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Pale Hands I Loathed Beside The Shalimar…

January 31, 2009


Coming Soon…Indian Films, Moustaches and Me.

  1. BaronCharlus permalink
    January 31, 2009 12:21 AM

    Do you release a poster outlining your activities every weekend?

  2. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 12:23 AM

    Absolutely. I feel that my public demand no less, dahling…

  3. pinkroom permalink
    January 31, 2009 12:30 AM

    I loved these films… so inter-active way before anybody knew what that meant… drama, love, music, dancing at least one spectacular free-for-all punch up for the kids but absolutely best of all the spectacular trouser/moustache combinations.

    How did they get them so tight and flarey at the same time?

    And the trousers were interesting too. Happy days.

  4. BaronCharlus permalink
    January 31, 2009 12:32 AM

    I’m intrigued by the sequence of events. Does the seduction come before or after the panic-faced gun toting? Or, on second glance, is that a strangling, rather than a seduction?

  5. BaronCharlus permalink
    January 31, 2009 12:34 AM

    He’s angry because tiny women are crawling in his hair.

    Does Billy have the same problem with his moustache?

  6. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 12:40 AM

    Nah…Bill’s too austere for that kind of carry-on.

    Pinky, I too loved Indian films and saw hundreds of them. I am crafting a little jaunt down memory lane even as we speak…

  7. BaronCharlus permalink
    January 31, 2009 12:44 AM

    This is how I imagine your life, Mish. Don’t disabuse me of my aspirations by saying you saw it all at the movies.

  8. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 1:04 AM

    You have not been led astray, Baron. One of these days I’ll post some more of my memoirs (the subject of my last blog). It’ll make your hairs stand on end like the quills of the fretful porpentine, (as Shakin’ Bill would have it)…

  9. January 31, 2009 9:38 AM

    I’ve printed a response to the comment you left on my blog on Wordy’s blog Misha. For some reason I have a temporary glitch and my own blog won’t let me reply to comments.

    Indian bad guys are bearded too.

  10. January 31, 2009 10:32 AM

    When I was an art student in the 70’s in Wolverhampton a monthly showing of Indian films in a flea-pit cinema packed with an Indian audience was always a rich treat. Didn’t understand a word ( no subtitles ) but drank in the over-saturated colour and the over-amplified soundtracks.

  11. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 1:11 PM

    Yeah, I loved them, Al, and I’m trying for a tone of affectionate mockery. It marches slowly, owing to what Cyril Connolly called The Enemies of Promise…the pram in the hall and what follows…

    I’d send them down mines or up chimneys were it not for this accursed govt that robs us of our liberties with their crazy laws against child-labour…

  12. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 1:24 PM

    I’m shocked but sadly, not surprised by what you tell us, Isa. Which was part of my point in my earlier elegy for a once great newspaper. There was a time when passionate, informed and engaged people like you wouldn’t have had to urge the Grauniad to seek out a well-informed Mexican to analyze the situation for them. It would have been second-nature.

    They probably would have got Diego Rivera or Frieda Kahlo or at least Trotsky or a temporarily dried-out Malcolm Cowley to write something for them. It’s a measure of the depths to which they’ve sunk in their subservience to the NuLab/US agenda. Pitiful…

  13. pinkroom permalink
    January 31, 2009 1:36 PM

    Who is the actor in the middle looks, like he’s been shot? He was always the good guy, tall clean shaven… looked just like a kid in my class at gasworks green high.

    Get the point that tashes genrally signified bad-assness. Hi isa; the “full set” (usually neatly clipped) was generally reserved for the noble, good brother type wasn’t it? Or the older fellows… perhaps the really beserk whiskerage signifying a wicked patriarch. Interesting that spaghetti westerns… their only rival for moustache play… are so revered by film buffs but I reckon the golden age of these films… about 72-82 better them (imho) for “everything but the kitchen sink” entertainment.

  14. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 1:47 PM

    I concur, Pinky…the ’70s Indian flicks had a kind of joyous naivete about them that’s been lost with the aquisition of greater sophistication.

    Yes, the full set was not usually a bad-guy signifier. The full resplendent Millsian ‘tache was. The hero sometimes had a wispy little number that looked like an after-thought.

    Re: the spag westerns…I intend to do an extended post on horse operas, but I’ll say now, I grew up on a diet of spag westerns and frankly, were it not for the apotheosis of Eastwood as the hard-bitten, tight-lipped Man With No Name, Sergio Leone wouldn’t have half the reputation he does.

    Eastwood made Leone, not the other way around…

  15. file permalink
    January 31, 2009 2:20 PM

    I thought Eastwood made Bird(s), blessed Are the cheesemakers for they Shall inherit the burlesque, that’s a truly horrifying picture of you Mish but thanks for sharing

    Iiiiiiiiii am a man of constant sorrowwww….

  16. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 2:32 PM

    The pic doesn’t do me justice, file What picture could? God-like beauty is hard to capture. Hilarious article here about dumping your Facebook “friends” for a Whopper:


  17. Captain Ned permalink
    January 31, 2009 2:43 PM

    Taking Leone down a peg or two? Hmm… That’s some challenge. I’ve not seen any of the films he made with Eastwood, but I find it hard to credit the idea of someone watching either ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ or ‘A Fistful of Dynmite/Duck, You Sucker!’ and not having a whale of a time.

  18. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 2:48 PM

    Oh, don’ t get me wrong, Cap’n. I loved both Once Upon A Times and Fistful of D.

    It’s just that his spag westerns are really not much better than the hundreds of others of the period. What really set them apart were two things–Eastwood and Morricone (sp?).

  19. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 2:58 PM

    …so I should have clarified and said, “…his spag westerns wouldn’t enjoy half the reputation they do were it not for…etc etc.”

  20. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 3:07 PM

    Something weird going on…every page of query results google reurns is flagged “this site may harm your computer”. I mean, everything…wiki links, amazon links, the lot.
    Anyone else experiencing the same thing?

  21. file permalink
    January 31, 2009 3:07 PM

    Frankly, I’d dump my Whopper for some Feisty Book Fiends, that’s a Mad story M, who’d have thought BK would have had the moral fibre to lead the world in a Whopper Sacrifice! It’s not what you know but who and it’s not who you know but how many whoppers they tell… Morricone cheese is alright with ketchup leaking from the mouth of moustachioed henches but surely not with the sheriff back in Dodge, I digress, viva el Zapasta!

  22. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 3:13 PM

    Yeah…made me laugh. “Dear so-and-so, it’s been swell knowing you but I’ve been offered 1/10th of a Whopper to give you the push…so long, happy trails, don’t hurry back…’

    Friendship is, indeed, a beautiful thing, no?

  23. file permalink
    January 31, 2009 3:18 PM

    it surely is, but then a burger is a burger.

    Yes I’m getting the same messages on Google and also in the inbox when I’m sent comments posted from here… is it your fault?

  24. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 3:23 PM

    I shouldn’t think so, although I’d be proud to claim credit. To-morrow’s headline: Evil Genius Brings Down Google–Says It Was Done For A Laugh…

  25. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 3:26 PM

    …makes you wonder what these people would do for a T-bone steak.

  26. 3p4 permalink
    January 31, 2009 4:07 PM

    every page of query results google reurns is flagged “this site may harm your computer””

    so having read that i did a search for mishari al adwani,,no threat messages appeared

    however the first search listing was

    “” Guardian blogger forced offline by boring idiots -“”

    which lent an eerie tone to :-

    shouldn’t think so, although I’d be proud to claim credit. To-morrow’s headline: Evil Genius Brings Down Google–Says It Was Done For A Laugh…

    mmwwwhhhaaaa haaa haaa

  27. January 31, 2009 4:24 PM


    Same thing happened to our computer. But then a ran an antivirus and it sorted itself out. Perhaps someone is just having fun at google with the switches.

    I suspect it wasn’t just me or you Misha, it was 1 billion people.

    You know how it is in India when you have a power cut. Everyone runs out into the street to see if it is just them. Ahh, sigh of relief. Everyone is fucked, not just me.

    Ananda Devi ring any bells. Now that woman was a baddie, a bit like Hannibal, and they made a film of her life, didn’t they. (Phoolan Devi?)

    What a story. She was raped by dacoits and her husband and children killed and swore vengeance on all men.

    She had wild black sticking up hair and she was an Indian Bodecia. She lead her bandits in the Himalayas and took her vengeance on all men.

  28. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 4:30 PM

    Yes, Isa…I actually saw the film they made. I think it was on Film4 or something. It wasn’t at all bad, although inevitably, a lot of stuff was romanticised and prettied up. Still, well worth watching. I think it was called The Bandit Queen…

  29. pinkroom permalink
    January 31, 2009 8:43 PM

    The spags seem to have influenced the Indians of course… as did James Bond, Blaxploitation, MGM musicals and their many own traditions. …”joyous naivete” a go-go.

    Moustache-wise the daddy has to be arch bad-ass Lee Van Cleef, who co-incidently also had a big reggae following too round Gasworks Green way. Eli Walach’s straggly full-set signified a certain slobby lack of steeliness whilst Clint’s stubble was perfect anti-hero stuff. The influence is clear.

    The way I picture Mills (in either genre) is as some sly old criminal/war-lord patriarch, tripping in his slippers over a greying soup-strainer of absurd dimensions, close to death but still with just enough resdual evil vitality for one last double-cross.

    Working together we shall thwart him!

  30. January 31, 2009 9:07 PM

    I once helped backstage on a world music gig which featured a bandit woman of about 65 from the North west region of Pakistan. She was a wild one – a 60 plus year old who usually spent her days riding horses bareback and firing weapons in the air.

    There were translations of some of her lyrics – one memorable one compared the nostrils of her lover to the double barrel of a shot-gun. The gist of the song being that men were more beautiful the more they resembled a fire-arm.

  31. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2009 11:13 PM

    …so long as he doesn’t blow his nose, I guess.

    Mind you, I’ve often been compared to an AK-47 myself: noisy, hair-triggered and wildly inaccurate…a nightmare in the wrong hands.

  32. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 12:08 AM

    Still, it’s hard not to admire a country where a native population of women bandits still exists in the wild. This bespeaks an enlightened conservation policy.

    Sadly, women bandits have long been extinct in Britain and we’re the poorer for it. Imagine the romantic possibilities if it were otherwise:

    “I say, I haven’t seen Mishari lately.”

    “Haven’t you heard? He was kidnapped by a woman bandit on Dartmoor. Apparently, his nostrils reminded her of a shotgun she used to own, an especially fine over-under by John Rigby of Dublin.

    She fell in love with him and declines to ransom him, although he doesn’t appear to object much. I understand she’s a bit of a stunner, actually…”

    I’m all for a return to the days of romance, serendipity and moon-lit pursuits across the moors…

  33. pinkroom permalink
    February 1, 2009 12:18 AM

    Sorry folks. I’m going to have to stop posting here too as the bullying is now following me about. The little pome I wrote about Mills, moustaches and Bollywood has been quoted out of context on Wordnerd’s accicatura blog to present me as a racist.

    Aside from being not true and deeply hurtful it presents an extremely dangerous precedent. any of us could be selectively quoted out of context to be presented as almost anything.

    For the forseeable future I will, ironically, only feel safe posting on (nominally) independently moderated blogs like GU.

    Be careful.

  34. February 1, 2009 12:25 AM

    I used to have those fantasies too, Misha and Robert Crumb too.

    Check out my ex books bloggers for justice experiment.

    The idea is to see if it appears on the first page of google. I wrote it quickly about 20 minutes ago.

    Type in:

    “Sarah crown guardian books blog”

    “Sarah crown books blog”


    “Sarah Crown editor Guardian”

    Now to me this shows a lot of potential. If we all cross blogged on Norman Mailer (as someone suggested to Wordy) then we could confuse millions of A level students into writing crap after they read what we write.

    Now that is true villainy.

    Any other worms here for turning?

  35. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 12:31 AM

    I’m afraid I don’t follow your logic, Pinky. So someone maliciously quotes you out of context on another blog. So fucking what? Ignore it. I mean, who really gives a shit? I don’t believe any sane person believes for a second that you’re racist. Anyway, any remark you make on GU can just as readily be ripped out and quoted out of context by someone who wishes you ill.

    To allow yourself to be persecuted and harrased off this blog by the malice of another blog is just allowing yourself to be bullied and intimidated. I expect you to show more character. Don’t disappoint me.

  36. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 12:35 AM

    I tried it Isa, and your blog is the 10th result. Pretty impressive, given you only posted it 20 minutes ago. This opens up some interesting lines of thought.

  37. February 1, 2009 12:50 AM


    Although think what you say may lend itself to a litlle misinterpretation I think what it is is that your chemistry with Wordy is wrong. But that’s just one blog.

    These blogs are free explorations. People do whatever the hell they want to. I generally mope and rant. Other people do other stuff.

    Misha and others will welcome you. Take it easy. We’ve all been through this kind of etherial combat. Feel free to say what you want.

    Wordy suggested you start your own blog. Don’t you have one already? If you do so then I am sure you’d get lots of feedback.

  38. 3p4 permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:08 AM

    So fucking what? Ignore it.


    just one of the sites along the way on this trainride with all of us on the same track but in different carriages with unpredictable itinerary
    and agenda

    please stick around Pink,, you havent said anything that even really got my attention
    offencive wise,,although i am small of stature so much just goes right over my head,,ignorant bliss
    i tend to run on values rather than knowledge,,

    some of these sights
    are not visible from anywhere else
    so if you see that moustachioed hero dashing along the roof of the train,,as they always do
    you will know its ISA dashing from car to car
    organising mass action in the caboose

    mishari ,, ,, ,,a unique urbanity,,truly unique

    des must be bouncing of the walls watching this particular episode of coronation street

    “Blanche dreams after falling asleep reading 1984 ,,”

  39. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 1:19 AM

    Right you are, 3P4…there was a time when the only recourse one had when libeled was to go to court. If a newspaper quoted you out of context, your ability to reply was severely constrained.

    The web has changed all that. One can not only reply but attack, wage a campaign of villification if you like…or just choose to shrug it off. Whatever…no-one has the advantage. Someone attacks you on a blog? Attack them back on another. Someone insults or offends you? Do likewise.

    Personally, I’ve always found mockery to be the most effective weapon.
    There’s nothing the self-regarding hate more than being laughed at…

    Set up a blog, Pinky…take your persecutor’s words out of context and mock, shred and ridicule. It’s fun…

    Or just laugh it off. It’s not as though you’ve been subjected to the Judgement of Solomon, is it?

  40. 3p4 permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:22 AM

    I generally mope and rant.

    actually ISA i would like to thank you for that
    statement,,very helpful to my ears,,very

    that was a revelation of values,,nice one Cyril

  41. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 1:24 AM

    Ouch. A very sharp and funny piece, Isa.
    Follow the link and read it, folks…

  42. pinkroom permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:29 AM

    That’s f***** my grand exit then.

    Thanks mishari. Part of me absolutely agrees with you and I generally have a very thick skin but racism, as it is for lots of us, is not an easy one.

    I was really enjoying this thread, and your blog in general, because it was not tip-toeing around things thatcan and should be said. To me there is no contradiction in both absolutely loving/admiring 70s Indian popular films and falso inding aspects of them, such as the trousers and moustaches, the flashing eyes and general ott-ness very funny 30 years on. You seem to share that sensibility. To my view, openly expressing/exploring our attitudes in this honest, good-natured way undercuts racism for the foolishness it is. Faux outrage/showy displays of political correctness do not.

    Having said that I think I’ll give it a week off, not through lack of character but a sense that mud can stick.

    But before then, lightening-up…

    Why is it that in both the spags and golden-age bollys do we identify so closely with the full moustachioed as opposed to those, I know what you mean, whispy little numbers favoured by the likes of Orlando Bloom?

    My own view is that these are the guys who actually make things happen. They are not the type to turn their nose-up at an AK-47, indeed if they did it would only be to expose more flaring nostril and luxurient upper-lip hair growth. Smelling of own arm-pit, baring of teeth and either cold growling or wild roaring kind of complete the picture.

    In the (noisy) dark of those cinemas in Wolverhampton or wherever, weren’t they the guys, 15 feet tall, entirely animated and re-shaping the world around them through cunning or main force if needs be the men we (perhaps secretly) either wanted to be or be with?

    Moustache therefore signals primitive virility which is perhaps why, despite all the ribbing, we all – in our deepest, darkest places regard Billy Mills with something we hate to recognise as love, fear and awe.

    Back in a week.

  43. 3p4 permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:35 AM

    Someone attacks you on a blog? Attack them back on another. Someone insults or offends you? Do likewise.

    i would hope my little book that you have would have painted my choices a little different from that option,,that is pretty much the exact opposite of my philosophy,,

    however i like your posts even/because /especially/ if they follow your own prescription,,,, i like the avatar mishari,,
    as i do pinkroom to whom i would note that i think the very first time i addressed one of your posts i ended with the statement “i love you Pink”
    because of what i cant remember but it would have been the values i invented for your avatar
    as nourished by your post,,

    some inventions are fiction,,some inventions are
    practical application of experience,,

  44. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 1:44 AM

    The expression, “like piss holes in the snow” is ancient. I’ve used it often to hungover mates–black, white, red, yellow and brown, male, female, gay, straight and every religious denomination under the sun. The idea that using it to describe a poster image of some Bollywood hero is evidence of rascism is so laughable, I can’t believe you’re taking it seriously as opposed to the deranged nonsense it is, Pinky.

    Mud only sticks if you slink away, as if ashamed of something…fuck that.

  45. February 1, 2009 1:45 AM

    Sorry PinkRoom, but here’s an empty poem for you to fill:

    I Yam not

    I am not.
    I am not that.
    I am not what I am.
    But sometimes,
    I am just what I am,
    I am that.
    I am,

  46. 3p4 permalink
    February 1, 2009 4:06 AM

    christ, you can be a right tit at times

  47. February 1, 2009 2:16 PM

    Yes I Yam.

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 1, 2009 3:05 PM

    wn7 engaging in harassment? That’s unprecedented!

    Bastarding haikus
    I just can’t get interested
    in the fucking things

    Perhaps sheep would be more rewarding.

  49. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 3:42 PM

    Yeah, ditto…I don’t know what it is. Perhaps the insubstantial nature of them. I dare say Bill would argue that their simplicity is misleading. Maybe so..I’m too dense to see it, though. I just can’t work up any interest in writing them or, indeed, reading them…

  50. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 4:02 PM

    Madam Al-A. sent me to Waitrose a little while ago…it being sunny, I went out in jeans, jumper and light jacket, which was fine. It was cold but it’s a brisk 10 minute walk there, so it was OK. However, while I was doing the shopping, something happened. I came out and Christ…it was fucking freezing..snow, leaden sky, wind that cut to the bone.

    Oh, well…time to throw another Monet on the fire and break out the nepenthe…

    Sorry about the weather chat but, hey…it’s England. I’m just going native, is all.

  51. 3p4 permalink
    February 1, 2009 4:46 PM

    Hoipoiloi hauteur,,

    heretical herd heard haughtly haranguing handicraft haikus.

  52. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 5:06 PM

    Here’s a quick haiku
    It doesn’t make any sense:
    It’s short but intense.

  53. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 5:10 PM

    Spam, Marmite, Bovril
    The unbearable rightness
    Of shopping for crap.

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 1, 2009 5:30 PM

    Spam spread with Marmite:
    a quite involuntary
    clenching of buttocks

  55. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 6:04 PM

    I don’t much care for haiku:
    Too spare, too sparse, too terse;
    It’s like some kind of snack-food,
    The Hula Hoops of verse.

    I have a theory, which I’ve probably droned on about before, that all Japanese art originates in protein deficiency.

    Tea ceremonies, flower arranging, kabuki, Japanese music (plink–pause–plonk–pause–plinkety–plink), calligraphy, zen rock gardens, haiku…for most of its existence, Japan was a very poor country.

    Mostly mountainous, very little arable land, very few natural resources. For centuries, the mass of Japanese were malnourished.

    Unsurprisingly, they developed art forms that took very little energy. You don’t compose symphonies or write Paradise Lost on a handful of rice and a mouthful of sea-weed.

    One haiku and you were spent, drained. Two in a day could be fatal.

  56. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 9:20 PM

    Very entertaining (and perfectly correct, I think) article by Steven Augustine on the McCrumbly-Smith Affair, or as I like to think of it, McCrummySmithGate;

  57. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 11:06 PM

    In the highly unlikely event that anyone’s wondering what’s taking me so damn long to write the promised post on Hindi flicks, the reason–apart from sheer sloth and a lack of any discernible talent–is the stark realization that I’m a slippered pantaloon, a gormless scribbler of ill-considered trifles: a mope, a cluck and a knuckle-head. A tinkling cymbal and a sounding brass.

    This was all brought home to me when I came across another writer’s blog. I’ve culled a few bouquets from this writer’s garden. I think they’ll serve to demonstrate why I am daunted and bereft of words.

    The lacerating candour, the humility, the sensitivity…I’m at a loss. But judge for yourselves:

    Now, the thing is, that I don’t know how to carry on with this blog. I experience different things everyday and sometimes different passions in my life dominate others. I don’t live an ordinary life and so it is hard to be focussed and definitely not possible to slip into a routine for anything.

    For instance, I could tell you about the Masai children who surrounded me yesterday and of how I find Masai toddlers to be some of the most congenial babies in the world. They are so affectionate that they will naturally endear themselves to any smile. They will come to you and hold you as if you were their mother. They would touch you, feel you and cling on like soft cuddly Koalas as if you were the dearest thing in their lives. That’s how Masai children are. They don’t want anything from you but just to be with you. When you do say goodbye, they are sad.

    This is how life prisms up my multi-faceted endeavours. I am missing my beloved literature, want to spend more time on it and definitely want to complete my stories. I plan to rest on those wicker chairs, look out to the nearby sea and read since it is too dangerous for me to walk on the coast alone without a guide. The trouble is that East Africa smoulders with so much exoticism that many other things may claim your attention all at once.

    I am well aware of the poverty that surrounds people. How can anyone not be moved by what one sees here. I myself, was once in dire straits for years so I know how it is to have nothing or very little. I am aware that today while I have a suite others don’t have a bed. But I am constantly humbled, thankful and appreciative for everything. And I have done much to help needy African individuals although my personal charity for others, is a subject that my conscience will always forbid me from discussing openly.

    Well, to be candid, I am living a dream…not one dominated by materialism but another kind of dream shrouded by the hedonistic pleasures that denote bliss. The kind that triumphs over the searching heart and defeats the life of the ordinary. I recognise that I am one of very few writers who are fearless and lucky enough to live life this way and I am still writing my stories. Because of my lifestyle, I am allowed to take my writerly inspiration totally for granted.

    …you see my problem, I’m sure. I shall take to my bed with a bottle of brandy, Pongo and Fox’s Book of Martyrs, while my wife feeds me soothing pabulum and lays her cool hand on my feverish brow. Perhaps, given time’s healing balm, I’ll even learn to write again.

  58. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 1, 2009 11:44 PM

    Someone should report you to the Society for the Protection of Emotive Writing.

  59. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 11:57 PM

    …I daresay you’ve recognized the unique style of the quoted passage. You should check out the blog, (copy and paste any brief passage into google). Mills and Boon meet Mrs. Malaprop. Glorious stuff…

  60. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 2, 2009 12:32 AM

    Yes, it’s as though it’s been translated from the original Estonian by a machine and then subbed by a Thomson Holidays copywriter.

  61. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 12:37 AM

    …and yet the CEO of Monoglot Corp praises it as “delightful, delicious…” ad nauseum and as far as I can tell, means it. What is one to think? Is the former “braised shirt” merchant dishonest or deranged?

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    February 2, 2009 12:43 AM

    Eeny meeny miny…. fuck it, both.

  63. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 12:46 AM

    …safest bet.

  64. February 2, 2009 9:49 AM

    Apologies to anyone who visited my blog OtherStuff yesterday and wondered what was going on – I’m having to moderate all comments owing to a joker who’s been posting using multiple identities and pretending to be one of the regular contributors.

    I think it was freepoland who kindly referred to it as my ‘remarkably conflict-free site’ – not at the moment, sigh.

    We’re not really hostile to newcomers, especially not accomplished poets :) but the atmosphere is a little weird over there right now.

    What, no Hindi flick article yet? Tsk.

  65. February 2, 2009 10:54 AM

    Interesting theory re: protein deficiency and the Japanese Mishari.

    Have you ever encountered their music avant-garde? In one event I saw it was 45 minutes of someone screaming hell for leather down a microphone. Really OTT and impressive in its extremeness

    Either he was shouting for something to eat or things are changing.

  66. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 1:34 PM

    I think the Japanese have been making up for lost time, Al. Their Heavy Metal is heavier, their free jazz is freer, their avant-garde more avant…they seem to take to extremes with relish. No country for example, has so whole-heartedly thrown technological solutions at every perceived problem.

    Take the soiled school-girl knickers problem. In other countries, collectors of these specialized items, faced with shortages and distribution hiccups, just shrug and get on with it (whatever it is).
    In Japan, they install high-tech vending machines, providing soiled school-girl knickers in vacuum-sealed packs to preserve freshness.

    I’m not making this up. I thought it was just one of those urban legends, but a friend who’d been teaching English in Tokyo, knowing I’d be sceptical, brought a vacuum-sealed pack back to show me.

    It conjures up some pretty odd images.

    Japanese salaryman exits office, looking tired and harrassed. Approaches vending machine, inserts coins, withdraws vacuum-seal packet, rips it open, inhales deeply: “Ahhhh…I needed that.”

    Obviously, my half-tongue-in-cheek theory only holds up until Japan opened up to the West and began to industrialize.

  67. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 1:46 PM

    Sorry to hear about your sock-puppet problem, zeph. It won’t put me off, although it’s true that newcomers to your blog did detect a slight air of tension yesterday. Thanks for the explanation.

    The snowfall, (actually a joke by the standards of a city like Boston, Mass., where I used to live), has brought London to a halt. So the children, much to their satisfaction, are home and demand to be entertained, hence the delays in my epochal post on Indian flicks (destined, I’m sure, to rock the world of Indian film studies to its very foundation)

    …regular service will be resumed as soon as possible.

  68. parallax permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:18 PM

    hi zeph, as a lurker at pseuds (and enjoying the breeze – just waiting to get my bearings) I was sorry to see a bogan picnicker littering your site. It’s like someone setting up camp next to you in the park – or on the beach – who thinks that feeding the pigeons/seagulls is a good thing – until the flocks descend and you’re covered in crap. Good luck with the pest control – I will pop in at some point, sometime when it’s quiet – perhaps when it’s ok to talk about raccoons (they’re a sort of possum right?) or other stuff.

  69. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 2:25 PM

    No, para…a racoon is not a sort of possum. It’s more like a small, subfusc, fastidious grizzly bear. Attractive creatures. Possums kind of look like big rats, don’t they?

    I hear you’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave, para…stay frosty, dood.

  70. parallax permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:47 PM

    heatwave – phuff – a mere 40C+ day in day out – it’s only reported as amazing for the northern hemisphere.

    Possums are marsupials – raccoons are … well furry and … boring but cute mammals that piss off North Americans.

  71. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 2:57 PM

    The US has possums too, y’know. They have those rubbery pink snouts that look vaguely obscene.

    Racoons boring? Take that back, you, you…jolly swagman manque, you. Racoons are ineffably cool and entertaining. Paul Hogan should be so lucky.

  72. parallax permalink
    February 2, 2009 3:07 PM

    Paul Hogan is a US concept :)

  73. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 3:22 PM

    Don’t come the raw prawn with me, mate…Hogan was a star in Oz long before the US discovered him. I’ve seen the videos of his stand-up routine performed in front of your wildly enthusiastic stubby-wearing, ute-driving, tinny-swilling compatriots…

  74. February 2, 2009 5:13 PM

    parallax, looking forward to seeing you over there:) Bogan picnicker is a good description!

    Snow and total paralysis here in London, pathetic, no buses, my neighbours growling about how they came through the Blitz and the buses ran then…

  75. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 5:13 PM

    Sean reminded me of what the book blogs used to be like with a link to a thread responding to the death of Norman Mailer, back in Nov. 2007. Sean contrasted it with the response to Updike’s death.

    171 comments and not one deletion. The same kind of robust, caustic, impassioned debate is no longer possible on the GU book blogs. I have some strong opinions on Updike, but why bother posting them if there’s every chance they’ll be deleted. I also note that aside from our friend @Alarming and a handful of others, none of the commenters any longer post on GU.
    A sad reminder of what used to be…

  76. February 2, 2009 5:17 PM

    Mishari, I got deleted on a cricket blog yesterday – a post which linked to, and praised two Guardian sports writers’ articles, while mentioning that it would have been nice to have comments enabled for one article so I could have responded positively to its content. Go figure. Maybe I got done for grovelling.

  77. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 5:19 PM

    It is pathetic, zeph…when I lived in Boston, you would often have to literally dig your way out of your front door. 2-3 feet of snow would fall overnight and drifts of up to 6-8 feet would pile outside your door. The city took it in its stride.

    In the UK, the rail operators are shocked when leaves fall off the trees in..erm..autumn and bring their trains to a halt. Bah…

  78. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 5:21 PM

    Jesus, zeph…I guess even a polite suggestion is construed as criticism and criticism of the Grauniad is not permitted. Pathetic…and self-destructive. How long do these idiots think people will put up with this illiberal bollox?

  79. February 2, 2009 5:48 PM

    Well, I think they know that if they slap down a few uppity bloggers who leave in a huff, more will arrive to take their place – who may be less intelligent and interesting, but why would the Guardian care, it’s all about pageloads.

    And I gather, from friends who’ve done work for the Guardian, that a lot of the journos and editors still think people who post comments are just the green-ink brigade and not to be engaged with or taken seriously.

    Funnily enough, cricket isn’t everybody’s thing but the GU blogs are very good, a lot of the commenters are involved in the sport* and know what they’re talking about, and mostly get treated with respect. Must have been a Cif ComMod filling in over the weekend…

    (* not me tho)

  80. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 5:55 PM

    …true, but how long before their only commenters are flat-out cretins? Whereupon, their page-loads plummet because nobody can be bothered. I know I’m far from alone in thinking the comments were far and away the most interesting thing on GU.

    More often than not, I’d click on the comments first. If interesting commenters were posting I’d read the article; if not, not. Many other people have said the same thing.

  81. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 6:06 PM

    BTW, zeph, I expect you’ll be watching Whitechapel tonight? The Radio Times rates it pretty highly but says the real star is Whitechapel itself, apparently shot in sepia-tone…

  82. February 2, 2009 6:06 PM

    True dat.

  83. February 2, 2009 6:07 PM

    (true da previous post)

    But is it Whitechapel or Prague?

  84. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 6:18 PM

    I believe it’s yerakshul–strike a light; trouble and strife; nice whistle, mate; who’s the mystery?; I should bleeding cocoa–East End…

  85. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 6:49 PM

    I’ve just listened to Tony McNulty MP, a man so profoundly stupid it’d make a cretin weep use the phrase ” …today’s unusual weather circumstance…”.

    Erm…d’you mean snow, Tone? Christ….

  86. February 2, 2009 6:51 PM

    Well, leave it aht, blow me dahn and fall about in my back yard. Prague must have got more expensive. I shall be watching.

  87. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 6:53 PM

    …yeah, see, yer pahnd, mate, yerakshul pahnd, narameen?… int wurf worrit woz, innit..iss fackin dybolicle.

  88. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 7:10 PM

    BTW, para…where do you stand on the great Vegemite/Marmite Debate? Personally, I’ll eat both. But Vegemite, despite my kids preferring it, lacks the bite and savour I require of an unusual comestible circumstance…(if you mean food, say food–Ed.)

  89. February 2, 2009 7:50 PM

    My comment rate on GU is far far lower than in days of yore. The Jonathan Jones blogs still have a few unmoderated ding-dongs but the arguments – I think modern art is shit – No it isn’t and here’s why – have become so monotonous that you can just paste in the same remarks from previous threads and it wouldn’t matter a jot.

    I put up pomes as I enjoy trying my hand at them and I like our moustachioed freund Billy Mills but otherwise blogs such as these are much more interesting for someone like me with a small attention spa……oh look a robin!

  90. seanmurray permalink
    February 2, 2009 7:55 PM

    And Christ was that Mailer thread *funny*, mishari. Obooki’s fake misogynistic quote and then HarperSmythe’s refence to it as Mailer’s ‘famous quote’ was a classic booksblog moment.

    Paul Cockburn played his part too. He always seemed to have a subtler understanding of the role of mod than those who’ve since replaced him.

  91. Captain Ned permalink
    February 2, 2009 7:56 PM

    Tony McNulty has the air of some stranded bit-part actor from old British movies – Jack Warner’s bungling assistant, perhaps. He has the most odious demeanour of any minor government minister since Paul Boateng, who really made my skin crawl.

    As you predicted, Mishari, satisfactory answers were not forthcoming in my e-mail exchange with the mods. Airy gestures towards the Talk Policy without actually explaining anything. I did suggest that a special forum be set up in which a free discussion of moderation might take place. One moderator replied saying that ‘we have no current plans for a forum discussing moderation’; another said that it was an interesting idea and would be considered. We shall see.

    I haven’t given up on the GU, it’s just that I have no haikus in me. I might post something about the Chaucer poem.

  92. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 8:50 PM

    True, Sean…that obooki blag was a classic and as you say, it was all so much more entertaining then.

    I don’t dispute that some degree of moderation is, I suppose, necessary but it has to be considered and its touch should fall very lightly. Otherwise, you end up with a site that’s dully predictable. Which, as Alarming has pointed out, it now is, for the most part.

    Cap’n, if GU starts a forum to discuss moderation, I’ll eat my laptop in Trafalgar Sq. at noon..

    props for persisting, though.

  93. February 2, 2009 11:42 PM



    Why not have a two part literary flash blog on Norman Mailer.

    Wordy and Sean first

    The formula I suggest is like dueling banjos in Deliverence. But there the resemblence with Deliverence should end.

    Noone should screw anyone else. Capish. Lay off Susan Misha, she polishes up good and she is full of heart. And Des will get you, one day.

    [Godfather 2 was brilliant. The Sicillians are mainly Phoenicians you know.]

    In fact that might be an interesting formula for a lot of these flash blogs. Set couples off against each other, so that it’s no longer such a blogger commenter thing.

    I suggest we rotate it down the alphabet backwards.

    Because I am a tit, as 3p4 was perspecacious enough to notice, and I have a poem to prove it,

    For some reason I have been writing the alphabet backwards for about three days now. So backwards is good.

    We start with a Flash blog on Norman Mailer on X for Xuitlacoche [If that’s OK?].

    The point is that we can still “leech” a little from the Books blog poetry threads in the sense that that there is no need to abandon it completely. We could also invite some of the writers there to join in our unmoderated free for all.

    The Guardian should be proud to create its own literary fringe. I am sure its one of the things that they were hoping for.

    If we do this thing right then it will be interesting and lots of fun and a sort of launch.

    Can I suggest the umbrella name for these duels or meetings of minds? Something with “Flash” and “Frutalist” in the title in and a we need to include a flatteringly disparaging reference to the Guardian.

    2 flash blog dedicated to Cynical Steve’s poems perhaps.

    I am going to post this suggestion everywhere, regardless.

    Let’s do it.

  94. February 2, 2009 11:54 PM

    YeGodz, that old Mailer thread brought back memories… specifically of soiling my asylum suit laughing. The Gublog was once a great way to kill a few hours whilst downloading the last few datachunks of Kinski’s Paganini off eMule, man, wasn’t it? Them days are dead and gone. As surely as all transactions of matter and energy in this universe flow towards useless entropy, every cultural institution resolves to irrelevance, banality and hospitality for the enemies of wit. But I’ve still got Kinski’s Paganini, if anyone wants a copy!

  95. February 3, 2009 12:05 AM

    I hope I made my point with the Sarah Crown post.

  96. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 12:43 AM

    yep mish yer right, Hogan did have a tv comic sketch show waaaay back- very ocker – tight ALF gear and tinnies – that’s all I remember, oh, and the incredibly interesting snippit that before becoming a local celeb he used to paint ‘the’ bridge for a living.

    Tangentially – Croc wrangling – now there’s something you don’t fall over everyday in George Street. When Steve Irwin’s name kept cropping up in the US media there was a period when we’d look at each other and go: ‘who?’

    on the marmite/ bovril front – I have tasted them but I can’t, in honesty, remember what defines them as different from Vege – so no epicurean notes to share on that one I’m afraid.

  97. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:18 AM

    *AFL * sheesh

  98. February 3, 2009 10:18 AM

    Steven Is it as good as his I am Jesus poetry tour?

    I work with a NZ-er who is firmly in the Vegemite camp – odd as NZ folk can be very pernicketty about the Australians. Quite clearly an example of how an unusual taste circumstance can unite the people.

  99. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 10:42 AM

    hey, Alarming, yep – the kiwis are cool – if you’re travelling overseas with them. Back on home turf, we only notice them because they’re always sniping, strangely enough by constantly comparing themselves – well it’s one way to get our attention I suppose.

    Typical kiwi bravado is wearing a T-shirt on bondi with the slogan “I support NZ and anyone else who plays against Australia”

    but I reckon if the world was in danger of collapsing – we antipodeans would pull together as a combined team – no question. In the meantime, we’re just bored and pea shooting, hanging out in the apocalypse waiting room.

  100. February 3, 2009 10:54 AM

    Para I think I spent some time in the apocalypse waiting room in Fremantle outside of Perth.

    We were working in Perth and customs impounded bits of our set as they were covered in hessian and straw. So first day I arrived, heavily jet-lagged I had to go to a huge barn on the coast where these 2 items were quarantined in a vast chicken wire compound and strip off any organic material that, I’m guessing, could have bred with the local flora to disastrous effect.

    Previously to this the Chinese government had sent Perth city 100 X 200 year old bonsai trees as part of a cultural exchange. Customs insisted that the trees be re-potted in Australian soil which, yes you’re ahead of me, meant all 100 trees died.

    I discovered a butter bean in our gear, smuggled it out and threatened anyone who displeased me with it which, yes you’re ahead of me, had no effect whatsoever.

  101. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 11:41 AM

    Kinski did a poetry tour? Jesus, have I been living in a cave? I never knew. Or are you making that up, Al?

    The only Kinski film I haven’t got around to seeing is Cobra Verde, Herzog’s take on Chatwin’s The Viceroy of Ouida. Guess I’ll have to order it from Mammalzone.

    Loved his Nosferatu, which I think Murnau would have recognized as his off-spring. I watched Aguirre again the other night. Kinski was astonishing. The intense feverish burning eyes, the herky-jerky marionette-with-broken-strings body movements…Christ, he was scary…

  102. February 3, 2009 11:45 AM

    Herzog’s lovely documentary “My Best Fiend” documents Kinski’s full horror and glory. It includes footage of him taking on an audience as Jesus – an example of how to do it and how not to do it. Car crash stuff.

  103. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 12:01 PM

    Actually, Al, a quick check revealed the Mammalzone have a DVD set of all the Kinski/Herzog films and includes My Best Friend and Woyzeck, which I’ve also never seen. I ordered it…like your Oz Threat of Hessian story…

  104. February 3, 2009 12:09 PM

    Herzog’s documentaries are great even if they bend the truth more than a little – I thought his feature films dipped from Fitzcarraldo ( really disliked that film ). He has a knack for finding obsessives and people who have extraordinary stories to tell in real life as well. The one about the burning oil-fields in Kuwait post Gulf-war ” Lessons of Darkness” is truly an apocalyptic image of hell here on earth.

  105. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 12:31 PM

    I agree, Al. I recently watched his Encounters at the End of The World and Grizzly Man. Great stuff. Grizzly man was especially funny/sad.

    I mean, the guy was so obviously deluded, but only in a way that was going to bring disaster on himself and his nearest and dearest. Although I suppose, if you gotta go (and you do) being eaten by grizzlies would probably have been his choice. Pity his girlfriend had to join him on the menu.

    Apparently, Herzog’s now busy on a re-make of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. That should be interesting…

  106. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 12:37 PM

    Herzog bends the truth more than a little? – yes – I haven’t checked out any more of Herzog’s catalogue ever since watching White Diamond and thinking: faux-doco, that’s stretching a really thin layer individuals pseudo psychological insights over a conventional doco canvas – very (what ever that South African bloke’s name is … the one that was a mate of Mountbatten and took Prince Charles into the wilderness to give him a crash course on philosophy for dick-heads – of yep got it…) very Laurens van der Post

  107. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 12:49 PM

    I dunno, para…like Hiesenberg’s gag about observing particles affects the observed data, the very fact that some bozo with a camera crew is following you around must…distort? colour? affect?…the “truth” (always a nebulous concept anyway). I tend to take all documentaries with a large grain of salt…

  108. February 3, 2009 12:50 PM

    para that about sums it up. But the one about Bokassa, the woman who survived a plane crash in the Peruvian jungle, the burning oil fields in Kuwait, the Austrian ski-jumper , the volcano that failed to erupt and so many more of them find images and stories that stick in your mind.

  109. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:31 PM

    well, Mish and Alarming, and only on your recommendations, I’ll make the effort to see more of his work – and hopefully I’ll see beyond the dire manipulative fascist crap that he peddles – instead I’ll go for the imagery, and leave aside the misappropriation, the manipulation, the pathos – I’ll also get in a pile of popcorn so I can spray the room every time I utter ‘bullshit’

    no, really, I will check him out

  110. February 3, 2009 1:37 PM

    para don’t forget a good thick milk-shake that will really stick to the furniture when you splutter into it. No point getting outraged if you are not going to have to clean up afterwards.

  111. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 1:57 PM

    furniture? nope – the most I ‘ll have to do is hose down the tiles

  112. parallax permalink
    February 3, 2009 2:00 PM

    sorry – that was for the kiwis out there :)

  113. February 3, 2009 3:26 PM

    para I recognise what you say too! My mother used to live with an Australian artist who regularly travelled across the desert from East to West by bike in the 60’s.

    He remembered drinking in tin-shack pubs where the urinal was just below the actual bar so you could drink and piss without having to move an inch. Apparently the heat intensified the smell so it was in everyone’s interests to get as drunk as possible.

  114. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 3:39 PM

    …now, that is my kind of pub. When my wife and first met, I used to drag her into all these dives that I loved in Paris, Barcelona etc. She could never understand the attraction. “Why do you like these awful places?” she used to keen…I dunno, they have a kind of purity that’s lost in these anonymous chain-pub shit-holes with their fake memorabilia on shelves, their shiny polished wood and “cool” posters…I hate that shit.

    Give me a pub where you can piss in the barman’s pocket and he’ll give you change…

  115. Captain Ned permalink
    February 3, 2009 8:33 PM

    ‘My Best Fiend’ relates a great story about the young Kinski being congratulated on an ‘extraordinary’ stage performance. Enraged, he hurled hot potatoes at the offender, screaming ‘I was not extraordinary! I was EPOCHAL!’

    Amazingly, Herzog spent part of his childhood living in the same block of flats as Kinski.

  116. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 8:48 PM

    I’ve ordered the DVD Cap’n. Your story makes me look forward to it extremely…

  117. February 3, 2009 11:12 PM

    I was at a friend’s years ago when Bruno S. (Kaspar Hauser; Strozek) came calling. At some point Bruno excused himself and when he came back to sit at the kitchen table he announced, in his trademark, delphic cadence: “A man can only hope that you don’t mind that he just fucked your toilet.”

  118. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2009 11:34 PM

    …as long as he still respects it in the morning.

  119. February 4, 2009 10:54 AM

    para surely the imagery is the main thing that a film-maker can offer us??? Herzog certainly is a liar and a manipulator of people to fit in with his world-view. Are there many artists who aren’t?

    Fascist? Certainly he’s into the cruelty of nature but I’m not seeing any oppression of races going on. Often he seems more about giving the more awkward, contradictory aspects of life an airing.

    I like him because he presents an image of the world we don’t often see. I’m not watching him to agree with what he says. A cop-out for me to say that perhaps but he’s remained an independent awkward and compelling voice.

  120. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 11:16 AM

    I don’t think it is a cop out, Al. One could compile a long list of writers, film-makers, etc. with whose political or aesthetic views one violently disagrees but who make their cases in compelling and artistically satisfying ways.

    Evelyn Waugh, for example. His idolatry of the soi disant ‘aristocracy’ and right-wing views are deeply unattractive but, fuck it…he was a great writer (if one sets aside his anomalous excercise in…is there a word in English for nostalgia for something that’s never been?…Brideshead Revisited).

    But Black Mischief, Scoop, Vile Bodies, Decline and Fall, the Sword of Honour trilogy, Put Out More Flags etc. are still a joy to read…and the long filmed interview he did is wonderful in its disregard for people’s finer feelings.

    He just flatly refused to mollify or cater to the public’s demand that its authors and artists be nice. Fuck nice.

    He was emphatically not nice. On the contrary. He was very nasty indeed. But honest and brave, I think. I’ll take those qualities over fucking nice anytime. Leave nice to the JK Rowlings and Zadie Smiths. Posterity is immune to niceness.

  121. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 11:31 AM

    alarming, but imagery – especially in doco film making – doesn’t stand alone. It’s a vehicle of conveyance – it may well be aesthetically satisfying or affronting or confrontational – but it can still be a decorated donkey pulling a cartload of dung.

    No oppression of the races? Well, in White Diamond H’s representation of the local Guyana guy fitted the noble savage, primitive with naive spectacular insights, seeking release into the western world – talk about patronising.

    But I’m arguing from a very narrow and limited perspective – after watching White Diamond I didn’t seek any other stuff. If you rate him, then I’m prepared to check out more of his oeuvre. It might be an uphill thing though, I was pretty pissed off after the one I saw – I felt that he was either really blinkered and thick, or thought that his audience was, and he could get away with shovelling shit.

  122. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 11:34 AM

    …or HE thought that his audience …

  123. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 11:47 AM

    I seem to remember we discussed this general theme ages ago, para. I think you said you had trouble getting past the persona of artists you detested…although, in truth, I have to work at it myself sometimes, I think it can re-pay the effort.

  124. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 11:49 AM

    …haven’t seen White Diamond, BTW para, so I apologize for my inability to add anything to your take on it.

  125. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:02 PM

    yeah that’s right we did mish – Kipling I think. It is nuanced though isn’t it? Like, I get what you mean about quarantining stuff and appreciating it for it’s aesthetic qualities alone, and I don’t have a problem with supporting that viewpoint – to a degree. I think with Kipling it was his pigheadedness, about being right about his view of the world, as the wellspring of his art that I have problems with.

    I’m not good at being on the receiving end of didactic art.

    H (well I don’t know enough about him – if someone says, and his work proves, that he is actually taking the piss about the gullibility of the viewing public, so be it) but if he is using the genre of documentary to set up his warped view of how the world works, and then lying through his teeth to say it’s objective reporting – then he’s a manipulative arsehole :)

  126. February 4, 2009 12:05 PM

    Para being patronising about someone isn’t the same as fascism is it? I’m not defending the man but I find his consistent unearthing of oddbods, lost souls and the demented plus his view of the beauty of the world and the beauty of the ugliness of the world far more compelling than some who present a more reasonable reasoned vision.

    His feature films Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and Aguirre Wrath of God are magnificent. You couldn’t find a more cutting vision of megalomaniac imperialism than Aguirre – probably because Herzog understands it so well he can present it so viscerally.

  127. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 12:06 PM

    So, to clarify, it’s not his being manipulative, (something every documentary since Flaherty’s Nanook of the North has been), that you object to so much as A.) his pretending to be objective and B.) the substance of the slant he puts on things. Have I got that right?

  128. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 12:12 PM

    …and as Sean pointed out over on Isa’s Mailer thread, throwing around terms like “fascist” is not only imprecise but downright dangerous. Ditto, “anti-semite”…it blurs what should be important and genuine distinctions. Leaching the terms of meaning provides a perfect umbrella for real fascists and anti-semites…

  129. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:14 PM

    oh stop being such a fascist about using the term fascist

  130. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 12:15 PM

    …don’t call me a fascist, you anti-semite.

  131. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:18 PM


    you don’t have any relatives in New Zealand do you?

  132. February 4, 2009 12:21 PM

    para Herzog claims his documentaries are poetic and aim for deeper truths . He’s never claimed they are objective reporting. The fact he is often a protagonist in them attests to this.

    I can see the irritation and when I’m not watching them I would share some of your views but there is a power to what he does.

    “Lessons of Darkness” where the viewpoint is from a helicopter flying over the destroyed landscapes of Kuwait post – first Gulf War puts you in the position of being some helpless angel of mercy visiting the apocalypse. Images of hell we’ve seen in painting and read in literature are visible here on earth.

    Grandiose Wagner and other choral music makes it as manipulative as hell but the destruction and beauty of the burning oil wells are all there for you to see.

    We’re familiar with the news reporting – this just brings something else to the table.

  133. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:25 PM

    yep, yep, ok, enough already – I’ve said I’ll check him out – sheesh

  134. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 12:28 PM

    Randy Newmans mordantly witty song Political Science proposes a sensible solution for the problem of Australia and its population of permanently inebriated louts:

    No one likes us
    I don’t know why.
    We may not be perfect
    But heaven knows we try.
    But all around even our old friends put us down.
    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.

    We give them money
    But are they grateful?
    No they’re spiteful
    And they’re hateful.
    They don’t respect us so let’s surprise them;
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them.

    Now Asia’s crowded
    And Europe’s too old.
    Africa’s far too hot,
    And Canada’s too cold.
    And South America stole our name.
    Let’s drop the big one; there’ll be no one left to blame us.

    We’ll save Australia;
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo.
    We’ll build an all-American amusement park there;
    They’ve got surfing, too.

    Well, boom goes London,
    And boom Paree.
    More room for you
    And more room for me.
    And every city the whole world round
    Will just be another American town.
    Oh, how peaceful it’ll be;
    We’ll set everybody free;
    You’ll have Japanese kimonos, baby,
    There’ll be Italian shoes for me.
    They all hate us anyhow,
    So let’s drop the big one now.
    Let’s drop the big one now.

  135. February 4, 2009 12:28 PM

    Para what do you mean “check him out”?

  136. mishari permalink*
    February 4, 2009 12:33 PM

    …your papers, please, Mr….Herzog, is it? And what is the purpose of your visit to Australia, Mr. Herzog? Is that a German name? Right, Bruce, another fascist Kraut bastard…sling him in the pen with the Poms…

    …that kind of checking out.

  137. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 12:39 PM

    ahh – alarming – lost in translation – check him out, give him the once over, watch his paint dry …. I will take the time to watch his films based on your recommendations

  138. February 4, 2009 12:52 PM

    para I was joking re: check him out. Sorry it wasn’t clear.

    You may still hate him after you’ve watched more – your objections are entirely reasonable but I’m sometimes just a dog with a bone in these things.

  139. parallax permalink
    February 4, 2009 1:06 PM

    that’s ok alarming – i was only joking about checking him out – anything to stop the barrage of woohoo ‘art’ (what art?–Ed)

  140. parallax permalink
    February 8, 2009 12:45 PM

    oi, what’s with the ‘the horse is a horse’ intervention on my post? I thought we could dump here without fear or favour?

  141. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2009 2:33 PM

    It’s a simple question, para. What the fuck is ‘woohoo’ art? I genuinely want to know.

    Dump away, by all means….

    Glad to see you’ve not been incinerated yet…

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