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May 27, 2009

A Parrot For JG by Joe Cornell

a parrot nfor juan gris

I haven’t time to write a new post, but at least I can give regular visitors something fresh to look at. I’ve been fascinated by Joseph Cornell’s work since it was first introduced to me many years ago by a jazz drummer friend.

I wasn’t surprised when years afterwards, Cyberpunk progenitor William Gibson used artefacts remarkably similiar as McGuffins in his highly influential Neuromancer trilogy.

There is, I think, something oddly, disconcertingly lovely about Cornell’s boxes. I hope at least some of you agree.

Talk amongst yourselves. Smoke, if you’ve got ’em…

  1. May 27, 2009 8:37 AM

    Cornell’s boxes could be the “Before” to Louise Nevelson’s “After”

  2. May 27, 2009 8:46 AM

    There’s a fantastic photo of Cornell by Lee Miller.

    To re-heat the Gilliam debate with our Berlin correspondent XB – the giant marionettes in the Lost in La Mancha doc are perfect. Mainly because large puppet figures are an important part of Spanish tradition but also because Gilliam used some really good Spanish puppeteers and theatre companies. I mention this because over the last year we have performed at a lot of Spanish puppet festivals and it’s fantastic to see such a different attitude to the form over there than you get in this country.

  3. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 8:55 AM

    The quote XB uses (’the novel has problems but nothing that can’t be fixed by some Gilliam magic – namely giant marionettes and a time-travelling Johnny Depp shouting ‘fuck’ as often as possible. man’) was, if I remember correctly, Gilliam being sardonic. Considering what he went through trying to make the damn film, I think he was entitled.

    Pace Steven’s comments on 12 Monkeys, I really liked it and thought that Willis (who I’ve always had a soft spot for; his knowing, self-mocking style is a breath of fresh air compared to the likes of Stallone and the odious Mel Gibson)…Willis gave the performance of his career.

    Some re-makes are better than the originals–not many, but a few. Cronenberg’s The Fly, is, in my opinion, superior to original. Cape Fear isn’t, neither is Scarface. 12 Monkeys isn’t really a re-make, though. Don’t hate it for not being something it wasn’t trying to be, Steven, you decadent Berlin swinehound…and anyway, I’m prepared to give the man who made Brazil a lot of slack…

    Is this the one, Al? This photo of Miller by Man Ray is pretty cool as well…

  4. May 27, 2009 9:13 AM

    Not the Bruce Willis debate as well – Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

    I think he has a good eye for working outside of the usual suspects but I’m afraid I’m completely allergic to him. In 12 Monkeys allegedly Gilliam told him not to act like Bruce Willis and kept an eye on him .

    I live in fear that they’ll remake “Night of the Demon” my personal favourite film of all time, even down to the rubber devil at the end. If I was a Hollywood director I’d remake it but it would be folly on my part and I’d commit suicide soon after it was released and revealed to be the product of a desperate imagination that it was.

  5. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 9:17 AM

    That’s the thing, Al. Willis went through the film in a state of high anxiety, fear and utter confusion…and I thought he did it really well. Perhaps the fact that I wasn’t expecting a great deal from him made it more impressive.

    What did you think of Ed Wood (assuming you’ve seen it)?

  6. May 27, 2009 9:24 AM

    I liked Ed Wood – another one of those deluded thin line between incompetent and inspired “artists”. But unless I’m mistaken Willis wasn’t in that was he? Or are you just pitching a left-field ball to defuse the Willis debate?

    The real Ed Wood’s films I find absolutely unwatchable, not even good in a bad way. But I loved the detail in Burton’s film where he is pleased every time with the first take – often to the bewilderment of the actors. It illustrates the difference between artistry and enthusiasm really effectively.

  7. May 27, 2009 9:51 AM

    Ah, I made up the Gilliam quote; more my own sardonic imagining of what might go through the mind of someone wanting to mess with one of my favourite books in such an unnecessary way. Same with the puppets, Al. Gilliam’s commitment and artistry are high and admirable. On this occasion I was pretty clear he was making a film I wouldn’t want to see. It’s the old ‘film of the book’ argument but no big deal.

    Ed Wood is a fantastic film. I watched Plan Nine From Outer Space once; I was the only person awake in the room by the end. I envied the sleepers.

    Bruce Willis is one of those performers who seems to have two settings: Good and Money/blockbuster. I’d rank Jim Carrey in the same category; a committed performer on certain low-profile projects, a gurning abomination when he wants money.

  8. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 10:17 AM

    Oh…sorry, XB. It just sounded like the sort of thing Gilliam would, in exasperation, say. Is it really one of your favourite books? Personally, I feel (having read it in Spanish, but having given up half way though in English) that it needs some serious pruning.

    Yes, I thought Ed Wood was a terrific film. As you say, Al, the power of self-delusion was wonderfully demonstrated. I thought Depp turned in one of his best performances. Wood’s unquenchable optimism, self-belief and passion for cinema were actually, I felt, rather touching. The films were atrocious, but he wasn’t.

    No, Al. Willis wasn’t in Ed Wood. Just diverting you lest you say something you’ll regret and bring down the wrath of the Bruce Willis Fan Club, Armed Wing…(shudders)

    Willis was in Lucky Number Slevin. Did you see that?

    Oh, I watched Cobra Verde recently, which I’d never seen. Ordered it from Mammalzone.
    I liked it a lot, especially interesting because I’d read Chatwin’s account of the filming about 20 years ago.

    That Kinski. One always got the feeling that if you were to ever actually witness the phenomenon of sponaneous human combustion (wife comes into sitting room, hubby’s chair contains a small pile of ashes, his feet are still in his slippers, albeit slightly charred) he’d be the man…

  9. May 27, 2009 10:21 AM

    Is this the tradesman’s entrance? Enough riff-raff around, anyway.

    To go back to the topic for a moment, Cornell’s boxes are fantastic, much better than Bruce W’s films, on the whole, don’t you think? I mean, you can look at the boxes any number of times and not be bored.

  10. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    May 27, 2009 10:29 AM

    my box contains love
    hearts a dead bee our book and
    a disused hash pipe

  11. May 27, 2009 10:30 AM

    I’m afraid I only see Bruce Willis films by accident so missed Lucky Number Slevin. The Willis appreciaton society can gun me down – I’ll take the punishment with a clear conscience.

    I’d agree about Carrey. Unwatchable especially when the film is tilted towards him being the hero but his performance in Me Myself Irene is extraordinary even if the film becomes tiresome toward the end. I love the scene where good cop turns bad in the supermarket – all done with gurning. It should be horrible but he makes it work for me.

  12. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 10:32 AM

    They are fantastic, Bill. They fascinate me endlessly. I can’t even properly articulate quite why. I’m just drawn to them. I wonder if the fact that they are ‘boxes’–the resonance of boxes as containers of mystery, of secrets, of the forbidden, Pandora, box of tricks, the wrong box, black box, the box you end up in–if that plays a part in it?

    That and the strange feeling of elation/melancholy/distance/intimacy that so many of them seem to create…

  13. May 27, 2009 10:52 AM

    I was right in the midst of formulating a “tradesman’s entrance” joke when I, uh, came across (cough) this:

    “Don’t hate it for not being something it wasn’t trying to be, Steven, you decadent Berlin swinehound…”

    A case of the roué calling the jaded mandarin black?

  14. May 27, 2009 11:13 AM

    Cornell is one of those artists who is fairly obscure yet who casts his spell consistently on others. When I was at art college there were 2 or 3 assemblers of things in boxes and whenever I’ve ( infrequently ) taught at art college since I’ve always met students who are similarly influenced by his approach.

    Cornell has an icy detachment that is all his own. He resists any sentimentality about objects that a whole spate of graphic design that discovered and used him in the 70’s never avoided

  15. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 11:42 AM

    Mea culpa…how does a jaded roué end it all when the humiliation becomes too much? OD on Viagra and expire in a a cloud of spray-on pheremones (Guaranteed To Attract Women Or Your Money Back!!!) and rampant, exploding priapistic blood vessels?

    I’ll just slip into my black Sulka pyjamas and slide the Velvets doing Venus In Furs into the CD-player. “Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather, shiny leather in the dark…”

    It’s funny, Al. A lot of people I’ve known over the years are mildly diverted by Cornell but a small minority (if that’s not redundant) are as fascinated, intrigued, compelled by his work as I am.

    I think you’re absolutely right about his lack of sentimentality. I’m certain that were the work mawkish in any degree, it wouldn’t engage me at all. But it remains cool and composed, remote but somehow intimate. As I said, it’s hard for me to articulate quite what it is that grips me…

    I’ve even tried, on occasion over the years, to make my own boxes but they never really worked. Initially, I was too lush, then too austere–but en fin, they were always inert. I’d still like to make one that truly pleases me. While there’s life, there’s…more failures…better failures..(thanks, Sam).

  16. May 27, 2009 11:53 AM

    “I’ll just slip into my black Sulka pyjamas and slide the Velvets doing Venus In Furs into the CD-player. “Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather, shiny leather in the dark…”

    You forgot to mention the bit where you daub your philtrum with Eau de Baudelaire

    (Eau de Baudelaire? Is that the one that smells like a backed-up bidet in a Lille knocking shop?–Ed)

  17. 3p4 permalink
    May 27, 2009 2:10 PM

    I’ve even tried, on occasion over the years, to make my own boxes but they never really worked. Initially, I was too lush, then too austere–but en fin, they were always inert. I’d still like to make one that truly pleases me. While there’s life, there’s…more failures…better failures..(thanks, Sam).

    thats one of the most interesting snippets i seen from you,,in order for me to make these kind of images i need a lot of junk that sits around “gestating” for a long time,,i have made many
    “found object associations” pieces and have a couple of colleagues
    who also make such and we all have (had) huge studios stuffed with dumpster trash (treasure),,successful works have an identity in the mind that is set and decided,,no thinking required or allowed
    but how to dress that identity ? thats the fiddly bit at the end,,
    personally i find these kind of works very fulfilling,,

    i once had a commission to make one for a 12 yr olds birthday and was instructed to make it represent a poem from the hobbit,,the client ( the father) was so pleased he paid me double the original fee ,, the 12 yr old was equally pleased,, so that made three of us

  18. May 27, 2009 6:54 PM

    (Eau de Baudelaire? Is that the one that smells like a backed-up bidet in a Lille knocking shop?–Ed)

    Nah, that one’s Eau de Colette, innit? Baudy’s more an acquired taste, though some find it quite moving, really. Know that video where that loved-up donkey is trying to plant one in that feller with his pants down in that field… ?

  19. Captain Ned permalink
    May 27, 2009 10:59 PM

    On the subject of Tim Burton, I am not an admirer – a purveyor of very slick, cosy nightmares, too cutesy and amiable to disturb. Sub-Gothic whimsy. I’ve not seen Ed Wood, however, so I might give it a go.

  20. mishari permalink*
    May 27, 2009 11:09 PM

    Actually, I’m not a big Tim Burton fan either. However, Ed Wood was rather special and played pretty straight (as far as possible given Ed Wood’s eccentric nature). Do see it if you get a chance. I don’t think it’s your usual relentlessy ‘wacky’, arch-gothic Burton fare…

  21. May 28, 2009 12:00 AM

    Good Tim Burton films are Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, possibly some of the animations, but if you weigh those awful Batman movies and the atrocity which was the remake of Planet of the Apes the man should probably be hung up by the unmentionables.

    I fitted 102 items into a small match box for charity when I was six – does that count? (they had to take my word for it rather than have to count the grains of sand, dust, soil and dead bugs)

    Bruce Willis does pretty much what it says on the tin, but he definitely does it in better style than a lot of the other action heroes and I’m rather partial to Fifth Element, although I don’t understand why the supreme being wouldn’t have had her roots done.

    Jim Carrey bears a striking resemblance to Jerry Lewis in his comedy roles don’t ya think? I liked Number 23. It was rather refreshing to see him in a serious role, I thought he handled it rather well.

    I’ve been a “cybergoth” in my time, although I suspect that’s not quite the same thing…

  22. MeltonMowbray permalink
    May 29, 2009 2:24 PM

    I thought vests had died in the 60s until I saw Die Hard. Now I have several, though it’s hard to find an occasion to wear them. Too cold in winter, too hot in summer, and I can’t bring myself to wear one as a singlet, if that’s the term, what with my rather wizened old chap’s torso. So I reserve them for those two weeks in April when it’s a little chilly but a T shirt seems to be overdoing it.

  23. May 29, 2009 4:52 PM

    You could reserve them for the times when Germans have taken over your wife’s place of work and you need to run around in your bare feet saving the day in a (old)manly fashion?

  24. May 29, 2009 6:28 PM

    I’ve tried that one… doesn’t *really* work… in Germany…

  25. May 29, 2009 8:54 PM

    Yes. Good point. Well in American films the baddies are British, German or Russian (or indeed Brits playing Germans). Who are the baddies in German films?

  26. May 29, 2009 9:16 PM

    Me? Watch a *German* action film…?

  27. mishari permalink*
    May 29, 2009 9:17 PM

    I think you’ll find, Steven, that to impress Germans, you need a proper uniform…preferably accompanied by a Field-Marshal’s baton and about 10 armoured divisions…

  28. mishari permalink*
    May 29, 2009 9:18 PM

    A German action film? Is that one where they march very, very quickly?

  29. May 29, 2009 10:02 PM

    “I think you’ll find, Steven, that to impress Germans, you need a proper uniform…preferably accompanied by a Field-Marshal’s baton and about 10 armoured divisions… ”

    There is a certain literal-mindedness to the culture; just check the translated movie titles. For example: “Dune” becomes, “The Desert Planet”. “Rebel Without a Cause” becomes “He Knows Not What He Does”… “Rambo” is “A Man Like a Tank”… (these are just my favorites)…

  30. May 29, 2009 10:03 PM

    Oh, and Laurel and Hardy: “Fat and Stupid”

  31. May 29, 2009 10:04 PM

    I just wondered who were the traditional arch enemy types, not necessarily in an action setting… that’s all.

    OK, so the cinema watching which has been suggested to me for this weekend is “Drag me to hell” – a Sam Raimi film along the lines of Evil Dead (and not Spiderman thank god), I’m sure someone was talking about said films here at some point recently. Ish.

    Ok – so shameless self-promotion… Zeph’s very kindly posted up on her site possibly my second most miserable poem yet, but certainly one I’m fairly proud of… I don’t get out much, obviously!

  32. mishari permalink*
    May 29, 2009 10:20 PM

    Love those German film titles…He Knows Not What He Does, indeed.

    How did they deal with the first Raiders film? The Truth About Germany’s Defeat: US Archeologist Employed Occult Powers.

  33. freep permalink
    May 29, 2009 10:38 PM

    Just seen ‘Drag Me To Hell’, Pollyanna, which was fun, with fiery descents into hell, and some rather scary entries of a fly into the principal girl’s mouth and nostrils. If you have any friends who work in banks or building societies, advise them to see it; it is a cautionary tale, threatening very bad consequences if you refuse a punter a loan, especially if they are and aged crone with cursing capabilities. A very strange way of commenting on the incompetence of banks.
    Must check out zeph’s site …
    Just off to Letterkenny to see if I can listen to some Gaelic.

  34. mishari permalink*
    May 29, 2009 10:46 PM

    You surprise me, freep. I imagined you beguiling yourself with Max Ophüls revivals, smacking your lips appreciatively and saying things like “his use of chiaroscuro is reminicient, is it not, of Carravagio?”

  35. May 29, 2009 11:03 PM

    Freep I worked in Letterkenny last year If you have time the coastline further north is incredibly beautiful.

  36. May 29, 2009 11:09 PM

    “his use of chiaroscuro is reminicient, is it not, of Carravagio?”

    Said the very thing myself, not a week ago, whilst chewing the stem of a Meerschaum and parsing the recondite framing algorithms of this groundbreaking auteur:

  37. mishari permalink*
    May 29, 2009 11:31 PM

    This link takes you straight to the trailer of a film that, according to imdb, is lost (Quicktime needed):

    “..a film about the silk stocking industry…an industry of perversion..”

    Priceless stuff…

  38. freep permalink
    May 30, 2009 7:14 AM

    It is true, mish, that I would rather languish before a delicious silent nineteen hour restored documentary of the drama of silkworm gathering in Northeast Turkey. Or that old film about the lost railway tunnels of Perthshire, with voiceover by Valentine Dyall. But out in the sticks you get the slim cultural offerings that there are, and since I go to the independent cinema in Newcastle once a week, you take your chances.

  39. May 30, 2009 8:59 AM

    Turns rap music down – I’m most interested in how the swooping camerawork of Ophuls influenced Fassbinder in his mid-period melodramas – adjusts baseball cap so it is the wrong way round in the correct fashion and moves on.

    Went to see Synecdoche New York last week. Potentially good but it wasn’t . I like Charlie Kaufman’s work but he’s not a director and Philip Seymour Hoffman was the wrong man for the role – too “heavy” an actor and trying to make us empathise with what could have been a great portrait of an unsympathetic dictatorial maniac. Some nice touches but not enough of them .

  40. May 30, 2009 9:59 AM

    Mish, thanks for the post.

    Good to have the on-topic responses re Cornell from Billy, Al, and 3P4.

    Here is a small private gallery of Cornells, for those interested:

    Mish, about Kinski’s “spontaneous combustion,” spot on. I knew the fellow well and the volatility was inseparable from the person. “In real life,” like they say. As though there were any other kind.

    He had his heart and mind set on “playing” Céline but when that ran aground he turned his attention to another fixation, Paganini. In the screenplay it’s:

    Paganini plays furiously

    (cut to)

    woman in audience rapt

    (cut to)

    Paganini plays even more furiously

    (cut to)

    woman in audience has obvious orgasm

    A little like that amazing German dud film Perfume in which everyone blisses out on fumes, though with Klaus’s Paganini it was the violin notes that were to do the trick.

    I’m trying to get beyond musical aromatherapy this week with pear blossoms;

  41. May 30, 2009 10:17 AM


    Posted a comment with bit of Kinski lore but your spam filter must have eaten it.

    We move on…

    Some Cornell boxes for those with an appetite for what Al calls “icy detachment”:

  42. May 30, 2009 11:47 AM

    Good choice of Cornelliana btp. He really gets that sensation you have when looking up at the night sky of it feeling vast and unending. Quite remarkable considering he puts everything in a box.

    Christ I could have written that better couldn’t I? No wonder poetry/prose isn’t my main means of expression.

  43. May 30, 2009 2:25 PM


    I know your own blog is quite a success, but a cooperative blogging venture looks like its going to happen, in a sort of magazine format.

    Would you be intersted in joining in? Have your own patch and let fly whenever you felt like it.

    What patch are you interested in? Film?

    It’s looking pretty good. There are some good people on board.


    Freep, Alarming, Billy, Steve, Pollyana?

  44. May 30, 2009 2:27 PM

    anyone interested can contact me directly at:

    Fingers crossed.

    A very free cooperative, with noone privilieged.

    You would have to send in stuff to an editor though to be subbed a little.

    You could call your patch waht you liked and it would feed into your own blog.


  45. May 30, 2009 3:15 PM


    To the contrary, I don’t think you could have said this better:

    “Cornell has an icy detachment that is all his own. He resists any sentimentality about objects that a whole spate of graphic design that discovered and used him in the 70’s never avoided.”

    “He really gets that sensation you have when looking up at the night sky of it feeling vast and unending. Quite remarkable considering he puts everything in a box.”

    Perhaps thinking/dreaming inside the box is the best way out of it after all….

    Haven’t you been tempted to see his boxes as little magic theatres?

  46. May 30, 2009 4:07 PM

    btp Very much. so

    About 10 years ago my company made an installation of boxes which you stick your head into via holes on the underneath of the boxes. There was a mirror inside so you could see your head in a variety of locations/situations. They varied from the corny ( head on a plate on a table set for dinner), to a live performer in the box as well singing to you to finding your head on railway tracks at the end of a tunnel to being inside a beehive with the smell of beeswax hanging heavy in the air. I don’t think Cornell was a conscious influence for that but he was certainly floating around in the background.

    Working with a standard form like a box can be fantastic – slight changes in the format become significant and almost magnified in their effect. I guess the same pleasure poets have for working within poetic forms like sonnets etc. You can certainly see that in his work.

  47. May 31, 2009 12:51 PM

    ISA – interesting proposition. Can I have a column about shoes?

    What’s the theme of the whole magazine? What sort of areas do you want included?

    Anyway guys, you have to watch this. I’m slightly disappointed it’s a comedy sketch and not real, but it’s still funny:

  48. May 31, 2009 1:10 PM

    It’s quite lonely to blog on your own and you end up with you and your circle of like minded chaps and chapesses. Multiblogger plaforms are taking off at the moment in magazine formats.

    The idea is to kind of focus on one area, but in fact you are free to write what you like. It’s no big deal so long as you contribute with one article of your own a week – around 500 words, with or without a pictures.

    Basically, I – I would prefer Baron to do this – set up a page. Eveyone gets a log in. There is an editor involved so it is preferable that everything gets sent to him to be subbed and topped and tailed.

    But if you are very precious, in a good way of course, about conserving your words, then you can just upload it.

    Your articles can be prefaced by the title of your own blog and linked to it. Or you could just use your by-line.

    You can also comission (no money involved) other people to write articles for you and give them a by line.

    The point would be to generate interesting content.

    I think we could make quite a splash and even get the Guardian to do a story on it or link to it or something.

    And it wouldn’t be so lonely or cliquey

    Of course if someone else wants to set it up then I will follow as a contributor.

    In this arrangement noone would be privileged.

    So Pollyanna, have your shoes.


    Misha, how about “art”?

  49. May 31, 2009 1:38 PM

    LAST interruption in your flow Misha, thanks for you forebearance:

    Now is the time for all good bloggers to come to the aid of free and open writing.

    Allow me to make you a decorous proposition, my fellow bloggers, with a view to a marriage of minds. And if not a marriage, then let us at least gather cooperatively on the same pages, despite our differences, as equals. Let’s strike while the iron is hot. It’s a fantastic opportunity. You choose your own specialist patch. Pollyanna has got shoes. Is Pollyanna Linda Grant in disguise?

    Rabid atheists very welcome.

    If you want to discuss theis proposal go here,

    Or email me.

    My email is:

    I’ll make a list of everyone’s patch soon:

    PS If people think someone else should be the initiator, I am willing to be a follower.

  50. May 31, 2009 2:06 PM

    I think I was joking about the shoes… I’ll have a think about a good area to cover, but it would be useful to see what everyone else comes up with. I’ll email you some ideas…

  51. May 31, 2009 3:24 PM

    Great. It’s beginning to look very good.

  52. May 31, 2009 10:02 PM

    And so now I’ve got loads of shoe-related ideas…well rants probably. Should it be a rant free zone?

  53. MeltonMowbray permalink
    May 31, 2009 10:51 PM

    Thinking inside the box

    On the walls the pictures are erotic,
    interspersed with sentimental studies,
    Mum, wife ‘n’ kids, family-generic,
    and the stuffed, mounted heads of enemies.

    There’s the well-worn armchair of Idleness,
    laagered with cups, plates and half-eaten pies,
    in truth, the place is in a bloody mess:
    its only cleaner will come with a scythe.

    Next to the bureau of Inspiration
    (lost the key) is the bookcase of Memory,
    now short a good few volumes, not stolen
    or mislaid but vanished completely.

    Where did they go and what happened to them?
    There’s no way out of here that I can find,
    it’s a knock-down three-pipe locked-room problem
    of a singularly worrying kind.

    Perhaps the answer lies in the cupboard of Love,
    currently locked, or is the solution
    contained in that horrible vase above,
    with the wilted blooms of lost Ambition?

    Oh, forget it. Take the usual path
    to the armchair and make yourself at home,
    light that panatella and contemplate
    the fragrant perfume of well-wasted time.

  54. June 1, 2009 2:52 PM

    MM – thinking inside the box – inspired. I like the line “wilted blooms of lost Ambition”… it’s all rather melancholy though. Is it a wooden box? Maybe you could just torch it?

  55. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 1, 2009 7:42 PM

    You are very kind, St Polly, but my verses are sadly disjointed and poorly expressed, due not just to my unlimited lack of talent but also to the raging chest infection I contracted on my visit to the North Island, no doubt from one of the degenerate inhabitants of Worcestershire. Never again!

  56. June 1, 2009 8:23 PM

    MM sorry to hear the mainland treated you so badly – still Neil Young will soon be along to serenade you to sleep.

    “The fragrant perfume of well-wasted time” is a very good line/conceit. Ivor Cutler used to have rolls of stickers with phrases like that written on them. If you stood still enough in his proximity you risked being covered in them.

  57. June 1, 2009 9:36 PM


    I loved this:

    Where did they go and what happened to them?
    There’s no way out of here that I can find,
    it’s a knock-down three-pipe locked-room problem
    of a singularly worrying kind.

    Puts me in mind of Weldon Kees. Who might not have jumped off that bridge had he considered this route to problem-solving.

    Plenty of pipe dreams on show lately but this may be the best yet.

  58. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 1, 2009 10:38 PM

    Thanks, chaps. I suppose a lullaby from Neil might be preferable to having white-hot knitting needles pushed into your ears, but there’s not much in it.

  59. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    June 2, 2009 8:00 AM

    *Strum und Wein*

    Well, we torched a few trailers at the edge of town
    You never see us, our facepaint’s green and brown
    We got twenty-five rifles just to keep your population down
    We don’t need you here, so that’s why I’m hangin’ ’round
    So you be good to me and I’ll be good to you
    And in this land of conditions I’m not above suspicion
    I won’t attack you but I may hack you

    Well, I’m a barrel of laughs, with my carbine on
    I keep ’em hoppin’, till my ammunition’s gone
    But I’m still not happy, I feel like there’s something wrong.
    I got the anti-Neil song-sung-blues, I see bloody fountains
    And ten million aye-aye-yippies comin’ round the mountain
    Well, I hear the Isle of Wight is full of famous stars
    But I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars…

  60. Captain Ned permalink
    June 2, 2009 8:57 AM

    ‘having white-hot knitting needles pushed into your ears’

    You mean listening to Hazel Blears?

    Good poem.

  61. June 2, 2009 9:25 PM

    Hi Mish,

    I’m wondering if you’ve possibly ever deleted any comments here which I might have made?

    I’m looking for whatever it is that I actually said about a certain person here who has been rather mean about me on Acciacatura’s site. Perhaps some of your visitors here might know what I am referring to?

    I’d prefer not to get into any slanging matches over here really. I want to prove her wrong rather than get caught up with actually slagging anyone off, I’m just making enquiries at this stage…

  62. mishari permalink*
    June 2, 2009 10:02 PM

    St. Polly, I’ve never deleted a comment unless asked to by the commenter. I’ve occasionally corrected spelling and I once deleted a single line from a comment because I felt it took a liberty with my personal information. I’ve certainly never deleted any comment you’ve posted…

    I see the ghastly Sarkozy has snubbed Her Maj…Frog bastard. I think we should invade France again, only this time, we keep it…

    Either I’m hallucinating, or I actually just heard John Denham tell Paxo that Mandelson was a ‘fresh face’…and now Fattersly’s telling Paxo that if Gordon ‘…puts his foot down in the next 2 or 3 days, Labour can begin its recovery.’ Truly, these morons are completely fucking delusional.

  63. June 2, 2009 10:59 PM

    I’m just not quite sure what I’ve done wrong and I’m feeling rather upset.

  64. mishari permalink*
    June 2, 2009 11:19 PM

    St.Polly, I have no idea what you’re on about so I can’t comment. But why assume you’ve done anything ‘wrong’?

    However, I made my views on wordnerd7 very clear on this blog. Anything toxic emanating from her blog comes as no surprise whatsoever.

    My advice? Ignore it. If it’s any consolation, whatever she said about you can’t possibly be as ugly as many of the things she’s said about me. I regard it as a matter of pride. To be detested by wordnerd7 means you’re doing something right. I mean, look at who she fawns over..

  65. June 2, 2009 11:26 PM

    Mishari good to see you back. Have you been away working hard on your Clint Eastwood blog?

  66. mishari permalink*
    June 2, 2009 11:30 PM

    Not really, Al. Took the family to the Île de Ré for an extended weekend. Kids today, I dunno. I was prepared to stay for the rest of the week but the children didn’t want to miss any more school…I must have their DNA tested. They can’t possibly be mine…

  67. June 2, 2009 11:33 PM

    Yes I think I’m going to have to ignore it. I’ve politely posted a comment asking for more information about my offence. I hope I hear back as I think it’s only fair to be given the chance to defend onesself.

    I’m going to say right now to avoid any misunderstanding in that direction that I have absolutely no problem with Wordnerd as merely the host of the comment and that I don’t have enough knowledge of that blog to make any kind of judgment. And just because I hang around here doesn’t mean I agree with the content herein… there, disclaimer over…

  68. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 2, 2009 11:45 PM

    Avoid the place at all costs, St Polly. The acid on there could melt your eyeballs.

    I hear relentless chirping when bright-eyed bushy-tailed Blears opens her gob, rather than Neil’s supersonic whine. It’s more psychological torture than physical abuse. Thank God we won’t have to put up with her for much longer. Took me a while to figure out HLMs work up there, not being a connoisseur of NY’s opus. The Family chez nous would all be OAPs.

  69. mishari permalink*
    June 2, 2009 11:55 PM

    Blears is as wretched an apparatchik as ever trotted out the Party line while dodging a question. It was fun watching Paxo grill an increasingly sweaty Hague on Newsnight, trying to establish whether or not Lord Ashcroft is now a UK resident for tax purposes.
    Sometimes, Paxo’s relentlessness is fun to watch…

  70. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 12:00 AM

    BTW, MM…have you ever heard of an HBO show called Carnivale? It was only on for 2 seasons, (24 episodes) and apparently, HBO cut it short because it was costing $5 milion an episode. It’s about a travelling carnival in the early 1930s Depression. I’ve just started watching it. It looks interesting. I’ll let you know what I think and send both seasons down if you’re interested…

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 3, 2009 12:18 AM

    Yes, I’ve got it. My son acquired it a while back and gave it to me as a present, along with a complete Seinfeld which someone had very obviously filmed from the TV with a camcorder, including people walking across the shot and subsequent swearing. I can’t remember a lot about it, to be honest. Perhaps I’ll give it another go now the Mentalist is finishing.

  72. pinkroom9 permalink
    June 3, 2009 12:57 AM

    I have awful memories of the road to and from the Il de Re but I ate some fruit de mer there that was truly from paradise…

    I could happily construct a Cornell box from the er… leftovers:

    Some oyster shells,
    the inedible halves
    of langoustines discarded
    and a lobster shattered,
    its last juice drawn
    (sea and sin)
    from claws and even legs.
    Periwinkles, of astonishing
    sexual, boiled dry colours.
    A scattering of clams
    and a little left over lettuce
    beside the lemon
    and the spent muscadet.

    Thanks for the memory.

  73. June 3, 2009 10:12 AM

    MM to camcord the entire Seinfeld series shows mind-boggling but impressive commitment. Having an extra soundtrack over the top of the fast-talking, wisecracking TV show adds a post modern level that the series producers would probably applaud.

    Nick Clegg made some good points ( for once ) about the Tory MEP’s voting records in Europe on the radio this morning but such is the state of Labour that they could hitch up with proto fascist European parties and no-one would bat an eyelid. Wait a moment…..

  74. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:29 AM

    Al, Private Eye’s coverage of the EU parliament over the last 10 years has made clear that no matter how venal, incompetent and downright loony our lot are, the MEPs are, in the main, even worse…Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, single-issue crackpots, fraudsters, drunks, gay bashers and psychopaths. Caligula would have felt right at home…

  75. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 3, 2009 4:32 PM

    I must be clairvoyant. Squirrel Nutkin bites the the dust leaving Gordon the Owl looking more tattered than ever. A la lanterne!

    I’m not sure if it was a complete Seinfeld, Alg. though it was advertised as such, and contained about 25 DVDs. I only watched the first two episodes: the quality of the recording was so abysmal I lofted it at the first opportunity. For all I know the rest of it was travel documentaries, or homemade porn… maybe a trip to the loft is in order, for research purposes.

  76. June 3, 2009 4:56 PM

    There’s been a piece in Marina Hyde’s Lost in Showbiz blog about ear-plugs to avoid being deafened by distressed pigs. I think we’ll need them soon to avoid the sound of crowing Tories – I leave you to make the connections.

    To think they were dead in the water less than 2 years ago and are now posed not just to get in but to sweep in. That’s some achievement on behalf of Labour – be so bad the blatant faults of others can be ignored in the rush to change something, anything, even if it involves the lot who fucked it up severely for 18 long years.

  77. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 5:21 PM

    That’s the thing, Al. I’ve never voted Tory in my life nor could I ever envisage doing so but by God, I want to see the back of this lot…

  78. June 3, 2009 6:01 PM

    Agreed, I cannot vote tory. So what’s the answer? lib dems?

    The trouble as I see it is that labour are being judged on things which are not particularly of their making. The expenses scandal is due to a flawed system and the banking crisis precipitated by the sub-prime market in the U.S. Although light-touch regulation allowed similar over-lending in this country. Essentially if Labour are accused of letting the banking sector wander unchecked, then this has been New Labour’s tory-esque behaviour, so would the situation really have been any different under the tories? It’s some extremely fortuitous ammunition, that’s all. They can’t fail to hit the target.

    I mean would you want Olly, wet behind the ears, in charge of bringing us out of recession? I’d rather take my chances with this lot.

  79. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 6:10 PM

    Sorry, St.Polly. After 12 years in government, they cannot fucking claim to be victims of a ‘flawed system’ or circumstances beyond their control. Obama could credibly make that claim. Brown and his ship of fools cannot…

    They had 12 goddamn years to repair the system, to properly regulate the City, to bring in electoral reform…and what did they do? Sweet fuck all.

  80. June 3, 2009 7:03 PM

    It’s horribly obvious: people who are desperate for power should never be rewarded with it. Political office should be a conscription of the qualified … then it might work. The current system descends directly from the days when the guys with the bloodiest axes made all the rules and has zero to do with the common good or common sense; our fault for ever thinking those smiles are genuine.

  81. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 7:11 PM

    I’ve been saying the same thing for years, Steven. Anyone evincing a desire for power should automatically be disqualified as being psychologically flawed. Make it like jury duty, i.e. a duty. No get out except in exceptional circumstances. It could only be an improvement…

  82. Pollyanna permalink
    June 3, 2009 7:49 PM

    What I was saying is that the tories, for all DC’s posturing, wouldn’t have done any different would they? so it’s false to use the economic crisis as a selling point for the conservatives. I don’t want the opposition getting in because people are fed up of the current governing party and not because the opposition is actually any better.

    Do people start off in local government or standing as MPs just wanting the power? I dunnow, I suppose they have to be fairly thick-skinned types to be able to handle the campaign trail and therefore they are not exactly going to be easily swayed from their opinions.

    The expenses system was flawed, lots of people were fiddling it, it should have been more closely monitored, it’s a shocking disgrace. yes. But I’d hate to think that we’re going to base our future government on this issue.

  83. June 3, 2009 7:52 PM

    Steven – does such a creature exist? I’ve no desire to wield power ( well within reason ) but have been in plenty of small situations where others have gone on about democracy but as soon it’s been made available to them they don’t pick up the reins and its left to others to muddle along. I think that’s what we have today ( largely of course – in the higher echelons where real power can be wielded you’ll find the machiavelian, the egotists etc. ) I mean fuck it I find organising my own company on top of the work hard enough/ time consuming enough so why would I want to do it for others?

    I’ve never understood why the opportunity to be in power is better than most people eventually thinking that you’re a cunt. The thick skin you need doesn’t seem worth it.

  84. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 7:58 PM

    For God’s sake, St.Polly, that’s the point. Labour did exactly what the Tories would have done–PFI, PPP, war in Iraq, kissing Bush’s arse, privatise everything in sight, move (like Milburn and Hewitt, to name but 2) from ministerial positions to industries that their ministries were responsible for, endless police powers, ad nauseum…

    I suspect you’re too young to remember, but I do. We used to think Michael Howard was the most authoritarian, illiberal Home Secretary we’d ever had. HoHoHo. Compared to Straw, Blunkett, Clarke and Smith, Howard was a fucking Trot. That’s why Labour have to go. They stand for nothing except their own power. They desperately need 10 years in the wilderness to re-discover the meaning of ‘Labour’.

    Of course, what we really need is a philosopher-king, someone like…oh, I dunno…that charming Mishari Al-Adwani springs to mind…

  85. June 3, 2009 8:35 PM

    Mishari I think the problem is lower down. Yes Labour has been a disgrace vis a vis national decisions/the Iraq war/student grants etc. etc. but in many grass roots areas they’ve been the opposite. The problem is that those people are voted out at the first opportunity by an angry electorate even though they’ve done a lot of good.

    Having the Tories in won’t improve that – they are already talking of a necessary austerity which means the poor will suffer whilst those well off will suffer….a bit. I take your anger but I’m not convinced by your solution re: 10 years in the wilderness. The only respite from Thatcher was that local authorities were largely Labour so small victories were possible – that’s gone now.

    You might be the solution but your promises ( Clint Eastwood blogs ) have come to nothing as well. Woe is us.

  86. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 8:48 PM

    I take your point, Al, and it is unfair on local councils. My own local council, Tower Hamlets, despite getting things wrong now and then and despite the petty corruption that seems to be part and parcel of local politics, do a pretty fair job. I voted for my Labour councilor and will again. My disgust and fury is directed at Parliament. All of it. Tory, Labour (LibDems…perhaps less so)…

    I don’t relish the prospect of a Tory government but honestly, how much worse could they be? Of course, what we desperately need is fixed term parliaments (so we know when we can be shot of the fuckers), some form of PR and a system of recall, so venal and useless MPs can be got rid of quickly and by the electorate.

    However, I just can’t contain my revulsion for this government of crooks and slimebags, warmongers, toadies and bankers’s friends.

    I’ll make good on Eastwood soon. I just haven’t had the time…

  87. June 3, 2009 8:58 PM

    Mishari oh they will be worse don’t worry about that. Cameron is Tony Blair without the substance …. yes exactly.

    What we’ve got are a bunch of chiselers getting what they can out the system ( Labour ) and a bunch who aren’t even aware that what they are doing is wrong ( Conservative ) and a bunch who will cosy up to anyone who will give them power ( Lib Dems ).

  88. June 3, 2009 9:00 PM

    “Steven – does such a creature exist?”

    Don’t follow, Al. What sort of creature are you wondering about?

  89. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 9:11 PM

    I suppose Labour could take a leaf out of Ahmedinajad’s playbook:

    Polls quoted by Iran’s English-language news satellite channel, Press TV, last week recorded Mousavi as leading Ahmadinejad by 38% to 34% in the country’s 10 largest cities.

    The president, who has already tried to win support by distributing potatoes and cash to students…

    Cash and potatoes? They’d get my vote…

    But, now, for a blast from the past, Jeff Beck on guitar, Jimmy Page on bass, the Yardbirds doing the old Mose Allison tune:

  90. June 3, 2009 9:29 PM

    Political office being a conscription of the qualified. I’m wondering who they might be. As far as I can see as soon as you stop doing what you are qualified to do you enter the realm of the producer – facilitating others to do it for you or a politician.

  91. June 3, 2009 9:33 PM

    If Ahmadinejad were smart he’d throw some “Heart Full of Soul” in with all that cash ‘n potatoes; look what playing the sax did for that bulbous-nosed redneck BJ Clinton!

  92. June 3, 2009 9:44 PM


    Well, first off, we’d do away with this neolithic ceremonial chieftain bullshit, revealing the fact that running things like the judiciary, healthcare services or the economy, for example, are best done by highly-qualified, though not power mad (and non-partisan) people: there’d be this council of reluctant fucks who actually knew what they were doing… the salary for whatever they’d been doing when they were kidnapped for Public Service would be matched (and not a penny more) and so forth.

    We can’t imagine another system because the personality type (Napoleon Simplex) currently running the game would rather we didn’t. But, again: the system currently in place wouldn’t look entirely unfamiliar to Attila the Hun. We need to go back to those Sci Fi novels from the Golden Age (the ones that gave us the laser, TV, rocket travel, cell phones and PCs, for example) for help in imagining the alternative. I’m pretty sure it’s usually a bunch of older people in white robes at a circular table running things (even works at the galactic level): imagine a sort of wiser, sleeker, more unisex UN… which hadn’t been stupid enough to rent its offices (and hookers) from the US.

  93. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:14 PM

    Fuck politics. Remember The Auteurs and this cracker?

  94. June 3, 2009 10:18 PM

    Steven,, yes I see the theory but my point is that when you run things ( almost but not quite on every level ) you become distanced from the business of doing the thing because you have to legislate, designate etc. As far as I can see an MP is just an exaggerated version that but I think the traps are the same ones – must be because history repeats itself far too frequently.

    Over the years I’ve been asked to work on collaborative shows where the input is supposed to be equal. Collaboration is great but I’ve usually ducked out of these exercises fairly soon into the process because at some point it’s become necessary to allocate jobs and those that write the thing up or do the admin slowly start to bend the project to their needs. They are not on the surface overly or unpleasantly manipulative people but in the end it’s easier to say you do it I’m not interested in pushing my beliefs than it is to stay/ fight/argue/ruin a good friendship.

    Of course it’s easier in a project like I’ve described because the initial impetus to do it isn’t a long-cherished artistic idea rather a curiosity about what it would be like to work with these people – plus they asked.

  95. June 3, 2009 10:21 PM

    Are you making snide remarks about me Mishari.

    Because if you are mother fucker, then I’ll have you!

  96. June 3, 2009 10:23 PM

    Let me define, “I’ll have you. Debate. Any time, anyblog, whenever you like! Fucking bully.

  97. June 3, 2009 10:24 PM

    You and your pathetic little sidekick Mowberry.

  98. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:27 PM

    What on earth are you raving about, you nitwit? Be so good as to cite these ‘snide remarks’…

  99. June 3, 2009 10:30 PM

    I don’t like the way you pick on Susan and I don’t like the way you talk about Des and Wordy and I don’t like your patronising tone when you talk to me. So who does Wordy “fawn” on then?

  100. June 3, 2009 10:32 PM

    Right. We’ll see you shallow entitled arse.

  101. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:34 PM

    Seriously, what the fuck are you talking about? Either explain your ravings or fuck off and don’t come back. Is that clear enough?

  102. June 3, 2009 10:34 PM

    Right. Chicken shit. You don’t even want to debate. Fuck you then you vacuous toad.

  103. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:36 PM

    Is that all? Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck what you like or don’t like, you insufferable, pontificating fucking bore. Bask in all that wordnerd7 ‘mwah-mwah’ shit all you like. You’ve got a stronger stomach than me. Now fuck right off…

  104. June 3, 2009 10:41 PM

    And you are a shit poet. No, I really mean it. You are.

  105. June 3, 2009 10:42 PM

    Perhaps in Arabic you have a little more depth.

  106. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 10:44 PM

    And you’re an infantile twerp. No, I really mean it. You are. Now kindly fuck off. I mean that, too…

  107. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 3, 2009 10:59 PM

    I’m 6′ 4″.

  108. June 3, 2009 10:59 PM

    Erm… hmmm. What were we talking about, Al? League of Nations…?

    How about this:

  109. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 11:05 PM

    Ah, my pathetic little sidekick Mowberry has turned up. Doubtless, awaiting my orders…

  110. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 3, 2009 11:51 PM

    What is your pleasure, your Imperial Majesty? My tongue stands ready to lick the leather of boots or arse.

  111. mishari permalink*
    June 3, 2009 11:55 PM

    No, no…inspired by Prince Peter Kropotkin, I’ve decided to give this ‘equality’ lark a go. You may address me as ‘Sir’. No need for formality, eh?

  112. June 4, 2009 12:02 AM

    Being an afficionado of both the *off piste* and the *surreal*, I’d have to say that these here comment threads are about as entertaining as others that cost ten times more to join.

  113. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 12:07 AM

    I’d like to think we’re the new Vaudeville…

  114. June 4, 2009 12:13 AM

    Re: The Auteurs and Lenny Valentino: the fact that it sounds as though the song makes use of the same chord-riff progression as a tune on my DEATH SONGS LIST… Tommy Tutone’s – 867 5309 (Jenny)… hurts it for me. Ditto Bruce Springsteen’s exhumation same:

  115. June 4, 2009 12:15 AM

    “I’d like to think we’re the new Vaudeville…”

    Caligulan Burlesque…?

  116. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 12:29 AM

    I think Luke Haines wrote more interesting (gnomic) lyrics. Plus, I was an admirer of The Auteurs and his subsequent bands–Black Box Recorder and Baader-Meinhof. Still, I do like that Tommy Tutone track…

  117. June 4, 2009 12:48 AM

    (Tries to think of impressively corrosive/unrebuttable ad hominem before exiting in a Tutone-propelled, door-slamming huff)

  118. June 4, 2009 12:50 AM

    (Ed. : can you edit in a worthy ad hom for me? Something really creative and fairly sophisticated? Thanks)

  119. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 1:08 AM

    I was being a tad sarcastic. That 867-5309/Jenny song drove me insane with fucking irritation back when it was inescapable (in the US–early 80s, I think). A bit unfair to Springsteen, though. He’s done some great stuff over the years….

  120. pinkroom9 permalink
    June 4, 2009 7:52 AM

    Boys, boys…

    I may be wrong but I always thought Suzan was Des’s (absolutely hilarious… on all kinds of levels) imaginary girlfriend?

    It seems a little silly to fall out over “her”.

  121. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:09 AM

    The puzzling thing is that I mentioned ‘suzan’ exactly once, in a single line, about five months ago: ditto Des. Poor ISA. I think he must have been drunk. Mind you, the sheer hypocrisy grates, too. He feels perfectly at liberty to hand out abuse to anyone who displeases him but if I do it, I’m a monster.

    That and his incessant God-bothering have finally pushed him over the edge. He now writes long blog posts addressed to dead people and encourages us all to join blog-hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ while abominating Darwin, Dawkins and Pullman.

    Fuck that for a lark.

  122. June 4, 2009 8:26 AM


    Ha ha! I know, I know. I was being a flamewar vaudevillian.


    Suze and Des are together in the real world and I “like” (as well as I like any people I’ve never actually met) both of them! Never did any harm, or irritated me, either one of them. But there will always be conflicts of affiliation, online and off, and one person’s reasons for *not* liking someone else are as valid as the other’s for liking them. I think a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is wise when there’s a conflict.

    What I found creepy in this last flare-up was the passive-aggressive, Janus-faced, forked-tongue approach that ISA was building up to his door-slamming apotheosis with; all the way back to his posting that weird cluster of Cat Steven videos a week or so ago…I couldn’t quite tell if they were a goad or a simpering sop. Yeah, and offering someone out online is always ridiculous, isn’t it? I’ve been offered-out half a dozen times this year already and I’m pretty sure it’s always from tiny fellers or couch potatoes or oldish men who’d shit their pants if I suddenly materialized on the doorstep.

    If a site’s host irritates you, why post there? I don’t get that one. I’d say the thing that makes most sense (and this is the beauty of virtual, zero-stakes transactions) is to steer clear. Because otherwise you’ll look a perfect cunt when, after several weeks of jokey feints and pantomime parries, you try to make a virtue of hurling everything but the kitchen sink on the way out.

    Yes, and life is short. I post/read here because I enjoy the consistent level of wit on display. I’ll hang around until the wit dries up or M becomes a Scientologist… but my disappearance (should the time come) will be a low-key affair. I promise you.

  123. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:33 AM

    You sound like a man who needs a personality test and what’s this? I detect a large swelling in your bank account. This is very troubling. It should be removed. I can help, Steven…

  124. June 4, 2009 8:41 AM

    Beyond everyone’s comments on King Crimson, Terry Gilliam etc. etc. I don’t really “know” any of you so it’s a bit pointless getting into personal abuse over “relationships” that aren’t anything beyond a lively exchange of views.

    Today’s non-provocation. Bruce Springsteen is the pits for me. Nothing worse than low-key subjects puffed up into stadium rock where the method of presentation – rock band as remote gods seperated from the audience by vast PA system and lighting that drains the national grid – somewhat contradicts the message. He may be more sincere than yer average stadium rocker but it’s the testosterone heavy method that does it for me.

  125. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:43 AM

    Listen to Nebraska, Al, and forget the ‘stadium’ persona…

  126. pinkroom9 permalink
    June 4, 2009 8:57 AM

    Yes… I too sense a supper “without the coffee”.

    Hi SA

    Are Des n’ Suz a real couple… they seem unlikely but maybe the joke’s on me???

    I “like” them too, either way… as this genuinely kooky, impossible pair of loved-up innocents/dreamers or as the hard working confection of a fast-typing bed-sit fantasist (him misunderstood seer/artist from rain-sodden islands, she jet-setting seeker of beauty from the mystic east…) Both work for me, but ISA and Wordy’s “belief” in/ manic defence of them seems er… strange, at best.

  127. June 4, 2009 9:04 AM

    “Beyond everyone’s comments on King Crimson, Terry Gilliam etc. etc. I don’t really ‘know’ any of you so it’s a bit pointless getting into personal abuse over ‘relationships’ that aren’t anything beyond a lively exchange of views.”

    Ditto to that, Al.

    What’s disturbing is that according to Blanqui’s theory all this idiocy may be repeating itself endlessly in numberless mirror worlds beyond the stars. Where there may be numberless King Crimsons and Neil Youngs:

    Mish, rarely since the Duke of Buckingham’s disastrous folly of an expedition four centuries ago has anyone come back from the Ile de Ré to a greater ruckus. But I’m sure the impresario in you has planned it all merely for our entertainment. Almost as much fun as a train wreck like this one:

  128. June 4, 2009 9:13 AM


    One of my (sweetly futile) little triumphs was in making a Scientologist go ballastic, right there in public, in front of one of their book-laden tables, once. Better’d only by the expression on the little old Jehovah’s Witness lady’s face when I told her “you’ve got five seconds to fuck off”…. (well, that last one was a daydream… but one day….)

  129. June 4, 2009 9:20 AM

    btp Will Self had a theory about idiocy – he didn’t write about it as well as he should have but it was along the lines of there being a finite number of idiots in the world. As soon as one beccomes intelligent through education/whatever someone, somewhere else dumbs down to fill their shoes. I’m sure it’s not an original thought – I often feel that with Self who seems more of a channel for interesting ideas rather than an originator – but it has a charm to it.

  130. June 4, 2009 9:27 AM


    The idea has a certain appealing fairness about it, though one might, upon the evidence, add in an element of two steps forward, three back. Ah well…

  131. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 9:36 AM

    I think I’ll let Groucho speak for me:

  132. June 4, 2009 4:25 PM

    I suggest we find one of the many exciting new species being discovered to take over as our political class. My vote goes to the palm tree that ‘flowers itself to death’.

    I stumbled on this as part of my job. Never ask me what my job is.

  133. June 4, 2009 5:24 PM

    XB Job? Is that what you call it? God knows I can waste time on the net. But you get paid for it. Respect!!!!

  134. June 4, 2009 5:32 PM

    Believe me, Al, an article about a new kind of slug is often the highlight of my working day.

  135. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 5:49 PM

    Al, do pop over to XB’s revenants&rigamaroles blog. XB’s started what I think is an interesting ball rolling. Can a novel be transcendant in the way other works of art can and if not, why not. I’d be interested to hear what you think, given your in-depth knowledge of art…

  136. June 4, 2009 7:54 PM

    XB About 10 years ago I bought a book on slugs for a dear, now alas departed artist who worked with us and who was enthusiastic about all things slug.

    We have leopard slugs in our kitchen – no idea how they get in, no idea where they hide but if you turn on the light at about 1.00 in the morning you can find the buggers everywhere.

  137. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:07 PM

    As slug afficianados, you and XB will want to see this. I think I might have to order it.

  138. June 4, 2009 8:11 PM

    Hello all,

    I don’t have time to catch up on the chat here, but it’s been bothering me all day that I noticed this morning what I suspect were old arguments between ISA and Mish. I just wanted to clarify that I didn’t mean to start it up again, I don’t really know what it’s about, I’m sorry if I’ve been involved in any bullying because I don’t condone it. I do believe in people being able to express their opinions though, especially on there own blogs. I don’t want to be involved really.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      June 4, 2009 11:34 PM

      I enjoyed bullying at school, but you don’t get many good opportunities in what passes for the adult world. I don’t think you could describe anything which happens here as bullying. The notion is absurd.

  139. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:17 PM

    Relax, kiddo. It was inevitable and had sod all to do with you.

    This may be painful for slug fanciers:

  140. June 4, 2009 8:20 PM

    I particularly enjoyed the still of the toilet covered in slugs in that link. Sounds preposterously good but aren’t slugs pretty easy to run away from? Especially small slugs. If it was a giant slug it would be a different story.

    Anywhichways lets hope it’s as good as Tremors – one of my all time trashy faves.

  141. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 8:26 PM

    I dunno, Al…an enraged and mutated slug might prove very nippy.
    Tremors is great fun. I notice that The Machinist is on Film4 tonight. If you haven’t seen it, Al, it’s well worth watching.

  142. June 4, 2009 8:55 PM

    I would pay good money to see a furious slug. When I pick them up and easyjet them out the window I’ve no idea what mood they are in.

    Thanks for Machinist recommend – it’s on late and I’ve a long day of work and performance tomorrow so I’ll have to wait til they show it again – as they usually do on FilmFour. Back on Monday most likely – hope the weekend is quiet cyberspace-wise.

  143. Zephirine permalink
    June 4, 2009 10:02 PM

    Alarming – don’t put them out of the window, they’ll come back, slugs and snails have a homing instinct. Put salt on them. They’ll kind of melt and deliquesce, leaving a thoroughly disgusting blob of snotlike stuff on your kitchen floor, but they won’t be back (though their relatives might be).

    If anybody feels like cake after that, I have a friendly cake poem challenge over on :)

  144. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 10:19 PM

    I already posted one, zeph. Rubbish, of course…oh, well

    Hahahahaha…the vile James Purnell has jumped ship. A man so odious, he makes Brown look like Pericles…

  145. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 4, 2009 10:53 PM

    Mowberry crumble

    When young the mowberry is hard and sour,
    a little piquant with a hint of heat,
    once ripened it has a smoother flavour
    and its firm flesh is succulent and sweet.

    Crushed and mixed with gin it makes good cocktails,
    with a cool finish and a little sidekick,
    as a ladies’ persuader it never fails
    though with chaps it’s totally pathetic.

    As one might expect a fine aphrodisiac,
    but also, mixed with a neutral medium,
    an excellent rub for crotch and ball-sac
    (apply with jerks of finger and thumb).

    The mowberry used to be found in tarts,
    but is rarely seen in kitchens today.
    In Autumn it grows wrinkled and bitter,
    and falls to the ground where it rots away.

  146. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 10:57 PM

    Mowberry, you are an excellent minion–cringing, fawning, biddable. Sadly, you’re not very bright. You’re supposed to post the poem on zeph’s blog, you nit.

  147. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 4, 2009 11:13 PM

    My sincerest apologies, sire. However, may I respectfully point out that my pathetic offering is not about cake, as such, but soft fruit. I shall do everything in my power to think up a non-lecherous poem about cake. It will be difficult.

    When old men have consumed a slice of cake,
    Then lascivious thoughts in them awake.

    As Webster has it.

  148. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 11:17 PM

    I suppose you’re right. Mowberry Fruit Cake, then…

    Did Webster really say that? Is that The Duchess of Malfi fellow or am I confusing him with someone else?

  149. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 4, 2009 11:36 PM

    Mick Webster. Used to work down the greengrocer’s.

  150. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 11:42 PM

    Go back to your garden shed, MM, and prepare for government. Gordon should be ringing any minute. Home Sec. Mowbray…it has a certain ring, I think.(The bugger will probably make virginity and sobriety illegal–Ed.)

  151. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 4, 2009 11:54 PM

    Soon there will just be Gordon sitting at the cabinet table. Talking to himself.

  152. mishari permalink*
    June 4, 2009 11:56 PM

    …and to us, unfortunately.

  153. June 5, 2009 2:00 AM

    Ok I’ve caught up here now, as much as anyone ever could catch up anyway. I was not suggesting that I’d seen bullying here, but just that I didn’t condone it generally. Personally I feel bullied by what Suzan said about me. I don’t hold myself out as being “first-rate” so I don’t have a problem with being called second-rate, she’s entitled to her opinion.

  154. mishari permalink*
    June 5, 2009 2:11 AM

    St. Polly, to be called ‘second-rate’ is an insult I think you can bear coming from someone who writes like this:

    My shock when I grabbed your arm and your haste when in this sudden struggle, you toppled my coffee. The hot fluid spiralled upwards, and then shot down. My teacup crashed to the floor. Its ear-splitting wail thundered the volume of my fears. I stared dazed at this flood of black spill and scattered smithereens.

    I grappled with my strange new abandonment.

    You, on the other hand, dodged my astonishment and stayed blind to my disbelief.

    You chose to say nothing except to offer a small tight smile and mull at the possibility of a cruel handshake.

    Your eyes softened, hardened, receded, then turned away. You straightened your shoulders and brushed your collar free of any leftover reminiscence. To the unseen stranger, you appeared to stride off with alacrity, so deft were your movements.

    Of course, I understood.

    Enraptured and drugged by love, I appealed for the unexpected.

    How did you know I desired to strip with a vengeance? To shed my clothes like a chameleon undresses in daylight. A crab has more dignity and hides away. I have none.

    My hidden senses begged to be babied with this fabric as a sheath for hot flesh, over my eager body. Closed eyes to rock my teasing passion and caresses to heighten yours. Your skin to iron mine, steamed with ardour, sweaty with scent, drained in strength.

    A friend of mine sent me this e-mail last year, alerting me to the gold-mine of humour I was missing:


    Hi Mishari

    I’m finding suzan abrams rants highly amusing….her blog (link at end of this email) has for a long while been on my favourites list as one of the funniest so-bad-it’s-great sites on the web – it’s well worth reading back over old entries. She has elevated fey to an artform; a few nights ago, *_________ laughed so much reading some of the latest entries that I feared for her health….

    *his wife

  155. June 5, 2009 10:08 AM

    (Ionesco Dali’s non sequitur service rings the bell gingerly):

    How did I miss this when it came out?

  156. June 5, 2009 10:30 AM

    Mish, I see your point – I wouldn’t call that any more classy than my tripe-laden storywriting attempts!

    I don’t half feel better now, plus I’ve withdrawn from that collaborative blog and I shall merrily add my rants to my “long-winded” and second rate blog.

  157. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 5, 2009 10:38 AM

    I won’t hear a word against the lovely Suzan: anyone who loves my work can’t be all bad.

  158. June 5, 2009 10:45 AM


    If there’s a man you can trust to tell the truth about rock stars, it’s a roadie called ‘Tappy’ with a book to sell.

  159. June 5, 2009 10:47 AM

    That’s exactly what I was thinking, XB!

  160. mishari permalink*
    June 5, 2009 11:00 AM

    Yeah, I saw that. It was so bleeding obvious, I didn’t think it was worth mentioning. As XB says, if you can’t trust a drink-sodden roadie from the 60s– named ‘Tappy’–who can you trust?

    BTW, I think this recent photo of ISA helps explain his recent bizzare behaviour…

    Meanwhile, gay rights activists have struck a blow for gay penguins everywhere…

    And plucky New Zealand told the lobster-abusing Japanese where they get off:

    The Boston Globe, CHARLES RADIN, Globe Staff

    TOKYO — For Brits in Hong Kong, Yanks in China and Aussies in Malaysia, these are tough times for Westerners trying to convince Asians of the value of Western values.

    But that is not stopping John Banks, the tourism minister of New Zealand, from speaking out against Japanese cruelty to crustaceans.

    PS: According to reliable information that I’m making up as I go along, our beloved freep has been offered a post in Gordon Brown’s cabinet as Minister For Walking The Dog and Occasionally Throwing A Stick. This is good news. Britain leads the world in this field and we must not lose our competitive edge.

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