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Let’s Get Lost

October 17, 2010

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When the American jazz trumpeter Chet Baker died in May, 1988, the only real surprise was that he’d managed to live as long as he had. After almost 40 years as one of the most notorious junkies in jazz, he’d long been expected to clock-out of an overdose. In the final idiocy of a life filled with them, Baker didn’t die of an overdose but fell out of a first-floor hotel window in Amsterdam’s red-light district. Sic transit gloria etc.

Baker had started out as a ‘golden boy’, with his matinee idol good-looks and an almost supernatural gift for making a trumpet do whatever he wanted. And gift it was. Baker never ‘learned’ to play the trumpet and he didn’t practice. Friend and fellow trumpeter Jack Shelton (who went on to a long career as a respected band-leader and in-demand studio musician) said:

Chet used to drive me crazy. You know, here’s me, practicing 12 hours a day, blowing ’til I’m fucking cross-eyed and Chet, he’s just running around, chasing girls, smoking dope, going to the beach, having a blast, never even picking up a trumpet. But he’d turn up at gigs 5 minutes before we started, have a quick look at the playlist and then blow everyone else off the stage. What was worse, the son of a bitch never once pressed the right valve…

Right valve or not, Baker effortlessly delivered a clean, lyrical sound with the ability to play passages expressive of such tender yearning and loss that a listener must assume he had gone to hell and back. But he hadn’t. He was a nice, naive, fresh-faced kid from Norman, Oklahoma. He’d been nowhere, done nothing (except a brief stint in the US Army), read nothing and could hardly be said, at the age of 22, to have lived at all (and before anyone points out that Rimbaud had finished writing poetry by the age of 22, I’d point out that Rimbaud was a worldly, sophisticated, well-educated Frenchman: Baker was a hick who never read a book in his life).

Baker was an idiot savant: it was a gift. Like the song of the blackbird or the gorgeous display of a bird of paradise–and gifts can be spurned, abused, broken or lost.

It’s a measure of Baker’s gift that he never quite broke it or lost it, even when the heroin took hold or through the years of scuffling and ducking and diving, the busts and overdoses, the ruined relationships and crap albums recorded on the strength of his name and to make enough to keep him from ‘clucking’ (the wonderfully expressive term used by British junkies to describe being junk-sick).

Even after he had his teeth knocked out in a 1968 heroin deal gone wrong. For a trumpeter, this was catastrophic. The embouchure (the ability to shape the mouth and lips) is dependent on teeth. False teeth mean having to train the facial muscles all over again from scratch, a task that’s probably beyond most trumpeters and Baker gave up music for a couple of years. But by the early 70s, he was playing again and perhaps, after his experience of regaining what he’d thought lost, better than ever. His playing had new depth.

THIS TRACK, recorded in Rome in late 1987, six months before his death, is almost heart-breaking. My Funny Valentine was a Baker signature tune and one that helped rocket him to fame in his early 20s. Listening to the broken, reedy, wheezing vocal convinces you that he’s a dead man walking…but his trumpet playing? His trumpet tells a different story. The old fluid lyricism is still there, just as effortless, just as moving.

Actually, it’s even more moving–now, he can truly be said to have learned about the pain and loss and yearning that he’d once expressed so thoughtlessly. And just for contrast, listen to Baker HERE, aged 22. Marvel at his breezy confidence and delight in his command, his phrasing, his optimism. Then, perhaps, consider the long, hard road that he and all of us must travel on our way to a dusty death.

I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that I love Chet Baker’s trumpet playing. I could have written a much, much longer piece, trying to explain my affection for Baker but what would be the point? Explaining the hows and whys of love is as futile as herding cats.

Let’s have poems about musicians or music that you love. They don’t need to be great musicians and it needn’t be great music: you just have to love it.

156 Comments
  1. mishari permalink*
    October 17, 2010 10:29 PM

    Hilarious piece by Dorian Lynskey over on CiF. Apparently, Dorian has just realised that the Rolling Stones aren’t actually wild-eyed anarcho-syndicalist rebels. Yeah…there’s a shock, eh?

    What a putz.

  2. Meltonella permalink
    October 17, 2010 10:35 PM

    Dance Away

    Ferry! Supercool idol of my youth
    Glittering maestro of popular song
    Your anguished grimace was my teenage truth
    Your hair was nicely cut and not too long.

    Bryan! Son of the north-eastern coalfield
    You worked in the collieries of the soul,
    Hewing single-handed to secure its yield
    Of deep-level insights, its psychic coal.

    Indeed, loneliness is a crowded room,
    Where tortured adolescence hugs the wall,
    You challenged that sociopathic stance,
    And parted the curtain of callow gloom.
    Bryan, you let the strobe light up them all,
    Still their pink confusion, and let them dance!

  3. mishari permalink*
    October 17, 2010 11:00 PM

    Great stuff, MM…sounds familiar. A re-tread?

    Here’s another musician I love:

  4. pinkroom permalink
    October 17, 2010 11:15 PM

    Let’s Get Lost

    Just three notes – the devil’s own,
    played far behind the beat
    and in those seconds,
    lifeimes bleed
    to a brushed snare’s bar repeat.

    An opened throat,
    to an open valve,
    to his trumpet’s silver cup

    but a catch below B
    speaks straight to me:
    chased absence,
    given-up.

  5. Zeph permalink
    October 17, 2010 11:19 PM

    This is my favourite Chet Baker track, though he sings more than he plays on this one. It’s a great song. In his day, Baker had an extraordinarily seductive singing voice. He used it like another wind instrument, which of course all voices are, but you can hear him phrasing the vocal like a trumpet solo. Billie Holiday did it too.

  6. October 17, 2010 11:33 PM

    Steve Buscemi the spitting image of a weasel
    Whereas Chet Baker looks straight off an easel
    The sort of face that’d be a delight to draw
    But he can’t sit still he needs to score

    Steve Buscemi couldn’t get by on his looks
    Whereas Chet’s face adorned plenty of photo books
    He had the sort of face that whips up jealous scorn
    Lucky he played the trumpet as to the manor born

    An example of his talent which needs no gilding?
    The mournful solo on Costello’s “Shipbuilding”.

    For weaselly Steve looks were no embargo
    Just watch him act in the Coen Brother’s”Fargo”

  7. pinkroom permalink
    October 17, 2010 11:36 PM

    This is mine Zeph… music for the hours after the early hours.

  8. Reine permalink
    October 17, 2010 11:38 PM

    For SPM

    Let me kiss you
    I would if I could
    But I don’t think I’m your type

    Let me kiss you
    It might cheer me up
    Heaven knows I’m miserable now

    Let me kiss you
    Your strange downturned mouth aside
    You are the quarry

  9. mishari permalink*
    October 17, 2010 11:39 PM

    Fine poem, PR.

    You’re right, zeph. Initially, I didn’t think much of Baker’s voice: that high, insubstantial tenor wasn’t my thing at all. But it grew on me. I eventually realised that it suited Baker perfectly: tentative and almost fey as it was, it acted as a perfect foil for the assurance of his trumpet-playing…this is a great example, too:

  10. Reine permalink
    October 18, 2010 8:29 AM

    He sang in my dreams

  11. October 18, 2010 9:58 AM

    Most excellent Baker eulogy, Mish… I’d like to get lost in contemplating it, but I’ve just been notified that I live in Nazi Germany (c. 1933) so I’m distracted by that at the moment…

    (and Al: someday soon I’ll scrape out a free hour and respond to your DeLillo comment, but now I’m busy with my wife’s musical project… not to mention the above-mentioned apprehension of just who the Führer is going to be …)

  12. mishari permalink*
    October 18, 2010 10:02 AM

    Thanks, Steven. It was penned in haste and could have been much longer and more thoughtful, but it’s a springboard and what the hell…

    Yes, I understand you’re having problems with Adolf Merkel and her Beige Shirts. They Shall Not Pass!

  13. October 18, 2010 10:13 AM

    As if Berlin is known as an “Art capital” or a “hip” tourist destination owing to the natives! Kick all the ferners out and you’d have a dogshit-crusted no-go zone of scowling, petit bourgeois dole-rats… (well, and, okay, some fetching, high-cheeked Aryan maidens…)

  14. October 18, 2010 10:15 AM

    (check out the guitarist I recruited for my wife’s project… really nice guy… with the added bonus that he’s Chilean and NOT a fooking Nazi)

    http://vimeo.com/15921424

  15. Zeph permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:01 AM

    Those singer-songwriters
    Don, Al, Steve
    they were so easy to have around
    on your turntable
    with their bedsitter images and memories
    of Clifton in the rain
    songs of places called Laurel
    and girls who were in a funny state of mind

    They could sing the era
    with the day the music died
    or a morning from a Bogart movie
    but mostly they were just there
    with their light voices and clever words

    You felt they might turn up one day
    at your place
    they wouldn’t disdain your instant coffee
    they would perhaps be interestingly broken-hearted
    about some girl or other
    and working on a new song about it
    they might sit on your sofa with their guitar
    putting one foot on top of the other
    to play
    comfortably
    but not without edge

    I wouldn’t have had James Taylor round though
    he had a couple of good songs
    but you just knew he’d get very stoned
    and talk about himself for hours
    just as now he’s still singing those same few good songs
    over and over
    while the others
    not bedsitter boys any more
    but well-worn liked faded jeans
    go out on the road with new songs
    and different memories

    They can still come round any time

  16. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    October 18, 2010 1:42 PM

    http://www.irancartoon.com/100/kruger/index35.htm

  17. Meltonella permalink
    October 18, 2010 7:47 PM

    Jazz. Look what it does to your face.

  18. Meltonella permalink
    October 18, 2010 7:51 PM

    Thank You For The Music

    They came from the land of forests and porn,
    two nerds, a woman resembling a horse,
    and one whose projections and hair like corn
    inspired thoughts of sexual intercourse.

    It was clever to start with Waterloo,
    working back from that endgame of despair
    to Jena and Lodi, and then on through
    to fade in the mists of 18 Brumaire.

    In their Imperial pomp, those Vikings
    burned down the villages of Euro-pop,
    put Cliff and Lulu shrieking to the sword
    buried their axes in the earthbound Wings:
    they gave the Brotherhood of Man the chop.
    Their place in history is forever assured.

  19. hic8ubique permalink
    October 18, 2010 7:51 PM

    First Inversion

    Rocking octaves on and on
    I could just reach
    that same damn boogie-woogie
    at sixteen in coke bottles
    and bell-sleeve dashiki.
    You at the door with an asking
    every day I gave you my
    practice room,
    deference buying my ticket
    to sit near again syncopating
    listening to you make
    Rhapsody in Blue
    hammering strings sternum
    right the way through
    me I hear you still
    play.

  20. hic8ubique permalink
    October 18, 2010 8:21 PM

    Mishari, when you have a moment in your Ed. hat, please make that syncopating, instead of syncing…
    It’s too techno-iPoddy as it stands. ThanKx in advance.

  21. mishari permalink*
    October 18, 2010 8:32 PM

    Here’s one from a 2008 Poster Poems, where I was appearing as @feloniusmonk (sigh):

    Hello, Pork-Pie Hat (for Tom Waits)

    The first time that I ever
    heard that voice,
    I knew I was hearing
    real class,
    the sound of a man
    who by nature
    or choice
    poured honey
    from broken glass.

    The heat of the words,
    pungent and dark,
    rising from soft
    city asphalt,
    mugged by a songbird
    in Central Park
    a sardonic, harmonic assault.

    The pot-holed boulevards
    of broken dreams
    that carried your chumps
    to their doom,
    the broken-down bars,
    the girl’s crooked seams,
    the candle, the needle, the spoon.

    All viewed without pity,
    remorse or regret,
    but tenderly rendered
    with wit;
    there’s only one sin:
    that a man should forget
    his humanity, for then
    he’s just shit.

    You’re the poet
    of small change,
    of nickels and dimes,
    of lives measured out
    in a shot-glass;
    of terrible beauty
    and horrible crimes;
    of the heart
    with a .38 by-pass.

    You speak to me now
    and I get the old thrill
    as your 3 a.m. voice
    pins the truth down,
    up my spine,
    Frank’s wild years
    still send a chill,
    like the footsteps
    that sound
    in a ghost town.

    For me, you’ll always
    be the straight sound
    of the almost,
    the could have,
    the if…
    The perfect soundtrack
    to an imperfect life
    as I drive it right over a cliff.

  22. henrylloydmoon permalink
    October 18, 2010 8:59 PM

    Here’s a song I borrowed for Poster Poems way back…

    The Wreck of the Melton Mowbray by Gordon Lightfoot

    For nigh twenty years we’ve been getting in beers
    In the Ripponden pub the Old Bridge Inn
    On Saturday nights not a spare seat’s in sight
    When the residents’ curtains start twitching

    For the proud attendees, they go weak at the knees
    All stars in their way, high and mighty
    For the County of York is home to the Pork
    Pie Appreciation Society

    ‘Twas born of a whim at the boozer, post-gym,
    When me and six others was gagging
    For a bite of Bill’s pie that Lorraine had put by
    To make sure Bill’s fly was unflagging

    Next week in the pub, Peter brought in some grub
    And the landlady plated a dozen
    Fine hand-raised pork pies, a right feast for the eyes
    From the local pork butcher, his cousin

    Now all that was grand till one night, unplanned,
    When Pete didn’t show for his workout
    Said Hank, ‘We’ve no choice, I’ll ring up our Joyce
    To bring a Greek doner or Turk out’

    But then, to a man, the pietastic clan
    Said no to such dishes exotic
    ‘Our jelly is set, it’s not greasy: no sweat
    And besides that, it’s unpatriotic’

    Henceforth did our lads take turns to turn heads
    With the high quality of their filling
    Pie fetchers would vy to bring home the best pie
    With a pastry to merit top billing

    With moment solemn, they gave marks out of ten
    And then noted the final addition
    Then comments appended: ‘great’, ‘pedigree’, splendid!’
    To begin what’s become a tradition

    To return to Lorraine, who set events in train
    With her expectations of Bill-bedding
    They finally got hitched after Patty was hatched
    And had quiche ‘stead of cake at the wedding

  23. October 18, 2010 9:08 PM

    From Bulgaria the Bisserov sisters
    Sing so sweetly sharply the wallpaper
    Peels off in blisters.

    From Germany Hans Reichel’s daxophone
    Entirely serious entirely funny
    Music entirely his alone.

    From Brazil a troupe of anonymous drummers
    Like endlessly annoying neighbours
    In delightful overhot summers.

  24. October 18, 2010 9:19 PM

    Perhaps because I’m sentimental
    With sweet tooth weak for sugared-slush
    Perhaps I’m lazy and I need
    My art pureed and fed as mush

    Perhaps I’m wrong, I’m told it’s dire
    But I love – love – Mull of Kintyre

    Perhaps my ancient Celtic blood
    Was fired by the bagpipes’ flare
    Perhaps I was too young to judge
    Good songs from bad or foul from fair

    Perhaps I’m wrong so to admire
    But I love – love – Mull of Kintyre

    Perhaps because my father, Paul,
    From Liverpool, a Cavern-goer
    Did look, once, like McCartney too
    My critic’s sense was moving slower

    Perhaps I’m wrong, to raise it higher
    But I love – love –Mull of Kintyre

    The single was a gift from him
    The first pop record that I owned
    It span, the music broken up
    By next-door’s CB radio

    And still the words – ‘sunset’s on fire’
    Send shivers. Yeah, Mull of Kintyre

  25. mishari permalink*
    October 18, 2010 9:43 PM

    Great stuff, chaps and chappesses (sp?)…and in the unlikely event that you were thinking of dining at McDonalds, have a look at this 12 year-old McD’s burger. It’ll outlast the fucking Himalayas. You do not want to put this stuff in your body…

  26. October 18, 2010 9:58 PM

    Not put it in your body? Not unless you want to live forever! It’s like Cranach’s Spring of Eternal Youth except instead of diving naked into the pool they’re all chomping their way through a McBacon Double Scythian (or whatever).

    This Gravatar thing’s fun. Perhaps I should change my photo. Something from the bleach-blonde years, perhaps.

  27. henrylloydmoon permalink
    October 18, 2010 10:10 PM

    Just re-read mine… could Ed. possibly substitute “train” for “chain” in the last verse? Ta, Mish.

    • Reine permalink
      October 18, 2010 10:21 PM

      I can’t believe you pixillated HLM.

    • henrylloydmoon permalink
      October 18, 2010 10:32 PM

      I don’t have an unpixillated version. Besides it’s not me, it’s Nick Nolte. I once had to sign his autograph several times in return for free parking underneath the parvis at Notre Dame. The lady wouldn’t believe my denials. I think the Silverado 70 played a part in that…

  28. Reine permalink
    October 18, 2010 10:19 PM

    I would say chapesses with only one “p” myself M if your question was other than rhetorical.

    His name is Seán Keane
    For whom I write this paean

    Deep, with charisma oozing
    Any time of my choosing
    His timbre is mine
    Clear, soothing, sublime

    Wrapped around me, in bliss
    Not a touch, not a kiss
    A voice filled with quiet passion
    Is always in fashion

  29. October 18, 2010 11:15 PM

    @Ed – it’s very strange you mention Woody Bop Muddy – I was thinking about him yesterday, not a regular occurance. He was in the cabaret tent one Glastonbury about ten years ago with a revue group, I’ve forgotten what they were called.

    It was fantastic, I watched the show every day and eventually persuaded my friends to come too. They sat in irritable silence throughout as he argued with a puppet called the Little C**t and sang a song about cloning whales. It’s the way you tell ’em.

    @Mishari,

    Are you familiar with V.S. Pritchett? I’ve just been reading him and am quite spellbound.

  30. Reine permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:24 PM

    Thelonious Monk’s
    at the foot of my bed
    When I hear him play
    I forget that he’s dead

  31. mishari permalink*
    October 18, 2010 11:28 PM

    Glad to hear it, XB. Have we never discussed him before? I’m a big fan. He was a wonderful writer and his short stories are a delight. I’d also highly recommend his autobiography, two volumes, The Cab At The Door and Midnight Oil and also The Spanish Temper, one of the best books on Spain ever written by a foreigner.

  32. October 18, 2010 11:38 PM

    I don’t think we have – but it’s possible. My bookmark showed I’d read the first two stories some time in the last few years but I had no memory of them. All my unread books await the correct moment.

    I’m beginning a series of short stories about my home town; received a Modern Library Guy de Maupaussant collection which I was reading today and then remembered the Pritchett: picked it up, and haven’t put it down. It’s precise, rather tragic, and gives faint glimmers of the very English mixture of stuffiness and wilful perversity that seems to have been going on in the lives of all the extended family I never met.

  33. mishari permalink*
    October 18, 2010 11:47 PM

    I remember, now. I discussed VSP with our late friend cynicalsteve over at the doggerelsbollocks.

    I urge you to get hold of the autobiographies. Both volumes are a joy but Midnight Oil is a special pleasure for it’s portrait of a vanished Paris.

    VSP arrived in 1920 and spent a few years working (if I remember correctly) in a milliners shop or perhaps a womens clothing shop.

    It’s the same period that Hemingway, Stein et al were in Paris but instead of the shrieking, simpering poseurs, hysterics, frauds and charlatans who infested The Dome and The Select, VSP’s Paris is the Paris of the working-classes, the small businessmen, the ordinary streets and cafes and bal musettes.

    It’s a wonderful book. Closely observed, tender, humane, sometimes baffled, always good-humoured.

  34. hic8ubique permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:02 AM

    Still purring over ‘style maven’, I was about to say you could call me anything you pleased, M.
    Then I saw ‘buggeresses’. That is too ugly.

    Steven, lovely old photo of a handsome young man. Thanks to the convenient PH music channel, I know what Billy Idol’s hair looked like. Was that an inspiration to you at the time?
    By the way, I can’t help but notice a dominant anatomical theme to your endless thread. May I ask, do you appear only in that one photo?
    Yes, I’m teasing, but clearly, you deserve it.

  35. October 19, 2010 12:05 AM

    Just finished The Evils of Spain and it made me sad, remembering Seville last year. Beautiful stuff: ‘Angel is one of those men who, when he is in the sea, he drowns.’

    Thanks for the recommendations, I still owe you a great deal for Road to Oxiana.

    Thoughts on Hemingway? I know he’s one of the Big Writing Men but I slapped my forehead at the non-too-subtle stigmata in Old Man and the Sea and threw For Whom the Bell Tolls across the room round about ‘did the earth move for you?’ Although the chapter (allegedly) set in Ronda was chilling and brilliant.

  36. Reine permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:08 AM

    Have you read The Sun Also Rises Exit? I like that best of Hemingway’s.

  37. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2010 12:09 AM

    hic, in English ‘bugger’ is much like the Spanish coño (which means exactly what you think it means): a word, that through long and common usage, has had any sting removed.

    I remember how surprised I was when I first lived in Spain many years ago, to see a very chic young mother, elegantly dressed, turn to her very small son who was dawdling at a pedestrian crossing and snarl: “Venga, coño…”. I soon realised that the word had been leached of meaning except as a mild expletive…

  38. October 19, 2010 12:15 AM

    VSP’s crest was on the banner I flew in the “James Woods Wars” of 2005-2009. VSP’s stuff makes Edmund Wilson’s stuff look like the work of a cranky, precocious teen. His collected works (both big vols: the fiction and the critiques) are a clean spot in my moldy library. Got a sweet little Modern Library edition of Cab at the Door & Midnight Oil, too. VSP wrote like a gifted amateur and never let crass careerism (and ambition’s shaky ego) turn him into something pompously false like Wood. Helluva bibliography, man.

  39. October 19, 2010 12:16 AM

    @Reine – I haven’t, I’m afraid, I was too annoyed by For the Whom the Bell Tolls.

    But then I often don’t like books until I get past the halfway mark – Crime and Punishment springs to mind.

  40. October 19, 2010 12:16 AM

    Hic:

    Ha! Erm, no.

  41. mishari permalink*
    October 19, 2010 12:17 AM

    I liked Hemingway as an ignorant teenager. Now, the only works I can read with any pleasure are The Sun Also Rises (although a lot of it is unutterably silly) and A Movable Feast (a memoir of the ex-pat Paris that Pritchett avoided), which Hemingway wrote at the end of his life. It has a tenderness and elegiac tone that can be quite charming. There are passages, here and there in Hemingway, that are very good but there aren’t enough of them, sadly.

  42. hic8ubique permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:17 AM

    Well, thank you for the update, but it’s still ugly.

    My Dad’s delighted pronouncement on Liebling’s
    The Sweet Science:
    ‘He’s not afraid to use long sentences.’
    ‘He knows how to milk a metaphor.’ (followed by a reading of NYC subway as the Amazon river)

    and the bit that reminded me of all this:
    ‘He’s like Hemingway with a vocabulary.’

  43. Reine permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:18 AM

    Speaking of coño, a colleague at work remarked the other day that one of the girls in the office was wearing little more than a cc. When I inquired as to the abbreviation, he revealed it referred to a coño curtain. It was a new one on me. Reminded me of the Countdown episode I watched with my mother where the letters for perusal read cun*flaps. Richard Whitely could hardly contain himself and one of the contestants was a vicar. Mammy was too shocked to make a word.

  44. October 19, 2010 12:18 AM

    (actually, Hic, the “themes” are fairly balanced, if you troll through the whole damn thing; I started posting male parts to make sure our Feminist Comrades weren’t feeling slighted)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 19, 2010 12:25 AM

      Mm hmm, I suppose we’re more accustomed to female nudity in photography, so it’s less remarkable.
      So, there are indeed more. How shall I know which are of you?

  45. Reine permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:27 AM

    We could do a calendar. ‘night all.

  46. October 19, 2010 12:41 AM

    hic:

    I’m trying to picture my wife placidly scrolling down one of those threads and happening upon a photo of equipment she was under the impression had never been glimpsed by any eyes other than hers and 2 long-lost exes safely quartered in a convent and a “sanitarium”…

  47. hic8ubique permalink
    October 19, 2010 1:11 AM

    ok, I’m trying to picture that too.
    Far be it from me to scandalise anyone’s beloved, but is that truly her impression?
    I mean, would she really buy that?

    I thought coño might mean ‘rabbit’.

  48. Parisa permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:02 AM

    You can’t get more right wing than the Rolling Stones these days – they could care less about the Proletariat – unless they stop buying their albums of course. I think there was something on the telly this morning – just glimpsed it – Keith Richards saying Mick was a bit nutty? I thought “well that’s earth-shattering”. Not.

  49. Parisa permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:11 AM

    Chet Baker – a good singer & a druggy.

    A wonderful writer I discovered just recently is Mavis Gallant – she began as a journalist – settled in Paris where she still lives – born in Montreal. Paris Stories & The Cost of Living are such a good read.

    ~

    I thought coño might mean beef stew.

  50. October 19, 2010 2:48 AM

    If music be the food of love
    I’m in the intermission
    Il catalogo è questo
    But where’s the next addition?
    In Espagna mille e tre?
    I haven’t caught as much
    On my hunt for feathered birds
    I’m right now out of luck

  51. hic8ubique permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:52 AM

    Oh no. I was looking for a better version of Nick Nolte, …procrastinating…
    and found this astonishingly ghastly website.
    I know there are plenty of revolting people, but they are seldom this proud of it, I hope? Is this a depraved joke?
    http://www.nicknoltesafaris.com/

  52. Parisa permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:19 AM

    I’ve been overtaken by schlock American culture:

  53. October 19, 2010 9:21 AM

    Here’s a riposte to the unannounced invasion by Disney

  54. Zeph permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:22 PM

    That’s brilliant, ET.

    Pritchett: superb writer. He went out of fashion for a long time, I think, for no sensible reason.

    I read in an interview that his own favourite of his stories was The Oedipus Complex, and it is an amazing piece of writing, almost more like a poem in the way it builds rhythm and pace… it’s about having a tooth out. It was described by Frank Kermode as ‘a small unambitious sketch’, though… Pritchett makes it look so easy that even people who like his work can underestimate the skill involved.

  55. hic8ubique permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:11 PM

    That Don McLean was a lovely memory, Zeph.

    I was thinking of ‘coney’, Mishari. You give me too much credit for Spanish I haven’t got.

    EdT~ I feel empathically clammy watching that,
    and claustrophobic. The tongue was a wet shock.
    I thought there was a lost opportunity when both the eyes and ears responded to a knock at the door.
    Wouldn’t it have been funnier if the eyes-hand had remained unaware and just the ears-hand had responded?
    Fantastic.

    Freep! I’m looking for you. I’m waiting to know whether you’re smooth, wire-haired or parson.
    I’m partial to parson’s, myself (as well as melton-woolley vicars)
    Furthermore, I wish to know whether you in your wisdom approve of ‘buggeresses’ as aesthetically admissible terminology.

  56. October 19, 2010 4:59 PM

    I meant to say
    That touched my heart
    Put a smile to my lips
    Made my spirits sway
    Made me shake my hips.

    Instead I said

    “I like the minor chords in the intro which resolve themselves satisfyingly in the second chorus, the 9/8 rhythm can be difficult to get a handle on but if you’re familiar with Balkan circle dances then it’s simpler than you think. You can hear the bagpipe influence in the clarinet-playing so he’s using circular breathing to achieve those long unbroken melody lines and given the sweetness of the melody and the understatement of the rhythm I’d say it was Macedonian rather than Serbian in origin.”

    Which may be true
    But it’s emotionally dead.

  57. Meltonella permalink
    October 19, 2010 10:24 PM

    Jill Sobule

    She sings in a thousand bedrooms,
    where a thousand mildly depressed
    teenage girls are hugging their gloom.

    God, Mum and Dad could never guess
    how terrible she’s feeling now,
    how everything is SUCH a mess!

    Those dull-witted pachyderms who
    lumber around downstairs can’t see
    the wierd stuff she’s going through,

    they totally have no idea.
    Their lives are just stupid and dull,
    they only eat and watch TV,

    they’re so boring they make her ill.
    All those unending afternoons
    it’s like the world is standing still.

    A golden bar of Autumn sun
    falls across the empty bedroom.
    Jill Sobule is gathering dust.

  58. Meltonella permalink
    October 19, 2010 10:27 PM

    Bit harsh on Jill there. Some of her stuff’s quite lively:

  59. Parisa permalink
    October 20, 2010 2:19 AM

    That’s so clever, ET – horrific, funny & well….just brilliant.

  60. Parisa permalink
    October 20, 2010 2:23 AM

    http://vimeo.com/12113203 – Life in slow motion.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 20, 2010 5:01 PM

      I enjoyed watching this, all the while knowing I wouldn’t have to clean it up.
      Fascinating deformation of the hand on the concrete block…

    • October 20, 2010 5:36 PM

      That was my observation too hic. I wondered if it was a conscious recalibrating of the hand’s position as it went through or whether it was just what your hand does when it slams into a breezeblock.

    • October 20, 2010 5:39 PM

      I’m not given to sadism but after this afternoon I’d love to see a slow motion shot of a hand karate chopping George Osborne’s neck.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 21, 2010 12:38 AM

      Sadly, my favourite expert is indisposed at the moment… and I just looked at it the once, EdT, but my impression was of the shock-wave moving through the tissues of hand/wrist held as rigidly as possible during impact.

  61. Parisa permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:15 AM

    Btw Misha. Just saw the previous blog (Hidden No Longer) & got a shock seeing my pic there. Thanx for being so generous & adventurous!

    ~

    Condolences HLM.

    ~

    @ Hic & Jack – I suffered with migraines for the last 15 years – they say it’s sleep, ( lack of) stress & diet. I think it’s the way I sleep – ie pinched neck nerves. Either that or some allergy. The Santa Ana winds here from the desert can bring one on. However…… I started to take B12 sublingual 1000 mgs every morning and I have not had a migraine in the last six months and it’s only about $6 (3 quid?) for a bottle of 100. Also Magnesium is meant to work – 250mg. Icing the forehead & neck is good, too. So is acupuncture. Some say a small piece of chocolate & coke/soda but what always did more for me was some coffee & water – at any rate to stay hydrated – oh & sleep on your back. Breathing evenly & deeply through your nose, using the diaphragm I’ve found stops the migraine going from bad to worse. Hope that helps.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 20, 2010 4:44 PM

      Quite a journey solving it eh? P, since everyone’s triggers are individual and varying. Sorry to hear you too have it. You must know of the Oliver Sacks famous book ‘Migraine’.
      Two great lessons that took me years to really learn:
      Treat it as a chronic condition.
      and
      Treat at the first sign of onset.

  62. freep permalink
    October 20, 2010 12:06 PM

    Hic: Parson. Rough haired. Millennial. Docked tail (regrettably). With the white stripe between the eyes common to many border collies, goats, ‘orses and captains struck into madness by satanic lightning. And I prefer buggerina.

  63. hic8ubique permalink
    October 20, 2010 4:34 PM

    happy tiny found poem:

    Bucky’s
    brought his
    Martin.

    ~~~~~~

    I must consider the picture posted then, freep.
    ‘Oh, Buggerina;
    she played the concertina.’

    I’m enjoying having the Antho in hands, savouring unfamiliar poems from each of you. Yesterday went like a yoyo:

    knocked out of bed: v
    Blurb books arrived: ^
    Cal. trip cancelled: v
    surprise visit from son: ^

    It all tended toward up however, including a glorious autumnal hike. I witnessed a murder of crows in hostile pursuit of an osprey.

  64. Meltonella permalink
    October 20, 2010 6:59 PM

    Ballad of a record company executive
    (after the Vicar of Bray)

    In the days when prog-rock was king
    I pulled on my Loons with pride
    our hair was long, we did our thing,
    the parameters were wide.
    I tried the herb but didn’t inhale
    and considered LSD,
    then I thought of going to jail:
    it really wasn’t for me.

    Whatever’s cool, whatever’s hip,
    I’m at the cutting-edge, mate,
    come to me if you want a tip,
    I’m always in the swim, mate.

    When punk tore off the prog-rock crown
    Malcolm comped my bondage gear,
    I liked the jumping up and down
    and acquired a taste for beer,
    but coming home slathered in gob
    wasn’t exactly a hoot,
    I’m not cut out to be a slob,
    I really prefer a suit.

    Whatever’s cool, whatever’s hip, etc

    The New Romantics were my thing,
    they wore some beautiful clothes
    and some of them could even sing,
    not that it matters, I suppose.
    That Simon Le Bon was a friend,
    I really liked him a lot,
    I’m sorry it came to an end:
    shouldn’t have puked on his yacht.

    Whatever’s cool, whatever’s hip, etc

    I was first to a legal rave,
    and heavily into Trance,
    surfing that supersonic wave
    was the way I loved to dance.
    After an hour I had to quit,
    I’d inhaled a load of foam,
    my back was playing up a bit,
    so I took a taxi home.

    Whatever’s cool, whatever’s hip, etc

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my rap,
    they muthafuckers can rhyme,
    but giving your bitches a slap
    technically is a crime.
    When I mentioned that to the Crew
    they went a little bit cold
    my boss was very chilly too,
    he said I was getting old.

    Whatever’s cool, whatever’s hip, etc

    I was all at sea for a while
    and didn’t know what to do,
    I thought I’d lost it big style,
    but then my chums came through.
    Thanks to my mateship with Cowell
    I’ve got back all my passion,
    no need to throw in the towel,
    old men are back in fashion.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 20, 2010 8:50 PM

      Oh, V, until my dying day, Sir. Surpassing delightful.
      I sang every verse and every reprise, adding one at the end.
      I expect the scansion will even out with practice…

    • Reine permalink
      October 20, 2010 11:53 PM

      Hicsterina, just notifying you (as requested) of an email exchange a week or so ago. No hurried reply necessary. x
      Thank you Mishari, kind sir, for noticeboard facility.

    • Reine permalink
      October 20, 2010 11:25 PM

      Spectacular work MM. You rock.

  65. Reine permalink
    October 21, 2010 12:13 AM

    Dizzy Gillespie’s birthday today, who knew? Happy birthday Dizzy, hope your trumpet still blowing somewhere out there…

  66. hic8ubique permalink
    October 21, 2010 12:46 AM

    A reassuring life-sign from the newly published traveller would be most welcome anytime soon…

    Vixenella! I’ll investigate at once.
    Speaking of deformation of tissue:

  67. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2010 3:04 AM

    Evening, hic (or ‘good morning’, actually). Just been a bit busy lately. Talking about moving away from London. I just can’t bear the thought of my children growing up in the Britain of public squalor and private affluence that is the inevitable product of Tory government.

    Inez says Paris (she’s Parisian, so no surprise there) but much as I like visiting Paris, I really don’t want to live there (it’s full of Parisians and the weather’s worse than London, for God’s sake) so I’m for Spain, preferably Barcelona (“…so you can run around with all those good-for-nothing friends from your bachelor days…”) .

    Actually, I’d be perfectly happy in Madrid or better yet, Seville (the beach is nearby)…but the more I see of these irredeemable scum (Osborne…Christ, there’s a man I’d happily see swinging from a lamp-post), the more I realise that I don’t want to live here anymore.

    The people I really feel for are the ones who don’t have the option: they’re stuck with these amoral Tory swine…

  68. hic8ubique permalink
    October 21, 2010 3:45 AM

    Oh, so you’re home. I am glad. Thanks for the news.
    I wouldn’t dream of putting in my oar… but it’s fairly clear that Spain is your comfort zone. Then again, Inez is the sensible one… but your point about Parisians is well taken.
    I hear Moon has a place just outside of Paris coming available…

    In the end, for day-to-day quality of life, I’ll always vote for a beach and good air; I’d always rather live in a place with a good beach to visit every day than have the most luxurious periodic holidays, but I won’t say a word.
    Didn’t you once say you’re an urban creature at heart, M.?
    Maybe Seville is urban, I’ve no idea.
    Lovely to hear from you.

  69. Parisa permalink
    October 21, 2010 3:48 AM

    @ Misha – & there we were, considering coming back as missing too many pple including kids. But ah……..Seville! I adore Paris – but don’t think it’s so happy to live there – thought I have friends who do. Sar- ever- so- Kozy for one is not doing too well, it seems. The only thing CA, where I am, has going for it, is the weather. Pple too, v friendly. I would like to live in a few different places – including Berlin. But difficult choice, today…….of course, Paris is so near to London in case you changed your mind & I guess your wife must miss her pple if they are there.
    A lovely account about living in Paris, I thought, was Adam Gopnik’s book Paris to the Moon – where he lived for five years. He’s a writer for the New Yorker – a mag I favour. He studied art history with the late, great Kurt Varnedoe – (curator of MOMA) – his wife is a child psychologist & prof of psych. He now lives in New York. (Not everyone knows that!)

    “““

    @ Hic – yes indeedy, I know that book by OS but forgot I did – actually have one or two of his books including Musicophilia – Tales of Music & the Brain. Hard to believe he’s 77 today. His niece, Elizabeth, was in my class at school – v clever girl – is now a doc – well they all are, in that family. His brother, David, Liz’s father, was our family GP for years. Tricky old migraine, it is – but I praise the lord – who I don’t believe in – for those B12 tablets. There’s another doc here, Dr Andrew Weill -who – so far as I recall, recommended that remedy. Works for me.

  70. October 21, 2010 5:46 AM

    Agree with you about England, Mish. I’m just deciding now where my next port of call is going to be. Indonesia looks tempting for exploration; the pay is good in Saudi but there’s not much fun; Italy… maybe; Barcelona is certainly a possibility; perhaps I’ll see you there.

  71. October 21, 2010 6:54 AM

    I can’t quite believe the human voice can do this:

  72. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2010 9:12 AM

    Seville’s a pretty large city, hic–about 1 and a half million people in greater Seville or roughly the size of Boston when I lived there 30 years ago. It’s also spectacularly lovely and the weather is fantastic (lowest average temperature is 60F in January).

    The argument now pretty much hinges on schools. But one need not be Nostradamus to see what’s in store for Britain: a return to the 80s, when the virtually every shop-doorway in London had a homeless person sleeping in it and the South Bank had a ‘cardboard city’ of the homeless and destitute right next to Royal Festival Hall. And this time it’ll be worse.

    Osborne and Cameron’s policies seem designed to make the poor homeless, in what looks like an attempt to drive them out of London.

    They’ll fail in this, of course; as the ‘Christians’ these mealy-mouthed frauds profess to be, they should remember what their Messiah said: “For ye have the poor always with you;” (Matthew 26:11)

    Sorry to sound so gloomy, but I wish the British were less phlegmatic and more like the French.

    Avoid Saudi Arabia like the plague, Simon: no amount of money is worth it–a truly horrible place.

  73. October 21, 2010 9:26 AM

    I thought Alan Johnson’s response to the budget ( which has been criticised most notably by Tory-dalek Julian Glover in the Graun ) was actually pretty good.

    Emphasising the venal ideology behind these cuts and quoting the initial smug comments of the chancellor of Ireland who used the same strategy to subsequent negative effect on the Irish economy.

    Mishari : Valencia looks a pretty good place as does Anger in France or Antwerp in Belgium or indeed Amsterdam. If I had substantial capital ( or any money at all ) and had spent years setting up useful contacts I could easily move to any of them.

  74. mishari permalink*
    October 21, 2010 9:39 AM

    It’s worse than you think, Ed: Spandau Ballet have re-formed. The long nightmare has begun…

    Valencia is lovely and right on the beach (what can I say? I like the beach) but Seville is more of a proper big city or feels that way, even though it’s roughly the same size as Valencia, and has a certain atmosphere…Amsterdam is fine except for the weather. I’ll be damned if I’ll move from one dismally grey place to another dismally grey place…we’ll see. Negotiations are on-going.

  75. October 21, 2010 9:49 AM

    Spandau Ballet regularly play in Seville so don’t imagine you’ve totally escaped the sinking ship.

  76. hic8ubique permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:16 PM

    So, it’s not an obscure corps de ballet, heh…

    Justified gloom is better out than in, as I see it, and I’d always prefer to hear true circumstances.
    The quantity of light we each need to feel well and balanced is not an insignificant consideration… I would think especially so for moody insomniacs.

    We’re into the school question now as well, as the youngest begins secondary school next yr. The state programmes are gutted, stripped down and crowded, so a bleak prospect for a child whose priorities are dance, music, and art in that order.
    She’s growing so fast, a year from now, boarding school may not seem such a drastic measure.
    ~
    I remember a shifting pile of black cloth on a grate in London 30 yrs ago. Suddenly a face emerged and shrieked ‘What are you lookin at Sweetie?’ I’ve never forgotten the shock.
    People still sleep on heating vents in Cambridge and Boston, though there are shelters, sometimes the terms of entry are unacceptable, except on the coldest of nights when vans travel around collecting the last hold-outs.

  77. hic8ubique permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:25 PM

    …I recall hearing both Vancouver and Beijing drove out the poor and homeless in preparation for their Olympic Games.
    In Beijing, it meant creating a sort of disneyfied purged zone beyond which visitors were not permitted.

  78. October 21, 2010 3:48 PM

    hic in many shelters there’s such a regime of bullying, stealing and intimidation from fellow inmates ( often the younger ones ) that many find it safer to sleep outside.

    Did you ever see the film about the communities underground in New York in some of the old subway tunnels? A whole world.With pretty good furniture too.

  79. October 21, 2010 4:06 PM

    I’m penniless too, Ed, and it’s never stopped me. In fact it’s an advantage because I only get jobs that pay the travel costs and provide me with a ‘free’ home when I get to wherever it is.

    You shouldn’t say things like that, Mish: the more people tell me how nasty, dangerous and sordid a place is the more I want to go there. There’s also Phomh Penh, which I am told is one of the last great hell-holes on Earth, or maybe I’ll just follow the great AL Lloyd:

  80. October 21, 2010 4:29 PM

    Simon I run a theatre company with some extremely weighty objects and props which I’m not prepared or willing to forgo to shift so moving is a costly business.

    Of course with these latest measures I may not have one for much longer but we’ve survived at least 3 recessions over the decades so hope hasn’t quite flown out the window.

  81. October 21, 2010 4:55 PM

    Yes, I see your point, Ed. Over the years I have managed to reduce all my possessions to what I can fit in a suitcase and travel bag. All the other detritus that I accumulate in brief sojourns goes to friends or charity shops.

    Good luck with keeping it going, anyway; people are going to need art more than ever…

  82. October 21, 2010 5:11 PM

    Thanks Simon and good luck in whichever hell-on-earth destination you decide to head off to.

    I rather enjoyed Bexhill ( god’s waiting room as it is known as due to the large pensioner population ) but beyond the fabulous De La Warr Pavilion there wasn’t a great deal going on other than the chance to count up all the funeral parlours.

  83. hic8ubique permalink
    October 21, 2010 7:06 PM

    I don’t know that film, EdT. The objections I’ve heard to shelters have mostly been about prohibition of drugs/alcohol and separation of families by gender…and that people who yrs ago would have been in institutional care, now fall into a gap when they’re off their meds and can’t comply with shelter rules.
    The local shelter seems a good place. (I’ve dropped off many boxes of outgrown men’s boots and clothes.) but Gloucester is a small city at the end of the line, so the problem is manageable.
    We also have a place anyone can go for free groceries, which is supported by donations to a very popular thrift shop, so even though the city’s broke, the very poorest do have something better than a cardboard box and scavenging.

    It almost sounds as if you could stay put, Si, spare yourself the dilemma, and soon hell will come roll at your feet.

    Good old AL Lloyd, I still have vinyl with his name on it…and Ewan MacColl’s.
    Here’s ‘Coast of Peru’. I hear Lima is a dire place to venture.

  84. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    October 21, 2010 8:51 PM

    Smell that? You smell that?

    What?

    Scorched tramp, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.

  85. Reine permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:43 PM

    Greetings Peripatetics et al.

    Just having a quick glance before bedtime – went to see John Gabriel Borkman this evening – Alan Rickman is in it, which was the main draw for me. It’s a Frank McGuinness reworking of Ibsen’s play. I have seen better plays and acting to be honest and the theatre was stiflingly hot. Most apposite subject matter in the current climate.

    The woman in front of me kept lifting and dropping her pony tail over the top of her seat onto my knees with grand swish – wished I had brought my scissors. Then there was the usual awkwardness about whether to standing ovate as excitable types leapt to their feet to the left and right.

    Anyway, goodnight all and may the travellers among you be inspired in your journey choice. Admire you greatly. R

  86. Meltoner permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:45 PM

    Classical Musick

    First place on my most hated chart
    is taken up by bloody Mozart,
    that scurrying across the brain
    could make anyone go insane.

    Bruckner is second on my list
    I’m not sure why his works persist
    those gigantic empty spaces
    like supermarket parking places.

    In the work of Anton Webern
    genius is hard to discern
    I’ve made music like that man’s
    washing up the pots and pans.

    There’s plenty more where those came from
    I could arrange a Reject’s Prom,
    for now I’ll listen as I please,
    where are my Boston Pops CDs?

  87. Meltoner permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:56 PM

    Oh. I was planning to offer you a position in my Army of the Resistance (IoW branch. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm at the Church Hall). Only a lance-corporal at first, but in a few years you could be a sergeant.

    I do wonder how difficult life might become on mainland Europe.

  88. mishari permalink*
    October 22, 2010 12:09 AM

    Jennifer Aniston’s dog is being treated for depression.

    The former ‘Friends’ star became concerned when her beloved pooch Norman disappeared overnight and then began acting strangely when he returned, so took him to see a special canine therapist, who diagnosed a mood disorder.

    A source said, “Jen became seriously worried about Norman’s mental health after his disappearance. He came back dazed and lacklustre and often didn’t seem to recognise her.

    “She’s concerned this could be it for him and she’s devastated.

    “The dog therapist said Norman was depressed and that’s what was causing him to act oddly.”

    The therapist prescribed medication for the dog…–Now Magazine

    Christ on a bike…they’re giving fucking prozac to a dog? A dog called Norman? Fuck me, I expect they’ll give the bastard some improving tracts to read next; Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae should do the trick…roll on the apocalypse…

  89. hic8ubique permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:52 AM

    I would have recommended assessing Norman for suspected Schnautzheimer’s syndrome.

  90. hic8ubique permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:08 AM

    I’ll risk posting this testament to the dangers of Mozart, MM.
    I probably love it due to years of unmitigated Bruckner damage…

    • Melton permalink
      October 22, 2010 10:25 PM

      I don’t really hate Mozart (as you probably guessed), but the allegros sometimes remind me of small animals (mice, perhaps) rushing around.

      I do hate Bruckner.

  91. October 22, 2010 9:45 AM

    From Norman

    Jennifer thinks that I’m a barking loon
    Have to stay at home, now that’s a boon
    I can crap indoors in my personalised bog
    Take pills not normally given to a dog.

    I’m given these from some veterinary dude –
    The world’s first canine appropriate qualuude.
    I accept I’m nuts I can take that on the chin
    I’m trying to get hooked on vicodin.

    These addictions are the tools I need
    Plus the intolerable weight of a Prada doggy lead
    To keep me in this palace hour after hour
    Writing the first canine misery memoir.

    I’ve a feeling though that my vocab’s not enough
    My only response to how I feel? ” Ruff!!!!”

    Admit it you didn’t see it coming did you?

  92. Meltoner permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:00 PM

    Canotherapy

    So, Norman, just lie down on the couch-
    oh, very well, lie on the floor-
    I hear you’ve been a bit of a grouch,
    do you think you could tell me more?

    No? Look, I know the break-up was tough,
    and you’re probably feeling sad,
    but we should try to process this stuff,
    do you think that you’re missing Brad?

    No? I think I can appreciate
    separation anxieties lurk
    I know Jen has been busy of late,
    but these actresses have to work.

    No? You must examine your feelings
    And do your best to get in touch,
    You might find that it’s quite revealing.
    Oh. So you’re seeing Jen too much?

  93. Meltoner permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:01 PM

    You’re an inspiration, ET.

    • October 22, 2010 12:36 PM

      That’s worrying.

    • Meltoner permalink
      October 22, 2010 1:12 PM

      You’re worried?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 22, 2010 9:01 PM

      It’s worth learning the italics formula to be able to make such a finely turned [em)]riposte.[/em]

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 22, 2010 9:03 PM

      …still too complicated for me, though.
      Bugger it :)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 22, 2010 9:06 PM

      oh, I see what I did, try try again:
      [em]riposte[/em]

    • Meltoner permalink
      October 22, 2010 10:15 PM

      Use ( ) brackets… (em) etc

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 22, 2010 11:26 PM

      (em) not right angled brackets?(/em)

    • Melton permalink
      October 22, 2010 11:35 PM

      Sorry, I meant the < brackets. So, etc.
      I’m still a bit spaced out.

    • Melton permalink
      October 22, 2010 11:38 PM

      Christ, accidentally italicised. I meant

  94. October 22, 2010 12:24 PM

    From Norman’s lawyers

    Meltoner is that your name?
    Edward Taylor what’s your game?
    Things aren’t going how you thought
    We’re here to take your asses to court.

    We’re the first law firm set up for pets
    Normally we deal with incompetent vets
    But for you we’ll need to take some classes
    At how to deal with a poetic smart arses.

    Meltoner last week you were Meltonella
    Tell us are you a girl or a fella?
    Edward Taylor appears to be alarming
    Comes from a county known for farming.

    No matter all this stuff is prosecutor’s gold
    We’ll put you in stir til you’re very old
    The people there, not politely homicidal
    You’ll rival Norman for feeling suicidal.

  95. Meltoner permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:25 PM

    I’ve been having a dark night of the soul,
    I’m not quite sure if I’m a girl or chap,
    there’s a situation with birth-control
    should I be using a condom or cap?

    Leaving aside the ins and outs, that suit
    that bloody Norman’s lawyer filed is dumb,
    a sensible judge will give it the boot,
    I’m sure they’ll settle for a tin of Chum.

  96. October 22, 2010 1:31 PM

    Wander off for a few days and the thread goes morbid. Try this:

  97. October 22, 2010 2:06 PM

    Steven The speakers on my computer are kaput so I might have got the wrong end of the stick here but how the hell have you managed to get footage of the opening ceremony for London’s Olympic games in 2012?

  98. October 22, 2010 4:54 PM

    Having spent two days in Seville last year, I can confidently say that it seems a nice place to live. You won’t find a bigger cathedral anywhere and they sell tapas, as I recall.

    Or, Mishari, you could run in the next election. Melton would make a good chancellor, temperamentally speaking.

  99. October 22, 2010 7:34 PM

    “how hell have you managed to get footage of the opening ceremony for London’s Olympic games in 2012?”

    Illuminati stuff, ET. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

  100. Melton permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:37 PM

    ‘… and a 100% cut to funding for arts events featuring free verse, abstract painting or jazz completes my actions in this area. In conclusion, I should like to make the government’s attitude to families, children, the elderly, the sick and disabled absolutely clear. Fuck ’em. I commend this statement to the House.’

    • Reine permalink
      October 23, 2010 12:27 AM

      You’re shedding letters at an awful rate Mel…

    • October 23, 2010 9:12 AM

      Me Mow ( might as well beat you to it ) that’s Osborne’s speech in a nutshell isn’t it?

  101. hic8ubique permalink
    October 23, 2010 1:16 AM

    I, geometry survivor, had thought I knew the difference between acutely pointy-beaked brackets and right-angled brackets…?
    Live and err.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 23, 2010 1:18 AM

      alleluia.

  102. October 23, 2010 10:01 AM

    By George, she’s got it!

    That does seem to be the underlying message, ET. I forgot about the unemployed. Just like the real Chancellor.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 23, 2010 4:18 PM

      Thanks for seeing me through to Vicartory, MeMo.

      Re and Si~ I’m catching up with you slowly…

      Mishari~ I’ve mailed you info.

  103. October 23, 2010 12:59 PM

  104. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:51 PM

    It seems to be rather quiet here. Must be that picture of Sir Geoffrey Howe. Never a man to inspire sparkling, or, indeed, any, conversation.

    I would like to comment on your blog, Simon, but I don’t know which option to choose.

    Tomorrow morning I go to the Bologna Book Festival, which is being held in Yorkshire this year. The curator, an irascible elderly lady, has an unfortunate tendency to aim highly personal remarks at certain delegates. Though alcohol therapy is available, the event can be a strain for those of a sensitive disposition.

  105. Habitation à loyer modéré permalink
    October 24, 2010 9:17 PM

    Yorkshire baloney
    Sounds pretty phoney
    Like Parmesan cheese
    From Stockton-on-Tees

  106. Regina Coeli permalink
    October 24, 2010 10:06 PM

    Bologna moves to Yorkshire
    Nestled between its dales
    Deep down in its green valleys
    Where next? Perhaps to Wales

    Safe journeying Mel. Hope you are at least free there of sharp tongued comments about your private practices and nether regions.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2010 12:08 AM

      Indeed, soft tongues only… unlike langues de chat.
      May there be voluminous stacks behind which to conceal yourself from the dread m.i.l.

  107. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 24, 2010 11:50 PM

    The practice of boule
    in distant Blackpool
    or a new Grand Prix
    in Milford-On-Sea,
    the harvest of wheat
    on O’Connell Street
    an hour of sunlight
    on the Isle of Wight
    two lads who concur
    in’t bloody Yorkshire:
    all these things are
    just too bizarre.

    Thanks, Reine.

    Rather dull and unimaginative comments, I thought. Better ignored.

    Ben Myers’ book got a terrible review in the paper. I don’t know if it’s online.

  108. Regina Coeli permalink
    October 24, 2010 11:57 PM

    Are you renting Henri?

  109. Regina Coeli permalink
    October 24, 2010 11:58 PM

    A harvest of wheat on O’Connell St. would make a nice change from vomitous piles.

  110. mishari permalink*
    October 24, 2010 11:59 PM

    The review is HERE, MM. It’s not very encouraging…and after poor Myers went to all the trouble of getting rid of his silly hat…

    It seems a cheap criticism to say that a former music journalist falls back too frequently on the style of the indie press, but unfortunately that is the case here. Kurt Cobain is described as “the underweight dirty-blond waif from Seattle who set the world alight”. Surely in the privacy of his own narration Richey would just think of him as “Kurt”? Banality and lack of imagination mar the text.

    Skyscrapers “scrape the sky”. Kerb-crawlers “crawl the kerbs”. No one “can ever really know what goes on inside another person’s head”. A low is reached with the death of the band’s manager, Philip Hall, a traumatic event that surely demands some subtlety and insight from the author. Instead, Myers provides only a series of mind-numbing platitudes (Hall was “a fucking great, great guy”).

    …must be a different Phil Hall.

    Henri is a well-known rent-boy, Reine…

  111. Regina Coeli permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:01 AM

    I may have to take to the streets myself soon Mishari. Perhaps he will give me some tips, other than bend over and offer it up for the holy souls.

  112. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:06 AM

    I think I’d kill myself after a review like that.

  113. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2010 12:11 AM

    Yes…what a pity Myers didn’t get one of his chums (Jordison, Evers, Rourke et al) to review it. He’d still be basking in the afterglow…

  114. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:14 AM

    Is this what the UK has to look forward to, Reine? I don’t have anything to offer up.

    I’m still a little nettled by Myers remarks on my alleged negativity about his article a while back. Compounded by his self-righteous pursed-lips outrage over my jeu d’esprit on Rourke’s mum.

  115. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2010 12:17 AM

    Yeah, I caught that…but what goes around, comes around, as poor Ben is finding out. I’m tempted to pile on the misery and post some snide comment about Myers’ unsurprisingly duff debut but I’m not in a sufficiently cruel mood.

  116. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:26 AM

    I’d even self-censored an epigram on Rourke I’d concocted. You try to do the decent thing…

  117. obooki permalink
    October 25, 2010 1:15 AM

    I thought it might have Myers, but it turned out it was Darragh McManus (they are all the same, them and Evers), who wrote this dreadful article about Philip K Dick:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/jun/04/philip-k-dick-needed-co-author

    I’m reading The Man in the High Castle at the moment, and enjoying its (somewhat bizarre) prose immensely. I mean, SF is a pretty broad field for bad writing, but – oh, I know, it’s just because PKD is a bit over the top, and we don’t like writers who are over the top, or showy, or like to demonstrate any sort of skill whatsoever.

  118. obooki permalink
    October 25, 2010 1:25 AM

    There was a young writer called Rourke
    Who’d sit with McCarthy and talk.
    They’d mention Blanchot
    And Heideigger and Co.
    But mostly they’d listen to Bjork.

  119. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2010 2:26 AM

    McManus isn’t fit to shine Dick’s shoes. When I first read McM (a wretched piece that was an elephantine attempt at humour), I thought, ‘who is this idiot?’.

    His bio informed me that he’s a ‘comic writer’. If so, he’s hiding his light under a bushel the size of the fucking Matterhorn…

  120. October 25, 2010 2:58 AM

    Something in rhyme will do just fine, MM.

    You are all as savage as ever, I’m glad to see. SF: I don’t think there’s much better than some of Iain M Banks: Feersum Endjin for example.

    I have just finished my paper on rhyme, phonetics and vowel colours, which may be of interest to some here. I’ll PDF it and post a link at some point.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2010 3:50 AM

      Vowel colours, let’s redecorate!

  121. October 25, 2010 6:06 AM

    Would you like a yellow /i:/ or a dark yellow /ʌ/?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 25, 2010 5:34 PM

      ugh. No thanks; sounds bilious.

      Have you nothing in a low lustrous diphthong, perhaps of a whispering duck-egg blue?

  122. Regina Coeli permalink
    October 25, 2010 10:14 AM

    Sounds fascinating Simon. Personally I am a fan of a green /e:/…

  123. Reine permalink
    October 25, 2010 11:36 AM

    Sorry about the name lapse, I was just trying to scandalise my mother.

  124. October 25, 2010 6:18 PM

    Or Endjinn… God I’m tired. How did you know that /e:/ is green, Reine? I suspect some Celtic witchery! Anyway, your vowel/colour association is also mine, which is promising…

    • Reine permalink
      October 25, 2010 7:42 PM

      Just a wild guess Simon. You could make me your “phone a friend” on the Who Wants to be a Millionaire word nerd special..

  125. mishari permalink*
    October 25, 2010 6:35 PM

    Banks is terrific. I enjoy his Culture novels hugely. Feersum Endjinn was equally good. The names of ships in his Culture novels is an endless source of amusement. Who can resist starships called:

    We Haven’t Met But You’re A Great Fan Of Mine
    All The Same, I Saw It First
    Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement
    Zero Credibility
    Charming But Irrational
    Demented But Determined
    You May Not Be The Coolest Person Here

    …or warships called:

    Shoot Them Later
    Attitude Adjuster
    Killing Time
    Heavy Messing
    Frank Exchange Of Views
    Resistance Is Character-Forming
    All Through With This Niceness And Negotiation Stuff

    (full list HERE).

    You should try Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon and Bruce Sterling, Simon. Also Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age. You won’t be disappointed.

  126. Reine permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:05 PM

    I’ve only read The Wasp Factory and Dead Air of Banks’s; must extend the repertoire.

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