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Going, Going…Gone

September 11, 2010


A few days ago, our friend Zéphirine lost her Maine Coon cat Holly amidst the always traumatic confusion of moving house. Happily, Holly was found last night and re-united with her mistress.

We’ve all lost things: Family, lovers, friends, pets, jobs, money, a sense of purpose, hope, respect for politicians, your way home, the will to live, your mind, your perspective, your sense of humour, your wits, your sense of proportion, your inspiration, your hair, your teeth, the remote…

Sometimes we get them back, sometimes we don’t want them back; sometimes it’s as though a large chunk of your essential being has been torn from you, raw and bleeding; other times you didn’t even notice that what you’d lost was gone.

Let’s have poems on loss. You might even have one lying around. Have a look. Can’t find it? You must have lost it. Well, that’s inspiration for you…

Here’s an old one of mine about that final great loss of all things:



Darker Later

‘Ainsi, toujours pousses vers de nouveaux rivages,
Dans la nuit eternelle emportes sans retour’

Le Lac by Alphonse De Lamartine*



Black of wing and raucous caw,
Razor-beaked and sharp of claw;
What dark messenger has come
To tell you that your race is run?

Fabled, sable, able crow,
Won’t you tell me where we go?
Sighing, crying, dying me,
What’s the difference?
Now I’m free.

Dirt, stars, blood, air,
Rock, light, spit, bones,
Sinew, ashes, dust, hair,
Love, hate, water, stones.

The dark bird wheels,
The dark wheel spins,
The dark conceals
The darkest sins.

Again the fatal dance begins.


* ‘So, always impelled towards new shores,
Carried for ever into eternal night’

  1. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:10 PM

    Newcastle 0 Blackpool 2

    Black and white stripes are prison bars
    That cage the hopes of Geordie boys
    That vertically mask the scars
    That swell the shame, that quell the noise

    Tangerine, she is all they claim
    A sunbeam turning matt to gloss
    Embalming dreams shot down in flame
    Imparting grief, inflicting loss

  2. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:14 PM

    Good amendment, Mishari, may we all die of such shoes…well, may Reine and I … Zeph?

    My grandmother, Margaret, was an Epping Green girl, and the primary love of my early life, so this seems the obvious place to start.
    I believe it’s the first serious poetry I ever attempted. She died on 13th June’91, and the following came from a dream in Jan of ’95…
    One more note: there was a song in the dream: Archie Fisher’s ‘All That I Ask’.

    When she had slipped beyond my reach awhile,
    and all our words were past, her voice gone too,
    dreaming went I once more to our place,
    The Snuggery, and sought to find her there,
    but she had gone.
    And there I sat alone,

    uncomforted on stones beside the sea,
    when on a flood-tide close they came to me,
    two hump-back whales!

    and looked,
    but chorused not their cries.
    Great bodies of lament regarded me
    in utter tragic truth,
    and we were one

    and the same.


    Now, when the tide recedes and bares the rocks

    then I, as Whale, must smash and breach my hull,
    the vessel holding all the grief of me.

    No, no!
    I beg;
    for then,
    Who shall I be?

  3. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:20 PM

    Too exquisite, Moon.

  4. Zeph permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:34 PM

    Mishari, thanks again for joining in the search for Holly, and thanks to PH people for your good wishes and advice.

    I went back to the old house one last time before the new tenants were due in and there she was out at the back, sitting on next door’s conservatory roof as usual. She’s fairly thin and has been fighting, but was otherwise undamaged after 7 days missing. Of course I’d had nightmare visions of her as a sodden lump floating in the canal, or a tortie tabby Maine-Coonskin hat.

    She seems to regard the whole episode as an outrageous dereliction of duty on my part. She started shouting at me the moment she saw me and hardly stopped for some hours, except to eat. Today she’s been shouting every time I went out of her line of vision. However, she did hide briefly this evening and when I told her it wasn’t funny she clearly thought it was… only one of us is traumatised and it sure ain’t her.

  5. Zeph permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:43 PM

    Here’s one I wrote for PP a while back, it isn’t about personal loss but definitely about going..gone…

    ‘There are many ruined buildings in the world
    but there are no ruined stones.’
    Hugh MacDiarmuid

    when we have gone
    a warm wind will blow dust across
    drystone walls on brown hills
    and remnants of houses
    bricks and mortar crumbled
    fallen flints still sharp

    when we have finished
    and there are no more of us to labour
    under the red sun
    broken stone bridges will straddle
    the pebbles of dried river beds
    the scorching desert sands will half submerge
    high carved facades of ruined palaces

    without us
    the hot sea will wash over the toothy cliffs
    and then explore
    the tumbled stones of sunken cities

    when there is no more mankind
    to remember mankind
    the rocks will be there
    remembering their own things

  6. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:51 PM

    Continuing the Granny theme…

    September ’93

    We lost Granny to the world in ’93
    But she had been lost to herself
    For many years before that

    Patricia O’Toole, nee King, originally of Claddaghduff
    – One woman show,
    Known for her daredevil driving in her red Fiat 500
    Cabbage styled blue rinse grazing the low roof
    Cigarette in hand,
    Teacher, daughter, sister, wife, mother, much loved grandmother –
    Bowed out from reality when she lost her mind

    She cooked feeds of rashers in the middle of the night
    Read in the newspaper that her husband had died and wondered why no one had told her
    Accused us of stealing her spoons
    Wore three dresses at a time when the sun beat down outside

    We laughed and cried for her loss but
    we never lost her gentleness and love
    She though her Muddy and DaDa still lived
    And that her greatgrandson was her baby
    In photos she grasps him with pride
    While his mother holds her hand
    A strange link of intergenerational fibreoptics

    She put her teeth to soak in cups of tea
    and drank Steradent
    She forgot that she was a champion poker player
    But she still complimented my high forehead and told me to walk with my shoulders back, even though she didn’t know my name
    She offered me whiskey nightcaps andd we sat in wingbacked chairs in companionable silence

    Now, she is elsewhere, a famous finder of things
    No need for St. Anthony, we ask her intercession
    And it always comes
    Patricia, Granny, lost but ever present

  7. September 11, 2010 10:35 PM

    Debating whether to leave
    My mother’s name in my phone book
    Is an odd way to grieve.
    Whichever way you look
    At the small details
    That cut to the quick
    That churn you up.

  8. Reine permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:44 PM

    Oh Ed, that is so sad. x

  9. September 11, 2010 10:46 PM

    Aach the first line should read ” Debating whether to leave”. Could you change Ed ? Thanks Ed.

  10. Zeph permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:49 PM

    Ah, yes. The world is divided into people who have their mother still and people who don’t, and it’s a harsh crossing to make from the first group to the second. My sympathies, ET.

  11. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:54 PM

    Yes, big hugs to you EdT.

    A vivid tribute to your Gran, Re.

    CaptNed, if you’re about, your Lament for Sion is so evocative, I hope you’ll add it here or on the PH translation.

    Zeph~ good to see you! I remember my Ruskin
    ‘telling me all about it’ just like that, the time he came back.

  12. Zeph permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:54 PM

    I found your story of Ruskin very reassuring, Hic.

    ET – the answer is yes, leave the address in your book. For the time being, anyway.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 1:09 AM

      Glad to hear it, Zeph. I’m enjoying your reunion from afar, and agree with your advice about EdT’s address book.

  13. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:58 PM


    I’ve lost it and I won’t find it again,
    it’s disappeared forever from my view,
    there’s no chance at all that I’ll regain
    those special attributes on which I drew.

    Its absence is a vacant spot inside me,
    but its lack of presence is living on,
    when I need that unusual quality
    is the moment I remember it’s gone.

    I used to love it in the way I love myself,
    with a hot and passionate devotion,
    it’s not easy to place this cold rebuff
    in a ceremony of emotion.

    For a time I had it and now I don’t,
    it might come back: but I know it won’t.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 1:15 AM

      You’ve surprised me, Vicar. I was anticipating a punch-line about your gall-bladder or some such, but this is poignant.

  14. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 12:05 AM

    I found chucking away stuff (I mean just ordinary household stuff) my mother had given me quite difficult for a while. Then I thought, it’s just stuff, and chucked it away.

  15. September 12, 2010 12:35 AM

    Thanks everyone. The disorientating thing being that we really weren’t a close family and hadn’t been for a long time but were obviously much closer than any of us thought.

  16. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:32 AM


  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:34 AM

    Blood Loss

    This has never happened to me before.
    No excuses, that just isn’t my style,
    but yes, I’m quite tired and my back’s been sore,
    and, this might surprise you, it’s been a while.

    It’s all been a bit hurried, as you say,
    I prefer a more leisured performance.
    Mind you, I wish you hadn’t laughed that way
    when I tripped over taking off my pants.

    I’m not saying it’s your fault, of course.
    Let me relax a sec and shut my eyes,
    I need to submerge and get to the source,
    see if the mighty Titanic will rise.

    Oh yes, now I feel the juices flowing.
    Hang on a minute, where are you going?

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:38 AM

    Why, thank you, hic. Normal service has been resumed.

  19. September 12, 2010 12:18 PM

    MM was that a transcript of your video-phone conversation with Sasha at ?

  20. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 12, 2010 12:24 PM

    I’m a bit too irritable these days to contemplate loss in a poem, but I’ll brace myself and maybe give it a go. But don’t hold your breath anyone. The loss that’s draining me the most at the moment is the loss of sleep. So I barely have the energy to tolerate any of the other stuff. I was awake at four again this morning (having gone to bed around two) and so came into my room here and scribbled a translation of a poem by Giuseppe Giusti. Took great liberties in trying to solve the problems of such an exercise, of course, but posted it a while ago to PP. Everyone seems to have given up on that one though, but I suppose the thread has been open a tad too long at this stage.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 1:39 PM

      Not everyone, Jack; I gave you a nod on that one yesterday.
      It’s a beauty.
      I’d fall asleep hanging from a clothesline if I’d only had two hours.
      Do you ever take valerian?

    • InvisibleJack permalink
      September 12, 2010 2:18 PM

      Tried valerain; nothing works on me, except concussion.

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 1:14 PM

    I thought those calls were confidential. Those naughty belles will be hearing from my solicitors.

    You’ve been eating the wrong berries, Jack. I recommend those black ones on the plant with the dull, egg-shaped leaves. Should guarantee you a long sleep.

  22. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 12, 2010 1:38 PM

    I’ve eaten those too, you blaggard!

    You should know by now that Jack is impossible to kill.

  23. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 1:45 PM

    oo, I don’t think we have those hereabouts.

    I encouraged my daughter to eat a fig yesterday and she grimaced, so I broke it open to show the lovely soft green and pink colours of the fruit inside. Her disgusted response:
    ‘It looks like the inside of an animal.’

  24. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:15 PM

    I know what she means really. They’re the kind of thing I like to eat but can’t bear to look at.

    There’s a fig tree outside the house here which bore a crop, for the first time ever, of purple figs. Everyone of them were scoffed by the magpies. It bears fruit every year (twice) but they always remain green. It’s now bearing its second crop of the season, bunches of large fruit, (are there any other fruiting trees that have two crops in a year? – and please excuse my ignorance), but they’ll stay green in the constant Irish rain and will rot on the branches as usual.

    Anyone know of culinary things one can do with green figs? (But not you MM, you’ll simply try to poison me).

    Jack Brae

  25. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:17 PM

    A pear-shaped receptacle
    That’s fleshy and edible
    When ripe (sounds a bit like me)
    And big

    A figment of an animal’s
    Insides; Figaro’s feral
    Gut tripe (taken with high tea):
    A fig

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 4:18 PM

      Compelling and crafty, but ultimately most unappetising, Moon. I’ll be needing to avert my eyes, like Jack.

  26. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:33 PM

    Jack, criss cross them at the top, drizzle with honey and bake them in a lowish oven until yielding… define yielding you might ask, I suppose just press them between your fingers and if they give a little, Bob’s your uncle. I think I may have been a fig in a former life. Serve with cheese or cold meats (they are very cut with serrano, parma and the like) and bread. Regards, Nigella.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 4:14 PM

      That sounds yum. I’d suggest gouda.

  27. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:35 PM

    Very cut or indeed very “good”. Christ.

  28. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 4:03 PM

    No Specs Blues

    I can’t find my glasses, pawing all around the bed.
    No, I can’t find my glasses, and I’m pawing all around the bed.
    When I don’t wear my glasses, it’s like under-water eyes in my head.

    Well, I woke up this morning, took a look at you
    said: ‘something’s different’; I wish I knew.
    My contacts are in the bathroom, but I’d never find my way.
    It’s a rude awakening, will it be that kind-a day?

    Oh, I can’t find my glasses…&c

    I’m groping in the covers, under pillows, mine and yours.
    I know I’ve found the dog when I recognise his snores.
    You look mighty fine, dear, as I see without my specs;
    Will it wake you if I lay my head on your morning-after pecs?

    I can’t find my glasses…&c

    Say, Daddy, what big eyes you’ve got, and as I feel about
    your front-man’s seeming bigger too, and have you grown a snout?
    I’d like to pee and clean my teeth and come back for Act II;
    your appetite is legendary, so there’s just one thing to do…

    I can’t find my glasses, pawing all around the bed.
    No, I can’t find my glasses, and I’m pawing all around the bedstead.
    When I don’t have my glasses, it’s like under-water eyes,
    under-water eyes
    it’s like under-water eyes
    in my head.

  29. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2010 4:58 PM

    Figs only ripen after they been pollinated by fig wasps (the only pollinators of figs). The whole process is quite interesting and a little odd (as outlined on this website). I suspect there are no fig-wasps in Ireland…

  30. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 5:04 PM

    Hi boss, may I have ‘I’d never find my way’ in line six?
    More wasps…

  31. September 12, 2010 6:07 PM

    Green figs might contribute to a pickle Jack in the way that green tomatoes do but as Mishari said the non-pollinated unripened-ness would need a lot of sugar to make them palatable.

  32. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:40 PM

    Spectacular poem there, hic, but surely you mean ‘pouffe’. Poof has quite a different meaning in the UK (and possibly in Ireland, if they have any).

    Did St Patrick abolish the fig-wasps as well as the snakes? I suppose their alleged obscenity might have perturbed him.

  33. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:48 PM

    Oh there are plenty of both in Ireland MM. But I’ve never met a fig wasp.

  34. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 6:54 PM

    Alleged obscenity? I’ll have to look and see whether DHL made use of it.
    Spectacular? I am gratified, MM. I thought it was time I wrote something a bit sillier, lest the entire bird population drop from the sky.

    I thought poof/duvet and poof/poncey fellow were spelt the same. Some people here say ‘puff’, but we’ve always said poof (as rhymes with woof, not roof).
    So, I’m not sure what to do. I don’t mean pouffe/hassock.

    Of course it’s idiotic to leave (poncey) poof ambiguous, but that made me laugh even more.

    I’m sure the poofs haven’t been driven out of Ireland, more likely canonised.

  35. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:04 PM

    Ah, here we are:

    ‘Pouffe is a nineteenth century French import for “something puffed out”.’

    I guess that’s definitive, much obliged, MM.

    Mishaaariii~~~ ThanKx for my ‘I’d’, may I request further amendment?
    I meant say that was a powerfully incantatory poem you started us off with.
    I like it much.

  36. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:09 PM

    Canonised? I think you mean ordained.

    What, a poof is a duvet in the US? I’ve never heard that.

    At the end of a hard day I like to snuggle up under a warm poof.

    I like a thicker poof in the winter.

    I’m taking this poof for dry-cleaning.

    It’s double entendre heaven.

  37. September 12, 2010 7:11 PM

    It all went up in a poof

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 12, 2010 8:04 PM

      This is the one I didn’t get at first.

  38. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:14 PM

    My poof is a 8.5 tog.

  39. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:18 PM

    A heterosexual male would be alarmed at the prospect of an 8.5 poof. I rather think.

  40. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:19 PM

    I left me togs off…

  41. mishari permalink*
    September 12, 2010 7:23 PM

    Not to be confused with Poof The Magic Dragon…

  42. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:24 PM

    I think anyone, man or woman, would find that a tad alarming. Maybe I have led a sheltered life… I can hear ye laughing from here. Put those togs back on Henry, my mind is wandering.

  43. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:25 PM

    The poof is in the pudding.

  44. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:25 PM

    No, Americans mostly seem to call them ‘comforters’,
    (and dummies are called ‘pacifiers’)

    Of course, some poofs are ordained before being canonised, but it’s strictly optional, as is dry-cleaning.
    I do my poof in the laundry.

  45. September 12, 2010 7:44 PM

    I’ve heard you can easily fit a poof in a bender.

    Dear God did I just write that?

    Anyone want to discuss the use of symbolism in Pisanello’s painting of St. Eustace?


    Then it’s back to the US duvet gags then.

  46. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 7:47 PM

    EdT, that’s funnier than I first gave you credit for…

    I may revise those two lines, since it really should convey the idea of a duvet.
    The word came to me from my aforementioned Epping Green grandmother, so it’s either fallen out of use due to its other meaning, or she was saying ‘puff’.
    Come to think, she also said ‘cubby-hole’ with the [book] vowel, and Americans say it with the [buck] vowel.

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

    I’ve only ever pronounced (or heard it pronounced) ‘cubby’ to rhyme with ‘chubby’…

  48. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 8:02 PM

    Could it be Irish, Re? Her mother was Irish.
    I’m probably cherishing all sorts of aberrant atavisms.

  49. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 9:32 PM

    Yorkshire folk pronounce it coobeh-ool. Maybe she had an admixture of Tyke.

    I’ve heard people describe a duvet as a quilt. It’s funny to think that I’d never seen or even heard of a duvet until the early 70s. I wonder what happened to all those blankets (3 in winter, 2 in summer) which used to cover all those beds? Dumped in the Atlantic, I suppose.

  50. hic8ubique permalink
    September 12, 2010 10:10 PM

    No way of knowing now, MM.
    A quilt is a distinctly different article altogether. Duvet is common now, but I never heard it as a child, poof/pouffe was well ensconced in my personal lexicon, since the only person who had one was my grandmother. It was filled with goosedown, and now to think she always tucked me up with it and went without one herself.
    My parents had a woollen ‘counterpane’ that went over the woollen blanket(s). They probably still have the same one, and still call it that.

    How about this instead of the original version:

    I’m groping in the covers, under pillows, mine and yours.
    I know I’ve found the dog when I recognise his snores.

    Unless there’s a roar of protest,
    that will be, most humbly, my last editorial request,
    at your convenience, of course, Ed.

  51. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 12, 2010 10:59 PM

    So your parents were blanket people too? I’ve always been under the impression that the duvet was a Scandinavian invention, and naturally assumed that everyone from that part of the world would be under one. I haven’t given it a lot of thought before, but in its way I suppose it was as big an innovation as the dishwasher or vacuum cleaner. Cleaning those blankets must have been a tough job, and I’m pretty sure the eiderdowns in the Mowbray residence never got much more than a shake. It was the end, too, of the hospital corner and making the bed, which were keenly enforced disciplines in my youth.

  52. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:32 PM

    Hic, we would pronounce book with the short vowel sound. When the changeover from blankets (with a candlewick bedspread – mine was pink) to duvets occurred here in the mid to late 70s, we called them quilts or eiderdowns. I would probably still call them quilts more often than duvets. We have two separate ones on our bed to allow for varying temperatures on either side and quilt drag.

  53. Reine permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:44 PM

    Btw, if anybody is considering going to see Tamara Drewe in the cinema, I wouldn’t bother. It’s complete rubbish.

  54. Captain Ned permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:05 AM

    I’d be delighted to see my lament on perpwalk, hic. How do I submit it, Mishari?

    Glad to hear about your cat, Zeph. I like your poem, particularly the line about the ‘toothy cliffs’.

    I am currently suffering the loss of both memory and dignity after a few too many last night. Apparently I got into a bread fight and fell onto a table. When I have recovered from the motification and the bruises I’ll try and turn the incident into a poem.

  55. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:09 AM

    Candlewick is a word I haven’t heard for a while. As a kid I had this hideous crocheted thing which I kept catching my fingers in. Quite frightening in the middle of a dark night. MrsM and self tried the two-duvet solution a few years back, but it wasn’t a great success. Now I’m in the spare room I can cough under my 2 tog while MrsM slumbers under her 50 tog topped with dressing-gown.

  56. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:12 AM

    Gold Rush

    It was a favourite earring
    Small hoops with dangling chain
    I found I only had one left
    When I got down to the train

    They were my “go to” glitter
    Gold and nicely made
    By a New York master craftsman
    Well known in femme glam trade

    I retraced my puddled path
    All the way to where I worked
    But it was dark and I couldn’t find
    the crevice where it lurked

    For months after that rainy night
    I eyed with great suspicion,
    Fellow workers or commuters
    With one earringed ambition

    I begged my dearest Granny
    To help me find it soon
    But she had bigger fish to fry
    Like a day trip to the moon

    Its match sits solitary
    In a box on my clothes chest
    And when I see it glimmer
    I feel it is a test

    To see if wordly trinkets
    Really matter very much
    But it wasn’t so much an earring
    As a lover’s gentle touch

  57. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:17 AM

    Ah yes, the spare room, no greater refuge from a/for a coughing, snoring spouse. I often find myself wandering Lady Macbeth crazed-like in the night, carrying pillows and alarm clock to my nun’s settle in the s.r.

  58. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:57 AM

    Nice poem, Reine. There must be 200 single earrings lying around this house.

  59. hic8ubique permalink
    September 13, 2010 4:24 AM

    Blanket people entirely, MM. My father’s grandmother had a room-sized loom, so perhaps that explains the particular woven-ness of our bedclothes. Wool was held to be a substance of great virtue in my upbringing, and a hold-out against the advent of ‘orlon’, polyester and such inferior innovations. Our pillows were eiderdown, though.
    As for ‘making the bed’, that was the custom, but now I prefer to ‘air’ the bed. This time of year, I try to keep the windows open for as long as poss.

    ‘Quilting’, Re, I can see because of the baffled construction of a ‘duvet’, but in the u.s. a quilt refers only to the patchwork sort filled with wool- or cotton-batting.
    ‘Quilt drag’ is a valuable term though…
    (‘Poof pinching’ would send the conversation backwards.)
    Now in practical terms, your keepsake earring could be made into a pendant, or…often the original goldsmith will make a replacement to match.
    I lost a south-sea-pearl earring in Harvard Square on a snowy night, and found it an hour later by retracing my steps. It was unscathed between two cobble-stones, except for the french-hook having come off, but lying beside it.

  60. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:57 AM

    Hic, poof pinching would certainly indicate a “race to the bottom” to quote a phrase much loved by our politicians.

    Glad you found your earring.

  61. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:58 AM

    Oh, and thank you MM. Where are my manners? 200 single earrings notwithstanding, none of your laydees are on my suspect list.

  62. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2010 10:26 AM

    I was going to ask you, Ned, which of the laments you prefer but realised that that would be silly. They’re both fine so I’ll post them both. Give me a little time to hunt up a couple of images (unless you have some in mind?)…

    Yes, hic, wool blankets are a must; synthetics are unacceptable. I’ve never cared for duvets but I remember as a boy that we had what we called ‘eiderdowns’ for winter. A duvet, I suppose, but actually filled with the down of the eider duck. Fantastically warm…

  63. September 13, 2010 11:27 AM

    An eiderdown was something you put on the sheet and blankets wasn’t it? And if you were lucky it stayed on top of the sheet and blankets.

    The rot started in my family with the introduction of those foul nylon sheets which fitted the mattress. Once the need to tuck sheets in everyday had been eradicated it was but a short step to the duvet and the inevitable collapse of civilisation.

  64. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:56 AM

    Yes, the eiderdown was the thing which constantly slid off the bed. Usually patterned in a paisley so vivid it could melt the eyeballs, and, since it was never washed, rich with the scent of generations of lightly-washed Mowbrays. A Gloucestershire Proust would have suffered memory overload.

    When you slipped between those nylon sheets in your nylon pyjamas it was like fireworks night. A couple of hours later it was more like a sauna.

  65. September 13, 2010 12:38 PM

    Good point MM. Such was the build up of ancestral Taylor grease it was impossible to know whether our eiderdowns were made of satin or whether they were corrupted velvet.

  66. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:09 PM

    Those eiderdowns lacked the baffling which hic refers to, so all the down was concentrated in a dense mass at one end or other, usually the least advantageous one from the user’s point of view. Shaken, the hunk of down just travelled to the other end. It could have been a small animal adapted to living inside bedspreads.

    The duvet was a major improvement on what went before. Being tucked up in those blankets was a form of imprisonment, probably designed to prevent masturbation, or, in later life, to put a stop to any kind of pleasurable sexual contact with your loved one. Strapped tightly to the bed, arse rasping on those unforgiving linen sheets, chastity must have seemed an attractive option.

  67. hic8ubique permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:29 PM

    Domestically horrific descriptions.
    There’s a Swedish word for that old
    pullman-seat texture that has no English equivalent: ‘trög’.
    Evocative, yes?
    (Those seem to be the words that linger longest in emigrant families, mine anyway.)

    Living in a draughty old (1895) summer-house, despite central heat and some sort of insulation in the walls (during a kitchen reno they found rotted and granulating sheeps-wool stuffing) uneven zone heating, and many windows, we still need eiderdowns, and a change to winter-weight curtains.

    We get a perishing north-east wind off the Atlantic.
    Lovely and cool in the summer though when they’re expiring from heat inland.
    I imagine eiderdowns are still common in Scotland.

  68. hic8ubique permalink
    September 13, 2010 2:13 PM

    My laugh muscles have had their exercise now.
    Linen sheets are the softest, MM. Yours must have been starched, or something else entirely…hessian, perhaps, naughty child?
    I remember well the comforting swaddled feeling of heavy melton blankets, but the ones I like best are knitted, eg in the Aran or Guernsey style (not crocheted!) because of the cosy way they drape the body.
    Textiles are a particular if not fanatical interest of mine, being a highly tactile person.

    Melton Blanket Jackson Mowbray?

    I must take the liberty of including a fine (and memorable it seems) selection from our PHMusic Channel on the theme of loss:

  69. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 13, 2010 4:39 PM

    Nice choice, hic. That song takes me back to a week of night shoots in the peat bogs, fields and quarries around Glastonbury, July 1985. The BBC were filming the Monocled Mutineer. I was cooking, washing up and providing bong hits for the “talent”. I specifically remember one night, full moon, when ALL the electrical equipment failed, at first one thing after the other, then, around 3 AM, everything at once. It’s a tricky part of the world. But Richard kept on singing throughout…

  70. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 5:05 PM

    Simon, my sweet, they’ve deleted your wonderful ode on grounds of scatology one presumes. I was glad to have had the privilege to have seen it before it was flushed away.

  71. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 5:20 PM

    Richard Thompson reminds me a bit of Freddie White. Here he is singing Tom Wait’s “Martha”. Lost years…

  72. freep permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:18 PM

    Forgotten Fabrics

    Brentford Nylons
    Candlewick Bedspread
    Cavalry Twill
    Barathea Blazer
    Suedette Cornplasters
    Astrakhan Maxi coats

    Let us hope that Lycra Cyclewear and Plastic Crocs will follow these nasty memories into the felt-topped wicker laundry basket of a vile past.

  73. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:58 PM

    noah batik bid his sons
    flax, jute and hemp
    to spin a yarn for Mayo nuns
    that couldn’t be bested

    brian nylon set his girls
    weft, woof and warp
    to weave a wool from prince’s curls
    that couldn’t be worsted

  74. September 13, 2010 9:18 PM


    There is a gaping hole
    Where the flies should have been
    Giving the possibility of
    A sight that’s obscene.
    I shouldn’t have come down
    To the door
    Without looking down
    Should have worn
    Something more
    Like a dressing gown.

    The look on her face
    Was not pleasure
    I’m going going gone
    At her Majesty’s leisure.

  75. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 9:18 PM

    God be with you Henry, I love a good yarn.

  76. September 13, 2010 9:20 PM

    Wrong again! Can you change final pleasure to leisure?

  77. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2010 9:32 PM

    Here’s what happens if you go to bed in nylon, rayon, orlon or any other pyjamas constructed of unnatural materials not approved by the Politely Homicidal Institute of Legitimate Slumberware:

  78. freep permalink
    September 13, 2010 10:38 PM

    From Kirklees West Yorkshire County Archive Service:

    ‘…The records in this class depict the wide range of business activity in the Kirklees area. The textile industry is represented by woollen, worsted and fancy cloth manufacturers in the Huddersfield area and shoddy, mungo and rag merchants in the Dewsbury and Batley area. Other records of firms include accountants, shovel makers ….’

    ‘Shoddy, mungo and rag …’? I recall passing an old textile factory as the train pulls out of Huddersfield Station with a large sign advertising ‘Shoddy’ . Would you wear shoddy and mungo pyjamas, mish? Or Bombazine trews? or a Huckaback bodice? or Mocado underthrows? or Nanisook knickers? Or a Grogram vest? Or a Dowlas weskit? This is all dimity fustian, of which sense can only be made by aged Dewsbury loom operatives. But as a youth, I did wear Poplin shirts. Under my Gaberdine.

  79. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2010 10:46 PM

    Poplin is actually a type of weave. I have poplin shirts. They’re 100% Sea Island cotton. The weave makes for a heavier fabric, which I prefer. Lighter fabric causes a shirt to billow at the waist when you sit down, making you look as though you have a paunch, which I don’t. The heavier fabric causes the shirt to fall in natural folds. It just looks (and feels) better. [Fucking clothes horse-Ed.]

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 13, 2010 11:43 PM

      Silk twill drapes the same way with good colour,
      but I do approve.

  80. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:03 PM

    Lots of poplin here Warren, sorry Mishari. The drummer looks a bit like ya!

  81. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2010 11:07 PM

    Jesus…fucking pastel overload….they look like a bunch of ‘life-style consultants’ at a company ‘do’…hate this song…the drummer looks like a Hizbollah commander gone to seed…you cheeky minx…

  82. Reine permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:11 PM

    I’m sorry, I take it back. My roommate in college had a Carly Simon thing going on and I always associate this song with me lying in bed crying my eyes out over some fella. Well, I say some fella, he was her older brother and we had a rather intense fling that was always going to end in tears. He wasn’t half vain enough really when I think back, did a very dodgy line in leather jackets.

  83. hic8ubique permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:39 PM

    Cowbell Prep should really chill a bit; I’m embarrassed for him.
    That’s got to be the Vineyard.

    Faithful Spouse had an epiphanous moment singing with CS, JT is still on his list.

  84. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2010 11:58 PM

    Yeah, the Vineyard was my first guess but it’s not Oak Bluffs and it’s not Edgartown (unless they’ve changed out of all recognition in the last 25 years)…now, I’m kind of leaning toward The Hamptons…drippy New Yorkers in pastels…seems about right…

  85. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:21 AM

    Maybe Vineyard Haven…she has a shop there called Midnight Farm, jointly owned with, well blah blah…who cares, and a house there as well.

    I never caught the word ‘gavotte’ before. It just sounded like ‘go by’. I like gavotte.

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:35 AM


    The horse was the first meat we’d eaten in a week,
    we hacked off slices from its skinny rump and flanks,
    not quite frozen, you could imagine there was warmth
    still lingering in the greyish lumps of sour flesh.

    To start with no one was able to keep it down,
    but we filled our haversacks and marched on gnawing.
    That’s how I remember Marc, our comrade from Dax,
    at the bridge over the Beresina, his gob

    still chewing as he took on the Italian sod
    who pissed on the Emperor’s name, and kicked his arse.
    Then the Cossacks burst from the blizzard, the crowd surged
    and swallowed them up. I never saw him again.

    Me and Claude and Jean walked from the bridge to Warsaw,
    to an Army hospital, then we got a cart
    for Paris. Jean, who’d lost a leg, died on the way.
    The day we arrived the weather was dull and cold.

    They paraded us for the little corporal,
    who was shaking hands, so I stuck my stump straight out.
    He wrapped his arms around me and kissed my cheeks.
    Oh, he was a crafty bastard, I’ll give him that.

  87. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:36 AM

    Re, I think we must let Tom keep it. Listen to that cello with him. (Ignore the wooo-ing chorus.)

    I think what always fascinates me and compels me in Waits generally is his incredibly beautiful sweetness of tone somehow contained within a shell of destroyed gravel of voice.
    We’re still on ‘loss’, so lets have it again.

  88. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:40 AM

    The incoherent rambling, bizarre posturing and terrible verse suggests to me that this Quizas person on GU is my old friend ISA/Einsloth. Am I right?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 14, 2010 12:41 AM

      who else has that much hate?

  89. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:40 AM

    Godfathers MM, that’s a stunner!

  90. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:44 AM

    I like Tom too Hic but Freddie has a certain je ne sais quoi. You have Tom and I’ll take Freddie and we can double date. :)

    Great poem Melton.

  91. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:47 AM

    I thought so but didn’t want to risk his tongue scorching by outing him.

  92. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:49 AM

    Well, he kinda scorched me but only got my eyebrows.

  93. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:49 AM

    Thank you, ladies.

    I’m glad to have my suspicions confirmed on the Quizas quiz.

  94. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 1:03 AM

    You can always tell it’s him, MM: he exudes the reek of embittered, chippy failure the way an over-ripe Gorgonzola emits the smell of dirty feet…

  95. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:36 AM

    Couldn’t date Tom (apart from the problem of Bad Mood Rained-Out Nadal in NY Spouse)
    because if I look at him, I think of his pig-man character
    in The Name of the Rose film.

    Now, I liked gorgonzola til just now…

  96. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 1:45 AM

    I love Gorgonzola, Munster-géromé, Stilton, Danish Blue, Manchego (añejo, of course) etc…strong cheeses. There are few things more worthless than all these insipid cheeses that seem to sell in the millions of tons but taste like nothing. You used to get good, strong cheeses in New England…

    Forgot to say, cracking poem, MM…

  97. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:46 AM

    Gorgonzola with pear and greens and toasted pecans with a raspberry vinaigrette… no, I can’t give it up.

    We need a different analogy for that one…
    How about ‘greyish lumps of sour flesh’ ?
    courtesy of his friend Mowbray.

  98. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 1:50 AM

    raspberry vinaigrette? with cheese? Dear God…

    What the hell’s wrong with some good, crusty bread, some olives and a glass of wine?

  99. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:55 AM

    Oh, hello , love, thought you’d retired and I was musing to myself here.
    Yes, lots of good cheese. I like Jarlsberg to go with an avocado, but it’s also possible to subscribe to a CSA farm and receive artisan cheeses …particular NE specialties…can’t remember which…Delice is another triple creme for tiny bites on knäkebröd.
    You know, a small and modest paunch is not at all unpleasing…
    just speaking of such decadent pleasures.

  100. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:05 AM

    I think physical flabbiness is a reflection of moral, aesthetic and intellectual flabbiness…well…sometimes I think that; other times I think I’m just being silly…

  101. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:07 AM

    Oh, crusty ciabatta, little oily black olives, this rustic Malbec…
    nothing wrong with that, but on mixed greens with sliced red pears and crumbled up gorgonzola it’s good to mix a bit of Chambord in the oil and vin.
    Did you see , at least, that I appreciate your sea-island cotton?

  102. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:15 AM

    Egyptian cotton is excellent, too…and I found this wonderful flannel, woven in Holland, that makes fantastically comfortable shirts (grey, natch). The more you wear them and wash them, the more comfortable they get…

  103. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:20 AM

    Two o’clock in the morning, what on earth? but all the more for me…
    It’s difficult to imagine you being silly, M, actually, but, to my mind, ‘flabbiness’ is not quite the same as a ‘bit of a paunch’.
    It’s extreme to be too severely Spartan in ones aesthetic.

    Moral flabbiness: Ethics more salient, less judgment/religious.
    Aesthetic flabbiness: curve vs. line
    Intellectual flabbiness: No fear, you.

  104. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:35 AM

    Periodic insomnia…it comes and goes and has done all my life.

    I have, I know, a puritanical streak…I think it’s in the blood. For centuries, my ancestors regarded any kind of softness as abhorrent. Of course, for them, it was a survival thing. They were instinctive, natural (and necessarily) minimalists. On the other hand, I’m keenly appreciative of the pleasures of the senses…trying to reconcile these two opposing views is why I’m the pitiable wreck I am today…

  105. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:36 AM

    Long staple Egyptian cotton, mmm, excellent, but if you don’t know what I mean about silk, not satin mind, but dull heavier silk, you are missing something you would appreciate.

    Grey? Not really. The most dreary lifeless possible non-colour?
    Consummate melancholia, even black has more to say for itself. What’s to be done? A soft blue? or teal? even beige would be better than cold grey.
    Flannel, yes flannel season is nearly upon us, flannel sheets soon. Remember viyella? that was a wool and cotton flannel blend.
    Linsey woolsey is a freep list item, a linen/wool blend.

  106. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:51 AM

    Grey is a subdued colour, granted, understated, subtle (and I have different shades of grey) but it’s a good colour; a sky colour, a stone colour, a sea colour.

    Beige? Now , there’s a non-colour or those retch-inducing pastels in that Carly Simon video: peach, melon, umber–yeucchh. Grey is a colour of mystery, of the undefined, of borderlands, of unmarked trails, of fog and mist and autumn rain…

    I know what you mean about silk. I bought some shantung (sp?) in Thailand (slate-grey and black) and had suits made in London. They drape beautifully and shimmer in a subdued fashion. The silk is raw and has imperfections and nubbins in the weave that make it even more appealing (to me)…

  107. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:58 AM

    So, an aesthete with a stringent ancestral lineage.
    A ‘most ingenious paradox’ to reconcile, but ‘pitiable wreck’?
    Interesting problem; this is your raillery against ancestors on PP then, quelling those edgy voices?
    I believe short sleep can make anyone a wreck. Having spent some years nursing babies, I well remember the knee-buckling moment of realisation that sleep was done for the night at 5am having already been up twice already.
    I do love a siesta.
    Jean Liedloff has written about how unnatural it is for humans, evolutionarily speaking, to expect to sleep for 8 hrs straight. That someone would always be up on watch or minding the fire, and that with the industrial revolution, the mid-day snooze was lost, creating a weird and wrong idea that naps were for babies and elders.

  108. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 3:10 AM

    The Spaniards, like the Arabs understand the value of the siesta. I suppose it comes more naturally in countries where it’s just too damn hot to do anything else between the hours of noon and 5.

    I love the way, in hot countries, the world goes to sleep for the afternoon and then comes awake in the early evening, dusk falling, lights start coming on, shops and cafes start re-opening, everyone relaxed and refreshed…it’s civilised…it’s like getting two days for the price of one…

  109. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 3:11 AM

    Oh, shantung, dupioni, yes, nubbins, I love these textures, and the way silk absorbs/reflects light is unparalleled…
    very fine for summer suits, but for not so much for winter.Twill is a bit heavier with a supple drape, probably familiar from trousers?
    You could win me over with such an argument for grey, but it does depend on the individual.I might almost say the same for green. I find the colours pleasing to look at and the colours best to wear are not always the same, though sometimes so.
    Sleepy yet?

  110. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 3:19 AM

    Perhaps grey is best suited to people with dark complexions. In a slate-grey flannel or silk suit, with a Wedgwood-blue or white poplin shirt, narrow, black woven-silk tie, I look rather elegant, if i do say so myself. In a white or beige suit (the very thought gives me the horrors) I’d look like a clown…

  111. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 3:22 AM

    …but don’t be sleepy for my sake. Chatting casually with the astonishing bottlerocket is like winning a lottery for me…

    I’m passionate about the benefit of siesta in the summer, though when the days are short here, daylight is at a premium, and firelight in the evenings is a consolation.
    Night walks are already getting earlier.

  112. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 3:33 AM

    White or beige suit? No, I didn’t realise we were speaking exclusively of suits. No no no. Ha.
    You don’t wear a suit everyday??
    Wedgewood/slate/white sounds most elegant, with black shoes.

    Look, if you don’t want this sartorial ramble on your blog, I wouldn’t mind at all, at all, if you want to just vanish it before tomorrow, well it is tomorrow… before you retire.
    Nothing helps with insomnia?

  113. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 3:47 AM

    Siestas don’t make much sense when daylight’s at a premium but in summer, they make perfect sense. Of course, one of the best things about winter is having a wood-fire. Spain (away from the Med) gets bitter cold winters and dietary habits change as well; lots of Caldo Gallego and similar meat-and-bean rich stews, stuff that would make you lethargic in summer but burns off in winter.

    If it gets cold enough (and it often does in Extremadura) you can make rough brandy from fermented plum or cherry or apple juice (from fresh fruit, of course). Just leave it outdoors overnight and pour off the unfrozen liquid, which is almost pure alcohol…

  114. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 3:53 AM

    Christ, almost 4 AM…

    My mind’s starting to wander so I think I’ll go to bed. hasta luego…g’night….

  115. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:01 AM

    Night, Mishari. x

  116. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 5:03 AM

    Amazing what you can miss when you go to bed early. Great poem MM. Ron Perlman would be a big ask, hic. Well, now you’ve all gone, I’ll just sit here wallowing in moral, aesthetic and intellectual flabbiness brought on by having to translate too many madefortvmovies and watch a re-reun of Carly Simon’s drummer. Though I hear he’s leaning towards the hamptons…

  117. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 5:18 AM

    And while I’m still here, one for Reine. I’d blank out the pictures of Paul Scholes, though.

  118. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:26 AM

    Thanks Henry, how thoughtful! I can’t look at Van Morrison without wincing. And, as my father would say, he sounds like he has a permanent pain in his guidán (not sure of the anatomical location of this organ or indeed of its existence but you get the picture).

    Wanna stay up late tonight and chat??

  119. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:32 AM

    Mish, when you struggle out of your bespoke pyjamas (I know, I know, you don’t wear any), do tell what you wrote on potw which was deleted before I could see it. If you feel it’s worth repeating.

  120. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:33 AM

    Sounds good to me. I shall prepare my tonic (Berocca, Sanatogen and solipsidrine) to ensure I am sufficiently awake. It’s all in the timing, they tell me.

  121. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:05 AM

    Get some juicy topic ready, we’ll show them. Couldn’t sleep myself last night, must have been in the air. Took half a sleeping tablet and feeling very woolly headed this a.m.

  122. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 9:23 AM

    It was a parody of the wold poem, not great but certainly not deserving of deletion. Fuck ’em. I won’t bother again.

  123. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:42 AM

    There’s certainly a clampdown, Simon’s poem was utterly unobjectionable but it was vanished too. Not to worry, at least you can speak freely here.

  124. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:51 AM

    The fact that they can arbitrarily vanish posts without appeal – and often without justification – leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. I’m still smarting from being banned three or four years ago.

  125. September 14, 2010 10:10 AM

    Counter-productive too. I’m sure Des Swords would not have such a martyr complex if the mods hadn’t laid waste to his outpourings.

    I’ve complained about other’s posts getting chopped and those complaints mysteriously dissappear completely.

    I remember a particularly heated PotW where the comment numbers fluctuated dramatically every time you re-visited.

  126. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 11:00 AM

    What can one expect when the sub-literate beer-monkeys they hire as mods are people like Bella Mackie (née Rusbridger), a vapid dimwit who wouldn’t recognise a verse parody if it bit her in her (doubtless full-Brazilian) crotch.

    And CiF is even worse, now that all the imbecilic, right-wing tight-wads have abandoned The Times and its exciting new pay-wall and infest The Graun…

    I started this blog when they deleted some verse of mine from POTW, moving even Carol to protest. The pig-ignorant fuckers never learn…I won’t post there again.

  127. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:11 AM

    Ah but Mish, when one’s poetry mirrors one’s prose – trim, sparse and paunchless – one does like to disport oneself at Brockwell Lido on the occasional quiet afternoon. ;-)

  128. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:17 AM

    Ah yes, less hair, more harebrained. Samson wept.

  129. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:20 AM

    Did you mean Hollywood – vanishing all hirsute manifestation down south – Mish?

  130. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:21 AM

    God, I’m very bushy today. Busy, sorry, busy…

  131. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 11:38 AM

    Hollywood, Brazil…yeah, the pre-pubescent look. Very popular with ‘happening’ London females (and porn stars)…or so I read.

  132. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:04 PM

    And men… or so I’ve heard. My experience is limited to being shaved before an operation by a gloomy male attendant, who, half-way through, very delicately lifted my soldier with finger and thumb and moved it to the other side so he could continue. Afterwards, looking down, I’d never felt more naked.

  133. September 14, 2010 12:07 PM

    May I enquire where one might read about these trends?

    I must confess that looking at all those trim, buff young people leads me to think that the ownership of a paunch might be an indication of a bit of intellectual nous ( nouse or however you spell it ).

    But then given the state of my body I have to think that.

  134. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 12:13 PM

    You mean you’re not a subscriber to Groin & Garden? For aficionados of pubic topiary, it’s indispensable. My dentist gets it…

  135. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 14, 2010 12:20 PM

    Good afternoon all,

    I’ve just given a look at Poem of the Week and I must say I’ve always been puzzled by the criteria they use for modifying posts. Do they actually have a criteria? Des can rant for days before they modify him, Anytimefrancis rants forever without a hint of modification and other posters get taken out for simply being entertaining. It’s all very odd.

    Loved 1813. Great poem, MM.

    Mish, thanks for putting up the Giusti at Perp Walk. I love the choice of pictures you’ve been making. Very good also to see the Captain’s translations up there.

    I’m at a loss with loss. Must try to come up with something.

    Jack Brae

  136. September 14, 2010 12:27 PM

    A search on the internet tells me “The Real Ale Drinker’s Guide to the Pubes of Great Britain” is the one to read. But given my recent mispellings I may have misread this one.

  137. September 14, 2010 12:38 PM

    Well I’ve just had a non-abusive comment on the Jonathan Jones’s blog dissappear on me completely.

  138. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:22 PM

    Ron Perlman? I’m sure someone told me that was Waits in heavy makeup. I’m deeply relieved.Sorry I missed you, Moon.
    You’re so often the soul of concision, that it’s a treat when you expand/expound a bit.

    I saw it…The sauce the sauce the sauce?
    the source of the sauce? It was fun and not in the least deserving of deletion. Do post it here, M.

    I do prefer, if I may say, female as an adjective and woman as a noun, hence: London women; female doctors.
    (Now I may expect to hear them both as a conjoined expletive.)

    Am I invited to the full Moon party tonight?

  139. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:32 PM

    Not sufficiently sated by your mid-night tête-à-tête with the boss, eh? I felt I was prying reading it this morning. Hope you both slept well.

  140. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:44 PM

    If you are soldiering on in the Johnathan Jones challenge, EdT, I’ll want to look in on that blog again. What an uninspired incurious stodge he is, though none of them are a patch on Carol.

    To contribute anecdotally to the topiary discussion, I’ve been surprised to learn that men waited to gauge whether my hair-colour is real or dyed, by whether it matched.
    Better than asking: ‘Oh do you dye your hair?’ but not so good as concealing the fact that they had wondered at all.

    I slept beautifully, Re, in response to your (reliably arch) enquiry, though now you’ve given me circumflex envy.
    You might have joined us. I’m still wondering about the fruit brandy though…
    there must be some other ingredient to make it ferment in the cold?

    so, was that a No? I’m not invited? I’ve had my innings?

  141. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 1:46 PM

    Well, that’s a first. They’ve re-instated my verse. I have never, ever seen that happen before.

    They’ve deleted my post calling them fucking philistines, though…

    No, hic, it ferments indoors…in the warm. Then, once the sugar has turned to naughty alcohol, it’s for the freeze. They used to make apple-jack the same way in Vermont. They had these special stone troughs for that specific purpose (i.e. for freezing the fermented apple juice).

  142. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:48 PM

    May that be the new pre-moderation?
    Did they ink out the state secrets you revealed?

  143. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 1:51 PM

    That makes no sense. Pre-mod means it has to be approved before it appears. My verse appeared, lingered for a few hours and was deleted this morning, whereupon I posted a caustic comment, calling them yahoos and illiterates (amongst other things). Now the verse is back. All very mystifying..

  144. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:03 PM

    Maybe Carol appealed its removal , since it is in keeping with her theme.

  145. September 14, 2010 2:06 PM

    Yes, I’m going to stop posting on PoTW too, which is a pity because I enjoy it, but I’m not prepared to put up with arbitrary censorship. The mods allow some people to witter at endless length while deleting harmless (well, not too harmful) parodies by regular contributors.

  146. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:17 PM

    So, the freezing is just to separate the fruit pulp/water from the alcohol. I think I geddit, but no pretty pear-shaped bottle.

    It’s discouraging, Simon, but there must be some middle way.
    I appreciate the linguistic perspectives from you and from dg.
    (Sorry about the harridan business awhile back, by the way ;)

  147. September 14, 2010 2:18 PM

    My Jones comment has re-appeared too. The plot thickens.

  148. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:20 PM

    It’s a mystery, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a tattered copy of a once-great newspaper…

    Like you, Simon, I give up…I’ve deleted my profile and won’t post anymore. It’s one thing deleting the argy-bargy but when they start deleting verse on a poetry thread, they’ve crossed a line…fuck ’em, ignorant wankers.

  149. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:33 PM

    Hic, humourously arch I was going for, I would never be sarky with you.

    I enjoyed yer chat, and if Henry and I do have a midnight feast, we’d love you to come along!

    One of our gang at school was a redhead – very beautiful girl, now woman – but we couldn’t get our heads around the fact that the hair that dare not speak its name was red too. We made her grow her armpit hair for a week or two so that we could check. What innocent fun. In later years we relied on photocopied evidence of everything but it wasn’t a colour photocopier so it would have defeated us in that task. That photocopier saw things no office equipment should ever see.

  150. September 14, 2010 2:37 PM

    Too many Charlottes, Henriettas and other ‘happening’ young things (no doubt with Full Brazilians). I didn’t know the editor’s daughter was a mod; surely the Guardian is supposed to be against nepotism and hereditary privilege?

  151. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 2:47 PM

    “…surely the Guardian is supposed to be against nepotism and hereditary privilege?”

    Oh, Simon, Simon, Simon…what an innocent you are. Of course, they’re supposed to be against nepotism and hereditary privilege. In fact, The Grauniad is a bastion of both and always has been, as any long-time reader of Private Eye knows only too well.

    Did you really imagine that all those talentless halfwits that staff the paper got there because of writing skills? Dude…please. At The Graun, as in so many other institutions, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know…

  152. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 2:48 PM

    Of course humorously arch, the best way; I’ve ‘known’ you for over a year now, Re :)
    Mine (all of it) is really red-blonde, not that intense Irish red, and not dull ginger either.
    I don’t quite understand the business with the photocopier, but probably best not to go into detail.
    The Brazilian idea sounds itchy to me, and infantalising.
    And thanks, I’m inclined to be sensitive about invitations.

    Mishari, I shall miss you in Asgard, more loss, but at least this time, I know where to find you.

  153. September 14, 2010 3:02 PM

    But surely they all went to Oxbridge, and therefore are bona fide geniuses with 2nd class degrees in PPE to prove it…?

  154. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 3:15 PM

    this is for Mowbray:

  155. September 14, 2010 4:03 PM

    What harridan business was that, Hic? I must have missed something.

  156. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:25 PM

    That’s remarkable, hic. Thanks. It’s odd how your eye (well, mine away) keeps trying to fill in the missing limbs, which it wouldn’t do if they weren’t dancing.

    What, didn’t you have showers at school, Reine? One of the few advantages of attending a boarding school (apart from getting your kids good jobs) was being able to check how you were doing in the race to puberty, and, later on, a lack of anxiety over dimension since you’d seen so many at close quarters and knew where you stood in the league. A mid-table outfit, if anyone’s wondering.

  157. September 14, 2010 4:36 PM

    Your dimension is a mid-table outfit, MM? That sounds interesting. Perhaps they were beaten too often at home.

    Competition of the week

  158. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:38 PM

    Oh, it was months ago now Si when we were playing with your name acronym. You said something mildly suggestive, and I responded to the effect of ‘all very well if I weren’t a harridan’, but then I suffered remorse, probably since it takes a while to attune to the degree of jest in anyone’s comments, and we’d only just ‘met’. But all’s well, glad you found your way here to Mishari’s deluxe accommodation refugee camp with all the goods and services.

  159. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:42 PM

    Scoring was always a problem.

  160. September 14, 2010 4:47 PM

    Oh yes, I remember now, you brushed me off with ‘She Cannot Forsake Moral High-ground’, which I thought was pretty good.

  161. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:49 PM

    It seems to me the choreography shares limbs deliberately, MM, which is worth studying, and seems to lend real emotion, despite the overwrought score.

    I’m afraid I’ve lost the concept of ‘mid-table outfit’ in the photocopier, but ‘anyone’ will certainly be interested. I expect we’ll hear from her shortly…

  162. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2010 4:51 PM

    ‘pretty good’? I like to aim higher than a mid-table score.

  163. September 14, 2010 5:04 PM

    Well, you’ve certainly hit my bar x

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 14, 2010 5:08 PM


  164. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 5:29 PM

    Wham! Menstrual cycle (x2)

    Tried hanging round the local bogs
    To nab a C.I.D.
    Or lumberjacks with sawn-off logs
    When they stopped for a pee
    Tried mounting kerbs at Marble Arch
    Monumentally stoned
    Then after court giving it large
    My sentence I bemoaned
    If ram-raiding at Snappy Snaps
    Won’t get me my own cell
    I’ll east some space cake, then collapse
    Insult the beak as well
    I’ll let your son go down on me
    Until I’m denied bail
    Please, please, please, please
    Send me straight to jail

  165. September 14, 2010 7:08 PM

    I rather enjoyed the Police chief’s veiled threats to the Government over proposed cuts to the police force. ” If we lose jobs we won’t be able to protect you when people demonstrate against job cuts”.

  166. obooki permalink
    September 14, 2010 7:56 PM

    a tattered copy of a once-great newspaper…

    I actually bought a copy of The Guardian the other week in a shop, only to discover to my horror that I’d read all the interesting articles in it the night before on the internet. – What a waste of money!

  167. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 8:46 PM

    Prince Charles’s letters to government ministers go “to the top of the pile” and are “treated with great reverence”, a former government special adviser told an information tribunal appeal today. —The Grauniad, today

    I had to read this 3 times just to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks. Letters (on ‘…issues such as planning applications and government health policy’) from Chuck The Cluck are treated with ‘great reverence’?

    Is this a joke? Do these letters cure The King’s Evil or something? Or are they, in fact, the witless vapourings of a bored, unemployed middle-aged parasite who can’t work out how to squeeze a tube of toothpaste?

    It’s a measure of just how degraded our political masters are that the wafflings of this clueless twit are not only treated seriously, but with ‘reverence’.

    Jesus wept…we’re fucking doomed.

  168. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:49 PM

    Showers at school MM, are you mad?? I was a convent day girl. We showered at home under cover of darkness. And then we met the boys from the Christian Brothers and all the modesty went up in smoke.

  169. September 14, 2010 8:56 PM

    Mishari I liked the situation in the US where Jessica Lange was brought in as an expert on an agricultural crisis. Her only credentials on this area were that she had played a farmer’s wife in a film.

  170. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:00 PM

    MM, Mid-table is not to be sniffed at. Not before showering at least.

  171. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 9:34 PM

    Ed, there was a long-running US TV show (1960s-70s) called ‘Marcus Welby MD’ about a wise and kindly doctor who….but you already know the plot.

    The actor who played MW, Robert Young, turned up in TV ad after TV ad, wearing his white lab-coat and touting the ‘health benefits’ of some crap product or other.

    People listen to that gobshite Bono’s interminable waffling about poverty and hunger because, you know…he’s an expert, what with being in a pop group and all.

    There are an awful lot of morons out there…the ones who voted for Arnie to govern California on the basis that, hey…a guy who can take out a terminator from the future can surely fix the economy…right?

    Yeah…right…and hasn’t that turned out well?

  172. September 14, 2010 9:50 PM

    Isn’t it a well-known fact that poverty and hunger are inextricably linked with tax avoidance?

  173. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 14, 2010 10:26 PM

    Not heard any Michael Hedges for a while? Let’s remedy that.

  174. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 10:34 PM

    Has he really long legs or is the bench off the set of Alice in Wonderland? Never heard of Michael Hedges, does this make me a Philistine?

  175. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:16 PM

    Sorry, Reine, I wasn’t aware of the showering in darkness rule. I might take it up myself.

    Elizabeth I was famously reluctant to execute Mary, Queen of Scots, despite evidence demonstrating her treasonable acts. How sad to see one Prince attacking another on these very pages… what happened to that fine ideal, noblesse oblige? Gone, alas, with so many other courtesies which persons of my generation were… (cont. Arse Notoria).

    I think I prefer Michael’s sister, Privet.

  176. Reine permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:17 PM

    Or his brother Bensonand.

  177. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 11:21 PM

    Never heard of him, but the guitar technique is pure Pat Metheny circa. 1982…however, Metheny’s interest in garden furniture was minimal, as far as I can tell…

  178. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 14, 2010 11:44 PM

    Or his cockney uncle, Hedgar.

  179. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 11:54 PM

    …and, of course, his cousin and perennial (haha) Gardener’s Question Time favourite, Dry Stone Hedges….

  180. mishari permalink*
    September 14, 2010 11:58 PM

    …and let’s not forget the famous scene in Treasure of The Sierra Madre where Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) says to the Mexican bandito “If you’re Federales, where’s your hedges?” and the bandito says “Hedges? We don’t need no stinkin’ hedges…” [You already did this joke-Ed.]

  181. Reine permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:07 AM

    His daughter Betsy always has two fellas on the go.

  182. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:17 AM

    I can’t think of any more hedges so I’m going to bed. Bay bay!

  183. Reine permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:18 AM

    I’m all out myself. Sweet dreams all.

  184. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2010 12:21 AM

    Me too….’night.

  185. Reine permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:23 AM

    Look at me caught between two fine specimens at bed time…

  186. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 15, 2010 4:31 AM

    Where did everybody go?

  187. Reine permalink
    September 15, 2010 8:35 AM

    Michael H had a very somnolent effect Henry.

  188. September 15, 2010 8:50 AM

    Mishari I look forward to that joke re-appearing when we discuss budgets, ledgers, grudges and badgers.

    Bonus points if you can make it work with helicopters or aspidistras.

  189. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2010 10:17 AM

    Oh, there’s plenty of mileage left in that joke [No, there isn’t-Ed.]

  190. September 15, 2010 10:31 AM

    I think Editor is wrong here. With the oncoming decimation of the arts probably/possibly putting a big hole in my plans I’m planning a whole career based on it.

  191. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2010 11:01 AM

    Carless Whisper

    George, I was sorry to hear that you’re inside,
    it’s the wrong place for a man with your gift,
    but you shouldn’t drive when your brain is fried,
    any fan would have given you a lift.

    Jail’s a very tough gig, I’ve no doubt,
    and I hope you can do your time, old chap,
    maybe Andy Ridgeley can bust you out,
    if he can find the prison on a map.

    I used to envy your lustrous starshine,
    drugs, sex, booze, you were a fortunate man,
    but it seems you weren’t keen on what you had,

    and your life was as depressing as mine.
    Now, watching you leave in the prison van,
    my tedious life doesn’t seem that bad.

  192. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2010 11:08 AM

    Finally got round to watching Spiral (thanks for the tip, Zeph), which I bought ages ago. Pretty good first ep., very bloody start which MrsM couldn’t look at. I noticed a couple of spelling mistakes in the subtitles, so I’m sure they can’t be par HLM.

  193. September 15, 2010 11:19 AM

    Is Spiral the Parisian version of Le Wire?

  194. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2010 11:50 AM

    More of a police procedural type of thing (so far), with probable political/big business ramifications. We used to watch The Wire with subtitles on, but I didn’t notice any spelling mistakes.

  195. September 15, 2010 12:00 PM

    I saw a few of them when they were on Beeb 4. Pas mal, tres realistique et plus beau que la preponderance du policiers Americaine.

    HLM may want to correct most of this

  196. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:04 PM

    I have some recollection of having worked on the first couple of episodes of Engrenages about five years ago before it first aired. That would have been for the production company, Telfrance, to attract sales abroad. The series will have been re-subtitled by someone else. Some ilitterate clown, no doubt.

  197. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2010 12:06 PM

    You misspelled ‘clouwn’…

  198. September 15, 2010 12:20 PM

    and let’s not forget the famous scene in “Treasure….. ( no too early and wrong context. Ed – not that Ed. this Ed btw )

  199. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 15, 2010 12:32 PM

    It’s a BBC product, so it may be that the team of chimpanzees which does the subtitles and straplines for their news programmes is responsible.

Comments are closed.