Jam Lords: The Jamfall, or never anger a tiger

Yesterday, those of you who follow Alexis Kennedy on Twitter were witnessing a delightful tale being told, in real time, to express the frustration with an ISP that fails to adequately provide Failbetter’s new office with internet lines.

You can read it on Twitter starting with this this tweet, but since it’s hard to follow the whole thing chronologically I present it here in its entirety in a form condensed into a continuous narrative. It’s too delicious to pass up. I took some liberties with punctuation and a couple of typos:

[quote=@alexiskennedy]@zeninternet Why have you been unable to provide us with service on the two business broadband lines we have been paying for for a month? Why are we going through the same rigmarole every time with a different support engineer? Why do your support people keep blaming us and each other? What are you going to do to make this right?

We were looking forward to working with you. Currently we deeply regret ever having been foolish enough to choose your service.

A MONTH. My colleague was on the phone to you for three hours yesterday and once again we have no Internet.

Are your routers made of jam? Are you spending our money on routers made of jam?

It’s jam, isn’t it.

Please make your routers out of something other than jam. Jam does not transmit information as effectively as other materials.

Can we at least get the courtesy of an apology? We’re prepared to pay an Apology Supplement.

We’ll pay it in jam.

The jam of your choice. Choose a jam. Any jam. Any jam you like. Go on, pick a jam. Except gooseberry. That’s basically more a marmalade anyway. Our advice is not to use marmalade for your comms equipment either.

That one’s free. We can give you more information about jam, but you’ll need to ring us up and answer security questions. However the answer to many of these questions is ‘blackcurrant’. Not all these questions. One question, if you answer ‘blackcurrant’, will cause the Inversion.

How’s it going over there? Have you fixed our Internet yet? We can send you some jam if it’ll help.

We might, in fact, send you jam. Would you like jam? We’d like a internet, please. We paid for two internets, but we’d be happy to have just one working internet. Even half an internet. An ‘inte’, if you will. Or an ‘rnet’.

Do you provide many of your customers with Internet? You’re not maybe actually a jam company with really confusing advertising, are you?

They mean ‘a guide to jam: the benefits to your business and staff’.

‘Internet is great, but jam is better’ - @zeninternet

Praise from happy customers they have turned into JAM.

I’m not saying @zeninternet makes jam out of people, but I’m not saying they don’t, either. You see all those people go into @zeninternet HQ, and you see all those jars come out. What’s in those jars, @zeninternet? Is it jam? Is it people, @zeninternet? It’s not bloody internet, is it, @zeninternet.

Maybe it is internet. Maybe you’ve literally put our internet in jars and you’re sending it out to supermarkets, @zeninternet. What kind of sick plot is this, @zeninternet? PEOPLE JAM INTERNET. Christ. What kind of monsters are you?

Let me tell you a story, @zeninternet. A time before jam, and the Lords of Jam, when internets roamed the world like happy dinosaurs.

Are you sitting comfortably, @zeninternet? I’m sitting comfortably, in my chair in my office without any internet, @zeninternet.

I apologise to anyone reading this: I’ve been without internet for quite some time thanks to @zeninternet and it’s making me talk jam.

Where were we? Oh, thank you, @zeninternet. The time before the Jam Lords, yes. You’d remember that, wouldn’t you. You were there, weren’t you, @zeninternet. At Jamfall. Jamfall, @zeninternet. Don’t look innocent. You know what we mean. The Day of the Label. The day the skies turned blackcurrant and the seas ran redcurrant.

Have you ever heard the screams of fruit, @zeninternet? The sound it makes as it loses its innocence to the jam-press? Of course you have, @zeninternet. That’s a rhetorical question. I’m sure you know what a rhetorical question is. I know what a rhetorical question is. Fortunately, my team does too. They can’t look it up because they have no internet. Did I mention we have no internet?

Jamfall. We know what happened there, in the dark spaces of the orangery. How the Jam Lords looked upon the orangery, and the internets lying purring on their backs, their bellies exposed to the sky. The Jam Lords were jealous, weren’t they? Of the sinuous beauty of the internets and the sleekness of their fur?

Was it a sex thing, @zeninternet? You can tell me if it’s a sex thing. Honestly I would rather it was a sex thing than a jam thing.

The Jam Lords. The Orangery. The internets afrolic in long patches of sunlight. Oranges falling with carefree thuds. And above it all, the long shadow of the Press. Oh, the Press, @zeninternet. Its screw like the slow turn of empires; its plate like the bedrock of Hell.

There was one internet that looked up at the Press, that smelt its hunger for oranges and pain. One internet that heard the chittering of the Jam Lords and felt the foetid touch of their underbreath. It was a wise internet, but sweet-natured as an elderly pony. It could see the malice in the hulking outline of the Press. But its trust outweighed its fear. The sun was warm and the flesh of the oranges juicy and sweet. It turned over as the Jam Lords crept closer; it slept, its flanks dewed with orange juice.

Perhaps you know, @zeninternet, the process by which the Jam Lords reproduce their kind. It’s not a suitable topic for sensitive ears, but we are joined together now in the Quest, so we must venture there together. Be brave, @zeninternet. The details will be few, and the process mercifully brief. Unlike the process of the Jam Lords’ reproduction itself, @zeninternet. Or indeed, @zeninternet, the process of GETTING INTERNET FROM YOU. DID I MENTION IT HAS BEEN A MONTH OF ON OFF ON OFF OFF OFF ON OFF.

To the Jam Lords. To their spored teeth and their inclusion-tendrils. Their hungry eyes and their hungrier hearts. The broken music of their voices and oh God @zeninternet their mouths. Their mouths with teeth like roses. When the Jam Lords hump and congeal, all creatures flee.

Except the internets. The internets know no fear, only warmth and trust. Eyes glow like the embers of the nursery fireplace. The internet is a trusting beast. It knows neither net nor barb. It sees the furtive coilings of the Jam Lords and it thinks only: ‘pretty!’ The Jam Lords know this. (As of course you know. I rather think you know the Jam Lords very well).

I am not insinuating that you are in the pocket of the cosmic gods of uncaring jam: that would be unwise and even dangerous.

In those lost days, the Jam Lords liked to commingle their ciliae in the shadow of the Great Press. It cooled their fervours. And so in the conception of the thrusting crowd of their fervid and unlovely offspring, they conceived also the STRATAGEM. The STRATAGEM. No internet would walk free. No orange would go unplundered.

You may say: is not ‘orange jam’ in fact ‘marmalade’? I wonder how you account for your intimate knowledge of jam, when you are an internet service company or so you asseverate: despite the continued absence of internet from our premises, there is a secret valley in the Catalonian Pyrenees where a single venerable internet lairs solitary in its burrow of roots.

In its weary eyes burn the amber flames of a billion citrus pyres; its lungs bear the coughing scars of the smokes of a billion conflicts. The Engagement in the Arbour. The Cranberration. The Strawberry Fields. The Rasp.

It dare not venture out in the day. The arm of the Jam Lords is long. Their other limbs are longer even than time and loss. At night it scratches the history of Jamfall on the stones of its wretched gully. Sometimes it lies weeping as it recalls the jam-matted fur of its mate and its kittens.

The internet is seen no more in the Catalonian Pyrenees. Nor is it seen in the streets of salt-haunted Greenwich. (Give us our internet, @zeninternet)

It may be a laughing matter to you, @zeninternet. You may writhe and you may surrender your offerings. Internets died in Jamfall, @zeninternet. In uncounted numbers. What will you say to the ghosts of their ancestors unborn? Can you expect us to believe that Jamfall was an accident?

The Jam Lords are no friend to man. Or internet. In the orangery now the boughs are aflame. Colours run like slime along the bark of the dying trees. Rotting oranges fall like corrupting rain. The Press screams in rage as its screw thrusts home into the rusting Plate. The Jam Lords expand themselves across the ground like the cloaks of an army of leprous kings.

Brefeldia maxima, @zeninternet, is a species of non-parasitic plasmodial slime mould. It was named for its peculiar ugliness. The common folk call it ‘the tapioca mould’. In the slums of Hangley Bay it is called ‘internet’s end’. In the Incarnadine Incunabulum of the Pre-Areopagite it is called ‘the skin of the other God’. Do you know what it is, @zeninternet?

It is the footprints of the Jam Lords. Think about that, @zeninternet. Think about what you’ve done.

Well, @zeninternet, it’s been an hour. So long! And yet so much shorter than the MONTH WE’VE BEEN WITHOUT RELIABLE INTERNET. I’ll leave you now for a while. Rest in your sticky nest amid the strewn cartilage of internets.

Perhaps our internet will be back. Perhaps so will I.

I love you, @zeninternet. But I will not forgive you.

Delicious friends, how do you picture this epic tale in your head?

P.S. I hope Alexis is fine with reposting that (after all, his Twitter is public), but I’ll understand if this needs to be deleted and/or I need to be eaten.

P.P.S. cliftonr did a wonderful job putting the tweets in a chronological timeline, if you want to see the source: https://storify.com/CliftonR/how-to-complain-about-internet-service
edited by Alistair Cray on 5/9/2016

My respect for Alexis, who is able to take this whole situation with a (bitter) smile, and feed himself from all the feelings he experiences thanks to (the Jam Lords) this company. :)

Pure poetry.

In my head, the Orangery is like the Valley of the Wind from Nausicaa, and the internets are a blend of cats and owls, something like this Owl griffin.

Oh, I wish I could paint.

This is absolutely awesome, I mean DELICIOUS!
Kudos to Alexis for being able to channel his (totally understandable) frustration into a creative spout instead of a mean rant! I would LOVE it if the Orangery ever got a tiny mention in FL, maybe in a dream, or in Parabola, or as part of A:E…

Has there been an official answer from the Jamlords?

I, that is to say, the Intense Notary, will make sure that this worthy epic will not be lost. ;)

btw, what is the difference between jam and marmalade? In my native tongue we use the same word for both things…

Marmalade is made with rind for flavoring, and is basically just a citrus thing. Most fruits make jam just fine by crushing and cooking, but citrus doesn’t work the same way, so it’s made slightly differently.

And of course, then there’s the difference between jam (which contains fruit pulp) and jelly (which is just fruit juice and gelatin or pectin).

It’s quite a topic. Albeit one not information theoretically suitable for internet provision.

That was amazing, Alexis.

I’m so sorry you have Internet connectivity problems, but I’m also glad since this means the world got to experience the glory of the Jamfall.

Part of me wants to consider this as Canon in the Fallen London 'verse. It definitely gives the same vibe as the “do you recall how they came to that place?” segments (which are probably my favourite pieces of poetry in the game).

[quote=dov]That was amazing, Alexis.

I’m so sorry you have Internet connectivity problems, but I’m also glad since this means the world got to experience the glory of the Jamfall.

Part of me wants to consider this as Canon in the Fallen London 'verse. It definitely gives the same vibe as the &quotdo you recall how they came to that place?&quot segments (which are probably my favourite pieces of poetry in the game).[/quote]

Didn’t we just have the servers down? If this is made into canon the server might crash even more!

I could not resist Storifying this, so I could share it more widely:

In the beginning… there was only Jam…
It’s really heartening to see someone turning their annoyance into a hilarious experience for onlookers!

And this is why you don’t deny writers (especially those that need Internet access to work) Internet service.
Also, (and I know that this is awful of me, but–) I kind of find myself hoping that Failbetter’s ISP struggles continue, if only to learn of the whereabouts/origins of the Marmalade Lords, the Jelly Lords, or even, possibly, the Peanut Butter Lords.

Now I want a Jam Lord for a Pet.