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Born Under A Bad Sign

September 5, 2010



“Born under a bad sign,
I’ve been down since I began to crawl;
If it wasn’t for bad luck,
I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”

Born Under A Bad Sign by Booker T. Jones and William Bell

For most of my life I’ve had people tell me “You’re a typical Scorpio”. Nonsense, of course. All astrology is arrant nonsense. However, it’s pervasive nonsense. Apparently, during the Reagan White House years, Nancy Reagan (whose ‘Just Say No To Drugs’ campaign was such a storming success) consulted an astrologer on a daily basis and without doubt advised her husband accordingly.

One doesn’t know whether to be terrified or amused. I mean, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to be guided by an astrologer, would you? But I suppose, given the asinine decision making of politicians, perhaps astrologers are no bad thing.

“Mr. President, General Nutcase says we must bomb Iran immediately.” “I’m sure he does, Mr. Secretary but Mystic Mowbray, who, let me remind you is privy to the secrets of the stars, says the moon is in the wrong house.”

I can live with that.

You are going to meet a tall, dark stranger and he is going to ask you to write a villanelle on astrology, star signs and similar bunkum. Trust me on this: the stars never lie…

  1. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:42 PM

    A firestarter, fiery and fierce
    Stubborn, pricklish
    A little bit ticklish
    A ram with two horns ‘bove her ears

    Richard Hawley, one of my favourite singers/musicians, singing Born Under a Bad Sign:

  2. mishari permalink*
    September 5, 2010 11:46 PM

    Badly Written In The Stars

    Your moon is rising, don’t go out;
    The consequence for Leo’s grave,
    And there are lots of stars about.

    The sceptics scoff and mock and doubt,
    But if your own life you would save:
    Your moon is rising, don’t go out.

    Avoid Taurus the Bull, ring in snout;
    You know the way that bulls behave,
    And there are lots of stars about.

    Give Pisces the Fish a miss, trout
    are inclined to play the knave;
    Your moon is rising, don’t go out.

    And Virgo’s no virgin but up the spout,
    Just looking for saps like you to enslave;
    And there are lots of stars about.

    The stars are signs of reason’s drought,
    you might as well hide in a cave;
    Your moon is rising, don’t go out
    And there are lots of stars about.

    Here’s my favourite version:

  3. Reine permalink
    September 5, 2010 11:59 PM

    Please, Sir, when you have a moment, I have perped.

  4. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 12:01 AM

    I’m on it, kiddo…

  5. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:08 AM


    The stars gleam tonight
    None as brightly as yours
    You point to it
    And tell me you lived there
    Who am I to doubt you?

    The stars are hidden tonight
    None is visible but yours
    You point to it
    And tell me I will live there soon
    It is written, I want to doubt you

    The stars shine again on the midnight blue
    I am no longer with you
    You point to your star
    I live here
    I should not have doubted you

  6. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 12:20 AM

    OK, done…hope you approve of the Van Gogh painting. It’s called The Poet’s Garden…

  7. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:29 AM

    Thank you Mishari, gorgeous painting. I am a fan of the one-eared one. Really appreciate the trouble you go to on our behalf to match visual to text. I reposted my comment in the right place if you wish to delete the other one.

  8. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 12:32 AM

    Thanks for that. The other’s now deleted. Glad you like the Van G. Fine poem, by the way…

  9. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:42 AM

    Would ya mind awfully inserting the line “You point to your star” between second and fourth lines in “Starstuck”? Thanks. Jesus, I think I might be developing a poetic ego…

  10. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:42 AM

    The last verse I should have said. [Done-Ed.]

  11. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:47 AM

    I’m getting like you know who now with diahorreaic posts. I missed the “villanelle” bit in my haste. Pardon me. [It’s all good, d00d-Ed.]

  12. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 1:03 AM

    “Thanks man”; you’ll get RSI acceding to my requests.

  13. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:48 AM

    All’s quiet, so I can’t listen to the music yet…
    I said something recently here about the perverse fascination of provoking a scorpion.
    I take it back. (Though I have been thinking of them lately.)

    RSI? well there’s a segue if ever I needed one…

    Reine dear, I was rudely dismissive of your sister’s Reiki inspiration. I wish to apologise.
    Laying on of hands has an ancient lineage, and in my view there is no inherent wrongness in Reiki.
    I have a bias against it because of the teachers I’ve met who have a certain sort of charismatic power-trippy
    efficiency in parting well-meaning people from their cash.
    Not only Reiki teachers, by any means or measure, but many in the complementary/alternative therapies realm, certainly not all, are guilty of such manipulative abuse.
    It’s a particular trigger for me having witnessed my share of these personalities. This is my 20th yr in private practice as a myofascial therapist. [ no pinkroom, not a fascist ]
    The modalities/approaches I consider to be in the highest integrity are those which invite clients to access their systems’ inherent healing capacity, as opposed to those which seek to aggrandise the bestowal of benefit by the intercession of an authoritative practitioner.There is an enormous difference.
    Just felt you deserved a proper answer, Re.
    Love~ Kxx

    Astrology too has an ancient lineage as an esoteric science, as I don’t doubt M knows, but I haven’t begun to understand it. Scorpio eh? extra extra: non-news item.

  14. September 6, 2010 8:24 AM

    hic back in the 80’s in the classifieds of a local alternative magazine there used to be someone offering therapy to those who had been affected by therapy. For a price of course.

    I was once returning a video camera and screen to someone. On his front door was sellotaped the message ” Am being re-born in the front room, the back door is open please leave the stuff on the kitchen table.”

    That area of Manchester was rife with crime so I hoped he didn’t re-emerge into this world to find that most of his possessions had been re-distributed.

  15. September 6, 2010 9:46 AM

    The delivery room was filled with cries
    The smack on the bottom made me open my eyes
    “Genito-urinary clinc past ward number nine”
    Proof that I was born under a bad sign.

  16. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:03 AM

    Hic, I am in complete agreement with you truth be told and am only doing it to prove to her that I am not entirely cynical. Under the reiki rules, I understand one cannot charge for the laying on of hands (the money I could have made…) until one is fully fledged but I don’t expect to get that far. My sisters don’t charge me, nor I them for allowing them to use me as their glamorous guineapig. Thanks for your kindness in offering such a complete reply but I hadn’t perceived any brusqueness in your former one. And if I lived near you, I’d be your most devoted client.

    As to the RSI, well I walked into that one.

    Edward Taylor, how is it you have two different coloured tiles for your pronouncements?

  17. September 6, 2010 11:30 AM

    you’d have to ask our blog overlord for the reasons why but my guess is that it’s done out of pity .

  18. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:33 AM

    My mentor informs me astrology’s bunk
    Except when Leo and Uranus align
    I’ve tossed all my almanacs out with the junk

    Oh what was I thinking? I must have been drunk.
    With Venus in Pisces I should avoid wine
    My mentor informs me astrology’s bunk

    I know he thinks I’m an illiterate punk
    Unable to tell a symbol from a sign
    I’ve tossed all my almanacs out with the junk

    Without charts and tables I’m all in a funk
    My Taurean transit’s aspecting my trine
    My mentor informs me astrology’s bunk

    My moon’s in a quandary, my ascendant’s sunk
    My Aries needs waxing, Virgo’s in decline
    I’ve tossed all my almanacs out with the junk

    I’ll put away magic books, live like a monk
    Beat off any Cancers, suck brew from the stein
    My mentor informs me astrology’s bunk
    I’ve tossed all my almanacs out with the junk

  19. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:33 AM

    Star Signage

    Those cosmic microwaves can make or mar,
    put you in a Roller or a pick-up truck,
    your destiny is written by your star.

    Peasant, kulak or Imperial Tsar,
    rolling in money or roosting in muck,
    those cosmic microwaves can make or mar,

    that weird influence can take you far
    or just as easily leave you stuck:
    your destiny is written by your star.

    The possibilities can be bizarre,
    like who your ancestors chose to fuck,
    those cosmic microwaves can make or mar,

    chance may shut the door or leave it ajar,
    but before it opened the deal was struck:
    your destiny is written by your star.

    It might be true or may be a canard,
    call it astrology or call it luck,
    those cosmic microwaves can make or mar,
    your destiny is written by your star.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      September 6, 2010 2:31 PM

      Ed, can you take the second ‘it’ out of line 16? [Done-Ed.]

  20. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:33 AM

    I see, I prefer the blue windmill-y one – the other is too dinner service.

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:35 AM

    Astrology is bollocks, need I say.

  22. September 6, 2010 1:44 PM

    Astrology’s a load of bull
    The Moon trine Venus? Saturn square?
    But useful if you’re on the pull

    A palm can be both strong and full;
    caressing lines and stroking hair,
    astrology’s a load of bull

    You’d have to have a mind of wool
    to think those corny lines were rare
    (though useful if you’re on the pull)

    ‘Vedi non é lontano’. You’ll
    soon see the stars inside my lair
    (astrology’s a load of bull)

    A water circle, fiery tool
    make steam together; this hot air
    is useful if you’re on the pull

    Only an ass, or perhaps a mule
    believes that stallions care for mares.
    Astrology’s a load of bull
    but useful if you’re on the pull

  23. September 6, 2010 1:51 PM

  24. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:13 PM

    Yeah, bollocks, so Moon, should I be avoiding wine then?

    Fun villanelles all, a treat to find this lovely a.m.
    I’ve scarcely recovered from my sestina effort~ too much discipline.

    I seem to remember someone dying in the process of being re-born, EdT : rigours beyond remediation, but not beyond legalities.

    Re, I take it as a red flag when the third course, of the same duration as the first two, is more expensive by a factor of five, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    now…some tunes for my morning…

  25. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:29 PM

    You missed HLM’s quandry. I shan’t mention it myself.

  26. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:43 PM

    Maybe he ran out of “a”s. His Aries waxing comment reminds me that I do indeed need to turn my attentions to my stubbly legs.

  27. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:55 PM

    I’m surprised it was mentioned. I did substitute an apostrophe which then promptly evaporated. But I leave at least one mistake in every post – it would be too precious on my part to bother our hardworking ed. and ask that they be taken out. [Fixed-Ed.]

    I did leave a masculine agreement in a female-voiced ABBA verse yesterday that nobody picked up on…

  28. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 3:04 PM

    Yeah, I thought that sounded like a song lyric, Hank, but I couldn’t place it, not being overly familiar with Abba’s oeuvre (only having abhorred them from afar)…

  29. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:06 PM

    I think it’s called the ‘bao ming’, the imperfection that makes it perfect? Simon …?

  30. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:11 PM

    I didn’t notice any Abba verses. Have I missed a post? They come and go so quickly I can’t keep track.

    Weird. Two syllables or one?

  31. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 3:11 PM

    hic, the carpet weavers and mosaicists (is that a word?) of the Islamic world subscribe to the same idea. They always leave a small imperfection in their work because perfection is only allowed to God…

  32. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 3:14 PM

    MM, it’s on the last thread. A little research tells me it’s The Name of The Game:

    I have no friends, no-one to see
    And I am never invited
    Now I am here, talking to you
    No wonder I get excited

    Your smile, and the sound of your voice
    And the way you see through me
    Got a feeling, you give me no choice
    But it means a lot to me
    So I wanna know..

    What’s the name of the game?

  33. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:15 PM

    The bloke who did my roof worked on the same principle.

  34. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 3:15 PM

    He must have been a Muslim…

  35. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:17 PM

    hic, that’ll probably be “bombing” when applied to me.

    Weird = one syllable, unless under the influence etc.

  36. September 6, 2010 3:19 PM

    Good question, Hic. I don’t know and my Chinese friend online asks ‘what is bao ming?’ so no help there. Perhaps this little story is what you’re thinking of?

  37. September 6, 2010 3:36 PM

    My work has a speck of perfection ( usually the spelling on our business cards ) in amongst a huge pile of flaws.

    I think silversmiths over here had a tradition of making work with a tiny flaw in it just like those muslim artisans.

    I find certain standards of perfection in painting ( the likes of Titian for instance ) rather alienating. I’ve always felt that way so it’s not a fashionable pose.

    A bit unfair undoubtedly as Beethoven is obviously fantastic but I just can’t summon up the interest for him that others have.

  38. September 6, 2010 3:39 PM

    Duur should have written “….. perfection in painting and music” in order to justify mentioning Beethoven who most certainly wasn’t a great painter.

    Reminds me of that gag about owning a painting by Stradivarius and a violin made by Rembrandt.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      September 6, 2010 4:00 PM

      The transpositions in the viola part in the string quartet op. 132 have always seemed a little naive to me.

  39. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 4:15 PM

    I remember listening to Classic FM some years ago (radio 3 was playing The Ring Cycle or something equally awful) and some DJ came on to announce the results of the weekly classic ‘charts’, wherein best-selling classical music was rated.

    “Well, it’s bad news for Beethoven this week…”, he breezily informed us.

    Yes, indeed. Bad news for Beethoven. He must rolling over…

  40. September 6, 2010 4:24 PM

    Was Mozart bubbling under?

  41. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 4:31 PM

    I imagine so. I think the top spot was taken by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which used to be on hourly rotation at Classic FM. Much as I like Vivaldi, if I never hear the Four Fucking Seasons again, I’ll not complain.

    Holst’s Planet Suites and Vaughn Williams’ Lark Ascending (which is a gorgeous piece of music but he did write other things, not that you’d know from listening to Classic FM) were two other works that seemed to get played every couple of hours.

  42. September 6, 2010 4:44 PM

    I always suspected that the costs of running Classic FM meant that they could only afford a few records to play.

    We’ve been rung up by the Performing Rights Society
    ( who deal with royalties received from playing music in public ) asking us if we play the radio at work and if we do we’ll have to pay for a license to listen to it.

    We have Radio 4 burbling in the background and I’m damned if I’m paying £44 a year to listen to the Archer’s theme tune which is pretty much the only music played on R4

    Apparently they are very litigious so basically we cannot listen to the radio at work.

    If it was blasting Radio 1 out to a workshop full of workers then I would concede the point but there’s only 2 of us and the radio is there to burble rather than be listened to intently.

    The composer we regularly work with isn’t registered with them as he says they are pretty inefficient at collecting monies due. I’m going to have to challenge him on this – we’ve had 2 phone calls and 2 letters in 2 weeks. 2 many.

  43. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 6, 2010 4:45 PM

    The Parliament of Good Fortune

    The stars say could, and so it might,
    though the moon’s a stone in the sky.
    Your fortune’s our fortune by right.

    First comes the silver; second, sight;
    the future’s wet when tea is dry.
    The stars say could, and so it might.

    We see a man of average height
    with average brains to get him by.
    His fortune’s our fortune by right.

    White is black and heavy is light;
    our secret knowledge tells us why.
    The stars say could, and so it might.

    The sky is ours, take down your kite.
    Life is tough, it’d make you cry.
    Your fortune’s our fortune by right.

    The world is ending, don’t take flight;
    help us bleed your arteries dry.
    The stars say could, and so it might;
    your fortune’s our fortune by right.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  44. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 4:55 PM

    Btw, great villanelles everyone.

    You astonish me, Ed. The PRS wants paying for radios played at work? What about an I-Pod or a CD player? Does the same apply? What if you sing or hum a tune to your co-workers? These are deep waters…

  45. September 6, 2010 5:03 PM

    What if you are on tour and play an i-pod in the van?

    Apparently there are a whole bunch of people pretending to be PRS officers who visit and try and get money off you.

    So never let a PRS person in.

    Apparently the real ones arrange a visit.

    Which, unless you are a Komplete Kretin means that all you need to do is hide the radio until they go.

    It would be great ( or is that GR8 LOL ? ) if they had a PRS detector van with a satellite dish whizzing round on the van roof. But sadly I think they don’t.

  46. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 6:25 PM

    Erk, I’m afraid I’m apt to have this inversion problem with Chinese… sorry Simon
    looks like the word is ‘mao bing’ (small imperfection) but all I’ve found so far refers mostly to health.

    MM, may I have my posts conveyed to you in pre-moderation
    for spelling?
    Thought not; you’ll never let me live that down.

    I remember that about rugs,M, and that mass-produced ones are of course missing the little satellite-like variations.

    As a child there were a few tapestries and mosaics
    [mosaicist looks good to me] at home, and I remember being quite fascinated with those variants, eg. the one diamond of six that was gold while the others were red, or the one fleck of orange off-set in a design of white blue and green.

    The Four Fucking Seasons indeed. I hold this most grievously against Vivaldi, and would expunge him from history entirely just to be rid of that relentless scourge.
    I’ve become increasingly irritated by radio noise over the years. Now I don’t like any of it, probably because it makes a Charles Ives effect, dissonant with my internal soundtrack.

    and now that I’ve received my customary Teutonic dig for the day, I suppose I’m free to contemplate a villanelle.

  47. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 6:50 PM

    Now I think of it, that builder was more of a Hindu (though he was a middle-aged white geezer from Lewisham). We were chatting while he drank his fifteenth cup of tea of the day, just before going for his fifteenth ‘tinkle’. Somehow the subject of Christianity came up.

    ‘Christianity? Nah, load of facking bollocks. What, you get one go and you’re judged on that? What about them little kids who snuff it? They ain’t got no form to get judged on, have they? Nah, it’s cobblers.’ He took a swig of tea. ‘Now, reincarnation, that makes sense to me…’

    I nearly tinkled in my knickers.

  48. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 6:53 PM

    I like yours too, Jack. It brings back the stars’
    ‘tender debate’ in a phrase I particularly enjoyed.

    Simon, is that your blue eye in your avatar?

    I can’t help but post this just for the perverse pleasure:

  49. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 7:03 PM

    Nay sir, you go too far, to scorn the truly time-tested Twinings
    tea and tinkle tradition.

  50. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 8:25 PM

    I had some of that Twinings Chai today. Facking vile.

  51. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 9:32 PM

    I see Moby, you’re that sort with his handy mortar and pestle, likes to make his own blend… peel your own cardamom, I expect.

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:02 PM

    By no means. Tesco Finest Assam meets most of my beverage-related needs. Mixed 50/50 with Lapsang in days gone by, then with Darjeeling, finally in splendid isolation. Its astringency is always welcome, whether canted semi-conscious over the breakfast table, lounging half-asleep on the sofa in the afternoon, or quasi-comatose in front of the TV.

    I find I rather like Moby’s work. On hearing of this taste of mine, my son remarked that he had always suspected he had a gay dad.

  53. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:07 PM

    Ha, the thought! Liked your language of love translation on PP.

    I like a nice cup of Earl Grey myself, though far from anything but Lyons reared, but only on its own.

  54. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 11:08 PM

    Not so much gay, as a low-brow with a taste for TV commercials, so many of which use the bald one’s music to sell you crap….apparently he (Moby) is descended from Herman Melville, hence the nom de plume. I think ‘Dick’ might have been more appropriate…

  55. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:27 PM

    Thanks, Reine. I’m not that keen on bergamot, but I do drink the stuff occasionally. The young Mowbray was reared exclusively on PG Tips, and his teeth are still fawn-coloured from that early exposure.

    Well, I’m not really that interested in TV commercials. Those meerkats… it’s actually painful to watch. Of course, I always watch Cheryl, because she’s worth it. Mrs M has a violent aversion to that chap in the BT ads. She insists on the TV being switched off when he comes on.

  56. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 11:32 PM

    I like the meerkats: perverse, I know…did you catch that article on CiF last year where some English bozo with an Eastern European girlfriend tried to make a case for the meerkat ads being racist? His gullfrent vas werry unheppy. It was fucking comic gold. He got torn to pieces below-the-line; talk about raw meat for the beasts….

  57. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:32 PM

    Him. You know the one.

  58. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 11:34 PM

    Oh, Christ, him…he needs shooting, him and his damned family of white-bread dullards…

  59. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:36 PM

    It’s the wife I find annoying, his not yours MM. Mrs. M I imagine to be a total lady.

  60. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:36 PM

    I didn’t see that. I find them offensive, but not racially so.

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:41 PM

    I meant the meerkats in my last comment, in case there’s any confusion. Yes, the wife’s pretty annoying. I’m neutral about the kids. If it came down to a family slaughter-type situation I would probably let them live. Him and her-well, my Uzi would be too hot to hold.

  62. hic8ubique permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:44 PM

    Excellent comedy value in that cross-post.

    eew fawn-coloured?
    I don’t know Moby, just plucked it out of Mowbray, connotation vaguely but affectionately intact.

  63. mishari permalink*
    September 6, 2010 11:53 PM

    It’s official: I live in a madhouse. I have to take Honey out for a walk and it’s raining. Do you think I can find an umbrella? Can I hell. Inez merely raises a puzzled eyebrow, the brats (who should be in bed) act as though the very concept of an ‘umbrella’ is a mystery…
    so I’m going out to get rained on….I’ll probably catch pneumonia and snuff it. Then they’ll be sorry…probably…

  64. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:56 PM

    Speaking of husbands, I called to visit a friend on the way back today who was minding a little baby girl. She was a gorgeous cherubic creature and holding her in my arms – and unaware of her father’s entrance amid the general din in the kitchen – I bent down to kiss her at the same time he did from over my shoulder and kissed him instead. Mortifying, even for me. Compounded by the fact that he is a very handsome fellow.

  65. Reine permalink
    September 6, 2010 11:59 PM

    Aren’t your feathers waterproof Mish? Won’t your superpowers surround you with a rain repellent shield? If not, be sure to dry your hair thoroughly. It’s a well known fact that going to bed with wet hair could result in imminent death.

  66. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:04 AM

    I recognise that actor, poss from Prime Suspect? being intense with furrowed brow+proptosis.

    People who sojourn in wildernesses both rural and urban should know about Gortex…
    If everyone leapt up to find you an umbrella, I might think you a tyrant.
    Got a bone in your leg?

  67. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:14 AM

    Kris Marshall is his name Hic if you want to research him;)He is the spitting image of a guy I shared a house with in college so I can’t dislike him. Davey, my friend, was a zealous Leonard Cohen fan – if he had the music blaring when we came home, it was usually a sign of some deep angst so we gave him a wide berth until he changed the record.

  68. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:16 AM

    “Got a bone in your leg?” Miaow Hicsen, you’re in trouble now…

  69. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 12:46 AM

    Well, that was bracing. Thing is, I buy umbrellas all year round–every time I’m out and it’s raining, in fact. Then, as soon as it stops raining, I promptly leave the damn umbrella somewhere or other: the taxi, the pub etc…of course, the minute I walked back in the door, dripping wet, Inez said ‘here, I found an umbrella…’. Women…tcha…..bone in my leg, indeed. Am I not the lord of all I survey? No need to answer that…

  70. September 7, 2010 1:13 AM

    Ah, mao bing (毛病), yes, it means a flaw. Interesting article you linked to, Hic, although there is a mistake in the transliteration. The character for big (大) is written da in pinyin, not dai and it carries the 4th tone:

    My eye, yes. Someone wanted a close-up of it for posterity so I submitted on condition that apart from her private use I had all rights :)

  71. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:29 AM

    I won’t look him up, but thanks, Re.
    I like the new Milton portrait far better.

    Inez continues to improve upon furthering acquaintance. I’d like to hear about Honey as well. The usual sort of dog? always on the wrong side of a door? Black or spotted, most likely.

    Too much information for my scope, Simon, but I’m glad to know we’ve solved the puzzle.
    ‘Someone’ likes blue eyes, your one anyway.

    I don’t have a large flow-blue umbrella vessel with touches of pure gold, alas, so I keep florists’ pails by the front doors, but bringing the bumbershoots home is an essential detail in this system.

  72. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:38 AM

    I thought of asking God but instead asked Mystic Meg
    For advice on what the future held
    I think she pulled my leg

    She said I would soon break a leg
    In a cast I would be beheld
    The vision I could not endorse, I’m not like Nicky Clegg

    Your star will rise to heady heights promised Mystic Meg
    Your ambition will be finely bevelled
    A sidelong glance down at my leg

    And then my agent called, dear Greg
    His voice with pride was swelled
    Your vision will soon be endorsed, you’re not like Nicky Clegg

    I had another session, free gratis from Mystic Meg
    She waffled, said she felt impelled
    To tell me now to break a leg

    Al this mystic talk from Meg, and indeed from Greg
    Made me wonder if I was compelled
    To take the part of a cracked egg
    In “Humpty Dumpty is Nick Clegg “

  73. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:39 AM

    No, I can’t do villanelles either.

  74. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 1:56 AM

    It’s fine: sort of a villanelle cum terza rima.

    Honey is a yellow Labrador, very sweet and very thick.

  75. September 7, 2010 2:02 AM

    I just didn’t want you to think I’m the sort of person who takes photos of bits of himself. Vain, perhaps, but not that vain. The other one’s more or less the same, but with a birthmark on the side of the nose that rather impairs its otherwise impeccable aesthetic qualities.

  76. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:15 AM

    I know labs well. They will fetch til they drop, and bring you presents. My first dog, Duet, stout companion on childhood rambles, once brought home a shoe, knitting, baby rabbits…

    No, Simon: It’s your mao bing birthmark; the proof that you are perfect.
    (Everything else I could find was about chairman Mao.)

    I like photographing bits of things, not of myself per se, but today I liked the colours happening on the wash-rack, so I took a snapshot.

  77. September 7, 2010 3:38 AM

    Chairman Mao: 70% right is now the official line from the Party. I often wondered (and sometimes asked) what the other 30% was, but the answers were evasive. I’m working all night again, and the autumn seems to be approaching fast…

  78. September 7, 2010 9:57 AM

    Seeing as how I appear to be the Billy Mills of this blog posting comments in the morning rather than late at night I merely wish to thank whoever posted the clip of the BT bloke very much. I didn’t watch it – there’s enough of that nauseating couple on the TV – but a mere glimpse of the photo in the morning is enough to give me the hives.

    I’ve given up TV except for the Simpsons and the football but the BT ones are top of my personal slaughter-on-sight list.

    Just as well for these actors that the money for doing ads is so good otherwise there would be little to cushion you from the ” I hate that bastard from the phone ads” responses that inevitably occur.

    I met someone who was in a Nat West TV ad and his agent negotiated an enormous fee for a photo of him to be used in a series of bus stop posters. No extra work necessary just a whopping big cheque.

  79. September 7, 2010 10:01 AM

    Of course those in different time-zones may well feel that they too are the Billy Mills of this blog. Fair enough but I claim the rights in W. Europe zone.

  80. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 10:58 AM

    In 1975, my left hand appeared in a poster for Lali Gurans cigarettes, Nepal’s most popular locally-made filter-tip. My hand was visible all over Kathmandu, elegantly holding a fag, smoke drifting, the very picture of sophisticated languor.

    I got paid $100 (at a time when the average Nepali earned about $80 per annum, it was a generous sum). Lali Gurans, by the way, is the Nepalese name for Rhododendron, the national flower (which grows to 60 ft tree size). The cigarette packet was gold-coloured with a large red Lali Gurans blossom centrally placed.

    I used the money to buy an old Russian Ural M-72 motorbike (based on the wartime BMW R71 model and practically indestructible). A 650cc, it had side-valves, fercrisesake (the Model-T Ford had side-valves: we’re talking very old tech, here) but it was simplicity itself to work on and even a primitive machine-shop could knock out parts for you.

    The Kathmandu valley resounded to the clucking of hysterical chickens and the curses of Nepalese locals as I rode around with a girl behind me, a spliff in my hand and a bottle of Khukri rum (the locally-made brand and surprisingly good; the khukri is the fearsome knife that the gurkhas carry) in my jacket pocket and generally made myself a stench in the nostrils of decent people. Happy days…

  81. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 11:12 AM

    Actually, a quick google tells me that Lali Gurans went out of business years ago.

    `My name is Mishari, King of cigarette wafters:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

  82. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 7, 2010 11:27 AM

    Oddly, having my hands or feet used in a TV commercial is a personal recurring nightmare. Had it in fact happened, it may have eased the passage to greatness in one of Peter Jackson’s movies as a giant hobbit. There’s still time, but for now I’m penniless from eating too many second breakfasts…

  83. September 7, 2010 11:49 AM

    I knew someone who was a “ahem” hand-model. Beforehand you’d struggle to imagine how anyone could get that job but when you saw her hands you twigged immediately. At the risk of sounding like I, too have a bottle of Khukri rum and a spliff in my hand, those hands seemed to exist in a different time-zone to the rest of our hands. Mine are set to British Summertime so next month I’ll have to put them forward an hour.

    I’m guessing your hands Mishari are the very image of elegance and grace. What was the slogan on the ad?

  84. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 11:57 AM

    Damned if I know, it was in Nepalese. Probably something like: “Smoke Lali Gurans! This Very Cool Foreign Dude With A Nice Left Hand Does!”

    Seriously, though, I think it said something like: “Lali Gurans–The Fresh Cool Mountain Taste” (the most majestic lali gurans grow at about 10-15,000 ft in the Himalayas).

  85. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:17 PM

    Stinging Remarks

    I’d appreciate another crack,
    I’m not that happy with what I got,
    on the dartboard of the Zodiac.

    Being a Scorpio is total jack,
    I’m a very emotional snot:
    I’d appreciate another crack,

    a sign with bollocks and a six-pack,
    but I really do not see a lot
    on the dartboard of the zodiac,

    apart from Gemini, whose attack
    and poise and talent are pretty hot.
    I’d appreciate another crack,

    I wish I could take my arrow back
    and I’d love to find another spot
    on the dartboard of the Zodiac,

    a window to pick up what I lack,
    all the stuff that destiny forgot.
    I’d appreciate another crack
    on the dartboard of the Zodiac.

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:20 PM

    I apologise for Kris, ET. I had forgotten that you were nearly the face of Volkswagen.

  87. September 7, 2010 12:32 PM

    MM I never even auditioned , I turned it down to the incredulity of others basically because I’m a snooty artiste but also because I didn’t want to be that cnut from the ad in real life.

    There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t curse the idiocy of that decision.

  88. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:51 PM

    Retaining your credibility does have drawbacks, ET. You could be doing Saga ads now. The garage where I bought my car asked me to be pictured with it for the local paper. Unfortunately my contract with OK! meant I had to refuse, but I’m glad I did because shortly afterwards the car was recalled. Being connected with such a shoddy item would not have done my image much good.

  89. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 12:56 PM

    You’ve still go that contract with Safe ‘N Ez Incontinence Pants, don’t you? Star quality…you can’t fake it.

  90. September 7, 2010 12:57 PM

    MM I was more hoping for the QVC channel – nobody in their right minds watches it so credibility intact plus presumably there’s a decent wage involved.

    I think that’s why US actors do ads in Japan or our blogmeister does ads in Nepal.

  91. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 1:05 PM

    So you have switched smoking hands MM or you are ambidexterous or your left hand is the more beautiful of the two. I’m going to go blind peering at that little thumbnail – perhaps you will take us by surprise us with a close up one of the days that we may come to better know and love you.

  92. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 1:23 PM

    I’m ambidexterously lovely (in hand terms)…

  93. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 2:26 PM

    ‘M’ singular, Re… we must be grateful for what we are given. This ‘picture of sophisticated langour’ is more generous than some. Have a gander at the PH music channel if you like; he appears a bit higher res. there.

    I’m certainly not the Billy Mills of anything EdT, but I awoke this a.m. thinking: ‘If it’s bumberchute, MM will have my guts.’
    I look in on you chums whenever I check email, which is usually throughout the day.
    (It’s not bumberchute, but now I think it should be.)

    That’s a shocking image, Moon, thanks very much.
    I’m a very noticing person when it comes to hands. Mine modelled jewellery in my 20s, but now they look like horse trainer’s hands, well no… I know a few horse trainers and mine are not that bad, cleaner at the very least.
    My hand fascination may stem from standing by the piano as a child watching my father or grandfather playing in the evenings; that is a deep love.
    My youngest has what I call amanuensis hands; lovely to see in a dancer.

  94. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 7, 2010 7:56 PM

    You were quite safe there, hic, because I had no idea what a bumbershoot was until I looked it up. What an absurd name, I thought, for an… er, umbrella.

  95. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 8:03 PM

    Singular indeed Hic; didn’t see that – a Freudian slip doubtless. “[he is] always on my mind, [he is] always on my mind…”

  96. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:43 PM

    I like to think I have a healthy sense of the absurd, MM, like EdT who plans to set his hands forward this autumn, that’s a delightful thought.
    I’m so bedevilled by this villanelle effort, I need to let it go, though I risk vilification.

    I’d like to see that Lali Guran ad. That was an engaging account. Have you no record of it, Mishari?

  97. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:49 PM

    Why the
    Cage Bird

    It’s too simple to dismiss ideas we don’t yet understand.
    A tune is on, the lights are up, what we don’t know we’re free to guess.
    Take heart, my friend; don’t let your fear go too far out of hand.

    Do swaying scales at feather-weight our floating sense withstand,
    or sink with constellated sorrow in a folly of duress?
    It’s too simple to dismiss ideas we don’t yet understand.

    Stars sotto voce sing no fate or instrumental brand.
    Why the cage, bird? Drop your shackles only grasped of false noblesse.
    Take heart my friend; don’t let your fear go too far out of hand.

    Those who would impede our choice, our regnant wills must countermand,
    and for those who suffer bonds we may yet rise to bring redress.
    It’s too simple to dismiss ideas we don’t yet understand.

    Stern rock will break a wing might have been buffered on the sand.
    Rein back sharp flyting impulses with consummate finesse.
    Take heart, my friend; don’t let your fear go too far out of hand.

    The tune is up, a light is in, a swinging lens at your command
    and choose, you may, to feel the gentling of astral caress.
    It’s too simple to dismiss ideas we don’t yet understand,
    Take heart, my friend; don’t let your fear go too far out of hand.

  98. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:54 PM

    I love that.

  99. Reine permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:55 PM

    I hit return too soon – you are the queen of the villanelle Hicster. Super.

  100. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:27 PM

    Thanks Re, you’re a dear to say so, and I’m thrilled you even like it. I sweated that one, don’t know how the others pop them out.
    I’m sure I don’t get to be queen on first go, but it’s a good workout for a starveling mind… niggling nuisance.
    Topic and form both prescribed is a dastardly challenge. Can’t seem to walk away though. Possibly, I can’t bear to be sneered at for writing in free verse, but why I should care, I don’t know.
    But I do.

  101. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 10:27 PM

    No record, hic. I was (and am) the kind of traveller who carries a notebook, not a camera. But it was 35 years ago and I’d forgotten about it until something Ed said reminded me (it’s not the years, it’s the mileage). At the time it just seemed like a laugh. Now I wish I’d thought to have kept a photo or something.

    The ad ran in Kathmandu’s English-language paper, The Rising Nepal, as well. I don’t know if they’re still in business. They might have copies from the period in their archives…

    Fine villanelle.

  102. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:28 PM

    that’s ‘prescribed’ [Fixed-Ed.]
    see, I’m no doc.

  103. mishari permalink*
    September 7, 2010 10:30 PM

    Weird. I just googled it and it’s still in business and still an English-language daily but their webpage appears to be in Nepalese. Huh?

  104. hic8ubique permalink
    September 7, 2010 10:33 PM

    Oh see if you can crack the archive. It’s a quest.
    [suppressing exclamation in deference]

  105. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 7, 2010 11:24 PM

    England win, Spain lose and suddenly the world is a better place. The only fly in the ointment is the Argies winning. At least Diego wasn’t on the touchline. I meant to post this last night, possibly modelled by Simon (if he wears eye-shadow).

  106. hic8ubique permalink
    September 8, 2010 2:08 AM

    So, MM, are you a magazine writer? Sometimes I can’t tell what’s real, obviously.

    Moon, I forgot to tell you my recurring nightmare:
    Seldom now, but ever since childhood I’ve found myself in an airport in a nightgown hurrying to catch a plane, but with no luggage. It’s a terrible feeling, but somehow I still need to do it from time to time.

  107. September 8, 2010 8:47 AM

    Hic strangely enough I watched a film called “The Darjeeling Limited” and at the end they run for a train and in the process throw their baggage away – the film is about 3 kwirkee Americans going to India to “find themselves” – so the ending is a symbolic KLUNK!

    Terrible terrible film. Tries to project a kind of slacker cool but ends up being a typical Hollywood film that has no real interest in the country it’s set in. Just Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and someone else being relentlessly self-absorbed.

    If Kris Marshall had showed up half way through I wouldn’t be here now.

  108. September 8, 2010 9:26 AM

    Damn you, MM, I’ve been rumbled. I’ll be known for ever now as the Moby shadow.

  109. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 8, 2010 12:13 PM

    Yes, I write a fortnightly column for Totally Pointless magazine. It’s called Waste Of Space. I also contribute to Prince And Queen and Taylor’s!. I actually profiled Kris Marshal for the last-named (lovely chap, and so good-looking), but the interview was spiked for some reason. I suspect the editor (something of a gargoyle himself) was jealous of Kris’s sublime beauty. Anyway, I did get a BT HomeHub out of it, which I’m using now as it happ

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 8, 2010 1:42 PM

      It’s all possible in the realm of satire, I suppose. I know an Onion writer. You’ll be working out the bugs then…

      I tend to get that plasticene feeling early on in hollywood films, and just wander off. Maybe it is ‘no real interest in the country they’re set in’ as you say. I remember watching ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’, probably 15 yrs ago, and it was something of a breaking point for me. I’ve watched very little of that sort of thing since then. I remember feeling that ‘I can’t look at this’ way about Benny Hill ages ago. Unfortunately, more and more of what I encounter leads to the same anti-social response, with the result that I have a reputation for being the family spoil-sport.
      Computer animated graphics give me a terrible squinty feeling.

      Kris Marshall looks like a Dane or Skåne Swede to me.

      I’m worried I’ve doomed Mishari to a hopeless wander in Kathmandu.

  110. mishari permalink*
    September 8, 2010 2:42 PM

    Champion budgie stamped to death

    Budgie breeder finds 21 birds missing and pride of his flock dead on eve of show

    “Since the attack, seven more have died just from shock, it’s completely destroyed my faith in humanity.” – The Grauniad, today

    So…Hitler, the Holocaust, Stalin, Vietnam, Iraq, etc etc: he shrugged those off. Boys will be boys. But budgie killing? His faith in humanity is destroyed. Hmmmm…

  111. September 8, 2010 3:40 PM

    The Sun says: The world of budgie breeding is all of a twitter after the sabotage of one of Britain’s top collections — with some fearing the return of a sinister Mr Big.

    The Mr. Big of budgies. Is this a Buñuel film?

  112. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 8, 2010 6:43 PM

    Budgie De Jour

  113. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 8, 2010 6:58 PM

    The Discreet Charm of the Budgioisie

  114. mishari permalink*
    September 8, 2010 7:03 PM

    It was a line in The Treasure of The Sierra Madre…remember? The Mexican bandito says to Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart): “We are Federales” and Bogie says: “Let’s see your budgies” and the bandito says: “Budgies? We doan need no stinkin’ budgies”

    I think we may have a suspect…

    Remind me, MM, what episodes of Treme do you already have? You’ll be pleased to know that Sons Of Anarchy has started Season 3 so I’m adding ep 1 of that and a couple of other films that I haven’t watched, The Killer Inside Me and the new Robin Hood with New Zealand’s answer to Peter Andre…I didn’t bother with Madmen because they’re showing it here only slightly behind the US.

  115. Captain Ned permalink
    September 8, 2010 7:52 PM

    That Obscure Budgie of Desire
    The Budgie of Liberty
    The Exterminating Budgie
    The Budgie of a Chambermaid
    Un Budgie Andalou

    And that’s quite enough. This is like a scene from a Buñuel film, though…

    Father Victor Jimeno, of Valencia, slapped a man who spat out a communion wafer. The worshipper then hit the priest back, and other members of the congregation were forced to seperate the brawling pair. ‘I know we are supposed to turn the other cheek but Father Victor felt what this man needed most was vengeance, not forgiveness,’ said one witness.

  116. hic8ubique permalink
    September 8, 2010 8:37 PM

    Lucrezia Budgie; Or, Plaything of Power

  117. mishari permalink*
    September 8, 2010 8:52 PM

    The Birdman of Alcatraz was an expensive film; in fact, I think they went over-budgie…thengyew, thengyew, you’ve been a wonderful audience…

  118. Reine permalink
    September 8, 2010 9:37 PM

    Budgie Malone – RIP, no flowiz, cage private.

  119. September 8, 2010 11:00 PM

    Budgie over the River Kwai

    Kramer vs. Budgie

    Speed 2

    I know I could have tried harder.

  120. Reine permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:10 PM

    Budgie Carmichael sings the blues.

  121. mishari permalink*
    September 8, 2010 11:21 PM

    The Egyptian Book of The Dead, translated by E. Wallis Budgie

    Simon & Garfunkel’s Budgie Over Troubled Water

  122. hic8ubique permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:34 PM

    Clochette, le Livre, et la Budgie

  123. Reine permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:36 PM

    Budgieser – ice cold.

  124. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:40 PM

    Elegy for a Champion Budgie.

    He is dead, dead before his prime,
    And not by some mistake,
    The victim of a senseless crime,
    Flattened like a pancake.

    As I held him I thought I heard
    His sweet cheep once again,
    Declaiming those immortal words,
    ‘Who’s a pretty boy then?’

    He’s in budgie heaven all right,
    Of that we can be sure,
    Even if they’ve closed for the night
    He’ll fit beneath the door.

  125. Reine permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:45 PM

    There’s not much eatin’ in a budgie
    More feather heavy than fat
    If you tried to roast one
    You’d feel like a right twat

  126. mishari permalink*
    September 8, 2010 11:51 PM

    A chirpy cheerful fellow
    A bird full filled with zest
    A startling, violent yellow
    A champion, quite the best

    Now flattened, not so cheerful
    Gone to his rightful rest
    He was a constant earful
    The little fucking pest.

  127. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 8, 2010 11:58 PM

    All meat, Reine.

    I’ve got 2 episodes of Treme, I think. I wasn’t massively impressed with them, but since it’s Dave Simon should give it a chance. SOA sounds great. I’ve read about The Killer Inside Me somewhere. Cocksucker Blues and BB disc won’t play on any equipment I’ve got-I can’t understand why, since the disc looks the same. Any ideas?

  128. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 12:00 AM

    I’ll haunt my live detractors
    When I find my heavenly feet
    Lie upon their pillows
    Into their ears menacingly tweet

    I’ll drive their cats quite mad
    As they try to claw my ghost
    I’ll mock those blasted felines
    This is no empty boast

    And when I get my angel wings
    I’ll avenge my budgricide
    Shit all over the bastard
    Make him wish it was he who died

  129. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 12:01 AM

    No need to boast MM.

  130. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 12:14 AM

    You’ve dragged and dropped the files to your desktop (or where ever) and tried VLC player (the best media player–open source, free and will play anything)?

  131. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 9, 2010 12:37 AM

    I just get a message saying Cannot Read This Disc. That’s it, no further options.

  132. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 12:40 AM

    That’s odd. OK, is that BB series 3, then? I’ll just reburn it for you and double check it myself…

  133. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 9, 2010 12:53 AM

    It’s 6-13, but really, don’t go to any trouble. I just thought you might have a fix to hand.

    God, I must go to bed. Up in 5 hours.

  134. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 1:13 AM

    No sweat. I’ll have all that stuff in the post tomorrow…

  135. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 1:30 AM

    Citizens of the Err

    It was the late phase Psittacene
    an epoch graced with tune serene
    when all the hook-bills of the air
    had perfect pitch and not a care

    until there came the coup de glitch
    cut short the reign of perfect pitch:
    An asteroid fell, and that was that.
    Psittacidae can not sing flat.

  136. September 9, 2010 9:27 AM

    Mishari how COINCIDENTAL that there was an item on the Today programme about a champion bugie getting stamped on by rivals in the best-budgie competition the morning after your poem .

    I’d bury those boots if I were you.

    And hide all those budgies you’ve been breeding.

    And delete the relevant comments. The Blog squad at Scotland Yard pick up on these sorts of things you know.

  137. September 9, 2010 10:00 AM

    I see Mowbray’s implicated too

  138. September 9, 2010 2:16 PM

    A bit of fun here for the polyglots: text to speech in 27 languages. I’ve tried it out on a few I know and I must say I’m quite impressed:

    (via John Wells’s Phonetics blog:

  139. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 2:44 PM

    Huge fun, Simon… I’m getting an RP Darth Vader effect just now, in danger of wasting an hour making it do things…
    I’ve been enjoying your passion for Milton; it’s helping me to warm up to him a bit.

    MM you’ve been taking about hair on potw again.
    I believe if we were to do a freep count of your comments, fully one third of them would include some allusion to body or facial hair, which then sets off the rest of us.

    for ewe, EdT:
    mares eat oats and does eat oats and oozey locks he laves.

  140. freep permalink
    September 9, 2010 2:58 PM

    Simon, thanks very much for the text / speech thing. Like hic (‘regnant’ was very good, hic, btw) , I’ve been enjoying making Julia, Fiona, Dmitri and scores of others say Merry Christmas, and Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York. If I can waste any more time on it, I might find a voice to fall in love with, but I have to build a back garden wall instead, which is also stopping me composing a villanelle, not to mention preparing a slide show on Border Antiquities.

    Strangely, I find I have no views on budgerigars, but I could never find it in my heart to stamp on one.
    Madmen was a welcome visitor to my televisor last night; Betty’s Thanksgiving Day meal was excruciating.

  141. September 9, 2010 3:19 PM

    hic. That song was a favourite when I was, like the goat, a kid. But I didn’t eat ivy too.

    Madmen like many others is one of those things I’ll just have to miss out on.

  142. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 9, 2010 3:38 PM

    It’s amazing how many of them have difficulty saying a simple, ordinary, everyday word like “cocksucker”.

  143. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 3:51 PM

    Just out of curiosity, Hank, Ed…did either of you have any problems with the Breaking Bad DVDs?

    I had a budgie that could not only say ‘pneumatic’ but knew that the ‘p’ was silent. A highly intellectual bird but not much cop at practical matters. I was making some hoummus one day and I turned my head for just a second and into the food-processor he hopped. I thought the hoummus tasted a bit odd but the light didn’t dawn until I cracked a tooth on his beak. Pongo, although somewhat backward, linguistically, would never jump into the blender…

    freep, you slippery bastard. You tantalise us with glimpses of your good self and then vanish as the mist in the morning. What cooks, old horse?

  144. September 9, 2010 3:54 PM

    No problems with the first 2 series Mish haven’t had time to look at the 3rd .

  145. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 3:59 PM

    It’s just the 3rd I’m concerned about as MM’s had a problem. Should there be a problem, do let me know, so I can rectify it.

  146. September 9, 2010 4:11 PM

    Okay will check it aht.

    When I was 13 I did a Saturday job in a pet-shop. A macaw rescued from some place of disrepute turned the air blue with his musings on life. The resident mynah bird picked up on one his utterances but the budgie’s were too straight-laced to join in the cursing.

  147. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 4:22 PM

    I went right off budgies after the chipped tooth/budgie beak incident. I’m now president-for-life of S.Q.U.A.B. (Society for Quashing Unrelentingly Appalling Budgies, reg. charity no. 666).

    We meet quarterly at the aviary in Regents Park Zoo, where, dressed in cat costumes, we loudly discuss the many delicious birds–chickens, geese, ducks, pheasants, peacocks, great auks et al– that we’ve dined on and the many more we intend to eat.

    All very satisfying. Tough On Budgies, Tough On The Causes Of Budgies…we must think of the children…

  148. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 4:45 PM

    …and Mishari’s taking about meat again.
    Hair and meat, that’s the composite critter of MM&M.

    Thanks for your response, freep, most gratifying,
    but please don’t fall in love with a computer-generated voice, that would be too sad.
    I think of you in relation to real things such as stargazy pie, moss-troopers, and sylphs.

  149. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:02 PM

    I’ve got Daniel(UK) set to ‘duration’ and ‘longest’
    and saying:
    ‘extraordinarily so’, which is grand
    ‘Mishari eats budgies’, which is rendered as
    Miss Harry…

  150. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:26 PM

    Moira (Irish) has some most peculiar emphases – she is not very good at any of our names, pronounces “saxifrage” as saxifridge and Reine as Reion (can’t blame her for that
    though). This could get addictive.

    Madmen was the highlight of the week so far.

  151. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:30 PM

    Good God, they all say it that way. Have I been pronouncing saxifrage (to rhyme with “taj”) incorrectly all this time? The shame.

  152. September 9, 2010 5:37 PM

    Saxifrage doesn’t crop up very often in my day to day conversations but I’d pronounce it saxifraydge

  153. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 5:49 PM

    I have never in my life used the word ‘saxifrage’ in any context. I’m not even quite sure what it is: a flower? Some kind of plant, I’m pretty sure but without googling it, it could be the size of a buttercups or Leylandii for all I know…what makes it so compelling that it enters into your conversations so assertively, tell?

  154. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 9, 2010 6:17 PM

    Sent a long post that hasn’t shown up. Oh well. Here’s a short one.

    Series 3 fine, Mish, though I checked quickly through my fingers. Still haven’t made real inroads into Series 1. Still, I kept The Wire for a year before watching three series in one week. No time, no time…

  155. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 6:41 PM

    Glad to hear it. I guess the one MM has got corrupted somehow…hardly surprising: it is Mowbray, of course–the Gilles de Rais of The Isle of Wight.

    There’s no post in the spam-trap, Hank, so God knows where yours vanished to–accidental deletion, perhaps?

  156. freep permalink
    September 9, 2010 7:05 PM

    Mishari, autumn is a time when the interweb thingy keyboard blognikon pancommunipsychium just has to compete with many other things, and the old poem making gets hard when there are plums to pick and stew, walls to build, speeches to write for Obama, Jericho to be rebuked, spying on the Dutch to be completed, wings to be preened and doggs to walk. It is a most good autumn here and I can emerge from my house without tripping over fat tourists.
    I have saxifrages in my garden. You must stew the leaves and drink the liquid and it will cure your stones. There are many and many varieties, and they vary in size and most like living in walls. ‘London Pride’ is the best known saxifrage; a hefty dose of its juices has been known to banish gallstones (and life) in an afternoon.
    I agree with Ed’s pronunciation. But I will check out Dmitri’s, and a female Mexican’s. Mexican women are usually right.

  157. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 7:34 PM

    Saxifrage is a word I encountered in my precocious youth – just tickles my fancy. That and rhododenron. Very horticulturally inspired my vocabulary.

  158. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 7:39 PM

    Wings to be preened? Whose? Yours? No longer a fledgling, you’ve taken to the skies, then? Hail to thee, blithe spirit…doggerelist thou never wert…

    I suppose I can hardly blame you, in that case, for not wishing to sully your new phoenix-like status by associating with doggerelists and such-like riff-raff.

    You can’t wallow with the swine in the evening and soar with the eagles in the morning…or is it the other way around?

    No matter: say ‘hello’ to Apollo for me and tell the bastard to get his fucking chariot in gear. We need sunshine. Bloody gods…

  159. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:03 PM

    You’ve stumped the programme, freep. The ones I’ve tried all say:
    [pan come oo nip sitchi um]
    for your impressive pancommunipsychium.

    a bit ambiguous there as to whether you consider us swine or eagles, Miss Harry.

  160. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 8:07 PM

    Speaking for myself, I partake of both aspects–the porcine and the aquiline…sort of a streamlined, hawk-faced, predatory pig with table-manners…

    MM, I’ve stuck Iron Man 2 on disc for you as well. Just caught your anthem on youtube, BTW:

  161. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:07 PM

    We were discussing saxifrage, in ET pronunciation, just the other day at the Botanic Gardens.

    I tried to pull the Prince away from the Champion Budgie, but its provocative tweets seemed to enrage him.

    ‘Ee’s not wurf it, guv’nor!’ I cried, but the royal Croc came crashing down all the same. The rest was silence, except for the tapping of the princely Zimmer as he made his way back to the Roller. Unfortunately Jazzfan, who was carrying the rest of the birds in a sack, managed to sit on it when he got into the car. A poor night’s work overall.

  162. hic8ubique permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:12 PM

    The only predatory pigs I’ve met were the male chauvinist sort. Table-manners make them disarmingly hazardous.

  163. September 9, 2010 8:13 PM

    freep over the next 6 months I shall be working with a few Dutch artists. Feel free to come and spy on them when they are in the UK.

    Should save you an EasyJet fare or two. Ramsbottom is about 2 1/2 hours from your neck of the woods.

    If you need a hide to observe their movements discreetly we can easily rig one up for you.

  164. freep permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:14 PM

    My favourite plant is not a saxifrage, mish, but at present the top flora is the Dawn Redwood. My favourite avian is always the corvid. The wings to be preened are not mine, but those of a lost crow. I found one last week and preened it before presenting it to the skies, to which it soared in exultation. But no doubt it will speak or croak to Apollo about your weather. Weather has been abolished here, along with Disability Living Allowance. We have weak warm sun and mists that swirl about the plum trees.
    HLM, I have not used the word cocksucker this se’nnight, but will try it on Julia with the unnerving eyes, to see how it should sound.

  165. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 8:16 PM

    You have a budgie named ‘Julia’?

  166. freep permalink
    September 9, 2010 8:25 PM

    No, Julia is the electronic translator who has a habit of looking wildly sideways. Simon introduced me to her.

  167. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 11:37 PM

    They are all masters and mistresses of the sidelong glance; lack of job satisfaction I don’t doubt.

    Saxifrage, a marvellous word game word. Sage for freep, fag for Mish, axis for Ed, gas for MM, fire for Hic, fraise for Henry, fig for Simon, anyone for sex… no? I’ll take that then.

    Just back from town where we went to view a light projection show on the facade of the new conference centre on the quays. Very impressive, even in the downpour. Time to get the closed-in-toe shoes out.

  168. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 9, 2010 11:44 PM

    Forgot to post this:

  169. mishari permalink*
    September 9, 2010 11:50 PM

    That’s no parrot…that’s a steroid-fueled budgie, mark my words. SQUASH IT BEFORE IT BREEDS!!!

  170. Reine permalink
    September 9, 2010 11:58 PM

    This is a truncated glimpse of the abovementioned if it’s anyone’s cup of tea.

  171. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:00 AM


    I thought you were talking about methods of self-slaughter there, Reine. But now I see it’s about sexuality. So how did you know about our host?

  172. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:03 AM

    The Scarlet al Adwani – did you have second thoughts about that?

  173. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:03 AM

    Very droll…you veer dangerously close to lèse majesté, impudent hound….

    And here’s Parisa’s theme song:

  174. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:05 AM

    Oh, just saw him blowing smoke up someone’s ass so put two and two together.

  175. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:08 AM

    Always the mot juste, Mish.

  176. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:10 AM

    Blimey, doesn’t look anything like the Dublin I remember. What an unusual-looking building. I rather like the bridge. Do you get an Aeolian lyre type effest when the wind blows?

  177. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:10 AM

    Effest? Effect.

  178. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:14 AM

    That ‘hound’ was directed at Gilles de Mauxbré, Reine, I hope you realise…

  179. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:16 AM

    The Samuel Beckett bridge – (indeed intended to look like a harp on its side) – which only opened last year, is quite magnificent. Can’t testify to any musical effects. There were initial teething problems with bird strike (swans) so they had to paint the cables to make them more clearly visible. That whole area of the quays between O’Connell Bridge and Dublin Port has been much rejuvenated over the past decade or so.

  180. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:18 AM

    I got that Mish, although I had a little cry just in case.

  181. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:20 AM

    I hope you wear effest on a cold day MM.

  182. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:21 AM

    I went to a music festival in Wales about 15 years ago, somewhere not far from the coast. It was great fun. Not too big, but big enough to be interesting. No real big names but lots of off-beat bands like The Seven Kevins, The Cheap Suit O’Rooneys and The Tragic Roundabout.

    They had a Mongolian sauna yurt; that was gas. It was also mackerel season and the landlady of a nearby pub gave me a whole bag of them, fresh as you like, not hours out of the sea. She said she was sinking under the weight of the buggers, what with every regular customer gifting her with a bag of them.

    We cooked them on a charcoal fire with leeks. They were superb.

    Why am I mentioning this? Oh, yeah…dotted around the site (in a fold in the Prescilly Mountains (sp?) , on the high ground were about a dozen huge metal Aeolian harps of various design. They made a rather lovely sound…

  183. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:23 AM

    Sorry, Re, you may not take ‘sex’ all to yourself, unless you accept ‘frig’ as well.

    Yours truly,

  184. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:26 AM

    Nothing like a fresh mackerel, to which Pater mine is very partial. He nearly cried on one occasion because I bastardised them by grilling them with a tincture of soya sauce and a touch of mustard.

    This year when one of several mackerel hauls arrived – simultaneously Mam was heard to mumble “not more fucking mackerel” and Dad “don’t let Reine cook it”.

    That festival sounds class. And excellent use of “gas”.

  185. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:26 AM

    Preseli: where the bluestone for Stonehenge came from.

  186. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:29 AM

    Wow, that’s some back-projection, Reine. That building reminds me of something…the shape, I mean. I just can’t place it…

    I wonder if the Salmon of Knowledge is related to the Mackerel of Trivia of blessed Welsh memory. Fish are brain food. Jeeves ate lots of fish…

  187. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:32 AM

    Fire, I’ll deny my sex, see your frig and raise you an arse.

  188. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:33 AM

    Your Dad has a rare understanding of the fish. Mackerel is good in all sorts of ways and I don’t object to your additions but…as your Dad knows, really fresh mackerel needs nothing, maybe a squeeze of lemon, no more and some decent bread and butther. Lovely. Rich and unctuous and more like meat than fish.

  189. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:33 AM

    I’m a T-shirk man myself.

  190. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:34 AM

    I don’t know that game, and to my further consternation, my trivium is most grievously spurned! [No it’s not-Ed.]

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 10, 2010 12:43 AM

      Oh, thankyou.

    • Reine permalink
      September 10, 2010 1:04 AM

      you’re such a flirt… never catch me doing anything like that

  191. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:35 AM

    That’s right, hic. Where the Stonehenge bluestone came from; also superb magic mushroom country…

  192. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:36 AM

    T-shirk. Isn’t that what they call the Irish Premiere, Reine?

  193. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:37 AM

    The building reminds me of Bender’s torso in Futurama. Or is it R2D2? One of them.

  194. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:41 AM

    So why did you have to be up at such an ungodly hour this morning, MM? Nothing deeply unpleasant, I hope?

  195. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:42 AM

    Close enough, shirking a lot more than tea the same fella.

    Taoiseach (pronounced thishuck or teeshock (a la Gerry Adams) depending on where one learned one’s Irish).

    I have a sudden yearning for mackerel and crusty bread. Will have to dream of them.

    Some nice shots in the gallery section of the CCD site of the building and the SB bridge.

  196. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:43 AM

    It’s Bender.

  197. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:44 AM

    I’d say it’s the Tiddly-Winks magic toadstool.

  198. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:45 AM

    No, had to go to the mainland (ie where you live) to do some incredibly boring stuff. That’s the drawback of living here, you have to add an hour and a half to every trip (and it costs you £40 every time).

  199. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:47 AM

    Not more smut jokes Reine? Exposure to Mowbray is having a deleterious effect on you. Must I put my foot down and forbid you to associate with that fellow, lest his vulgar ways become (God forbid) yours?

  200. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:50 AM

    Well, I suppose when you have to get your mangel-wurzels and hand-woven willow baskets to market, it’s the mainland or Frogland, which is seething with HenryLloydMoon…

  201. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:52 AM

    Looking at it again I think R2D2 is closer.

    Must go before I collapse. Laters.

  202. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 12:54 AM

    Yes, my mistress demands my presence. G’night all…

  203. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 1:03 AM

    Goodnight to you sir and you sir, and you ma’am etc….

    The damage is done Mish. Even when I am trying to be entendre-free, I appear sullied. I will thrash myself with nettles and saxifrage to rid me of my daemons.

  204. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:35 AM

    This is the way of it, I walk the dog, you all go to bed, and I must choose between my book and American football…
    How shall I choose?

    As I’m the last:

    If we bold mackerel have offended,

    Think but this, – and all is mended, –

    That you have but slumber’d here

    While did these double entendres appear.

    And this weak and idle theme,

    No more yielding but a dream,

    Budgies, do not reprehend;

    If you pardon, we will mend.

    And, as I am an honest hic,

    If we have unearned schtick

    Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,

    Your secret’s safe with us, Mishari;

    Else good hic an Aeolian lyre call:

    So, good night unto you all.

    Give me your ambidextrously lovely hands, if we be friends,

    And Julia shall restore amends.

  205. September 10, 2010 9:25 AM

    MM you had to go to the mainland to do some incredibly boring stuff. That would suggest that the Isle of Wight is where the exciting stuff happens. That’s not the picture you’ve been painting these last few years.

    Mishari since you seem to have met every obscure artist I’ve known in some pub or other in South London did you ever meet Max Eastley? He’s made some lovely instruments played by the wind.

  206. September 10, 2010 1:15 PM

    You’re welcome all who have enjoyed the coquettish Julia et al.

    Hic, I’ll see your perverse pleasure of 6th Sept and raise you:

  207. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:12 PM

    The IoW is beyond something as insignificant as boring, ET. Scientists have speculated recently that the Island exists in a previously unknown dimension, provisionally called Hohum. Front page story this week: Nick Clegg ‘may’ visit Island. I’m so excited I’ll have to get out the Safe ‘n’ Ezy pads.

    I’d go for the book, hic. Is there any sport more boring than American football? Apart from baseball, of course. Or basketball.

  208. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 2:15 PM

    Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease? He contaminates everything he touches — he has made music sick. I postulate this viewpoint: Wagner’s art is diseased. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Der Fall Wagner (1866)

    No flies on cross-eyed Fred.

  209. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:19 PM

    More perverse than pleasure there, S, eh?
    a sobering downbeat. Fascinating grim expressions on the faces in the audience, but no close-up of the children. What was that thing they were sitting on?

    I share a birthday with Furtwängler, who also conducted in concert with my namesake, Kirsten Flagstad.
    Robert Burns and Virginia Woolf also had my birthday.

  210. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 2:21 PM

    BTW, MM, I stuck a book in with the discs. I don’t know if I mentioned it before? Nul Points by Tim Moore? Very entertaining.

    A combined history of the Eurovision song contest and a quest, as Moore seeks out all the entrants who scored the dreaded ‘nul points’. Very funny and more than a little unhinged. I enjoyed it…

    Moore’s book about the Tour de France (French Revolutions) was very entertaining, too. I’m sure I have a copy somewhere. I’ll shoot that down as well, if you fancy it…

    Meanwhile, they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil:

  211. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:26 PM

    No, question, MM, the book won in a rout.
    There is golf as well, must give golf a mention.

  212. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 2:36 PM

    …and I couldn’t resist making this one. Over the years, whenever I’ve mentioned this song, people have accused me of making it up; “Who Put The Benzedrine In Mrs. Murphy’s Ovaltine? Yeah, right…”:

  213. September 10, 2010 2:39 PM

    I actually like Wagner’s music but you have to ignore almost everything about it in order to enjoy it.

    A condition perhaps akin to living on the IoW??????

  214. September 10, 2010 2:43 PM

    There used to be a great record of druggy songs from the 20’s and 30’s of which “Who put the Benzedrine” was but one. An American label….memory fading…..

  215. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 2:59 PM

    I detest Wagner’s music. Tolkien for Nazis. The perfect expression of the German weakness for sentimental hysteria. The very opposite of my beloved Bach and the antitheses of Beethoven’s magnificent passions.

    Cloying, exhausting, melodramatic sentimentality: drooling, over-ripe, over-wrought, blowsy, dishonest, cheap, noisome…

    Did I mention that I loathe Wagner? I remember listening to a long interview with George Steiner, wherein he described his life-long love of Wagner.

    What was interesting was Steiner’s explanation of how he reconciled himself to Wagner’s anti-semitism (given that Steiner lost most of his family to the gas chambers). He grew up in a household where Wagner ruled the Victrola so that’s his excuse…personally, I think Erich Korngold was a better and more honest composer. Some of the stuff he composed for Hollywood is wonderful…

    Wagner would have made a good Hollywood hack, composing scores for Star Wars films and such-like tripe. Did I mention that I really don’t like Wagner?

  216. September 10, 2010 3:03 PM

    Kirsten Flagstad, eh Hic? Now I have an image of you looking something like this:

  217. September 10, 2010 3:14 PM

    That seems a pretty fair summing up Mishari but I still like it.

  218. September 10, 2010 3:17 PM

    Oh yes, an update on Julie and co. There’s also a translator, which seems to work reasonably well, at least for short sentences:

  219. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:23 PM

    Looks a bit too stylish for hic. Like the knife, useful for doing the oysters.

  220. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 3:28 PM

    I expect no less from a white supremacist, Ed…although think I was accused of the same thing and I don’t care for the Wagster, or to be accurate, I don’t care for the music, although the man himself sounds like he was a colossal prick.

    Apparently, he used to wear gloves to conduct work by Mendelssohn and very ostentatiously order them burned when he had finished, contaminated as they were by ‘Jew music’. What a charmer…

    Here’s an old Dory Previn track I only discovered recently (her then hubby André is on piano). It’s off an album called (rather weirdly, I think) The Leprechauns Are Upon Me (1958). I find the lyrics pleasantly astringent:

  221. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:28 PM

    Thanks for the book, I still dip into the Eurovision when it’s on. I’m a bit dubious about the other one. Is it literally all about cycling, or is there human interest?

  222. September 10, 2010 3:38 PM

    Oh absolutely. The operas and stories in the operas are totally risible at best and his views were objctionable.

    I don’t make a habit of listening to him, I don’t own any of his music but I do enjoy some of his stuff when it crops up on the radio. So it would be dishonest not to admit that.

    As with Celine and I hope Carol Rumens does find a non-copyrighted poem so that the fur can fly with justification rather than speculation.

  223. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 3:38 PM

    Weeellll, there is rather a lot of cycling stuff, interesting for a cyclist like me, less so for a couch-potato like you…

  224. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 3:44 PM

    Oh, as I think you know, Ed, I’ve always been a vociferous advocate of the necessary separation between an artist’s work and his or her life…

    George Steiner was making exactly this point in that program (actually, I think it was Private Passions, which I usually enjoy), saying that one just had to accept that Wagner was an odious human being who made beautiful (in Steiner’s opinion) music…

    Christ, have you seen the cartoon/Manga tat by Murakami that’s on display in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors? I tease my French friends and relatives-by-marriage mercilessly about Disneyland. This crap is more ammo…seriously, look at this worthless rubbish.

    This stuff, like the infantile Argos catalogue junk of Jeff Koons, is fucking embarrassing

  225. September 10, 2010 5:10 PM

    I agree. All that fake old looking stuff. Doesn’t mix with the post- post-modern-animation-as-sculpture aesthetic of the interior decoration at all.

  226. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 5:33 PM

    [ quietly setting aside winged helmet]

    I have trouble separating Paul Gaugin’s life from his work; the creep factor stays in the foreground somehow.

    I’ve never been able to listen to the Ring Cycle right the way through, but I find there are sublime parts, including the Pilgrims’ Chorus ( those horns!), though I’d never go on a Bayreuth pilgrimage myself.
    Arthur Rubinstein, (um, not a Nazi sympathiser) was a Wagner enthusiast, compelling his grandchildren to sit through the Ring. He wasn’t a pleasant chap either.

    I find calling Wagner himself a ‘disease’ unskillful, and the charge that he ruined music, without some more subtle explication, risks seeming facile at best.
    Does Nietzsche mean that W corrupted occidental orchestral music such that it went in the direction of Bruckner/ Mahler/ Shostakovitch? I’d agree there’s an argument to be made there, though my passionate Dad would be in direct opposition to it.
    ( He gave me the LOTR as well, when I was 14, which I inhaled.)

    There isn’t much orchestral music after the Romantics that interests me, but I am keenly interested in the variations of individual perception and experience, so the audience response was for me the best part of Simon’s Meistersinger vid.

  227. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 5:34 PM

    Busts of Marcus Aurelius in that ghastly ox-blood marble and plastic Manga dolls in primary colours. You can have the lot. But, my God, that plastic manga rubbish would look vulgar in a porno book store, never mind The Hall of Mirrors…

  228. September 10, 2010 5:45 PM

    I would imagine the rationale for it is that it says stuff about stuff.

    He’s one of those artists who employs a vast team to churn out work for every conceivable market – album covers, key rings, car accessories, Xmas toys blah blah.

    I was reading an article a while back about some Japanese avant-garde artists. There didn’t seem to be a gap between corporate and experimental work. I suppose much like Koons or Hirst but the avant-garde over here tends to be a bit grubbier.

  229. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 5:48 PM

    The Versailles thing looks like a photoshop joke.

    I should have added John Williams to my list there for Hollywood crap music.

    I’m guessing you meant Bach’s Passion’s, Mishari?
    All I can think of for Beethoven is his Piano Sonata No. 23 the
    beloved ‘Appassionata’.

  230. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 5:54 PM

    No, hic, I meant Ludwig’s generally titanic emotional turmoil as opposed to a specific piece, although the 1st Piano Concerto makes you want to stand on a chair and wave an insurrectionist banner…

    Nietzsche does explain himself at length, re: Wagstaff.

    You can read the book (The Case of Wagner) on-line in German HERE

    Or you can download the English translation HERE or HERE.

  231. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 5:55 PM

    Hojotoho everyone and happy Friday!

    Hic – What is “Svealuna” then?

    Madame Flagstad had a fine set of lungs on her and I approve greatly of her headgear. I accidentally played the coffee song and Simon’s link together – a right cats’ chorus.

    I share a birthday with Jayne Mansfield and Dudley Moore. The sublime to the ridiculous.

  232. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 6:06 PM

    Nobody does opera like Bugs:

  233. September 10, 2010 6:08 PM

    So do you look like this, Reine?

    I share a birthday with von Humboldt, Rider Haggard and John Dillinger. On a good day I look like this:

  234. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:08 PM

    Thanks for the links Mishari, thought there would be more to it…

    Svealuna is made up. Did you think that was my real name, Re? I usually sign ‘K’.
    The Svea were an early tribe in what is now Sweden, and ‘luna’, because I am a moon-bathing night creature.
    Dudley Moore…associations…illness and pianist…?

    I don’t look like KF at all, at all. She’s Dad’s favourite soprano, but not mine. He loves this one, Simon:

  235. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:13 PM

    I’m not blonde Si, but I do have big earrings… You do yourself an injustice I’m sure.

    No, Hic, knew you were Kirsten but just wondered about the provenance of Svealuna, figured the moon bit but not the first part. It’s a lovely name all the same.

  236. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 6:17 PM

    I share my birthday with Bo Derek, Duane Allman, Alistair Cooke and Edwin Hubble. Tell me again about ‘typical’ Scorpios…

    I just heard on BBC Radio 4 news that the song ‘Ding-Dong, the witch is dead etc etc…’ is banned from funerals in Australia. Does that mean it was getting a lot of play at funerals? Wow…

  237. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:20 PM

    That’s no fun, we know what you look like. Beyond beautiful.

    Are there no other Arians in the House?

  238. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:23 PM

    When did this turn into the most happening blog in the western world? Rather more cut and thrust than I can take on a Friday evening. I’ve already had two G&Ts and have to drive to Montmartre. My emotions are in shreds after reading a biography of Warren Zevon, of all people, and I have to calm down and make polite conversation this evening. Keep it up. I shall look forward to more revelations about Wagner and Krooked Flagstaff when I return.

    BTW I share a birthday with Tom Stoppard, Judith Durham, Michel Polnareff, Dave Barry and Julie Burchill. Make of that what you will.

    PS. Reine, you are the picture of Irish loveliness. With large earrings.

  239. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:24 PM

    Bugs is even funnier dubbed, but that’s not the Wagner one, there’s another- with Brunnhilde and the horse…

    That’s a serious condition, Simon. I hope you’re being helped with it. Yes, I remember that Re has size DD earrings.

  240. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:27 PM

    Simon, this has a look of your eye about it, distinguished looking fellow Haggard.

  241. September 10, 2010 6:33 PM

    I share a birthday with Dorothy Lamour and …. ulp……. Kenneth Branagh plus on the list I looked at a whole heap of “famous” people I have never heard of.

  242. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 6:43 PM

    Sadly, hic, the only Bugs opera I can get is The Barber of Seville, which is posted now in place of the dubbed (I hadn’t realised) other one.

    Bugs doing Wagner used to be available on youtube but no longer…bastards.

    Still, Bugs doing ‘Figaro’ is pure joy…

    OK, I found a bit of Bugs as Brunhilde (AKA hic). Let’s see if his works:

  243. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:59 PM

    Thanks Henry! Found my “business” site, did you? ;)

    Forgot the link Simon, which is HERE.

  244. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 7:01 PM

    Hic, that was a great night we had at the Anne Summers accessories party.

    (How does one do italics on this site?)

  245. September 10, 2010 7:22 PM

    Apropos of nothing I rather enjoyed this comment from oldbathrobe on a GU thread

    ” Chris Tarrant once said “hasn’t Matthew Wright got one of those faces you would never tire of hitting?” ”

    Especially if you could hit him with Tarrant’s messily-extracted spinal column.

  246. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 7:54 PM

    Reine, for italics,place the word or phrase or paragraph you want italicised where the three dots are in this link.

    In fact, it’s the same for bold or blockquote etc etc. Have a look. It’s very simple and soon becomes second nature, even links (sparing you copying and pasting long, messy links like the one above. I’ll put all that into a hidden link. Watch…

  247. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:01 PM

    Thanks, sorry about the mess. you are not only beautiful but brilliant too R

  248. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 8:12 PM

    Reine, see HERE to learn how to do links.

    Honest, it’ll take you all of 2 minutes or less to get it and then practice makes it an autopilot job. Basically, copy and paste your link in between the quotation marks. That’s it…you’ll see…

  249. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:18 PM

    Great, thank you. I know how to do them at work – creating and linking hotspots and all that jazz but it’s a different system. My son “Mam, I showed ya how to do those months ago, God (sigh)…”. What an embarrassment I am.
    I will practise and aim to impress…

  250. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 8:30 PM

    No worries, kiddo. Keep posting long, messy links for as long as you like and I’ll keep tidying them up. I am entirely at your Ladyship’s service….arrrhhgg…how did that happen? You must be a…Divil Woman! I’m doomed, doooomed….

  251. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:48 PM

    Many’s the man would agree with you. I do appreciate your sweeper role. Truly, I do.

  252. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:10 PM

    Speaking of sweepers (if I may briefly horn in on the mutual adoration) in answer to your question, Re,
    I seem to recall that MM has an April birthday.
    Anne Summers is news to me, never having ventured much beyond VS.

    Never heard Linda Thompson sing lead before, M, she has a bit of a June Tabor sound, but maybe better, and I love Richard. Much enjoying the new cache of vids.

    I sympathise with your polite conversation plight, HLM.
    (I hope the g&ts helped with that, if not with the drive.)
    I seem to have no mask left anymore. The bores can tell from the first that they’re running the clock down fast.

  253. freep permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:19 PM

    I love that Bugs bit.
    There’s a lot wrong with Wagner, but I have a sentimental attachment to The Ring. A friend and I spent two Easters running listening to the Ring non stop, with Tristan and Der Fliegende Hollander thrown in for good measure. This would be 1960 or so. But besides liking all that incest and big bangs and anvils and the idea of Birgit Nilsson’s heaving bosom, we were aiming to become South London Domino Champions. So we played the great pile of LPs at the same time as playing non stop dominoes, and recorded all the scores (domino, not musical) on a long sheet of ceiling paper. I won, something like 278 games to 255. My friend still has this yellowing document. However, other 14 year olds we knew felt we were elitist, and posted a poorly wrapped turd through the letterbox of the door behind which Siegfried was howling his pleasure at the arrival of spring.
    James Joyce has my birthday, the swine.

  254. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:35 PM

    Hic, I was joking. AS is the height of tack although I did buy a black lace body there (in Lancaster of all places) en route to the lake district. Having donned it and lain on the bed, my beloved ran in to tell me Masterchef was on and that he had opened a bottle of wine and promptly ran away again without even looking at my languorous pose. I’ll stick with Lejaby from now on to house my earrings.

    “horn in”? Freudian my dear girl.

    Who’d have thought – MM and me born under the same wanderin’ star? I think he might be a Taurean though.

  255. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:41 PM

    You’re only 64 Freep?! I thought you were both ancient and venerable. Just venerable then. Hm, all to the good, makes sense then that you’re building stone walls.
    You and Mishari should each be writing your memoires; there’s something about the descriptive and narrative powers you share in such generous measure that it would be a shame not to dedicate time to writing them-
    heaving bosom, indeed.

  256. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:46 PM

    A black lace body…stocking, perhaps? Photos?
    Horn in: Arian.

    Taurus is auspicious in my history, though I turned down a marriage proposal from a double Scorpio. That was an unpleasant episode.

  257. mishari permalink*
    September 10, 2010 9:50 PM

    Think positive returning prodigal cat thoughts, gang, and direct them toward East London. I’m off (with Honey) to see if we can find Zeph’s Maine Coon cat, Holly.

    Zeph has moved and Holly hadn’t come home by the time she did, so I’m going to go up to Zeph’s old place and environs to see if Holly’s perhaps come back and is mooching around.

    I’m going to do it every evening for a week or two, as I have to be out and about with Honey dog anyway and it’s quite close by.

    Poor Zeph…I know how upsetting it is to lose a cat. Wish us luck…

    Is the poorly-wrapped turd through the letter-box the standard rebuke for chaps who get above themselves, freep? I must remember that…

  258. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:01 PM

    Yes, I’ve been thinking of Zeph, that’s an excellent plan, Mishari.
    Much love and luck to all of you in the endeavour.

  259. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:09 PM

    Oh, yes, best of luck. Poor Zeph. Fingers crossed. It would be a proper new home blessing to find Holly. x

  260. freep permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:11 PM

    Zeph, I am praying to St Anthony (of Padua) for the safe return of the mog. One of the better saints. But does Honey have the bloodhound instinct?
    Mish, I think the wrapped turd may have a mighty social history. In dictionaries of slang, frequent references are made in the early C20 to ‘flying pasties’, which are simply turd missiles. The modern obsession with Elf n Safety prob suggests that we look upon them with too much delicate distaste. They remain a fairly common weapon or communication of choice in prisons, where civilisation takes a harsher form.
    Hic, I am ancient but not particularly venereal, and no longer resemble the lissom birch, which I am sure you do. But being outside and moving the body parts and bending the thick’ning trunk is good while it can be done. I forgot to say how exciting I found the idea of all those thousands of lakes in Maine, with wonderful names. You are very lucky to have so many delightful puddles on your doorstep – figuratively, I mean.

  261. September 10, 2010 10:39 PM

    I know the cow pat in the brown paper bag which you put on the doorstep, set alight, ring the doorbell and scarper.

    Owner comes out, sees the flaming bag stamps on it …….. sophisticated humour Somerset-style is assured.

  262. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:55 PM

    No photos Hic, mercifully.

    Sage Freep
    Do not cry, do not weep
    We are all deceivers ever
    (in the best possible way)
    No longer a lissom birch maybe
    But an oak, a very regal tree
    Spawning acorns yearning to reach your height
    But for the most part
    Still searching for light
    Of sun and sky
    We weep and sigh
    And by and by
    May grow, may reach that Freepish star
    That glimmers in galaxies far.

    …God speed Holly’s journey home.

  263. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:31 PM

    Clement VII (op cit), Pushkin, John Wayne and Michael Portillo share my birthday. Portillo is a bit disturbing, though he does seem a much nicer person now.

  264. Reine permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:34 PM

    Ah, I knew I had looked up your dob re your Pope Clement poem a while back. Near enough.

  265. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:52 PM

    Near enough? Something tells me you’re not taking the cosmic science seriously. It’s probably what the Fuerher’s astrologer said when he was doing the chart for Sept. 3rd 1939.

    Assistant: I think you’ve done these calculations wrong.
    Roussel Von Grantsch: Oh? Yes, you’re right. Ah, fuck it, it’s near enough. What’s the worst that can happen?

  266. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:00 AM

    Ah, you know me so well. A perfectionist up to a point and then “ah fuck, it’ll do”. Icing sugar is very forgiving if your sponge cracks. I can understand that in the Fuehrer’s case, it might not have been the wisest attitude to adopt.

  267. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 12:15 AM

    If only Hitler’s sponge hadn’t cracked or he’d been less liberal with the old icing there…we’d all be speaking German. Food for thought…

    No Holly, alas…never mind…early days.

  268. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:18 AM

    Back safe and sound. Reine, no, I haven’t found your business site. I’d hate to be thought of as a stalker. I was relying on my imagination, which is what I do for anyone who is not within fifteen feet of me. I don’t think I have a likeness on the web, but the avatar I use for the Independent, Telegraph and similar is about as close as you’ll get. I look the way I feel, usually, which is large and blurred.


  269. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:24 AM

    Good job he ran out of eggs then. Close shave.

    Sorry to hear the search was unfruitful. Tomorrow maybe.

  270. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:25 AM

    Night Hens, stalk me any time. Glad you survived the journey.

  271. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 12:37 AM

    Your imagination, Hank. Stone me, still using that steam-age tech? I have a memory chip that stores 100 Zettabytes of information. That’s 100 million million gigabytes.

    I did a quick search for Reine, and in 2 nanoseconds, the unit returned an image of her, looking very like an eroticised Titania, Queen of The Fairies.


  272. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:48 AM

    Oh, you’ll have to search much harder than that. The hair is all wrong.

  273. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:52 AM

    I did a search for you and it turned up some young fella in a baseball cap looking like he was about to hotwire a car.

  274. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 1:02 AM

    I reckon this is about right, no? You hell-cat, you…must you drive men mad?

  275. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:04 AM

    You’re getting warmer but I don’t look that good in a cut out one piece. Purrrrrrrr…..

  276. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 1:12 AM

    Ah, yer just being modest.

    Great news, by the way. I got an email from Zeph: she found Holly earlier this evening (before I even went looking–that’ll teach me to check my messages). Zeph and beloved cat are reunited. Holly’s fine; some small scratches but otherwise in the pink. Isn’t that great? Good news for a comrade is always welcome…

  277. September 11, 2010 3:18 AM

    Haggard is distinguished in that photo, Reine, and the eye is a bit similar. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet: all I need now is to write a bestseller about Vikings: Si Brighteyes?

    Lovely piece of Flagstad there, Hic. Continuing the Norwegian theme:

  278. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:32 AM

    Delighted to hear the joyous Holly update. Thanks for keeping us posted, Mishari.

    I had one seriously incriminating photo shoot, Re, involving a new Jamis mountain bike c.1994, but fortunately my cycling friends at the time discouraged me from submitting highlights to the Wombats. It may well be that my rudest moments involved a bike, a tube…no, I can’t really say any more about this.

    Freep, it’s never too late to say a good thing.
    Yes, the birch: pale and bendy, and yes, outdoors and moving is the way to air ones soul, preferably without anyone complaining nearby. If you should ever come to New England, I’ll happily shepherd you and yours to all the puddles you could wish to stomp in, with all the best names, of course.

    I usually submit a photo for my avatar when it’s invited, but couldn’t help but notice that, when the GU switched to that option, it seemed an invitation for people to make sniping personal remarks. It’s more appropriate in a smaller forum such as this perhaps, where we know each other better.
    I do find it pleasingly hospitable for Mishari to appear in person.

  279. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:40 AM

    Looks and sounds as if that’s Lucia Popp, Simon; lovely.
    I have her Magic Flute on an old Angel LP, my favourite
    Q of the N (just speaking of appalling libretti).

  280. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:47 AM

    Oh, forgot to say: freep, we’re only one week apart! Must remember to have a bring your own champagne and pomegranate party, when the time comes.

  281. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:31 AM

    That’s great that Holly is back in the fold. Hope you will be very happy in your new home Zeph.

    Simon – I’m going to have that song (Brighteyes not Solveig’s) in my head all day. Look forward to the possibility of seeing your second eye one of the days, maybe you will reveal yourself to us by increments.

    Hic, I can’t even begin to imagine how that scenario unfolded. I have only one bike (moped) story involving a fellow in Florence, whose restaurant we had dined in, offering me a spin at closing time. Too much wine and grappa consumed so I thought it would be a laugh and foolishly accepted. It ended up like a scene from Benny Hill as I tried to escape his clutches, which was difficult when he was flying around the place and I was hanging on for dear life, wondering what component of the bike was located under my right thigh.

  282. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 10:33 AM

    D’ya fancy a little royde, d’ya?

  283. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:52 AM

    See, I carefully chose the word “spin” to avoid falling into that trap. Thankfully, I haven’t been on the receiving end of such an invitation in Dublinese.

  284. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:56 AM

    Here’s some Dublinese for ya

    …”Ja see yer man, smokin’ his fag, thinks he is very cool he does. The bollix. I wouldn’t like to be the poor mot he’s royding… he probably talks to her all foreign-like, doorty bastard…”

  285. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 11:09 AM

    …the gobshite…says he’s a wroiter…wroite me bollix, the hoor…an’ yer one’s no feckin prize…fuck me ole boots, the whack of ‘er gee’s brutal…

  286. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:16 AM

    Too early in the day to go down that olfactory road! Did make me laugh out loud so I had to read it to the assembled crowd of one who got all indignant and said “he’s not talking about you is he?” I should bloody well hope not.

  287. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 11:21 AM

    Tell yer pal to bite his or her tongue. Of course I’m not talking about you, or anyone at all…how could you even entertain such a thought, for shame?

  288. September 11, 2010 11:26 AM

    Years ago when we were working in Temple Bar in Dublin for a week, we were harassed daily by street kids. We let them in to see the show ( a sort of small theatre booth that presented a show for 10 people at a time – a precursor of the pig ) but they wanted to come in again and again and eventually just became a bleedin’ nuisance pushing in front of people in the queue.

    One who had a really good singing voice ( he busked just round the corner ) pleaded to me with the voice of an angel and when I said no you’ve already seen the show twice his voice dropped two octaves and he said “Six miles up yer arse!”.

    We were staying nearby and used to see the vans arrive early in the morning and all the kids being kicked out the back. The older kids used to hang around the younger kids who made more money through being cuter and having sweeter voices and then steal their earnings. Brutal

  289. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:28 AM

    I knew that, I should have contextualised for him.

    A real recent conversation …”He got his lad stuck up her Mary and they had to go to hospital… scarleh she was. Her Ma and Da were ragin’.”

    Getting flashbacks to my father’s classic putdown of old “Reine, that kind of language really doesn’t become you.”

  290. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:31 AM

    Yes, Ed, they are so battle hardened those kids. Nice of you to have been kind to them even if it tested your patience.

    “Fly up me hole” is a variation on the theme of “six miles up yer arse”.

  291. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 11:46 AM

    Our friend Zeph’s moved to Loughton, part of Epping Forest. According to wiki, Loughton’s literary associations include:

    Lady Mary Wroth (1586–1652), niece of poet Sir Philip Sidney, lived at Loughton Hall with her husband Sir Robert Wroth, and they turned the mansion into a centre of Jacobean literary life. Ben Jonson was a frequent visitor, and dedicated ‘The Alchemist’ to Mary and ‘The Forest’ to Sir Robert. Lady Mary was an author of considerable repute in her own right, and her book ‘Urania’ is generally regarded as the first full-length English novel by a woman.

    Anthony Trollope (1815–1882) who lived for some time at nearby Waltham Cross, set part of his novel Phineas Finn (1869), which parodies corrupt electoral procedures, in a fictional Loughton’’.

    William Wymark Jacobs (1863-1943) lived at The Outlook, Upper Park Road before moving to Feltham House, Goldings Road. Best known as the author of the short story The Monkey’s Paw. Jacobs also wrote numerous sardonic short stories based in ‘Claybury’, which is a thinly-fictionalised Loughton.

    Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) stayed as a child at Goldings Hill Farm.

    Arthur Morrison (1863–1945), best known for his grim novels about London’s East End, lived in Salcombe House, Loughton High Road.

    Hesba Stretton (1832–1911) was a children’s author who lived in Loughton. Hesba Stretton was the pen name of Sarah Smith; her novels about the street children of Victorian London raised awareness of their plight.

    Horace Wykeham Can Newte lived at Alderton Hall: he was a prolific novelist.

    Another children’s writer, Winifred Darch (1884–1960), taught at Loughton County High School for Girls 1906-1935 (now Roding Valley High School), as did the hymnodist and poet, Emily Chisholm (1910–1991), who lived in Loughton at 3 Lower Park Rd.

    Ruth Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, who lived at Shelley Grove, Loughton, was educated at Loughton County High School for Girls and subsequently worked as a journalist in Loughton at the West Essex Gazette. Some of her fiction is set in Epping Forest, and Little Cornwall, the hilly area of Loughton close to Epping Forest, takes its name from her description in the novel ‘The Face of Trespass’.

    Poets associated with Loughton include Sarah Flower Adams (1805–1848), and Sarah Catherine Martin, author of the nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard” is buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Church, Loughton. William Sotheby (1757–1833), poet and classicist, lived at Fairmead, Loughton.

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) lived at Beech Hill House, High Beach 1837-1840 where he wrote parts of his magnum opus “In Memoriam.” John Clare (1793–1864) lived at a private asylum at High Beach 1837-1841.

    The First World War poet Edward Thomas(1878–1917) also lived at High Beach 1915-1917.

    The poet George Barker (1913–91) was born at 116 Forest Road, Loughton.

    Geoffrey Ainger (b.1925),who wrote the Christmas carols, Born in the Night, Mary’s Child, Do Shepherds Stand, and several other hymns, was Methodist minister of Loughton 1958-63.

    T E Lawrence’s hut from Chingford was re-erected at Loughton in 1931. -wikiedia

    I must confess to being slightly baffled by this last one…

  292. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:53 AM

    Some really inventive language there. When we visited Mrs M’s uncle at the family’s (semi-derelict) farm in Co Clare a very thin cat wandered into the kitchen. ‘Get out, you narrow bastard!’ the old man shouted. A very precise description.

  293. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:02 PM

    As word pictures go MM, I can see that in high definition.

  294. September 11, 2010 1:12 PM

    Well Reine, since you asked so nicely. I’m here

    Hope that works (the link I mean). [Works fine-Ed.]

  295. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:20 PM

    catflap getting the hang of this

    May cats and other clients
    Friends and family reconvene
    For poets’ potluck picnics…
    Happy new home, Zepherine

  296. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 1:23 PM

    It’s Indiana Hunter, on his way to pinch some antiquities from China…..

  297. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:27 PM

    That wall looks like North of England c. 1940s.

    Sorry about my script experiments, BTW. Not entirely successful.

  298. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 1:34 PM

    I think you’re right, Hank. Red bricks a give-away. I think I spot the handle of a wheelbarrow, too.

    What ‘script experiments’?

  299. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:42 PM

    The postmodern spelling of Zephirine?

  300. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:52 PM

    That didn’t hemp. Help. Just woke up on the keyboard with a zillion 00000000000000s in my document. Thank goodness for control Z.

  301. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 11, 2010 1:56 PM

    Glad to see that Zeph is reunited with her cat. Hope all settle nicely into their new home.

    The turd missile was possibly the first invention of warfare, long before the stick or the rock. Wrapping turds in leaves or in silk, or placing them into envelopes, was a later sophistication. Talking absolute shite to one’s enemies is the sanitised version of this tradition.

    I’ve been chewing on hawberries this past week on my mountainy wanderings. Anyone else here partial to this unassuming and much neglected fruit?

    Jack Brae

  302. mishari permalink*
    September 11, 2010 2:05 PM

    Hawberries? Are they the fruit of the hawthorne or is that a stupid question?

  303. September 11, 2010 2:18 PM

    Speaking of antiquities smuggling, a few years ago I met a mad Dane in Dali City (大理) who made a living hopping across the border into Vietnam doing exactly that. God knows how he got away with it because he was permanently drunk and high on the local hemp (sold on the street corners by little old women in ethnic dress). I recommend Yunnan for a holiday by the way; lovely climate, very relaxed and the possibility of illegal jeep tours into Tibet for the adventurous (and well-heeled).

  304. September 11, 2010 2:37 PM

    My dad was in the East Surrey regiment and was at Dunkirk. At some point during the retreat they had to rationalise the equipment they were using. Every tank and armoured car was full to the brim with furniture and antiques that had been ” liberated” from local villages en route to the coast and the infantry were none too pleased to have to give up their spoils of war which made an enormous mountain of stuff by the roadside.

    Simon I’m sure you’ve been to the national museum in Taipei which is full of antiquities “smuggled” out of communist China. Given the sheer amount of stuff in the museum ( a tiny percentage of which can be shown at one time ) and the size of some of it you have to admire how they did it. Obviously the operation was not as clandestine as you would think but given the value of much of it I can’t imagine the communists would have readily let it go.

  305. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 2:52 PM

    What, the routed Allied forces looting on non-enemy territory? Good job we weren’t winning. They’d have been raping young virgins on every altar rail.

  306. September 11, 2010 2:57 PM

    No Ed, I’ve never been to the ‘renegade province’ although I keep getting emails with job offers from schools there so who knows. I imagine most of the stuff was taken by the Nationalists when they fled to the island in 1949, but no doubt other stuff has been brought in since. Bribing Chinese police/border guards is a time-honoured and widespread practice, the jollity of which is only ended by a bullet to the back of the head for the unlucky few who get caught.

  307. September 11, 2010 2:58 PM

    Gurds? Gird your loins…[Fixed-Hurdy Gurdy Ed.]

  308. September 11, 2010 3:11 PM

    HLM No doubt being the cheeky cockney regiment they were the claim would be that the locals had “given” them the stuff in gratitude. But gratitude for what ( choosing their village to retreat through?) remains to be seen.

    My dad was certainly given stuff in such circumstances when he was in Italy. Including a painting of a Madonna and child.

    After the war to find out if it had any value he took it to the National Gallery where the expert told him it was from Mexico.

  309. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:13 PM

    Dear Simon, my friend, as an adult who has mixed feelings about *still* being addressed as ‘cutie’, I realise this may not be a welcome observation, but honesty is my only policy, come what may…
    You have what I consider to be the classic English baby face, complete with ‘baby blues’.
    *smootch, cuddle*
    Sorry, Love.
    I’ll post one here in a minute:
    (which is just a secondary email, so I can post it)
    if you add me to your contacts, you can see me smiling at you, and retaliate in kind.

  310. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2010 3:15 PM

    We used to call haws ‘bread and cheese’ in Glos. I preferred actual bread and cheese.

  311. September 11, 2010 4:15 PM

    I’ve done that, K. Looking forward to seeing the Nordic beauty in full splendour (don’t forget the winged helmet). x

  312. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 5:23 PM

    So, doesn’t my pic pop up when you put the cursor on my name, Si?
    Maybe it only happens in gmail? I don’t know how to do the adobe thing you did.
    (You must imagine the winged helmet, I’m afraid.)
    but glad you’re still talking to me.

  313. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 7:29 PM

    Hi, I was in town lunching and making polite conversation. Simon, you are fairly close to how I pictured you, thanks for revealing all. Very cool hat and, as Hic said, a lovely (slightly mischievous) face. And where are you Hic? Can’t figure out this whole jpeg business.

  314. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 7:39 PM

    I’ve just now fixed it (per Simon’s message), Re.
    I’m hopelessly slow and querulous on the tech uptake myself, but I’d have thought you’d seen me before…
    I’m making sponge for trifle, by the way :)

  315. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:31 PM

    I think I have seen you one music channel haven’t I? Still can’t access that link, just brings me into the gmail address screen.

  316. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:32 PM

    on the, was trying to fix that…

  317. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:36 PM

    Even for someone fairly used to relying on inference and deduction, these references are particularly obscure. I’ll see you one music channel and raise you a ,

  318. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:45 PM

    Yes, I put a new one on PH music last month. I just thought a smiling one would be friendlier for here… and not in a winter hat. Do you have gmail, Re? I don’t know whether it shows up on other accounts. You can make a gmail account with just your blog name showing.

    Have you not discovered Mishari’s music channel, Moon?
    It takes ages to make sponge whilst dancing about the kitchen.

  319. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:03 PM

    Still haven’t mastered the links business Mish. Hello everyone.

    Hic, I do have Gmail –; do you mean to email the pic or am I missing something blatantly obvious?

    Your sponge will never rise if you don’t concentrate and stop dancing!

  320. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:13 PM

    Better living through multi-tasking?
    Well, you probably must put my address in your Contacts and then when you put your cursor on my name on the left-hand side, my pic should pop up. Hope it’s worth it!

  321. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:28 PM

    Still no joy Hic. An unpaid actress – my whole life is one big dramarama… I have two gmail accounts, the other is far more pedestrian.

  322. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:44 PM

    Yep, the fruit of the whitethorn or hawthorn. They’re an acquired taste, to be sure. There’s very little flesh on them, just a thin layer around a small hard stone, and they taste like dry, slightly stale apples. As it happens, MM, they’re very good with cheese and bread. However, eating them does require quite a bit of spitting (those tiny pips) and for the amount of fruit you get for the effort they are a tad labour intensive, but I quite like them. Eating things like sloes and crab-apples and haws and whortleberries and strips of wild mint is one of the pleasures of a stroll along the hedgeways.

    I see that there’s a new thread so I’m going to pop over there now.

    Jack Brae

  323. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:47 PM

    They are very bitter Jack, are they not? What a poet you are wandering the wild, and sampling its harvest. We were told they were poisonous but sampled anyway … following in our sister, Eve’s footsteps.

  324. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:15 PM

    They can be bitter, yes, but they can also vary from tree to tree. The other day I nibbled from three bushes and they were all quite different. The last was so bitter that it left a coating of fur on my tongue.

    Eating the fruit of the hedge is a tradition not really observed anymore, but I keep it up because I see it as part of my poet’s obligation.

  325. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:28 PM

    Yes, that’s it exactly – the fur coating thing! Have fond memories of blackberry picking back in the day but the hedges do not seem to give as generously as in the past. I think it sounds idyllic, your wandering and glad you are keeping tradition alive. Something to tell the kids about at your school workshops, I think many are unaware of nature’s bounty and think fruit grows in the Tesco lorry. Look forward to a poem on the theme from you in due course. R

  326. September 12, 2010 11:22 AM

    Just to finish this thread… Lovely pic, Reine: the Celtic tigress! Still no joy seeing yours, K.

    I too am a hedgerow wanderer, but I like to cook my fruit having gathered it. I still have 2 dozen jars of last year’s bramble jelly (and that’s after eating 2 jars a month this year). Too many plums to count this year, so I’m going to bottle as many as I can and give them to people for Xmas. Cheap, moi?

  327. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:44 AM

    Thanks Simon, followed your lead with the Acrobat thing but wasn’t sure I had used it properly.

    I roar like one too…and I can’t see Hic’s either. I’d love some bramble jelly for my toast, what a tease you are.

  328. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 1:51 PM

    Maybe your programmes don’t allow that function, so I’ve just linked the same pic into mail for each of you.
    You too have a dreamy baby face, Re. (I hadn’t realised that was the same sort of link.)
    What a doll! smooches to you too~ x

  329. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:07 PM

    I’m usually much more heavily made up than that but opted for the au naturel approach. I might post another to illustrate the contrast Hic, but thanks for your kind comments. Just got your email – to those of you who haven’t seen her yet, she is as beautiful as she comes across. Inside and out obviously.

  330. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:28 PM

    You can see my earrings in this one in which I am channeling the sad puppydog look. That’s it, won’t inflict any more upon you.

  331. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 4:56 PM

    Thankyou Re, that’s very dear of you to say.
    It’s just a love-fest at PH these days.
    I don’t call that heavy makeup,and those are not the ‘earrings’ I thought you meant; Simon’s not the only tease, as we know…
    I imagine if we signed up for blogs, we’d all appear here instead of our quilt patches, though I do look good in blue.

    Any other regulars who want to mail me, I’ll be happy to link the pic Simon and Re got, since I don’t have the acrobat thingy down yet.
    I’ve seen your avatar on the Indie, Moon. I’m sure you look nothing like that character.

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