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Chien Méchant

October 27, 2009

Write A Poem

Write a dogg poem for our friend Zéphirine over at psuedstuff, you idle sons of bitches…go on…fetch…(and before any of you impudent bastards points out that I haven’t written one yet, I’m waiting for my Muse to return with the stick I threw…so there).

Honestly, people work like dogs to give you a bone to gnaw on and you just want to lie by the fire scratching your fleas. Get on with it before I start hitting people on their noses with a rolled-up newspaper.

  1. freep permalink
    October 28, 2009 10:01 AM

    mish, the picture has upset me (and my scabby dogg) so much that all inspiration has fled. I will have to calm down and put guns out of mind before I can pen something sweet and odeful.

  2. mishari permalink*
    October 28, 2009 11:01 AM

    Calm yourself, reformer of felonious types and all-around good egg.. I wouldn’t really shoot the dog.

    No, I’d leave him alone in his tent with the revolver and a bottle of whiskey. I’d say, “Spot (or it may be Fido), we need you to take one for the team”, and then trust him to do the decent thing.

  3. parallax permalink
    October 28, 2009 12:52 PM

    Mish, knowing that you are a keen neologist I thought I’d share a new expression doing the rounds – ‘grinfucked’. I think it emanates from Canberra – and why not? it is after all the artificial city that seats government – now it’s seeping into Sydney-speak.

    ‘Grinfucked’ – to be seated opposite others in a meeting and, despite smiling assurances, you will not enjoy the outcome assured to you face-to-face.

  4. parallax permalink
    October 28, 2009 12:58 PM

    ok – I’ve just checked the urban dictionary and it seems grinfucked has been out there for a while – hmmmmmm

  5. mishari permalink*
    October 28, 2009 2:54 PM

    Thanks for that, para. Whether it’s been out there a while or not, I’d never come across it before. The phenomenon is a familiar one, though. Very useful coinage…

  6. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 28, 2009 6:29 PM

    Sounds like your average plumber. Ooooh, shouldn’t be a lot, squire, five-minute job, won’t break the bank, yeah?

    That’ll be two grand, mate. Cheers.

  7. pinkroom permalink
    October 28, 2009 9:20 PM

    Dog waited,
    dog looked;
    teeth bared,
    teeth crooked.

    Fence vaulted?
    Arse waiting
    doggie’s bite.

    Owner shouts,
    poor dog foiled.
    Outside, inside


  8. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:45 AM

    Invoking the Havana Hound

    The Havana dog sleeps in the corner
    of your eye. Stick or whistle won’t rouse him.
    He’ll only stir if summoned through the fog.
    You’ll need a Cohiba maduro, dark
    as stained timber, and a lit pine cone scale
    to light it with. You’ll wait forty minutes
    before catching sight of his silvered hide,
    sleek as the smoke he’s taken form in. Cough
    and you’ll offend him back into darkness.
    But you must be smoking beyond your means.
    The rich can see him if they’re rich in grief.
    His bark is his bite and he collects tongues.
    If you lose your voice it’s no cat did it.
    Send him out to fetch hearts you despise, but
    remember, one day he’ll come for yours. Smoke
    that fine cigar and he’ll appear. But choke
    back your fear. Ghostly dogs are always best.
    Havana dogs are better than the rest.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  9. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2009 11:17 AM

    Reasons Not To Become A Folk Singer– No. 83: You’ll Be Mistaken For A Deer

    An up-and-coming folk singer has died after being attacked by coyotes in a national park in eastern Canada.

    Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Toronto, was hiking alone in Cape Breton Highlands national park in Nova Scotia on Tuesday when the attack happened.

    Brigdit Leger, a Royal Canadian Mounted police spokeswoman, said other hikers heard Mitchell’s screams for help and called police.

    Officers in the area reached the scene quickly and shot one of the animals, but Mitchell had suffered multiple bite wounds, the emergency health services said.

    She was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in a critical condition and died yesterday.

    Bob Bancroft, a retired biologist with the Nova Scotia department of natural resources, said coyote attacks were rare because the animals are usually shy. He suggested they may have thought Mitchell was a deer or other prey.–The Grauniad, today

  10. October 29, 2009 12:34 PM

    Either that or coyotes are driven by forces beyond their control to attack anyone warbling Joni Mitchell compositions out in the wild.

  11. parallax permalink
    October 29, 2009 1:06 PM

    19 but … fuck that’s young

    As my mate Edna wrote:

    Many a bard’s untimely death
    Lends unto [unspecified] verses breath;
    Here’s a song was never sung:
    Growing old is dying young.
    Minstrel, what is this to you:
    That a [unspecific] you never knew,
    When your grave was far and green,
    Sat and gossipped with a [dream]

  12. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 29, 2009 2:10 PM

    A Neil Young composition is a likely culprit – it’s pretty bad for humans, so God knows what that ultrasonic whine could do to coyotes.

  13. parallax permalink
    October 29, 2009 3:00 PM

    never mind neil young and joni out in the coyote wilds – there’s still the urban jungle to contend with – or as my new favourite poetry thread disrupter says har dee har har

  14. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2009 3:38 PM

    “Alistair Darling has Grin-Fucked America”–response of Hank Paulson to UK’s refusal to allow Barclays Bank to buy Lehman Brothers, reported in today’s Evening Standard

    Synchronicity, para…love the Sid and Nancy cartoon, BTW.

  15. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 29, 2009 6:13 PM

    When does Darling ever grin? A slight upward curve of the lips is all I’ve ever seen from him. He’s a serious man with a lot to be serious about. On his fucking I am not qualified to comment, though I must say the colour scheme of his pubic hair has sometimes crossed my mind. Black or white? In the interests of open government I think we should be told.

  16. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2009 10:01 PM

    Perhaps some of you have been wondering: who exactly is this Sir Stuart Bell creature who keeps appearing on our TV screens, defending MPs and their expenses shenanigans? Then read on…

    This so-called “shop steward of MPs” is quite a card, and I have before me one of the books of which he admits authorship. About another he is more reticent, as we’ll see, but Sir Stuart has the vanity to be proud of Tony Blair Loves Me (SpenView Publications, £6.99; Sir Stuart was born, by sheerest happenstance, in the Geordie mining village of High Spen).

    This masterpiece of futile ingratiation captures the essence of the New Labour backbenches exquisitely.

    “Tony,” begins the open letter he uses as introduction, written to mark the 1997 victory, “You have not written your name on water but in the history books, not because of time and place … but because you built New Labour on the traditions and values of the old; you built the future on to the past in the present.

    “It falls to few to have such a vision … by being the first Tony Blair rather the second anyone-else, you have earned the right to be where you are today. You have a right to be here, to savour this moment, to marvel at it …”

    But no more. If the missing anti-emetics turn up perhaps we’ll sample the comparisons with Churchill and Keats another time.

    Having inexplicably failed to bring this long-term shadow trade minister into his government, Mr T consoled his disciple with the crucial parliamentary post of Church Estates Commissioner, regardless of the Francophile Sir Stuart’s pornographic novel Paris, 69 (the one he’s not quite so keen to mention). If you’re squeam, or even just squeamish, turn the page now.

    “And she keeps on sucking, sucking and nibbling and filling me with yearning, with desire to thrust her back on the bed now, strap her to it the way the schoolteacher had shown me,” runs a memorable passage. “I wanted that she be tied to the bed and I dominate her, rape her, burst inside her and be cleansed.”

    Enchanting stuff from a most remarkable man of God. I quote it less to aid the digestion of your breakfast egg than to hint at the quality of the leader of the resistance to Christopher’s Kelly attempts to end the practices of MPs building property portfolios and employing family on the taxpayer.

    Sitting on the Members Estimate Committee, Sir Stuart fought long and hard to obscure the issue from public gaze, and has predictably strong feelings about Sir Christopher’s ambitions. “I don’t think the House would accept any enforced redundancies of present staff,” he declares.

    Sir Stuart speaks with authority, even though he no longer employs kith and kin so far as I’m aware. He did once hire his son as a researcher, and jolly hard young Malcolm worked too until his conviction for stealing cheques from George Galloway’s office, using one to buy himself an Egyptian figurine for £1,788.–Matthew Norman, The Independent, today

  17. October 29, 2009 11:15 PM

    Mishari just back from Ireland to discover 9 on the doorstep. Thank you. 2 weeks of grey sky and a lot of moustaches – one could have been BillyMills. Incidentally what has happened to him on these pages? Did I miss an over-heated debate? Shame if that’s the case – I miss his dry wit.

  18. mishari permalink*
    October 29, 2009 11:29 PM

    No over-heated debate. I poked fun at atf’s fruity language on Poster Poems (after her endless whining about ‘vulgar’ language from the likes of me and MM).

    Mills, not content with an admonition and for reasons best known to himself, went for the nuclear option and compared me to wordnerd7. In response, I called him a ‘pompous cunt’ (here, not @ Grauniad Towers and to my mind, a less offensive epithet). Exit Mills, wounded to the quick. Pity, but there it is.

    Evidently, these modern poets aren’t as robust as one might wish. I suspect Pound was less delicate.

  19. October 29, 2009 11:55 PM

    Blink and you miss these things – oh well.

    Just been skim-reading a biography of Anne Sexton ( my partner is doing the detailed “proper” read ). Judging by the evidence given on Berryman, Lowell, Bishop and many others the poets of yesteryear weren’t especially robust either.

    Poetry …. phew!

  20. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 30, 2009 12:02 AM

    Wasn’t Stuart Bell involved in that Cleveland child abuse thing in the 80s? I can’t remember if he was for the doctors or the parents.

    That Mills business was damned odd. It’s not as though we’re total strangers – he must have had some idea how you might react. A mystery we may never solve.

  21. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 12:20 AM

    It was very odd, especially given that Mills has suffered almost as much abuse and insult from atf as you and I have.

    Remember when she accused him of conspiring with Carol and Sarah Crown to deprive her of her rightful 1st prize in the Christmas poetry comp 2 or 3 years ago?

    Anyway, I forgave him for the deeply insulting comparison to wn7. He should do like-wise…

  22. pinkroom permalink
    October 30, 2009 1:08 AM

    Met Bell once in the late 70s when he was sniffing around for a seat in the then new European parliament. Had he got one he would have no doubt had a quieter, but far more financially lucrative career… I believe the MEP expenses over the years have been way more er… generous… I’m surprised the media haven’t had a good look at them. I expect our over-nourished friend Griffin is tucking in as I type.

    As politically/personally ambitious lawyers go he struck me as a decent chap. Seemed to be impressed by pinkroom’s way with words as he, without invitation, sorted me out a gig on a local tv show for which I was paid a (then) princely 14 sovs. I still have the (much played… if albums could talk) Marvin Gaye album bought with part of it. Funny old world innit. Cheers Stu.

  23. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 1:29 AM

    It seems that no matter how these people start out, once they get to Westminster, the fatuity, the pomposity and the sense of entitlement seep into their souls like rising damp. He now seems to be a complete and utter fathead.

    You will, I’m sure, forgive my nosiness, PR, but what did this TV gig consist of you doing?

  24. October 30, 2009 8:49 AM

    Anyone hear Prince Edward give further reason why the Royals should be towed out to sea and sunk on Today? Christ the only “job” he has is to be an ambassador for this country and his dad’s charity and he can’t even manage that properly. The genes ( already corrupted ) must have been on their last legs with that one.

  25. pinkroom permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:43 AM

    It was on of those ghastly early “yoof” tv efforts where anyone under 25 who looked vaguely er… interesting |(i.e. a fashion victim/nincompoop/teenage hooker) who could string a sentence together were invited to hold forth upon the great issues of the day… does Europe really need a parliament? Etc etc. Right up the street of the artist as a young opinionated narcissist c.1978.

    I positively shudder at the thought of a vt still existing somewhere.

    The album was I want you. Not Marvin’s very best but has a groove all its own.

    Agree with the rising damp metaphor… knew Vaz before he was an MP and he seems to have followed a very similar trajectory. Neither as bad as your friend mcShame though.

  26. October 30, 2009 10:29 AM

    A dog so stoical and loyal
    Far more use to mankind than a Royal.
    Their upkeep costs are minimal.
    The Royal’s bill is criminal.
    Dog’s may be addicted to a stick
    But the Royals are demonstrably thick.
    Droppings from a dog may make you frown,
    Cheer yourself up, have the Royals put down.

  27. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 10:45 AM

    Ah, PR…the ‘voice of yoof’…happy, happy days. I don’t think Marvin Gaye actually did anything that was flat-out bad…

    Too right, Al, but in a way, I was rather pleased. There was a danger that people might start feeling a wee bit sympathetic to the banksters. Once Whirlybird Ed voiced his support, however, it reminded people of just which side the banksters are on…

    I had a dog named Saxe-Coburg Gotha
    He used the royal ‘we’ quite a lot;
    Of royals, we’ve out-filled our quota
    So I had the useless bugger shot.

  28. October 30, 2009 10:56 AM

    Mishari are we talking about the same interview? Edward the dim was in Australia and was asked about how he felt when a young teenager died on a Duke of Edinburgh Award iniative in the Blue Mountains. The details were quite upsetting apparently – lots of anguished phone calls from someone who was hopelessly lost. He replied that the reason youngsters went in for the award was that there was a possibility of death and related excitements.

    People don’t do such awards for the comfort but in connection with that particular case it wasn’t the most diplomatic or tactful reply. Especially from someone whose only “use” is to be diplomatic.

  29. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 11:21 AM

    Sorry, Al. My mistake. Ed’s been in the news this past week for another interview he gave saying that the bankers were being unfairly victimised. The oaf is the best refutation of the hereditary principle one could wish for.

    I hope the bugger gives an interview a day until the populace rise as one, march on Buckingham Palace and escort the Windsors and their lackeys to a neck-stretching party. Here’s Edward Pearce, writing in The Grauniad about 20 years ago (back in the days when it was a serious newspaper):

    There are many reasons for dispensing with the monarchy, but two will suffice. The job could be done better; and monarchy, just by existing, induces pathetic impulses in other people. There has to be something wrong with an institution which assembles, in various degrees of competitive abjectness, Lord St John of Fawsley, in whom I have real difficulty believing, Sir Alistair Burnet and Lord Rees-Mogg.

    These Fairbankian grotesques, prime fruit of the tree of deference, can be relied on to squelch noisily under royal foot. Happy calling someone twenty years younger ‘Sir’ or ‘Maa-am’, they proclaim a social pyramid in which their own status is secured by guileful proximity to the apex.

    Unlike the late Richard Dimbleby, grand under-butler to the nation, they do not tell us that the Queen looked radiant, but they are lit by all the royal reflection into which they can creep.

    Such courtiers only echo the sick adoration of part of the nation. Royalty has done a roaring trade since the war in glossy iconic tosh, books about royal lives, houses, tours, weddings, ancestry and interior decors, books, God help us, about royal dogs.

    The appetite of silly people for living vicarious, reverential lives through this assembly of low-octane duds in jodhpurs is tragic.

  30. October 30, 2009 12:20 PM

    What a superb outpouring of perfectly aimed bile ” low-octane duds in johdpurs” is a belter of a description. Apart from the fact that he’s an incompetent waste of space I think my visceral dislike of Edward is because we share the same name.

    Incidentally on a day off in Ireland I watched Up in 3-D. If you can’t handle drugs anymore but enjoy a bit of visual whatthefuckery this is the medium for you. Actually the film was rather good – quite idiosyncratic and not a story-line a committee would have come up with.

  31. October 30, 2009 1:38 PM

    It was Andrew defending the bankers, or extortionist bastards as they’re now known in my house.

    I’m in favour of having a monarchy as a purely ceremonial function, but some of these Hanoverians are rubbish, we should have stuck with the Stuarts if you ask me.

  32. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 30, 2009 1:49 PM

    Those jumped-up Jocks were only a decade or two from body-painting. Got to be the Angevins for me – English with a touch of continental style.

  33. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 30, 2009 2:09 PM

    Hi Mish

    Just a brief few words, if I may, on Billy Mills. Being called a “cunt” or “being turned into the cunt” is, although mightily unpleasant, quite common enough over here in Ireland, especially amongst poets. So, after a suitable period of healing I’m sure that Billy would have got over that one.

    What probably hurt him the most, I’d venture, was the post on another Grauniad blog that accused him of toadying to another poet simply because they shared the same publisher (Shearsman). In his defence I’d say that he was probably guiltless of that particular charge; but to have had it levelled at him in such a public arena would have not only questioned his professional integrity but would have hurt him deeply. In fairness to Billy, he’s never made a secret of his championing of contemporary experimentalists of the Objectivist and similar schools, and that’s all he was doing on that particular occasion. The sharing of a publisher, given that Billy is also of that school of poetics, was not only unsurprising but quite frankly inevitable.

    Billy’s okay. If you bear in mind that, as an Objectivist, he’s facilitating and encouraging something incredibly mainstream like Poster Poems, then you’ve got to realise that that’s fairly big of him. Actually, it’s a credit to him. And, yes, I am indeed defending a fellow Irish poet (one whose views, in fairness, I usually hold up to argument) but in this case I think he’s okay.

    Anyways, hopefully you’ll all get back together at some stage.

    Alarming, I’m glad you enjoyed your stay over here in Ireland.

    Jack Brae

  34. October 30, 2009 2:36 PM

    Many thanks Jack. I have worked a lot in Ireland over the last 12 or so years and have had some great experiences. But to be honest this trip wasn’t one of them. A series of curiously organised gigs by various Art Centres which made us feel they weren’t that bothered whether the events were well attended or not. Normally the pig show gets queues round the block but not this time. Gives you an odd taste in the mouth.

    I’d second your “defense” of Billy Mills but I don’t really feel he’s been attacked on this site. I’ve been savaged on the GU blogs too – certain aspects ( the lying, the complete lack of knowledge about how I go about my business ) can stick in the craw even though you know that those who attack are using any scrap of knowledge and twisting it to win an argument. That too leaves an odd taste in the mouth.

  35. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 2:46 PM

    Ah, I was just having a dig at him there, when I suggested (not accused) that there might be a bit of log-rolling going on.

    But look at it from my point of view, Jack. Someone I regarded as a friend and who I had defended when he was attacked by various loons (including wordnerd7), turned on me for no apparent reason, comparing me to someone he knows perfectly well I abominate. It was uncalled for, inexplicable and deeply offensive.

    My Shearsman dig was the result of that hurtful remark by Mills. If I am cut, do I not bleed? And if I’m cut, I believe in returning the favour. The lunatic Christian doctrine of ‘turning the other cheek’ has never had much traction with me. Just saying, like…

  36. October 30, 2009 3:06 PM

    re: log rolling. I’m undecided about this mainly because it’s been a fairly common artistic practice throughout the ages ( the dada movement would have lain in obscurity were it not for log rolling by their chums ).

    For me the accusation only sticks in organisations like Faber or in cinema where being the son/daughter of…. being married to….. or being the best mate of… seems to lead to a lucrative publishing deal/acting job/ shot at a feature film. As art has attracted marketting departments and PR agencies ( who are financially dependant on the art ) the benefits of log rolling have increased. Look at the current disgrace on Beeb 2 where John Boorman’s son Charlie rides around SE Asia despite showing no insight about anything. Only of interest if you fancy him and I can’t believe anyone does.

    I work in a very unglamorous art-form where there is a small pool of artists making work with no possibility ( believe me! )or desire for the big time. There are some really good artists doing this work and I will “log roll” their efforts if the occasion demands. Log rolling to me means I like what they do and I will say so. Billy doesn’t appear to have a lust for glory and seems more aware than most of us of the limited possibilities of his art-form in terms of public acceptance. I wouldn’t begrudge him talking up someone operating in a similar field. Minimalist poets as with street theatre companies fly incredibly low under the radar.

  37. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 3:22 PM

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, Al. I’m not saying there was any justice in my log-rolling suggestion. In fact, I don’t believe it for a minute. I don’t doubt that Bill’s a model of probity.

    As I was trying explain to Jack, I was just lashing out. I’m not saying it was fair or measured or reasonable. What it was was human…the product of passion not reason and a damn sight more understandable than Mills’ initial comment that set me off in the first place. In the next life, I’ll be perfect, I promise…

  38. October 30, 2009 3:38 PM

    The Stuarts were awful, as you say Melton. Henry II is probably the most admirable. Although I have much sympathy and affection for Charles II.

    My feeling is generally that they should let the Queen finish up with dignity then scrap the whole thing. Except that the idea of a be-suited career schmoozer being our head of state seems far wore (and it would be Blair, wouldn’t it? He’d make sure). The royals, this last generation or two, at least should be admired for bringing back the long-supressed elements of public idiocy and scandal. It’s what they’ve done best since the Restoration, when any meaningful power was taken away. I don’t blame them; as the Guardian article quoted observes, its their effect on others that sickens.

    Get rid of them, or give Harry full executive power.

  39. October 30, 2009 3:38 PM

    There’s a next life!!!!!!!! Gawd.

    Anyway perfection is over-rated if you ask me.

  40. October 30, 2009 3:42 PM

    That would be Henry II the mot admirable monarch, not Stuart.

  41. October 30, 2009 3:46 PM

    ‘There’s a next life!!!!!!!!’

    I once had a dream that I was sitting in a waiting room with a group of vikings. We had died. I could see down a long corridor, at then end of which was a door. Everyone was waiting for the door to open, when the devil would enter and drag us all away to hell. I suspected that the devil would never come, that hell was the waiting.

    At no point did any of the vikings mention spam.

  42. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 4:05 PM

    Not just a next lives, but parallel universes to have them in.

    As for the Royal fambly, what an absolute shower. You have to laugh. The English went shopping for a royal clan. They had all sorts of houses of ancient foundation to choose from..Hapsburgs, Valois’, Bourbons, Esterhazys, Romanovs, Radziwills, etc. Who do they choose? The Saxe-Coburg Gothas.

    It’s as if you were asked to pick a 60s band. You’ve got the Stones, The Beatles, The Animals, Hendrix, The Who et al…and you pick Freddy and The Dreamers. That’s the Windsors, the Freddy and The Dreamers of royal families…only not as good.

  43. October 30, 2009 4:10 PM

    Esterhazys? You mean the writer of Basic Instinct could have ruled us? Missed a trick there. Damn the Windsors.

  44. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 4:23 PM

    Well, he wrote some desperately crap films, Al but on the plus side, he supported Haydn for years…swings and roundabouts.

  45. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 30, 2009 4:31 PM

    Framing Dreyfus was a bit over the top, I thought.

  46. October 30, 2009 4:40 PM

    Framing Dreyfus 2 was the better film I thought

  47. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 4:49 PM

    I think the franchise started looking a bit tired with Framing Dreyfus III: Escape From Devil’s Island. Plus, I didn’t really find Whoopie Goldberg very plausible as Dreyfus…

  48. October 30, 2009 5:05 PM

    Don’t know what you lot’ on about but this has the greatest rock lyric ever. Opening line: ‘she’s a dancer, a romancer/I’m a Capricorn and she’s a Cancer.

  49. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 30, 2009 5:05 PM

    I think I saw that in Poland. It was called Guilty As Fuck there.

  50. October 30, 2009 5:07 PM

    Just checked on Wikipedia and it seems Proust wrote the first screenplay for Framing Dreyfuss but the studio dropped it after the silent-captions ran over-budget.

  51. file permalink
    October 30, 2009 5:10 PM

    PP seems to have shut down already, but I’d like to throw up a word of praise for pinkroom’s Named, an excellent poem imo, which risks getting lost in the endless internet archives with nary a word of appreciation

    on that note; can I plug a fine poem from hic8ubique at
    feel sure that if any of mishes possy agreed, that she’d also appreciate a nod

    nods to ozymandibles too, if they are here, for their sterling sentiments on POTW, not that I never enjoy deadgod’s vocabulary or learn something from the infinite analysis on those pages, but that deconstruction is only one valid response to a pome, and not necessarily the best one either

    Alarming, remember you mentioning a tour of Canada, watch out for the coyotes obviously, but whereabouts are you going and what are you presenting?

    re: Stuarts, surely the only worthy Stuart is Stuart Hall

  52. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 5:40 PM

    Thanks for the tips, file. As you say, PR’s poem deserves to be more widely read so here it is (hoping PR doesn’t mind):


    Caught you;
    Miss Stowaway, flown
    from the timber,
    from fly-filled lakes
    from wilderness Sweden.
    What means you
    hid in this shed,
    cold harbour, from
    Brixton sharp nettles
    to mortified docks?

    And aint you a pretty one?
    Lost and mateless,
    in your dusty red gown,
    as a dark as red gets,
    like a full pint of ruby,
    or old blood dried
    on a wound,
    with blue ribbon.

    – And is that the lace of your
    petticoat showing? –

    Some men would choke you,
    pierce you and pin you.
    And girls
    I have heard of
    would crush you alive.
    So you’re lucky
    I found you.
    To note you,
    then leave you
    but name you forever


    Camberwell Beauty.


  53. October 30, 2009 5:45 PM

    o generous Mish!

  54. October 30, 2009 5:49 PM

    file Budgets put paid to our Canadian pig tour. Some dates fell through and the dates we were offered were too far apart to make it work financially – these things work on venues clubbing together ( insert appropriate seal gag here ) to cover travel/subsistence costs. The more venues the cheaper these costs are for each of them. A shame but a sign of things to come I think.

  55. October 30, 2009 5:56 PM

    Nice Esterhazy/Dreyfus riff there chaps. I LOL’d.

    re Kiss, XB and anyone else, if you haven’t already seen it you should see Anvil: the Story of Anvil. Wonderful documentary film about a washed-up heavy metal band.

    Very nice butterfly pome from PR, thanks file. Some of the dogg poems have found their way over to my site, where they’re very welcome.

  56. October 30, 2009 6:18 PM

    Beautiful poem, PR. Camberwell was the first place I lived in London. Think you saw the only butterfly…

    @Zeph, I intend to check out Anvil upon returning to the UK. I’ve gone very metal this year (i tend to rove genres). But Kiss was a surprise, a Julian Cope article triggered memories of my worshipped older cousin’s bedroom walls, late seventies, covered in the rippling LP-sleeve-and-poster diplays they used to have in record shops. There was Queen, a lot of Van Halen but Kiss grabbed me, the cartoon faces. No memory of the music. Had completely forgotten about it until I found an import copy of Kiss Live! in a small Dutch town this summer. It’s retarded, sleazy, calculated, entirely without artistic merit, and one of the rockingest albums I’ve heard in a long while.

  57. October 30, 2009 8:26 PM

    alarming, dang those budgies eh? Sorry to have opened fresh wounds then but was intrigued, particularly but not exclusively, by the Brainwave show. We’ll miss the shed that never came then and have to make do with my old employers version

    which would be greatly enhanced by theatrical embellishment I feel sure, proposals?

    zeph, haven’t seen the movie but saw Anvil interviewed here last year, I believe the band members have been working in steel mills to pay the rent these last 30 years no? What with their hobby, it’s a wonder their ears haven’t fallen off completely.

  58. pinkroom permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:17 PM

    Thanks guys…

    I have to fess up that the idea came, in part, from our host’s description of those gaudy country and western nights ’round that way. The last place you might expect to find the most beautiful butterfly seen on these islands but mid 18th was quite wild countryside apparently, hence the need for a cold harbour.

    I shall now go and toast you kind approbation in true Camberwell style with a pint of light n’ bitter… and a pickled something.

  59. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:44 PM


    Yes, I actually saw where you were coming from, but I just wanted to say that under it all that Billy isn’t that bad.


    The Arts Centres in Ireland at present aren’t treating any of us that well, but it could just be the pervading gloom. No excuse though, especially when it impacts negatively on artists and writers who are already travelling long and hard to make a few shillings. I know that one well.


    I’ll second (or possibly fifth at this stage, as everyone else has chimed in) what Ofile says concerning “Named”. Is the thread closed? Did I hear that right? I must admit to having struggled with this particular theme – didn’t do too much for me, but I thought a lot of the poetry was really excellent (as well as enough of it that was piss poor). But now we’ll have to wait another month for a new thread to open up again!

    Jack Brae

  60. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 9:44 PM

    I second Zeph’s recommendation. The Anvil doc is actually strangely touching. Easily the most popular song on the Politely Homicidal music channel is this Anvil cover of an old Who song, used on Sons Of Anarchy (1200 views and counting):

  61. mishari permalink*
    October 30, 2009 9:56 PM

    Well, that’s the thing, Jack. If I wasn’t very fond of Mills in the first place (and still am), I wouldn’t have been offended. Insults from foes are water off a duck’s back. It’s the people you like who can wound.

    I suspect Poster Poems will re-open. The incompetent IT twerps at the Grauniad still haven’t managed to make it work properly and I believe threads are configured to close automatically after 7 days.

    You used to be able to search the comments with google, which was very handy if you were looking for a poem you wrote months ago but weren’t sure where. The new (well, newish) Pluck-powered site is invisible to google.

    Brilliant. The Graun’s idiot IT geeks have probably halved the Graun’s traffic…

    Fuck my old boots…every time this government hits a new low (“Blair would be an excellent President of the European Council”, something that will never happen, as I pointed out a couple of months ago) I think they’ve touched bottom. What a naif I am.

    These imbecilic toe-rags have now sacked the Govt’s scientific advisor on drugs because they don’t like what he has to say…or to be more precise, John Gaunt of The Sun, the moron’s moron, doesn’t like facts…I despair. Is there any position so degraded and cretinous that these posturing ninnies won’t adopt it. I can’t wait to vote them out. The Tories cannot be any worse than this lot. It’s a flat-out fucking impossibility.

  62. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 30, 2009 11:21 PM

    Yes, I’ve often been frustrated by google’s blindness to the PP posts. Bloody irritating if you’re trying to track down an individual piece.

    Jack Brae

  63. October 31, 2009 7:41 PM

    Anvil the movie is fab, even if you don’t like metal which I don’t very much. You start out half-thinking it’s a spoof, then you feel a bit sorry for the poor saps, and then you realise you’ve started to love them. They seem to have been genuinely unlucky that their career faltered (or maybe it was because they were Canadian). But they’re completely dauntless, they just plod on. I don’t remember the steel works but one of them was delivering school dinners to pay the rent.

    I distinctly remember Billy saying in a recent PP thread that if they closed it down early all you had to do was email and ask them to open it up again.

    I was quite relieved about the non-Google thing because all one’s daft comments used to come up as well as the poems, causing “Oh God, am I really that opinionated and snotty?” moments.

    Small rant: at least two of the PP regulars have editorial experience and at least one has experience of print-on-demand publishing. If Sarah Crown wasn’t going to have time, energy or inclination to put the anthology together, why didn’t she ask for help, or accept the offers of help from Grace Andreacchi (whose Andromache Books publications look very classy)? How come something that was supposed to be ready in June is now probably not going to be out for Christmas?

  64. mishari permalink*
    October 31, 2009 8:06 PM

    I loved the Anvil duo, Zeph. I’ve always had a soft spot for passionate obsessives, especially in this age of corporate/party drones who base their actions on poll results and focus groups.

    They played Heavy Metal because they loved it and for no other reason. They had a kind of purity that I feel always attends people who do something for love and no other reason. The same, I think, could be said for blogs like yours and obooki’s and Steven’s and Sean’s and others. Like Anvil, I dare say none of the aforementioned would mind making a decent living out of it but that’s not why they do it. It gives you all an integrity that can’t be faked or bought.

    I was also moved by the support the Anvil guys got from their families, who seemed mystified by the whole thing but recognised the passion and commitment and were prepared to put their money where their mouths were. As I said, I found the film very touching and I’m very happy the boys are finally getting recognition and making a living doing what they love.

    I agree with you–I think Grace (who’s a good poet and seems like a nice person) would have made a good job of it. Again, genuinely passionate and obviously very capable and she did offer. I guess Bill felt (understandably) that the Grauniad had first claims
    on the project. What the Grauniad lacked (evidently) was a passion for the project, something I’m pretty sure Grace would have brought to it.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 31, 2009 11:54 PM

    I think Sarah Crown has had a kid, which has probably diminished her enthusiasm a bit. Mrs M didn’t notice me for about three years after ours were born, so I recognise the signs. I feel fairly neutral about the anthology myself.

    Are Mountain classed as metal? I listened to Flowers Of Evil in the car yesterday. The live side still strikes me as a fine piece of music, if a little self-indulgent.

  66. November 1, 2009 12:11 AM

    Yes, a new Coronet would explain it, though all the more reason to delegate, one would think. I don’t feel the anthology has a lot of importance in the global scheme of things, but I think if it’s going to be done it should be done properly, and published before everybody’s got completely bored with the whole concept.

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Mishari. It is a strange little labour of love, though I make things easier by getting other people to contribute.

  67. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2009 12:43 AM

    Mountain were classed as Hard Rock (or was it Heavy Rock?) in their time. I can’t remember when the term Heavy Metal was first used. I think it was Black Sabbath who were first described so, though I could easily be wrong. XB probably knows.

    I’m watching Battlefield Earth, thought by many to be the worst film ever made (based on an L. Ron Hubbard SF novel and made by Scientologist John Travolta). One critic wrote something like, “…if a 1000 monkeys with a 1000 crayons scribbled for a 1000 years, they couldn’t come up a script as moronic as this.” I have high hopes.

  68. November 1, 2009 8:44 AM

    Not too familiar with Mountain although I think Mishari is right, they would probably classify (in these horrible lists) as hard rock. Sabbath are indeed the fathers of metal, although the wonderful Geezer Butler rebutted the term (heavy rock, back then) and described the band as ‘Heavy Pop’. Ozzy always cited the Beatles as his main influence. I noted the other day that N.I.B.’s drawn-out, mournful cry of ‘your love for me has just got to be real’ actually comes from Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away (probably via the Stones).

    But the down-tuning (for extra heaviness but necessitated by Iommi’s missing fingertips), the gloomy, horror-film aesthetic (Butler’s idea – he saw people queuing for a horror film and thought how strange it was that people would pay money to be scared) which are defining elements of metal, were invented by Sabbath.

    Sorry. I’m a geek.

    Hope Battlefield Earth was, ah, good. Do you ever read Nathan Rabin’s ‘My Year of Flops’ at the Onion A.V. club? Some great, funny essays on disasters and lost masterpieces:

    ‘Of course if a preeminent figure in my faith had a lucrative sideline writing ridiculous pulp fiction I’d probably downplay that aspect of his life and teachings. If, for example, Moses used his downtime writing the Torah to hastily compose a series of fantasy novels exploring the lives, loves and adventures of Thoretta, She-Ogre of The Barbarian Realm, I’d probably steer clear of publicizing his side-gig too aggressively. I certainly wouldn’t try to lure Bridgette Nielsen into starring in a feature-film adaptation of Thoretta, She Ogre Of The Barbarian Realm as a way of bringing converts to Judaism. Obviously John Travolta doesn’t feel the same way…’,10703/

  69. November 1, 2009 9:41 AM

    I know a few people who enjoy L Ron Hubbard’s Sci-fi writings. I don’t think they are being ironic either and they certainly aren’t the sort of pushovers easily swayed by Scientology.

    I’ve mentioned this before but if you’ve ever seen the Scientology errr shop in Manchester and the people who work in it you’ll wonder how they attract anyone. A bunch of over-weight, lanky-haired losers in so-greasy-they’re-shining macs.

  70. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 1, 2009 10:51 AM

    Ta, Melton. Went looking for “Dream Sequence” from side two of Flowers of Evil this morning. Marvelled at the bowel-shaking qualities of the bass and the sublime, creamy momentum of the lead/bass trade-offs. Wondered at my air guitarist’s note-perfect memory. Played it twice. Now that’s self indulgence.

    Must away to the woods with Ralph and sundry female members of the family.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 1, 2009 11:40 AM

    I remember the live version of Nantucket Sleighride as being very good. Unfortunately the song was tainted for ever by its association with Birt/Jay/Walden and Weekend World. If I catch a bar or two of it the first thing I think of is not Leslie West’s magisterial guitar playing but those preening tossers and their mission to explain.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a Scientologist. I have spoken to David Icke once or twice. His son was in the same youth football league as mine. I steered the conversation, such as it was, away from giant lizards.

  72. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2009 12:09 PM

    Thanks for the link, XB. Great stuff. Now I’m going to have to read the rest of Nathan’s reviews. The film, BTW, was every bit as cretinous, clumsy and rancid as Nathan’s review suggests. It was a hoot. I’d happily watch it again.

    I loved Mountain. West’s great guitar playing, Pappalardi’s ferocious bass (Pappalardi was better known at the time as the man who produced Cream’s LPs) and Corky Laing’s powerful drumming.

    I also liked Bruce, West and Laing (with Jack Bruce taking on Bass and vocal duties).

    Just for HLM, I think I’ll post ‘Never In My Life’ on the PH music channel, a song that I feel is the font of so much of the scorched-earth-take-no-prisoners heavy metal that was to come.

    Al, when you read a précis (available on wiki) of what the Scientologist nitwits actually believe, you realise the truth of Einstein’s well known quote:

    Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.,..and I’m not entirely certain about the universe.

  73. November 1, 2009 12:26 PM

    Glad you liked it, Mishari, he’s a funny and – I think – insightful critic.

    I’ve emailed you something, let me know if it doesn’t turn up.

    I have Spotify here, chaps, so can investigate this Mountain of which you speak. Those big, heavy names are great. Sabbath were originally named Earth. There is band named Earth in their honour and subsequently a band named Sunn 0))) after the brand of amplifiers Earth use…

    I just started up a new band before leaving the UK; they’ve been rehearsing without me so there may be an announcement of a ramshackle performance in some insalubrious north London toilet venue in the new year.

  74. November 1, 2009 12:36 PM

    This from Homer Simpson

    ” No-one knows the band Grand Funk? The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Shocker? The competent drum-work of Don Brewer? Oh man!”

    MM I think you are never more that 200 feet from a Scientologist.

  75. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2009 4:14 PM

    Grand Funk were awful. Here’s the real thing:

  76. November 1, 2009 5:07 PM

    I liked Mountain until I saw them. Even for a fan of extremely long guitar solos as I was at the time they went on for far too long.

    Homer’s comment on Grand Funk Railroad is absolutely spot on. They never rose above being mediocre.

  77. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 1, 2009 10:56 PM

    I never saw them live, but I think Roll Over Beethoven is about the right length and there’s plenty of variation. Listening to Clapton on Steppin’ Out you’re examining your fingernails after a few minutes – it’s good, but a little samey. I was shocked when I got Hot Rats home, put it on the Dansette and found it was basically an extended guitar solo. The solo on Call Any Vegetable on Absolutely Free gets it about right.

    I had a German friend whose favourite album was UFOs second album, Flying, which has a 25 minute guitar solo. After 10 minutes you were screaming for mercy.

  78. mishari permalink*
    November 1, 2009 11:19 PM

    As tedious as so many overly-long guitar solos were, they were models of brevity and concision compared to extended drum solos…they really were a form of torture. I think Buddy Guy gets it just right:

  79. November 1, 2009 11:55 PM

    We worked at the Roskilde festival a few times – Denmark’s version of Glastonbury but well organised and they pay you properly. One time I went across the field to get paid just as a Santana bongo solo was starting up. It took about 15 minutes to queue up, sign relevant invoices and count the money and when I returned across the field the bongo solo was still in full flight.

    If you’ve ever seen Mongo Santamaria or any other Cuban rumba ensemble you’lll know what a lovely instrument the bongoes can be. This was interminable – it was on a big stage which had a 25 foot high video screen to one side so you had close ups of the bongo-player’s gurning to add to the misery. You could also see the other percussionists waiting for their turn to stretch out.

  80. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 12:18 AM

    Much as I admire Santana, I would have to draw the line at a long bongo solo. Or a longo bongo solo. After typing the above I wondered if you could apply the same thinking to classical music. The Goldberg Variations have been banned in our house for many years since Mrs M finds the piece intolerable. I think it must be the sound of the harpsichord, which can have a tendency to scarify the brain tissue. You could easily bite your tongue off during those Bartok violin sonatas.

  81. November 2, 2009 8:26 AM


    Not sure what you’re all going on about, but then I’m never sure. I notice the opportunity to rubbish some classical music…

    “Hall of the Mountain King” makes me want to kill someone (I wonder if that would be a valid defence?) with the memories of getting more and more desparate, playing in some festival in Norway (possibly the Peer Gynt festival?), wondering how much faster the thing was going to go. I had the glorious job of playing the cymbals, which is often glorious when you get to play them majestically and wave them about your ears. However the only way to stop the noise is to damp them on a body part, preferably tucked neatly under each armpit. However as the music got faster and faster I couldn’t make it to the armpit in time to come back again so just ended up slicing myself in the boobs with them, with varying degrees of pain. That’s it you see, that piece conjures up pictures of forced self mutilation on stage in foreign climes. I’m sure some people get paid hansomely for that?

  82. November 2, 2009 8:46 AM

    MM The conga solo was longer. Where’s my coat? Oh there it is.

  83. November 2, 2009 9:14 AM

    Great story, Polly. Reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon, ‘Roger Screws Up’. But I can’t find it online. Larson must be litigious.

    I generally phase out during long solos (which used to annoy my band-mates back in the day). Zappa’s playing was often arresting, although I don’t have the triple-LP set of his solos. Maggot Brain, by Funkadelic and played by Eddie Hazel, is sometimes tipped as the gretest and I’ve certaily heard few better, for daring and emotion. I like Alex Weir’s work with Talking Heads as well.

  84. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 3:33 PM

    That twat Alan Johnson AKA Labour’s Great White Hope (©P. Toynbee) should forget all this cannabis nonsense. When is he going to crack down on cake before more lives are ruined?

  85. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 4:29 PM

    Greaves is a living warning of the perils of too much cake.

  86. Captain Ned permalink
    November 2, 2009 6:13 PM

    So, Johnson fumbles, and fumbles big. It was bound to happen. It seems to be a requirement of the job that Home Secretaries have to behave in the most otiose manner imaginable. No matter which party’s in power, I don’t see a chance of a sensible policy on drugs being implemented for years to come. The only decent thing for the rest of the advisory panel to do would be to walk out en masse.

    Mrs Mowbray’s rule on the Goldberg Variations seems a terrible injustice, Melton. Not only is it my favourite piece of music, it’s also an excellent hangover cure/preventative.

  87. Polly permalink
    November 2, 2009 6:20 PM

    So is cake Cap’n !

  88. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 6:35 PM

    I sympathise with Mrs MM’s antipathy towards the harpsichord–a little bit goes a long way. But either of Glen Gould’s recordings of The Goldberg Variations (1955 or 1981) or András Schiff’s or Angela Hewitt’s or Murray Perahia’s are all, in their way, superb (and all played on the pianoforte). As music, I think the Variations are sans pareil and I never tire of them.

  89. November 2, 2009 6:41 PM

    As usual the politicians have dug themselves in deep. The Tories won’t argue about this because they think the same. Personally I can’t see any Home Secretary of any persuasion decriminalising drugs as the fear of a backlash stirred up by the press is too great.

    I must say I found the example of a falling off a horse a bit of an odd one to choose. I don’t doubt it but I know of at least 4 families whose teenage sons have become psychotic due to smoking skunk ( 2 unfortunately permanently damaged ) whereas I know of no horse accidents. Perhaps in the Home Counties where the Government advisors reside the figures are different.

  90. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 6:57 PM

    I’m sorry, Al but the link between cannabis (‘skunk’ or otherwise) and psychosis is tenuous at best. The farthest most reputable psychiatrists and researchers are prepared to go is to say that it may, may act as a trigger for already susceptible individuals, just like any other psychotropic substance, including alcohol.

    The horse riding comparison made perfect sense. Roughly the same numbers of people ride horses on a regular basis as numbers of people who take ecstasy regularly. To compare fatalities and injuries between the two groups is no more than logical, but was also done, I’m sure, to lend force to the absurdity of the governments strictures.

    10 years ago, it was the case that more people in the UK died of anaphylactic shock caused by bee-stings than from the consumption of ecstasy and this fact was the one used by campaigners of the period seeking to have those idiots in Westminster enact sensible drug laws.

    Yesterday’s bees are today’s horses…yesterday’s idiots in Westminster are today’s, erm…idiots in Westminster, actually.

  91. November 2, 2009 7:21 PM

    Mishari you mis-read my point about comparisons. Falling off a horse doesn’t have the same impact as say falling off a bike and thus can be manipulated to bring in class and location – which it already has done.

    As regards teenage psychosis I’ll have to leave personal feelings out of this, not because I’m disgusted of Tunbridge Wells of a Nu-Lab poodle but because I know these boys well and their psychoses appeared not long after heavy indulgence in skunk smoking and in one case over-enthusiastic use of ecstasy.

    That coupled with peer groups who carry on as before thus leaving them unable to climb out of a pit without deserting their mates. I suffered from mild teen psychosis so I recognised the mania but 4 different cases seems more than just coincidental.

  92. November 2, 2009 7:28 PM

    Not that I’m following things much (too depressing) but I was disappointed to see Johnson waving his Idiots’ Club membership card around so vociferously.

    He criticised his own researchers for ‘campaigning against government policy’. What they hell were they for if not to do research that may one day influence government policy? It’s like punching a plumber in the face for suggesting a plunger instead of the blowtorch you were using to unblock your sink.

    Mishari, I’ve sent a couple of Jibbs-related emails. Did you get them?

  93. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 7:50 PM

    Al, I don’t doubt your experiences or those of the teenagers you cite, but anecdotal evidence is no evidence at all. But even if it were, it in no way invalidates the point about ‘susceptible’ individuals. After all, how many people smoke cannabis regularly in the UK? 2 millions? 3 millions? How many develop psychosis? Statistically, cannabis is a negligible danger.

    I know that may sound heartless–after all, it’s not ‘negligible’ to the families of those affected by mental illness, but even if the link were indisputable (and it’s not) the experience of a very small number of people is not the basis on which to make laws.

    Over one’s mind and over one’s body the individual is sovereign.

    The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.–Mill, On Liberty

    I enjoy a drink and I don’t want to see alcohol banned on the basis of what it did to George Best. Likewise, I hate the fact that ecstasy legislation is based on what happened to Leah Betts. It’s not the way to run things.

    Anyway, if this government of no-hopers and spineless lobby-fodder are actually serious about reducing cannabis consumption, the hard evidence from countries like Holland, Spain, Portugal et al, is that de-criminalising cannabis leads to fewer younger people using it.

    But expecting sense from this shower (or the Tories) is like expecting Pongo to paint the kitchen: it may happen one day, but in the mean time, I’d best do it myself.

    I’ll check my email, now, XB…

  94. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 7:52 PM

    Marriage is all about injustice, Captain. My objections to Joni Mitchell and John Martyn are met with indifference.

    My daughter was very keen on horse riding. Before she was 14 she had broken her elbow, humerus and wrist (all in separate incidents), been knocked unconscious twice, got badly bitten on her back, arm and face and had her feet trodden on countless times. As soon as she could she was back in the saddle again. It’s a drug.

  95. November 2, 2009 8:10 PM

    MM, I can’t believe you sat idly by whilst your daughter got addicted to horse.

  96. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 8:14 PM

    By the logic that motivates Johnson and co, you should be agitating to have all equestrian-related activities banned.

    I like John Martyn and Joni had her moments. You showed your true colours (swinish pink and brown) when you revealed a working knowledge of (and presumed fondness for) UFO. UFO? Abomination, thy name is Mowbray…

  97. November 2, 2009 8:27 PM

    MM I’m of the same persuasion myself re: these things happen and probably less than other things. But there is a dilemma – most of my friends were liberal ex-dope smoking types who saw no harm in their kids doing what they did. But it’s only human to wonder whether that liberal attitude was the right attitude to take when your kid has gone so spectacularly off the rails and to wonder whether today’s genetically modified dope is the same as what used to be knocking around 30 years ago.

    I honestly don’t know but I can see why no politician will legalise drugs even if logic and advisors say otherwise. I’m also a bit dubious of advisors myself because they have sanctioned ridiculously restrictive measures in the H&S departments. Incidentally I would imagine any horse-riding activities connected to schools have been banned because of potential litigation. Most other extra-curricular activities are being gradually phased out.

    Sorry to bring the tone down but it touched a nerve. Will try and dredge up a horror story about Latin percussion for later.

  98. November 2, 2009 8:47 PM

    Thought you might enjoy this travelogue from Mother London:

    ‘He was interned on the Isle of Man during the war and I lost touch. An unjust fate, the Isle of Man, for anyone save an unrepentant Nazi. Shrouded in fog, Sebastian, summer and winter. Not merely Britain’s answer to Siberia, I assure you, but a refinement…the people are grim, the beer is dreadful…It is not worth the same time it takes you to travel to France just to see a horse-drawn tram or sit on the hard benches of a miniature railway for the privilege of glimpsing, should the mist divide at all, a cove or two almost as pretty as Devon’s. It is called a tax haven, I believe. My own theory is that captured tax evaders are exiled there. Her Danish settlers were either convicts or those vikings who failed to qualify for Valhalla. No one in their right mind would volunteer to live there. As for their tailless cats, I’m sure that any Manxman would find a cat’s tail a delicacy compared to his normal diet.’

    Complete nonsense, I’m sure. Should I visit?

  99. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 8:58 PM

    I take your points, Al, all of them perfectly valid. But I’m convinced that being free means being free to take risks with ones own health and even sanity. The real problem is government risk-assessments based on moralistic and political considerations…

    God knows, we’re must always be sceptical of ‘advisors’. After all, the ‘Father of The Hydrogen Bomb’, Edward Teller, physicist and deranged nutcase, advised the Eisenhower administration to use H-bombs for everything from crowd-control to digging channels for new dams (seriously). However, most other physicists thought Teller was a madman.

    Most other experts in the field of drug use and abuse agree with Nutt (unfortunate name, that)..

    If you don’t tell young people the truth, as far as you know it, you will be found out and the damage can be incalculable.

    “The bastards lied to us about hash…I’ll bet the fuckers are lying about methamphetamine, too…”.

    That’s what Johnson’s craven and moronic stance leads to. The dolt.

  100. November 2, 2009 9:00 PM

    XB we get Isle of Man stories on the local news here. Best one recently was a self-styled voice of the motorist complaining how speed cameras had destroyed the look of the countryside. He might have had a point had he not been standing in front of a traffic jam, with pylons, telegraph poles and billboards cluttering up a farmers field in the background. You were hard pressed to notice the speed camera.

    So yes! Go visit!

  101. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 9:15 PM

    I’m not unsympathetic to your point of view, Al. I’ve seen quite a number of people with psychic disturbances who were also heavy drug users. Whether they would have suffered the same problems if they hadn’t been users is hard to determine, but it seems only common sense to at least speculate that their drug use exacerbated their condition. I’m not sure that it’s anything new, though, in the sense that similar things happened when I was an active user: what has changed is the scale, in terms of the number of users and the availability of product.

    H&S has certainly affected riding-schools: the one my d. used to go to won’t take kids under 8 now due to insurance problems. I’m surprised riding for children hasn’t been banned altogether. It’s not just dangerous in itself: there’s a lot of road riding necessary even round here, and there have been a lot of nasty incidents with the fuckwits who have to drive their 4X4s everywhere at 80mph.

    The non-guitar solo side of that UFO album wasn’t bad, as it happens. £4.99 on Amazon, if you’re tempted. I should thank the consensus here which encouraged me to buy Thick As A Brick: listened to it several times with great pleasure.

  102. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 9:18 PM

    I remember reading (at about the same time) two separate records of modern circumnavigations of Britain. Jonathan Raban’s, in a boat (Coasting) and Paul Theroux’s, on foot (The Kingdom By The Sea).

    I believe both of them visited the Isle of Man, (I’m not positive about Theroux). I seem to remember that they both hated it. Never been (or even tempted), myself. Nigel Mansell lives there. ‘Nuff said, I think…

    BTW, sorry, XB…forgot to mention…got your emails and will check it out.

  103. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 9:28 PM

    Is sodomy still banned on the Isle of Man?

  104. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 9:49 PM

    Is that how you rate potential holiday destinations, you degenerate?

  105. November 2, 2009 9:50 PM

    MM There’s never a story about it on the local news so I guess it has.

  106. mishari permalink*
    November 2, 2009 9:58 PM

    According to waki:

    # judicial birching (abolished 1947 in the UK, on Mann in 2000 – a 13-year-old boy, who was convicted of robbing another child of 10p, was the last recorded juvenile case in May 1971)

    # sodomy (legalised 1967 in the UK, 1992 on Mann)

    So any deliciously illicit S&M/buggery jaunt MM had planned is off…

  107. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 2, 2009 10:50 PM

    Bugger. It will have to be Jamaica then.

  108. November 2, 2009 11:35 PM

    The BBC has some figures in a chart:

  109. November 3, 2009 9:25 AM

    Pretending for a moment that we’re still talking about guitar solos. Julian Cope’s written an entertaining essay this month on Blue Cheer:

    He celebrates “Leigh Stephens’ inordinately disconnected take on the role of the modern lead guitarist, almost every solo commencing as though the guitarist had been caught on tape actually in the act of Giving Up Guitar Playing. Chaos ensues every time his turn comes, as Stephens’ inner demons force him through the solo (“Come on Leigh, you daft tripping cunt, you can give up guitar after this one final assault”).”

  110. mishari permalink*
    November 3, 2009 12:08 PM

    Ah…Blue Cheer, of sainted memory (a band either named after a type of acid or that had a type of acid named after them, I forget which).

    At a time when people were getting into simpering faux Country Rock like Crosby, Stills & Nash, polished faux Jazz Rock like Blood, Sweat & Tears and sappy female warblers like Judy Collins, I used to get some funny looks when I’d drop Vincebus Eruptum (their first and best LP) on the turntable and crank up Out Of Focus to 11…happy days…

  111. November 3, 2009 7:08 PM

    Talking of The Simpsons’ commentary on 60s music excess, there’s always this:

  112. mishari permalink*
    November 4, 2009 12:27 AM

    Maybe being an intellectual extends your life span. Two highly brainy types have just shuffled off this mortal coil:

    Francisco Ayala, dead at 103. I read his La cabeza del cordero (The Lamb’s Head) when I was learning Spanish.

    Claude Lévi-Strauss at 100.( I have his 4-volume Mythologiques, the best known of which,Le Cru et le cuit [The Raw and The Cooked], gave the Fine Young Cannibals the title of their first LP. I dip into them now and then but I always seem to lose the thread after a dozen pages).

  113. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 4, 2009 2:53 PM

    I’m still struggling with the Vargas novel. Every day I find it looking reproachfully at me, turn aside and pick up something, anything, rather than return to it. Can I waste any more of my limited time on it? I don’t think I can. I’ll watch Countdown instead.

  114. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 5, 2009 12:08 AM

    I was so totally gutted by atf’s vicious attack on me I decided I should top myself. I called the Samaritans, but after hearing the details the nice lady said she thought I had no choice. I prepared the hot bath, the telephone directory, the electric drill and the chewing gum. Then I remembered it’s Tony Stamp’s retirement episode on The Bill tonight. So it’s all off.

  115. mishari permalink*
    November 5, 2009 1:51 AM

    Has atf launched a vicious attack on you? Well-deserved, I don’t doubt. Pity I didn’t think to save the last one before it was deleted. It was hilarious. Rather like listening to a mad person on the Tube who suddenly hits an inspired patch.

    I find myself unable to feel much for atf except pity since a recent post wherein she bewailed the advent of bang-bang music in her dentist’s waiting room. She used to so look forward to visits to the dentist, she said–a chance for human contact and conversation (somewhat one-sided, I should have thought). Christ….

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