In a recent self-google 1 through the trillion images that float around us in the ether, I noticed that I have a doppelgänger and his name is Han Dong 2. Spot the difference: Now the logicians amongst you would be quick to point out out that the reason HD and I exist on the same Google Images page is because I read aloud a story wot he wrote, and thus the link-savvy bots put 1 + 1 together 3, making us 2. Semioticians would direct your attention to the glasses, foliage, and monastic tonsure. I say it’s because we are (spiritual) twins separated at birth 4. Why not? The notion of the “double walker” manifestly presses all my uncanny buttons. Hence my fascination with doppio Nick Royles and time-travel explanations for the phenomenon. Also this poem: the first, in a series of three RMSYLs, chosen and translated by Nicky Harman. It is a masterclass in the poetry of the uncanny, or the uncanniness of poetry.
- If you’re one of those people who claims to never have self-googled, then either a) You’re lying, or b) you have the self-discipline of a saint, or c) you’re lying. ↩
- Apologies to all our Chinese listeners for my pronunciation of Han’s surname in this podcast. I give it as DONG like King KONG, rather than utilising, as Nicky does, the more elegant, and presumably more phonologically correct schwa sound ↩
- This is obviously a very crude rendering of the algorithms behind Google’s data crunching. But seeing as Google themselves are never going to explain to us exactly how it’s done, 1 + 1 will nicely stand in for Some Impossible Equation Which Neither You Nor I Would Understand Anyway. ↩
- It probably needs to be pointed out at this juncture that I have seen Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Véronique about a zillion times and so am clearly very susceptible to this kind of magical thinking. ↩