neon tubes, that symbolises being under constant scrutiny and separated, imprisoned even: a clear metaphor of the condition of the many refugees stuck in camps and holding centres. Ironically she asserts there is no degree of real separation - we are all one humanity. The large fake gem being passed from hand to hand is a blood diamond, symbolic of the systematic stripping of natural resources from Africa by foreign powers. Powerful stuff! 

Spain: Say Yay!

Spain takes a more optimistic view than most: there is only one way, and that is forwards. Say yay, sing lalala - it may seem trite, but is probably a better approach than wallowing in all that has gone wrong. 

Sweden: If I Were Sorry

Sweden is bloody well not sorry. 

United Kingdom You're Not Alone

Again with the heart beating. Also Australia and Latvia make this organ’s normal function a focal point of the song, and it appears also on the Italian video. Obviously the theme of the song is the looming Brexit - Joe and Jake try to convince us we are in this together. Either we and UK are in this together, or UK with its three not always united kingdoms is together outside EU - dragging Scotland kicking and screaming with it. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

How to Operate a PS4

Just a quick post, I recently obtained a new games console, which turned out to be an interesting black modern art sculpture. It was delivered with a selection of Continental European language instructions, a selection which neatly skirted the ones I know, so I had to figure out how the Miniature Black Monolith works by trial and error only. I thought I would share the results of my investigation, in case they can help someone in a similar bind.


First Impressions: 

It is beautiful. It shines. My grubby fingers leave marks on its perfect surface. I am not worthy. I prostrate myself in awe. 


Second Impressions: 

Wow, but it still is pretty... Anyhow, in shamefully mundane terms, it is a black flat-ish box-shape object with a sort of groove running around it horizontally, and a strip across, vertically. There are USB ports in the groove at the front, and other sockets in the flat bit in the back - I presume it is the back, because it is flat and has those sockets. The front slopes like the side of a Mayan pyramid. The sockets are fairly easy to recognise, HDMI output at the back, powercord, really this is Police School entrance exam level easy. Match plug with hole, no problem. A little cable has a USB plug in one and mini-USB in the other, which matches the one in the controller, this obviously goes in the front.

Third Impressions: 

It is now wired to anything I could think to wire it, but now comes the crux: How do you even turn it on? Or feed in the game disc? It is merely a beautiful black object, full of beauty. I caress it in the hopes of finding out more. I hear no voice in my head, nor are flaming letters suddenly appearing on the wall, so the following instructions are really just a result of repeated trial and error, I would like to stress that which is why I am saying it again.




Turn On Your New Companion Block:

  1. Undress and anoint your knees with butter or olive oil
  2. Ululate
  3. Dance around the living room, while ululating
  4. Approach the Black Monolith cautiously, averting your eyes in respect
  5. Draw a pentagram on the top of the Monolith with your fingertip
  6. Run your finger down the stripe that runs down the top of the Monolith, and down the front. When you get to the front bit, the stripe should now light up, pulsating mysteriously. If not, repeat steps 3 - 6.
  7. Are you still ululating? Remember to ululate.
  8. If you did pass the Plug in Wires test, and your heart is pure, there should now be text in the screen you attached to your Black Monolith, If this is in a language you understand, follow the instructions (it is English, so if you are reading this, you should understand that too.)

Insert Disc (to the Machine, you pervert)

  1. Repeat steps 1-3 above
  2. Praise an Elder One of your choice, a basic Iä! Iä! Shub-Niggurath! should suffice, but you can recite more complex passages if you wish
  3. Remove the game disk from its box and hold it lightly by the very edges by both hands
  4. Approach the Black Monolith. On your knees! 
  5. Offer the Holy Disc towards the "mouth" for lack of a better word, the deep groove in the middle of your Companion Block, and below the glowing stripe, not in the middle but somewhat to the left
  6. If you have prepared correctly, the Black Monolith will now accept your sacrifice and you can feel it pull the disc to its mouth and purr (your hold on the disc should be gentle enough so She can easily take it from your hand, otherwise loosen your grip immediately)
  7. Touch the floor with your forehead and ululate
  8. Follow instructions on the screen

 Ejecting the Disc

  1. Follow steps 1 - 2 above
  2. Lay supine in front of the Black Monolith
  3. Place your left hand on the lower edge of the front of the monolith, touching the stripe running across the top and down the front, at the lowest point
  4. Ascertain loudly that you are indeed not worthy
  5. Concentrate on the image of the disc ejecting, while maintaining physical touch with the Monolith. You may need to press down lightly at the stripe, and you can feel the Monolith yield
  6. Take disc when it is offered, and place it in its box
If you do not succeed in the above, it may be due to some spiritual lack on your part. Either develop your psychic aura, or sacrifice a chicken (artichoke if you are a vegetarian), then try again and REMEMBER TO ULULATE. Enjoy your new Companion Block! 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Problems in Lilliputia, part 1:

A letter from the High *Muckamuck of Little Bampot to His Grand Majesty, the King of Lilliputia, concerning the problem of the gulliver washed ashore:

I extend my greeting to Your Grand Majesty and kiss Your slipper.  May your reign last fifty years.

The township of Little Bampot is a humble village not far inland from the sea. We are facing an unprecedented crisis, and humbly beseech Your Majesty’s aid, in the form of manpower and tools.

Let me describe the disaster we are facing. Namely, near our village one morning, after what many thought was an earthquake, was found another gulliver. We presumed this one, like the previous one, had drifted in from the sea, as there had been a severe storm not two days previously. Deep marks could be seen, left by its large feet, where the being had walked or stumbled from the seashore nearly a  Lilliputian league distant. Though some panicked, at first many of our simple peasant citizenry was overjoyed, as the previous gulliver had, we knew, been of some service to our beautiful Kingdom.  

However, it was soon discovered that the individual had not collapsed in exhaustion and was sleeping, as it could not be awoken. It was also fairly clear it was not breathing, which should have been obvious in such a large creature, or so it was felt. The individual had suffered some injuries, which may have belatedly claimed its life, sadly so close to help and rescue. One of our healers climbed up the cadaver with the help of a ladder, and could find no sign of life. Now the question was how to deal with the exceedingly large corpse, as we cannot possibly bury it, not if we dug for a thousand moons.

Some impertinent people suggested it represented a large source of meat, while this was protested by the elders as it seemed like cannibalism, as despite its size, the gulliver does in shape, and I am told in faculties, resemble a lilliputian. Some vile rascals did carve at least a cartload out of its left buttock and carried it away, but this made no noticeable difference to the overall bulk. Neither have scavengers which, I regret to admit, we have not been able to completely keep away from the cadaver, while we tried to respect the dignity of the individual, there is no tarp large enough to even cover it. Neither is there enough fuel in either Little or Big Bampot to cause the thing to burn, even if that option would not suffocate the whole neighbourhood in noisome smoke.

The idea that either we or animals could dispose of the bodily remains as food has recently become moot, as the weather has been clement, the flesh has started to, how shall we put it, ripen considerably. The smell is already quite noticeable, and we fear it can only get worse.

We humbly beg that Your Majesty sends us some members of the Royal Engineer Corps, as soon as possible, with as much man- and horsepower and tools as can be procured at short notice, as we have not been able to solve this problem on our own.

Private Note by the Honourable Privy Councillor Lord Malky:

The writer of this letter is an ignoramus who does not even know that the correct word is “human” and Gulliver is an individual’s name. It is no wonder he has not been able to solve the problem presumably the village council are also the village idiots, and cannot see the positive in this. Such a large body, after rotting away, should enrich the ground wonderfully, and the skeleton would surely make an interesting novelty garden that many curious travellers would wish to visit. I shall send a message to this bumbling moron, with You, my nephew, and a couple of engineers to assess the situation, so at least we can say we have taken an interest.





A letter to the Honourable Privy Councillor Lord Malky, from the High Muccamuc of Little Bampot:

I have received your most excellent letter, and stand much wiser now I know what this mess is called, and not Gulliver. Thank you. Thank you also for sending me three men, this is enormous help. Your respectable nephew is a most capable and personable young man, alas, he is no Gulliver – if only this giant foreigner was still with us! – to haul this carcass the size of a village to the sea. He has promised to report of the situation honestly and thoroughly, and thus without further ado I direct Your attention to the document attached: 


Letter to Lord Malky, by his nephew Sir Antiron.

Dear Uncle,

The situation here is as dire as described, and indeed now already a lot worse. The cadaver is absolutely huge! Uncle, it is like a mountain: the locals say it has started to swell since it first came, and refuse to go anywhere near it. This is because they think it might burst and some horrible miasma, I shudder to even imagine, will gush forth. But also because the smell is horrendous, even after we have surveyed the site with our faces bound in scarves with twigs of lavender and  mint layered in, we were quite queasy and without appetite afterwards. We did still manage to make some measurements, I enclose these, some sketches and a map and survey of the surroundings.

It does indeed look like the thing walked in from the sea, a distance which for it was perhaps ten steps or less, but for us such that there is no way we can roll or drag it back and hope the waves wash it away again.  It has crossed the shoreline dune, so it would need to be moved uphill first, and it seems even moving it on flat ground would be impossible. Please do contact the Royal Engineers and give them all my notes, so they can plan an attack on this monstrosity. The local scholar and irrigation specialist, mister Clemps, has expressed fears the cadaver will poison the local fresh water sources, due to the lay of the land and the nearness of river Munch. (I have drawn this in the map, and tried to indicate the slope, and the types of soil of the area.)
Really if something is not done quite soon, bar some intervention from higher powers, though nothing short of a volcano erupting could feasibly cover this thing – as the Mayor’s (or the High Muckamok as he is locally known)  letter suggested, this would need removing all the sand in the Haar Bay to heap on it, and I doubt even Gulliver himself could have done that. 

Already some people have packed their things and left Little Bampot, generally those who have relatives elsewhere or otherwise are certain of a welcome and a position. Everyone is very worried. Even people from Big Bampot show up regularly to ask when if something done. I have sent this packet with the fastest courier, I do not feel up to travel right now and I think the villagers would be very disappointed. My gracious hosts hope to prolong their hospitality.

Your loving nephew,



Letter from an anonymous sender to Lord Malky, Honourable Privy Councillor, sealed with the government seal and marked Very Much Private:

Greetings to Your Lordship. I need to be quick, so I will cut the pleasantries short: we are heading for a disaster here. When we and the sappers arrived, the corpse had started to disintegrate. The engineers had spoken wisely about rollers and pulleys and counterweights, as You recall, but as we got here it was clear all that would do was pull the thing apart. It was decided we could only try and mitigate the effects by digging a ditch around it, to contain the, well, I do not know a technical term, so ‘corpse-liquid’ before it can flow to the river. The villagers had started this but given up.

We rounded up the few able-bodied locals and all the shovels we could get, and bullied them – the locals, not the shovels – to join us. We did however not make any progress as the stench set some men vomiting so frequently they simply could not be put to work. We handed around strong drink, in the hopes that like heals the like, and most men inhaled the vapours rather than drink, to numb their sinuses. Who knew you can actually get very drunk if you do that enough? That aside, some people had to be sent away as they really were of no use, we let those able to sort of walk carry those who had passed out. We had to give up the first day when no-one could make a straight line, and the ditch only progressed some ten steps distance or so.  

Next morning half the men had deserted, and about third of the remaining were too sick to work. We tried flogging a couple to see if they were malingering, but they did not show any sign they cared much. Those men able to work have since grown partial immunity to the stench, while most prefer to work with a cloth soaked in some strong-smelling concoction like crushed garlic and the rest of the fortified wine we used. They are led by an old sergeant who seems to not possess a sense of smell at all after some facial injuries he suffered on the battlefield in the past, but morale is still low as there simply is not enough people to dig the ditches as planned. We may have to turn to plan B, which is evacuation, no matter how much everyone is against that.

I send this message attached to your nephew, who indeed was prevented from leaving, but he says ‘everyone was very nice and you should not punish them’; he will fill you in with his experiences personally, no doubt. 

Yours in Confidence



Second letter from anonymous sender to Lord Malky, also sealed with the government seal and marked Urgent – Private:

The water in the well has spoiled the engineers say the soils here are sandy and porous so the corpse poison has seeped through ground also to river we are evacuating both Bampots upriver immediately.



 *A local ceremonial ruler with little real power, equivalent of Village Eldest. Correct spelling unclear, possibly Muckamok.

**"Tub" is a pseudonym apparently used by more than one spy in the service of the Privy Councillor's service.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Stars Are Right Here

Out of ancient, sunken R'lyeh comes the latest horrorscope craze, the Chtulhuscope. Based on writings left behind by the great ancient star-gazing sages, il-Lovecraft, is-Smith and il-Howard, among other hierophants, their texts come down to us from unfathomable antiquity. They were only recently found in an old sarcophagus, covered in strange pre-dynastic hieroglyphs of dark and sinister nature, seeming to crawl and writhe upon the unknown black material it is made of. The unholy relic does not appear to have been formed by a human hand.

Intrepid travellers brought the sarcophagus to light by from the sunless depths of the Cairo Central Station left luggage office in 1926, and the insane gibberish left on the ticket-stub glued to the cover gave no indication of its previous owners. It has taken many decades, as bouts of madness amidst researches to the occult has repeatedly prevented progress, to finally decipher the papyri.

We do not fully understand how exactly these deities, out of hundreds, were found to rule our cosmic destiny, but the chilling accuracy of the predictions confirms their authenticity. Amidst the collected prophesies were for example these words: "In the Third Aeon of Human Rule, amidst the Northern Stars, in the Sky a Great Dragon spits Fire" – it hardly takes an effort from even a moron to realise this refers to the Lockerbie bombing of 1988!

To start:

What is your birthday? Cthulhuscope uses and ancient formula of finding your actual Sign, which works like this:

Take your birthday in the European format: day, month, year. Forget the year. Now, double the day number, then invert it. Divide it with the number of letters in your first name. Sit in the dark with a bag over your head and recite the multiplication table of 7. Now, go back to the original number, write down the number of the month separately. Compare it to the following list:
  1. Ubbo-Sathla
  2. Azathoth
  3. Ghatanothoa
  4. Shub-Niggurath
  5. Cthulhu
  6. Nyarlathotep
  7. Yig
  8. Hound of Tindalos
  9. Byakhee
  10. Mordiggian
  11. Tsathoggua
  12. Yog-Sothoth

Once you have found your Unspeakable Horror Sign, see the description below: 

1. Ubbo-Sathla, the Unbegotten Source

The formless horror Ubbo-Sathla rules the lives of those born at what is now considered the first month of the year, the dark and cold, as was the gelid primordial time when Ubbo-Sathla first appeared on our becursed planet. Pullulating in its dark abode, it guards the stone tablets of the Elder Gods, much sought after by crazed practitioners of black magic. Pray they never find that forbidden knowledge!

There, in the grey beginning of Earth, the formless mass that was Ubbo-Sathla reposed amid the slime and the vapors. Headless, without organs or members, it sloughed from its oozy sides, in a slow, ceaseless wave, the amoebic forms that were the archetypes of earthly life. Horrible it was, if there had been aught to apprehend the horror; and loathsome, if there had been any to feel loathing. About it, prone or tilted in the mire, there lay the mighty tablets of star-quarried stone that were writ with the inconceivable wisdom of the pre-mundane gods.*

Those born under the maleficent Elder Sign of Ubbo-Sathla will often have many offspring, that they will ceaselessly share pictures of; even if the offspring are few the pictures will fill all conceivable space. They are prone to staying indoors, having a runny nose and they have a curious reluctance to return library books. 

Your Prediction:

You crawl and shed mucilaginous biological matter in the dark, fetid abode you call 'home' until such time as the terrible ire of the returning Elder Ones ends your miserable life in a horrifying orgy of fire, violence and destruction.

*Clark Ashton Smith, Ubbo-Sathla

2. Azathoth, the Demon Lord

In the centre of the cosmos abides the mindless God, Azatoth, father of all the dread being we call Elder Gods or Great Old Ones, or, if we are sensible, do not call at all. Those who have read the name in the dark book Necronomicon know to steer clear of anything that refers to the name of the ultimate, elemental, cosmic terror that is Azathoth.

…outside the ordered universe that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.*

To keep him from devouring the cosmos, he is surrounded by other mad, blind Elder Gods whose sole purpose is to lull him with the inhuman, horrible music they make. He is the squirming, mutable chaos at the centre of things, his actual form would make any mere human mind crack:

a pale grey shape, expanding and crinkling, which glistened and shook gelatinously as still-moving particles dropped free; but it was only a glimpse, and after that it is only in nightmares that I imagine I see the complete shape of Azathoth.**

If you have a neighbour or work colleague that cannot stand not having the radio play latest top 40 hits incessantly, this may be just because she was born under the maddening influence of the Sign of Azathoth. If your mirror in the morning after your birthday in February shows a primal horror too horrible to countenance, this is also the influence of the Mad Lord of Cosmic Chaos. Try a cream of some kind. It will probably not hurt, much.

Your Prediction

Your life is lived in nameless dread and you know it is all ultimately meaningless, a mad dance of particles in the cosmic void. Your nights are plagued with blood-curdling visions of writhing darkness. Do not worry, you are not mad, your view of life is absolutely factually correct. Rejoice when the dawn of the Elder Gods arrives and the sun sets on humanity.

*H.P. Lovecraft: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath 
**Ramsey Campbell: The Insects of Shaggai

3. Ghatanothoa, the First-Born of Cthulhu

So terrible is the sight of Ghatanothoa that even a replica will petrify the viewer outwardly, trapping the now insane, living person inside a mummy. Long worshipped by the pre-human inhabitants of Mu, the Great Old One has filtered down the eons as the myth of Medusa. Unsurprisingly, no-one has ever described Ghatanothoa, except in her astral body disguised as a cute Japanese school-girl. * Thus no quote of her appearance can be given.

Muvians worshipped Ghatanothoa who was originally brought down from the eternal gloom of the edge of the Solar System by Ancient Aliens. They built her a Cyclopean temple on the highest point of that legendary lost continent. Now trapped under a mountain in sunken Mu (pronounced 'moo', not 'mew' as one often hears) we hope never to have her loathsome form unearthed again. Demand a stop to underwater archaeology in the Pacific! Humanity beseeches you!

Those born under the Dark Sign of Ghatanothoa have tendency to be the un-life of any party: you have probably met them, standing in the corner, spreading a pool of confused silence and petrified expressions as they burble on about technology or some blasphemous cult of beings with superior powers only they understand or can be interested in, with possibly the exception of others like them. Be not afraid, just make your excuses and go the bathroom.

Your Prediction:

All your dreams will come true. Yes, even those. And especially those: you will find yourself subject to public derision and humiliation. Take comfort in the knowledge that when the Great Old Ones awaken, your tormentors will be crushed like ants, alongside you.

*Manta Aisora & Koin: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

4. Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods

One of the most mysterious beings of the Mythos, but often entreated in the unspeakable rites of cultists of Cthulhu by their call of "Iä! Shub-Niggurath!" she is supposedly the significant other of Yog-Sothoth, who also has a double-barrelled name by coincidence. Or is there a sinister connection? If this rumour is true, as Yog-Sothoth is independent of time and space, his sidestep with the mortal Lavinia Wheatley presumable took place simultaneously before they met, when they were on a break and after they separated, according to him. Shub-Niggurath has also been romantically linked to Hastur and the snake god Yig, and possibly to the Nameless One, or the One Who is not be Named, but we have not been able to ascertain who that is.

She has been worshipped as a fertility goddess throughout the ages, in various garb, and there are dark rumours of hidden underground temples in the Crimson Desert, also known as ad-Dahna. To add to the credence to the myth, Saudi Geological survey has found a series of dark chasms and mazes covered in crystalline deposits in the area:

In some caves, deposits of bones cover the floors: hyenas, or something worse?

It has also been suggested She can be called to a wooded area on a new moon. A fragmented chant has been recorded, but do not, under any circumstances, say it aloud!

...is the Lord of the Wood, even to... and the gifts of the men of Leng... so from the wells of night to the gulfs of space, and from the gulfs of space to the wells of night, ever the praises of Great Cthulhu, of Tsathoggua, and of Him Who is not to be Named. Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Goat with a Thousand Young!*

Those born in the influence of the Black Goat enjoy hiking in the woods, if they are not surrounded with a thousand young making demands. Or what seems like a thousand. Both male and female have a high probability of describing their relationship status as "complicated." 

Your Prediction:

Chaos may rule your life now, but you may hope everything will eventually go well, things will get sorted, as soon as the Second Law of Thermodynamics is reversed. Ha! The Cosmos itself has doomed you, miserable bag of flesh.

*H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness

5: Cthulhu, the Great Old One

That is not dead which can eternal lie /And with strange aeons even death may die.

…a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters.*

Ironically the month of springtime, twittering birds and blooming fruit-trees is governed by the Great Old One himself, the Sleeper of Sunken R'lyeh. Those whose birthday falls under his baneful star are exceptional individuals in some way among the miserable brethren grubbing on the surface of the planet, unaware of the inevitable doom. It may be a great gift of twisted, dark artistry, or just uncommonly pungent earwax – anyhow, it does not matter. It is as meaningful as being the most intelligent amoeba or the prettiest slime mould spore.

Many also suffer certain social problems reminiscent of The Great Old One:

There was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the chronicler could not put on paper. *

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming! Chant these words and quiver like the blob of jelly you are! Like jelly, you are merely s snack to things whose vast, malevolent powers are incomprehensible to you.

Your Prediction:

Your life in meaningless, so making a prediction would be pointless.

*H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu 

6. Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos

The Black Pharaoh, the Mad God, master of a thousand forms so horrible they make the observer lose their mind in an instant, nevertheless prefers to show himself as a slim, suave gentleman of Ancient Egyptian origin. He is the cruellest of the Great Old Ones, revelling in torture and despair. When the others see humans as merely inconsequential trash to be swept aside when Their glorious reign begins anew, He likes to torment us like a nasty child ripping legs off ants. Almost certainly a model for the Big Evil of that late cult, Christianity, Nyarlarhotep never was an angel and has no other reason to seduce humans with his tricks and lead them to his charnel-houses underground, or the void beyond space and time, than that it amuses him. He is the most human-like of the Great Old Ones, and so possibly the most hideous.

Then we split up into narrow columns, each of which seemed drawn in a different direction. One disappeared in a narrow alley to the left, leaving only the echo of a shocking moan. Another filed down a weed-choked subway entrance, howling with a laughter that was mad. My own column was sucked toward the open country, and presently I felt a chill which was not of the hot autumn; for as we stalked out on the dark moor, we beheld around us the hellish moon-glitter of evil snows. Trackless, inexplicable snows, swept asunder in one direction only, where lay a gulf all the blacker for its glittering walls.*

The maddening heat and riotous parties or early summer are apt time for Him, who delights in subduing the senses of his subjects and make them dance to the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping* – he is the source of the myth of Pan as well as the Devil and has been known to visit rock festivals. Those born under his delirious influence generally have been known to play musical instruments and think much more highly of their talent than their listeners.

Your Prediction:

Like a lunatic, you will dance to the pipes of the otherworldly beings with all the other puppets amusing His Dark Majesty, until the Great Old Ones return and feast on your shrivelled souls.

*H.P. Lovecraft: Nyarlathotep

7. Yig, Father of Serpents

Yig may be the ancestor of Quetzalcoatl, Set and other mythical serpents, such as Jörmungandr and definitely the snake James Earl Jones turns into in Conan. Midsummer is of course good time for snakes that like to bask in the sun: this may have given the Ancient Cosmotologists their inspiration of placing Him to this summer month.

The dreadful Father of Serpents seems like a reptile half-human, but mostly he makes his presence known by a multitude of his precious children, snakes, swarming over you as you sleep.

Yig, the snake-god of the central plains tribes—presumably the primal source of the more southerly Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan—was an odd, half-anthropomorphic devil of highly arbitrary and capricious nature.*

He is very fond of his children who he protects jealously, punishing anyone killing them by turning them into hideous half-snake, half-human monsters:

The moving object was almost of human size, and entirely devoid of clothing. It was absolutely hairless, and its tawny-looking back seemed subtly squamous in the dim, ghoulish light. Around the shoulders it was rather speckled and brownish, and the head was very curiously flat. As it looked up to hiss at me I saw that the beady little black eyes were damnably anthropoid,*

Those born under the Sign of the Serpent have higher risk than most to turn into snakes, stepping on snakes or keeping snakes as pets. They have been known to get into high office, such as the already mentioned Thulsa Doom.

If you accidently kill a snake, human sacrifice is suggested. However, courts do not accept snake sacrifice as defence for killing humans. Best just to claim self-defence, and it is auspicious to hire a lawyer born under the Serpent Star Sign.

Your Prediction:

You shall spend your days slithering on your belly like the snake you are, until the boot of the Great Unnameable grinds your skull to the ground.

*H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop: The Curse of Yig

8. Hound of Tindalos

The Eight and Ninth Dark Sign are not named after an Elder God or a Great Old One, but instead their Earthly servants, or species of beings eons older than the hairless apes with their flat nails and bipedal prancing about who think they somehow rule the place. What we now call August, simpering fools that we are, the Elder Beings called the Month of Angles, and it was the month The Hounds, beings older than the first, single-celled blob of life on the planet, born from the angles of time, when the Earthly life sprung from curves. What does it mean? Our curved-time brains have no means to process this. We can't really process the sight of one of these Hounds either; this is the only surviving eyewitness account:

"They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked... "All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment, I cannot be certain."*

Those whose unfortunate fate it is to have been born under the Sign of Tindalos often have trouble with timekeeping, but they can appear and disappear unexpectedly, and thus are most suited to the life of a ticket inspector on public transport. The Hound can appear anywhere where there are acute angles, to suck the ichor from their victims, who will be gibbering with madness from the unearthly, unnatural sight of the Hound. No, there is no escape. Just pay for your tickets you freeloading scum. 

Your Prediction:

It does not look good.

*Frank Belknap Long, The Hounds of Tindalos

9. Byakhee, the Servants of Hastur

The Byakhee is actually plural, a race of hideous pterodactyl-like things that can fly, carrying the worshippers of Hastur through time and space. They are notoriously hard to describe:

They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall. They flopped limply along, half with their webbed feet and half with their membranous wings*

Those born under the Dark Star Sign of Byakhee, often have webbed feet. They may be drawn to professions to do with logistics, and are unusually unmemorable. 

Your Prediction:

Romantic entanglements are in your future. You will have to decide between the dreamboat that will frisk you off your feet on a flight of mixed metaphors, and you will die a screaming, insane wreck as your blood boils and your brain bursts from your skull in the vacuum of space. Or you can stay home and pick the first mouthbreeder who will make your life a living hell. Enjoy free will, you miserable human dreck.

*H. P. Lovecraft, The Festival

10. Mordiggian; The Charnel God,

As the weather turns colder, the Elder One ruling the month is the Mordiggian, worshipped by a cult of dog-headed ghouls. He sucks warmth and light from the world, beloved by morticians and butchers, as refrigeration is a useful skill for chilling any kind of meat products.

A colossal shadow ... more than a shadow: it was a bulk of darkness, black and opaque, that somehow blinded the eyes with a strange dazzlement. It seemed to suck the flame from the red urns and fill the chamber with a chill of utter death and voidness. Its form was that of a worm-shapen column, huge as a dragon, its further coils still issuing from the gloom of the corridor; but it changed from moment to moment, swirling and spinning as if alive with the vortical energies of dark aeons. Briefly it took the semblance of some demoniac giant with eyeless head and limbless body..*

Those born under this Dark Sign also project a field of cold around them, and while not necessarily literally eyeless and limbless, they often have the nimble grace and observational skills as if they were so. As their Master, they are shifty and mutable and find it difficult to stick to one place, and dance like no-one is looking. Or is in range of injury from flailing limbs.

Your Prediction:

You shall die and the ghouls will feast on your flesh in one of their delirious, moonlit ceremonies.

*Clark Ashton Smith, The Charnel God

11: Tsathoggua, the Sleeper of N'kai

Many of those born in the dark, dying end of the year bear an uncanny, not to say horrifying, physical resemblance to their Elder God Sign, Tsathoggua:

He was very squat and pot-bellied, his head was more like a monstrous toad than a deity, and his whole body was covered with an imitation of short fur, giving somehow a vague sensation of both the bat and the sloth. His sleepy lids were half-lowered over his globular eyes; and the tip of a queer tongue issued from his fat mouth.*

Most will have at least some of the mental characteristics as well:

He will rise not from his place, even in the ravening of hunger, but will wait in divine slothfulness for the sacrifice.*

Or, in the case of his disciples, pizza. 

Your Prediction:

You shall wallow in sloth until the stars are right, and all puny humans are devoured by the Great Cthulhu and other Elder Gods. Grovel in fear and pray for Tsathoggua that your end will be brutal but swift.

*Clark Ashton Smith, The Tale of Satampra Zeiros, and ** The Seven Geases

12. Yog-Sothoth, the All-in-One

One of the servants of blind idiot god Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth is locked outside natural space and time, but as he is thus everywhere and everywhen, he is all-seeing and all-knowing. He is not completely removed from the Universe, as it is rumoured he once sired a son with a mortal woman. Yog-Sothoth manifests itself as a conglomeration of iridescent spheres, which nevertheless are less pretty than suggestive, hinting of unspeakable evil things to come. Many of His attributes clearly refer to the unholy rites, myths and decorations we now attribute to Winter Solstice, showing what idiots we are, re-imagining the primordial horror as shiny baubles and his malevolent omniscient being as some judgemental old fogey in a red coat.

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.*

Again very much like the Old Goat that hides under the pointy hat and white beard, He can enter anywhere, and any time – even simultaneously. No wonder children are instructed to never, ever behold the sight of the supposed bringer of gifts with their tiny, innocent, mortal eyes.

Beware the gifts of Yog-Sothoth! He brings knowledge, but that knowledge will never bring anything but misery and despair.

Those born under the Sign of Yog-Sothoth have an unnerving ability to absorb information, but this brings them usually no success in life, only in quizzes. Female ones may have a "bubbly" personality, which can be pleasant or grating.

Your Prediction:

More perceptive than most, you can see the approaching doom first. This will make no difference, except your final moments will be more miserable than your more blind and ignorant brethren.

*H. P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror