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The Fundamental Things Apply…

March 5, 2010


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“Et mes fesses? Tu les aimes, mes fesses?” – A naked Brigitte Bardot in the film Le Mépris

Browsing through a friend’s library the other day, I came across a copy of La Face Cachée des Fesses (The Hidden Side of the Bottom). Where the British take on this important matter would be inevitably coarse, with a super-abundancy of vulgar ‘Phwoar, show us yer arse, darlin‘ tabloid-style levity, the French are rather more cerebral about such matters; outside the bedroom, at any rate. Of what cooks inside French bedrooms, I have no knowledge: I promised Mother that I would never be intimate with a French person, owing to their well-known soap-dodging habit and their propensity for sexual perversion.

La Face Cachée des Fesses
is, however, a welcome addition to the literature of body parts. The bottom, that marvelous and vital structure, that wonder of engineering that allows men to walk, that allows women to walk in a manner calculated to provoke insanity and allowed the great Le Pétomane, Joseph Pujol, to ‘…play “‘O Sole Mio” and “La Marseillaise” on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus‘ deserves proper consideration.

Sadly, however, my search for poetry on the subject of the bottom has been a (cough) dead-end. There must be fine poems about the human bottom but I can’t call any to mind and a trawl through the archives was no help. I feel sure that poets like Byron, Cavafy and Auden must have addressed the subject. I know Rochester and other smut-meisters did: but I’m after the lyrical not the leering.

Perhaps our friend, the hugely erudite Tom Clark, can help. In the mean-time, let’s have poems on the human haunch. No form, just take a seat and let’s get to the bottom of this odd lacunae

118 Comments
  1. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 5, 2010 11:11 AM

    Here’s one I made earlier:

    Posteriority

    Once in a while I catch a glimpse of you,
    a moonlike presence always behind me,
    pale, lightly cratered, and, perhaps a stern view,
    a little less muscled than formerly,
    possibly a touch fuller in profile,
    but still a model for the ectomorph:
    indeed, once a draw for the glutophiles,
    though strict no-contact limits were in force.

    Let’s consider your role at the junction,
    leaving aside your primary purpose,
    of meditation and locomotion:
    fundamentally your binary part
    is as seat and motor: for these services
    I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  2. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 5, 2010 1:57 PM

    there’s no c in tranquility

    my hand descends, unconsciously foraging
    and finds a lunar surface for voyaging
    on the dark side – a rotting orange surface
    pitted with pith – my hand moves with more purpose

    from scab to crater, then crevice – that’s logical
    – crevasse in nomenclature geological –
    the great divide from rockies to the desert
    – a pass unlike the one you head ’em off at –

    gritting my teeth, I leap into the void
    cocking a snook at knievel and freud
    coyly extending the digitus inhummus
    probing with skill like an unqualified plumber’s

    toying with passwords like cumin and sesame
    expecting mortar and pestle and pessary…
    no. just a grunt, then a fart, then a peep:
    ‘hands off my bum and let me get some sleep!’

  3. hic8ubique permalink
    March 5, 2010 8:56 PM

    Dance Lesson

    I claim no craft, nor an obsession
    in offering this modest lesson.
    I hope it is at least well-versed
    which is, we know, what doggs sniff first.

    If you should wish to dance Bachata
    with your new enamourata,
    mind you do not come to grips
    with too much cheek below her hips,

    for she might rise right up your thigh
    her skirt squirrelling up so high
    that you expose her silken thong
    to an amused and swelling throng,

    and so in haste bring on such pleasure
    as you had hoped to win at leisure.
    A safer bet: to dance a Rumba,
    or take a seat and watch her Samba.

  4. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 6, 2010 12:28 AM

    Nice work there, HLM, Hic ( can’t get your video link to work, btw ).

    I’ve been struggling with a rhymeless poem, so I haven’t considered the arse yet. It’s not that I CAB ( can’t be arsed ), an acronym wildly popular at Mrs M’s school ( and not just among the teachers ). When asked why they haven’t done their homework, students often reply, yeah, COD, miss ( Call Of Duty ). God, these people are going to be paying for our pensions.

  5. hic8ubique permalink
    March 6, 2010 2:46 AM

    ThanKx, MM, from the heart of me bottom!
    I CAB: ‘I can arsed be’ to suggest that the vid appears to me with ‘watch on you tube’ as an option.
    If that shows up for you, just click on it and it will take you to a Bachata performance. However…

    just in case.
    Persistence will be rewarded.

  6. InvisibleJack permalink
    March 6, 2010 11:04 AM

    Gentlemen,

    I must sadly confess my inglorious defeat concerning this recent voyage to the posterior regions, for no matter how hard I try I cannot finish my epic rectal masterpiece.

    I fear I may have reached the rear-end. I imagine it’s a blow to one’s pride as equally crushing as being unable to finish a poem on the pointlessness of mice.

    Jack Brae

  7. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 6, 2010 2:10 PM

    Ah yes, nice… dancing. On my way to bed it suddenly occurred to me that I’d written CAB instead of CBA. Oh well, WHT.

  8. hic8ubique permalink
    March 6, 2010 4:04 PM

    You may discover psyllium
    is easeful to your ilium
    allowing you to fillium
    the keen tip of your quillium
    and bounce back like beryllium
    your quota to fulfillium.
    (Too bad you’re ‘Jack’, not ‘William’)

    ~

    MM~ I took it as a reflection on the school.
    I do it a lot, which you may, in turn, take as a reflection on my school.

  9. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 6, 2010 7:13 PM

    Bloody Pompey. You just can’t kill the bastards off.

  10. pinkroom permalink
    March 6, 2010 8:58 PM

    Hips, bums and tums.

    At the class they step and pound
    squeeze their abs and turn around
    but while some hone glutes to polished steel
    others dare not flab reveal.

    They hide big butts in pants of grey
    where excess lard-age hides away
    and dream of lives when they could flaunt
    in high cut shorts, a buffed-up haunch.

    But next best thing, they like to moan
    about those blessed with greater tone
    and hate
    the instructor, bawling out
    their lazy asses grown so stout.

    “That lady, just dont like ya,
    she simply does not like ya.
    She only has the glad-eye for
    those scrawny buns in lycra.

    To her we are just weak-willed
    scum
    but who’d want her
    sharp, bony
    bum?
    No curves there,
    to call delicious
    …more racing
    dogg
    than bootylicious!”

  11. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 6, 2010 10:44 PM

    Bum Notes

    When I think of arses I’ve admired,
    they seem to fall into three varieties,

    those belonging to the widely-desired,
    Beyonce’s, or Agnetha’s, or Kylie’s-

    arses as distant as the Milky Way-
    then the arses I’ve personally appraised,

    great ones among them, but I have to say
    their arsethetic is greatly compromised

    by otiose personal attachment.
    No, the arse of unrealised potential,

    the arse observed purely by accident
    must be my fundamental Holy Grail;

    Jesus, that one encased in tight pink jeans
    on Oxford Street in 1971

    still sashays down the pavement of my dreams
    and remains forever in my album.

  12. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 6, 2010 10:59 PM

    Enjoyed that, pr. Reminds me of the council-sponsored sessions at the local pool, stylishly named Aqua-Fit, known to the lifeguards as Aqua-Fat.

    Looks like our host has overdone it on the strawberry Daiquiris again…

  13. Captain Ned permalink
    March 6, 2010 11:33 PM

    Ye haue, my swete, an aspecte rough and grymme,
    That yowre dame, iwis, must haue ben a bear;
    Ye came, tis certeyne, from no womman’s quymme
    (Ne came in one, sauing yowre suster Clare),
    And hadde no cradle bot a woodlonde lair.
    Hyt doth me shame, and eek a grete disgrace,
    To discerne the wolfyshnesse of yowre face;
    Bot yowre jolie erse is beyond compare.

    Wrapped in wartes and scabbes is ech lubbard’s limb;
    Oonly lyers seyn ye ben debonair.
    Yowre breth is dungy and yowre eies are dim;
    Yowre privee partes put me in desespeir.
    Beth not wrooth that I thynk ye are not fair,
    For in myn herte ye haue alwey a place.
    No fresshe yong stag shal ever I giue chase
    Whil yowre jolie erse is beyond compare.

  14. pinkroom permalink
    March 7, 2010 8:16 AM

    Ah, Mowbray’s “album”… what spendours (and nightmares) one imagines that holds.

    Thanks for your comment mm; I was trying to catch the flava of those “municipal” fitness sessions where the ultra-dedicated rub sweaty shoulders with those under doctor’s orders… the sheer variety of human arses on display is enough to make you drop your water-bottle. From the certain kind of fellow for whom no gym-wear can ever be too small, tight or black, to the finely sofa-trained, in acres of fetching pastel velour. Even your album could surely not accomodate the thought of such a carnival displayed “…as nature intended.”

  15. March 8, 2010 12:46 PM

    A bottom is not pointless
    Unlike the mouse
    It’s best you keep it dressed
    Outside the house.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 8, 2010 1:35 PM

      …except on a Brasilian beach,
      that callipygous venue
      there, toasted buns and juicy peach
      are always on the menu.

  16. March 8, 2010 1:35 PM

    A bottom is pointless
    It has no sharp sides
    More like the leg’s foothills
    Where hands not eagles glide

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 8, 2010 2:11 PM

      …except when climbing foothills
      against gravity’s insistence
      the gluteal hydraulics
      might drive those legs like pistons?

  17. March 8, 2010 3:06 PM

    hic can only assume you’re running a rebuttal service against my poems.

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 8, 2010 3:52 PM

    Blimey, it’s the FA Varse! 2-2! Will we see penalties?

  19. mishari permalink*
    March 8, 2010 9:44 PM

    Fine work here. Channeling Langland again, Ned? No-one does it better.

    Two years ago the supermodel Erin Wasson revealed the homeless were her fashion inspiration, saying: “When I… see the homeless, like, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, they’re pulling out, like, crazy looks and they, like, pull shit out of like garbage cans.”

    — The Indy, March 6, 2010

    You know, I’ve always maintained that supermodels aren’t necessarily vacuous knuckleheads. I take it back: I was wrong.

    Bum Note Of The Week

    Listening to a radio 3 dramatisation of the life of Tom Paine on BBC iPlayer, I hear Paine’s manservant warn him against leaving the house because the streets of Paris are heaving with enraged sans culottes. Says Paine, “Don’t worry: I’ll be OK”.

    I’ll be OK? Christ…I suppose we must be grateful he didn’t say “Chill, dude: it’s cool”.

  20. freep permalink
    March 8, 2010 10:17 PM

    On The Alarming Tendency of Buttocks to Vanish with Age

    Nurse, as my life has entered its winter,
    kindly inspect that viewless hinter-
    land that swags about and above my sphincter,

    and say, o pristine one
    if it remains indeed a bum
    or has declined and fallen, like some

    crinkled bag
    containing
    nothing

  21. mishari permalink*
    March 8, 2010 11:45 PM

    Your End Is Near

    Bid your rear a fond farewell
    ‘Adieu, adieu, once shapely arse!’
    It’s sagged, it’s dropped: it’s gone to hell

    You shrug, resigned, and say ‘oh, well…’
    You knew that this would come to pass:
    Bid your rear a fond farewell.

    Once so splendid, curve and swell
    And springier than new-grown grass;
    It’s sagged, it’s dropped: it’s gone to hell.

    Elastic pants? Oh, we can tell;
    Mutton-butt as lamb? A farce:
    Bid your rear a fond farewell.

    It’s horrid and, my dear, the smell!
    So redolent of dead meat past;
    It’s sagged, it’s dropped: it’s gone to hell.

    The future’s known, the die is cast:
    Your looks are gone or going fast:
    Bid your rear a fond farewell;
    It’s sagged, it’s dropped: it’s gone to hell.

  22. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:09 AM

    An arsenelle, eh? Sounds like a female Gunners fan. Bloody good, anyway.

  23. March 9, 2010 11:56 AM

    freep On the Alarming tendency of Buttocks to Vanish with Age.

    Sadly not.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 9, 2010 12:17 PM

    Looking through some old notes, I happened to come across this, a disputed manuscript said to date from around the second century AD. It’s thought to be a copy of an earlier work, but unfortunately only exists in this fragment. It’s probably the work which Livy refers to as ‘The Voyage To The Bottom’, or ‘The Sodyssey’.

    …….. and there we beached our boat,
    And set our course across the milk-white chest
    Battling against the crop of long dark hairs
    Which sprang thickly from the Hill of Nipplus.
    Finding at long last the path of Sternum,
    As the wine spills from the upturned flagon
    And surges across the tavern table,
    So we, with the blessing of Athene,
    Spread into the plain of Solar Plexus.

    Under Selene’s light we made our march,
    Up and down the fields of cellulite,
    Until, as Hyperion raised his orb
    High in the heavens, our sweating sailors
    Spied Umbilicus, home to the Fluffii.
    On we marched to the Forest of Pubis,
    And, as a star of sexual shows
    Removes his unsightly body hair,
    Hacked a path through the vegetation.

    We thank Athene that the place’s guard,
    The gigantic one-eyed worm Peneas
    Lay sleeping, his ugly empurpled head
    Safely hidden beneath its crumpled hood.
    We attained the hills of Testiculae,
    And gazed into the deep dark cleft below.
    When our leader called for a volunteer
    To descend and explore the noisome depth,
    One lone man stepped forth from amidst the throng,
    Sodomus, son of Arses……..

  25. mishari permalink*
    March 9, 2010 12:29 PM

    The classics are so very bracing, I find…

    Biden offers Israel full US support–Grauniad headline, today

    This astonishing departure from past and present US policy will set the cat amongst the pigeons and certainly merits a front-page headline…erm…

  26. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 9, 2010 11:20 PM

    The book and DVDs arrived today, thanks.

    Fancy The Hurt Locker doing so well at the Oscars. Is there a relationship between being slated on PH and doing well at awards ceremonies? Clooney might as well forget it if it works in reverse.

  27. March 10, 2010 9:50 AM

    MM, Kathryn Bigelow used to hang around and work with a London group of artists called Art+Language who played with words, meaning, intertextuality ( sorry freep )and politics to such an arid degree that it even put tolerant artistic souls like me right off.

    It obviously put her right off as well as on the basis of her films she can out-macho the boys every time and language is there to fill in the bits between gunfire and explosions.

  28. freep permalink
    March 10, 2010 11:31 AM

    ……….sorry, Al; I was inspired by the subject which you were toying with, and have posted it over against the wheelbarrow at POTW. I think this is no more than harmless plagiarism; there can be no copyright on dead mice.

  29. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 10, 2010 12:00 PM

    I didn’t know that- if I’d given it any thought at all I would have assumed the usual film-school route plus a leg-up from Cameron. As you imply, she does have a fairly heavyweight academic record. I suppose getting an audience outweighed the delights of theory at some point. Just like Michael Winner, really.

  30. March 10, 2010 12:32 PM

    freep glad I’ve been of use and I enjoyed the poem. Mine still lingers in development hell and is at risk of not becoming everything I like about the Red Wheelbarrow.

  31. hic8ubique permalink
    March 10, 2010 4:04 PM

    Freep~ Tendency to Vanish… gives me the horrors~ must mention, I find ‘swags’ is a master stroke!

    Mishari~ ‘mutton-butt’~ my favourite bit.

    MM~ you are diligent and your quality consistent, but sometimes you are truly inspired.
    V to the B is full of delights, but especially: ‘home to the Fluffii’ ~~makes me howl every time!

  32. mishari permalink*
    March 10, 2010 7:12 PM

    I don’t why people complain about the quality of writing these days. There are some fine prose stylists out there…you betcha, also.

    “As the soles of my shoes hit the soft ground, I pushed past the tall cottonwood trees in a euphoric cadence, and meandered through willow branches that the moose munched on,” – pg 102, Going Rogue, Sarah Palin

  33. hic8ubique permalink
    March 10, 2010 8:28 PM

    When I look at that book-cover, I see ‘Going Rouge’. Is that just me?

  34. March 10, 2010 9:47 PM

    I see Gouging Rugs.

    What she describing? her first alliterative Alaskan acid trip?

  35. March 10, 2010 10:56 PM

    “What she describing?” Jesus. English write I good

  36. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 10, 2010 11:00 PM

    I don’t think I’ve been called ‘diligent’ before. Malevolent-check. Belligerent-check. Malcontent-check. Impudent-cheek. Improvident-cheque. Corpulent-choc. Thanks for your kind words, Hic.

    I did not know that Tim Parks grew up in Blackpool. With Ian Anderson, HLM and Tim roaming the Golden Mile it must have been like Paris in the Twenties. With chips.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 10, 2010 11:03 PM

      …Impotent-choke?

  37. hic8ubique permalink
    March 10, 2010 11:00 PM

    I don’t either why she describing contagion, also.

  38. mishari permalink*
    March 11, 2010 12:06 AM

    …flatulent: check. Impertinent: check. Incontinent: check. Insolvent: check.

  39. hic8ubique permalink
    March 11, 2010 2:18 AM

    Truculent- Czech?
    and for seasonal colour…
    Flocculent-chick

  40. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 11, 2010 8:47 AM

    …Nonviolent: choke. Succulent: Czech. Repellent: Chuck. Fraudulent: Chuck, also. Equivalent: tick.

  41. March 11, 2010 12:07 PM

    speaking of alliterative acid trips

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 11, 2010 3:15 PM

    That’s almost as bad as jazz.

  43. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 11, 2010 5:04 PM

    So spake “Gentlefolk of Newport”.

    Or should I say “hats” and “cats”.

  44. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 11, 2010 5:34 PM

    There’s a story attached to this poem. I was on the first floor of a large secondhand bookshop examining some ancient-looking folios ( 19thC fakes, unfortunately ), when I happened to glimpse a volume I’d been coveting for some time on a high shelf. I stepped back to get a better look and collided with an old lady, who promptly fell down the nearby stairs. The volume turned out to be a late edition, so, having finished with the folios, I made my way to the ground floor. Stepping over the old woman, I noticed a page which had fallen from the book in her hand. On it was printed one of the ‘lost’ poems of Dante, those excised from ‘La Vita Nuova’ by the Index. I give it below ( my translation ).

    To those of you made prisoner by Love,
    These manacles I wear will be well-known,
    This cheerless casemate where I have been thrown
    As familiar as the stars above.

    No officer or warder can ever come
    To bring the pardon which will set me free,
    For there is only one who holds that key
    I have been captured by her gorgeous bum.

    When I awake it is the morning sun,
    Shining through the bars of my lonely cell,
    In the tedium of the daily round
    My exercise yard and hallowed ground,
    And on the tolling of the Compline bell,
    It is my pillow when the day is done.

    Unfortunately I was unable to see the rest of the book, since the bookseller tore it from my hand, wanting to know why I hadn’t called an ambulance for the old woman. Then he struck me, quite painfully, on the side of the head with the book, whereupon, naturally, I retaliated. Subsequently he banned me from the shop. I don’t really understand what all the fuss was about. As I pointed out to him ( several times ) she was already dead.

  45. mishari permalink*
    March 11, 2010 9:25 PM

    You’re on a bit of a hot streak there, MM. Fundamentally sound stuff, at bottom.

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 11, 2010 10:35 PM

    Woke up in the early am and couldn’t sleep. I never had trouble sleeping before reading this blog. It’s a nightmare.

  47. freep permalink
    March 11, 2010 10:42 PM

    I wouldn’t go so far as hic to say you were diligent, MM (I bet such a word ne’er appeared on your school report), but certainly you have been productive of masterly work of late, especially in the Classical Studies department; Isuspect you have been visited by a Muse with a most generous bum indeed. A bum in whose crevice a powerful Vincent Black Knight motorcycle could with comfort be parked. A bum which could singly block a wide chasm against oncoming hordes of swart paynim. A bum of jocose mien, given to tuneful farting. A bum like the furry giant peach cultivated by God himself on his coelestial windowsill.

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 11, 2010 11:55 PM

    You would win that bet, freep.

  49. mishari permalink*
    March 12, 2010 2:18 AM

    In a story about the over-fishing of bluefin tuna, I came a cross the following:

    “Our biggest hope is that this doesn’t spread to the Pacific,” said Tadao Ban, head of the Tokyo co-operative for large fish dealers. “For this reason we are promoting strict resource management. We are even supporting putting a tag on each and every tuna caught.”

    Am I just dense? What the hell is the point of tagging an already dead tuna? How exactly does tagging already caught tuna help conserve them? Mind you, I don’t expect good sense from people who kill whales and dispense soiled schoolgirls underwear from machines on the main drag.

  50. March 12, 2010 10:27 AM

    An apricot, a jungle drum
    A pre-Fall lode-stone pendulum
    A counter-weight to every vow
    A fruit that lifts, not bends, its bough

    A waxing gibbous fertile slope
    A summons for the lycanthrope
    A mistress-piece beneath its veil
    A spice ship’s full and freeing sail

    Brancusi’s floating fever-dream
    The double bass, the swing, the theme
    The only reason I conceive
    To keep my seat and watch you leave

  51. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 12, 2010 11:22 AM

    I like that a lot, Exit: some very nice images.

    I would vote for an embargo on tuna. An end to those stupid tins at last.

  52. March 12, 2010 11:24 AM

    The word bottom appears in one of the lines otherwise….

    The lungfish hibernates its life away.
    What is the herring if not prey?
    One casual footstep a thousand ants die
    With no inquests, no questions why.
    Flies spend their lives twixt waving arms
    We’re impervious to their unsingular charms.
    A mayfly may fly for just one day,
    No time to idle their lives away.
    The panda is not interested in mating
    No wonder their population’s abating.
    With marked reluctance to get a wife
    Why do they even deserve a life?

    Sitting in the gable
    Of my house
    Watching the bird table
    Out comes a mouse.

    A furry blur of nervous tics
    One,four, five now there are six.
    I go outdoors for my leisure
    But for these mice outdoors is no pleasure,
    Everything conducted at a frantic speed
    Food is not savoured when they feed
    As they root around in the grasses
    Twitching at any shadow that passes
    Do they feel morose or in pain
    That they are bottom of the foodchain?
    Make it quick, keep their heads down low
    Safety is being unseen down below.

    Well at least they are not a rat
    But they only seem here to feed the cat.

  53. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 12, 2010 12:59 PM

    ph: poetry,
    illicit tuna, abused
    sheep and dying mice

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 12, 2010 1:49 PM

    Is this the fabled ‘Pointlessness of Mice’, Al? I like it, though the mice here are leisurely grazers, barely lifting the snout when bawled at and only strolling to their boltholes once approached. Urban vs country mouse, I suppose.

    Thinking about it, the extinction of tuna would serve the purpose of making the tin obsolete just as well as an embargo. So I think I’ll sit on the fence as far as this one’s concerned.

  55. March 12, 2010 2:03 PM

    Sadly it is and how I curse my pre-publicity. I avoid it in my other “real” work like the plague ( expectations are only there to be shot down )so am bewildered why I decided not to here. Must have been that second tongue-loosening cup of Yorkshire tea.

    What are these mice grazing on MM? Sounds like some form of Mandrax. The mice here are like hyped-up characters from Breaking Bad. If the kestrel or mink doesn’t get them a heart attack will.

    Talking of strong tea have you ever indulged in Barry’s Tea from Ireland? If Billy Mills drinks that stuff it’s a miracle he can keep his comments so minimal and to the point. I had a lost weekend on Barry’s Tea in Dublin a few year’s back. When I came to I discovered I’d written On The Road word for word.

  56. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 12, 2010 3:05 PM

    …while an infinite
    number of monkeys waited
    to use Barry’s bog

  57. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 12, 2010 3:37 PM

    I’ve never heard of Barry’s tea, though I remember the tea served there in the 70s was the colour of clotted blood, and with the same fluidity. Shouldn’t think Mills drinks it-a herbal tea man, I would think, from sustainable herbs grown in an ethically-sourced loam.

    I think I’m against the sale of schoolgirl’s underwear, and in fact I wouldn’t mind seeing an embargo on schoolgirls, especially the ones who walk down my street at 7.45 am screeching greetings or abuse at each other. I’ve never liked them, even as a schoolboy. Unpredictable, sharp-tongued, moody, sullen, prone to irrational fits of anger-well, just like grown-up women, only more so. As for whales, I rather liked that story Martin Amis told about his father. MA was inveighing about the use of dead cetaceans in the manufacture of something or other, to which KA replied that it sounded like a good way of using up whales.

  58. pinkroom permalink
    March 12, 2010 10:41 PM

    Peachy pome there EB; trochees really gettin that pend’lum swinging.

    I found this smutty little ditty scrawled upon the lid of an old box of Barry’s teabags; I need not say where.

    The peach, the apricot and plum
    are fruit used oft
    to praise the bum
    but the food that serves,
    best?
    My belief;
    two boiled eggs
    in a
    hankerchief.

    You are quite right Al. The effect of about 5 plus cups is both speedy and trippy… a dangerous combo for a nonagenarian poet.

  59. mishari permalink*
    March 13, 2010 10:08 AM

    Excellent piece on Blake by our friend ExitB. In this, XB is carrying on a family tradition. In 1863, his great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Gilchrist, published a biography of Blake.

    Wiki tells me that Alexander was also a pal of Carlyle, Rossetti and William Morris, (inventor of the Morris Minor and Morris Dancing).

  60. March 13, 2010 12:00 PM

    Thanks, Mishari!

    I live in Clapham (or the badlands between Clapham and Battersea that I call Clattersea). I often stroll over the river up to Hyde Park. On the way I cross Cheyne Walk, where Alexander lived with his family.

    Thanks for the kind words, MM and PR. My only concern is that a ‘spice ship’s freeing sail’ is, inevitably, full of wind. Have I blown it?

    It seems, MM, that, along with Ned, you’ve uncovered the mother-lode of posterior posterity. Or arse-tiquuty.

    Barry’s tea sounds like something that would blast me through space-time. I have to be careful with caffeine. Even switching to a larger mug can cause all kinds of problems by 11.30am.

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 14, 2010 11:08 PM

    Hometown of the Adidas-clad,
    the hoodie and the baseball cap,
    a city blending all that’s bad
    and distilling it in a slap.

    Through North End’s bandit country,
    in Fratton’s violent embrace,
    on the killing fields of Southsea,
    white trainers grind the human face.

    No books, no culture and no art,
    only the crash of breaking glass,
    the sound of T-shirts torn apart
    and the relentless whine of jazz.

    Discarded on the Spithead shore
    like a fag-end casually hurled
    on to a lavatory floor,
    Portsmouth, Portsmouth, arse of the world.

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 14, 2010 11:20 PM

    I swore I would never watch rugby again after that pathetic show yesterday. Yet today I found myself sitting in front of the France-Italy game. I must be insane. The silky skills of the crapauds, even the clumsy determination of the Italians, left me reflecting on the utter inadequacy of the England team. String ’em up.

  63. mishari permalink*
    March 14, 2010 11:44 PM

    ‘…relentless whine of jazz’, indeed. What an uncouth fellow you are, to be sure. It never ceases to amaze me that an Island bumpkin like you can get the rhubarb out of your gob long enough to essay decent verse, but there we are: an enduring mystery, like the career of David Milliband…

  64. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 12:11 AM

    No mystery about Milly’s rise to power: shoebrush hair, Tony’s shiny loafers.

    Enjoyed the Parks book so much I’m rereading the other one. He seems pretty acute (but what do I know?) about Italian provincial society, but I do wonder how much he knows about his own country. For instance, he finds it surprising that 70% of Italians carry on living in the same town or area as their parents. I don’t have any figures, but I would think that the situation is not much different in the UK. Or the processions to the cemetery on the Day of the Dead. I was out for a walk today near a local cemetery, and the place was bursting with people laying flowers on their mother’s graves (some of which are decorated in the most outlandish way).

  65. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2010 12:29 AM

    I’m pretty sure Parks moved to Italy with his Italian wife shortly after graduating and has lived there ever since. He’s very good on Italy, that much I’m certain of (given my own observations of the country and its people).

    I have another book that you might like, a much darker and more pessimistic view of Italy by Tobias Jones called The Dark Heart of Italy. I’ll pass it along. It doesn’t contradict Parks but is altogether less sanguine…

  66. pinkroom permalink
    March 15, 2010 12:50 AM

    Wonderful, stirring rhythm to that one mm… one could imagine that Fratton Park numpty with the spiderwebs and piercings all over his face, bashing it out with some relish.

    …here’s another verse to insert absolutely wheresoever you please.

    The rancid Tricorn centre,
    tattoo’d arsehole with his drum,
    of all shiteholes in England;
    Pompey: bull’s-eye of the bum!

  67. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2010 1:04 AM

    Boy… poor old Portsmouth just can’t catch a break…

    BTW, I posted a vid I’d made of an old Heads, Hands & Feet song a few months ago and today I got a friendly note from the band’s guitarist, Ray Smith, thanking me…It’s nice to be appreciated…(here’s the vid I posted):

  68. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 2:44 PM

    Thanks, pr. Actually, I think yours might be superior to mine, damn your eyes. However, a pedant must write that the Tricorn has long since been demolished, thank God. The scent of old fag ash and ancient piss hung over the area for weeks.

    Thanks for the offer of the book, monseigneur, which sounds most interesting. I was going to speculate last night (before I fell asleep and woke up with the keyboard imprinted on my forehead), on reading your info on Parks, that his long sojourn in Italy might have had the effect of making the UK more or less a foreign country to him. That would account for the fairly awful ‘Judge Savage’, which seemed oddly inauthentic to me. At the time I put it down to him writing as a black character, but perhaps it was more to do with his unfamiliarity with the feel of contemporary UK.

  69. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 2:49 PM

    Maybe you would have had a note from Steve Perry had you put up Don’t Stop Believin’, as I suggested.

  70. March 15, 2010 4:20 PM

    I rather like Southsea.I once ate in a Chinese restaurant which had a big sign in it informing everyone that Peter Sellers was born upstairs.

    There’s a punchline lurking somewhere for this story but I’m not the man to think of it.

  71. March 15, 2010 4:23 PM

    I should add that the restaurant was in Southsea befiore listeners ring in and complain.

  72. Inspecteur Clouseau permalink
    March 15, 2010 4:28 PM

    “So as a tribute to my memory, you open this… this Chinese nookie factory?”

  73. March 15, 2010 4:30 PM

    Run by meurnkeys no less working in a cramped reeeurm

  74. hic8ubique permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:24 PM

    I thought this would be better than it is, but it’s still pretty good!…

  75. pinkroom permalink
    March 15, 2010 8:01 PM

    What no Tricorn? That was the very diseased, faltering heart of Portsmouth as I was knew it in the months I lived within a couple of hundred yards from Blake’s cottage in Felpham.

    Come to think of it it may have been near the end then as I bought a couple of the then quite expensive “compact discs” I think they called them, in a (rather good) closing down record store for a knock down quid apiece: Townes Van Zandt – Delta Momma Blues and a Duke Reid ska/reggae compilation. Bought a player not long afterwards.

    Southsea is a different kettle of fish of course but could still be a bit tasty at the weekend. I saw Sinead O Connor perform there in some spectacularly drab leisure centre. I didn’t see Peter Sellers,Kato or any monkeys, but Derek Jacobi was standing next to me all through the show and pretended he didn’t recognise me… prick.

  76. March 15, 2010 8:10 PM

    Hic, Someone I used to work with did a very nice project with some art students on the train between Eastbourne and Brighton. There are about 10-15 stations from start to finish and at each station platform she put a student with a large potted palm tree. So as the train went along the students got in the middle carriage one by one which gradually filled up with palm trees. By the end it was quite equatorial.

  77. hic8ubique permalink
    March 15, 2010 9:05 PM

    My Dad once said he went to school with a lot of potted palms, but I eventually came to understand something other than what you describe, Al.
    Did you really know DJ, Pinkr? I’m prepared to be impressed.

  78. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 11:02 PM

    Oh… pants as in trousers. Disappointing, but my blood pressure probably couldn’t take it anyway.

    I played for the IOW chess team at Southsea Community Centre a couple of times. Heavily armed, our elite group of chess geeks moved in a huddle from doorway to doorway until we broke cover and yomped to the doors of the Centre. On the way back one of our number, a short bald chap with glasses, was hauled down like a wildebeest assailed by hyenas. RIP.

    Drew one, lost one, just for the record.

  79. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2010 11:34 PM

    The only reason MM joined the chess team was because he overheard one of the chess-nerds saying they ‘…spend a lot of time looking at pawns…’ and MM thought he’d said they spend a lot of time looking at porn…

  80. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 11:50 PM

    That was my introduction to the game, of course. Spending 4 hours getting to and from Southampton or Lymington or Portsmouth, sitting in a draughty hall and being thrashed in 20 moves by snotty 12-year-olds ended my interest in it.

    Here’s an interesting one for you, Hic:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/8563377.stm

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 16, 2010 12:56 AM

      Thanks, MM! My Dad will be interested in that as well.
      I’d like to hear more about what they find out, as I have a particular interest in skulls. I possess a beautifully prepared one (in addition to my personal specimen in use at the moment) which hinges open in several places to reveal the air sinuses, and the delicate intricacies of the inner ear.
      I call her ‘Ginger’.

  81. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2010 11:59 PM

    Now that’s what you call a spectator sport. The England rugby team should make a few notes.

    Bloody hell, everything’s changed again. Nice to see the time back again, though I may have to adjust to 125%.

  82. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2010 12:10 AM

    Yeah, sorry about that but I realised that not having a time-stamp was really starting to bug me, so…

  83. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2010 1:16 AM

    The world’s shortest man, He Pingping, who was just 2ft 5in (74.6cm) tall has died in Rome…a chain-smoker and reportedly a ladies’ man despite his height. – The Grauniad, today

    A 2ft 5in ‘ladies man’? Forgive me if I seem cruel, but the image popped into my head of one of those little yappy dogs humping a leg…

  84. March 16, 2010 10:14 AM

    Weird to see the Guardian puffing a book containing the ‘remarkable’ revelation that the c18th play Double Falsehood is based on Shakespeare’s lost Cardenio. I thought this was accepted fact. I’ve read about it years ago, and in more than one place.

  85. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 16, 2010 10:31 AM

    Just celebrating the temporary rehabilitation of one of my computers with this former HH&F wizard. James Burton, eat your heart out.

  86. March 16, 2010 10:33 AM

    XB I’d not read that before but was rather amused to see the Saturday paper Guardian extolling the virtues of Sergei Paradjanov . Mainly because this kind of article about his films ( the last of which was made in about 1986 ) crops up every 8 years or so.

    btw if you’ve not seen “The Colour of Pomegranites” it’s well worth watching

    Maybe the length of time taken for cultural memory to fade is getting shorter and shorter.

    A nice little earner for journalists too I should think – “Right it’s 2010 time to dust off my Jan Svankmajer is a neglected genius article”.

  87. March 16, 2010 11:06 AM

    It’s very irritating. I read Mojo magazine but always feel a stab of annoyance when the Beatles, yet again, appear on the cover. They’ve even led with the same Abbey Road-related headline two or three times.

    The GU piece is a shame, as the story is far more interesting than they suggest. The play was finally rejected by c18th scholars as being by Shakespeare because it had features they felt were more akin to John Fletcher. The reference to Cardenio in the theatre logs of the time come from the end of Shakespeare’s career – when we now know he was collaborating with Fletcher (Henry VIII, Two Noble Kinsmen). So the Fletcher association actually strengthened the play’s case for being Shakespearian. Everyone lost interest in the original – handwritten!!!! – manuscript. It mouldered in a Covent Garden museum, which eventually burned down.

  88. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2010 2:33 PM

    I assume your interest in skulls is not morbid, Hic. The town I grew up in was well-supplied with Roman cemeteries which weren’t usually supervised. It was de rigueur for young chaps (of a certain type: the early versions of metal fans and Goths, pseudo-Byrons) to have skulls and skull-lamps. Those with craft skills had skull-cups, which were difficult to make because most of the skulls had been trepanned. It was considered the height of sophistication, while toking on one’s joint and listening to Spooky Tooth’s ‘Ceremony’, to sip Coates’ cider from one’s skull-cup. As I watch The Bill, quaffing English Red Wine TM from an old jam jar, it is difficult not to think that standards have slipped somewhat.

    The churn rate of GU blogs in particular has been noted quite a few times, Exit, Al. I suppose you shouldn’t look to journos for imagination.

  89. March 16, 2010 4:22 PM

    Barry’s Tea drunk from the tea-pot alternated with swigging milk from the bottle whilst watching the 16th repeat of the Simpsons is the height of sophistication chez moi.

  90. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2010 6:37 PM

    Teapot? Bloody poseur.

  91. March 16, 2010 7:50 PM

    No, not Sergei Paradjanov!

    I once had the misfortune to attend a Sergei Paradjanov double-bill. I have not forgotten it, nor ever will.

  92. March 16, 2010 8:08 PM

    I should have made that into a poem, since it had a nice natural rhyme:

    I once saw some Paradjanov
    In fact it was a double-bill:
    A thing I’ve not lost mem’ry of;
    No – nor likely ever will.

  93. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2010 9:43 PM

    I dunno…when the guy came around to install the interweb pipe, he assured me that I’d be onto 24-hour beer, tits and football. But what do I get?

    Shakespeare, poetry and amorous midgets. I tell ya…this interweb racket ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  94. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2010 10:40 PM

    I once saw some Paradjanov
    the memory still lingers
    I chewed my fingernails right off
    then started on my fingers.

  95. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2010 11:10 PM

    BTW, MM, you never told me what you thought of AJ Leibling. Is this just a gentlemanly attempt to spare my feelings or have you just not got around to reading it, you idle TV zombie?

  96. March 16, 2010 11:27 PM

    Paradjanov is great he’s the bloody tops
    The one what don’t like him are book loving fops
    The Soviets didn’t like him either for that he did prison time
    Now I’ve run out of words that I can use to rhyme.

  97. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2010 11:57 PM

    I’m up to part 4. I’ve stopped and started a bit, but it’s quite easy to pick up the thread. The style is attractive and very easy to read. The dinner party with the Cliquots was quite funny, especially the description of the top man being asked to guess the source of an inferior wine.

    ‘There are things about it which remind me of a Beaujolais,’- he must have meant that it was wet-

    It’s like reading about a vanished civilisation.

  98. mishari permalink*
    March 17, 2010 12:50 AM

    I’m glad you like him and reading him episodically is fine; after all, that’s the way he wrote those pieces. They appeared in the New Yorker on a monthly basis and were only collected in book form after Leibling’s death. I think it is a vanished civilisation. I actually remember a time when you had to make an effort to find a truly awful meal in Paris. Now, you can, at considerable expense, procure a wretched meal without even trying.

  99. Inspecteur Clouseau permalink
    March 17, 2010 8:59 AM

    This is right up your rue…

    A light-hearted poetry comp at the Beeb. Go for it.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8570282.stm

  100. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 17, 2010 3:02 PM

    The McDonald’s on the Champs Elysees was producing some vile stuff back in ’93 (I sound like a Wodehouse character). For an English person going there it used to be a culinary adventure. There was a place we visited in the 70s near the Jardin des Plantes called Le Mauresque (or something like that-North African decor, brass tables etc) with an extremely curt manager. They gave you a menu and when you tried to select from it the waiter just shook his head and removed it from your hand. We finally figured out that it was a set menu with no alternatives. Presumably if you didn’t fancy it you got up and left. Quite different from England (where you wouldn’t want anything on the extensive menu). The food was pretty good-it was the first time I’d eaten couscous, and had my only experience of brik. We tried to buy some couscous when we got back without any luck. Buy it at Tesco now.

  101. March 17, 2010 3:11 PM

    From my visits to Paris I noticed that the food was pretty awful around any of the railway stations and like ripples the food would improve the further you got away from them.

    We worked for 10 days in the Bercy suburb of Paris and due to time ate lunch at a pretty bog standard caff round the corner. The food was so-so but the service was superb. On our last day the head waiter gave us brandies to see us off. You really wouldn’t get that in a comparative caff anywhere in England unless you knew the owners very well.

  102. pinkrheurrrrrm permalink
    March 17, 2010 9:18 PM

    Can absolutely second that Al. I once had, or rather left behind, some chicken gizzards on soggy pasta opposite the Gard du Nord that was almost German in its vileness, but on the plus side I had some duck on the Left bank (increasing chi chi these days)which will linger to my dying.

  103. mishari permalink*
    March 17, 2010 10:14 PM

    I think it’s probably true the world over, that generally speaking, the environs of railway stations contain the worst hotels, restaurants, bars etc. I suspect the underlying philosophy is ‘…train passengers: fuck ’em…we’re never going to see them again anyway…’.

  104. pinkroom permalink
    March 18, 2010 7:21 AM

    That’s a truth worthy of a 12 verse ballad. I remember a hotel a hotel room near Termini in Rome that appalled and there was a fish and chip shop opposite Newcastle Central station where, judging by the skeletal remains, I am certain deep fried rat featured. The horror.

    On reflection perhaps it is terminal stations that are worst? The worst food in London must be in the Kings Cross and Victoria areas and there are some shockers around Connolly station in Dublin too. I ordered some anti-pasti in an “Italian” cafe there only to be presented with a pile of “spam” of quite alarming pinkness!

    I’ll work on the ballad.

  105. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 18, 2010 7:23 AM

    While in Paris, an interesting stop for a meal is Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon. The decor is magnificent, and the fact of being in a train station without the stress of catching a train is peculiarly liberating. The trap is that the other-worldliness of the surroundings and the festival of food will liberate your purse strings. They also do sumptuous carry-outs for those actually travelling.

    http://www.le-train-bleu.com/

  106. mishari permalink*
    March 18, 2010 8:16 AM

    I think that’s right, PR. Paddington, King’s X, Victoria, Waterloo, Euston: all a-swim in vile eateries, seedy hotels and tawdry shops.

    Le Train Bleu is like the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. They could probably serve you your own socks in a bun and you wouldn’t notice, so stunning is the decor.

  107. March 18, 2010 11:50 AM

    Was rather shocked to see Steve Bell do my dad’s long standing cartoon joke ( albeit with a political slant ) in the Guardian today. Coincidence I hope. It is mentioned somewhere on a Books blog but I doubt he’s reading through that level of acreage to get ideas.

    Still glad it’s seen the light. Always made me laugh and still does.

  108. Captain Ned permalink
    March 18, 2010 10:33 PM

    Bell seems to be enjoying a return to form at the moment; I was starting to worry that he’d lost it.

  109. mishari permalink*
    March 18, 2010 10:57 PM

    What’s shocked me has been the neglect of a story that shows what the Tories are really about.

    Last week, one of three Tory MPs (the culprit was too cowardly to own up, naturally) ‘objected’ to a bill regulating so-called ‘vulture funds’ (investment vehicles that specialise in buying up debts incurred by poor countries for pennies on the pound and then suing those countries for full repaymnent), thereby stopping the legislation in its tracks.

    The Grauniad gave this utterly disgraceful story one days play and then ignored it, ditto The Indy. Idiots.

    A gem from this weeks Private Eye:

    Dale Winton: In 1962, the location of nuclear missiles on which island almost brought the USA and the USSR to war?

    Contestant: Easter Island comes to mind, but why would they go to war over Easter Island? I’m going to go for Hawaii.

    from In It To Win It, BBC 1

  110. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 18, 2010 11:53 PM

    Yes, you’d think it would be difficult to forget Bikini.

    I thought that cartoon must be a Rowson, since it was actually funny, unlike any Bell cartoon I’ve ever seen. My congratulations to Alarming pere.

  111. March 19, 2010 10:11 AM

    I always thought those Easter Island statues were Soviet missiles trained on the West. This does nothing to stem that belief

  112. hic8ubique permalink
    March 19, 2010 7:38 PM

    Trained to the East, I am accustomed to a more imposing visage of Mishari presiding here. The clocky feature is all very well, but, pinkrheuuum is looking mauve about the gills, and on the whole I’m feeling ‘not very how’ about the new look.(This is just an opinion, and not an invitation for ‘high maintenance’ remarks.)

  113. pinkroom permalink
    March 19, 2010 7:55 PM

    International Rescue was clearly a commie front. Those supermarionated missile silos on Tracey Island always looked a threat to to me.

Comments are closed.