Posted tagged ‘Arabian Nights’

Magic carpets and their poor cousins

June 30, 2013

One of my favourite series of stories as a child was The Arabian Nights. The cartoon versions of these fantastical fables were exciting when seen through a child’s eye. The book is slightly different from the animated adventures as I found out later. This didn’t put me off my enjoyment of the more celebrated tales.

Who would not want to have a magic lamp with a friendly genie granting three wishes? My three wishes have changed through the years. My current three are-

A limitless supply of beer

A limitless supply of pizza

A doctor handy at all times

The voyages of Sinbad (sometimes spelled as Sindbad) the sailor have been retold many times and they never cease to amaze. Of all the various adaptations I particularly liked the film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Released in 1977 it featured cutting edge special effects courtesy of the master of the visual technology arts, Ray Harryhausen. Another thing that sticks in the mind about that day at the movies is that the B-movie (this was back when the admission price got you two films) was called Spider-Man Strikes Back. This was the first ever live action Spidey and it was as camp as those old Adam West/Burt Ward Batman TV episodes. For the record if anyone ever asks Nicholas Hammond was the first ever Spider-Man.

Another gem in the One Thousand and One Nights oeuvre is the magic carpet. This is the way to fly. Forget about planes, copters and hot air balloons the carpet easily wins the Jet Wars flaps down. You don’t even need a pilot as the rug wings it itself. This is your carpet speaking we’ll be in Millport in ten minutes. (I’m not a globetrotter as you all know)

 If I can now show off a bit, in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude a magic carpet is mentioned as being used by the travellers that pass by the town where the book is set. Like me, the Noble Prize winner must also have marvelled at the stories in his youth.  It has also been noted that our writing styles are similar though Gabriel was offended when a journalist said he was a poor man’s JW.

One place where carpets are not magical is WH Smith. As a regular user of the news retailer I have walked a thousand and one miles on their carpets. Something has got to give, for sure. A twittering friend of mine showed me a page on Twitter called WHS_Carpet. This is one of those unusual and unique places that makes the internet worthwhile. Users are invited to send in their snaps of shabby flooring that “adorn” the WH workspace. I was hours on there looking at worn carpets; it’s addictive. Next time I’m trudging in my local WH I’ll check out the floor and see if it‘s as bad as the rest.