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The High Window

September 11, 2009

Marked In Indigo


“In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man.

He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honour — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honour in one thing, he is that in all things.

He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks — that is, with a rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.

The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.” — from The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler (November 1945, The Atlantic Monthly).

Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit. –Aristotle

Why worry? Why be doubtful or confused? Why be gnawed by suspicion? Consult cool, careful, confidential, discreet investigator. George Anson Phillips. Glenview 9521. –Raymond Chandler, The High Window (1943)

Why worry? Why be doubtful and confused? Why be gnawed by suspicion? Consult cockeyed, careless, clubfooted, dissipated investigator. Philip Marlowe, Glenview 7537. See me and you meet the best cops in town. Why despair? Why be lonely? Call Marlowe and watch the wagon come.–Raymond Chandler, The High Window

Some 65 years ago, author and critic Edmund Wilson (‘Bunny’ to his friends) used his regular New Yorker column, ‘Books’, to villify crime writing. Between the end of 1944 and early 1945 he wrote three columns in which he launched a vitriolic attack on detective fiction and those who read it. (In an error-filled column later in 1945, Wilson dismissed the writing of H. P. Lovecraft as “hackwork”.)

The columns: “Why Do People Read Detective Stories?”, “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd: A Second Report on Detective Fiction”, “Mr. Holmes, They Were the Footprints of a Gigantic Hound”, were, in turn, mean-spirited, ignorant, contradictory and illogical. Wilson is mostly forgotten now (hands up everyone who’s read To The Finland Station. No? Memoirs of Hecate County? No? Oh, well…) while the objects of his scorn, writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Agatha Christie are still read by millions. Sorry, Bunny.

It’s worth mentioning because I believe Wilson’s essays had a powerful and long-lasting effect on the reading public or rather, that part of the reading public that shapes opinion and the attitudes of editors and publishers.

The after-effect is with us still. Crime fiction is regarded as somehow less worthy of thoughtful consideration and criticism than so-called ‘serious’ fiction despite the fact that one Raymond Chandler novel is worth everything that Iris Murdoch ever wrote…and then some.

My introduction to crime fiction (or what I think of as ‘modern’ crime fiction) was courtesy of my mother, who has eclectic tastes. Her shelves contained the country-house, locked-room, Col. Mustard-with-the-candlestick stuff of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Mary Roberts Rinehart alongside the almost psychopathic brutalism of James Hadley Chase and James M. Cain, the simplistic and jingoistic thrillers of Edgar Wallace and the complex, subtle works of Simenon and Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Somehow, my mother had missed Chandler and Hammett. I discovered them on my own, especially Chandler.

My discovery of Chandler was a game-changer for me. Suddenly, here was crime fiction that could hold its head up in any company. My discovery came about like this: as a 16 year-old in Kuwait, I was in the habit of driving over to the Sheraton Hotel most mornings and installing myself by the pool, there to read and swim and smoke cigarettes in what I fondly imagined was a tough/urbane/suave manner.

It wasn’t any paucity of swimming pools that drove me to the Sheraton; no. What the Sheraton had was, for a 16 year-old with raging hormones, one irresistible advantage over other available pools. Air hostesses. Lots of them.

All the airlines put their flight crews up at the Sheraton for lay-overs and the pool fairly pullulated with pulchritude of a morning. The girls, many of them not much older than myself, were friendly and chatty and…well, anyway. On my way into the hotel in the morning, I’d stop off at the news-kiosk/bookshop in the lobby and pick up the papers. On my out, I’d stop and peruse the books.

One day, as I scanned the books on offer, a garishly covered paperback caught my eye. A violently day-glo orchid, a man’s tortured face in profile, a gun, a palm tree. It was The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, a Doubleday paperback. I’d never heard of him but the enthusiastic encomiums on the back cover persuaded me. I took it home and started reading it. I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. I was enthralled. The laconic private eye, Philip Marlowe, delivered the narration with a wry, knowing wit. The dialogue had a snap and crackle like nothing I’d read before. It was the opposite of the long-established whodunit. Nobody, least of all the reader, gave a damn whodunit.

It whetted my appetite for a new kind of crime fiction and that appetite grew. The next morning, I was in the Sheraton’s lobby, waiting for the news kiosk to open. I bought every Chandler they had (and they had most of them). I read and re-read them compulsively. That was 40 years ago. I re-read them all recently and they’re every bit as good as I remembered them.

Down these mean blogs a poet must go…so give us a Chandler-esque poem

The Big Sleep

The dream’s always the same:
the alley at night,
the dame, the pooled blood
reflecting the light,
the gun in my pocket:
the perfect frame.
The one thing the cops know for sure
is my name.

The hiss of cars on a rainy street,
the squeal of tires braking hard,
the voice in my head says you’re anyone’s meat
she lied and she lied:
time to turn a new card.

Break for the border, down Mexico way
bribable cops and no questions asked
always some space for a man with no name
a man with no face, no ties and no past.

Even down south, the shadows are deep,
the sand blows in under the door while you sleep,
the grit that disturbs you’s a capital crime
that robs you of solace and murders your time.

Our friend Tom Clark wrote a very fine Chandler-esque poem HERE. Puts my paltry effort into context, sadly…

  1. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 11, 2009 1:56 AM

    The Lost Sleep

    The old detective’s face is made of sand,
    some kind of tide has set it for the day.
    He holds a folded paper in his hand
    the turned down headline states: FALL FOUL PLAY.
    The clue for five across, of pork or fruit,
    has been troubling him like a ticking clock –
    (much like his toenail turning at the root
    or that discharge of mucus from his cock),
    and the sunlight with its lines far too straight
    (casting both light and shadow through the blinds),
    and even the dull coals behind the grate
    or the scattered circles of lemon rinds
    across the bar – all itching in his head,
    a cryptic ouija from the unsolved dead.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  2. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 7:52 AM

    On the front page of GU today:

    PM apologises to codebraker Turing

    Codebraker? For fuck’s sake…and how exactly does the PM apologise to a man 50 years dead? A ouija board? The Grauniad becomes more illiterate by the week.

  3. September 11, 2009 10:04 AM

    My eyes were on stalks
    At the two boiled eggs in a handkerchief
    They were two boiled eggs in a handkerchief
    Not a woman’s bottom.

  4. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 11:17 AM

    Up to a point, Lord Mishari. Not only have I read To The Finland Station (one-time essential for young revolutionaries) and Memoirs of Hecate County (essential for young smuthounds of the 60s), I’ve also read Axel’s Castle, which used to be a near-compulsory text for Eng Lit students. The Wilson-Nabokov letters are well worth a dekko. A trenchant and witty writer.

    I must have come across Chandler at the same time as you (though my local swimming pool was mainly inhabited by squawking adolescent girls and sad old homosexuals). As a terrible literary snob at the time I don’t know how I got started on him. I’m glad I did.

    Nice poem, Jack. God you are quick on the draw.

  5. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 11:28 AM

    I’ve read all of the ones you mention, too, MM. I admire Wilson in many ways, but he was a bit too much the East Coast, Ivy League literary prig, a serious failing I think. I also found it amusing that he had the temerity to argue with Nabokov re: the latter’s translation of Eugene Onegin. I mean, let’s face it….

  6. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 11:45 AM

    Yes, fair enough. His attitude to detective fiction showed a distinct lack of imagination, and Nabokov ran rings round him.

    I didn’t think much of Playback, though it’s a long time since I read it. The film version I liked best, and this may be controversial, is the Long Goodbye with Elliot Gould. The scene where Marty smashes the Coke bottle in the girl’s face almost made me faint the first time I saw it.

  7. September 11, 2009 12:09 PM

    I’ve seen the Elliot Gould Long Goodbye several times and watching it is like being drunk – the snippets of dialogue and sound from unexpected sources and the fact that it’s been edited from a lot of footage of improvisation on set give it a real boozy hungover quality.

    But for pure Chandler I like the Bogart Big Sleep – so labyrithine and so entertaining in its labyrinthine-ness that the plot goes out the window without you worrying.

  8. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 12:15 PM

    Playback was the last one he completed and far and away the least fully realised. But by that time, Chandler was tired, ill and near death…and he’d never really got over the loss of his beloved wife, Cissy.

    For me, the canon is all the novels up until Playback. The short fiction that he wrote for the pulps is interesting insofar as it shows the character of Marlowe being developed in various precursors– John Dalmas, etc.

    The film version that was most faithful was the Dick Powell version of Farewell, My Lovely, although I’ve got a soft spot for the Robert Mitchum version simply because Mitchum was just so right for Marlowe and Charlotte Dumpling was very tasty. Bogart was good and I love the Hawks Big Sleep but it played fast and loose with the characters.

    Funny story…William Faulkner and Leigh Bracket, who wrote the screenplay for The Big Sleep, rang up Chandler one day because they were stumped…”Ray, we need to know who killed the Sternwood’s chauffeur.” Replied Chandler, “I have no idea.” Making the point, really, that plot was of little importance in Chandler’s novels.

    I, too, really enjoyed the Altman version, even though, at first, I regarded it as rank heresy…

  9. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 12:20 PM

    I seem to remember there was a lot of discussion at the time about the way that Altman recorded the sound for the film. Watching it on TV I’ve never noticed much difference from any other film. I haven’t tried it on my new monster TV yet, which has a reasonable sound system.

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 12:22 PM

    Charlotte Dumpling? Is that a real name?

  11. September 11, 2009 12:32 PM

    A bit libellous to Charlotte Rampling I would say – unless of course you mean dumpling in a more cerebral/sensuous way. Cue long PotW style “debate” with leading debaters stubbornly refusing to stand down from their respective positions. deadgod is very good isn’t he/she? even though I struggle to understand a lot ( okay most ) of what he/she says.

  12. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 12:39 PM

    I mean dumpling as in Sezchuan spicy dumpling–a taste treat, delicious and very more-ish. No slur on the delectable Ms. Rampling intended.

    I saw her recently in film, title escapes me. She plays an English novelist recharging her batteries at her publisher’s French country home when said publisher’s daughter, (who’s no better than she ought to be, the tramp) shows up…quite enjoyed it and Ms. Dumpling was very good.

  13. September 11, 2009 12:43 PM

    Altman miked up lots of areas of the set and encouraged improvisation ( to a degree ) and then used the best bits of all the recordings rather than just the scripted bits by the relevant actors in the scene. It gives a more impressionist effect to the soundtrack.

    Martin Parr the photographer made some lovely little films for the Beeb. He said the best advice he had from a film-maker was that if you get the sound right the camerawork can be wobbly and a bit loose. Interesting comment – when I did some workshops with art students about performance I used to get them to act out a non-dramatic scene and then give it a soundtrack. I got them to do this 5 times – each time the scene remained the same but the soundtrack was different – one was heavy metal, another was the sound of swarming bees another was a Rio carnival tune. Amazing how the sound/music affected what you saw without anything changing in terms of action.

  14. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 12:59 PM

    I think you’re absolutely right, Al. The importance of the soundtrack to the overall impression a film makes is too little remarked on.

    Like you, I find deadgod interesting, when I can understand what s/he is saying. I think dg’s perfectly correct about Neetchy–all his writing of ‘the will’ and ‘the superman’ triumphing over ‘the underman’ was about the personal, not the political, about defeating our baser selves and rising up. Poor Fred…doomed to be misunderstood by Adolf Hitler and ATF…

  15. September 11, 2009 1:09 PM

    Wasn’t “The Butler did it ” originally a Chandler comment in response to Faulkner’s question about the denouement of the Big Sleep?

  16. Captain Ned permalink
    September 11, 2009 1:47 PM

    I heard his response was something like, ‘Don’t ask me, I’m just the fucking writer.’

    No read any Chandler, I’m sorry to say. But ‘Farewell, My Lovely/Murder, My Sweet’, ‘The Big Sleep’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’ are three of my favourite films. The first has Claire Trevor in it, which is always a big plus. The second has wonderful dialogue, particularly ‘I can see you don’t like my manners. I don’t like them myself. I grieve over them on long winter evenings’ (from possibly faulty memory).

    ‘The Long Goodbye’ is one of Altman’s very best, but it was savaged when it came out; Michael Billington called it ‘a spit in the eye to a great writer.’ I think its brilliance is more recognised these days. What an actor Elliot Gould could have become if only he hadn’t been such an egomaniac nutcase.

  17. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 1:57 PM

    You’re memory serves you well, Ned. The line is straight out of the book. I urge you to read, in no particular order, The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, The High Window, The Little Sister, The Lady In The Lake and Farewell, My Lovely. You’re missing out.

    BTW, did you happen to catch Jonathan Meades’ wonderfully scathing riff on Donald Trump and the new dispensation the other night?

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 2:33 PM

    I second the Prince on Chandler, Captain, and I’m not just cringing.

    What a day for atf. Caned on POTW, then Rock for PPoems. Dum dum dum…

  19. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 3:02 PM

    Remind me…are rocks symbolic of an inherently fascistic aesthetic? Or is that the Olympic Games?

  20. September 11, 2009 5:10 PM

    I shadowed this dame
    It was better than work
    For some dope in insurance
    And a sweat and a tie

    I whistled at her photo
    He called me a jerk
    Then whispered he knew
    She was sweet with some guy

    Say, how come her sweet makes
    You come over sour?
    I said, jokes are extra
    You’ll see on my invoice

    As I crossed the driveway
    It started to shower
    The seats didn’t match
    In his hearse-black Rolls Royce

    I tailed her from salon to boutique
    To club
    Kept close behind and so
    Kept the best view

    The bouncer, an ex-cop pal
    Slipped me a stub
    These joints are too fancy
    For me to stroll through

    No dame is one-faced
    That I’d wager a buck on
    But she was more faced
    Than a dodecahedron

    Was she sweet on the guy
    That her doll-face was stuck on?
    I can’t say, but the lies
    That she told him were legion

    I listened from over
    The brim of my glass
    How her husband was rich
    But a lame-horse-on-better

    She captured my glance
    And I hoped it would pass
    But she scowled, grabbed her coat
    Her beaux gave her a letter

    I waited then exited
    Into the rain
    She called from the shadows
    And waved the epistle

    Is this what you want, Joe?
    I answered her plain:
    Well, I’ll teach you to read
    If you’ll teach me to whistle

    I know you’re employed
    By my husband, she purred
    So let’s keep this nice
    And I’ll save you some trouble

    I won’t lie about what I’ve done,
    You’ve inferred
    So feed him some line and
    I’ll see you paid double

    That’s not how I work, see
    I’ve taken the job, miss
    You’re wilder than some
    Frontier-crazed Davy Crockett

    I seized her hips, pressed in
    And gave her a kiss
    She pulled back but that letter
    Had jumped to my pocket

    It read: ‘Mister, your wife
    Is a two-timing floozy
    I know this comes hard
    And your heart must be dashed

    Bu here’s worse, they rode
    In your Rolls nice and boozy
    I passed as they kissed and
    I stopped when they crashed

    She sure is persuasive
    When covered in blood
    She begged me for silence
    She offered her beauty

    The lady’s got charms
    I ain’t some stone-cold dud
    But I need some green
    To stay on the QT’

    The lover was buried
    Out somewhere up county
    The car was repaired PDQ
    On the sly

    The witness demurred on what
    He’d take for bounty
    The husband, when told
    Was too dumb to reply

    My work done, case closed up
    I headed for home
    Or for Sam’s Bar, that’s close enough
    Just down the street

    But something was rattling
    Away in my dome
    The puzzle had holes in
    It wasn’t complete

    No desk-bound insurance man
    Drives a black Rolls
    His Farrah slacks
    Told me his cupboard was bare

    The dough was on her side
    All Daddy King Cole’s
    As new love had dwindled
    So had my man’s share

    I worked on a hunch but
    I showed her the missive
    She paled, looked away
    Took a shot, gave a curse:

    ‘I cheated but loved
    And love turned me submissive
    The letter confessed love,
    I thought, nothing worse’

    I lit her a cigarette,
    Then one for me
    Said Baby-face, hubby’s
    Been after your loot

    This gigolo hustler
    Seduced you for free
    They both loaded the gun
    And it’s you that they’ll shoot

    See, they faked the letter
    They knew that I’d see it
    Just like I saw the new seats in
    The Rolls

    So I could bear witness to
    Their bullshit story
    Let dum-dum here plug up
    The leaks and the holes

    But how would they kill me?
    She clung to my arm
    You’d jump from the bridge
    With that note in your stocking

    You’d do it for shame
    To save hubby harm
    But don’t sweat it now, babe
    It’s just life, it ain’t shocking

    She thanked me, she kissed me
    I breathed her perfume
    I pulled out my pistol
    And threw it aside

    Who knows what was true
    I don’t care or assume
    Where there’s money and dames
    Then all certainties slide

  21. September 11, 2009 5:16 PM

    Hold your horses atf is trying for a last minute winner on PotW. The hole s/he’s digging must be as deep as the mountains that kick-started the whole debate are high.

  22. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 5:25 PM

    Bravo, XB…a noir epic.

    Poor atf..she’s game, though, you’ve got to give her that…

    Oh, dear…I just checked it out…this reeks of desperation. Conceding defeat gracefully is not atf’s outstanding talent, is it?

  23. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 8:07 PM

    Subtextual analysis

    Broads. They’re all the same.
    Show you the honey,
    start playing their games,
    steal all your money.

    They’ll run you round
    in a gruelling chase
    when you’re on the ground
    they’ll walk on your face.

    Take Velma Valento,
    she loved him, she said.
    So what do you know?
    She shot the Moose dead.

    So take my advice,
    get a man instead,
    they shoot straight dice,
    and they’re better in bed.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2009 8:12 PM

    Hot stuff, exitb.

  25. Captain Ned permalink
    September 11, 2009 8:56 PM

    I missed Meades, Mishari. It clashed with the football, and my flatmate was set on watching that. I retired. It was disconcerting to see on the Torygraph site that Simon Heffer, of all people, is a Meades fan.

    Some very fine poems here.

  26. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2009 9:07 PM

    You can watch it HERE, Ned…some very good stuff in it, as one would expect.

    Jesus, Heffer? Ah, well..I suppose even Heffalump gets something right once in a blue moon. Even a blind pig finds an apple now and then…

  27. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 12:18 AM

    Just had to finish Reenimus’ thing on PP.

    Across the square a boulder flew
    And cracked the woman’s skull in two.
    Oh for Christ’s sake, mum, Jesus said,
    My relatives aren’t included.

    Old but gold.

  28. September 12, 2009 12:26 AM

    Completely agree, Mishari, Chandler is The Man. Thanks for a nice piece about him. I love all that stuff, film noir, hard-boiled fiction, the films and the books. For me, The Big Sleep is a nearly perfect film though it isn’t quite the book, and Bogart is certainly the nearest to Marlowe. The Long Goodbye takes the genre into a new dimension, I think: it is a proper novel which happens to have a crime story in it but also has things to say about friendship and illusion.

    Great poem from ExitB, captures the atmosphere. I’ve made a desultory effort to write something but great Chandler quotes just keep coming into my head instead:

    “You go too far, Marlowe.”
    “Those are harsh words to throw at a man, especially when he’s walking out of your bedroom.”

    “First they’ll knock your teeth out and then they’ll punch you in the stomach for mumbling.”

    “He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”

    “From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

    “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

    “What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you.”

    He also wrote extremely well about writing, the well-known essay you quote but there are many useful and insightful thoughts in his letters too.

  29. pinkroom permalink
    September 12, 2009 12:36 AM

    The Strange Case of the Stolen Embarrasment

    Nobody calling.
    In shirt-sleeves I boiled.
    My afternoon date,
    with Wild Turkey called,

    when into my office
    strode some wild-eyed Joe
    a moustache like road-kill
    screaming some ‘ Doe.

    “Some schwienhunt has stole it,
    my glory, my pride,
    I vance vaz der only vern
    – he flaunts it, so schnide!”

    He paid by the hour,
    so I took time to find
    the deadbeat who pinched it:
    The Nietzche of Shannon-side.

    The sap got the lowdown,
    ‘Shave it, or die,
    you mess with these squareheads
    down mountains they’ll fly.

    I fought in the first war…
    it aint worth a light;
    and the truth of it buddy?
    …the ‘strainer looks shite.”

    So I brought Herr the hair home
    in two flour sacks;
    was paid off in ten-spots
    I blew down the track.

  30. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 12, 2009 1:32 AM

    Nice to see all this chat on Chandler, I’ve been a fan of his work since I first discovered him in my teens as well. Loved many of the earlier movie versions, but also Altman’s The Long Goodbye, which I first saw at the Essential Cinema Club in Wardour Street well over thirty years ago.

    Nice poetry here too, but I’ve been quite ill with headaches all day so I’ll have to take my time with the poems again maybe in the morning, for now my head’s still thumping. I see that Poster Poems is up again with a new theme. I’ll check in here again tomorrow…

    Jack Brae

  31. pinkroom permalink
    September 12, 2009 7:18 AM

    Typo, or something’s eating my e’s. That should be “deadbeat” of course but deadbat is strangely arresting. The image of a huge-moustached flying mammal hanging, inverted and lifeless in some Limerick ruin (there are many) is one I might run with.

  32. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 8:06 AM

    Chandler is just so damn quotable, Zeph. You come across great lines on every other page. For anyone who’s not read Chandler, I thought it might be worth posting the first few paragraphs that I ever read, all those years ago. Perhaps you’ll see just why Chandler sank a hook into me:

    The first time I laid eyes on Terry Lennox he was drunk in a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith outside the terrace of The Dancers. The parking lot attendant had brought the car out and he was still holding the door open because Terry Lennox’s left foot was still dangling outside, as if he had forgotten he had one. He had a young-looking face but his hair was bone white. You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline, but otherwise he looked like any other nice young guy in a dinner jacket who had been spending too much money in a joint that exists for that purpose and for no other.

    There was a girl beside him. Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink that almost made the Rolls Royce look like just another automobile. It didn’t quite. Nothing can.

    The attendant was the usual half-tough character in a white coat with the name of the restaurant stitched across the front of it in red. He was getting fed up.
    “Look, mister,” he said with an edge to his voice, “would you mind a whole lot pulling your leg into the car so I can kind of shut the door? Or should I open it all the way so you can fall out?”
    The girl gave him a look which ought to have stuck at least four inches out of his back. It didn’t bother him enough to give him the shakes. At The Dancers they get the sort of people that disillusion you about what a lot of golfing money can do for the personality.

    A low-swung foreign speedster with no top drifted into the parking lot and a man got out of it and used the dash lighter on a long cigarette. He was wearing a pullover check shirt, yellow slacks, and riding boots. He strolled off trailing clouds of incense, not even bothering to look towards the Rolls Royce. He probably thought it was corny.

    At the foot of the steps up to the terrace he paused to stick a monocle in his eye.
    The girl said with a nice burst of charm: “I have a wonderful idea, darling. Why don’t we just take a cab to your place and get your convertible out? It’s such a wonderful night for a run up the coast to Montecito. I know some people there who are throwing a dance around the pool. ”
    The white-haired lad said politely: “Awfully sorry, but I don’t have it any more. I was compelled to sell it.” From his voice and articulation you wouldn’t have known he had had anything stronger than orange juice to drink.
    “Sold it, darling? How do you mean?” She slid away from him along the seat but her voice slid away a lot farther than that.
    “I mean I had to,” he said. “For eating money.”
    “Oh, I see.” A slice of spumoni wouldn’t have melted on her now.

    The attendant had the white-haired boy right where he could reach him-in a low-income bracket. “Look, buster,” he said, “I’ve got to put a car away. See you some more some other time-maybe.”
    He let the door swing open. The drunk promptly slid off the seat and landed on the blacktop on the seat of his pants. So I went over and dropped my nickel. I guess it’s always a mistake to interfere with a drunk. Even if he knows and likes you he is always liable to haul off and poke you in the teeth. I got him under the arms and got him up on his feet.
    “Thank you so very much,” he said politely.
    The girl slid under the wheel. “He gets so goddamn English when he’s loaded,” she said in a stainless-steel voice. “Thanks for catching him.”
    “I’ll get him in the back of the car,” I said.
    “I’m terribly sorry. I’m late for an engagement.” She let the clutch in and the Rolls started to glide. “He’s just a lost dog,” she added with a cool smile. “Perhaps you can find a home for him. He’s housebroken-more or less.”
    And the Rolls ticked down the entrance driveway onto Sunset Boulevard, made a right turn, and was gone. I was looking after her when the attendant came back. And I was still holding the man up and he was now sound asleep.

    “Well, that’s one way of doing it,” I told the white coat.
    “Sure,” he said cynically. “Why waste it on a lush? Them curves and all. ”
    “You know him?”
    “I heard the dame call him Terry. Otherwise I don’t know him from a cow’s caboose. But I only been here two weeks.”
    “Get my car, will you?” I gave him the ticket.

    By the time he brought my Olds over I felt as if I was holding up a sack of lead. The white coat helped me get him into the front seat. The customer opened an eye and thanked us and went to sleep again.
    “He’s the politest drunk I ever met,” I said to the white coat.
    “They come all sizes and shapes and all kinds of manners,” he said. “And they’re all bums. Looks like this one had a plastic job one time.”
    “Yeah.” I gave him a dollar and he thanked me. He was right about the plastic job. The right side of my new friend’s face was frozen and whitish and seamed with thin fine scars. The skin had a glossy look along the scars. A plastic job and a pretty drastic one.
    “Whatcha aim to do with him?”
    “Take him home and sober him up enough to tell me where he lives.”
    The white coat grinned at me. “Okay, sucker. If it was me, I’d just drop him in the gutter and keep going. Them booze hounds just make a man a lot of trouble for no fun. I got a philosophy about them things. The way the competition is nowadays a guy has to save his strength to protect hisself in the clinches.”
    “I can see you’ve made a big success out of it,” I said. He looked puzzled and then he started to get mad, but by that time I was in the car and moving.

    He was partly right of course. Terry Lennox made me plenty of trouble. But after all that’s my line of work.

    –Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)

  33. September 12, 2009 9:17 AM

    Oh what deep joy
    To have a name like Moose Malloy
    My name is such a failure
    Doesn’t even rhyme does ETAYLOR

    I’m not remotely cute
    Dressed in a double-breasted suit
    Could get seriously hurt
    Trying to wear a pencil skirt

    To go down that rainy mean street
    Chewing gum, packing heat
    Not really my idea of fun
    Not my choice number one

    Staking out: such an arduous feat
    The only steak I’d like is made of meat
    Bewitched by a dame’s sparkling locket
    But it is only a gun in my pocket

    The dames all end up a bit of a trial
    The guys without exception pretty vile
    Mrs. Grayle I couldn’t handle her
    I’m not cut out for Raymond Chandler

    So bloody hell, shit and dammit
    Perhaps better luck with Dashiel Hammet
    Stop giving me those dirty looks
    I’m very happy reading Chandler’s books

  34. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 12:50 PM

    Don’t put yourself down, Edward Taylor,
    You may not be as hard as Norman Mailer,
    But you survived the mean streets of Frome,
    And heard the bada-bing bada-boom
    As the shotguns blasted the whirring pheasant
    Or scorched the arse of the occasional peasant.
    We know you had a taste for the ladies as well,
    And caused many a milkmaid’s heart to swell
    Afore you dumped her, oh so cruelly,
    With a casual Farewell, Moy Luverly.

  35. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 1:06 PM

    Farewell, Moy Luverly

    The sharkskin smock, the snap-brim fedora
    The co-respondent shoes and the lurid tie
    The pugs and the mugs that cling like remora
    The air that is spattered with lipstick and lies.

    This is the city of dreadful night
    Where the palms sway like dancers
    And rustle like rats
    Where the saints are all sinners
    And the gods are all chancers
    And the nuns and the bums
    All pack switchblades and gats.

    Slide down an alley, skulk down a street,
    Eyes on the prize or a hint of fresh meat
    Take a shy milkmaid back up to your room
    That’s how things play on the mean lanes of Frome.

  36. September 12, 2009 1:11 PM

    A genuine LOL moment there MM thanks very much. If I knew anything about the Isle of Wght ( including how to spell it properly ) I’d fire off a quick riposte. I’ll have to make something up instead and google possible rhymes for Ventnor.

    Even though Frome had the highest rate of illegitimate births in the country in the early 70’s I had nothing to do with that statistic so whilst your first 6 lines are eerily accurate, lines 7 -10 can be filed in the “I wish” drawer.

  37. September 12, 2009 1:27 PM

    You’d get nowhere in Frome with a fedora
    A sharp talkin’ dame? they’d ignore her.
    More likely they wouldn’t understand her
    She’d be as rare a breed as a panda.
    Any shots fired would pass beside her
    The shooter being drunk on the local cider.

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 5:03 PM

    I think the Prince’s is probably the most sophisticated. Bloody metropolitans.

    Good quotes from Chandler, however:

    Something sailed across the sidewalk and landed in the gutter between two parked cars. It landed on its hands and knees and made a high keening noise like a cornered rat…. It was a thin, narrow-shouldered brown youth in a lilac-coloured suit and a carnation. It had slick black hair. It kept its mouth open and whined for a moment… Then it settled its hat jauntily, sidled over to the wall and walked silently splay-footed along the block.

    I wasn’t a sensitive kid but that passage seemed gratuitous at sixteen. I know Chandler satirised racist attitudes elsewhere so this is hard to interpret. Perhaps it’s just good ole homophobia.

  39. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 7:05 PM

    Yep…sophistication is my middle name…SHOW US YER TITS…WEYHEY..HARHARHAR…FUCKIN’ CRACKIN’….

  40. September 12, 2009 7:23 PM

    The opening sequences of the film version of TLG still hold up particularly well for me today. Gould with the kitty, and the interesting performance elicited by Altman Method out of Jim Bouton playing Terry Lennox. (Jim Bouton by the way was a pitcher with an interesting sense of humour who wrote the funnest book about baseball since Ring Lardner’s You Know Me Al–it’s called Ball Four.)

    In fact that film has haunted my days e’er since I departed Frome.

    The Long Goodbye

  41. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 9:36 PM

    Thanks for that , Tom. I never realised Bouton played Terry Lennox in TLG…(you can tell Tom’s a poet…he uses e’er)..

  42. September 12, 2009 10:00 PM

    Melton, I’ve always thought Chandler a bit homophobic, though no more than most people of his generation. But while regarding black people as ‘other’ – again very typical of his time – he doesn’t appear to see them as inferior at all, and I wouldn’t call that passage racist so much as a cruel portrait of a lowlife. There are some pretty vicious portraits of white lowlives too. I’m not even sure that the lilac suit indicates homosexuality, black fashion at the time included bright colours for men, could just be part of the flash look.

    Of course, he attended Dulwich College where no doubt many of his views were first formed…

  43. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 10:11 PM

    I think Zeph’s got it right. Chandler was (I’m thinking of his portrayals of various effeminate male characters) a bit disdainful of homosexuals but no more than was to be expected of his time and generation–certainly he wasn’t nearly as vicious as some.

    I certainly don’t think he was a racist and his portrait is, as Zeph says, more one of a young Flash Harry in his peacock plumage having his feathers well and truly ruffled (the scene is outside Florian’s and Moose Molloy did the throwing, I believe)…

  44. September 12, 2009 10:39 PM

    I would have thought that when you read Chandler you almost know beforehand that there will be a few generalisations/ shorthand treatments as regards the people in the world he creates and make the necessary allowances. I must say I struggled to see anything explicitly offensive in the passage MM quotes. But then again I’m from a race who are rarely abused in literature so perhaps find it easier to shrug off such things.

    As a matter of interest Mishari you seem a very robust type. Are there any treatments of Arabic characters that offend you or have you developed a thick skin to skim over those bits or are they so abstracted from reality that it doesn’t really matter? I remember a John Landis film ( can’t rember the title it was so bad ) where the stock Hollywood treatment of Arab baddies was worse than usual and as such unwatchably offensive.

  45. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 11:09 PM

    Water off a duck’s back, Al…I’m sure you’ve read Orwell’s essay on boy’s weeklies:

    Naturally the politics of the Gem and Magnet are Conservative, but in a completely pre-1914 style, with no Fascist tinge. In reality their basic political assumptions are two: nothing ever changes, and foreigners are funny.

    In the Gem of 1939 Frenchmen are still Froggies and Italians are still Dagoes. Mossoo, the French master at Greyfriars, is the usual comic-paper Frog, with pointed beard, pegtop trousers, etc.

    Inky, the Indian boy, though a rajah, and therefore possessing snob-appeal, is also the comic babu of the Punch tradition. (“The rowfulness is not the proper caper, my esteemed Bob,” said Inky. “Let dogs delight in the barkfulness and bitefulness, but the soft answer is the cracked pitcher that goes longest to a bird in the bush, as the English proverb remarks.”)

    Fisher T. Fish is the old-style stage Yankee (“Waal, I guess”, etc.) dating from a peroid of Anglo-American jealousy.

    Wun Lung, the Chinese boy (he has rather faded out of late, no doubt because some of the Magnet’s readers are Straits Chinese), is the nineteenth-century pantomime Chinaman, with saucer-shaped hat, pigtail and pidgin-English.

    The assumption all along is not only that foreigners are comics who are put there for us to laugh at, but that they can be classified in much the same way as insects.

    That is why in all boys’ papers, not only the Gem and Magnet, a Chinese is invariably portrayed with a pigtail. It is the thing you recognize him by, like the Frenchman’s beard or the Italian’s barrel-organ.

    In papers of this kind it occasionally happens that when the setting of a story is in a foreign country some attempt is made to describe the natives as individual human beings, but as a rule it is assumed that foreigners of any one race are all alike and will conform more or less exactly to the following patterns:

    Frenchman: Excitable. Wears beard, gesticulates wildly.

    Spaniard, Mexican, etc.: Sinister, treacherous.

    Arab, Afghan, etc.: Sinister, treacherous.

    Chinese: Sinister, treacherous. Wears pigtail.

    Italian: Excitable. Grinds barrel-organ or carries stiletto.

    Swede, Dane, etc.: Kind-hearted, stupid.

    Negro: Comic, very faithful.

    –George Orwell, Boys Weeklies (1940)

    …different year, same old shit, I guess. Mostly, I find it risibly fatheaded.

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 11:13 PM

    I don’t think he was a racist, but that passage has puzzled me from the time I first read it. Initially I thought the character must reappear somewhere later on, so detailed (and somewhat laboured) is the description of person and incident. The unsympathetic portrait of Marriott suggests some hostility on Chandler’s (or Marlowe’s, at least) part to the femiman (is Marriott gay, or a gigolo?) so maybe that accounts for it. I suppose it establishes that Marlowe is not a lilac suit guy, should there be any doubt about it.

  47. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 11:21 PM

    That Frenchman is pretty accurate.

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2009 11:24 PM

    Thinking of joining a monastery after reading atf’s latest.

  49. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2009 11:31 PM

    I am a rock
    I am and island
    and a rock feels not pain

    …is a direct lift from an old Simon&Garfunkel song (I think that ‘and’ is a typo for ‘an’ and ‘not’ a typo for ‘no’).

    She has some…erm…issues to resolve, I think.

  50. September 13, 2009 9:00 AM

    Am off to Spain for 2 weeks on Tuesday so will report back on how sinister or treacherous they are. The Spanish sinister and treacherous? Shurely shome mishtake. That suggests a quiet, brooding nature and in my experience the Spanish are anything but. Noisy and too prone to public festivities would be my cliched assessment. In comparison to them the Brits are sinister and treacherous.

  51. September 13, 2009 9:18 AM

    Al. Seriously. Where are you going to be in Spain? I’m currently in Ronda, in Andalucia, but it’s my birthdy next week so we’re planning a couple of days away but can’t decide where to go…

  52. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 9:28 AM

    I’ve been thinking about the point you raised, Al, re: the stereotyping of Arabs as villains by Hollywood. As I suggested, there’s nothing intrinsically new about this, except the degree of hatred and revulsion expressed. Arab terrorists TAKE INNOCENT LIVES! Hollywood (and America are duly apalled).

    This from a nation that dropped atomic bombs on two cities; carpet bombed Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; supported with weapons, training and finance, some of the most murderous regimes of the 20th century and whose fraud-based invasion of Iraq has led to the deaths of between 100,000-1,000,000 (depending on who you believe). The irony is so glaring as to be hardly worth commenting on.

    However, what I think is more interesting is a phenomenon of fairly recent origin–Hollywood’s demonisation of their own government. When did this start? I could be wrong but I’d say post-Watergate, with films like The Parallax View (1974, based on a 1970 novel). Certainly, films made over the last 40 years that portray the US government (in the form of shadowy organisations within it right up to and including the President) as the villains out-number films demonising Arabs by a ratio of about 50-1.

    I wonder how responsible this has been for feeding the paranoid fantasies of the Right (who seem to be driven insane far more easily than most–not so much a drive as a short walk, really)?

    Again, this is rich with irony. Hollywood (to use lazy shorthand) is, by US standards, a hotbed of liberal Democrats yet they’ve spent the last 4 decades fuelling the deranged, paranoid, violent fantasies of America’s Timothy McVeighs and his like.


    XB, you’re not that far from Toledo. As (I think I’m right in saying) an admirer of El Greco, it’s a must-see.

  53. September 13, 2009 9:36 AM

    The pig is in Burgos from 18th- 20th and Brain Wave is in Santander 25th + 26th. Burgos is nice and I’ve been told the cathedral is an interesting one – knowing your penchant for medieval iconography. But it’s a bit of a long haul from Andalucia plus the police up North really are treacherous.

    Been stopped and fined 3 times for wildly different and inconsistent reasons. Of course the police are treacherous everywhere but in North Spain, especially in the Basque areas they seem more interested in making moneyfrom fining you than stopping crime. Last time they were waiting at the first toll booth picking off foreign lorries at will. My blood runs cold when we drive around Irun.

  54. September 13, 2009 9:44 AM

    Thanks for the, er, compliment, Mish. Whene’er I come up for e’er, I am reminded that few are fated (shall I say damned?) to dwell on

    Poetry Street

    RC and I were born in the same American city, but I doubt if his seven years as an infant there had much effect on his writing. And certainly the Southern California environment in which he spent his later years was as artificial as the invented landscapes in his books. Living in a dream world, small wonder he wrote dreamed-up stories. The curious outbreak of liberal conscience and hand-wringing here over whether or not he was a whatever-ist strikes one as oddly anachronistic, like talking about whether Genghis Khan would have voted for Obama. In my salad days as a graduate student in England I was forcibly inducted to several unavoidable departmental symposia in which the hothouse embrace of Chandler and other denizens of American pulp was at once palpably condescending (Dr. Chandler, I presume?) and manifestly misunderstanding in its kindly attempts to “elevate” the “low” into the rarefied atmosphere of the senior common room. Two attendees at said symposia, as it happened, were Dulwich lads. Their long-distance speculative grasp of the actuality of American street life and its nuances was as unsure as Chandler’s. But I never thought social realism had anything to do with his fictional constructs anyway. The America of his books bears approximately the same relation to the hardscrabble America of impoverished reality as it does to life on the moon. But then naturalism is anyway as over-rated as liberalism, when it comes down to literary usefulness. Chandler was plainly free of any illusions about that. His genre was romance and not reportage, and he wouldn’t have been so good at it had he not so intended it.

  55. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 9:50 AM

    Burgos is lovely, Al. Personally, I find the cathedral a bit too heavy and I’ll never understand why they stuck the choir-stall/organ loft smack in the middle of the space. It does have some fine things in it, though. I especially like the fact that you can fish for (and catch) trout in the middle of the city.

    There are a number of other fine buildings and I’m very fond of the two very different statues of El Cid, one in front of the elaborate old city gate by the Puente des Pablo, the other over by the church of…name escapes me. The first looks rather like Conan The Barbarian, the second is of a slim, fey youth wielding a sword that looks more like a wand. Odd.

    Good town for roast suckling pig and mutton.

  56. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 9:56 AM

    Of course, you’re absolutely right, Tom. Chandler was a public school boy who went on to spend 30 years as an oil company executive. His knowledge of the California demimonde and gangland was entirely theoretical.

    As you say, he was in the business of creating romance, not documenting any kind of reality.

  57. September 13, 2009 9:58 AM

    Mish re: US hypocrisy and their unceasing search for new villains – Very true but I was also wondering about the capacity to be offended as well.

    I have lesbian friends who used to be up in arms about anything that wasn’t positive about their lifestyle and sexuality. Their ability to be offended about nuances of nuance was worthy of an Olympic medal. Of course on one ( big ) level they had a genuine point but they also dismissed things where the negativity was a bit more complex than “I hate homosexuals” and was the result of a director or an author exploring different characters, not all of whom were nice.

    I was wondering whether it’s possible to see films like for instance
    Indiana Jones where the Arabs are cartoonish and as unreal as the hero’s ability to fall 50 feet on his back and get up again and not feel “excluded” from the story because of ridiculous stereotyping or whether it ruins the film for you. I suppose that kind of film doesn’t aspire to be real so it’s easier than say a novel by Michel Houiellebecq who’s playing with provocation.

  58. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 10:04 AM

    When I was much younger, Al, I used to bristle too easily at any perceived slur on the Arab race but I grew up. Arabs produce nasty pieces of work just as easily and frequently as anyone else–American, British, Cambodian, Irish or Mongolian. Nowadays, the stereotyping just amuses me.

  59. September 13, 2009 10:32 AM


    Good to know we’re on the same page with this. Only reason I butted into your club this time round was that my brilliant and lovely wife, an inveterate PH lurker, declared two days ago that “Mishari is on about The Long Goodbye, you ought to send him your Long Goodbye poem.” But that poem is seeded with the social grit of an American urban bus depot, a place Chandler would never have frequented. It was jotted down with one eye on a passed-out drunken sailor killing time on the way either to or from Vietnam. Either way, it was pure social realism. And as far as the poem’s vision of America went, it has proved oddly prophetic. The shades of noir have deepened considerably since that time, and to understand that burden you have to be beneath it. The USA of now is no place to spend your vacation or make up dreams about. The slow death of Empire requires another kind of long goodbye, part elegiac perhaps, but more like a valediction to a train wreck that’s been a long time coming and will take a long time and a lot of pain to sort out (should that ever be possible). Any romance founded on this country currently would perforce be 100% lie.

    (By the by, the discussion has been engaging enough to make me wish for once that your follow-up comments function were functioning. Evidently it isn’t. Not that popping back in every few minutes for travelogue updates isn’t good fun, but…)

  60. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 10:51 AM

    Tom, I think I might have sorted that out. I’ve just added RSS feed links (on the right and at the bottom). I believe that allows you to subscribe to comments and check them without having to click over here…I think.

    BTW, I’ve put a link to your fine Long Goodbye poem at the end of my main post. I hope you don’t mind…

  61. September 13, 2009 11:46 AM

    Tom I’d say naturalism is over-rated in any artistic medium. In fact sometimes given the artifice involved in making art I don’t even know what naturalism is. As the two possibly three regular readers of my comments ( and I include myself in that number ) will know Bark Tree by Raymond Queneau is my favourite book to date. I recently re-read it and it seems as good a representation of real life as anything I can think of. However it’s construction is purely down to a mathematical formula and it contains an interior monologue by a dog. There are also a lot of interior rhymes and repetitions. It’s construction is in direct contrast to the effect it creates.

  62. September 13, 2009 12:14 PM


    Thanks very much, it’s up and running again. And thanks too for the link, my friend.


    Now there’s a taste we share.

    Bark Tree, yes. And will never forget the discovery long ago, in Paris in the 1960s, of Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes–who can ever better that for sheer free constructive production?

  63. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 13, 2009 1:22 PM

    Hi Mish et al

    Good to see some appreciators of Raymond Queneau as well as Chandler. An interesting chat to wake up too. Been feeling fairly putrid and headachey the past two days and couldn’t summon much concentration to either read or write.

    By the way, is it just me, or is the new theme over on PP a bit of a downer? Nice stuff from Dickensdesk and the Pinks though, and one or two others, but an awful lot of day-tripping to rocky places! At times it’s like reading a series of tourist brochures. (Although, it must be said, Anytimefrances really seems to be getting her rocks off on rocks.) Anyways, I managed to scrape something from my head, now the headaches have abated. Just posted it a while ago. Any of you going to post there?

    Jack Brae

  64. September 13, 2009 3:49 PM

    Tom, what a discovery. I only know Les Cent milliards by reputation. I don’t think it’s ever been translated and my French though adequate is not good enough to pick up on all the games he plays.

    My equivalent would be buying The Bark Tree 30 years ago purely on a whim, from Compendium Books in Camden town, reading it and feeling a deep, deep connection to it. It was like lifting something out of a muddy puddle which subsequently becomes clear. I’ve re-read it many times and each time I feel I’m reading it for the first time. Difficult to describe the feeling but it was like discovering that someone has been thinking like you do long before you started thinking like that.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2009 4:10 PM

    I had the barkeep in a semi-nelson
    across a table in the Aces High,
    I lightly pistol-whipped him with my gun,
    and asked him if he’d dusted Stephen Fry.

    No! he spat, I told you, I’m alibied,
    I was in the County Jail that night,
    Sorry, I apologised,
    I’m getting some heat to get this right,

    so now I’m thinking it must have been
    that sinister Arab, Al-Adwani.
    I thought, said the barkeep, that he was seen
    having his nipples pierced at half-past three?

    How d’you know that? I said, grabbing his throat,
    urrf urrghh ung groo blubub doodoo unk,
    he said. I let him go and got my coat.
    Bleeurg. You told me last night, you were drunk.

    Sorry, I’m under a lot of pressure,
    I guess that puts Alarming in the frame.
    What, you mean Edward Taylor? Are you sure?
    I thought he was alibied by his dame?

    His dame? Yes, Miss Aberdeen Angus.
    Jesus, I’d forgotten her, one more cog
    out of my beautiful machine, I guess.
    That just leaves one more candidate. Freep’s dogg.

    That thing is an animal, it could flay
    the skin off a rhinoceros’s bum.
    True. But Warkworth’s six thousand miles from LA
    allowing for roadworks on the A1(M).

    Anyway, who cares who wasted Stephen Fry?
    Why are you keeping your foot on the pedal?

    Well, I said, no-one cares who clipped him or why,
    my job is to award them this medal.

  66. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2009 5:37 PM

    What do you mean, liberal conscience? I hate queers as much as anyone.

  67. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 6:10 PM

    Can’t say I blame you. If only they’d spend less time lurking behind bushes and leaping on unwary heterosexuals and sodomising them until their noses bleed (the heterosexuals, I mean). Why can’t they just stay on Mykonos with their collection of Judy Garland LPs and design hideous clothes for women?

    They only have themselves to blame if dead butch sorts like myself and Melton ‘Crusher’ Mowbray take a dislike to them.

    Cracking poem, MM, although I do rather wish you hadn’t mentioned the nipple-piercing…it makes me seem…I dunno..less full-on macho somehow…

  68. Captain Ned permalink
    September 13, 2009 6:19 PM

    Thanks for the Meades link, Mishari. Just watched it, and found it very entertaining.

  69. September 13, 2009 6:42 PM

    I have been at the Ramsbottom Black pudding throwing world championship this afternoon. You pay £1 which goes to charidee and get three black puddings to try and land in a pile of Yorkshire puddings high up a scaffolding frame.

    Bury ( the nearby town ) black puddings stand up to comparison with their Spanish relatives so it seems an awful waste. They litter the pavement below the scaff like dog-turds.

    For the macho-men amongst us ( no fingers being pointed ) the whole event has limitless symbolic value too I think.

  70. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 7:11 PM

    World Championship, Al? Are they,perhaps over-egging the (black) pudding? Did the winner get The World Cup?

    I enjoyed it, Ned. Meades has a real gift for seeing the oddest connections and then making them seem inevitable…

  71. September 13, 2009 7:21 PM

    I didn’t hang around for long enough to find out – as a spectator sport it has its limits – but there were trophies and cups there to be won.

    You may have tried them already but black puddings from Bury are delicious – a nice peppery and herb taste to them – boil one and eat with scrambled eggs. Very good.

  72. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 7:34 PM

    The Catalans do a very good blood sausage–butifarra negra (as opposed to butifarra blanca, which is pure pork but also lovely).

    There are lots of regional recipes; some add brandy, some red wine, some dry vermouth, some coriander, others cloves, others cinnamon, etc etc. I always enjoy ordering them in different parts of Catalunya to see what I’ll get.

    With scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes, sauteed peppers and mushrooms, it’s a breakfast to go to work (or fishing) on.

  73. freep permalink
    September 13, 2009 8:20 PM

    Any poem flaying the ubiquitous and glutinous Fry is a good one, MM, and I don’t even care if my dogg is slandered in the process.
    Why have I never read Queneau? My education has been a bad one. Why I’ve never even flung a white one, never mind a Bury black pudding. But in the darkest days of my youth I did deliver various Flying Pasties.
    [Partridge, Historical Slang: ‘ Excrement that, wrapped in paper, is flung over a neighbour’s wall. From ca 1790, obsolete by 1830’]
    I’ll try and work one into a Rock poem.

  74. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2009 8:22 PM

    Are black puddings supposed to be boiled? I always fry.

    Rock is a hard one. I’m completely blank so far.

  75. September 13, 2009 8:30 PM

    You can boil them if they are are not ready sliced – they will disintegrate in that form. Much nicer I think and cuts down on the grease.

  76. daisy permalink
    September 13, 2009 9:53 PM

    Hard Boiled Hymn

    Trouble’s my business and business is good
    The sound of a blackjack means money to me
    Where others might see a tough, sneering hood
    I see the source of my salary.

    A little touch of Smith&Wesson in the night
    Perhaps a touch of strychnine in the wine
    A fatal conclusion to a fast bar-room fight
    We’re talking about my bottom line.

    When a guy comes through the door with a gat
    I’m right behind him, my card in my hand
    He shot some sap, can’t do much about that
    But I can try to make a judge understand.

    There are no bad boys, just bad breaks
    And that dame on the razzle’s a kid
    This gumshoe will do what it takes
    To reveal whatever’s been hid.

  77. September 13, 2009 10:08 PM

    Nice one, Daisy.

    Also – great punchline, MM.

    I’m deeply disillusioned with the Spanish weather. We’ve had cloud for the past two days, then rain, thunderstorms today, right up here on the plateau. I was always of the understanding that the precipitation in Spain was almost entirely localised to the plain.

  78. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2009 10:29 PM

    Yes, good one, Daisy. I also really liked your highly compressed villanelle on PPs. I’m a sucker for villanelles anyway but that was especially impressive…

    Ah, XB..while you’re quite correct, the rain in Spain does stay mainly on the plain, the key word is mainly. Actually, for the last 10 years or so, Spain’s been experiencing extreme weather, floods especially…better stock up on gopher wood…

  79. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 12:33 PM

    I find d[r]ead[lock]go[l]d[illocks] a pain in the fucking arse – as I’ve probably already said on one of BM’s threads. Look, there’s no doubt s/he has plenty of good things to say but if s/he’d just stop the (OMG – this is how peeeeeeeeeeeble in the academe [w]rite to impress) then perhaps we could talk – I think pinkroom’s the only one with the patience to converse.

    I wouldn’t mind talking to to dg but …. how can you have a conversation if it’s interrupted by [hur]dles?

  80. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 12:51 PM

    As Orwell wrote, “Good prose is like a window pane.”

    deadgod should be forced to read Orwell’s essay on Politics and the English Language on a daily basis.

    Her/his incessant use of the abtruse, specialised language of academe gives me a fucking headache. I daresay s/he has some interesting things to say but, frankly, I can’t be bothered wading through all that tediously recondite verbiage.

  81. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 12:58 PM

    Absolutely Mish …. be back in a minute…. just checking out the urban dictionary for ‘recondite verbiage’

  82. September 14, 2009 12:59 PM

    I don’t know para I’ve had quite a few to-ings and fro-ings with dg. My problem is that I struggle to get the meaning in his/her comments which are often in the bits you expect least. The Cage conversation would have carried on I think but time ran out on it.

    That plus my vocabulary doesn’t really seemed to have developed since I was 30 ( I’m in my 50’s now ). An odd phenomena – I look up new words when I encounter them but they don’t seem to stick in the memory bank so when I meet them again they are strangers to me. I wonder if we have an inbuilt limit to this kind of learning?

  83. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:00 PM

    Yeah – fuckin’ right – ‘re-concycled garbage’ rules

  84. freep permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:00 PM

    Agreed para. A big pain in the arse. I would rather converse with someone who has read four books than four million, and academic speak is something I would rather forget.
    Mind, it’s not as bad as management speak. This morning on radio 4 the head man at the British Tourist Authority or some such was intent on leaving the listener with this important message:
    ‘Britain is a Value Story’
    Noted: ‘Value’ is the thing you talk about now; ten years ago it was ‘Quality’.
    Mish I was wondering if Chandler owed something to Damon Runyon, and I looked over Guys and Dolls again – but prob a blind alley.
    I nearly went to Dulwich College, but was told a catholic might be unwelcome there. I rather wanted to share a common academic experience with Bob Monkhouse, as well as Chandler.
    Nice work, Daisy, and pinkr and exitb earlier.

  85. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 1:02 PM

    recondite: difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge

    verbiage: an excess of words for the purpose; wordiness.

  86. September 14, 2009 1:03 PM

    Parallax: I agree. Don’t want to sound snotty (well, all right, I don’t care if I do) but I have vowed never to comment on POTW and last week’s thread demonstrates why. Life’s too short.

    I really don’t know why Carol Rumens bothers, especially looking at the arrogant responses to her gentle request to raise the tone of the thread and preferably get back on topic.

  87. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 1:05 PM

    Re: Chandler and Runyon, Tom’s the man to ask. I’ve just read his biography of Damon Runyon (The World of Damon Runyon, Harper, 1978) and very fine it is, too.

  88. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 1:11 PM

    Completely agree, Zeph…POTW used to actually be a lot of fun, as some of the old lags around here can testify. It was much lighter-hearted and playful and Carol always joined in the fun. ATF, predictably, always tried to throw a bucket of cold water over the proceedings but with no success.

    Sadly, it’s now turned into exactly what ATF always wanted it to be, a dull, prolonged wank-a-thon. All that po-faced waffle makes me want to start burning down libraries…

  89. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:12 PM

    ‘struggle’ Al, is the sign of bad communication, hidden under the guise of pissing you off that you have limited communication – that’s why dg fails – not that s/he hasn’t anything interesting to say but s/he loses the audience in trying to say it.

    It’d be a bit like your inflatable pig (we need to name this object – how about “percy”) being marketed as ‘Porcine [in]f[l]at[ible] – see how hard it is to read [stuff] in brackets when it simply stops the [f]low in the guise of saying some[thing] simple. What a dick – d[r]ead[locks]go[l]d[ilocks] is.

  90. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 1:19 PM

    freep’s contribution to PPs is an absolute corker (no surprise there). I think we might have to take up a collection and hire a hit-man. The bastard keeps making the rest of us look like babes gumming rusks..

  91. freep permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:40 PM

    Thanks mish mate, princely testimony is always welcome. Had a hard job with the vernacular on it. Your hitman can practise shots on the dogg, who is just going to Shilbottle for his quarterly £25 haircut.

  92. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 1:53 PM

    I recognised the authentic ‘hoy’. Where we soft southern shites would say ‘chuck it in the back’ my Geordie pals would say ‘hoy it..’ etc. Proper Geordies, mind, not… Maccams is it? Apparently an altogether inferior brand.

    My pals were from Jesmond (does that sound right?) which another grittier Geordie informed me was a bit la-di-da…but what do I know?

  93. freep permalink
    September 14, 2009 2:25 PM

    Aye, it’s hoy, (prob has Norse roots) but there’s other bits in the poem that are from north of the border. So I console myself that the accent is Berwick upon tweed. Yer pals from Jesmond would certainly be la-di-da (I lived there meself once), but your inference that there are subtle gradations is spot on. Maccams might call a foolish person a reet barmstick, which a Tynesider wouldn’t. Where I live is Northumbrian, not geordie, and the notable feature is the gutturals; folk who live in Rothbury say they are from Rrhrrhothburrhy. I always have a problem rendering this in print. It usually sounds fake.

  94. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 2:53 PM

    Rrhrrhothburry – sounds like a word that should come with a free handkerchief.

    I watched Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen on DVD the other night (and was gobsmacked that it was a 2002 film and I hadn’t seen it before now – well, you know, parcel post being what it is) and was surprised that the automatic DVD settings were set up for subtitles – fuck, if the BBC can export Rebus, Cracker, and Blackstuff over here without the bouncing ball over the soundtrack, how come Greenock needs to be set up as a foreign language?

  95. September 14, 2009 3:00 PM

    freep Rhrrrhothburrhy is a few r’s short of how Somerset folk would say it. They have a peculiar desire to hang onto certain vowel sounds. Bath ( which I, being a bit la-di-da myself would pronounce Barth ) is Ba-ath. Bristol folk add l on the end of a word so it sort of flutters after they’ve finished saying it. The Northumbrian accent always seems a soft accent rather like East coast Scottish in comparison to the West Coast.

  96. freep permalink
    September 14, 2009 3:14 PM

    Yes, al, Northumbrian is softish, and I think there’s a mainland difference between east and west that probably has to do with climate. But Hebridean English is soft again. The guttural sounds I really like are in Arabic; I don’t understand a word, but to hear a Palestinian or Egyptian accent with their delicious short but perfectly formed ‘rr’s is a delight.
    para, I remember Sweet Sixteen and the subtitles; the Greenock wasn’t easy to follow (west again) but I did recall feeling the subtitles were a cop out. If you do a social realist film there’s always a suspicion of voyeurism about, but best just to get on with it. I don’t follow a lot that goes on in The Wire, but I think you need to just live with it. Just saw Fish Tank – the authentic Dagenham Essex is probably hard for a Welsh person to follow. Some really good bits to it, even if the storyline was thin.

  97. parallax permalink
    September 14, 2009 3:24 PM

    ok, thanks freep – Fish Tank- I’ll look out for it

  98. September 14, 2009 4:06 PM

    Watched Spiral the French cop show on Beeb 4 last night. In its intertwining of politics, lead characters that are not likeable, detailled police investigations and down at heel social milieu it’s basically Le Wire but very watchable all the same.

    MM will no doubt mention the Bill as evidence to the contrary but good UK cop shows are very few and far between.

  99. September 14, 2009 4:19 PM

    What I like about Spiral is that they’ve absorbed all the good American shows (mostly Homicide: Life on the Street, I think, and Murder One was obviously a big influence on the structure of series 1) but they’ve made something which feels authentically French. And the female characters are so good, without having to be fake-glamorous or fake-butch.


  100. September 14, 2009 4:20 PM

    oops, bit too clever there with me italics.

  101. September 14, 2009 4:57 PM


    Thanks for looking into my Runyon. I think you may agree he is so-o-o NOT Dulwich. But Freep’s raised a good question in wondering whether Chandler read him. As Runyon was Hearst’s great crime and courtroom writer as well as sportswriter, it would be hard to imagine Chandler being able to avoid coming across his work in the papers. As to the amazing speech constructions in Runyon’s stories, they are as far from naturalism as are the phrasings of Chandler’s romance heroes and villains. But Runyon actually lived among the underworld characters he wrote about (and in fact this made for some anxiety for him at times, as one might understand), and that shows in the work I think. Again, Chandler was working from a greater imaginative distance. For my money Runyon was the more formally inventive, to take nothing away from the genius of Chandler.

    For comic inventiveness in an American prose cunningly abstracted from personal experience of street and speech at least as “real” as anything captured in The Wire, I’ve always admired Jim Carroll’s classic 1978 autobiographical fable The Basketball Diaries. A lovely man and a dear friend, Jim passed suddenly a few days ago.

    Have just now posted something in his memory.

    Jim Carroll

  102. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 5:02 PM

    I’m sorry to hear about Jim Carroll. I knew him slightly back in the late seventies/early eighties and I liked both The Basketball Diaries and his first LP with The Jim Carroll Band, Catholic Boy very much.

  103. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2009 8:25 PM

    The Bill is without equal, I surely do not have to say, though the recent change to film and a more impressionist style hasn’t done it any favours.
    Waking The Dead is ok. Mrs M models her pedagogical technique on Trevor Eve’s performance as the Chief Super.

    Deadgod’s posts could be better expressed, or couched less obscurely, but I think his insight and erudition are outstanding. As far as I can make out he rejects most of the usual critical apparatus (while retaining the useful bits), though he clearly knows it inside out. Always worth reading, even if it is with a puzzled frown. Reading ATF, on the other hand, is like being being dragged through first year English by your hair.

  104. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 8:38 PM

    Doubtless there are valuable insights to be mined but I prefer my pedants to wear their learning lightly, MM. deadgod wears his/hers like one of those fucking fruit confections that Carmen Miranda used to sport as she did The Carioca or the El Hokey Cokey or whatever it was…garish, busy, vulgar…too, too much of the look-Ma-no-hands for my tastes, my dear.

    Surely, the aim of communication is inclusive not an excercise in building impenetrable barriers of specialised language. It’s what Lawyers and Doctors have been playing at for years.

    “I’m afraid, Mr. Mowbray, that you have a sub-dural haematoma in the gluteus maximus and I’m going to have to excise this swelling from your bank account.” Pfffffffffffff……

  105. September 14, 2009 8:49 PM

    I’m with MM on the subject of deadgod – too much academic language for sure but always an interesting nugget to be gleaned.

    You all know my travails with atf whose comments are usually visually and verbally impossible to chew through. However his/her poem on the current PotW is rather good and, even better, totally unexpected in its approach.

  106. pinkroom permalink
    September 14, 2009 9:05 PM

    Back from the track
    and a luckless streak
    I needed a new case and fast
    a routine divorce perhaps;
    anything without gunplay,
    or getting the back of my head
    slapped with lead inside leather.
    Something I could feel
    quietly ashamed of myself for;
    a periscope between the blinds
    of some much younger wife
    taking delight in entertaining
    college footballers by the
    half dozen or so whilst their sad-sack
    meal tickets really believe they have
    ‘…just popped out for a bite to eat”
    but somehow those cases
    generally evade me. But
    lookee here… Filling the doorframe
    of my office the way sand fills
    an hourglass, my eyes following
    every grain falling south.
    As Italian as ice-cream
    and no doubt as sweet to
    the taste. She sat down
    opposite and looked me dead
    in the eye, exhaling a thread
    of smoke that curled to heaven.

    Thank you for seeing me Mr. Marlowe
    My name is Desdemona
    and my life is in danger.
    I require the swift return
    of a certain piece of

  107. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 9:10 PM

    Bravo, PR…you’ll crack The Mad Moor Case in no time. Don’t take any wooden nickels…

  108. September 14, 2009 9:34 PM

    Is that academic language deadgod uses? I thought it was a sort of absurdist on-line performance art. Seriously. Dada crossword clues. Shows what I know.

  109. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 9:43 PM

    Actually, XB, you may well be right. Dada crossword clues. I like that. Puts a whole new complexion on all those endless dissertations.

  110. September 14, 2009 10:25 PM

    It’s how I make sense of the world, Mishari.

    Also, don’t know if there are any South Park fans here but I just watched their Margaritaville episode, which spoofs the recession (you can watch whole episodes on the South Park site). Very good, I thought. Won an Emmy, for whatever that’s worth.

  111. freep permalink
    September 14, 2009 10:31 PM

    Trevor Eve’s performances are an addiction of mine. Surprised the second kid didn’t get chucked off the bridge tonight.
    See what you mean. al, about atf’s latest. Pretty interesting, even if formless. Both s/he and deadgod can be immensely irritating, but things crop up that make you wish the one wasn’t so relentlessly negative, and the other so mannered. No doubt at all about his/her erudition, but does it have to be served up in such ornate ways. Maybe s/he is using a post-grammatical language.maybe this weird medium makes us all into curious creatures like hermit crabs who get stuck in old fag packets instead of vacant whelk shells.
    Pinkroom – nice one. What fags did Desdemona smoke?

  112. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2009 11:12 PM

    Desdemona has to smoke Mores.

  113. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:01 AM

    Deadgod should make an effort to be more comprehensible, I agree. I thought Trevor Eve might chuck the bloke over the bridge himself, but I suppose that would be going a bit far even for him.

    Finally managed to squeeze a rock out, a bit of a Johnson pastiche.

  114. Captain Ned permalink
    September 15, 2009 8:59 AM

    I think the sad thing with deadgod is that a lot of his/her schtick may well be to some extent tongue-in-cheek – but no-one seems to find as much amusement in the pose as he/she does. Still, there’s often real insight there, and even – sometimes – flashes of genuine humour.

    Some of atf’s poetic efforts of the past few days are encouraging. A lot of his/her early contributions to PP were excellent, but latterly the formless ranting of a dreary pub bore appeared to have been favoured over poetry. I hope that poetry is now being allowed to reassert itself.

  115. parallax permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:11 PM

    Capt’n Ned (aka first-officer-neddie) – well deciphered.

    I’m not unconvinced (gotta love the double-negative) that dg impresses Al and MM – but is s/he saying anything? or is s/he sucking-in avid cryptic crossword puzzlers that prefer the ‘hey I got the answer’ rather than the substance of the answer. I don’t find dg’s literary criticism well informed, I find it cherry picked and made dense for e/affect.

    I reckon exitb is closer to the truth – a performance of sorts to hide deficiencies. I’m beginning to think dg is an echo of wordnerd7 – I gave up reading her blog because it was so determined to be obscure in its (nudge-nudge) references that I couldn’t be arsed trying to work out what the bottom line was.

    Btw – you know atf is a bloke, right? Des knows him (atf) from way-back and let the cat out of the bag ages ago – he (i.e. Des) has been trying to cover his ‘ooops’ with sand ever since.

  116. Captain Ned permalink
    September 15, 2009 1:15 PM

    Para – how odd. I could have sworn that wordnerd let slip that atf was a woman somewhere; perhaps I’m misremembering.

  117. parallax permalink
    September 15, 2009 1:33 PM

    Captain – trust me – according to one that knows him (Des) atf is a bloke. I could trawl through the backlog of everything I’ve encountered in the limited blog parade I inhabit to provide the *Ta-da* – but unlike the wordnerds of this sphere I don’t keep a cut’n’paste reference library close to hand to exhibit misrepresented – and out of context – evidence

  118. September 15, 2009 1:54 PM

    I’m sure lots of people on PP have referred to Atf as ‘she’, how odd not to correct them. I don’t like putting much personal info online and don’t much mind what assumptions anyone chooses to make, but being female is the one thing I always put people right about.

    Perhaps the whole persona is a construct, it never ceases to amaze me how much effort some people put into being somebody else online.

  119. parallax permalink
    September 15, 2009 2:21 PM

    ah, but Zeph – it shouldn’t be disparaged or unexpected, especially with posters who frequent literary blogs – after all the whole draw-card is fiction.

    I’m just interested in letting people know some blog history – and seeing if it makes a difference – knowing that atf’s got balls.

  120. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2009 3:05 PM

    I never had any doubts about her…erm…his, balls (figuratively speaking). A bit discombobulating, I must admit…after a while, I build up an image (of sorts) of people I encounter online. Of course, those images are probably wildly wide of the mark but still…and I was sure that atf was a woman…then again, doesn’t Des only know atf online?

    As for it making any difference? Nah, none at all…the persona presented is what it is. I don’t think gender is of much relevance, despite wn7’s attempts at mystification. An arsehole’s an arsehole’s an arsehole…to quote my friend Gertrude Stein.

  121. September 15, 2009 3:19 PM

    parallax, you’re right. Of course people can be who they like online, that’s sort of the point. But I know one or two cases on other blogs of a detailed and consistent disguise which has fooled a lot of people over a long period of time, and I wondered why they bothered. It’s just not my thing; I do a little blog as a fictional character but everybody knows that’s what it is.

    In Atf’s case I think it makes a big difference to how one reads posts as I seem to recall a lot of pretty female-victimish stuff – but maybe that was just my interpretation…?

  122. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2009 3:33 PM

    Zeph, I don’t remember atf being ‘victimised’ because s/he was female but because she spouted the most deranged, hypocritical shite.

    A case in point (and one of many): atf posted endlessly about the ‘vulgar and crude’ language of people like myself and Mowbray, who had offended her Sunday school picnic moral schemata with our liberal use of ‘fuck’ etc.

    However, when it suited atf, s/he was perfectly happy to pepper her poems and posts with any number of ‘fucks’ (for pointing this out, I was compared, by Mills, to wordnerd7, grudge-bearer and shit-stirrer extraordinaire. tant pis)…

  123. parallax permalink
    September 15, 2009 4:02 PM

    Since Des’s revelation, I’ve always read atf with a Dick Emery accent

  124. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2009 4:09 PM

    In honour of your revelations, I will don fishnet stockings and split-crotch panties whenever I read a post from atf. I will also speak in a breathy Marlene Dietrich accent and liberally dab my throat with Chanel No. 5….I mean…right’s right.

  125. September 15, 2009 4:38 PM

    Mishari, I meant a female-victim worldview, especially in the poems, not that you might have been accused of victimising because etc etc. Atf has always seemed pretty much up for a fight, to me – must be the testosterone.

  126. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2009 4:46 PM

    Oh…right…gotcha..sorry and you’re absolutely right. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I was so convinced that atf was a woman. I still don’t know for sure she isn’t, actually…

    Anyway, this thread is now closed. Strap on yer shootin’ irons, adjust your chaps and saddle up…now giddyup and fuck off to the new thread…a cowboy’s work is never done…

  127. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2009 4:54 PM

    You could be right on deadgod, para, but as a committed faker I’m pretty sensitive to the real thing. I experienced an epiphany many years ago after a shameful hour spent arguing about the labour theory of value with an old geezer who turned out to be an economics professor. However, it’s perfectly possible that you are the Bob Hawke professor of literature at Sydney University, in which case I concede immediately.

    You’re wrong about atf, I think. A while back WN7 was trying to start up an online support group for her since she was suffering from a medical problem only women have.

Comments are closed.