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March 14, 2003

Karl’s Roy Orbison In Clingfilm Website
Posted by Teresa at 06:00 PM *

It begins:

Hello, and welcome to my homepage. My name is Karl Haarbfcrste and I like to write stories about Roy Orbison being wrapped up in cling-film. If you have written any stories about Roy being completely wrapped in clingfilm please send them to me and I may put them up on the site.
He’s posted three stories about Roy Orbison getting wrapped in cling-film (Saran Wrap, if you’re an American). There’s not a lot of variation in them; but really, how much can you do, given that set of constraints? Update: I knew these stories reminded me of something else, and I’ve just realized what it is: Edward Gorey.
It always starts the same way. I am in the garden airing my terrapin Jetta when he walks past my gate, that mysterious man in black.

‘Hello Roy,’ I say. ‘What are you doing in Dusseldorf?’

‘Attending to certain matters,’ he replies.

‘Ah,’ I say.

He apprises Jetta’s lines with a keen eye. ‘That is a well-groomed terrapin,’ he says.

‘Her name is Jetta.’ I say. ‘Perhaps you would like to come inside?’

‘Very well.’ He says.

Roy Orbison walks inside my house and sits down on my couch. We talk urbanely of various issues of the day. Presently I say, ‘Perhaps you would like to see my cling-film?’

‘By all means.’ I cannot see his eyes through his trademark dark glasses and I have no idea if he is merely being polite or if he genuinely has an interest in cling-film.

I bring it from the kitchen, all the rolls of it. ‘I have a surprising amount of clingfilm,’ I say with a nervous laugh. …
See also The Curious Terrapin, Mr. Earbrass Wraps Roy Orbison in Clingfilm, and La Roy Dore9e.
Comments on Karl's Roy Orbison In Clingfilm Website:
#1 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2003, 08:29 PM:

"but really, how much can you do, given that set of constraints?"

That sounds like a challenge. Hmmm...

#2 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2003, 09:05 PM:

Well, he is open for submissions.

Think they're any better in the original German?

#3 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2003, 09:10 PM:

Geez Teresa. Sometimes I really wonder just what you're doing on the web to find this, unusual, stuff.


#4 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 02:38 AM:

My. These stories are more peculiar than I had thought possible. I think it's the terrapin. There's something very real and solid about Jetta. She's completely outside the action (so to speak) of the story, but she is always present, always solid. I wonder if Jetta is the writer's touchstone, the entity he turns to when he needs to find his way back to the real world. Many people who tend to come adrift will have a pet or a person that can anchor them in space-time. I wonder if his fantasies aren't real enough for him, if Jetta isn't in them.

A turtle? Look, a cat I could understand.

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 08:29 AM:

I haven't looked at them, and won't (all forms of mummification fetish squick me), but I think there could be lots of variations. The one where Roy is trying to find someone to wrap him in clingfilm and no one will; the one where he doesn't want to be wrapped, but is pursuing a potential sexual partner who wants to wrap him; the one where he and the partner are both into it but shy about saying so (a sort of kinky Harlequin Romance), and on and on.

Lydia mentions a terrapin. My word. That certainly calls to mind plenty of other variations. You could go through the whole animal kingdom, couldn't you...not to mention vegetables and baked goods, or even frozen foods.

All would be mindnumbingly tedious, of course. But then I'd find the very first story about Roy Orbison wrapped in clingfilm pretty tedious - mod, as I said, a certain squick to the whole thing.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 08:57 AM:

Mary Kay, it happened like this. I posted the thing about marching Mary Sues, and Andrew Brown asked what's a Mary Sue. That made me think maybe I should do a proper post explaining the whole Mary Sue critical model, which has been adopted by a lot of the pro editors I know. Very useful stuff.

Anyway, I got to poking around looking for the current locations of all the old standard articles on the subject. And once I was in that neighborhood, it didn't take more than a couple of clicks' worth of distraction for me to stumble across the Waxman/Portillo piece.

I posted about it. And Andrew Brown said "Fnurgle! Now why don't people write stuff like that about American politicians?" So I obligingly went looking for some; and while I didn't find much, I did find the Roy Orbison in Clingfilm site.

See? It all makes perfect sense.

Speaking of making sense, Lydy, thank you for pointing out the terrapin. That prompted me to a realization I've just appended to the main post.

Re your own question, I think Jetta is just his pet terrapin, and that the odd weightiness you sense is there because Jetta is real.

Have you ever seen an illustration in which there are a bunch of passable-looking human faces, plus one face that somehow pops out at you? You look at it for a moment, trying to figure out why, and then say, "Oh, he used a real person for that one."

Also, animals in fiction have greater density than human characters, which can generate odd inertial effects ... but that's a different subject.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 09:31 AM:

This leads me to the question: "Who's Roy Orbison?"

#8 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 10:06 AM:

George Harrison's Mary Sue character, I believe.

#9 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 10:34 AM:

"Who's Roy Orbison?"

There's always that moment that you look at someone, and say "We really did grow up on different planets, didn't we?"

I could go on about Roy, Pretty Woman, icon of rock, Travelling Willbury's, untimley death, classic voice, etc. etc. -- but I'd think you'd have a better chance of describing the difference betwen red and green to me.

So, suffice to say, he's a froopy hood who completely doesn't deserve shrink-wrapping, even if that would preserve him for weeks.

#10 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2003, 11:16 AM:

"Who's Roy Orbison?" Why our Roy Orbison, of course. <rimshot>(Or, perhaps, Karl Haarbfcrste's.)</rimshot>

#11 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2003, 12:04 AM:

Pop up a directory and have a look at some of Michael Kelly's other writings. Some of it's quite good in a weird sort of way - particularly "How to be calm". There's no direct link to the pretend Roy Orbison slash, but if you follow the "Slash Fiction Archive" link, you'll see he's also written "Lady Penelope meets Bill and Ben" slash and "Freud/Jung" slash.

He seems to have that deadly combination of talent and too much time on his hands.

#12 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2003, 12:16 PM:

Even though I am a wee tyke, I remember Roy Orbison because Joe in the eighth grade explained to me one day that his father had this major obsession with Roy Orbison (although he never tried to wrap him in Clingfilm) and I said those very words, "Who is Roy Orbison?" and got an ear-full.

Also, animals in fiction have greater density than human characters, which can generate odd inertial effects ... but that's a different subject.

Between that and the Mary Sue explanation, I think I want more digressions from Theresa. I knew about the Mary Sues because I happen to know a bunch of Harry Potter fan-fic writers and several of them have submission procedure policies and whatnot which expressly forbid the Dread Mary Sue. (Almost as bad as a Dread Gazebo, wot?) But I think I'd still get a kick hearing (or reading rather) Theresa's explanations on Mary Sues. Plus, I want to find out about animals and inertia. This grasshopper has much to learn.

#13 ::: Mr Ripley ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2003, 05:54 AM:

Gorey? Really? I was reminded of nothing so much as Daniel M. Pinkwater's Guys from Space.

#14 ::: Thomas Yager-Madden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2003, 03:36 PM:

OK, I was managing okay with this, and then I got to where Roy says, "Commence." and then I just had to giggle and giggle and not stop.

#15 ::: Thomas Yager-Madden ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2003, 10:12 AM:

Okay now, granted I have never kept any sort of reptile or amphibian as a pet, and of all the questions one could ask of these stories, this may be the least pertinent - but could possibly distinguish a well-groomed terrapin?

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