The Lada in the Ballroom: A Consolidated Interview with Captain Y

02/01/2013 23:55


Briefly, here's the background. I've met this man in person only once. This interview is the crystallisation of an extended paper correspondence between us and a single conversation when we met. The effects of his philosophies and dubious pastimes have gradually remodelled Captain Y's likeness into that of an untrimmed dirty toilet. He speaks with a damp echo that's ever so subtle.


The Peanut Society of Lucubrators interviews Captain Y

PSofL: What's the name of your ship?
Captain Y: The Riuvmilset


PSofL: And what did you do before you became the Captain of a stationary ship?
Captain Y: I made clocks. I still have the finest one I ever produced; it's a nautical clock full of lentils – it keeps perfect time.


PSofL: To your mind, what will be the next big thing?
Captain Y: Mustaches on cars; I'm introducing it tentatively here – it makes people look back four times. More importantly, though, people surrendering houses and apartments in favour of living in old car boots, or on old docked boats like mine. Dockyards and car boots, then, is my answer – confined spaces! We'll learn to love them again.


PSofL: Do you like confined spaces?
Captain Y: Adore them! I couldn't live in anything larger than a 5m2 room. I have to sleep on my papers – my papers and charts – with stained books all around me. If I'm not sleeping on my most treasured paper things then I'll forget where they are. I furnish everything with paper, it functions for everything – regular furniture becomes superfluous... It's done for! I've made a desk fit for a Captain out of seventy phone books, a few old newspapers and a gallon of fire resistant wallpaper paste. It doubles as a bed. Shocking to think of what one can do without buying. Most things can be made using certain forms of litter.


PSofL: Brilliantly controversial information Captain. But won't a mighty structure like that sink your ship? And multinational furniture retailers?
Captain Y: Nothing can sink a grounded ship, my man, but mass purveyors of melamine have no such immunity. I simply quiver at the sight of melamine-coated chipboard. Though lino's my favourite thing to despise – our floors are done out by hand; I had my crew glue leaves across the whole ballroom, that way you never miss the greenery when out at sea. That room has the most green in this whole dock area – quite a feature of sorts. They're the one asset that remains well-preserved, even if they are dead. Evergreen they told me! But I don't go in the ballroom much these days. Sometimes I drive my silver Lada around it [looks up in recollection] – really a fine machine....


PSofL: Why do so few people know about your setup here?
Captain Y: We don't advertise, that's our strength. That way you don't become popular. In the opposite scenario you become accustomed to popularity, and it doesn't last forever... It's a hidden weakness, and a major one! Mark it down.


PSofL: What do you use the rest of your ship for?
Captain Y: We use the larger rooms to store pineapples – the greatest weapon of attack!


PSofL: Against pirates?
Captain Y: Against bureaucrats! Sea politicians rowing out there [motioning into the distance] to check and poke around at fiscal boundaries... over and over. I put those nets up myself you know! Now they're being exploited as a convenient marker; this ship's resources.... violated.


PSofL: Then how many pineapples do you have on board?
Captain Y: Ooh, I should think seven or eight thousand...


PSofL: Do they rot?
Captain Y: Ha, that's the point [winks]. No better weapon of attack! Once glooped an international bureaucrat won't return quickly, and I can get on with my slumber. Sleep is the only pure pastime aside from opening letters.


PSofL: Ever found any treasure?
Captain Y: Only seventy phone books in the Adriatic. And a dead pirate once, carrying nine little bottles of magnetic gold in his pockets. 


PSofL: I see. So how did your ship get its name?
Captain Y: We don't talk about that.


PSofL: Very well. Describe, if you will, your typical day.
Captain Y: [Laughs] I get out of bed, open my post, eat a pickled egg and a brandy snap, then back to bed. I have a device through which I drink fresh water while I'm sleeping – smooth hydration levels are the last secret to longevity.


PSofL: You plan to be around here for a while then?
Captain Y: As long as it takes for the lost tide to return. I'm a patient man – one of the last.... I'm always at home on my ship, wherever it is, grounded or otherwise.


PSofL: We were lucky to have caught you awake Captain, thank you very much for the interview.
Captain Y: I'll write you a letter one day, boy. “Do you know how to coat a ship with newspaper?” I'll ask you. You'll return here then, you're the type to be intrigued by a thing like that, for certain. There's room for you too, down on B deck.


PSofL: Captain, I salute you like an old piece of rope.
Captain Y: Very good. On your way then, for now.


[The Captain walks up the gangplank, back onto the main deck of the rusty Riuvmilset, where he waves a tube-like object in my direction]. He's a voice from in front – a careless wizard at life. Captain Y, who lives on next to nothing and doesn't advertise. 


PSofL: [Shouting up to the deck] Remind me again, Captain; what's the key to happiness?
Captain Y: [Throws his hat in the air] [Shouts back]  LENTILS!....  Invite yourself!


[The Captain catches his hat and disappears from sight, returning to the not-claustrophobic paper bedroom in the bowels of the ship for some shut eye]. The temperature right then was 32°C. I counted them one by one, standing there staring out to sea.


* Happy 2013 from the PSofL *