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Pox Vobiscum

June 13, 2010



First you get down on your knees
Fiddle with your rosaries
Bow your head with great respect
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect

Get in line in that processional
Step into that small confessional
There, the guy who’s got religion’ll
Tell you if your sin’s original

Make a cross on your abdomen
When in Rome do like a Roman
Ave Maria, gee it’s good to see ya
Gettin’ ecstatic an’ sorta dramatic an’
Doin’ the Vatican Rag

from The Vatican Rag by Tom Lehrer

Given the upcoming visit by Pope Adolf the 1st, this seems like an opportune moment to consider the Papacy and its pontiffs. Many people regard Pope Adolf (or Cardinal Ratso Rizzo as was) as a particularly egregious example of the breed. A former Vatican enforcer–arrogant, dogmatic, intolerant and unimaginative–he’s no picnic and that’s a fact, but in reality he’s no worse than his predecessor, Pope John Paul George Ringo the Fab IVth.

Pope Ringo was every bit as doctrinaire, dogmatic, intolerant and blinkered. He just seemed like a nice old duffer what with his fondness for kissing airport tarmac, recording albums (the LP, Pope John Paul II Sings at the Festival of Sacrosong sold a million copies) and writing plays (The Jeweler’s Shop, written under a pseudonym in 1960 while he was auxiliary bishop of Krakow, was turned into a Hollywood movie starring Burt Lancaster and Olivia Hussey). And God knows, I could almost love him for bringing us the Popemobile. “Your Holiness! Up in the sky! It’s the Pope-signal!”, “Quick, Cardinal Robin…to the Popemobile!”

But as grim as the last run of pontiffs has been, some of their earlier incarnations leave them kissed-off and frozen against the cushion.

Take Damasus I (366-84), who hired a gang of hit-men to murder his papal rival and all his supporters. Later tried, convicted and sentenced to death for adultery by a synod of 44 bishops, Damasus was acquitted by the emperor Valentinian.

Pope John XII (955-63) AKA ‘John The Bad’, turned the Lateran Palace into a brothel. He and his gang of friends delighted in molesting female pilgrims in the basilica of St. Peter. When a cardinal pointed out that this practice was theologically unsound, John had him castrated. John was finally beaten to death by an irate husband wielding a hammer after being caught in flagrante delicto with the man’s wife.

Stephen VI (896-7) had his predecessor Formosus exhumed and put on trial. The so-called ‘Cadaver Synod’ found the rotting corpse guilty and threw it into the Tiber.

John XXI (1276-7) was the only medical doctor to don the shoes of the fisherman. A surviving medical treatise he wrote before elevation recommended pig-dung to stop nose-bleeds. He served as doctor to 3 pontiffs (Gregory X, Innocent V and Adrian V) all of whom died under his care. He was elected in the hope that his medical skills would permit him to live longer than the previous three (although, frankly, their reasoning is lost on me). Alas, within 12 months of his election the roof of his new palace fell on his head, crushing him to death. He was not missed in the Vatican, where many believed him to be the anti-Christ.

Benedict IX (1032-48) served three terms as pontiff, the first when he was 12 years-old. Dante wrote that under Benedict, the papacy plumbed new depths of depravity. Benedict grew up to become a murderer who dabbled in witchcraft, bestiality and Satanism. He eventually sold the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI.

The midget pope Gregory VII (1075-85) announced that reading the Bible was undesirable as it led to thought and thought led to heresy.

Anacletus (1130-38) had a prostitute mistress, committed incest with his sister and a few other female relatives and was in the habit of raping nuns.

Boniface VIII (1294-1305) murdered his predecessor Celestine V. Boniface was eventually tried for heresy, rape, sodomy and (perhaps most shockingly) eating meat during Lent. He didn’t attend the trial but went mad and committed suicide. Pope Clement V later had his body exhumed and burned as a heretic.

Clement VI (1342-52) was famously dissolute, described by Petrarch as “an ecclesiastical Dionysus with his obscene and infamous artifices”. When he died, 50 priests said Mass for 50 days for the repose of his soul. It was widely agreed that this wasn’t going to be nearly enough.

John XXIII (1410-15) was a former pirate who became a priest the day before he was crowned pope. After obtaining the papacy by force of arms he went on to reign as a brutal libertine. In 1415, the Council of Constance charged John with 54 offences, including piracy, murder, rape, sodomy and incest. 16 charges, said to be ‘of indescribable depravity’ , were dropped in the interests of public decency.

Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia 1492-1503) committed his first murder at the age of 12 and astonished people with his sexual voracity. Accidentally poisoned by his son Cesare (the poison was meant for a couple of cardinals they were dining with).

Julius II (1503-13) was a paedophile who spent most of his time with rent-boys.

Paul III (1534-49) is best known for excommunicating Henry VIII. Paul also poisoned several of his relatives, including his mother, to gain control of a family inheritance and enjoyed an incestuous relationship with his daughter. He killed a couple of cardinals and a Polish bishop over a theological point and was the greatest pimp in Rome’s history: he kept a roll of 45,000 prostitutes who paid him a monthly tribute.

Julius III (1550-55) specialised in sodomising young boys, several of whom he made cardinals. He hit a new low by taking his illegitimate son Bertuccino as a bed-mate. Cardinal della Casa’s notorious poem In Praise of Sodomy was dedicated to Julius.

Frankly, after that lot, Pope Adolf seems a bit dull.

Papal poems would be welcome.

  1. cellaroseus permalink
    June 14, 2010 8:01 AM

    Summer fortnight

    Every summer, for two weeks
    Scots from Glasgow would descend
    upon Whitley Bay; mostly to drink,
    sing their songs and fight their friends

    if they could not find an enemy.
    Often they would sing about “The Pope”,
    of whom I knew little, except
    that his picture, or rather, “the last

    one” hung in our neighbours’ home
    and was “a lovely fella”, apparently.
    But, white-haired and Italian
    they all looked the same. But he could

    have been a monkey,
    to the holidaying Scots. Indeed
    some called him everything else but
    and their love of some old “sash”

    belonging to the family. And some
    others sang about “Kevin Barry”, who was
    a boy, I thought, iin Miss Williams’ class.
    They came, drank, sang and broke glass

    around our beloved Spanish City
    Hail Hail, The Pope? In jail?
    A mess. A pity.

  2. freep permalink
    June 14, 2010 9:28 AM

    Ah, cellaroseus, any poem about the Pictish plague that once afflicted Whitley Bay will bring tears to my eyes. My recollection is like yours, that the Glasgow Orange brigade were slower off the mark to book their places on the coaches which emptied Glasgow. They had to put up with Whitley Bay, while the Papists, more eager for manic pleasure, all got the Blackpool tickets first.
    The oddity of northern resorts is not often realised in the south – for example, that Morecambe was solely patronised by families from Bradford, and was ever a chunk of misplaced Yorkshire.
    At the tail end of the minor Glaswegian love affair with Whitley Bay, in the 70s, it was still possible to take Sunday lunch in the Rex or the Station Hotel, while Mimsy and Mina played Max Jaffa numbers on piano and a sentimental violin. While elderly couples from Bearsden quietly had heart attacks on cheap leather chesterfields, damaged and damp from the fury of the previous night’s attempts to sink five bottles of Brown Ale between 10 and 10.30.

  3. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 14, 2010 12:05 PM

    Adrian IV

    Good morning, you chaps! Well, I’m your new Pope,
    and I shan’t give you a load of old soap
    re Father, Son and Holy Thingumabob-
    you get enough of that in the day job-
    but I’d like to do a general thing
    about the English approach to Popeing.
    Sorry I don’t speak much Italian yet,
    I’ll leave the cornettos for you to get,
    ha ha! While we’re on the subject of food,
    do you think that it would be seen as rude
    if I asked for the amount of garlic
    to be reduced? My tastes are catholic,
    ha ha! But I do have a dicky gut,
    I’d prefer it if the spicy stuff was cut.

    About this transubstantiation row,
    we have to find a solution somehow,
    and at the moment, so it seems to me,
    agreement is not a possibility.
    Therefore, since the subject is so thorny,
    I’m going to suggest a ping-pong tourney,
    the winner’s prize is going to consist
    of shaping the future of the Eucharist.
    You look surprised. Yes, I thought you might be,
    but this is how we do things in Blighty,
    well, at my school, anyway-
    What? A drink? Yes, I’ll have a sangria,
    thanks. You are too kind, Cardinal Borgia.

  4. Reine permalink
    June 14, 2010 2:37 PM

    Nice one MM. Can just picture you hiking up your buskins in readiness for a match. R

  5. hic8ubique permalink
    June 14, 2010 3:13 PM

    The Rape of the Flock

    The more systematic a form of belief,
    the more likely run by a mafia-style chief.

  6. freep permalink
    June 14, 2010 4:00 PM

    Pius IX

    O my name is Pio Nono
    And I know no reason why
    Anyone should doubt that Mary
    Went up feet first to the sky.

    O my name is Pio Nono;
    I say no, no to contraception,
    For lust is Satan’s; and I know
    How immaculate should be conception.

    O my name is Pio Nono
    And my dogg is called Madonna;
    But it’s widely and well-known O,
    All her puppies call her Doggma.

    O my name is Pio Nono
    And I write a mean encyclical;
    Even hardened Catholics moan, O
    At my messages pontifical.

    O my name is Pio Nono
    And I wrote some great best-sellers;
    Like ‘The Martyrdom of Joan’, Oh,
    and The Syllabus of Errors.

  7. Reine permalink
    June 14, 2010 4:24 PM

    Giovanni Paulo II

    April 2005,
    On the 1st I was alive,
    And then on the 2nd,
    God the father beckoned,
    “It’s all over son, work there’s done
    Come on up and have some fun”
    Ratzinger didn’t even wave
    Too busy dancing on my grave
    Now I’m here with feet up
    Watching the World Cup
    Sooner me than him.

  8. hic8ubique permalink
    June 14, 2010 5:27 PM

    Anatomically speaking, everyone knows
    where to find the Pope’s nose,

    But even when washed, like his gizzard or feet,
    it never is something you’d want to eat,

    And explains why His Holeness, resplendent of setting,
    appears in the pose of himself up-getting.

  9. mishari permalink*
    June 14, 2010 8:01 PM

    This re-tread from Poster Poems is a bit of a cheat but there is a Pope in it:

    Bold Billy Mills and The Holy Grail

    some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    – Tennyson, Ulysses

    The Pope sits in the Vatican
    Inhaling cakes and ale;
    “Is there no bold young poet can
    Bring me the Holy Grail?”

    Up then piped a doddering priest
    Who served the Papal tea;
    “The poet Mills, (unless deceased):
    I’ll ring him aujourd’hui.”

    “Who is this Mills?”, Il Papa asked,
    “Of whom you speak so high?”
    “The ideal poet to be tasked
    With this: he’ll do or die.”

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    Down the poet blow, lads;
    We seek the Grail and so we sail
    Away from Limerick town, lads.

    Aboard his ship, The Ezra Pound,
    Bold Mills was at his ease
    And through the rigging came the sound
    Of haikus on the breeze.

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    Give bold Mills a prize, lads;
    A Newdigate or some such thing;
    It’ll be a nice surprise, lads.

    The first mate Mowbray hailed the crew,
    “We sail where storms are spawned,”
    The crew looked grim and thought of sin;
    The ship’s cat, Pongo, yawned.

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    We seek the Holy Grail, lads;
    We’ll end up saints, (God knows we ain’t),
    Or else we’ll land in jail, lads.

    Bold Mills peered through his telescope,
    “I spy a light!”, he cried;
    The bosun smoked and spliced some rope;
    “It’s just the pier at Ryde.”

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    The Captain doesn’t know, lads,
    The difference ‘twixt the briny deep
    And land that’s all aglow, lads.

    Out into the broad Biscay
    The Ezra Pound did sail
    And took a right at Finisterre light,
    A light that never fails.

    For it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    We’re far Atlantis bound, lads;
    The Captain thinks the Grail’s hid here;
    His reasoning is sound, lads.

    Both day and night, both night and day
    The Ezra Pound sailed west,
    Bold Mills kept checking on the map
    He’d tattooed on his chest.

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    Don’t let his chest hair grow, lads,
    For then our destination’s hid:
    Let’s shave it, lads, (and so they did.)

    They struck the doldrums 10 days out,
    The ship becalmed and still;
    Said Mills, “We’ll man the goddamn oars:
    Now lay on with a will.”

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    Let’s pray the wind doth blow, lads;
    This rowing’s doing our backs in:
    The Captain needs to share his gin.

    And so they rowed and no wind blowed,
    Bold Mills lay catatonic;
    They finally raised him with the news:
    “The ship is out of tonic.”

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    The cocktail hour’s no-go, lads;
    Unless the Captain hits his marks
    We’ll feed the bastard to the sharks.

    Then from aloft there came the cry,
    “Land on the starboard bow.”
    Bold Mills the Captain piped his eye:
    “We’re almost home free now.”

    And it’s heave, lads, ho, lads,
    We’ve struck Atlantis, so, lads,
    We’ll soon possess the Holy Grail:
    They’ll love us at the Daily Mail.

    …I never did finish it.

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 14, 2010 11:30 PM

    Thank you, Reine, and kudos on your Pope Ringo.

    There’s a question which has bugged me for nearly 40 years. In Belfast I once saw the legend ‘The Pope Wears Red Socks’ painted on a wall. I know Paisley was wont to refer to the Pope as ‘Old Red Socks’, but I’ve never managed to find out what this phrase means. That the Pope has communist sympathies? That he’s gay? That he wades through blood? Any idea?

  11. mishari permalink*
    June 15, 2010 12:04 AM

    I think this page might help:


    Socks = religion Pink socks = Judaism

    A man wearing red socks = Jesus

  12. Reine permalink
    June 15, 2010 12:12 AM

    MM, I think it’s a reference to Satan. R

  13. Reine permalink
    June 15, 2010 12:14 AM

    As per Mishari’s comment then, which I hadn’t seen. One and the same in IP’s eyes.

  14. cellaroseus permalink
    June 15, 2010 12:45 AM

    Found this lovely little doc. about Whitley Bay 1976. For all the boozed up sectarianism etc. it still seems a kinder, gentler world. I do remember the palm court duo freep, but was that what they were called??? Memory fades… the Rex I well remember though, dodging bottles thrown from the mezanine floor. Kept you whippet trim.

    Stout poetry work above. A Pope for every occasion

  15. mishari permalink*
    June 15, 2010 10:28 AM

    …and just in case you were wondering what a real poet looks like…

    Now on to more serious matters:

  16. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 15, 2010 11:29 AM

    Oh yes, Satan. What an idiot I am. Thanks.

  17. mishari permalink*
    June 15, 2010 1:35 PM

    An American carrying a sword and pistol who told police he was on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden has been arrested in a remote mountain forest in northern Pakistan.

    Police said they detained Gary Brooks Faulkner, a construction worker from California, as he attempted to cross the border with Afghanistan in Chitral district.

    “He told the investigating officer he was going to Afghanistan to get Osama. At first we thought he was mentally deranged,” said Muhammad Jaffar Khan, the Chitral police chief.

    But when police realised he was carrying a loaded pistol, a 40in sword and night-vision goggles, Khan said, “we realised he was serious”. — The Grauniad, today

    No, you were right first time…

  18. hic8ubique permalink
    June 15, 2010 3:24 PM

    The curly comb-over is a special variant:

  19. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 15, 2010 10:47 PM

    Humanae Vitae, 1968

    It’s time to part, my latex friend,
    this is the final curtain call,
    our partnership is at an end
    thanks to that Pope Paul.

    I can’t believe we must eschew
    concord neat as bat and ball,
    it won’t be the same without you,
    united we stood tall.

    The quality of connection
    would always engage and enthral,
    with the aid of your protection
    the risk was very small.

    Now my sole remaining duty
    is in the lavatory stall,
    it will be hard, though I won’t be,
    without you I shall fall.

    My raison d’etre’s been destroyed,
    I’ll never be used at all,
    I’ll join the long-term unemployed,
    thanks a lot, Pope Paul.

  20. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 15, 2010 10:53 PM

    I noticed on South Today that the Kuwaiti ambassador has made a large donation to the Bovington Tank Museum in appreciation of the Royal Armoured Corps’ efforts during the Gulf War.

  21. mishari permalink*
    June 15, 2010 11:02 PM

    RAC? Splendid chaps…absolutely first-rate…first in, last out, what? Ha-ha..what, what? Bearer! Another brandy, juldi!

  22. Reine permalink
    June 15, 2010 11:11 PM

    All congress will be eucharistic
    From this juncture on
    I, your wife, sweet Lady Jane
    And you, my husband, John

    But when my temperature is right
    And we are versed in Billings
    We can ride bareback all night
    Praying throughout our thrillings

  23. mishari permalink*
    June 15, 2010 11:41 PM

    I know what I would want if
    They ever made me pontiff
    Fast cars and guns and lots of first-rate dope
    And girls in push-up bras and heels
    Would wait on me at all my meals:
    I’d be a very modern kind of Pope.

    I’d get the Blessed Virgin
    Tattooed across my chest
    And Matthew, Mark and Luke across my back
    The prophets of the past
    Would all be tattooed on my arse
    With Moses disappearing up my crack.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 15, 2010 11:48 PM

    If Opus Dei didn’t have you in their sights before… Ruth Kelly has a lot more spare time now. If a gruff woman with a bloodstained thigh approaches you take cover.

  25. hic8ubique permalink
    June 16, 2010 12:04 AM

    Excellent parting line. And where, pray tell, is John?

    Aren’t push-up bras false advertising? I’m undecided.

  26. Reine permalink
    June 16, 2010 8:39 AM

    MM, my granola’s going down a treat with that image. Mercury rising … must dash!

    Hic, isn’t there an obvious place John would be?

  27. hic8ubique permalink
    June 16, 2010 1:31 PM

    I don’t know, Re. Might be reserved for the apocryphal
    Gospel according to Richard, relating the miracle of the third day?

  28. Captain Ned permalink
    June 16, 2010 10:11 PM

    The second picture looks as if he’s running about in agony. Poor Jesus. Maybe it’s the Pope’s doing – get back into the fold, Ohio.

  29. Reine permalink
    June 16, 2010 10:57 PM

    Hic, the very one. My favourite of all the Gospels.

    Shepherd Song

    I’m partial to my crozier, blue
    Spread on a cracker thinly
    Washed down with Gewurtztraminer
    Although the heartburn kills me

    My mother made me shepherd’s pie
    And said I would be Pope
    They’d flock to see my Prada’ed feet
    And listen to my soap

    The box is rather bigger
    Than any I’d foreseen
    And the shoes are rather easier
    than my conscience to keep clean

    My flock is ever dwindling
    Wandering off into the brush
    And my Sat Nav’s on the blink again
    Now where’s that burning bush?

  30. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:25 PM

    A Day In The Life

    At Castel Gandolfo I sometimes sit
    looking across the gardens to the shore,
    when the sun is low and the lamps are lit
    I think about the suffering of the poor.

    After evening prayer I usually dine
    from the Papal service of solid gold,
    I take a very modest glass of wine
    and consider the troubles of the old.

    The Lexus limo to the Holy See
    is very quiet and extremely quick.
    I listen to music or watch TV,
    then meditate on the lame and sick.

    Later, a novice helps me get undressed,
    my pillows are soft, my mattress deep,
    I ponder the sorrows of the oppressed,
    and then I close my eyes and go to sleep.

  31. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:40 PM

    I remember a couple of keen Billings fans extolling the method over dinner twenty-odd years ago, and supplying every wrinkle in microscopic detail. The jellied consomme which I was attempting to eat at the time seemed to add a fresh horror to the proceedings. They went on to have four children in five years, and I’ve never touched jellied soup since.

  32. Reine permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:52 PM

    Oh God, life’s too short for either isn’t it? Give me a good hearty minestrone, a couple of bottles of red wine and acting on impulse any day. Just not day 14. Ha ha. Reine, a product of that which she spurns.

  33. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 17, 2010 12:26 AM

    Well, forget the minestrone and I agree.

  34. mishari permalink*
    June 17, 2010 5:14 AM

    Puzzled by your reference to the Billings Method and jellied consommé, MM, I had to go and look it up. I wish I hadn’t. Excellent verse, MM and Reine, BTW.

  35. Reine permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:19 AM

    Thanks mishari.

    From jellied consommé to cottage cheese … it’s a world of wonder.

  36. freep permalink
    June 17, 2010 11:10 AM

    Pope Bridget

    ‘Habemus Papam’, the old cardinals cried,
    As the smoke twindled white above Rome.
    ‘It’s a first, it’s the last, we’re turning the tide,
    And Our Saviour is now coming home;

    She’s young Mary Buckley, a lass from Maynooth,
    A virgin, a beauty, a star;
    She bakes scones so fine, that to tell you the truth,
    For tradition we don’t give a care.

    Her bacon and cabbage are quite a delight,
    She’s brilliant at buttering toast,
    And for twenty-six years she’s been up every night
    Holding congress with our Holy Ghost.

    Her rosary’s made out of old martyrs’ bones,
    From every conceivable relic;
    The garments that circle her foeminine zone
    Are most apt for the world’s foremost cleric.

    Look down on us Mary, from thy lofty plinth,
    Forgive us our child-fondling crimes;
    Lead us out of our foul and debased labyrinth
    Make your Church keep abreast of the times.

    Mea culpa, we shouldn’t have mentioned the breasts
    They weren’t in our thoughts, nor your thighs;
    We wanted to pray you to keep us all blest,
    And to bake us the best of your pies.’

  37. hic8ubique permalink
    June 17, 2010 2:31 PM

    Zagat rating of 30, and a deep-dishy rhubarb-custard pie for you freep.
    ‘Twindled’ is especially delightful and relic/cleric a neat trick. Overall too rich to be good for us.

    Seem to recall a Pope Joan…?
    I had a cat named Benedict Ruskin, due to his talkativeness and cinnamon colour, but my youngest called him
    ‘Benegit Ruskin’ and that was duly adopted, as were
    to sit ‘to next to’ you,
    ‘gentle floss’
    ‘the hoof’ (heel of bread)
    ‘kneels’ (knees)
    I have collected little books of these pleasing linguistic innovations.

  38. freep permalink
    June 17, 2010 3:31 PM

    Blessings upon you, and a plenary indulgence, hic. I too like those infant mispronunciations. When my son was two he liked to help make bread, and used to call flour ‘Fowler’. It is still called that in this house. I think I need a gloss for ‘gentle floss’. You perhaps know the version of the Lords prayer that goes: ‘…and forgive us our Christmasses as we forgive those who Christmas against us …’
    There was a Pope Joan. I think she was a Wicklow woman.

  39. Reine permalink
    June 17, 2010 3:39 PM

    Echo Hic’s praise Freep, outstanding.

    My three year old niece asked me for a bumbelope the other day for a card she had made for my Dad. I gave her one but she came back saying it was nearly big enough incept it was sticking out a tiny bit.

    Gentle floss – dental floss I think.

  40. hic8ubique permalink
    June 17, 2010 4:53 PM

    and… ‘incline your rear unto the Lord’!
    Yes, dental floss.
    Bumbelope! Write them down Re, they are treasures.

    Two more…
    ‘I need mucher jam.’
    ‘It’s not really raining; it’s just drooling.’

  41. mishari permalink*
    June 17, 2010 6:40 PM

    Judge Richard Lowden warned the jury…: “Don’t go there – underlined, don’t go there. Some of the information might be accurate but a lot of it is not. Don’t go to the internet.” — The Grauniad, today

    Wise words. I’m away for the next two weeks and leave you to your own devices. Play nice.

  42. Reine permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:29 PM

    Bon voyage Mishari. Enjoy yourself. Have enjoyed the papal messages; hope you don’t mind having another passenger aboard.

  43. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:54 PM

    The Papal Pants

    I often wonder what the Pope
    wears beneath his cassock and cope
    is he perhaps a jockeys man,
    do boxers claim him as a fan?

    When preaching in St Peter’s Square
    what sort of knickers does he wear?
    Knowing his very strict beliefs
    I can’t believe he speaks in briefs.

    I’ve heard that certain types of monks
    disport themselves in Lycra trunks,
    but those are for more active lads,
    not to hold the Papal gonads.

    I can’t find anyone to vouch
    for rumours of a posing pouch,
    it’s possible that he wears a thong,
    or is that doctrinally wrong?

    Aquinas has nothing on drawers,
    and it’s something Scotus ignores,
    as for St Augustine, I guess
    pants rarely featured in his dress.

    There is one thing I think I know,
    Popes have never gone commando,
    that’s a style they try to avoid,
    they won’t look down on the unemployed.

  44. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 17, 2010 8:56 PM

    See you later, Altesse. Go easy on the kif.

  45. Reine permalink
    June 17, 2010 9:05 PM

    Pope Joan of Glendalough
    Eschewed crowings of the cock
    Instead lit a light for Jesus,
    Who rose again to please us

    Her pantyhose were red
    And embroidered, it is said
    With the motto, “Up the wimmin”
    Down with cursing, sex and sinnin’

    Pope Joan of Glendalough
    Born on a Tuesday, one o clock
    Invested on Good Friday,
    A holy and a high day

    All was well until the Sunday
    When she met Cardinal Mundi
    He ripped her tights
    Switched off the lights

    …She was pregnant by the Monday

  46. Reine permalink
    June 17, 2010 10:25 PM

    MM, I see we were both channelling “pants” themes simultaneously. Very good, but A Day in the Life is laugh out loud wonderful. I read it to my colleagues over coffee; they were highly amused.

  47. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 17, 2010 10:47 PM

    Thanks, Reine. Terrific one there yourself.

    ‘Our Father, chart in Heaven, hello be thy name’ was how my daughter thought the Lord’s Prayer began until she saw it written down.

  48. hic8ubique permalink
    June 18, 2010 2:42 AM

    Smooth sailing to you, Mishari.
    Blissed out days, balmy aromatic nights, safe return.

  49. freep permalink
    June 18, 2010 10:11 AM

    Bring us back a stick of rock, mishari. Thanks for the Popes, excellent topic.

  50. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 18, 2010 11:18 AM

    The tension’s building, my brain’s on fire,
    Any minute I’m going to scream,
    My gut’s a mass of red-hot wire,
    Holy Father, bless the England team.

  51. Reine permalink
    June 18, 2010 2:48 PM

    Pope on a Rope

    My name is Gregorious
    My temper egregious
    I don’t like the Bible
    Though considered prestigious

    I’m vertically challenged
    As broad as I’m long
    And speaking of smalls
    I favour a thong

    I write an odd verse
    in iambic pentameter
    Mostly limericks or lines
    of acrostic diameter

    I like to keep watch
    On those who pass by
    But alas and alack
    The window’s too high

    That fellow Constantine
    Is a pain the ass
    Hardly surprising
    I don’t see him at mass

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 18, 2010 3:51 PM

    From the desk of Pope Benedict.

    Apostate scum! Just let me say
    it’s your own Pope you should address.
    You don’t have one? Tough. Anyway,
    Germany is the team I’ll bless.

    (didn’t do them much good)

  53. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 18, 2010 11:32 PM

    Well, thanks for nothing, Benedict,
    our Cup campaign has almost died,
    our balls are well and truly kicked,
    now I’m committing suicide.

  54. hic8ubique permalink
    June 19, 2010 12:57 AM

    Nice turn on cup, Sport.

  55. Reine permalink
    June 19, 2010 2:17 PM

    Poor Melts, England hanging on by a thread and you being maligned on a thread. If you ever told me to shut up, I would never recover!

    Desk of Benedict, Saturday p.m. – dictated note to Monsignor Reenimus

    Dear Melts, in England town
    Apologise to let you down
    Matter of great import arose
    Pink, hirsute, with purple nose

    Had thought to pray for old Capello
    Strange, bespectacled, dear fellow
    But as I say such intercession
    Thrown off course by brief transgression

    “Young men of England I love you
    Kick the ball, kick it straight, kick it true
    Stevie G, Frank and Wayne, Emile, Ashley, Jermain
    Do not cause your people more pain”

    Blessings of God on you Mr. Mowbray, have faith. Ben x

  56. hic8ubique permalink
    June 19, 2010 9:47 PM

    So, Mowbray~ Do you know Mishari only through the blogs?
    You seem like such old comrades at arms, uh long-standing ones rather.
    I took ‘artfarmer’ as antfarmer at first blush! Great photo though. We should get after him to add some sound files. I think that’s the next piece I’d like to see. (I’ve suggested it to File for Kumo, but he’s crazy busy.) Mishari obviously knows all the tweeky tech aspect, and I’d love to hear his readings of, well, many things.
    What do you think, freep? more audio? Or am I mucking up a good thing best left as it is?

    I imagine M took delivery on his new biscuit-leathered Jag and hopped it for the Continent. Palm trees, tropical sun/rain, I’m strongly in favour of siestas myself, preferably at higher latitudes.

  57. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 19, 2010 10:59 PM

    Annual Report to the Chairman of the Board.

    Dear Lord, this has been another good year,
    indeed, I think I can say our retrenchment
    has produced results almost without peer
    since the setbacks of the Council of Trent.

    Our customer base continues to grow
    thanks to our contra-contraception drive,
    and while policy remains just saying no
    we expect future membership to thrive.

    We have had problems with some of our reps,
    whose customer relations were overkeen,
    we’ve had to take some fairly drastic steps,
    but numbers were small and we’ve come out clean.

    Our investments have done exceptionally well,
    so Don Corleone, our agent, tells me.
    Though he’s currently in a prison cell
    we think, in fact we know, he’ll soon be free.

    So, in brief, all our targets have been met,
    and every relevant box has been ticked.
    In nomine Patris, et Filii, et
    Spiritus Sancti. Regards, Benedict.

  58. freep permalink
    June 19, 2010 11:03 PM

    I have to say that I particularly like MM’s Day in the Life of the pontiff. There is something spare and scrupulous about it; the poor, the old etc.
    I have no view about audio matters, hic. I quite like things as they are, but this is because I like eye-poetry as much as, or more than ear-poetry. It may also be because I am feeble and old and fed up with additional technology. I suppose I like the combination of anonymity and comradeship which the medium offers.
    I have heard many poets read in the flesh, mainly from when I used to go to Morden Tower readings between, say 1975 and 1985. Basil Bunting, Norman, MacCaig, Tom Paulin, people like that; and weirdly, I do not treasure the memory of their live readings. I have always preferred picking up the printed version and taking my own time over it. And as to writing the stuff, all the work goes into writing it, and performing it is matter of a quite different order.
    But this is mishari’s organ, and he can do what he pleases with it, from the private and quilted recesses of the back seat of his ivory and marshmallow Bugatti.

  59. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 19, 2010 11:11 PM

    I was still feeling fairly peeved this morning, Reine. Sometimes I wish England would just disband the national team. I’d quite forgotten Parisa has no sense of humour.

    I don’t associate with the aristocracy, hic. I know my place. The biscuit-coloured upholstery was more likely on a Kia Soul, surely one of the most unfortunately named cars in history.

  60. freep permalink
    June 20, 2010 12:07 AM

    Lines On the Installation of Pope Cosmo XXX as Chancellor of Melrose Catholic University

    There was never a better place to be a student in the Borders
    For most of the faculty staff are now in Holy Orders,
    And the new toilets I can vouch are clean and white
    And there is even a closet for the female student, who I am told is very bright.

    I expect most of the students will be attending High Mass
    To give thanks to the Holy Father, who has pronounced Melrose Catholic University World-class.
    I believe the course in the History of Textile Technology and Tartan Design has been assessed as of the topmost quality,
    As has the Masters Diploma in Grotesque Topiary Considered as An Adjunct to Recreational Forestry.

    I am sure that when His Holiness treads the gravel chippings with the cortege as it winds towards the Abbey,
    He will make all the citizens of Melrose very happy.
    For, although many of the residents are adherents to a creed that is Calvinist,
    They will not throw the gravel at him, because they are also strict Pacifists.

    Now all the young people of the Borders, from Selkirk and Innerleithen to Kelso and Hawick,
    Will want to study at the new academy, as they will not wish to be thought of as oiks.
    And when their mothers wear expensive new hats on the day that they prepare to graduate,
    They will remember this day, when they first heard the Papal feet scrunch down the drive on the freshly swept aggregate.

    For Pope Cosmo is a man of the people and his uncle was from Berwick, one of the Tweedside Sinclairs,
    And I am sure that he has the look of my Aunt Thelma from Duns, who also had a hook nose and no hair.
    So give thanks that the new Chancellor is a local lad, despite coming all the way from Rome,
    And be sure that even the youths who inhale solvents on the Muirfield Estate will want him to feel at home.

    The shopkeepers and professional gentlemen of the town are also very proud,
    That despite being a Catholic, the Pope has brought the sun out from behind the darkest clouds.
    And Antonio from the Monte Cassino Trattoria has said that to celebrate this day, you can call by his restaurant if
    You are a student, and he will give you a complimentary espresso in honour of the Pontiff.

    Yours sincerely,
    Wm McG.

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 20, 2010 12:24 AM

    Super stuff, freep. ‘That despite being a Catholic… ‘ Wunderbar!

    No HLM on this one. Must be subtitling.

  62. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    June 20, 2010 8:12 AM

    Sorry, guys. Struggling with Russian guards on an island in Siberia, May 1933. If they don’t get you, the cannibals will.

  63. Zeph permalink
    June 20, 2010 12:37 PM

    Brilliant, Freep! Especially the topiary bit. I love it when you guys get McGonagalling.

  64. Captain Ned permalink
    June 20, 2010 4:42 PM

    Your ventriloquisms of McGonagall never fail to give delight, freep. Bravo.


    A lovely day, Holiness, don’t you think?
    Here’s a nice cool cocktail for you to drink.
    Have a chocolate tart, or a juicy pear.
    Shall I fluff your cushion, adjust your chair?
    I’ve got this soothing oil here; let me anoint –

    Stop crawling, boy. Get to the fucking point.

    Holiness, Signor Berlusconi sends greeting.

    Ach! I hope he doesn’t want a meeting.
    I cannot stand that tanned and toupee’d twat.
    Remind me to arrange a concordat
    With Iran; a fatwa should do the trick –
    Get some wild-eyed nutjob to waste the prick.
    His continued life, I cannot endure.

    Such thoughts, your Holiness, are most impure.

    You expect my mind to be without taint?
    I’m the goddamn Pope, dumbass, not a saint!
    Well, what does little Silvio want now?
    I doubt it’s something the Church should allow.

    A petition, your Grace, to effect a change –
    Some doctrinal details to rearrange.
    The Prime Minister admits to his vice,
    But carnal misdeeds are so very nice.
    He’s not an easy man to satiate;
    His horde of harlots numbers eighty-eight,
    Yet even these can’t satisfy his lusts
    Or meet his burning appetite for busts.
    But, reflecting on his mortality,
    He’s been stirred by a strange morality.
    Terror of hell now makes him palpitate;
    He’s anxious to avoid a dismal fate.
    For his ease of conscience to be ensured,
    His adulterous past must be abjured.
    Signor wishes to lead a blameless life,
    Yet cannot rest content with just one wife.
    Might he be permitted a couple more?
    Monogamy, he claims, is such a bore.
    Polygamy’s the answer, so he says,
    But receives at present papal dispraise;
    To amend this dogma is his request,
    So that his many amours might be blessed.
    Declare each Catholic female his spouse,
    And all his conquests will be kept in-house.

    Does he take me for a total duffer?
    Of all the bullshit I’ve had to suffer,
    This is the biggest pile of stinking crap
    That’s been excreted on my ageing lap.
    Why should I make this outrageous decree?

    Signor offers a most substantial fee.

    That puts the matter in a different light.
    I’m not convinced it’s altogether right,
    But sometimes intransigence must give way
    When affluent fools are prepared to pay.

    Your Grace is quite astonishingly wise.
    But you’re looking tired; I’ll massage your thighs.

  65. Reine permalink
    June 20, 2010 9:47 PM

    Staff Meeting

    I would like ab initio
    That we would be ad idem
    On the matter of skeletons
    And where we have hid ’em

    And in the interregnum
    Until we’ve learned off that hymn
    There’ll be no quid pro quo
    In the matter of sin

    So please turn to page 5
    Of circular 6/2010*
    Altogether, “mi mi mi”
    Now let us begin

    We are heartily sorry
    A pedibus usque ad caput
    For interfering too often
    In what we thought smut

    We now realise
    ab uno disce omnes
    So carry on, carry on
    In the name of our Domine

    And abundans cautela
    is no longer a sin
    – aliquantus and aliquantulus
    extra safe, super thin

    So if this is how
    you pass your weekends
    Once a night, bis in die
    Know that we are your friends

    *Boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere

  66. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 20, 2010 11:33 PM

    Deus caritas est.

  67. hic8ubique permalink
    June 21, 2010 3:45 AM

    …Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.

    a complimentary triple espresso to you, freep.
    ‘Grotesque topiary’ is indeed well said,
    pretty much covers all topiary for me, but espalier can be lovely, yes?
    I’ve had a look at the Kia Soul, MM – never seen one before.
    Never mind the bad name, that must be the ugliest car ever made, like a nut-cracker mated with a loading-dock- even worse than the wretched Aztec.

    I’m sad to note that a Bugatti, freep, has a back seat suitable only for ‘very small, very naughty children’. My impression is that Mishari needs a more capacious velocipede for his clan.
    I’d love to hear Tom Paulin read Wind Dog.

  68. freep permalink
    June 21, 2010 10:46 AM

    You can make it up, but the Vatican always goes one better (Guardian, today):

    ‘Italian media reported today that Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the archbishop of Naples, was suspected of striking cosy deals while head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Vatican congregation that uses proceeds from a property empire including 2,000 Rome apartments to fund missionary efforts.

    Sepe allegedly oversaw the sale in 2004 of a building in Rome to the then transport minister, Pietro Lunardi, for the suspiciously low price of €4.16m, newspapers reported, adding that magistrates wanted to know why Lunardi then freed up €2.5m in state funding the following year for the congregation to create a museum in its headquarters, and why that museum never opened.’

    I wish I had invented the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

    I will have to buy a Bugatti, hic, and see if my dogg likes the back seat.
    This thread has the makings of a decent Anthology: ‘Poems for the Papacy’ or such like.

  69. hic8ubique permalink
    June 21, 2010 8:23 PM

    Don’t do it freep. I believe you are in (the) possession of a Jack Russell terrier. The back seat wouldn’t enter into the equation, only endless harangue over whose turn it is to drive.

    Ivory and marshmallow is an elegant thought, perhaps for a bouquet or shade-garden plan. I’d steer clear of it in a car.
    Pimp-mobile? Pope-mobile? Those would be your only customers.

  70. Reine permalink
    June 21, 2010 9:28 PM

    I’m just going to buy a packet of Princess marshmallows, strew them on the seats of my Megane and dream. Obviously I won’t be putting them on the driver’s seat. My rear needs no saccharine enhancement.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 21, 2010 11:32 PM

    Excellent piece (I neglected to say), Captain. I envy your technical skill. Berlusconi hadn’t occurred to me as a subject in my increasingly desperate search for Pope material. My favourite Pope has always been Clement VII (not the anti-pope of the same name). I was quite keen on the Reformation during A level History, so instead of looking out of the window or drawing breasts, which was my usual practice, I came to learn quite a lot about this chap and the period.

    I must say he seemed strikingly similar to me in character:

    ‘…all qualities of heroism and greatness must emphatically be denied him.’

    says the Catholic Encyclopaedia. In my youth it was his unenviable diplomatic position which struck me, between Henry VIII’s desire for a divorce and his virtual house arrest by Catherine of Aragon’s nephew Charles V. Mowbray-style he chose the path of least resistance and set in motion the still-reverberating earthquake of the English church’s breach with Rome. It wasn’t till I checked his entry on Wiki that I noticed we share a birthday (some years apart, of course) and he started a fashion for beard-wearing among Popes. Creepy or what!!! I just hope I don’t die from eating Death Cap mushrooms.

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    June 22, 2010 3:01 AM

    A regrettably belated Happy Birthday to you, Mowbray!
    (I’m afraid Reine is more at risk from those particular mushrooms.)
    How is it that we keep coming back to the needling mention
    of facial (speaking of grotesque) topiary? Speak to us of your long sweeping sweeper’s legs, if you will, but please desist in drawing attention to your grisly grizzly shrubbery.

    Clement VII clearly needed that name as an apology for the savagery of his bristled face.

  73. Reine permalink
    June 22, 2010 10:16 AM

    I think, in spite of its latin derivation and appearance, I have seen just enough of both species to distinguish between animal and vegetable! Spookily while the young MM was drawing breasts, the young Reine and co. were drawing mushrooms. R, prim and proper (mostly) these days.

  74. mishari permalink*
    June 22, 2010 12:10 PM

    Just a quick hello from an internet cafe. Spectacularly good poems from everyone. Especially good to see Ned up to his usual high standard as we don’t see enough work from him. Hasta luego

  75. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 22, 2010 12:20 PM

    From now on my prose will be shorn of beardness. I don’t think I should speak of my legs, horribly veined and scarred as they are and sometimes compared to those of a chicken, unfavourably, by Mrs M. I thought Clement VII had a quite distinguished face (for an Italian) in the Wiki portrait. He certainly had a very angular conk on him. I do wonder how accurate these portraits are, but looking at the accompanying picture by Raphael it’s clearly a younger version of the same man, so perhaps his image hasn’t been overly doctored. I suppose I might have gone for Michaelangelo to do the Last Judgement as well, but I would have got a couple of other estimates. A magnolia matt emulsion might have looked nice, over some Anaglypta perhaps. A striped paper could have looked quite chic.

    I rather like marshmallows, in context and unmixed with other foodstuffs. When Clinton was first elected there was a recipe in the Guardian for his favourite dish, a pumpkin pie involving about a kilo of sugar, syrup and a layer of marshmallows across the top. We ate a spoonful and chucked it away.

  76. mishari permalink*
    June 22, 2010 12:32 PM

    Jesus…sugar, syrup and marshmallows? Fuck me, that’s like frying your lard in butter and then dressing it with corn oil. Clearly, Bubba’s idea of fine dining was much the same as Elvis’. If it doesn’t give you instant diabetes, coronary thrombosis and a belly like a barrel, then it ain’t rightly ‘food’…

  77. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 22, 2010 12:32 PM

    Oh, hello. Give John Terry a slap from me if you’re in Sarf Africa.

  78. mishari permalink*
    June 22, 2010 12:48 PM

    I’d give the whole bunch of over-paid sissies a slap but, alas, I’m in the republic of the modulated cow-bell, the manicured hedgerow and the cuckoo-clock. Then to Milan, another place I dislike a great deal.

    I left my laptop behind thinking to give the interwebz a break but I have an addictive personality (by which I mean, I tend to become addicted to things, not that people become addicted to my personality–on the contrary)…

    Breaking Bad, Treme and Justified have all ended so I’ll shoot those down to you when I get back next week…

  79. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:21 PM

    Slap a few yodellers then. Noisy bastards.

    Thanks. Breaking Bad should be in the TV pantheon.

  80. mishari permalink*
    June 22, 2010 1:42 PM

    I quite agree: BB is real class. This series ends on a fabulous cliffhanger. I’m impatient for the next series (already in the works).

    I noticed in one recent episode that the 3 characters on screen (Walt, Skyler and Saul the crooked brief) were all Seinfeld veterans.

  81. hic8ubique permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:56 PM

    Sweet of you to drop in, M, just as I was feeling bereft.
    It’s a pity you don’t enjoy chocolate.

    Yodelling in translation, MM:

  82. mishari permalink*
    June 22, 2010 3:44 PM

    Bereft? Is that a Persian name? Just kidding. I know it’s one of those French hats….

  83. hic8ubique permalink
    June 22, 2010 10:32 PM

    to propitiate her potentate
    at his behest wore a bereft
    though out of date
    askew concealing her tiara
    beguiled him there on silk bokhara
    strumming her bouzouki
    nearby a slim saluki
    took benefit of biscuit crumbs
    and licked them up amid her strums
    sprawled out on bakhtiari…
    (what rhymes with bakhtiari?)
    …there leant at ease him she appeased
    the thunder-browed Mishari.
    She was a Zoroastrian maid
    and on her mandolin she played
    singing of lost Venusia…

  84. Reine permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:02 PM

    Pope Clement

    My nose is Roman
    As are my hands
    And on each I hang a strand
    Of marshmallows
    Pink and white
    And then my cardinals delight in
    MM bobbing
    When it’s a slow day

    One of them, a chap called Mowbray,
    Is most particular about white
    Which he takes and sets alight
    Then bites off the charred outer rim
    Luxuriates in what’s within

    A fellow who calls himself Hic
    – to tell the truth a bit effeminate –
    Wears a beret, fond of lemonade
    He likes to swallow his ones whole
    Says it turbo boosts the soul

    And then there’s beautiful Mishari
    Red shoes to match his new Ferrari
    He takes one specimen of each
    Followed, peculiarly, by a peach

    Then when there’s almost nothing left
    And I am feeling quite bereft
    In walks the maid with a new pack
    Balanced squarely on her rack

    She bends down low to drop her cargo
    Into my lap, my own Reine Margot
    And parts her lips that I may give her
    One sweet, two kisses and a quiver

  85. Reine permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:05 PM

    In certain parts of Ireland, Hic, factory rhymes with bakhtiari.

  86. hic8ubique permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:39 PM

    As in fakhtiarian camel?

  87. Reine permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:46 PM

    The very one.

  88. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 23, 2010 10:34 AM

    Hic’s association with Bereft (a Welsh name, btw) struck a chord with me. Lately I’ve been reading my grandfather’s diary, which was recently discovered amongst a cache of papers in an old trunk. His father, Captain Ethelred ‘Tufty’ Mowbray, was an officer of the Queen’s Regiment of Horse in India during the 1880s. He was well-known as a keen disciplinarian and physical fitness enthusiast who drove himself and his men to the limit. His portrait, with its ironed dark hair and thick moustache, glowers down at me as I write. His promising career was cut short on 15th July 1887. According to the journal of Major Egbert ‘Pongo’ Twistleton-Smythe, it was a very hot day, and

    ‘… a number of us had gone down to the river to bathe. Opening the door of the changing-hut we were confronted by a shocking tableau. Tufty Mowbray was feeling Bereft, a young subaltern in the regiment. Of course we were all disgusted (one expects that kind of thing to end when one leaves one’s public school), and there was no question of hushing the thing up since there were too many ‘in the know’. We took the matter to the CO, Colonel Edward ‘Piggy’ Taylor, and that evening rode out into the jungle with Tufty, gave him a loaded revolver and left him to do the decent thing. I believe Lieutenant Bereft went back to England, resigned from the army and changed his name… ’

    My great-grandfather was gazetted as having been killed by dacoits while on patrol. His wife and children (infants at the time) never knew the truth, and returned to England to live.

    Many years later my grandfather, Captain Ealdred ‘Tiddly’ Mowbray (who had joined his father’s regiment) was in a night club with some officer friends just before the Great War. Among the effects which his father had left was a photograph of his regiment’s officers, fully annotated, which my grandfather had studied with keen interest as a boy. At some stage during the evening,

    ‘… sensing a call of nature, I rose and made my way to the WC. Just as I reached the place a rather florid middle-aged chap with a huge moustache came out.
    ‘Bereft!’ I said.
    He looked at me coldly. ‘I beg your pardon?’
    ‘Aren’t you Lieutenant Bereft? You served with my pater in India. Captain Mowbray.’
    I swear his eyes flickered for a moment. Then he said huffily ‘I don’t know what the devil you’re talking about’, and hurried away.

    After relieving myself I returned to the table.
    ‘I didn’t know you knew Lloyd George’, said my friend Captain Ernest ‘Corky’ Hornsby-Gore.
    ‘The chap you were talking to. Lloyd George. The bally Chancellor of the Exchequer, old boy.’
    ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I didn’t know that. I thought he knew my father.’
    ‘Lloyd George knew your father?’
    ‘Father knew Lloyd George, yes, it’s possible.’
    For some reason everyone laughed. I don’t know why… ’

  89. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 23, 2010 1:26 PM

    Tense, nervous headache? Fucking right. In or out, roll on 5pm.

  90. hic8ubique permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:50 PM

    Onward Christian Mowbrays! Everybody now…

    Thoroughly enjoyed your brisk account of the action MM.
    I note that your gallant promise to me did not include mous toshes, however I find can just tolerate them in fiction… unless soup is involved.

    I convey to you a cool compress for your throbbing brow, and some gentle suboccipital friction with a cooling botanical oil.

  91. Reine permalink
    June 23, 2010 5:10 PM

    Well, Melty, hope you’re happy with that outcome. Stick a marshmallow in your beer for me. R

  92. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 23, 2010 8:02 PM

    Yes! In your face, Slovenia!

    That sounds a bit feeble, coming from a country with 50 million to choose from as opposed to 2 million. Still, a win is a win. And so to the inevitable rematch with Germany on the 29th.

    I’d already forgotten about the facial hair embargo (well, I am a chap): won’t happen again. Probably. Marshmallows and beer sounds like a Clinton cocktail.

  93. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 23, 2010 11:10 PM

    I mean the 27th, of course. I must be trying to put the fixture as far into the future as possible, in order to luxuriate in this unusual feeling of satisfaction. One or two tremors watching the very efficient German team tonight. My old friend and possessor of the most melodious name in world football Bastian Schweinsteiger was much in evidence.

  94. June 24, 2010 4:13 PM

    Greetings all from an unexpected wi-fi connection in Amsterdam. Am about to plunge into the sea of ridiculous orange wigs, hats, tee-shirts, bikes,big fake-furry animals and whatever else you can turn orange that is Holland during a world cup fixture for the national team.

    My partner who has more than a smattering of Dutch said that the TV commentators used every possible derogatory word in the Dutch dictionary when describing England’s efforts against the Algerians.

    The Dutch are just relieved that it is the French who have gone into arguing-amongst-themselves-meltdown rather than their own team who usually manage to fall out before training has finished.

    Boiling hot here plus the neighbourhood I’m currently holing up in has about 30 possible wi-fi providers so most likely my brain will be microwaved by 7.00 this evening.

  95. hic8ubique permalink
    June 24, 2010 5:37 PM

    EdT~ You seem to have been invoked by the mention of ‘Schweinsteiger’!

    A Zuider Zee man said: ‘I’d dig
    a gander inside yer stomig
    but’, he said, ‘I’m a Hollander’.
    Pink Pig went much oranger;
    So, the chap bought a poke in a pig.

  96. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 24, 2010 8:49 PM

    Hullo there, ET. Brain going down well, I trust. Cameroon don’t seem to be knocking themselves out at the moment, so it could be a relaxed evening for the Orange.

    I’m surprised the commentator could find any words to describe the England performance.

  97. mishari permalink*
    June 24, 2010 9:36 PM

    Ciao! from Milano, where there are an awful lot of glum faces. A local barman, accepting my condolences on the Azzurri’s ignoble exit from the World Cup (after all, they are the current world champions) said (freely translated from vernacular to vernacular):

    “What was that arsehole Lippi thinking? He chooses 6 pricks from Juventus for the squad–Juventus! The fuckers finished seventh this season, seventh! Lost 15 games and gave up 56 goals! Porca Madonna! The fuckers gave up more goals than Atalanta and they’ve been fucking relegated!” (I should also point out that Juventus are from Torino, Milan’s neighbours and traditional rivals).

    “The prick didn’t choose a single player from Inter (Milan’s Internazionale). They’re the champions , for fuck’s sake! Not one player from Roma (runners-up to Inter). No, just 6 useless old fucks from Juventus who sat on the bench all season watching their fellow pricks let in 56 goals. Of course we fucking lost…another Strega, Signor?”

    As for Ingerland, I must say, if people regard beating Slovenia 1 – 0 as a return to form and a good omen, they need their heads examined. Frankly, I can’t see them beating Germany.

    “For you, Terry, zer var iss ofer…”

    I notice that one of the search-terms that led someone to this blog was ‘naked models melton mowbray’. What have you been at, you scallywag?

  98. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 24, 2010 11:00 PM

    Yes, I was a bit surprised when the manufacturers got in touch, but it seems there’s a big market for erotic models of the more mature man. Those pockmarks, bulging veins and flaccid buttocks drive some women crazy, so they tell me. The immersion in wax was unpleasant, but I felt I owed something to the opposite sex, since they have given me so much pleasure. Fully posable, body hair optional, the Greyhorn retails for £5000 at John Lewis. Order now to avoid disappointment.

    It was quite amusing watching the Italians go out. Lippi was off down the tunnel like a rabbit down a hole. I don’t envy him the next few weeks. They never played as badly as England, which can’t be much of a consolation. I can’t really believe we’re going to beat Germany, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

    Enjoy your shopping. I hear Gucci have some very nice nipple rings on special at the moment.

  99. June 25, 2010 8:04 AM

    Are any of the teams any good? I’ve only watched a handful of games and it looks like a bunch of players who are still knackered after last season and who are rich enough not to really be bothered about national pride.

  100. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    June 25, 2010 8:05 AM

    I don’t think Lippi was unduly worried until the second Slovak goal went in. He understands that it’s actually an advantage to start badly. Italy have started badly in every World Cup and won four. Teams who surf into town on the crest of a forty-win run always come undone. Better to arrive, unpack, flatter to deceive, fray the tempers with a spot of in-fighting, plumb the very depths of ineptitude and then, and only then, scale the walls of purgatory *as a team* to emerge stronger from each successive ordeal.

    If England went up against Argentina on Sunday, they’d be destroyed. But a week later, having beaten the Germans in extremis with lots of Valiant and Hotspur, we’ll have a real chance. World Cup winners are built from adverse conditions of Colditz-like isolation and hours of Introspection(TM) and Nintendo(R).

  101. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 25, 2010 11:33 AM

    Argentina look pretty good and meet the HLM test by having had a torrid qualification. Having Maradona on the touchline, with his multiple genuflections and wild emoting, may or may not be an advantage. Spain ought to be better than they are. Japan, I’m surprised to find myself writing, looked quite good last night. Now that Italy are out I suppose it’s going to be Germany. Same old story.

  102. June 26, 2010 3:02 PM

    Spain are better than they ought to be.

    Maradona is better than he was.

    Italy were never in.

    Germany are permanently out.

    France was the luck of the Irish.

    England ceased to exist 45 years ago.

    The United States is a failed colony.

    Japan at least knows how to use the crazy floating Jabulani ball, as it was adopted in the J-League well before the rest of the world knew it existed.

    The European order is as it was in the days of Carlos II: Spain, attacking the windmills of its historical uncertainties, with its equivalent of a brilliant naked Mowbray masquerading as Sancho Panza, the Dutch, as the only other power in the conversation.

    South America is football with feet. Any one of the South American teams would make a worthy match for Spain. Chile would be the most interesting. Bottoms up.

  103. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 26, 2010 4:09 PM

    Spain were pretty good last night, and an amazing goal from David ‘Aston’ Villa. Their midfield is a thing of wonder and beauty. Spain v Portugal looks like a good game, as long as Spain win.

    Should be down the beach but I’m watching South Korea play the country my kids used to call You are gay (textspeak joke). It’s not very inspiring.

  104. June 26, 2010 4:55 PM

    Melton, before my stream went down we were in the same visual room with that South Korea Uruguay affair, in which, about the 68th minute, when South Korea (“compact…”) came back into it, and then, as the monsoon came on, and Suarez retaliated beautifully for the South Americans, the World Cup actually broke out, I thought…

    Yes, the Aston Villa was nice. The keeper came out far too early of course, not the first to swoon fatally before the prior threat of the dash of El Niño. Those are two elegant vehicles to have in your lockup.

  105. freep permalink
    June 26, 2010 11:58 PM

    I thought Manchuria made Sclavonia look pretty ordinary, but that wasn’t surprising since they were using that Millwall reserves goalkeeper with the four-foot beard. Having a disabled referee from the Galapagos didn’t help.

  106. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 26, 2010 11:59 PM

    Yes, it did get a bit more interesting. It seems a bit unnatural seeing the rain bucketing down in SA while we bask in tropical-style sunshine. I have a feeling that the clouds will be back at 5ish pm tomorrow whatever the weather.

  107. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 27, 2010 12:30 AM

    I thought Sclavonia were still in with a shout until the last ten, freep, and you’ve got to admit that beard came in handy when Manchuria got the penalty. And when the striker slashed his femoral artery tackling the full back. But you’re right about the ref. Giving every appearance of being blind is one thing, but actually being blind is something else entirely.

  108. freep permalink
    June 27, 2010 11:32 AM

    It will be a close thing this afternoon. History tells us England have the edge. Expected line up:
    England (4-2-4): Shakespeare; Darwin, Newton, Sam Johnson, Turner; Milton, Nelson; Wellington, Marlborough, Wordsworth, Elton John.
    United Emirates of Germany(5-4-1): Beethoven; Goethe, Friedrich, Bach, Schiller, Schopenhauer; Brahms, O’Reilly, Herzog, Bismarck; Wagner.

  109. Reine permalink
    June 27, 2010 11:45 AM

    MM and co, good luck to ye this afternoon. I know nothing of football in spite of living with a sports fanatic and having vuvuzela pervading the house. National pride is national pride though and I hope they do right by ye.

    I drew Chile in the sweep at work myself.

    Sad about France (!). Revenge a dish best served in South Africa.

  110. Reine permalink
    June 27, 2010 11:48 AM

    Elton John in goals? With all those spangles glittering, they won’t even see the goal – brilliant strategy.

  111. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 27, 2010 1:49 PM

    Thanks for your good wishes, Reine, but I’m fairly resigned already. Miracles almost never happen.

    Interesting selection, freep, but Wellington was Irish. I put him in my ode to Englishness a few weeks back thinking someone might notice, but it went unremarked.

  112. Reine permalink
    June 27, 2010 1:53 PM

    He was a Tory MM, we were unlikely to claim him!

  113. hic8ubique permalink
    June 27, 2010 4:00 PM

    Wellington was Irish? I am always learning. Speaking of noticing, who’s that O’Reilly on the German side?
    I believe Blundstone was Tasmanian.

    I never thanked you for your explanation of eye-poetry vs. ear-poetry, freep, though I did understand and appreciate it (as well as your feelings about more devices!)
    I love both, and sometimes both at once.
    Certainly, a reading may be audio without the visual and thus preserve anonymity in most cases. I like to hear how a poet inflects his own language.
    I had no particular preference for anonymity a year ago, it just seemed to be the way of blogs. Now after listening to our frustrated friend go on about it ad nauseum, I feel rather protective of those whose expression would be inhibited were their ‘voices’ identified in their professional lives.
    I’d have to admit that’s true for me as well, considering some of the shocking nonsense I post, though I’m immediately stirred to defiance even as I say so.

  114. freep permalink
    June 27, 2010 4:33 PM

    O’Reilly and Wellington were the two Irish plants. It came off, and England now look like going down about 6-1. I haven’t noticed you posting nonsense, hic. In fact you are very sane about the voice and inflection. I probably resist the idea of reading aloud because I have a dull voice. I think I sound like Prince Charles would, if he had a Penge accent.

  115. freep permalink
    June 27, 2010 4:41 PM

    …. and the substitutes Marx, Einstein and Humboldt made all the difference after Wordsworth was sent off for using doggerel in the referee’s hearing.

  116. mishari permalink*
    June 27, 2010 6:45 PM

    Well, that was exciting. How right I was to pay attention to all those blowhard TV pundits and Murdoch’s xenophobes. Ingerland crushed the importunate Hun in a stunning return to, erm….oh.

    Honestly, you need a heart of stone not to laugh. As I suggested a few days ago, a team that struggled to beat Slovenia 1-0 was never going to beat Germany.

    I can’t help concluding that Ingerland’s players are just not very good. In the Premier League, they’re surrounded by the cream of the world’s footballing talent and made to look good. In the WC, those same talented players are the opposition. I mean, John Terry? World-class? Really?

    From what I saw, Ingerland are just lucky it wasn’t 10-1. I suppose they must take what consolation they can from the fact that at least they’ve been spared an inevitable pasting by Maradona’s Argies…

  117. freep permalink
    June 27, 2010 9:49 PM

    Management, mishari. British people believe in management in a kind of leaden way, which was by far the greatest failing of Blair and Brown’s government.
    ‘I know, people misbehave; let’s put notices up and fine them. That’s right, “Do Not Throw Stones At This Notice” That’ll sort the blighters out. And we’ll have an anti – stonethrowing Tsar and Regional stone throwing Prevention Councils, with Teeth’
    ‘World Cup. Yes, let’s have a system and a Manager with a big chin and intimidating glasses and terrifying authority and £6 million a year. Then we’ll win it, for sure.’
    Argentina look scrappy, but quite possible winners. They don’t have a manager, just a figurehead like the Queen, only hairier. I don’t imagine Maradona has a system. And he clearly likes his players, which Capello doesn’t . Can’t say I blame him. It also helps Maradona that his team are a lot less ugly than England’s were. Ugliness can never be forgiven.

  118. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 27, 2010 10:19 PM

    Disappointment is guaranteed with England, but I didn’t expect to be embarrassed. String ’em up.

    Of course I don’t know what your ideal of male beauty is, freep, but I think you may need stronger specs. Argentina must have one of the finest collections of gargoyles in the world of football. From the toad-like Mascherano to the gruesome Hobbit Tevez they are a team of grotesques, many of them adorned with long greasy locks, those, that is, who are not totally bald. England, by contrast, are merely ‘homely’.

  119. hic8ubique permalink
    June 27, 2010 10:38 PM

    It’s gentlemanly of you to not notice, freep; I appreciate the effort involved.
    I’d never press you to submit to field recordings if you dislike the idea, but I must say I find a dull voice to be an excellent foil for rich poetry.

    The little I’ve looked at from the football involved a beautiful and jubilant South African man. I do remember a spectacular Danish keeper from, I suppose, 8 years ago.

  120. freep permalink
    June 27, 2010 10:53 PM

    Well, MM, I have to say I liked the Argentinian shirts, which distracted me from looking too closely at Tevez’s physiog. I admit I would not care to have his bust upon my mantelshelf. But a painting of Rooney could only be fit for destruction
    by a murrain of locusts
    Hic, you put your finger on it; a dull voice can make rich poetry seem worthwhile – but contrariwise, a splendid voice can make rubbish poetry sound good. Which is why I am often on my guard about Performance.

  121. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 28, 2010 12:07 PM

    Wayne is a little short in the finelly-chiselled department, I grant, yet there is an elemental power, a natural majesty to his blunt and knobbly noggin which closely approximates our noble friend the potato. It’s a brave man who would disrespect that excellent vegetable, for so long one of our most vital foodstuffs.

    There is a beauty in ordinary things,
    In the bright new day and morning field,
    Where the ancient, leather-skinned ploughman lifts
    The golden tuber from its earthen niche,
    A pleasant smile upon his calloused lips…

    As Wordsworth puts it (Prelude, Book XV, 105-110)

  122. June 28, 2010 4:06 PM

    Oft have I brought brush to board in search of the delicate fleeting ugliness of such countenances. Tevez of course is not called The Apache for no reason and the scarring of his face is the result of a rather nasty childhood mishap that seems to have gone unsung here, not that players of footballing genius need look any better than toads or hobbits anyhow.

    That Diego Forlán is a beauty though.

    There is something about the humiliation of defeat that brings out the poetic. Wayne is indeed Wordsworthian in conception if latterly perhaps a bit McGonigalesque in execution. Doubtless he had a knock & c.

    a little short in the finelly-chiselled department,

    at any rate, must be the most finely-chiseled circumlocutory euphemism in the history of the world cup of palabras. Gracias, Melton.

    In attempt to explain the mystery of What Killed England one has now reached deep into the ancestral sources: Who Killed Cock Robin?

    (Reine should be envied, having drawn Chile.)

  123. hic8ubique permalink
    June 28, 2010 6:35 PM

    An especially lovely owl, Tom, and your rook does have that old parsony look.

    So, freep, it seems you Trust the written word but not the spoken, since one may be deceived by a shrewdly splendid reading in Performance ?
    Or you’ve just riddled me into confusion.
    Perhaps, if I understand you, that strengthens my case for hearing a poet speak his own words, in your case the dull voice+rich language combination.
    I think of it more as an anecdotal record to be enjoyed among friends than as ‘P’erformance.

    Isn’t it interesting that having overcome any shyness in committing to ‘print’, one may still be wary of the intimacy (?) of the voice, even in such an informal context as an anonymous blog?
    But liking eye-poetry best is not a preference I would wish to argue against; fair enough, and thanks again for your always pithy thoughts.

  124. cellaroseus permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:25 PM

    Meditation upon male beauty.

    Frank is fat
    Ash. Cole’s a prat
    Wayne Rooney’s going baldy.
    Stevie G?
    Cro-magnon he
    whilst Barry moves, so slowly.

    But worst by far
    of all this sh’ower

    is your heads on

  125. Reine permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:43 PM

    Tom, (how do you do, pleased to meet you),

    The sweep perversely is awarding prizes not to the winner but to the following categories “to give everyone a chance” – 80 squid a pop for each category. I am reliably informed I am not in the running for any. Still, I like to throw tenners around with gay abandon and line my colleagues’ pockets. Reine, not bitter at all at all.

    1. the team to win the 3rd place play-off
    2. the team conceding most goals in the qualifying round
    3. the team with a player sent off earliest in any match
    4. the first team to lose a penalty shoot-out

  126. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:49 PM

    England in 2010

    A flat, dull, stale, lifeless and low-grade team,
    Superstars whose brilliant solar shine
    Has dwindled to a match’s flickering gleam,
    Whose much-vaunted powerful Thin Red Line
    Was cut with contempt by our German foes,
    A manager too haughty, too cold and hard,
    As unattractive as his bulboid nose,
    Rashly appointed by the ancient guard
    Of blazered twerps who run the national game,
    Whose suburban dream is just to hob-nob
    With Becks and Lamps and taste their mega-fame.
    To Hell with all of them, that rancid mob
    Are traitors, whose bodies we hope to flay,
    And play keep-up with their bollocks one day.

  127. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:55 PM

    A crap poem for a crap team.

    If you really want to hear freep’s poetry, hic, take a trip to the North some time. I believe his dogg frequently performs it in the early hours of the morning, often with a chorus of cats. Make sure you take some head protection-those flying boots and vases can be dangerous.

  128. obooki permalink
    June 28, 2010 9:02 PM

    God save our dreadful team
    Long life our awful team
    God save our team.
    Build-up’s laborious
    Please stop them boring us
    Send it long balls-ious
    God save our team.

  129. mishari permalink*
    June 28, 2010 9:57 PM

    Leaden footed media tarts
    Perfect for the harlot’s role
    Masters of the foppish arts
    Incapable of scoring goals.

    …and now I read that they had their underpants stolen. There goes their last remaining shred of glamour.

  130. hic8ubique permalink
    June 28, 2010 11:47 PM

    Well, MM, you are in a mood. A worse than usual mood, that is.
    I want to hear your poetry spoken as well, of course.
    [*imagine growly grey voice*]
    It’s just that freep was the one who took up the idea with me in between yellow cards or whatever.

    Mishari is teasing us between being here and being not here, but I’ll speak to him about it when he returns to the fold.

  131. cellaroseus permalink
    June 29, 2010 7:27 AM

    Puzzle for a thief.

    Spangly briefs,
    a leopardskin thong
    and a novelty g. string
    (somehow wrong).

    Oversized boxers,
    designer trunks –
    of a certain brand modeled
    by “hung” and oiled hunks.

    But lurking with
    these scented wonders
    something vile
    our pant thief plunders

    yellowing y-fronts
    variously stained
    waistband, not gusset
    severely strained

    long of skid and vile of pong,
    pray to whom do these

  132. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:32 AM

    Moody, moi? I have only one mood: despair. In actuality I have a light, fluting voice with a soft timbre which is sometimes mistaken for that of a female on the phone, which has led to some amusing incidents (if you’re reading, ‘Dave’ from Bolton, I was really wearing taupe chinos and a polo shirt). I’ve never seen the point of reading poetry out loud: in silence, alone and without distractions are the ideal conditions.

  133. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:44 AM

    Enjoyed the knicker nickers, btw, cellar. I wonder how the purloiner of John Terry’s undergarments is feeling now? All the perfumes of Arabia…

  134. June 29, 2010 11:51 AM

    On waiting to turn right on the M66 slip road this morning was rather amazed/amused to see more than several cars still flying the English flag for the team. It struck me as either a particularly masochistic Brit thing to do or the sign of people who no longer care. Was the budget that tough? I have been blssfully unaware of UK politics this last 2 weeks.

    Mascherano reminds me of one of those Papuan birds the frogmouth ( available in different shapes and sizes but all models sporting the same expression ). I see him sitting on a log in the evenings waiting for insects to fly into his mouth.

  135. Dave permalink
    June 29, 2010 1:50 PM

    im gunna fukin kil u

  136. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 1:52 PM

    Were you back in time for the game, ET? I’m surprised you didn’t stay in Holland for the ongoing feast of Orange.

  137. June 29, 2010 2:03 PM

    Just back today MM – saw half of the England game, missed the Dutch game ( there’s only so much “Hup Holland” and Oranje vuvuzuelas the mind can stand – the Dutch are laid back in all matters except football support ) and fell asleep during the snoozeworthy Brazil/Chile match.

  138. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 2:17 PM

    You were lucky to be spared part of the German Requiem. Yes, that Brazil game was strangely unexciting. Paraguay v Japan looks a real nailbiter.

  139. hic8ubique permalink
    June 29, 2010 3:07 PM

    So far the eyes have it, and as I’m not prone to petulance I can be content.
    Fortunately, you all come across uproariously in ‘print’.
    Knicker nickers!

  140. hic8ubique permalink
    June 29, 2010 4:55 PM

    …as does Joe Biden.

  141. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 7:04 PM

    You’re making me feel guilty now, hic. Of course I would be very pleased to hear you read your work if you place it here. I have a CD from the British Library with recordings of the poetry superstars of the past reading their own stuff. Tennyson and most of the others are dirge-like or impossibly hammy (apart from Browning, who sounds a right laugh), though the conjunction of Sir Henry Newbolt’s clipped tones with his own Vitaii Lampada is a delight. They don’t sound like they’re enjoying the experience. The Americans read very well (barring TS Eliot, who sounds like Mr Pooter, and Robert Frost, who seems to be trying to establish the world speed-reading record (poetry section)): I was impressed by Gertrude Stein and WC Williams. They read quite naturally, conversationally, rather than making a production out of it. On the rare occasions I’ve read out loud I’ve immediately gone into theatrical mode, which is unsatisfactory as well as embarrassing. Perhaps it’s an English thing.

  142. hic8ubique permalink
    June 29, 2010 7:43 PM

    Ah, emotional blackmail from afar, and I wasn’t even trying.
    Please no guilt, MM, and thanks for your thoughts. I’ve had trouble accessing the BL site to listen, but File
    put me on to some Billy Collins readings on YT and he sounds just as he writes (and looks), dry and dispassionate.
    I completely agree on a conversational style, and recall that you and I both dislike Branagh.
    {‘to branagh’ verb. the act of chewing scenery.}
    I’d probably succumb to theatricality myself after years of reading aloud to children.

    I suspect the thought of it evokes memories of a sometimes sadistic rite of education.

  143. Reine permalink
    June 29, 2010 7:53 PM

    Well, if it’s theatricality ye’re after, sign me up. I go a bit Lady Macbeth on anything I read aloud!

  144. mishari permalink*
    June 29, 2010 9:13 PM

    Evening all. Re: reading verse aloud, it seems as though people fall naturally into the iambic meter, making everything sound the same-ish, although I could be wrong. Even that blowhard Des (vanguard of all that’s ‘fresh’ and ‘significant’ in poetry) does it, as seen in his notorious hand-wafting video. Ba-bah ba-bah ba-bah ba-bah…Who knows, perhaps his beloved Amergin Express (Don’t Leave Athlone Without It) did the same?

    BTW, MM, tell which episodes of BB, Treme and Justified you’re up to (inclusive) so I don’t duplicate. Inez is reading the Haiti book so I’m passing along another book I just finished that I enjoyed immensely: Layercake by JJ Connolly.

    London gangsters but as far from Guy Ritchie’s absurd mockney ‘geezers’ as Scarface was from the Lavender Hill Mob.

    Would you be interested in a copy of Robert Frank’s ‘Cocksucker Blues’ (the film of the making of Exile on Main Street and the subsequent tour that the Stones went to court to prevent being released and which has never been officially released. A bootleg, natch, but high quality compared to some)?

    Ed, as well as series 3 of BB, I’m passing along the 24 Tex Avery Droopy Dog cartoons (1941-58) that MGM made to show before the main feature. They’re wonderful. Also, a bunch of Latin American films you might enjoy, including: Pretendiendo, La Cienaga, Taxi Para Tres, Tony Manero and Maria Llena Eres de Gracia.

    Today Sir Michael Peat, the prince’s private secretary, claimed Charles opposed Lord Rogers’ £3bn modernist designs because “it is part of the Prince of Wales’ role and duty to make sure the views of ordinary people that might not otherwise be heard receive some exposure”. — The Grauniad, today

    No comment neccessary.

  145. June 29, 2010 10:00 PM

    Muchas Gracias Mishari.

    Whilst in Holland I invested in a cheap DVD of Buurman & Buurman ( its Dutch name ) – a Czech children’s animation series ( Pat & MAT is the originl title I think ). 63 episodes of 2 bungling neighbours whose attempts to be practical get progressively more accident-prone. Makes me laugh anyway.

    Can I invite all London-based PH-ers to our gigs in London this weekend? Old Monument Gardens, Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Times at 1.30 and 5.00 both Sat + Sun.

    If you do decide to see us ( i.e there’s no decent matinee film on the boxd to watch ) do come up afterwards and say hello even if you loathed what we did with a passion.

    However it’s the Brain Wave show not the pig which will be poncing about in Ales near Montpelier the same weekend. A bit of a haul if it’s the pig you’re after seeing but the weather will probably be better.

  146. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 29, 2010 11:08 PM

    Watching enormous quantities of football has put me back a bit, and I’ll have to go back and check where I am. I know I’m nowhere near through Treme or Justified, so it’s a hold on those. Finished BB 2, and I would appreciate a look at CB, which I’ve never seen. Thanks for the book. Have you left Milan?

    I enjoyed the Brain Wave video. The police officers seemed to be taking a keen interest in the show.

  147. mishari permalink*
    June 29, 2010 11:24 PM

    Yes, I’m home again but back off again this weekend (promised to take kids to their grandparents and can’t weasel out of it…not that I object to the dwarves or my in-laws but I’ve got shit-loads of stuff to do).

    I’m pretty sure I shot a bunch of BB series 3 down to you already unless my memory’s faulty, so if you let me know which eps. you have, I won’t waste time and space burning and sending dupes.

    Ed, do you fancy Treme? It’s David Simon’s (creator of The Wire) new series. The first season just ended and although I’ve not had time to watch it yet, I’ve heard good things…

  148. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 30, 2010 12:09 AM

    You’re absolutely correct. Sorry about that. Pleased to see you back, if only briefly.

  149. cellaroseus permalink
    June 30, 2010 12:52 AM

    …and on the subject of briefs, would it not be timely to reflect upon the difference between the heroes of ’66 and todays pitiful shower… I mean can you imagine any one in their right mind going near Charlton major’s?

    There is a nice touch in Gangster No 1 where the Paul Bettany character carefully strips down to his white vest and Y fronts before inflicting some really horrible violence. One could quite imagine Bobby Moore, to whom he has a slight resemblance, in a similar get-up. Calmly poised, skillful and practiced. That’s the way to intimidate the oppo.

    One simply shudders to think what clownish grotesquerie the likes of Cashley etc. wear. (I should imagine any underwear at all was a novelty to the younger Rooney. Left to his own devices he would no doubt choose something loud, comic and nylon from Toxteth market, but I expect Coleen sorts him out these days.)

    No, at one glance the Germans would have known “our boys” were not only beatable but fully deserving of a humiliating de-bagging. Until we sort the pants issue we have no hope.

  150. mishari permalink*
    June 30, 2010 1:32 AM

    Not to worry.,..I expect Cameron will appoint an Underpants Czar. It’s what these idiots always do.

  151. hic8ubique permalink
    June 30, 2010 4:10 AM

    ‘Ba-bah ba-bah ba-bah ba-bah…’

    Right, I’ll say no more about it!
    welcome home.

  152. mishari permalink*
    June 30, 2010 10:15 AM

    My remarks were in no way directed at you, hic. I’m sure you read in an enchanting manner. They were more in the way of general remarks about the way so many people naturally fall into that unstressed/stressed rhythm that develops into what I think of as ‘the plonking poety voice’. But not everyone reads like that as MM remarked above.

    I, for example, have a deep baritone voice of surpassing beauty. When I read poetry, nightingales fall from from the trees, dead of vexed envy…

  153. June 30, 2010 10:30 AM

    The appropriate response to a poetry reading might perhaps be this.

    Unfortunate about Chile, then, Reine.

    Happiness shall prevail for at least two more days in four other nations of that continent however, with the most surprise and joy Paraguay’s. Entirely unfamiliar experience of temporary ascendancy for this nation of two million people, with no wealth, and having lost the best striker on the continent, Salvador Cabañas, six months before the Copa (to a bullet in the brain, in a Mexico City nightclub).

    A fragment of sweet justice. Though of course Aston Villa & co. now lie in wait.

  154. mishari permalink*
    June 30, 2010 10:41 AM

    I read a terrific book about Paraguay some years ago called (and this should intrigue Ed) At The Tomb Of The Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay. Highly recommended.

  155. June 30, 2010 11:59 AM

    Well when the pig finally expires through touring at least we know which country to send it’s deflated corpse to. The final Paraguay penalty which won the match was one of the coollest dispatches I’ve seen for a long time – especially as the taker must have been feeling some measure of pressure.

    re: readings. Depends on the poetry I think. John Cooper Clarke is a bit dead on the page but comes alive in front of an audience whereas I think if I heard John Berryman read his stuff aloud due to my innate dim-ness I’d miss out on about 4/5ths of the pleasure I get when I read it slowly to myself.

    MM does your disc have Ezra Pound reading the Cantos on it? That’s quite a tour de force and way OTT. It sounds a bit like Kurt Scwitters doing one of his sound poetry collages only you can understand what he’s saying.

  156. MeltonMowbray permalink
    June 30, 2010 1:57 PM

    I’ve got 5 episodes of BB3. It’s on the Justified disc, where I’m on ep.2. Pretty good. I appear not to have watched any Treme yet. I think I was confusing it with K-Ville, another post-Katrina series I recorded for a couple of episodes. Truly execrable.

    Pound recites, or sort of sings, The Seafarer on the disc I’ve got, ET. The Browning bit is quite funny-asked to recite something he starts on How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix, but forgets it after two lines. He doesn’t seem unduly concerned.

  157. hic8ubique permalink
    June 30, 2010 6:47 PM

    I understood you perfectly, Mishari, only quoting back your particularly amusing and compelling rhetorical flourish.
    I’ve imagined you as having nothing less than a rich baritone voice, and though it’s a shame to let such an asset lie fallow, I wouldn’t like to drop off my twig prematurely.
    (MM ‘fluting’ was a bit of a blow, however.)
    I promise I’m quite happy with PH as an eye-site, delighted to be welcomed among such excellent company, excepting only that hideous Pope.

    EdT~ If I were pond-hopping this weekend, I’d love to attend your brain-wave gig, but I’ll have a look for the video instead. Good weather to you.

    Tom~ I’d never heard the laugh of the Kookaburra bird! Have you ever heard a laughing dove?

  158. June 30, 2010 7:08 PM


    Interesting to remember not all bird laughter must sound so, may one use the term inane. Nothing so bad as poetry readings mind you, but still, things must get a bit loco there in the bush, by the gum tree, at times.

    Not since the days of Arabia Deserta have I heard the relatively tender and discreet call of the Sub-Saharan Laughing Dove.

    But ah, the recollection…

  159. June 30, 2010 8:11 PM

    The call of a Kookaburra is a really distinctive sound. about 5 years ago we worked in Perth for a few weeks and when the pig had been packed up and loaded onto a ship home ( via Paraguay of course ) we hired a car to drive to the SW tip of Australia. You can drive for hours and not see any traffic. Spectacular road-kill on the verges too. Big kangaroo carcasses – God knows what damage they did to the car that hit them.

    About half way down we stopped the car in a lay-by to look at a large goanna lizard that was sunning itself by the road. The landscape was tall grass and gum trees. In the distance you could hear a kookaburra laughing away – it sounded like it was in an echo chamber. You really had the feeling that if you took 5 steps off the road into the bush you could easily get lost.

  160. Zeph permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:26 PM

    And not easily found, ET.

    My favourite odd bird call is the eider drake (the female makes a more conventional quacky noise). I first heard these on a rather lonely sea-shore in Scotland.

  161. Zeph permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:35 PM

    Btw, a while back we had quite a longish discussion about the merits and demerits of reading poetry aloud over on Other Stuff in the comments on a rather stunning effort by Captain Ned. There are some links to potes reading their wares. I note that I resolved to do a piece on good readings but never did, which perhaps indicates where my preference lies.

  162. Zeph permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:36 PM

    Drat, the link that failed. It’s here:

  163. mishari permalink*
    June 30, 2010 10:44 PM

    A lord mayor apologised today after his trousers fell down during a visit to a local library.

    Colin Hall, Lord Mayor of Leicester, suffered the mishap on a visit to Southfields library in Leicester yesterday morning.

    Mr Hall was a guest at a “Summer Showcase” organised by Global Education Leicester/Shire, a network which works with teachers and education institutions to promote greater understanding of global perspectives, a city council spokesman confirmed today. —The Indy, today

    Let’s hear it for ‘global perspectives’….

  164. hic8ubique permalink
    July 1, 2010 1:20 AM

    I once thought doves made only cooing sounds, but my Overtherebythewindow Dove, gives all sorts of vocalisations including a cackle like this:
    ‘Wah ha ha HA he he he he– awooo woooo,
    Wah ha ha HA he he he he…’
    It invariably alarms dinner guests.

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