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I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby…

September 22, 2009

Bardot In Colour


After the international uproar and scandal provoked by the 1956 film And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot said she wished she had never been born. Now, as Bardot – “the French export as important as Renault cars” according to Charles de Gaulle – turns 75 on Monday, exhibitions at national museums and private galleries, alongside tributes at fashion weeks in Paris, London and New York, are throwing the spotlight back on to one of the last living icons of the 20th century. –Agnès Poirier, The Grauniad, Sept. 22

Personally, I always preferred the Italian ‘sex goddesses’, the Lollabridgidas, Cardinales, Lisis and Lorens: chacun à son goût, as we say in Whitechapel.

Let’s have poems on your favourite screen goddess (or god).

One of my favourites was Virna Lisi, probably best remembered as the wife Jack Lemmon is accused of murdering in How To Murder Your Wife (who can forget the scene where Lemmon persuades his witness to push the button?).

Fever High, Pulse Rapid, Condition Normal

I saw the the small mole by your lower lip
As evidence of your vulnerability: you were human.

It made me hope that I had a chance with you
Despite our differences–my schoolwork, your career;
But Italian screen goddesses weren’t sleeping
With 14 year-old boys that year.
Or any year.

  1. September 22, 2009 3:32 PM

    Lollobrigida, Loren,
    Gina, Sophia, they arrived
    with wonderful effrontery
    from girlhoods spent learning
    that men would be mainly looking at their front.
    Thy were very curvy and also tough,
    they had tough curves.
    They had tiger smiles.
    You wouldn’t try to steal their boyfriends
    they didn’t have boyfriends
    they had lovers.
    The phrase ‘waif-like’ would never be applied
    to either of them
    and they were never blonde.
    Maybe once in a while
    they might have had a bleach job
    just for a movie
    but they were never ever blonde.
    Never fey, never childlike, never wistful.
    They could have had Julie Christie for breakfast
    and scrunched Mia Farrow on toast.
    You could tell
    they enjoyed their food.
    “Everything I have I owe to spaghetti”
    said Sophia
    and Gina took her exercise on the flying trapeze
    with Burt Lancaster.
    Big-cat women,
    kind of scary
    but then there would be
    the huge grins
    that said it was all a laugh
    caro mio

    Actually I think Claudia Cardinale was more beautiful but these two hd that tiger thing. Splendidly, all three are still around, apparently quite sane and looking good.

  2. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 22, 2009 5:17 PM

    hedy to hayek
    to taylor to russell to

    icon to nico
    to blondie to monroe to
    garbo to bardot

  3. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 22, 2009 10:40 PM

    I had a crush on Doris Day
    when I was about ten or so,
    Mum took me to a matinee,
    and I fell for her blondie glow.

    I saw her first in Pillow Talk
    and I loved those virtuous curls,
    her eyes, her smile, her laugh, her walk:
    she weren’t like Gloucestershire girls.

    Love faded as the years went by,
    but it still came as quite a shock
    that if I’d given my suit a try
    I stood a better chance with Rock.

  4. mishari permalink*
    September 23, 2009 10:04 AM

    That’s right, Zeph…it’s why I found the Italian stars so compelling. They were grappa to Catherine Deneuve’s white wine, the Ducados to Julie Christie’s nicotine patches.

    Poor Doris be forever cast into the Disney-shaped box labelled ‘wholesome’. She was better than that. Remember that old crack from, I think, Groucho? “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.”

  5. Captain Ned permalink
    September 23, 2009 10:15 AM

    Who could resist those lithe and lissom limbs?
    That golden smile, lighting the Western skies?
    A lovely vessel that with virtue brims!
    A handsome gallant who delights the eyes!
    His facial sheen’s healthful as a lemon;
    All hail the Adonis, Walter Brennan.

  6. parallax permalink
    September 23, 2009 1:43 PM

    Jaye Davidson, cry
    Terence Stamp, Hilary Swank, boys to die


    Charlotte, you can swim in my pool
    heavy lidded
    Translucent dylanesque Cate
    out fools

    All, all, pale next to

    dark haired, sharp nosed girls with attitude
    and fringes
    Touch yourself Chrissie
    Because the night hinges
    on you Chrissie

  7. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 12:10 AM

    Really struggling with my Diana Dors verses. I may have to put them aside and try something else.

    I’m enjoying Sons Of Anarchy, though the absence of fuck is bugging me a little. Now you’ve pointed it out I find myself checking the fuck ratio of every show I watch. Thanks a fucking lot.

  8. mishari permalink*
    September 24, 2009 8:54 AM

    Sorry about that. I only really noticed when I watched the complete The Wire and The Shield back-to-back. Two excellent cop shows and yet, as gritty as The Shield was, nobody–not the cops, not the gang-bangers, not the hookers, not the junkies and crackheads–ever allowed the word ‘fuck’ to pass their lips.

    After The Wire–where everyone from the gang-bangers to the Mayor–used the word in every other sentence, its absence in The Shield stood out.

    I noticed the lack of ‘fucks’ in SOA but just shrugged and let it slide. I mean, what the hell…it’s not a fucking documentary.

    I’ll have a few more Mad Men and SOA to burn and pass on next week.

    BTW, check out this photo-gallery of the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver objects. Stunning stuff…

    I’m going to have myself a suit made of this stuff.

  9. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 3:36 PM

    The Dors Of Perception

    Diana Fluck, born in Swindon,
    became Diana Dors, starlet,
    with her bazookas set to stun
    she made the Fifties punters sweat.

    But there was more to her than chest,
    and vamping round the swimming-pool,
    on stage she was by far the best
    of the bimbos in the Charm School.

    Leading actress or glamourpuss?
    One wonders if she was ever sure,
    like the name and the alias,
    not quite a shag, not quite a door.

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 3:45 PM

    Worth waiting for, I think you’ll agree.

    I find Anglo-Saxon jewellery a bit on the fussy side with all that fiddly engraving and what not. Roman stuff is simpler and more manly, I think. Probably best to go with Anglo-Saxon if you’re wearing a gold spidersilk suit.

  11. Captain Ned permalink
    September 24, 2009 3:55 PM

    You require manliness of jewellery?

  12. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 5:04 PM

    Of course, Captain. The simple gold wedding band, the uncomplicated counterfeit Rolex, the cunning penis-shaped tiepin all exemplify an unshowy confidence in one’s sexual identity. An element of fantasy is permissible in the more intimate piercings, but this should be tempered by the knowledge that they may be viewed by one’s male friends during rough horseplay in the showers after the match, or in the course of spontaneous pillow fights in shared rooms at a hotel.

  13. mishari permalink*
    September 24, 2009 5:29 PM

    I think the Anglo-Saxon stuff is nice to look at, cunningly wrought and all that…personally, though, I confine myself to a green jadeite jaguar mask, a floor-length parrot-feather cape and breast-plates of solid gold inlaid with turquoise. That’s everyday wear.

    On special occasions–the sacrifice of virgins, etc–I wear rather more elaborate stuff. My people demand it…

  14. parallax permalink
    September 24, 2009 5:58 PM

    To produce this unique golden cloth, 70 people spent four years collecting golden orb spiders from telephone poles in Madagascar, while another dozen workers carefully extracted about 80 feet of silk filament from each of the arachnids.

    fuck – wonder what the pay rate is for 70 people x 4 years. Let’s say $400 plus anti venom insurance and a hovel (communal for 70) with colour tv to watch discovery channel’s unveiling of the *cloth* – zoom in for the face of (name your messiah) shimmering back atcha when the weave is held at a certain angle in a certain light.

    Mish – wouldn’t the suit from the cloth feel tacky? I mean in the tactile sense – spiders’ webs being what they are – sticky enough to catch stuff to eat. It’d be a bit like wearing velcro underpants in the land of felt.

  15. parallax permalink
    September 24, 2009 6:01 PM

    ah – does the new format ignore the () command?

  16. parallax permalink
    September 24, 2009 6:04 PM

    right, apparently so – in between the () above ^^ was the word blockquote with pointy brackets.

    Ed, feel free to delete this formatting chat

  17. mishari permalink*
    September 24, 2009 6:13 PM

    para, the problem was that you forgot to enter the initial blockquote command; all you entered was the ‘end blockquote’ bit. That’s why wordpress ignored it…

    As for the fabric being tacky…wellll…not after my womenfolk have spent a few days bashing the fuck out of it on some riverine rocks…

  18. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 24, 2009 6:25 PM

    Supergirl oh Supergirl
    With you I’d kiss and caper
    The only problem, really, was
    That you were made of paper

  19. mishari permalink*
    September 24, 2009 11:13 PM

    Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home: I’m tired.–Mae West

    The Jolies, the Paltrows, I’d trade them all
    For one Rita Hayworth, one Lauren Bacall
    One svelte Cyd Charisse or Veronica Lake
    The ones we have now are all sizzle, no steak.

  20. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 11:54 PM

    You tempt me sorely, master, but I must plug on with my Katharine Ross. Inspiration seems to be in even shorter supply than usual. It must be the season. Or approaching senility. Take your pick.

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 24, 2009 11:55 PM

    Fucking leave KR alone, btw. She’s mine.

  22. pinkroom permalink
    September 25, 2009 7:48 AM

    Who would have thought it?
    His palms all a blister,
    Mowbray’s “habit”
    for The Singing Nun’s “sister”

  23. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 3:05 PM

    Those babes are too butch for me, pr.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 3:05 PM

    I fell in love with Katharine Ross
    when I saw her in The Graduate.
    Suddenly I didn’t give a toss
    about the local chix. They could wait.

    The famous curtain of auburn hair,
    the freckled face so calm and pure,
    that faintly puzzled and serious air:
    She didn’t exist in Gloucestershire.

    She was all America to me.
    Then I saw the bicycle ride,
    pedalling sentimentality
    while raindrops fell on her head. Love died.

  25. parallax permalink
    September 25, 2009 3:11 PM

    MM – I’ve been trying to keep some sort of sound of silence given that KR is boundary-protected – but you do know that lusting after KR (dob 1940) is really the same as shagging Anne Bancroft?

    Anyway I always thought KR was boss-eyed – (that’s only if you need help with a the ross/boss/possibility rhymes)

    here you go MM – just for you

  26. mishari permalink*
    September 25, 2009 3:30 PM

    Yeah, I clocked that as well, para. I knew the name but had to look her up and I thought ‘DOB 1940?…hmmmm’ but then I realised that I’m still in love with Cyd Charisse who died last year at the age of 86. Best I keep shtum.

    Lovely tribute, though, MM, with a nice melancholy dying fall…

  27. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 3:47 PM

    I was about 14 when I saw the film, para (it was X-rated, but my friend’s brother got us in by opening the cinema’s bog window), so my passion was (fairly) pure. I still find it hard to imagine actually making the beast with her – let me think about it – no, there’s nothing there. Somehow KR is too remote. Now you mention it there is something going on with the eyes, but I’m not sure it’s a squint. Strongly marked eyebrows, deep sockets, dark eyes and long lashes don’t require the quantity of mascara she used in the 60s. Or so the Prince tells me, and he ought to know.

    Nice video, thanks.

  28. parallax permalink
    September 25, 2009 4:39 PM

    Apropos of bugger all, I’ve been trawling blogs and I often call in on Heresy Corner because it’s a site that’s always interesting to read and it’s been on my radar from way-back Cif connections.

    Anyway, it’s a well-considered, finger-on-the-pulse, albeit weighty-Anglican-bent blog. Check out the Heresiarch’s Houseguests link on the right hand side of the blog. I’d suggest the juxtapositioning of ‘Father James’ followed by ‘Pandora Blake’ says it all in the (you couldn’t make it up) News of the World kinky vicar fashion.

  29. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 5:16 PM

    I sometimes look in there. In fact I’ve commented a few times, though I can’t remember what my pseudoname is. The generally right-wing tone is a little off-putting, and all the dittos among the commentators are almost as depressing as Guido. The Heresiarch’s posts are always well-written, though more humour would be welcome.

  30. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 5:18 PM

    I must say the GU Books Blog seems almost dead on its feet.

  31. freep permalink
    September 25, 2009 5:57 PM

    The Unattainable

    O divine Ms Isabella Thicknesse,
    You are certainly the cause of my sickness.
    When I saw you perform with such richness
    In the remake of Last Tango in Widnes,
    I determined you should become my mistress.
    But I was consumed with a sense of unfitness
    And viewed you from afar, gorm- and witless.
    I just sneak home to my old schoolmistress,
    Who belabours my rear with such strictness
    Using biceps both larded and prodigious.
    At least such long pain is delicious
    When my weals are anoint with eucalyptus.
    O divine Isabella Thicknesse,
    I long to enjoy you for Christmas.

    [I prefer to invent objects of desire; trouble is, a creature like Dors nee Fluck is beyond invention. Julie Christie bought me a drink in Manchester in 1989. Never fancied her thereafter. The real is pretty watery compared to the imagined.]

  32. pinkroom permalink
    September 25, 2009 6:35 PM

    Nice try Mowbray

    One of those nun babes, as well you know, is Katherine Ross… not the middle one, that’s Debbie Reynolds.

    Also your excellent poem on the potw thread has, after about 10 recommends, been deleted. Lord knows why? It was but gently/amusingly offensive whereas deadgod has been particularly gnomic and touchy this week… I think the doctor’s given him some bad news.

  33. mishari permalink*
    September 25, 2009 7:01 PM

    It was the deletion of some of my verse from POTW (an act that even Carol, to her credit, deplored) that first drove me to start up this blog.

    The illiterate chimps that pass for ‘moderators’ at the Grauniad never learn. They are, literally, unteachable.

    Except for the odd, irresistible pot-shot, I really can’t be bothered with those cack-handed cretins anymore…or the Grauniad, for that matter.

    With every passing month under the aegis of that oily, over-paid simp Rusbridger, the Grauniad becomes ever more light-weight, celebrity-obsessed, illiterate and trivial.

    James Cameron, Jill Tweedie et al must be spinning in their graves.

  34. September 25, 2009 7:15 PM

    I didn’t like the way they expressed it, but I did partly agree with the person who said there was a lot of crap on PP. And the jokey-spiteful response from the POTW clique wasn’t really deserved.

    Much as I enjoy it, I think Billy was right when he initially called time on Poster Poets.

    Blogs seem to blossom, flourish for about 2 years and then it all goes a bit, as da yoof would say, meh.

  35. September 25, 2009 7:17 PM

    Re: screen goddesses, here’s the number from Viva Maria where Brigitte’s skirt falls off on stage and she doesn’t know what to do till Jeanne tells her to just carry on…..

  36. Captain Ned permalink
    September 25, 2009 7:37 PM

    Compare and contrast…

  37. September 25, 2009 7:50 PM

    I was almost encouraged to post on GU by the appearance of the wonderful SteveOfThisSpace on the SF thread, but managed to restrain myself (and, of course, others then made many of my points for me). I just feel the desire to poke him with a stick and see what happens. – Otherwise, I just listen to Football Weekly and that’s my lot with The Guardian.

    Following through the links of Kim Stanley Robinson’s original article, I almost feel inspired to read some SF.

    There was quite an amusing abuse-gabriel-garcia-marquez and alison-flood thread, strangely not on the books blog, stoked with more CiF venom than in our more sedate pastures (sedate pastures?).

  38. mishari permalink*
    September 25, 2009 8:05 PM

    If you’re going to start reading SF, obooki, may I recommend M. John Harrison’s Light and the sequel, Nova Swing? ExitB recommended Light and I’m glad he did. I read it a few weeks ago and promptly got the sequel. A terrific read…or you could start with William Gibson’s Neuromancer trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive) or Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. All terrific books…

  39. September 25, 2009 8:09 PM

    Yes, Kim Stanley Robinson mentioned M John Harrison, along with: Brian Aldiss, Neal Asher, Iain Banks, Christopher Evans, Alasdair Gray (?), Colin Greenland, John Courtenay Grimwood, Peter Hamilton, Nick Harkaway, Robert Holdstock, Gwyneth Jones, Garry Kilworth, Doris Lessing, Ian R. MacLeod, China Miéville, Richard Morgan, Christopher Priest, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Jennifer Rohn, Brian Stableford, Charles Stross, Lisa Tuttle.

  40. mishari permalink*
    September 25, 2009 8:20 PM

    I’d second Banks, Reynolds, Miéville and Stross. Read a few of the others and wasn’t much impressed. Read Lessing in my teens but can’t remember if I liked her or not.

    Alasdair Gray. The Lanark AG? Odd…I didn’t know he’d written any SF.

  41. Captain Ned permalink
    September 25, 2009 9:55 PM

    ‘Memoirs of a Survivor’ is Lessing, and SF in its apocalyptic way. I read it just recently, and recommend it thoroughly: a very convincing and impressive book, all the more unnerving for its horrors not being looked at full in the face. I haven’t read her Canopus series, which is supposed to be more explicitly SF.

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 10:51 PM

    Nicole Kidman was a bit queer
    our date just didn’t begin
    I literally couldn’t see her
    she was so bloody pale and thin.

    I reported myself for abuse after reading Cranbrook’s mortuary notes on Forrest-Thomson. The whole thing was just too depressing. Unfortunately they also deleted my remarks about Cranbrook’s hypocritical hand-wringing.

    I shall have to revise my mental portrait of freep. A mature Warren Beatty, perhaps. There must be something alluring about him if Julie Christie is prepared to buy him a drink. Unless she just liked his dogg, of course.

  43. mishari permalink*
    September 25, 2009 11:29 PM

    I expect my irritable reply to that whinger @ellymiranda will be chopped before morning…why do I even bother?

    I suspect freep of having mesmeric powers. “You’re getting sleepy, very, very sleepy…”

  44. pinkroom permalink
    September 25, 2009 11:52 PM

    mm twice modded… what on earth did the second one say? Not a trace was left behind… the full, it never happened, spray and bake.

    Creepiest one I ever had was where I was partly deleted as I was still writing i.e. before I posted which suggests “they” can read while “we” are still drafting. Gave me the wind up and no mistake.

    But back to the cheesecake, namely…

    freep who has shot up in my estimation too… I always thought too good a poet to be any sort of looker, but he is clearly now revealing himself as the kind of raddled old bastard roue who can still effortlessly turn a fading siren’s head… and then dismiss her with callous contempt. Paul Newman in The Colour of Money perhaps???

  45. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 25, 2009 11:59 PM

    Dating Maria Schneider did not go well
    she smacked me one and called me a wanker
    a great pity, as I was sure we’d gel:
    I’d even brought along the Anchor.

    Returning fire doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, chief. I was a bit puzzled by Elly’s ‘I took your advice and looked up all those words…’, which I don’t see anywhere in what you said.

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:05 AM

    Now hang on a minute, pr. It was 1989 when JC bought him that drink, so he was still a young sprig of ninety.

  47. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2009 12:06 AM

    Search me, chief…I seem to attract the dingbats,the wowsers and the psychopaths. The story of my life, really…

    I could have told Mowbray;
    After her Parisian stay,
    It was a bad idea
    Trying to butter up Maria.

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:07 AM

    Am I the only Larry Niven fan in the world?

  49. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2009 12:15 AM

    Not at all…I loved the Ringworld series, though I haven’t read them in, I dunno, 20 years or more? I also liked Lucifer’s Hammer, The Mote In God’s Eye (was that the title?) and a few others. I thought Louis Wu was a great character…

  50. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 26, 2009 12:28 AM

    Same here, but everything I’ve read about his work says he’s a great ideas man but the characters are all cardboard cut-outs. I think he creates believable human characters, but where he really excels is in the creation of alien characters, providing them with non-human personality traits and ways of thinking. The Kzin are a good example.

  51. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2009 12:40 AM

    Yeah, I loved the Kzin…always having to stop themselves from eating people. And the Pierson’s Puppeteer, Nessus, was really well-drawn and all the bizzare characters they meet on the Ringworld itself. I didn’t think his characterisations of humans or aliens were at all inept. Quite the contrary, especially, as you say, his alien characters…

    Remember our pal Robert S. Meuller III? Well, apparently he’s left his senior position with the FBI and he’s lost the ‘III’. I suspect this is a sign that he’s loosened-up and he’s letting his hair down…the big lug:

    I have, through the help of my account officer packaged the money in a security proof box. The box was sealed with synthetic nylon seal and padded with machine and put it in another leather box for discarding sake.

    It was deposited with PRIME LOGISTIC COURIER COMPANY for safe keeping, as (Sensitive Photographic Film Material), The Company does not know the original contents of the box. What l declared to them as the content is Sensitive Photographic Film Material, I did not declare money to them please. that is what you will mention to them when contacting them.



    I’m especially taken with the idea of ‘…a security proof box’. The FBI trains its sons well…

    Excellent post by ExitB HERE that I urge all to read…

  52. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 26, 2009 11:49 AM

    Just a few random thoughts….

    Yes, excellent post on your blog ExitB.

    Must say, I did largely agree with what was said by that poster on PP, except for the fact that it’s far too easy to be a critic. People here have opinions, but you also post poetry of your own, so I find it easier to respect your opinions as well. That’s why I responed to that post the way I did. (But good humouredly, I would hope).

    Zephirine, the problem with the belief that Billy should have kept the blog closed is that it would exclude all the poets who’ve only discovered PP in recent times. That would include myself. Speaking only personally, I must admit to being grateful for its existence because it’s inspired me to pen a few more poems that may not otherwise have been written.

    I haven’t been following POTW for awhile, and this past week I’ve been away, but I might give it a look later. Sorry to hear that MM was expunged. I’m very fond of you, MM. Quite fond of you all.

    Been thinking of doing a poem on Claudette Colbert for this strand, but feeling a bit too fragile at present to pen any poetry. I’ll send something when I get the jizz back. Take care all,

    Jack Brae

  53. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 26, 2009 10:47 PM

    I’ve never cared for Michael Caine.
    That pose as a cockney geezer
    used to give me a right old pain
    in the region of the Khyber.

    Can’t act, can’t dance, can’t even sing,
    he’s a corpse, a patsy, a flat,
    what he brings to a part is nothing,
    but not enough people know that.

    I almost wish that Zulu mob
    had grabbed his arse and speared him dead,
    or, in the Italian Job,
    the bloody doors had been his head.

    It’s a pity you didn’t come across PP sooner, Jack.

    Looks like Elly loves you really, boss. A whole poem dedicated to you! I hope you’re blushing.

  54. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2009 11:01 PM

    Seriously? Christ, I’m afraid to look…

    I think you’re too hard on Maurice Micklewhite AKA ‘I’m Michael Caine’. He was in some right old shite, to be sure, but he had his moments. Give me a minute and I might even think of one…

  55. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 27, 2009 1:42 AM

    Claudette Colbert, 1903-1996
    (Movie actress, 1927-1961)

    Youth is in the past and the past is gone:
    an old black & white screwball comedy.
    Moonlight is cold where once the sun had shone.

    An Oscar at the age of thirty-one,
    who would have guessed a secret misery?
    Youth is in the past and the past is gone.

    The Monday Movie on BBC 1;
    in my teenage heart you were meant for me.
    Moonlight is cold where once the sun had shone.

    Inept at maths I missed the vital sum,
    or I would have known you were seventy.
    Youth is in the past and the past is gone.

    Movies put you in my now, made you young;
    yet, far away, you were old and wrinkly.
    Moonlight is cold where once the sun had shone

    And then I sought your movies, one by one;
    saw decades flicker through reality.
    Youth is in the past and the past is gone;
    Moonlight is cold where once the sun had shone.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  56. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 27, 2009 1:11 PM

    Nice villanelle, Jack.

    Since 14 hours have passed, O dancing metre-competent entrepreneur, I assume you have been unable to come up with a decent Caine performance. I would give you The Ipcress File, except that the character he portrays there is exactly the same one as in every other film he has made, ie himself.

    His Academy Award for Worst-Ever Accent in Zulu was well-deserved, however, as was the double Bafta for having Matchstick Legs and Running Like a Twelve Year-Old girl in Get Carter.

  57. mishari permalink*
    September 27, 2009 2:09 PM

    Well, I guess like so many ‘stars’, he just plays variations on ‘Michael Caine’. I thought he was a good Harry Palmer, he wasn’t bad in Alfie and, for all its hammy thesp scenery-chewing, I rather enjoyed Sleuth…

    Good villanelle, Jack…It Happened One Night is an old favourite…

  58. mishari permalink*
    September 27, 2009 2:11 PM

    …oh, yeah…and I thought he did a good job in The Quiet American, too…

  59. mishari permalink*
    September 27, 2009 10:25 PM

    As a mark of my esteem for the sterling work of OFSTED, who have recently informed two women police officers that they were breaking the law by looking after one anothers children, I have (in my capacity as the head of OFFUK) made a little vid just for them:

  60. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 27, 2009 10:55 PM

    You know how it is when you can’t find the paperclips.

    Cary Grant

    Your film career was glorious,
    His Girl Friday, North By Northwest,
    were quite good, but Notorious
    was the one that I liked the best.

    Once you’d made your final picture
    yet another career began,
    a successful entrepreneur
    and international businessman.

    One must ask oneself, all the same,
    no matter how big one might get,
    can anything dispel the shame
    of being born in Somerset?

  61. mishari permalink*
    September 27, 2009 11:07 PM

    I’m glad to see that you’re diverting your agony into creative work, MM. Very wise. Portsmouth losing for the seventh time in a row must be gall and wormwood for you, you poor devil…

    BTW, your crack about ‘…O dancing metre-competent entrepreneur…’ went right over my head. What am I missing?

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 27, 2009 11:43 PM

    I watch the football results every week with quiet satisfaction.

    I was quoting from Ellymiranda’s fine poem about you on the potw thread. You’ve obviously made an impression.

  63. September 27, 2009 11:43 PM

    Michael Caine: very good in Educating Rita.

  64. mishari permalink*
    September 27, 2009 11:47 PM

    Ah…I haven’t seen it nor do I think I will lest I be tempted into making a stinging verse reply. I’ve already filled my quota for new enemies for 2009.

    I’d forgotten that one, Zeph. I agree. He was very good in ER. He was quite entertaining as a conman in a film with Steve Martin (the title escapes me). I mean, he was obviously coasting but he was still pretty good value…

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 28, 2009 12:08 AM

    It’s difficult to discuss Educating Rita since I had to turn it off after 15 minutes. I thought he was poor, as usual (though not as bad as perky battler Julie Walters, of course): it’s when that strangled whine he seems to consider an RP accent emerges from his lips that my sensitive earsight starts shrivelling. Lt Bromhead wiv a beard, squire. He just can’t do voices, and what kind of an actor can’t do voices?

  66. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 12:16 AM

    Too harsh, my dear fellow…still, at least he’s not Stephen Fucking Fry, for which he deserves a little bit of credit…

    Did you know that Alexander The Great had a peroxide-blonde Herman’s Hermits shag? It’s been years since I read Arrian but I don’t remember him mentioning it. Oliver Stone must have accesss to other historical sources…

  67. September 28, 2009 9:20 AM

    I have no opinion on Michael Caine, other than I loathe the way he was adopted by the Loaded/Lock Stock generation as an icon above and beyond many greater talents simply because a couple of his movies fitted the lad-approved 60s/pop/hip model.

    Have been struggling with screen sirens. Possibly because, in my youth, there were none.

    Also, Mishari, I’m holding off sending you the Ronda address as a couple of packages that have been sent a while back are yet to be delivered. want to make sure everything gets here!

  68. September 28, 2009 9:39 AM


    And while on the smouldering issue of a Herman’s Hermits shag…

    “Accompanied by his band, Herman’s Hermits, Noone consistently plays to sold-out venues the world over. He has a legion of faithful fans (known as ‘Noonatics’) whose loyalty is unparalleled. Today’s teen girls scream just as passionately as their mothers did back in 1965, prompting VH1 to select Peter as their viewer’s choice for the ‘Sexiest Artist of the Year’.”

    There once was a person from Prague
    Who boasted a Peter Noone shag
    Had left her bereft
    With nowt in her cleft
    But a …

    Oh well, best leave off concluding that one till we come round to your Ageing Popstar Limerick Challenge.

  69. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 28, 2009 12:21 PM

    Think I’ll pop out to dinner
    Lap lark mucus at Langan’s
    Overweening arrogance?
    I’m such a Michael Winner

    Think I’ll be Sean Connery
    Choose a nice exotic mate
    Clothes horse with an easy gait
    Cross like Thierry Henerey

    Think I’ll keep the old accent
    Then they’ll think I’m working-clarse
    Maurice Micklewhite my arse
    (“Go again!”) …the Old Road Kent.

    Think I went to acting school
    Made me sound less like a twit
    Not many people know that
    In Walsall and Hartlepool

  70. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 1:25 PM

    Not to worry, XB…the Spanish postal service can be a little slow but my subscription to Private Eye always arrived without fail. Just let me know when you’re ready..

    Lark mucus, HLM? Clearly, your residence amongst the Frogs has turned you into something of a gourmand…

    Peter Noone, Tom? ‘Sexiest Person Of The Year’? So there’s still hope for Mowbray, then…and speaking of Mowbray, as some of you will know, he was elected to his local council recently. I have obtained, at considerable expense, a brief video of his recent speech to the Isle of Wight Womens Institute:

  71. parallax permalink
    September 28, 2009 4:25 PM

    Bloody hell Mish, was that ‘Erik Satie-Sonatine Bureaucratique’ for real cctv/corporate security footage? Amazing. You know every one talks about 9/11 but it pales in comparison to the individual damage inflicted by a *civilised* world’s expectation of performing monkeys.

  72. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 4:58 PM

    Apparently. Reminds me of those experiments with rats. Stress them and over-crowd them and they turn to murder, mayhem and cannibalism…welcome to the working week.

  73. parallax permalink
    September 28, 2009 5:27 PM

    Or …welcome a long weekend trapped in a lift – poor sod – I suppose you’ve seen this

    And on another path to terminal tedium, here’s maurice micklewhite showing us how to snare with poetry – just remember to whisper page 112

  74. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 5:36 PM

    ‘….do you like Caravaggio?’, ‘…oh, yes. Who doesn’t?’
    erm…quite. That looks a lot like the Gotham Book Mart, one of world’s great book shops.

    This one’s for you, para:

  75. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 28, 2009 10:16 PM

    Some kind of passerine takes wing
    above the Minnesota corn,
    Frances opens her gumms to sing
    and suddenly a star is born.

    Never exactly a cutie,
    or actor or hoofer by choice,
    it wasn’t about your beauty,
    but the majesty of your voice.

    Strike Up The Band, let’s hear it play,
    give the Easter Parade a whirl,
    and like those Babes On Broadway
    you’ll sing for ever, Ziegfeld Girl.

    I’m not a friend of Dorothy,
    but Judy, I just want to say,
    wherever you are get happy,
    and chase all your cares away.
    I don’t know who you got to translate my speech to the WI, but they were incompetent. It was spam-making (spam macht) not jam-making (jam macht).

    Pretty good Waking the Dead. Turns out Mrs M taught Gina McKee in Peterlee in the 70s. We are sprinkled with stardust.

  76. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 10:34 PM

    I’ve long suspected you were, if not a ‘friend of Dorothy’, then an aquaintance…

    BTW, I started to watch Terminator Salvation over the weekend only to discover, to my chagrin, that it was only half the fucking film. Doubtless, you discovered the same thing but were too gentlemanly to mention it.

    Sorry about that. I’ll rectify when I can work out what the hell happened to the other bloody half. I’m popping the latest 2 episodes each of Madmen and SOA in tomorrow’s post…

  77. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 28, 2009 11:20 PM

    I’ve only watched In The Loop as yet (starring Gina McKee), which was very good. I was saving Terminator for a special occasion ie when I’m not being harassed by importunate conversationalists or sniped at for watching sexist action films. Thanks for sending the other stuff.

    I caught a bit of Mandelson’s speech today. I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t in a nightmare. Someone has to stake him or he’ll be PM soon.

  78. pinkroom permalink
    September 28, 2009 11:37 PM

    Don’t all the houses in Peterlee have flat rooves or something? Strange to think of the tall, stylish Ms McKee growing to womanhood under a flat roof in rain-sodden Durham.

  79. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 28, 2009 11:51 PM

    You’re right, PR, though I have the feeling some or all of them were redone with pitched roofs when the town planners realised their dream of a Mediterranean town beside the bleak North Sea was a little impractical.

    Ms McKee has an interesting visage. From some angles horsey and gormless, from others ethereally beautiful. A two-face, as they say in Seinfeld.

  80. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2009 11:52 PM

    I’m considering setting a Chant Royal as the next poetic task but I’m wondering if it might not be a bit too demanding.

  81. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 29, 2009 12:58 AM


    A bit too demanding? That could be an understatement.

    But if the others are game then I am, as always, your arrogantly humble servant.

    However, may I please take this opportunity to mention that I am currently planning a trip to the moon, and may be some time.

    Jack Brae

  82. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 1:18 AM

    I won’t do it unless I write a marginally acceptable one myself, Jack. If I can do it, you lot can certainly do it…

    I’ll tackle it to-morrow…well, today, actually. Maybe post it tomorrow. I’ll have to decide on a theme, first. Any suggestions?

  83. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:29 AM

    Good morning Mishari

    I see that you’ve already posted a theme and penned your own. And an excellent one too, may I say.

    Phew, this is a task and a half, but I actually agree with you, poets should attempt these forms without whinging. There’s a nobility in failure if the poet but tries. Those who complain that these forms are “irrelevent”, merely to hide their inability to rhyme, are a sorry bunch indeed.

    However, I will certainly need time on this one, but I’ll give it a go. Feeling a tad nervous though…..

    Jack Brae

  84. freep permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:45 AM

    Mish, the chant royal is as tough as it gets.
    You could, I suppose, set new rules from your position as arbitrary ruler with Divine Right
    It needs, if it is to be truly ‘royal’, an elevated subject; I couldn’t use my current obsession ‘Knitting In Church’ as it is too base. The compositional problem is that you are certain to find yourself working back from available rhymes, which inhibits the free flow of emotion recollected in tranquillity. And feminine rhymes become pretty unusable. If you were rhyming ‘ation’ the effect would be low and comic. For such a high form we should seek, I hope you will agree, gravity or pomp, as befits a world in highly tragic decline.
    Waking the Dead was a fine piece of televisual Gothique, MM, with two separate female serial killers. Only trouble was the last scene filmed in an empty industrial building, which has become a little of a cliche. The prev episode had an empty and disused hospital. The spookiness of decaying large buildings is beyond doubt ( my own most spooky was a ruinous TB hospital on the IoW in about 1970, riddled with dry rot) .
    Gina McKee wasn’t bad, interesting face for depicting weakness and serenity together. Mrs MM obviously did a good job of indoctrination. Pity she had to endure Peterlee.

  85. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 10:28 AM

    I dunno, freep…if you were to use Knitting In Church as a metaphor for the ‘ravelled sleeve of care’ that is modern life and your ‘knitting’ is a healing, mending and revival…well, that lends it a certain nobility, I feel.

    I should add a serial killer, a few explosions, car-chases and semi-nude women, just to be on the safe side…

    No hurry, Jack…take your time. I just happened to have a bout of insomnia and thought I’d use the time productively.(Productively? Don’t make me laugh, you scribbler–Ed.)

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:53 PM

    Yes, those redundant industrial buildings are a cliche. Good use made of the one in The Ipcress File, to give it its due. Which is now nearly 50 years old, so a very old cliche.

    You must mean the National Chest Hospital, freep, built and demolished within a hundred years thanks to penicillin. The grounds are now the Botanic Garden, the cellar the Smuggling Museum where the sign at the end of the season used to say Closed 5pm – Easter.

  87. freep permalink
    September 30, 2009 8:39 AM

    Thanks for the info on the national Chest hospital at Ventnor, MM. It put flesh on some bones that had been lying undisturbed in my memory for forty years. I see that the hospital was demolished in 1969, so I must have visited in 1968 or so. It was half a mile long and had been rotting away for about twenty years. Very compelling stuff for film makers and poets alike. There is a good website on ruins of modern Britain at
    which has some fine ruins of mental hospitals. There are dozens of them either mouldering or awaiting redevelopment, with a cluster in Surrey, like Cane Hill, where my granny died. There’s an excellent one near where I live, undisturbed for over twenty years, only built around 1918. The images are possibly too good to waste on poems.

  88. September 30, 2009 10:29 AM

    Terrific photos Freep. Put me in mind of home.

  89. September 30, 2009 11:21 AM

    More well-photographed urban decay at There are some nice comments from people who remember the places, epecially the pubs.

  90. freep permalink
    September 30, 2009 11:39 AM

    Thanks Zeph, a wonderful site. I shall probably waste hours in nostalgic roaming, as I haven’t lived in London since 1975. Many of these images are frozen just as I remember them – Forest Hill Swimming baths etc.

  91. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 11:47 AM

    Yes, a terrific site, Zeph…albeit somewhat melancholy, especially if any of the sites figured in ones personal history. My part of London is being torn down and built up at quite an alarming rate. Have you noticed it Zeph? Of course, you must have.

    I watched them tear down a Victorian school the other day. Not a beautiful building but a dignified one and not without grace. It could easily have been turned to some useful purpose but, no…down it had to come.

    I’ve seen the plans for what’ll replace it. No surprise… it’s going to be blocks of low-ceilinged rabbit-hutches that’ll drive people mad and cause them to read the Daily Mail…

  92. September 30, 2009 12:59 PM

    Flats, flats and more flats, Mishari. Every spare corner of Bow has had another development squeezed into it, usually with a stupid name. God knows how many of them are standing empty. One or two projects have completely stalled and are standing there forlornly in their scaffoldng, but otherwise the march continues, the invasion of the contemporary-style two-bed young professional’s home with galley kitchen and ‘juliet balcony’.

  93. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 1:21 PM

    The very term ‘juliet balcony’ makes me break out in hives, Zeph. It’s the awful, dreary sameness of all these developments that depresses me so.

    I hate low-ceilings in a flat and these developments all have claustrophobically low ceilings; the shoddyness of the materials used; the hideous gimcrack design and, as you say, the inevitable cretinous name. Shit, I’d rather live in a tent.

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