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October 18, 2009

Painted Lady


Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia,
Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
And a torso even more so.

Lydia oh Lydia, that encyclopidia,
Oh Lydia the Queen of Tattoo.
On her back is the Battle of Waterloo.
Beside it the wreck of the Hesperus, too.
And proudly above waves the Red, White, and Blue,
You can learn a lot from Lydia.

–from Lydia the Tattooed Lady by Harold Arlen and E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg


It was in Tahiti, in July of 1769, that Captain James Cook first recorded his observations of the indigenous body modification. His notes are the first known use (by an Occidental) of the word tattoo. In the ship’s log, Cook recorded this entry: Both sexes paint their Bodys, Tattow, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inlaying the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible.

Cook added: This method of Tattowing I shall now describe…As this is a painful operation, especially the Tattowing of their Buttocks, it is performed but once in their Lifetimes.

The practice is, of course, far older than Cook knew.

Tattooing has been a Eurasian custom since Neolithic times. Ötzi the Iceman (discovered in 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier between Austria and Italy and dated circa 3300 BCE) bears 57 tattoos.

The Man of Pazyryk (c. 500 BCE), a Scythian chieftain extracted from the permafrost of Altaï, is tattooed with an extensive and detailed range of fish, monsters and a series of dots that lined up along the spinal column and around the right ankle

Pre-Christian Germanic, Celtic and other central and northern European tribes were often heavily tattooed, according to surviving accounts. The Picts were famously tattooed (or scarified) with elaborate dark blue woad (or possibly copper for the blue tone) designs. Julius Caesar described these tattoos in Book V of his Gallic Wars (54 BCE).

The Arab traveller Ahmad ibn Fadlan also wrote of his encounter with the Scandinavian Rus’ tribe in the early 10th century, describing them as tattooed from fingernails to neck with dark blue tree patterns and other figures.

According to Robert Graves in The Greek Myths, tattooing was common amongst certain religious groups in the ancient Mediterranean world, which may have contributed to the prohibition of tattooing in Leviticus. However, during the classic Greek period, tattooing was only common among slaves.

Tattooing for spiritual and decorative purposes in Japan is thought to extend back to at least the Jōmon or Paleolithic period (approximately 10,000 BCE) and was widespread during various periods for both the Japanese and the native Ainu. Chinese visitors observed and remarked on the tattoos in Japan (300 BCE).

Between 1603 – 1868 Japanese tattooing was only practiced by the ukiyo-e (The floating world culture). Generally firemen, manual workers and prostitutes wore tattoos which communicated their status. Between 1720 – 1870 Criminals were tattooed as a visible mark of punishment, this actually replaced having ears and noses removed. A criminal would receive a single ring on their arm for each crime committed.

Tattoos are now utterly commonplace. No longer the mark of the criminal, the outcast, the outsider; no longer the province of the sailor, the biker, the junkie. I have one myself (acquired at the age of 19) as I imagine do many of you.

So let’s have poems on the subject of ‘body art’. No particular form this time. Just get out your needles and ink and prick a pattern…

  1. parallax permalink
    October 18, 2009 2:46 PM

    Godwin’s Law

    To tattoo,
    as an expression
    of self,

    kicks sand
    in the face
    of oppression

    an impression of:

    hey I’m free
    look I’ve written it
    on me.

    There was a time
    when your tattoo meant
    someone owned you

    I impress my self on you

    and that ain’t free
    it’s a reminder
    of your restriction

    you think your skin
    is your canvas?
    and yet you write

    to be part of a tribe

  2. October 18, 2009 5:47 PM

    Niiiice. Ray Bradbury’s dream ho.

  3. pinkroom permalink
    October 18, 2009 7:39 PM

    The Tags of a Slag

    One of the lesser known attractions of Hell
    is that they let you keep every tattoo
    that adorned you in life,
    regardless of your ability to spell.

    In fact they insist, as the outward stamp
    of your inner vanities and foolishnesses
    and demons happily deride you
    with words like slut, idiot, slapper and tramp

    But worse than this any ink you had removed,
    cut out with knife or laser,
    returns in full bloom of bleeding scab;
    your stupidity so clearly proved.

    But worst of all, and this is where I complain,
    all the tats you only ever thought about
    appear as bold as you fleeting thought
    and proudly will, eternally, remain.

    So my lovely hide, once as greyly white
    as freshly tapped ash of fag,
    is now scrawled with every adolescent crush,
    and frankly looking shite.

    I mean how impossibly unfair,
    what sad fucker now remembers Tommy Bolin?
    But there he sits as imagined in ’76,
    grinning back from my thigh, waved of hair

    and all those other boys,
    whose named I sometimes imagined as Mrs.
    gabled with roses, leaves, heats and kisses,
    their very sight now so annoys.

    Political and religious marks,
    of wildly conflicting beliefs
    and the fads and fashions of forty years:
    flowers, stars, flames and sparks.

    Yes, there’s worse thing in Hell
    -I’m at not at liberty to divulge –
    But I warn you,
    it aint so great.
    I was a decent looking waitress,
    now an indecent two and eight.

  4. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 18, 2009 10:37 PM

    Old Mrs Reynolds’ Cat

    Globes of fluff rise from the dandelion
    garden of old Mrs Reynolds. A mog
    leaps from the tattered weeds to the iron
    railing on the wall-top. Seeds float like fog
    into the alleyways thick with thistle.
    A crucified man patterned in its fur
    rides the cat’s back. Tarot symbols bristle
    on the cat’s flanks. Stars in each hand, a whore
    like Babylon patterns the mog’s stomach.
    Deep in its skin, DNA has tattooed
    its way up through the mog’s coat. Fate gives ache
    to the chanced glance. The unlucky are wooed
    to look at the old witch’s cat. Bad luck
    if they do; they’ll hear the tick of the clock.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  5. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:12 PM

    Disrespect me as you please, I don’t care,
    call me pathetic and my life a farce,
    give it all you’ve got, whoever you are:
    YOUR NAME is written right across my arse.

  6. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:41 PM


    Your sharp eye, please. Am I imagining things, or is that large pink flower-head on the back of the tattooed person in the photo above actually Sonic the hedgehog? The more I look at it the more I see Sonic’s two eyes and nose and that spiny head of his(except that in this case he’s pink!)

    Maybe Sonic is a Japanese flower spirit? Well, those Japanese flower spirits can turn up anywhere..

    Jack Brae

  7. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:05 AM

    It could be a re-imagining of the spiny one, I suppose. You seem as unclear as me as to the sex of the subject of the photo. There’s a certain fullness to the buttocks, but that could apply to either sex in these well-fed days. The lack of definition of the waist hints at masculinity, but straight-sided ladies are not uncommon. It’s a mystery.

  8. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 12:47 AM

    Actually, it’s a man, a German member of the teaching profession, apparently…perhaps I’ll change him for something less ambiguous.

  9. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:21 AM

    Well at least the new bloke has got clean fingernails

  10. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 1:27 AM

    …and (pace MM) better waist definition. To hell with ‘straight-sided’ ladies…

  11. October 19, 2009 11:40 AM

    I’d swear it was a different image when I commented late last night… (panic sets in)

  12. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 1:25 PM

    It was. I decided a plump German’s tattooed haunch wasn’t the way to go. The woman in the new image has very elegant hands, I think (aside from all the ink)…

    Attacking someone for being fat should be a hate crime, campaigners say.They want so-called “fat-ism” to be made illegal on the same grounds as race, age and religious discrimination.

    In the UK, size is not a protected characteristic under discrimination legislation.

    Kathryn Szrodecki, who campaigns on behalf of overweight people, said that in the UK fat people were stared at, pointed at, talked about and attacked.

    Ms Szrodecki said: “This is a very common event – someone being beaten up should be a crime.”

    BBC website, today

    Yes, beating people up should definitely be made a criminal offence. Oh…wait a minute…

  13. Polly permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:42 PM

    I liked the bloke’s bottom better.

    Anyway, I’m here to report the second coming of Jesus, or maybe it’s just Gandalf…

    The link to the woman who found god in the lid of her marmite really does make you wonder about humanity…

  14. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 1:50 PM

    Oh, Christ…the return of Gandalf. That’s it…I’m off. Think I’ll move to Berlin, where the sterling work of Steven’s League Against Gandalf (or SLAG) has ensured a Gandalf-free zone…

  15. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:59 PM

    who’s this gandalf cloaked chap you (generically you) keep talking about? Is he one of them ‘kin-kiwi Peter Jackson inventions?

  16. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 2:17 PM

    Of course, we could flee to Oz, where para’s noble organisation, Wizards Out of Melbourne, Brisbane And Toowoomba (or WOMBAT) have rendered most of Oz a wizardless paradise.

  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:30 PM

    Hande hoch!

  18. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:40 PM

    so, Herr Augustine what’s this neatly barbered bloke rapping about? Really I’m asking – I don’t get it. It’s a bit Herzog to me (steady Alarming:)):

  19. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:42 PM

    MM – it’s just furry

  20. October 19, 2009 3:28 PM


    It’s just some standard German rap gibberish about standing up and together with or against a list of negative situations (erm, terrorism, unemployment, disaffected youth, abused foreigners, evil presidents, God’s absence, negativity etc) with your hands up (raising your hands is seen as a genuine thing to do in the face of a list of social ills) and, yeah. Doesn’t mean anything (I think the attitude is what’s supposed to sell it) but I guess from the title that it’s on the soundtrack from a film that an acquaintance of mine (quite a big Auteur these days) directed and which was a shameless ripoff of a film called “Running on Empty” starring River Phoenix.

    Mish: Christ: the image from last night was male and today’s is *female*…? Must fix goggles. You must admit those are big hands for a lady, though. Right? I am not. NOT. An Amanda Lear fan…

  21. October 19, 2009 3:30 PM

    Did I mention they mention the homeless?

  22. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 3:51 PM

    One can’t help but notice that ‘activists’ are prepared to do damn near anything for the homeless except invite them to move in.

    Rather like Bongo, who’s prepared to do any amount of drooling over the deprived and powerless but won’t pay taxes that support provision of health care and education to, erm…the deprived and powerless.

    I don’t think those are big hands, Steven. They look in proportion to me. Maybe all that surrounding ‘busyness’ creates the illusion of size…

  23. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 4:12 PM

    thanks Steven for the interpretative blurb – yeah it looked and sounded *worthy* as an expression rather than a commitment – hey ho.

    Yeah mish, that new bloke is definitely a bloke with a waist and a hefty manicure bill

  24. October 19, 2009 4:12 PM

    I’ve probably spent too much time on Ralph Lauren’s site; I’ve developed a thing for boobless women whose heads are wider than their pelvises, with hands like vestigial flippers. I love my Beloved anyway, of course, but her proportions strike me as a little too human, these days. Sex is a matter of closing my eyes and imagining Gumby with photoshopped (just a tick narrower, Luv) hips.

  25. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 4:26 PM

    Inez came back from Waitrose a minute ago holding a piece of card in her (exceptionally slender and shapely) hand and giggling. She handed the card to me without a word and I think it’s worth sharing:

    PROFESSOR SAHIB, International Renowned Spiritual Healer/Clairvoyant

    The only man who can solve all your internal problems and help with many more problems within a shorter period of time than anyone else does, like the return of your loved ones, success in marriage with someone you always loved, losing weight, exams, success in business, impotency/infertility, court cases, breaking all sorts of black magic, bad luck, addition (sic), anti-social behaviour, depression, stress, job interviews and immigration cases.

    No More Worries! %100 Guaranteed! Your Pain Is My Responsibility!

    My pain is his responsibility? Bastard. At least now I know whose house to firebomb…

  26. parallax permalink
    October 19, 2009 5:10 PM

    liking it

    I was walking down Parramatta Road the other day reading a variety of self help signs – the best healing sign: ‘don’t tell me what’s wrong with you because I’ll find out and tell you how to cure it’

  27. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 19, 2009 9:55 PM

    Hi Mish

    Any chance of making the following change to the last two-and-a-half lines of my sonnet?

    …………….. The unlucky are wooed
    to look at the old witch’s cat. Bad luck
    if they do; they’ll hear the tick of the clock.


    Much obliged in advance

    Jack Brae


  28. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 19, 2009 10:15 PM

    Have you got a number for Prof. Sahib?

    All right, spelling isn’t my thing, it’s true,
    But what you said was really uncalled for,
    That tat I had was a tribute to you,
    I totally love you, Samanther.

  29. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 10:40 PM

    Jesus, the things I do for you lot. I had to dig through the rubbish to find it but your need is great:

    Prof. Sahib- 0207-474-1473

    244 Barking Road, Plaistow, E13 8HR (Near Canning Town St.)

  30. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 19, 2009 10:45 PM

    Went to answerphone. Strange. Shouldn’t he have known that I was going to call?

    You’re wasting your time with atf, Jack.

  31. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2009 10:49 PM

    I just did a quick google and discovered that someone else was as amused by the Prof. as we were. They posted a copy of his card HERE, just in case you thought I was making him up…(I notice that ‘addiction’ is spelled correctly on the card posted. It isn’t on mine)

    Truly, Jack, as MM said, you’re wasting your breath trying to have a rational discussion with atf..

  32. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 20, 2009 12:54 AM

    Agreed with both of you on ATF, but I just couldn’t let it go this time. I haven’t logged onto the blog since my last post but I’m sure she’s posted yet another wind-wafted square of toilet tissue. I decided though that the last one was my final reply on this matter.

    Just curious though, what poetry does she actually admire? She seems to hate it all from what I’ve seen of her. Why does she bother looking at the poetry in the first place. Seems more than a bit odd. But then, I’m just a lowerclass simian.

    Jack Brae

  33. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 20, 2009 7:01 PM

    A couple of years ago atf was the blog shepherdess, obsessively dragging the strays back on topic. The dum dum dum merchants and Derby Council took over for a bit, then the poetry as vehicle for moral lessons. The Marxist warrior is a new twist. Why being well-educated should make you a class enemy I don’t know, though several others on the blog seem to share that point of view. You get the feeling the poems might be a secondary consideration.

    I can’t make up my mind whether to watch the Nick Griffin Show or not. Assuming any kind of debate at all happens I wish Labour had put up someone a bit sharper than Straw. He’s too willing to listen to the other person’s pov, too hesitant, stammers a bit and isn’t too quick on his feet. Looking at the rest of the Cabinet I suppose there isn’t that much of a choice. The best of a bad bunch I think is Balls: fairly quick-witted and reasonably aggressive. The rest of the panel are pretty ordinary: should have been Germaine, not Bonnie. I hope they don’t underestimate the fat fuck.

  34. October 20, 2009 7:38 PM

    I was imagining starting a paramilitary wing of the BNP. Dress up in SS-style uniforms, follow Nick Griffen around, beat the shit out of any anti-racist troublemakers. See how long he remained popular. (Or perhaps that’s just the kind of thing people really want).

  35. mishari permalink*
    October 20, 2009 8:05 PM

    Apparently, NuLab are outraged that the BNP website have called Straw ‘slimy’. But he is slimy, even if it’s Nazis saying it.

    I suppose I’ll watch, just to see how bad a car crash it’ll be…but like you, MM, I wish they’d put up someone a lot sharper and funnier. Francis Wheen would have been my choice. Will Self would have been good, ditto Mark Steel. Ridicule is best with shits like Griffin. Bonnie Greer is OK, Baroness Warsi? I’ve no idea who she is, Chris WhoHe is uninspiring and lacks the fire or the wit…and I regard Straw as being almost as nasty a piece of work as Griffin.

    I just have a horrible feeling that he’ll be the voice of moderation and reason, soft-spoken and polite while the rest of the panel get increasingly hysterical. I don’t really see that the BNP have anything to lose…but everything to gain. Let’s face it, if Griffin appears even ‘tolerable’ then the fat cunt’s won..

  36. pinkroom permalink
    October 20, 2009 8:38 PM

    I think the BBC should have put atf up against Griffin. And Des. And Moondancer, the Gandalf-alike. Add Bono and/or Sting for the self-tantricising celebrity angle and you would have an evening’s entertainment well worth staying in for.

  37. mishari permalink*
    October 20, 2009 8:53 PM

    I can see it, PR…atf subjects Fatty Griffin to a Marxist critique and finds his views wanting, Des bores him comatose with his well-rehearsed recital of his climb to the pinnacle of the poetry world, Sting plays the lute and murders Dowland and Bono discusses ‘tax-efficiency’ with his accountant, pausing occasionally to look adoringly at pictures of poor people he intends to shake hands with some day. Hurrah for fambly ennertainment…

    I see Cabaret is on tonight. How appropriate. Haven’t seen it in years but I remember liking it very much…on the other hand, 7 Days on the Breadline sounds compelling: 9:00pm – 10:00pm, ITV1:

    Mel B, Trinny Woodall, Keith Allen and Austin Healey leave their comfortable lifestyles behind to spend a week with different low-income families in Leeds and experience the daily challenges of inadequate living conditions and limited funds. Some of the families also have severe health problems to deal with, while others are more concerned with keeping their tearaway teenagers out of trouble.

    Decisions, decisions….

  38. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 20, 2009 9:41 PM

    I went on the POTW blog a few hours ago and quite frankly I thought I’d fallen down a fucking rabbit hole. Jesus Christ, that woman is definitely unhinged. And she used to be right-wing????? What the fuck is she now? (Right up her arse, apparently.)

    Maybe it’s me though. I obviously missed all those news interviews where the exiled Russians begged to be sent back to the Gulags. I must have been missing that day. I must have been on another planet. Possibly the planet Earth.

    Jack Brae

  39. Captain Ned permalink
    October 20, 2009 10:13 PM

    Planet Earth, as atf will no doubt tell you, Jack, is of all the solar system’s stinking reactionary cesspools the most filled with elitist bourgeois oppressors of the weak. Once you have ascended to a higher plane of reasoning, you will realise that true wisdom, compassion and aesthetic judgement are enjoyed only by inhabitants of Titan, from which atf’s missives are beamed to us by means of a technology so advanced that we mortals can never hope to understand it; superficial resemblences to the same ‘computers’ and ‘internet’ with which we are familiar ought not deceive.

    Seriously, atf makes Melanie Phillips seem a model of good sense.

    I’m dumbfounded by your almost-warm words for Balls, MM. I find the man repellent – a Brownite bully equally repellent as the Blairite toady Purnell. The thought of those two slugging it out for the party leadership after the election fills me with dread, especially if they’re joined by the clueless Harman and the lightweight Miliband. Perhaps if mutual destruction of those four clowns were to occur, it would be worth it – but then we’d end up with a compromise candidate like Johnson, who’s not particularly objectionable according to the standards set by his colleagues, I suppose… but who is he? What is he? The lack of apparent alternatives is depressing.

  40. mishari permalink*
    October 20, 2009 10:31 PM

    Vote Esther Rantzen! A Penis-Shaped Vegetable In Every Pot!

    You’re right, though, Ned…I’d rather drink a bucket full of cold vomit than vote for Pie-Face Cameron and his party of spiteful fuck-buckets but what are the alternatives? If the Communists field a candidate, I’ll toss her/him my vote, just to make atf happy.

  41. mishari permalink*
    October 20, 2009 10:57 PM

    Oh, the joy of watching that ghastly scumbag Dennis McSlime wriggling on the hook of his own dishonesty. Thank you, Newsnight…

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 20, 2009 11:56 PM

    Balls obviously isn’t ideal, Cap’n, but he’s the sole Cabinet member with the capacity to sneer and bully, which is the only satisfactory way to deal with Griffin: making him look a wimp or winding him up. His appearance on C4 news tonight shows how reasonable he can make himself look just by staying calm and maintaining an even tone of voice. Oh for a Denis Healey, a Tony Benn or even a George Galloway. Snow did a service by pointing out that Thatcher wasn’t slow to use Churchill and WW2 as a way of linking the Conservative Party to the interests of the nation. Throw in the swamping business and it’s easy to see that Griffin is saying what the Tories of that era were only thinking.

    I didn’t know Jenson Button was a native of Frome. I wonder if he and Alarming are by any chance related? Knowing the proclivities of the inhabitants of Somerset it’s almost a given.

  43. pinkroom permalink
    October 21, 2009 12:16 AM

    Has much wriggly worm form that one… tried to bare-faced deny he told a student meeting that he called Brown’s economic tests a @red herring@ but they had him on tape… still denies he was actually sacked for that… It’s the sheer brass neck of these people.

    You lied. I didn’t.
    But we have proof you did. You haven’t.
    This actually happened. It didn’t.

    A special circle of Hell is certainly waiting for McShameless and his kind, but I’m not quite sure what its torments should be…

  44. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2009 12:38 AM

    With a name like ‘Jenson Button’ it was a dead cert he was either from the pages of a Tolkien book or from Frome…hey…I like that..’from-frome’…sounds like a Moroccan appetiser…

    Yes, I loathe McShame-his mindless fealty to Israel, his contempt for the electorate, his distant acquaintance with the truth, his greed, his stupidity, his whining voice. Bastard’s name isn’t even really McShame, it’s something Polish with lots of Z’s and W’s. A fraud in every respect.

    I wish he was my MP just so I could vote against the son of a bitch.

  45. October 21, 2009 4:04 PM

    Stuck inside Drogheda with the memphis blues again …and wi-fi.

    I left Frome when I was 18 years old MM, years before ( old Somerset saying coming up ) Jensen Button was even a spurndell in his father’s ball-bag and have never been back since. But a surname like Button in Frome would certainly have subjected the family to neighbourly abuse – someone would have attempted to sew them onto a coat. I barely escaped having the surname of Taylor.

  46. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2009 6:19 PM

    On completion of the demolition of Nelson’s statue and the alteration of its Corinthian engravings, we would envisage seating an exquisitely constructed Islamic clock with the black flag of Islam flying high over it (refer to picture); this clock could also be fitted with an electronic device that would sound the Islamic call to prayer 5 times a day; moreover, because the statue of Horatio Nelson is coincidentally positioned facing due south, on its replacement with an Islamic orientated clock, the front of the clock could duly be rotated 45 degrees (anti-clockwise) so as to indicate the direction of the qibla i.e. direction of the Kaabah in Makkah, thereby making it easier for Muslims in the locality to know which way to pray.

    Quite possibly the most important use of the area, Trafalgar Square has been noted for its popularity with organisations, groups and parties who wish to propagate their culture and ideas to the masses. Socialists, Capitalists, and other political affiliates regularly congregate in this area for special events. Concerts and parades are also extremely common and thus Trafalgar Square has become one of the leading hubs for dialogue and entertainment.

    Under the Shari’ah, probable changes to such activities would most likely include the banning of indecent organisations that are deemed anti-Islamic and as a more beneficial alternative, members of the public may be met with a continuous ‘Rally for Islam’ in the locality, 7 days a week, where they can find out more about Islam and the Shari’ah, should it interest them.

    Read more about Muslim nutcase’s plans for Trafalgar Square HERE

  47. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 21, 2009 7:36 PM

    The correspondence betwixt Button and Taylor had escaped me completely. How could I not have cottoned on to that? I am totally losing the thread.

    Thanks for the DVD, Sir, which arrived today. In Masterchef, Michel Roux describes various gastronomic productions as unctuous. It’s as though he thinks this is a good thing. You should have a word with him next time you are eating at Le Gavvers. Pedants throughout the country would thank you.

  48. October 21, 2009 7:45 PM

    The plans for Trafalgar Square are splendidly thorough – I like this section:

    Possible Replacement for Bronze Lions: Pots of Gold Coins

    The Islamic governor may position pots of gold coins as a replacement (click on picture to enlarge), so as to provide all members of the public with the opportunity to freely take money and fulfil any need that they might have.

    Very unrealistic, you may think, however, extraordinarily a very similar incident to this occurred during the governance of the Islamic Caliph Ma’moon (rh), who was left with so much wealth in the treasury, that he made orders to distribute the excess wealth in a similar fashion.

    As Muslims, we would not waste the public money on useless ornaments but rather invest it for the sake of the people. These unique pots could also be replenished accordingly with any extra money, should they run out.

    It should also be poignantly noted that during the Islamic governance of Ma’moon (rh), not a single gold coin was taken from the pots made accessible to the public, and this was undeniably due to the fact that the divine justice meted out by the Shari’ah met the basic and common needs of every single citizen, Muslim and non-Muslim.

    It was reassuring to read this bit on the About Us page:
    As Muslims living in the UK we abide by a strict Covenant of Security, which prohibits us from violating the life and property of all residents here in the United Kingdom.

    They seem to be idealists, or, as we call them in English, nutcases.

  49. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2009 8:08 PM

    A Pedant Writes: as a description of foodstuffs, ‘unctuous’ is relatively neutral. It can be said with approval, if unction is what is desired.

    For example, I came across a roast chicken described as ‘wonderfully unctuous’ in Richard Ford’s A Handbook For Travellers In Spain [1845].

    As used to describe character, however, it has always been a term of disparagement, hence, I think, the confusion that’s arisen.

    Zeph, it’s wonderfully loony, isn’t it. Most Muslims are pretty worldly in their worship. This lot are the Muslim answer to Deep South Baptist snake-handlers and such-like dingbats…

    BTW, MM, I burned ‘Zombieland’ to that disc but have just realised that it’s a very poor quality ‘CAM’ (actually filmed with a video camera by someone in the theatre). Sorry about that. Will you remind me what episodes of SOA and Mad Men you’re up to as I don’t want to burn duplicates…

  50. pinkroom permalink
    October 21, 2009 9:24 PM

    My meat shall all come in in Indian shells,
    Unctious has a sound Epicurian pedigree. Taste this slab of Ben Jonson:

    Dishes of agate set in gold, and studded
    With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies.
    The tongues of carps, dormice, and camels’ heels,
    Boil’d in the spirit of sol, and dissolv’d pearl,
    Apicius’ diet, ‘gainst the epilepsy:
    And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber,
    Headed with diamond and carbuncle.
    My footboy shall eat pheasants, calver’d salmons,
    Knots, god wits, lampreys: I myself will have
    The beards of barbels serv’d instead of salads;
    Oil’d mushrooms; and the swelling unctious paps
    Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off;
    Dress’d with an exquisite and poignant sauce;
    For which, I’ll say unto my cook, There’s gold;
    Go forth, and be a knight.

  51. October 21, 2009 9:42 PM

    Was amused to see Suzanabrams ride to the defence of atf on the Waste Land battleground. I’m not really quite sure what she does but whatever it is it’s not the stuff of hard labour born of poverty. So I would have thought she’d be first up against the wall in atf’s Marxist paradise.

    I guess atf is a typical Marxist – long on analysis but hopeless on the application of the theories. It all sounds perfect sense but when the human element is added it collapses like a house of cards.

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:47 PM

    These sausages are so unctuous I could lubricate a tractor with them. I’m not convinced: it’s not a definition I would serve at my restaurant.

    The last disc took Mad Men up to Episode 7: the Zombieland has 8 and 9 on it. Only watched 3 so far as Mrs M is drowning in new educational initiatives.

    Ah, Swords and atf, the buttocks of the books blog.

  53. freep permalink
    October 22, 2009 9:15 AM

    I was thinking bum too.

  54. October 22, 2009 12:25 PM


    Yeah, all the Marxists I know are Oedipally-afflicted, middle class kids from Long Island. On the other hand, sounding the Alarm(ing) against the mouth-breathing Murrkkan Empire is a crumb of dissent I can get behind (plus TWL is not one of my faves, for the reason I present in my recent comment). I make my non-partisan comments without fear of offending factions/subfactions… likewise do I never ingratiate. ATF and I have had our acid-heaving battles but I agree with a couple of her points on this one and do have a natural tendency to dash into the backdoors of shacks surrounded by posses (is that really the plural form?) and pitch in with my popgun. Probably a faulty gene.

  55. October 22, 2009 2:56 PM

    SA I agree with some of her points too. I merely point out the usual inconsistencies between tolling the Marxist bell and at the same time flying the flag for people who live life in quite an opposite manner. Classic Marxism where those in authority tell others what to do whilst not doing that themselves ( not only confined to Marxism of course ). It wouldn’t matter that much but such ideologies are so unbending that the inconsistencies burn brighter.

    Marx wrote well about capitalism but his writings have never translated well in real life or at least not in the long-term – not that the system we live under is any better.

    I like TWL mainly because when I first read it aged 15 it opened up another world of artistic possibilities that I had been completely unaware of plus reading it now I enjoy the weltschmerz of the first part and the evocation of London in ( is it ) the second section. But I prefer Whispers of Immortality – in fact I love that poem for its brevity and memorable lines. I’m not sure I share Eliot’s world views but so what.

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