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Grab Your Coat and Get Your Hat

November 18, 2010



Grab your coat and get your hat,
leave your worries on the doorstep,
Just direct your feet
to the sunny side of the street

On The Sunny Side Of The Street, J. McHugh/D. Fields, 1930

Reasons Not To Be Cheerful–Part 1:

Technological-innovation-as-savior is part of our cosmology. It is a fundamental part of our beliefs, so frequently we don’t think about it rationally. Relying on technological innovation to find some solution is what I call a faith-based approach to the future.

There are two things about technological innovation that concern me. The first is that, like other endeavors, research grows complex and costly and can reach diminishing returns. This is covered in the Collapse book so I won’t elaborate here.

The second problem is what is known as the Jevons Paradox. William Stanley Jevons, a 19th century British economist, pointed out that in the long run technological innovations aimed as at using less of a resource actually lead to even more of the resource being used.

His example was coal, but the principle applies across the board. As technological innovation leads to economy in using a resource, people respond to the lower cost by using even more. I conclude from this that technological innovations can offer only short-term advantages. They quickly become outdated, then the next round of innovations may be harder to achieve.

I am less optimistic now that I once was. Certainly we need new energy sources or the future will be very unpleasant. But new energy creates its own problems, which in time we will have to address. We can foresee this with nuclear energy and its waste.

Even so-called “green” energy sources will be environmentally damaging. All of our adaptations are short term. They solve immediate problems but set the stage for future problems. Eric Sevareid once said “The chief source of problems is solutions.” —Joseph Tainter, author of “The Collapse of Complex Societies”, in an interview with Kazys Varnelis of the Columbia School of Architecture

Reasons Not To Be Cheeful–Part 2:

At last, in the grey dawn of Civilization the fire in the Soul dies down. The dwindling powers rise to one more, half-successful, effort of creation, and produce the Classicism that is common to all dying Cultures.

The soul thinks once again, and in Romanticism looks back piteously to its childhood; then finally, weary, reluctant, cold, it loses its desire to be, and, as in Imperial Rome, wishes itself out of the overlong daylight and back in the darkness of proto-mysticism in the womb of the mother in the grave.–Oswald Spengler, “Der Untergang des Abendlandes” (The Decline of the West) 1918-22

Optimism is cowardice —Spengler, “Der Mensch und die Technik” (Man and Technology) 1931

Are the ‘end times’ upon us? Are we doomed to a future where mystical mumbo-jumbo and truth-by-revelation entirely displace rationalism? Will Spengler’s gloomy prediction that, “…the masses will accept with resignation the victory of the Caesars, the strong men, and will obey them” come to pass?

The signs aren’t good. History is on Spengler’s side. Naomi Klein’s indispensable book The Shock Doctrine gives us a pretty fair idea of what we can expect.

What will you do when the shit well and truly hits the fan? It’s wise to plan and a plan will be easier to memorise if it’s in verse. Let’s have it.

  1. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 18, 2010 8:47 PM

    The Last Days

    When the thunder rolls and the lightning strikes
    and the tempest is blowing down Whitehall,
    when the Cabinet’s heads are stuck on spikes
    and the investment banks and hedge funds fall,

    As panic breaks out on the trading floor,
    and with a ghastly smile the Great Beast slips
    the leashes from the dogs of civil war
    and opens the door to apocalypse,

    on that chiliastic day will I stand
    among the adherents of the status quo,
    or will I offer an obliging hand
    to the dark forces pressing from below?

    I’m not sure. I’ll probably be in bed,
    watching the reruns on TV. Or dead.

  2. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 18, 2010 8:50 PM

    Did you ever read Norman Cohn’s ‘The Pursuit of the Millenium’? A fascinating study of the Last Days ideology.

  3. mishari permalink*
    November 18, 2010 9:21 PM

    I haven’t but it’s funny you should mention it. My father-in-law recommended it to me recently (it was published in France as Fanatiques du l’apocalypse) and I will get around to it. Excellent plan, by the way.

    While the world about him lost its head
    Mowbray looked grim and stayed in bed.

  4. William of Windsor permalink
    November 18, 2010 9:57 PM

    When there’s no place left to earn a buck
    When I’ve run out of my last bit of luck
    When there’s no point being behind barricades
    When I’m to old to be amongst young blades
    When my inner organs have prolapsed
    When world economies have collapsed
    When there’s nothing good left on TV
    When there’s nothing new in the cinema to see
    When Katie Price writes the only new books
    When the art in gallery’s not worth two looks
    When Chelsea win the league for the fortieth time
    When Chelsea win the league for the forty-first time
    When the food all tastes insufferably vile
    When my insulin’s down to only one phial
    When there’s no-one to send me a Christmas card
    When life gets…. what’s worse than hard?
    When you’ve no humour left to have funny turns
    When you can’t find your fiddle while Rome burns
    When you’re seventy-six and you’ve never been kissed
    Avoid it all and write a poetic list.

  5. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 18, 2010 10:13 PM

    Alerted by my every-lovin’, I’ve been watching an old friend join the campers on “I’m A C-word, Get Me Out Of Here”. Suite a motley crew, to say the least. What’s the deal with that? Is it a sign of the End Times? Is it supposed to be a ticket to career-resurrection? Is the money that good? Or is it some kind of retribution visited on C-listers from the nation’s sofas? I admit I’ve never seen it before. It’s quite disturbed me. Poor Nigel Havers looks like a condemned c-word victim. And poor Linford Christie’s inarticulacy is getting him into all kinds of trouble. The Japanese have a lot to answer for…

  6. November 18, 2010 10:22 PM

    HLM I guess if you’re a TV presenter and have run out of things to present then” I’m a I won’t say it get me out of here” is a useful bit of cash to pay for the house in Surrey.

    Isn’t it a sort of sanctioned state sadism?

    You’ve done one better than me. I’ve never seen it. The knowledge that Ant & Dec present it is enough to keep me away plus Monk was on ITV3.

  7. mishari permalink*
    November 18, 2010 10:37 PM

    I, too, have never seen it. As alluring as the prospect of watching ‘Dr’ Gillian ‘your stools are runny’ McKeith being humiliated is, I’d rather eat my own shoes than subject my poor, abused brain-cells to that tripe…never seen Come Dancing, X Factor, Pop Idol or Big Brother, or Gok Wan (despite loving his name) either. Only know them from what I’ve read.

    I actually started to write a piece on the subtle dangers of watching (reading, listening to) utter crap. I suppose I should finish it…and speaking of crap:

    Lost in Showbiz had just about decided that its favourite aspect of the royal wedding was Kate’s naughty Uncle Gary, who lives somewhere in Ibiza called La Maison de Bang Bang (“crude French slang for the house of sex,” advised the Daily Mail, for the benefit of anyone who thought it might be French for the Institute of Medieval Research), has a tattoo reading “It’s Gary’s world – you just live in it” and told an undercover News of the World reporter, “I’m going to be the Duke of Slough” before chopping out a load of coke and offering to set him up with a £600-a-night Brazilian prostitute.–Alex Petridis, The Grauniad, today

  8. November 18, 2010 10:48 PM

    There was a piece on the Culture show about Casper David Friedrich the German Romantic painter which sounded promising but ended up more about the presenter wandering about in the landscape. I kept expecting him to turn a corner and stumble over Alan Yentob and his film crew making a documentary about Beethoven.

    Obviously you need to see any painting in the flesh to get a real sense of it but having seen a few Friedrich paintings in my time ( I get around a bit ) when you see them on TV or in reproduction you really don’t see the extraordinary pearly colours that he put into his skies. They really glow with subdued, muted colours. Quite a trick to pull off.

  9. Reine permalink
    November 18, 2010 11:28 PM

    Caitlin’s Lament

    My four green fields ‘ll be mine no more
    Economy’s gone through the floor
    No one’s quite sure what’s yet in store
    But I am named as Europe’s whore

    I’ve given it a dose of clap
    And in return got a stiff slap
    Once again I’m on the map
    Good God, I just can’t take this crap

    I’ve packed myself a little bag
    And sit here drawing on my fag
    My riches spent, I’m just a slag
    Who’s clinging, desperate, to her flag

    I have a stash of sleeping pills
    To slumber through the mounting bills
    And so to dream of distant thrills
    I’m off, post restante, far green hills

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 12:16 AM

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, Caitlin. Britannia will soon be joining you.

    Jebus, get with the groove, daddyos. Where do you think Katie met Pete, laying the groundwork for the marriage of the century? I’ve seen chunks of the X-Factor, which is pretty awful, but you have to know the basics or you can’t understand TV Burp. Gok Wan is quite funny first time round, though his one-liners aren’t refreshed often enough. Yes, the latest collection of Armenian poetry, the ‘music’ of Michael Berkeley, the ‘art’ of Bansky are important, but popular culture has its place. Yeah? [No-Ed.]

  11. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 12:18 AM

    Nearing time for you to slip under the candlewick, innit?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 19, 2010 12:23 AM

      See below. Nice poem, btw.

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 12:25 AM

      I see that. Melancholy I am this night for the homeland. Thanks, very clodhopper on the rhyme front but I like to get in at the start.

  12. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 12:20 AM


    Herb, we hear, has sign of home for plants at night.(4, 3, 3)

  13. November 19, 2010 8:44 AM

    looks up from a monograph of Morandi’s etchings, turns down Berg’s Wozzeck and adjusts lorgnette.

    “Who is this Mowbray fellow? Pete who? Pete Mondrian?”

    fades gradually into self-imposed obscurity.

  14. November 19, 2010 9:51 AM

    The lamb laid down with the lion got eaten before it could bleat.
    The cracks in paving stones gently widen beneath our feet.
    A raving mystic “proves” two and two don’t add up to four
    With the right friends in parliament this theory becomes the law.

    The ticking bomb in the basement becomes too difficult to difuse
    I have to turn the radio off I just can’t take the news.
    No earthly point in working every day until I die
    So it’s on the streets with a placard ” Repent! The end is nigh!”

  15. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 10:05 AM

    Judge Cocklecarrot: Who is Edward Taylor?

    Cherie Booth QC: A popular performing artiste, m’lud, often seen with an inflatable pig that I intend to purchase on Ebay.

    Judge Cocklecarrot: What is ‘Ebay’?

    entire courtroom slips into deep coma

    Good plan, Ed…see you on Oxford St. Pity the ‘Eat Less Meat’ chap departed this Vale of Tears, else you could perform a duet.

  16. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:36 AM

    “Time for bed?”

    You delayed my bedtime last night MM trying to figure it out …

    Nice work Eduardo.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 19, 2010 11:41 AM

      I came up with: ” ‘ckin go2 bed ”

      Ah, well.

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 12:24 PM

      MM would never speak to me like that Henry!

  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:01 AM

    Nigella’s Post-Apocalyptic Kitchen

    Tonight, ten delicious things you can do with rats.
    First of all, of course, you need a good supplier,
    and these, as plump and furry and luscious as cats
    came to my charming al fresco kitchen via

    a gorgeous new Chelsea place called Inanition,
    which is, quite literally, down by the river.
    So, having checked your rat is in good condition,
    slit it open and remove heart, guts and liver,

    from which you can make a mouthwatering pate
    with the addition of some fat. Dog grease is best.
    Strip off the fur (save! you can make a coat one day)
    and then caress the flesh with dandelion zest.

    To stuff it I have this lovely grass from Hyde Park,
    which Charles bartered for that hideous skull by Hirst
    (we’ve already eaten the calf and the shark).
    Open fires are tricky – it’s done when the eyes burst.

    Now, here’s one I made earlier. I’ll cut a slice,
    and serve with nettle leaves. What a wonderful smell!
    OK, let’s try it. Mmm… that’s very good… that’s nice…
    interesting taste… mmn… stop filming! I’m not well!

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:13 AM

    10/10, Reine. That ‘sign of’ was a bit misleading. Not many other solvers here, I see. God, the hours I’ve wasted on the G crossword. I find Paul particularly hard to fathom. My favourite was Bunthorne, who was free with the literary references. I haven’t seen any of his for a while.

    Tossed and turned most of the night figuring out who HLM’s celebrity chum is. Lembit Opik or Aggro Santos?

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 12:11 PM

      I was thrown initially by thinking it was an anagram of “Herb, we hear” but glad I got there in the end. Used to do the Irish Times Crosaire, the cryptic one when I had a lot more thyme on my hands.

  19. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 11:16 AM

    Who are the HLM-Buddy cast of possibles, MM (I had to google ‘Aggro Santos’)? Deliciously nauseating dining plan, BTW.

  20. November 19, 2010 11:28 AM

    My partner is an avid cryptic fan. I can do them in the right company ( i.e the other person gets the clue and I nod yes that’s correct ) but it’s the easy one for me.

    Friends of mine who are cryptic genii ( their knowledge of arcane words is both baffling and breathtaking ) say the easy one is too difficult for them.

    One of the paradoxes of life.

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:41 AM

    The Sleb Song Of J. Melton Mowbray

    Nigel Havers

    Lembit Opik

    Shaun Ryder

    Stacey Solomon

    Aggro Santos

    Britt Ekland

    Linford Christie

    Dom Joly

    Kayla Collins

    Gillian McKeith

    Jenny Eclair

    Sheryl Gascoigne

    Alison Hammond

  22. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 11:47 AM

    I’ve never heard of half of these people. I’m hoping for Britt Ekland or Shaun Ryder…

  23. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:53 AM

    Neither. Though I did once run into Linford at the Stade de France July meeting two years ago (I made sure we weren’t in adjacent stalls) and filmed a Happy Mondays happening in the eighties.

    Jenny Hargreaves (as was) went to school with my ever-lovin’ in Lytham St Annes and was a part of our South London social scene. Haven’t seen her for some time, tho. I was alerted of her participation by SMS.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:56 AM

    Take your pick.

    Mrs M is pretty quick – she used to do the Times (pre-Murdoch) xword in 20 minutes. She doesn’t have a huge vocab, just picks up the components of the clue very fast, then asks me if the word exists. Usually takes me several hours.

  25. November 19, 2010 12:02 PM

    My grandparents used to do the Times one in that kind of speed and also did those ones which are entirely white squares with no numbers on the squares either. Fuck knows how or why but they could get the clues very quickly and spent the day arranging them to fit.

  26. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 19, 2010 12:10 PM

    Mephisto was an absolute bastard. Never managed to finish one. The Private Eye ones were quite funny.

    I haven’t seen Jenny Eclair on TV for a while. Yes, I was hoping for a vicarious brush with Britt myself. A woman who set many adolescent hearts racing: after all, one reasoned, if a gargoyle like Peter Sellers can get off with her, why not me?

  27. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 12:12 PM

    I had to google Jenny Eclair. Realised who she is when I saw her photo. Why couldn’t it have been Britt (who I had a bit of a crush on when I was 12 or so)? How’s she looking, BTW? She must be getting on a bit, no?

    OK, google tells me she’s pushing 70. So I’m guessing she doesn’t look like THIS anymore…sorry…I’m just hopelessly shallow.

  28. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 12:16 PM

    There isn’t a single fanciable man among them. I’d nearly eat a witchetty grub myself to get a glimpse of you fellas in the jungle.

  29. November 19, 2010 12:29 PM

    Happy Mondays used to rehearse downstairs from my old workshop. I used to regularly bump into Shaun, Bez and the boys when leaving. Quite unnerving on a November evening especially when you twigged that they were allowed to drive cars.

    Drugs have really done Shaun’s face in. He was never a pretty boy but he never looked like a squished tomato which is what he reminds me of whenever he pops up on TV these days.

  30. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 12:37 PM

    Obviously, Reine, my own Archaic Torso is a thing of eye-watering beauty and an inspiration to poets everywhere.

    Mowbray’s, not so much…a diet of Kit Kats, Cheezy Whotsits and peanut-butter,bacon and banana sandwiches fried in butter (The Elvis Coronary Diet) does your pecs and abs no favours…

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 12:57 PM

      It’s his mind I love (swoons and falls over).

    • mishari permalink*
      November 19, 2010 1:08 PM

      I’m disappointed. I’d hoped you were shallower than that.

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 1:22 PM

      Which is not to say of course that I wouldn’t appreciate you were buff.

  31. November 19, 2010 1:02 PM


    Just fetched your fantastical snail-mailage back from our studio and the flick-book is a Gorey-esque, Struwwelpeter-like gem… will have to hide it from our daughter as she is sure to confiscate it. Great Art, man! Sinisterly delightful! Insinuatingly disturbing! But, erm, what’s the secret info you’ve blacked out on the back cover…?

    PS That *is* one impressively Hobbity address you’ve got there, E

    • November 19, 2010 1:41 PM

      The secret info blacked out are extremely old snailmail, tel. email , website addresses SA

      I thought combined with my old-lag-holing-up-after-a-blag current address another one would just confuse.

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      I’ve got a boxful of these books if anyone else wants one. Just email me with relevant contact details and I’ll send one over to you. My email is on the web-site ( click on my name ).

      They are hanging around in our studio and I’d rather they went to good homes or half way decent homes rather than languishing in a cardboard box.

  32. November 19, 2010 1:10 PM


    Let’s start a retro cheesecake photo-zine featuring full-page pictures of MT Moore, J. Newmar, B. Ekland, K. Novak, S. Stevens, M. Munster, et al, interspersed with sonnets.

    I suppose we can do a companion mag for the lady readers featuring… uh… Raymond Burr…?

  33. November 19, 2010 2:43 PM

    SA Raymond Burr as Ironside or Perry Mason?

    • Reine permalink
      November 19, 2010 2:49 PM

      Oh, Perry, surely. How I longed to type his confidential findings.

  34. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 2:46 PM

    Grab your coat and get your hat
    You’ve pulled
    The world’s falling about our ears
    But fuelled
    By the promise in your eyes
    And the bulge above your thighs
    I think we can ride out the storm

  35. November 19, 2010 3:12 PM


    1. Those flick books are little pieces of genuine Art and you should sign a limited edition

    2. I was thinking of the sleeker, more hetero-seeming Burr (c. Godzilla)…

  36. November 19, 2010 4:37 PM

    The End of Days?!?! Jeez, Mishari, way to cheer a body up.

    I’m still recovering from Tuesday night, wherein I spend the entire night dreaming of being stuck in a post-catastrophe Norwich (yeah, yeah, how could I tell the difference etc.), scavenging for blankets and safe, abandoned houses. There were gangs of Mongol-like murderers, cats with their tails bitten off and – after I woke up at 3am and got back to sleep – actual goddam zombies chasing me through Norwich market (where I picked up Station to Station). It was The Road meets all forty verses of A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall.

    I was not well rested.

    I guess the world can end one of a thousand ways. But isn’t it always ending somewhere? We’re a species forever on the brink of our own catastrophe.

  37. Solwing permalink
    November 19, 2010 4:52 PM

    I saw the Happy Mondays a few years ago in Dublin’s Olympia theatre. I was passing by and saw they were on, and got a ticket off a tout for the face price and went in. It was obviously a pension reunion tour for middle aged ex-drug addicts to make some quick cash. Bez was not the Bez of old, off his tits on ecstasy, but dancing like the proverbial uncle at a wedding. Saying that, they did have a good buzz about ’em. I think they were blown away by the Dublin audience, who were more into it than they were, a load of ex-80’s middle agers revisiting our youth.

    I only got into them 8 years after they were cool, in the mid 90’s, after getting switched onto them by a young kid at the factory were I worked, and then had Pills Thrills and Bellyaches playing on a loop on my Walkman for the next three years

    Son I’m thirty
    I only went with your mother coz she’s dirty
    And I don’t have a decent bone in me

    You’re twisting my melon man
    You know you talk so hip man
    You’re twisting my melon man


    There’s a great story about Shaun Ryder that Tony Wilson of Factory Records, who was also a TV presenter on the local Granada news shows, used to tell. He sent the Mondays to Barbados record the follow up to their mega first album, thinking it was the ideal place for Ryder, now addicted to heroin, to come off it; but they spent all of the money Wilson’s Factory records had given them, on cocaine and instead of getting better, Ryder got addicted to crack cocaine.

    When he came back, he refused to hand over the mastertape to Wilson and famously blackmailed him for more cash, culminating in brandishing a handgun in Manchester’s Dry Bar and firing a shot through the window, in an attempt to scare Wilson into handing over more dough, which worked.

    But the Manchester scene, all the cool hooligans who reached their nadir in the Stone Roses, were eclipsed by the Gallagher brothers, and my favourite live performance from these is this one, Slide Away, Chicago 1998, Noel acoustic. Sheer genius. Listen to him nail the wailing at 4.40 and 5.40

  38. Solwing permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:19 PM

    But the ones who knock em all into a cocked hat, the fab four playing their very first gig in America, at the Coliseum in Washington, the night after appearing on Ed Sullivan in New York. The lore goes that they won over the press pack, who were out to stiff em, on the train journey down from NY to Washington the day after Ed Sullivan.

    This song, I Saw Her Standing There, is where the rock ‘n roll switches on, when Lennon kicks in the guitar gravity at 1.40, and the kids go mental..

    And the next one they play was Lennon’s vocal showpiece

  39. November 19, 2010 6:26 PM

    Solwing! You’ll enjoy this, I hope (and much of the channel it’s loaded on):

  40. November 19, 2010 6:30 PM

    (PS I have to admit to being so occasionally uncool that I consider some Oasis moments brilliant, too! I don’t care what anyone says: that Liam can… or could… sing. Crafted his stare to a state of perfection, too. The songs were mostly derivative but Liam’s version of Walrus is a treat)

  41. hic8ubique permalink
    November 19, 2010 6:57 PM

    Struwwelpeter and Gorey are excellent antidotes to optimism.
    At least they’re familiar to me, unlike Jenny Eclair (!) and her cronies.
    As a young child, I became so fascinated by Struwwelpeter that my mother hid it… That’s our relationship in a nutshell.

    I’m deeply sorry to learn that the foul substance peanut-butter has infested the UK, a reeking paste to make government issued ‘cheese-product’ seem like a delicacy.

    Here’s another cheery note for any exigency:

    • November 19, 2010 7:21 PM

      Gorey isn’t as well known as he should be in the UK.

      I didn’t know about him until a documentary on him in the late 70’s when I was at college.

      A lovely ambiguous gap between what the text says and what the picture shows.

      In my experience peanut butter is a little less ersatz in the UK than it is in the US.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 19, 2010 10:21 PM

      NPR did an interview with him shortly before he died, which I seem to recall was unusual as he was something of a recluse as well as a rare bird all around. I might be able to find it…
      Sometimes he illustrated his text literally, but in a most dispassionate way.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 19, 2010 8:36 PM

      I don’t know the song but that has to be Tom Lehrer.

  42. pinkroom permalink
    November 19, 2010 7:01 PM


    What does,
    or should, a minister need?
    Hair and nails clipped short.
    A plain neat suit, shirt and tie;
    a small briefcase,
    for a change of each
    and some smalls.
    Soap and toothbrush.
    A razor?
    Eye-glasses, for eyes
    ruined in prison study.
    Clean shoes, of a sober style
    and a reliable wristwatch.

    The eye-glasses that fell, ruined.

    And the wristwatch?

    Respectfully removed
    a little later;
    its last morning turn

  43. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 8:33 PM

    The world may be going to hell in a hand-basket, but while we still have time, lets all go ‘Awwwwww…’:

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 20, 2010 12:09 PM

      Awwwwwwwwwww, fucking cats, I hate them.

  44. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 8:50 PM

    The mother cat is absolutely stunning, isn’t she? I am presuming it’s the mother.

  45. mishari permalink*
    November 19, 2010 9:06 PM

    Oh, I’m fairly certain it’s the mother; I’m pretty sure that male panthers don’t hang around afterwards…and you’re right, she really is (to use that shop-worn phrase) ‘a magnificent beast’. The ripple of muscles when she’s moving is something to see.

    OK, according to (I know, I know):

    The black panther is also solitary. Other than a female and her cubs, or mating pairs in the breeding season, these animals seldom stay together. Each of them lives and hunts by itself in an area known as the home range.

  46. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 9:11 PM

    I wasn’t sure, not knowing much about cats. Really beautiful, not much else to say. Seems a sensible arrangement they have.

  47. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 9:16 PM

    Shorter gestation period and life span than I would have thought. I really should learn more about the animal kingdom.

  48. Solwing permalink
    November 19, 2010 9:19 PM

    Cheers Steven. I am just going to watch all nine parts of Great Britons: John Lennnon.

    Liam’s shelf life for his untrained voice, was very limited, relying as he did on raw power, and past its sell-by date after 1998. All those thousands of fags and pints and a mountain of drugs cut it to 10% of its former self, and now he’s become a pub singer parody of himself. But fuck yeah, I wouldn’t say no to being Liam for a night circa 1994, in the Adelphi hotel Liverpool, 3am afterbar, a queue of groupies throwing themselves at me.

    The closest I ever got to this hedonistic fantasy was age nineteen, working in a bar called Fartuncles, Benidorm, 1986; propoganda on the street luring in punters from 7-10, working in the bar 10-2am, then the two thousand peseta wages paid nightly, spent nightly on the lash, staggering back at nine am to the apartment a few of us rented for six weeks, till we did a moonlight flit at 3pm after we got slung out for turning it into a flophouse for anyone with the nightly rent money of a few hundred pesetas. This was before I moved into the van. A gaffe of last resort for skint bums going down in the world.

    The best thing was being able to wake up hungover and fall into a swimming pool.

    Ah! Happy days.

  49. hic8ubique permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:09 PM

    Yes, Tom Lehrer. I liked the conjunction with all that earnest boyscout paraphernalia.I remember it fondly from old vinyl.
    (I did ‘aww’ involuntarily at the kittens and then had to laugh.)

    My Beloved’s Alsatian is recovering from the knee surgery he had yesterday. When the surgeon phoned to check on him last night, we had a delightful conversation about the choice of monofilament over cadaver ligament and other aspects of the repair and healing. He was pleased to explain at length, while beloved spouse (who belongs to the less meaning, more music school) turned his face to the wall and made moan.

    I’ve just read a private email exchange, a cat-fight between two business women over texting vs voicemail and a missed message that fell into their communication gap. They savage each others practices, and end each round with ‘god bless’!
    It was inadvertently sent to 1,496 cc email addresses, including government offices, senators, banks, grant-writers, funders, interns… embarrassing?

  50. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:38 PM

    I played Tom Lehrer in the car on the way home today, a nice counterpoint to the elements and the national mood.

    I have fallen foul of the missent email myself, sent it to a guy I shared an office with a few years ago inadvertently commenting on what an absolute tosser he was. When it pinged across the room at the same time as I realised my error I nearly jumped out the window in dismay. In a moment of sublime timing, he was called away and I managed to intercept it, sending a cover up group email to mask its absence.

    My mother always says you should never commit anything to paper you are not prepared to stand over. I got burned with her too, having written a long and very detailed letter to my best friend after a teenage summer of discovery (innocent by today’s standards) which her mother read and, having concerns about my moral welfare, showed to her husband who taught with my Mam. That was not a happy time. I pleaded with her not to tell Daddy and remained angelic in his eyes for about another four months before trying to pass off the smell of a night on vodka (at 16) as coming from a liqueur chocolate from under the Christmas tree.

    “Reine, were you drinking?”
    “No, Dad, I just ate a liqueur.”
    “I’m very disappointed”. Exit Dad stage right in silent pique. Exit Reine to the bathroom to puke up the liqueur.

    Daddy telling any of his three daughters that he was disappointed was akin to a threat of being shot on the spot or so I imagine. Poor Daddy was disappointed many times but remains inexplicably proud of his girls.

  51. Reine permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:43 PM

    Footnote. I come from a very huggy, kissy family which is how Daddy discovered my transgression. As I was kissing him goodnight, I nearly fell on top of him and caused him to scald himself with his cigarette.

    We still say “bye, see ya, love ya” to people we have just met.

  52. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:12 AM

    Robert Plant is on Jools, looks wrecked but can still bang out a choon and the guitar girl is wearing a fab dress.

  53. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:31 AM

    Christ, she is now living my dream … as a tambourine playing backing singer. Bitch.

  54. Solwing permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:29 AM

    New Ancient Aliens series on History.

  55. Solwing permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:36 AM

  56. hic8ubique permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:42 AM

    Reine, your Father and I (Mum always started this way)
    your Father and I are very disappointed in you. That is a menial dream and you could be doing better for yourself. Don’t you know our friend Eugene? We’d like you to meet him on Sunday. He’s a member of our Society and has written several books on William James…*choke*

    We were not a very huggy kissy family.
    When I hugged my grandmother, she’d say:
    “Oo, this is so sudden!” and then under her breath:
    “soppy ‘apeth”, but she did love me.

    We saw Four Lions this evening. Painful.
    But a lovely dinner out at my favourite place. I made a silent toast over the water.

    I’ll be on (dog) nurse’s duty tomorrow, Re. Should have time to write back to you and Si~~
    “bye, see ya, love ya”

  57. mishari permalink*
    November 20, 2010 11:07 AM

    Great, stirring wake-up music. Makes you want to stride up and down, waving your arms around in conductor-like motions (as I do) and get sniggered at by your nearest and dearest (as I do).

    I have lots of versions of this–Wilhelm Kempff/Karajan, Barenboim/Klemperer, Mikhail Pletnev and The National Orchestra of Russia, etc–but this is a really lovely version from Polish keyboard prodigy Krystian Zimerman and The Vienna Philharmonic, plus it’s fun watching Zimerman conduct and play…and you’ve got to love a guy whose piano was blown-up by those geniuses at US Homeland Security:

    Shortly after September 11, 2001, Zimerman’s custom-made piano was confiscated at JFK Airport when he landed in New York City to give a recital at Carnegie Hall. The US Transportation Security Administration decided to destroy his piano, claiming the glue smelled like explosives–The Grauniad, 28.4.2009

    • Reine permalink
      November 20, 2010 12:39 PM

      That’s real manual dexterity in action. And what fine hirsuteness, like what I imagine the even younger MM might have looked like!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:15 PM

      Creamy effortless playing, even better than voting. I love that hall.
      I know someone who couldn’t get her grand piano into the US. She had a letter proving that it was older than WWI, but the customs demanded proof it was 100 yrs old instead. Evidently the environmental people had one standard, and the customs another. So, the ivory had to be confiscated before the rest of the piano could come in, and it now has plastic keys, on a technicality that saved zero elephants.
      The environmental dept probably do a nice little side business on the black market.

  58. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 20, 2010 11:55 AM

    Everyday Apocalypse

    Kids, this is our Armageddon bunker,
    it cost a lot, so don’t touch anything –
    sit still, Hugo – this is where we’ll hunker
    if the bad men happen to come along –
    yes, Poppy, bad women too, good thinking,
    Papa should have mentioned them, that was wrong.

    I know Mummy thinks it’s rather silly,
    Alice, but Papa knows best on this one.
    Sit still, Hugo. You can’t be chilly,
    this place is absolutely boiling hot,
    has that bloody thermostat gone again?
    Yes, Poppy, Papa shouldn’t swear. He forgot.

    These are your bunks – I don’t care who’s on top,
    please stop the whining, Marcus, it’s your call,
    sit still, Hugo, we’re not going to the shop,
    no, Alice, you can’t bring your pony down here,
    nor your hamster, no animals at all.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout, my dear.

    Children, look at this rebreathing system,
    it’s interesting – no, you can’t have a drink –
    sit still, Hugo – we’re waiting for the men
    to come and put in the water for us.
    No, not the bad men, but now I come to think –
    For God’s sake don’t touch that button, Marcus!

    Jesus Christ! That’s not swearing, stupid child.
    Look, does anyone have a mobile phone?
    Sit still, Hugo. We could be here a while,
    we’ll play a game or something, and with luck
    Mummy will get sick of shopping and come home.
    Sorry, Hugo, you want a what? Oh, fuck!

  59. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:03 PM

    I’ve got the John Lill cheap-ass version. S’allright.

  60. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:48 PM

    This is really just for Hic, to show her the aforementioned dress.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 20, 2010 2:58 PM

      You wouldn’t wear a target frock, would you, Re?
      She’s clearly there to lend visual interest, but it’s all in the hips, I’d say. Amazing what you can do with your hips when you’ve a good grip on a chord :)
      We’ll brainstorm about this dream of yours…

    • Reine permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:23 PM

      I do like strong, structural design Hic. She was very snake hipped right enough. I thought the boots were all wrong mind you.

      My dreams as your mother might have said are menial – I would love to be a backing singer in some kind of ensemble, doowapping and giving my tambourine a wrist rattle.

      “Amazing what you can do with your hips when you’ve a good grip on a chord :)” – you’ll have to stop hanging around with me!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:39 PM

      If I ever feel the need to do so, I’ll be able to spot you at a distance in plenty of time to swerve!
      Just teasing.
      But about your dream, Re…
      “You have to change your life.”

    • Reine permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:41 PM

      Preaching to the converted Hic. I know… working on it.

  61. mishari permalink*
    November 20, 2010 2:23 PM

    Why Politics In Catalunya Are More Fun:

    • November 20, 2010 2:56 PM

      Now the Libdem voters have come to realise what their party has enabled I’m sure there will be plenty of howls, pants and screams up and down the country. Possibly not orgasmic though.

      Incidentally given there’s not meant to be any money left in the UK how can we afford to bail out Ireland? Or offer to bail out Ireland? I’m not sure what the state of play is at the moment.

    • Reine permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:28 PM

      All just part of the dance Ed, who knows where it will end?

  62. Zeph permalink
    November 20, 2010 2:23 PM

    Excellent pomes, MM, the apocalypse brings out the best in you.

    On this topic, I believe the old ones are the best ones:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 20, 2010 3:02 PM

      I never noticed before how he does that Bogart thing with his mouth.

  63. Zeph permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:13 PM

    What Bogart thing, hic? Dylan’s got teeth like a horse, he was probably trying to hide them, I can’t think that I’ve ever noticed Bogart’s teeth so they were probably just bad and he didn’t show them either.

  64. hic8ubique permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:26 PM

    I looked at it again. You can see it at 1:40.
    It’s a tight jaw/talking through the teeth thing I always notice in Bogart.
    We’d better not start on teeth again…

    • Zeph permalink
      November 20, 2010 4:33 PM

      Yes, I think it’s a t**th-concealing tic, Hic. Plus at this time Dylan was channelling some kind of dustbowl itinerant folk hero, fine elocution not required.

  65. mishari permalink*
    November 20, 2010 3:42 PM

    Here’s Krystian Zimerman again. His combination of power and restraint, speed and finesse are really something, all fully on display here, in a performance of Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2:

    • Zeph permalink
      November 20, 2010 4:38 PM

      Beautiful. Two such different Zim(m)ermans.

  66. hic8ubique permalink
    November 20, 2010 4:28 PM

    Mishari, you may enjoy reading this interview:

  67. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 4:41 PM

    “dustbowl itinerant folk hero” – excellent description Zeph. Off to brush my …..

  68. November 20, 2010 4:55 PM

    I was walking in the woods today
    with the damp flies on fungus and decay
    A dreadlocks belched, quite eloquently done
    (his pasty mate runt just wanted to run)
    “Excuse me!” I said, staring after hard
    The teen slunk off scowling, muttering his shards
    of /pi:dəʊ::/ – it’s today’s curse of choice
    after six cans o’ lager, nicking, vice

  69. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 5:26 PM

    So you’ll just be needing your coat then Simon…

  70. Reine permalink
    November 20, 2010 6:17 PM


    In dark delirium we drown
    As word spreads about the town
    At impending catastrophe our chests tighten
    We frighten easily

    Inquiries are met with faux positivity
    and a tissue of lies,
    forsaken … not yet
    But when?

    We are all matchstick children now
    Intangible, pleading, dreaming of better days
    Where will it end?

    Broken but unbowed
    The match flickers
    But we are not yet extinguished

  71. Captain Ned permalink
    November 21, 2010 4:50 AM

    At a certain angle
    under a certain light
    with a certain ambience
    even the
    pleasantest merlot
    seems as vilest sludge
    brought up from the bowels of baku

    illimitable hell

    flickers of fire

    dying still

    that cannot be

  72. Captain Ned permalink
    November 21, 2010 5:14 AM

    after morning-light
    pale stones
    dead loom

  73. Captain Ned permalink
    November 21, 2010 5:32 AM

    – In dark delirium we drown

    A magnificent opening line, Reine. Really, quite magnificent.

    I must say that although I’m not a hugely diligent reader of contemporary poetry, Tom Clark’s website never fails to give me utmost delight. Whenever candidates for the Nobel Prize are gossiped over, I always marvel that our ph comrade seldom features among the most poular names. In Britain there’s always a lot of guff about various American writers and how they’re forever being robbed of the ultimate accolade… Forget ’em all. Tom Clark is the bollocks.

    • reine permalink
      November 21, 2010 10:34 AM

      Kinda promises more than it delivers CN but thank you very much. R “Illimitable hell” takes my fancy, I’ll swap ya.

  74. reine permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:49 AM

    I just borrowed it Ned…and a version of Rilke’s line. A macabre melange.

    In dark delirium we drown
    Illimitable hell
    Threatens to envelop us
    Elemental battle looms
    We must change our lives

  75. November 21, 2010 11:31 AM

    The Apocalypse – a positive take

    It’ll hit quite soon – we knew it would
    From our pious perspective this is good.
    Modern society, its decadent ways
    Consumed by flames which set ablaze
    Pinnacles of folly constructed by man
    Set on fragile foundations which can
    And will fall down around our ears
    We’ve been waiting for this day for years.
    We’ve told ’em too a thousand times
    To repent now for all their crimes
    Painted modestly on wooden placards
    Shown to all those whores and blackguards.
    Did they take notice? No they did not
    It seemed they cared not one jot.
    So now we watch their fall and smile
    As the apocalypse advances mile by mile.
    Plagues of rat, locust, snake and bug
    Pride may be a sin but we are smug.

    Oh no! god heard that last confession
    In the pit with us too with no concession.

  76. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 21, 2010 6:33 PM

    Placards/blackguards: like it. Tasty piece, ET, and leaving aside god, very true. What the dimwits at the top don’t seem to get is they inhabit the same world as the rest of us, not an insulated super-luxurious cocoon. The Bourbons made the same mistake.

    I don’t fancy Captain Ned’s hangover.

    • Reine permalink
      November 21, 2010 7:15 PM

      …and rubbish biscuits.

  77. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 21, 2010 8:58 PM

    I’ve never tried Captain Ned’s biscuits. Probably a Garibaldi man.

    I’m fond of the Bourbon myself, but pink wafers are undoubtedly the kings of the land of biscuits. That crisp outer layer, repeated throughout, and its rich unctuous filling melt on the tongue like ambrosia.

    Depend on’t, the lady’s lips are sweeter
    Than any product of the busy bee,
    Or Jupiter’s flask of fragrant nectar
    Standing by his dish of wafer biscuits
    In the restaurant of Mount Olympus…
    Cymbeline, Act 1, Scene 3

  78. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 21, 2010 9:02 PM

    Sorry/happy to hear about the bail-out, btw. I don’t know which is more appropriate.

  79. Reine permalink
    November 21, 2010 9:15 PM

    Jesus MM, I thought only children under four were pink wafer fans. You never cease to surprise me. Should have known you would catch me out on my bad syntax.

    Watching developments all evening, don’t know what to think. Very badly handled but inevitable.

  80. mishari permalink*
    November 21, 2010 9:29 PM

    The most galling (no, fucking enraging) thing about these bail-outs–whether it’s Wall St., the UK banks or Ireland–is that the greedy, incompetent scum who caused it all not only walk away, but walk away rich, leaving everyone else to suffer the hardships and indignities.

    If politicians really wanted to make themselves popular, they’d start lining people like Fred Goodwin up against a wall and shooting them–on prime-time TV. You know…pour encourager les autres

    And as if the foregoing weren’t bad enough:

    One of the most severe heroin ‘droughts’ for five years has been reported in areas across the UK, including, London, Lancashire, Surrey, and Stockton-on-Tees.

    The shortage has been linked not to seizures of the drug by law enforcement agencies but to a fungus that has blighted this year’s poppy crop in Afghanistan, reducing it by half.–The Grauniad, today

    One is even denied the comfort of rapid oblivion.

  81. Reine permalink
    November 21, 2010 9:48 PM

    I agree Mish and have much to say on the matter but I’m trying not to completely let work overtake my life so sticking to limericks (in public) pro tem.

  82. Reine permalink
    November 21, 2010 9:51 PM

    let work completely, even. The child has just driven me to the shop and back as I had a few glasses of wine to numb the bailout pain. I am utterly sober now.

  83. mishari permalink*
    November 21, 2010 10:31 PM

    Never mind…maybe this’ll cheer you up:

  84. reine permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:37 PM

    You are a great comfort to me in my time of need Mishari. x

  85. mishari permalink*
    November 21, 2010 10:40 PM

    I especially love the trumpet playing by Cappy Lewis, a great session player who backed everyone from Louis Prima to Sinatra.

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:55 PM

    They put them in Pink Panther themed packs now, which could be embarrassing at the checkout. Luckily I’m a master of the stony stare.

    Redwood was on TV saying the Eurozone countries ought to take care of it, and it’s nothing to do with us. My understanding was, or is, that LloydsTSB have a massive investment in Irish finances (loans, guarantees etc), which you would think makes it very much our business. In fact, anything which might affect the creaking financial system ought to be our business.

  87. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:59 PM

    Sorry, Reine. Back to limericks.

    • reine permalink
      November 21, 2010 11:41 PM

      Not at all MM. Chat away about it by all means. The Official Secrets Act prevents me expressing an opinion. It’s wall to wall here, saw Redwood earlier.

      A young republic called Ireland
      Set itself up as a firebrand
      But reality ducked
      And now it is fucked
      And now it is your land not my land.

  88. mishari permalink*
    November 21, 2010 11:17 PM

    The day Redwood actually knows what he’s talking about, as opposed to spouting ideological gibberish and by-numbers talking-points, the skies above London will darken with pigs flying in close formation…Redwood’s finest hour was as Welsh Secretary when he gifted us with this performance:

    • reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 12:41 AM

      This is how most of our soccer team “sing” the national anthem, being it’s not a language most of them are familiar with. Portillo imitating him is even funnier.

  89. hic8ubique permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:38 PM

    On the basis of that performance, I’m more qualified for the post than he. Gwlad, Gwlad!…

    I’m behind on the news, but MM, please stop mentioning nauseous biscuits; it’s bad enough there was aspartame in the tonic water this evening.*gach*

    Must search out your limericks, Re…

    I’ll resist, resist…
    no, I’ll say it just for you:
    I like little school-boys.

    • reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 12:30 AM

      Hands off my son vixen!

  90. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:04 AM

    One night in the Tesco of my dreams,
    I was eating Value Custard Creams,
    and when I awoke –
    this isn’t a joke –
    I’d eaten my pillow, it seems.

  91. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:11 AM

    I’m self-censoring my Hobnobs limerick.


    Get big domino for a change? Up the stairs! (2,5,2,3)

  92. reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:15 AM

    Go large to bed – way too easy.

  93. reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:25 AM

    A young kind of Caulkhead named Melton
    Thought Hobnobs a biscuit quite beltin’
    To dip in his tea
    And suck merrily
    The chocolate which off them was meltin’

    Repeat rhyme usually unforgivable but I’ve had a trying day so forgive me.

    • November 22, 2010 9:39 AM

      As I recall repeat rhyme was de rigeur in the limericks of Edward Lear.

      So technically spot on and extra Oreos for getting two meanings ourt of Melton.

    • Reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:09 AM

      A young lad by the name of Ed Taylor
      Considered becoming a sailor
      But he didn’t like swimmin’
      Or port-dwelling women
      So he changed tack and became a tailor

      Getting the hang of it Ed, you may have unleashed a monster.

  94. hic8ubique permalink
    November 22, 2010 1:22 AM

    I, for one, don’t mind, anyway, it’s not really a repeat,
    but I’ve never had a chocolate Hobnob. What a thought…
    I don’t know these puzzles with the numerical bit either.
    (Number puzzles are extremely flummoxing.)

    Invariably you would find
    they love me for my hands, not my mind,
    but your boyo is free
    of the prospect of me;
    younger men I have ever declined.

  95. November 22, 2010 8:37 AM

    Ah, Redwood, brings it all back.

  96. November 22, 2010 10:19 AM

    Not on your computer keyboard I hope gg.

  97. mishari permalink*
    November 22, 2010 11:09 AM

    Reason Bankers Should Be Shot On Sight No. 973:

  98. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 11:29 AM

    0/10 I’m afraid, Reine. for a change, yeah?

    Despite their buckets of perspiration
    McVitie’s were low on imagination
    ‘OK, so we’ve got the hob,
    how can we complete the job?’
    Prince Mishari was their inspiration.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:42 AM

      “Go gaily to bed”!

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:52 AM

      Doesn’t sound like me, HLM. Incorrect.

    • Reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 1:02 PM

      Oh, too cocky, not like me. Thought you were harking back to archaic meaning of “go large” – “depart”. Thinking cap back on.

  99. November 22, 2010 11:30 AM

    We don’t need things like “evidence ” before we can go and shoot bankers do we?

  100. mishari permalink*
    November 22, 2010 11:49 AM

    The makers of biscuits were daunted
    “These wafers will never sell
    they taste vile, they’re small and their haunted
    by pinkness and that awful smell”.

    Then up piped a junior sales cluck:
    “Be of good cheer, for there’s is no day
    when we don’t sell tons of this ghastly muck
    to a stout, bearded loon name of Mowbray;
    he eats them for breakfast, he eats them for lunch
    he eats them in singles and then by the bunch
    as long as his tastes stay debased, have no fear:
    our wafer sales go up, year after year.”

  101. November 22, 2010 11:56 AM

    If we’re going to do Phil Harris (Bear Necessities, above) we ought to hit Scatman Caruthers, too (just ignore the racist horrors of the Siamese schtick herein); not a bad tune from the Normative Operatives of Disney… worthy lyrics, too:

    “Everybody wants to be a cat
    Because a cat’s the only cat
    Who knows where it’s at

    Tell me!

    Everybody’s pickin’ up on that feline beat
    ‘Cause everything else is obsolete

    Strictly high-button shoes.

    A square with a horn
    Makes you wish you weren’t born

    Everytime he plays.

    But with a square in the act
    You can set music back

    To the caveman days

    I’ve heard some corny birds who tried to sing

    Still the cat’s the only cat
    Who knows how to swing”

    (courtesy of Offsprung, who caused this to be burned in my brain 2 years back)

  102. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:00 PM

    I love them. Mrs M imposed a moratorium a while ago on teeth preservation grounds.

    It’s 20 years ago today that Thatch was defenestrated. We used to have an annual celebration, but it lapsed in the early years of the century. Looking forward to a celebration of Cameron’s deposition. If I’m still alive.

  103. November 22, 2010 12:50 PM

    MM: the problem being that the window was actually open when they chucked Madame T through it

  104. Reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 1:13 PM

    im going to bed, ta dah!

  105. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:00 PM

    Bit early, isn’t it? But, yes, quite correct. Award yourself a pink wafer biscuit.

    Yes, it would have been smashing had it been shut, Mr A. I suppose our celebrations must have tailed off when it became apparent that Tony Blair was Thatcher 2: The Beast Is Back!

  106. Reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:08 PM

    Never too early for bed MM. I’ll pass on the wafer, you have it with my blessing.

    I am on a prescheduled day off, coinciding happily (?) with incendiary political developments here – junior partners calling for early election, Independents saying they won’t support budget, backbenchers sticking the knife in … it’s all going on. Taoiseach must be a very lonely man today. Windows being left open inexplicably all over the place.

    Austerity in full flow in this house… I have used up a bag of carrots in my carrot and cumin soup and made some cheese scones. Not a bad doomsday lunch.

  107. Reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:13 PM

    That clue was as plain as the nose on my face; I went altogether too macro in my approach.

  108. November 22, 2010 2:50 PM

    I gave up the pink wafer biscuits 42 years ago in an early austerity drive. Anything pink is illegal in Somerset so it wasn’t difficult.

  109. November 22, 2010 3:22 PM

    “I suppose our celebrations must have tailed off when it became apparent that Tony Blair was Thatcher 2: The Beast Is Back!”

    Yes and a boob-shaped blob of the protoplasm snapped off the Thatching host body and became a M_____ (rhymes with “Ferkel”… don’t want to be deported, now, do I?)

  110. November 22, 2010 3:24 PM

    (my first reaction was a juicy “oh fuck, not again”… but, actually, posting this way means no deportation worries)….

  111. November 22, 2010 3:34 PM

    harfe – the boob-shaped blob is surely Mark her incredibly unpleasant son. Or should that be blob-shaped boob?

    Both will do.

    Mangela Ferkel ( why am I trying to conceal this? I live in the UK ) seems more of a test-tube creation specifically designed for a specific role. Rather like Cameron and Osborne.

  112. November 22, 2010 3:50 PM

    Well, you see, ET, as long as the lady’s name isn’t spelled out, the square-jawed, blue-eyed, very well built Secret Police won’t come sniffing the thread… so your reflex circumspection is appreciated)…

  113. mishari permalink*
    November 22, 2010 3:53 PM

    …meanwhile, of somewhat less concern to the Stasi:

    The Mowbray Biscuit Song

    to the tune of ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’

    I can’t eat a wafer that ain’t pink, baby
    Even though you might think that they stink, baby
    Just my style, match my eyes
    they’re the same shade
    in a while, I’ll spew bile
    and my torso expands nightly
    gee, I think that they taste really swell, baby
    I no longer notice that they smell, baby
    until then, you have to know darn well, baby
    I can’t eat wafer that ain’t pink.

  114. November 22, 2010 3:57 PM

    There’s just enough of a whiff of a Commie-entendre there…

  115. mishari permalink*
    November 22, 2010 4:12 PM

    Pink is awfully close to red…not to mention the sexually deviant angle. I mean, pink? What kind of person eats pink stuff? Enemies of the state, that’s who…

  116. Reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 4:22 PM

    Wafer Boy

    I bring the millefeuille to my lips
    Lick at the unctuous cream
    Saltier than I remembered
    And it never used to scream

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 22, 2010 6:21 PM

      OMG. The pink wafer will never be the same again.

    • reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 6:27 PM

      All washed down with a pint of Mowbray stout a la Hic.

      Sorry Melts, very bold of me. I’ll send you a hynotherapy CD.

    • reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 6:29 PM

      hynotherapy (sic) is really taking off here, particularly among people with a morbid fear of the letter “p”.

  117. November 22, 2010 4:25 PM

    If we don’t hear from Mowbray in the next 30 minutes we can only assume he’s been arrested on account of his wafer-eating proclivities.

    To begin with I had taken all this wafer talk very lightly. How wrong I was. Mea culpa.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 22, 2010 6:25 PM

      I thought they said we would be snowboarding. Can you call Michael Mansfield?

  118. hic8ubique permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:01 PM

    Mowbray stout?
    from the gluttony sin?
    Aww go on
    he’s wafer thin.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 22, 2010 6:32 PM

      It’s not about their pink hued skin
      Or their inedibility
      But rather, that they’re crap and thin
      As Mowbray’s credibility.

  119. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:30 PM

    And pink. Not very unctuous, however.

    Wake up, HLM. Only Connect is on tonight.

    • Reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 6:48 PM

      Go away outta that. Healing unction aplenty from your lips.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 22, 2010 7:00 PM

      I seem to remember saying, in some other context, that
      ‘…the Mowbray cut is dry’.

      “Haunted by pinkness”
      “Boob-shaped blob of the protoplasm”
      a conceit altogether fungible
      with the brain of Woody Allen.

  120. hic8ubique permalink
    November 22, 2010 7:29 PM

    Oh here, I’ve just spotted the fashionable solution for carrying any spare protoplasm:

  121. mishari permalink*
    November 22, 2010 7:50 PM

    Good article HERE on the essential worthlessness of investment bankers. If anyone deserves to be beaten like a rented mule1

    1Politely Homicidal would like to point out that no rented mules were beaten in the preparation of this comment; nor does PH approve of or in any way encourage the beating of rented mules. Investment bankers, on the other hand…

  122. November 22, 2010 8:39 PM

    The People’s Republic of Park Ward has issued the following declaration:

    1. That a delegate from the PRPP shall attend a ‘market research seminar’ on the subject of the Guardian Books Blog.

    2 Said delegate will express approval of the vital role of said GBB in promoting the aims of the Revolution, while at the same time pointing to certain errors of right-deviationism among its moderating staff and contributors.

    3. All comrades on the PH blog with opinions on the merits or otherwise of said GBB are invited to make those opinions known to the offices of said PRPP before Wednesday 24th November, 12.00 GMT.

    Comrade Hunter
    for and on behalf of the Politburo, PRPP.

  123. Captain Ned permalink
    November 22, 2010 8:52 PM

    I was in a rather expansive mood the other night; sorry about that. I might have phrased my encomium to Tom Clark’s poetry a little more elegantly.

    I love the latest comment from George Osbourne: ‘Ireland is a friend in need, and we are here to help.’ I’m sure that inspires confidence.

    • reine permalink
      November 22, 2010 10:50 PM

      As long as you don’t retract my “magnificent”. Yes, good old George – I’ll sleep easy tonight. Thank you Britain.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:33 PM

      If you wish to stave off pandaemonium
      in felicity phrase your encomium;
      should you lack that facility
      you’ll bear culpability
      and a name that’s the shade of meconium.

      It looked good to me, Capt.
      better reckless in approbation than in criticism.

  124. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 22, 2010 9:37 PM

    Watched Only Connect, for the first time. Left me rather cold. I hate hearing people verbalise their frontal lobe stuff so that a teammate can pick up on it. It’s like being in a public toilet with no door. I won’t be hurrying back, even for the gravelly-voiced Victoria.

    I’ve half an hour to translate 300 subtitles before The Trip is on. Now that’s worth watching…

  125. reine permalink
    November 22, 2010 11:02 PM

    “Close the vowel, one hundred starts to shout.” (7, 5)

    Not as good as you at this MM.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 22, 2010 11:17 PM

      Shut-eye close?

      Is that the game?

  126. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 12:06 AM

    ‘Shut-eye calls’ is a possibility, though that would be (4-3,5). I’m not sure where ‘alls’ comes from.

    The numerals just refer to the number of letters in each word of the solution, hic. There are lots of conventions: century means ‘c’, one (usually) means ‘i’, hell means ‘dis-‘,
    and so on, which the compiler uses to build up the clue.
    In Saturday’s Guardian crossword, for example (eg – that’s another convention):

    Home news: Europe backs young actress (7)

    Solution: ingenue

    Home= ‘in’, news= ‘gen’, Europe= ‘eu’ (European Union), but it says ‘backs’, so it’s ‘ue’.

    Geddit? There are hundreds of these things, plus several other ways to write clues.

    Here’s one:

    In a weirdly disturbed timeframe, I departed (7)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 23, 2010 2:42 AM

      You are kind to explain , MM, or maybe not…
      do they anagram sometimes?
      if so: ‘warm pet’ ?

      I have misgivings about learning this.

  127. Reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 10:46 AM

    shuteye calls it is – personally I wouldn’t hyphenate shuteye so that was misleading. calls (c for century, beginning a word which means to shout)

  128. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:47 AM

    When I’m Sixty-Four

    So, head for the hills or die in the street?
    there’s no escape when you’re on an island,
    we fortify the road and prepare to meet
    the Ventnor Posse in a final stand.

    Last week we caught one in the razor wire,
    dirty, scrawny, but at least he was fresh,
    we roasted him over an open fire.
    You get used to the taste of caulkhead flesh.

    So, how long will we be able to last?
    A year, a month, maybe only a week,
    but once you’re born the die’s already cast,
    you’ve had it anyway. So, yes, life is bleak,

    but there are consolations in return:
    across the shipless Solent Portsmouth burns.

    • November 23, 2010 12:05 PM

      Glad to read your labrador escaped the carnage this time MM. Or has he already been eaten?

      For some reason ( ignorance probably ) I always thought you were a Portsmouth fan.
      As George Costanza would say ” Was I wrong?”

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 23, 2010 3:32 PM

      Yes, Lucky was first on the menu, ET.

  129. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:52 AM

    I’m not sure about shuteye. Could be a regional variation, I suppose.

    Yes, I forgot to mention anagrams, hic. Very important – see ‘get big domino’ upstairs.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 23, 2010 1:34 PM

      So, taking the ‘i’ out of timewarp, I got an anagram for ‘warm pet’, but that relates to nothing, so I don’t get that rewarded satisfaction of it fitting. Ah, but it must be 7 letters….
      Comforting to know I’m not making more of a fool of myself than usual.

      Good poem, you. I dogged a bit on the island theme myself, but never finished it.

      ‘but once you’re born the die’s already cast’
      and the lip-smacking last line stand out especially to me.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 23, 2010 3:41 PM

      Thanks. Actually, the water between here and Pompey is called Spithead, but I stretched a point.

    • Reine permalink
      November 23, 2010 3:50 PM

      It is a stunning final line.

  130. mishari permalink*
    November 23, 2010 12:08 PM

    You’re not wrong, Ed. MM wears the mask. The lingering dregs of decency and self-respect force him to pretend antipathy, but his heart belongs to Pompey.

  131. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 3:12 PM

    God, no, I hate Portsmouth and all who live in her. Swindon Town was my team as a youth, but when we came here I switched to Saints, largely because almost everyone else here supports Pompey. It’s a loathsome place anyway: Southampton is so much classier.

    That’s the Red Dot, isn’t it, when he has sex with the cleaning woman?

    Sorry, hic, I thought you were giving me an anagram to do: I’ve been rearranging the letters of ‘warm pet’ since, without result. In the clue I gave you last night the operative word is in: the solution is literally in the clue.

    ‘In weirdly disturbed timeframe, I departed’

    The solution is ‘bedtime’. Ingenious, eh? Or maybe not. It’s rather like that very dry poetry analysis practised by some schools of criticism. Fascinating to some, dull to others, but, like poetry itself, completely pointless and therefore to be welcomed.

  132. Reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 3:25 PM

    Me too Hic, furiously rearranging letters to make a whole. Had decided it was Swedish!

    Didn’t get your “bedtime” either MM.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 23, 2010 5:49 PM

      Sorry, you two. I waded in out of my depth. I do appreciate your patient attempts to include me. I can’t spell or read Swedish well at all, so I won’t be volunteering much of that.

      Moon, it’s unusual for you to be deleted. Arriving late to PotW, I’ve missed some of your comments; I feel swizzed.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 23, 2010 6:38 PM

      A couple of extremely inoffensive putdowns of 007 by M:

      “Try to be a little less than your frivolous self, 007.”

      “This isn’t a personal vendetta, 007. It’s an assignment, like any other. And if you can’t treat it as such, coldly and objectively, 008 can replace you.”

      Makes you wonder what the mods are thinking of. I can’t say it bothered me. But there was someone who made a brief appearance this morning, a rant of four-letter words directed at the mods, from a certain CommunityModC*nt who’d managed to register. The post was quickly vanished.

    • November 23, 2010 6:48 PM

      ThickEnglishcunt also made an appearance later in the morning. I think he was modded – more for the ( splendid ) name than the comments.

      Shame they excised yours HLM. At that moment in time they would have added a welcome wit to the proceedings.

  133. November 23, 2010 3:49 PM

    Anagrams are easy with Anagram. Another ingenious device has solved Scrabble.

    Backgammon, with approx. 1000000000000000000000 discrete positions and cube variation is more intractable and therefore more interesting, at least to me. Iambic line probabilities too.

    It may well be Russia, where I go, in case you hadn’t guessed.

  134. Reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 3:57 PM

    Ahhh… Shalyapin sings for you Simon. I thought you were just having a moment with him and Stalin and what not. When?

  135. November 23, 2010 5:18 PM

    Is the distur bed-time frame anagram a homemade one? Not that I’m in anyway an expert but the solution is un-Guardian-like.

  136. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 8:44 PM

    It’s not an anagram, ET. That device is common in Guardian crosswords.

    Pinkroom and myself also had Bond-related comments deleted, though in our case they were disappeared. Harmless jokes in the spirit of the last thread. Doubtless a certain self-righteous prig reported them as abuse.

    I hope you’ll continue to maintain your excellent blog, Simon (though I must say it’s a long job posting a comment there). A diary of your experience in Russia would be interesting. I gather the Bear ladies, as it were, are exceptionally beautiful. And muscular.

    Looking forward to the Mandelson TV programme. He may be evil incarnate, but what a performer!

  137. mishari permalink*
    November 23, 2010 9:02 PM

    You’ve got a stronger stomach than me, MM…I can’t bear to watch the man…he makes my skin crawl.

  138. November 23, 2010 10:37 PM

    Where in Russia Simon? Have you been before?

    In 1992 I worked in Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk ( where they used to make nuclear subs ) at a theatre festival. To date the most memorable place we’ve toured to.

    Our translator’s English was far superior to ours. One time he looked up from a 19th century novel ( by Thackeray or some such and in English ) he was studying and asked ” in what context might one use the word yonder”.

    I had to think about how to spell Thackeray and even then might have spelt it wrong so was in no position to help him out.

    Russian joke. If the KGB ran the Sahara desert it would be okay for a few years but then there would be a shortage of sand.

    You had to be there.

    • reine permalink
      November 23, 2010 11:51 PM

      Edward, that is a superb pen picture –

      Where does he live? Yonder, a stretch beyond the near hill and down a bit.

    • November 24, 2010 10:23 AM

      Reine: A far more eloquent response than my effort which if I remember correctly involved picking my nose and looking up into the air vacantly.

      I went when Gorbachev was in power. I was surprised and a bit shocked to hear the venom directed against him by our translator who was from Latvia.

      Despite Gorbachev’s outward west-friendly glasnost policies the government was still having a vicious go at many of its states.

  139. mishari permalink*
    November 23, 2010 10:56 PM

    Russian joke (transposed from apocryphal Spanish story but it works for any dictator):

    Stalin is on his deathbed and slipping in and out of consciousness. Outside in Red Sq., vast crowds have gathered. Waking for a moment, Stalin hears the noise of the crowds and beckons an aide over to his bedside.

    “What is that noise?” says Stalin.

    “It is the Russian people, Tovarish” replies the aide.

    “What are they doing? says Stalin.

    “Why, they have come to say goodbye, Tovarish.” says the aide.

    “Where are they going?” asks a puzzled Stalin.1

    1No dictators were harmed in the making of this joke.

    Камрад Simon, не выпивает водочку и не падает в снежок. Много русских умирают таким образом. Быть осторожным!

  140. November 23, 2010 11:16 PM

    Yekaterinburg for a while, then St. Petersburg. I was in the Soviet Union on a coach trip in 1984, but only got as far as Odessa and Kiev. January, if I don’t change my mind: mean Jan temp circa -15C, though I am promised vodka and a walk down Lenin Prospekt to the ballet…

    Thanks for the kind words; I have changed the comments settings to make it easier. I will of course continue to post as far as teaching, meeting, greeting, ballet and bearwoman allow.

    But Stalin had no grateful crowds. Alone on a cold floor in piss-stained pyjamas, the ghosts flitting about him. I’m sure he wished he’d stayed a poet then.

    Russian phonetics ‘night all.

  141. reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:38 PM

    Jesus SEMYON, I am just getting to grips with English ones!

    Very amusing joke Mish.

  142. reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:45 PM

    A twirl at 34 degrees cut lawn with ass’s cry.

    (6, 7)

  143. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:46 PM

    Glad to hear it, Simon.

    Mandy was quite good value. Nice legs, too.

    There’s a thread on CIF about the Royal Wedding and CA Duffy, so I thought I’d repost my effort from the thread on the Books Blog, which closed rather mysteriously (lese-majeste?). HLM’s, which wiped the floor with mine, ought to have a wider audience.

  144. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:51 PM

    Well, Melton Mowbray, but where’s the twirl?

  145. reine permalink
    November 23, 2010 11:53 PM

    It’s in the bowl meltin’ Melton. A bespoke clue and you’re getting caught up in the nitty gritty, tsk.

  146. mishari permalink*
    November 23, 2010 11:58 PM

    I see that you’ve already been proposed for Poet Laureate, MM…

  147. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:01 AM

    It’s always falling, we hear, on an Irishwoman.

  148. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:02 AM

    Sorry, wrong pronunciation, err…

  149. reine permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:04 AM

    Five letters? Ha.

  150. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:05 AM

    In reference to your patella, an Irish lady has appeared.

  151. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:08 AM

    Really? I shall have to look. I decline in favour of HLM anyway.

  152. reine permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:09 AM

    Ah, much better. Let me be the first to say that “lady” might be stretching it.

    ma sees wet dr

  153. hic8ubique permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:26 AM


  154. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 12:28 AM

    There’s a niggling pain in my head
    as my body gets into bed
    I think I’m free to have a grouch
    it’s left me downstairs on the couch.

  155. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 24, 2010 8:49 AM

    I reposted, like MM, my royal doggerel. Shamelessly seeking a wider audience. It doesn’t sit well, though. Unlike a stand-up comedian, I’m not keen on saying the same thing twice. Nor do I like repeating myself.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 24, 2010 1:32 PM

      Yes, I had some qualms. As I often say, iteration is a sin, a vice, a transgression of civilised behaviour.

  156. November 24, 2010 9:54 AM

    No that anyone here would be the better for a poetry lesson… but I’m just saying.

    HLM, for the old, there is always great gratitude when anyone says anything twice. That way one has a 50% better chance of getting it.

    The character in Goodfellas called Eddie Two Times, whose dialogues run like this:

    I’m goin’ to get the Times

    I’m goin’ to get the Times

    is, in my view, the most poetic character in the history of cinema (that youthful almost-art).

  157. mishari permalink*
    November 24, 2010 12:43 PM

    Some time last year on this blog, I suggested that the US had purposely engineered the collapse of the banking sector for the specific purpose of destroying the Euro, which was then strong and was challenging the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

    As I watch events unfolding in Ireland (coming soon to a TV near you: Spain, Portugal and Greece) and the more I think about what went on in the US, the more I begin to suspect I was right.

    In 1999, Warren Buffet, the most respected and successful market-player in the US warned shareholders in Berkley Hathaway, his investment vehicle, of the catastrophe headed their way.

    In his annual letter to his investors, he wrote that the whole edifice of mortage-backed securities, credit default swaps and debt-backed financial instruments were a disaster waiting to happen because the debt liabilities being traded were unquantifiable. This was why he refused to touch them with a very long pole.

    Only a half-wit couldn’t have seen this coming. And yet virtually the entire upper-strata of the US financial establishment–on Wall St., in government, in academia– claim they had no inkling. It’s just not plausible. I think this was done on purpose.

    Ask Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla’s age-old question: cui bono? And the corollary: who suffers?

  158. November 24, 2010 1:08 PM

    большое спасибо, Mish; I shall certainly try to be careful. Research story of the month.

  159. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 1:52 PM

    It would have to be a conspiracy of mind-boggling complexity, and it was European banks who were dishing out the paper on this side of the Atlantic, wasn’t it? I can’t really see who benefits, either.

    Going on the example of the South Sea Bubble, another debt explosion, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find some dodgy financial ‘experts’ in at the beginning, but the kind of hysteria which swept the institutions isn’t unknown to history.

  160. mishari permalink*
    November 24, 2010 3:58 PM

    But the European banks were and are intimately linked with US banks and Wall St. The debt-backed securities that Eurobanks were trading were American securities. The Euro-twits were encouraged and assured by Goldman Sachs and the like, whose reputation for infallibility is as powerful as it is erroneous…and 10 years is a long time to be fucking hysterical, no?

    My poor innocent friend…you’ve been living in the bucolic, mangel-wurzel strewn fool’s paradise that men call ‘the Isle of Wight’ for too long.

    By the way, there’s a new Furst out, called The Spies of The Balkans. Furst’s books seem to come out without any fanfare, always taking me by surprise. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

    I actually found it quite by accident in my local Idea Store (or what you quaint rustics would call ‘a library’). I look forward to reading it.

  161. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 4:37 PM

    Of course you’re right, Your Highness. My sources of information are limited to Cattle News and Turnip, Swede & Root Vegetable Weekly (and Naked Badgers, which Groat the newsagent keeps under the counter for me).

    A new Furst, eh? I shall have to get down to the local Word Farm (if that’s what you mean by this unfamiliar term ‘library’) and have a look for it.

    Still wondering about hic’s gnomic pronouncement up there. Uncle? What can it mean?

  162. mishari permalink*
    November 24, 2010 4:52 PM

    I could be wrong, but I think it’s meant in the sense of ‘I surrender’. Doubtless, @hic will correct me…

    You can’t possibly fuck badgers…they’re too short.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 24, 2010 5:46 PM

      Yes. It’s an expression that mystified me for years.
      I remember similarly, as a child, thinking:
      ‘No, Mike’s my uncle, not Bob.’

      and I found this for you, MM…

      I’m afraid I have rather romantic Wind in the Willowsy feelings about badgers. Poor badgers.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 25, 2010 11:28 AM

      Thanks. I haven’t come across it before.

  163. November 24, 2010 5:02 PM

    You could spoon a badger

  164. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 24, 2010 5:05 PM

    I believe a hole is dug in Norfolk. A table is West Country style.

  165. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 24, 2010 5:23 PM

    You can root a badger.
    You can fist a calf.
    You can lay a cake.
    But you can’t shag…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 24, 2010 5:49 PM

      a bull?

  166. mishari permalink*
    November 24, 2010 5:54 PM

    …a snake; they’re even shorter than yer average badger.

  167. November 24, 2010 6:07 PM

    Badger will have your spoon down his hole and come back up for the table.

  168. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 24, 2010 6:19 PM

    No and no. In keeping with the playful spirit of the blog, these are all plays on words tirés par les cheveux.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 24, 2010 6:28 PM

      I thought it was a riddle:

      layer cake

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 24, 2010 6:35 PM



  169. Reine permalink
    November 24, 2010 6:24 PM

    …a giraffe? (in the absence of a ladder).

  170. November 24, 2010 6:32 PM

    in Norfolk one is expected to lie down for a badger

  171. November 24, 2010 6:37 PM

    And everyone knows you don’t need tires for a horse.

  172. November 24, 2010 6:40 PM

    I’ve never seen a live badger. In Somerset the local gamekeeper used to shoot them ( illegal ) and dump them on the road as if they had been hit by a car.

    I don’t have a “Things to do before I die” list but if I did going on a badger watch would be on it.

    Going on a badger watch is probably what they call dogging in the Isle of Wight.

    Anyone else read “Underworld”? I’m a quarter of the way through its 800+ pages and it’s a fantastic read.

  173. November 24, 2010 6:45 PM

    One of my ‘things to do before you die’ is to see a mole come out of the ground.

    I did see seven squirrels at the foot of a decommissioned windmill today. They all turned around at once and looked at me as if they’d been caught doing something humans aren’t meant to know about.

  174. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 24, 2010 6:45 PM

    A friend lent me Underworld quite a few years ago. I read the first thirty or forty pages half a dozen times without getting any purchase on the book. Then it suddenly disappeared. I think it was taken back to the USA. He did leave me a guitar and a PlayStation, though.

  175. November 24, 2010 6:54 PM

    The guitar and playstation take up less space than Underworld.

    I’ve seen two moles come out of the ground. So there.

  176. November 24, 2010 7:15 PM

    at once?

  177. November 24, 2010 7:24 PM

    sadly no.

    Envisages a mole-hose which fires them out of the ground when you turn on the tap.

    What surprised me was how fast they are. I was expecting a bumbling animal barely capable of crawling further blinded by the daylight but they whizz around the place.

  178. November 24, 2010 7:31 PM

    It’s impolite to impose on a mole
    Unless he invites you in
    But play your cards right
    He’ll romance you all night
    With Lover’s Rock, earthworms and gin

  179. November 24, 2010 7:35 PM

    A mole-hose? That’s either the best or the worst thing. To what purpose? Lawn protection, at attempt to get one of those special ‘Attenborough’ shots or a west-country-style Seven-Brides-For-Seven-Brothers-style enforced elopement?

  180. November 24, 2010 7:38 PM

    I haven’t had time to think it through properly XB. It’s still in the R+D phase.

    But your comments are useful to us so please stay on the line.

  181. November 24, 2010 8:41 PM

    Think you’re a fan, ET, I can recommend Stewart Lee’s new show and book. There are probably a lot of performers you know from the chapters on his late 80s days on the alternative cabaret circuit.

  182. reine permalink
    November 24, 2010 9:13 PM

    Moles are answerable for much of my early romantic development (ya wha’ Gay?*)

    I read Duncton Wood at an impressionable age, all that talk of flanks and haunches and steamy mole sex … the boys of Westport suffered by comparison.

    Badgers are plentiful in these parts but unfortunately one sees them most often in roadkill mode. They are big fellas.

    * An expression of puzzlement coined in response to the pontifications of Gay Byrne, esteemed Irish broadcaster, in his heyday.

  183. November 24, 2010 9:37 PM

    I saw Stewart Lee a few weeks back XB.

    First time I’ve seen him in the flesh and very funny.

  184. November 24, 2010 10:26 PM


    You want one of the most moving-yet-funny passages in North Am Lit of the late-20th century, ET, go to page 349 (paperback edition)

    then: one of the secret hearts of the book (at the near-perfect-center): pg 441

    580 is part 1 of a pitch-perfect (imagined) Lenny Bruce routine (in Chicago), riffing on the Cuban Missile Crisis… the middle of the routine (in Miami) commences on pg 590 and the apotheosis of Lenny’s imagined show hits in NY, pg 623, in which Lenny starts riffing on themes and characters from (hold on to your hat) … Underworld itself… and, in the form of a joke that bums the audience out, talks through a premonition of the girl who provides the book’s false end/ climax (whereas the book’s genuine, final, long-diminishing E chord… this is Don’s Sgt Pepper’s, after all… shows a virtualized nun fused with the spirit of her doppelgänger J. Edgar Hoover and pulsing around and above the universe through cyberspace, encompassing not only a pastiche of the final notes of Joyce’s The Dead but also Kubrick’s 2001… wha…?)


    Just a few highlights… DeLillo will never top it.

    • November 25, 2010 9:42 AM

      Now you’ve given the ending away!

      I was really taken with the chapter where they look at the video of the man driving.

      On the GU books blog old time SF fan/drone Damien Walter was trying to persuade us that in its breadth of imagination SF is the only lterary form qualified to deal with the modern world.

      I like SF too and find a lot of modern fiction underwhelming but that chapter which is rooted in day to day life, which beautifully captures the feelings we have in such a situation but which also appears to predict the YouTube phenomenon is a perfect riposte to that claim.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 25, 2010 10:08 AM

      Ed, I’m a long-time admirer of DeLillo’s work myself. Don’t miss White Noise, Libra and Mao II. I believe I recommended him to people on this blog ages ago.

      Libra (a sort of alternative history of Lee Harvey Oswald) managed to get an enormous amount of flack from right-wing zealots in the US, some of whom accused Delillo of being ‘un-American’, ‘un-patriotic’ etc etc.

      In other words, the accusations they level at anyone who disagrees, disputes or in any way deviates from the Ayn Rand-nutjob-Cato Institute reading of US history.

      PS. I love SF myself but Damien Walter is an idiot and always was. Here’s what he wrote on the GU book blogs in March, 2009:

      Of course it is. Literary culture has been dead for some time, thank god. The last few decades have just been the final spasms of the corpse. The current economic collapse is banging the final nail into the coffins of many long dead institutions. Literary culture is the one we should mourn the least.

      Independent publishers probably will have a part to play in reinventing books and fiction. But they will have to abandon Literary culture to do it. No offense to Adam Rodriguez, his book may well be a very nice read, but why do I need one man’s take on the Bronx when I scan MySpace and find pages from thousands of people who actually live there now, telling me the story of the Bronx right now?

      The uncomfortable truth for Literary culture is that the model it is built on, of the few being listened to by the many, is increasingly irrelevant. The many are listening to each other. And the few that are being listened to en mass don’t need publishers to do it, they speak directly to their audience through the wonders of the interweb. Thats a tough model for many writers to accept, because its unforgiving of mediocrity and takes little notice of priviledge (sic), but increasingly its the way it is.

      Feel free to blow gigantic holes in this ridiculous assertion at your leisure. Or as Steven wrote on this blog at the time:

      Unforgiving of mediocrity? Is he speaking in code? Not only is online mediocrity enforced and rewarded (as it is in “print”), but practising at the standard that “mediocrity” implied just a few decades ago will now get your bosom branded with a glowing iron E (for Elitist). And nothing, as we know, could be worse. Which is where Damien is actually coming from, innit? That chip-on-the-shoulder Robespierre-impulse to cleanse the world of those who can kick his arse at Scrabble (and get the girl doing so). Ironic that Damien clearly misses the point of the point that his obvious hero Vonnegut made in the short story “Harrison Bergeron”, but disciples are famous for fumbling the message.

    • November 25, 2010 10:43 AM

      Damien God bless him operates on the Phillip K Dick notion that if you post the same thoughts ( that have been shot to bits ) 6 months later everyone will have forgotten the originals and we start afresh.

      In fairness I think I operate on a similar cycle but start re-posting the same ideas every 2 years ( the WH Auden gag being an exception ).

      But why he needs to construct a fight between SF and other forms of literature I dunno. It’s kind of easy if you pit McEwan against Dick but if you add someone like De Lillo into the fight then things get a bit less clear-cut. And if Myspace is a benchmark then God help us.

      Have just read White Noise which has led to Underworld. The prose is startling at times and he does interesting things with time. You can see why the London Review of Books turned down my job application.

  185. hic8ubique permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:21 AM

    We like a bit of lark-about
    to needle in a thread.
    We like a strand of nonsense
    to tangle in the head.
    We appreciate a pantomime
    of parries, feints (or bluffs)
    in straitened economic clime:
    some smooths with our roughs.

  186. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 2:32 AM

    Good piece in The NYT on why Afghanistan is actually worse than Vietnam (HERE). Well worth reading.

    We must make amends
    to our badger friends;
    they feel quite melancholic.

    They feel abused,
    like they’ve been used
    for a mere sordid frolic.

    So send a gift or greeting card:
    “am well, hope you’re the same;
    have got a rather nasty rash:
    I’m sure you’re not to blame.”

    Reine, you should get those gombeen bastards you work for (I believe I’m right in thinking you work in the Dáil Éireann, no?) to read THIS. You just know that anything Boy George Osborne thinks is a good idea is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Reine permalink
      November 25, 2010 8:24 AM

      You are right that I work in the Oireachtas Mish but I don’t work directly for the political parties you repeatedly refer to as “gombeen bastards” (in fairness there are some bright people in there) in that, technically, I work for the State. It’s a technicality I cling to these days.

      I’m going to have to change my user name and take down the pic so I can continue to read this blog at work without ICT red carding me for disloyalty to the motherland.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 25, 2010 10:13 AM

      No offence intended, Reine. I just like the word ‘gombeen’–useful and appropriate and I’ve been hearing Irish friends use it to describe their politicians for as long as I can remember. My contempt for politicians transcends all classes, colours, creeds, genders and national boundaries.

      Scumbags, every man-jack of them, until I see irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

    • Reine permalink
      November 25, 2010 1:01 PM

      None taken. I don’t disagree really Mish, just have an aversion to that word from overexposure to the real thing.

  187. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 5:02 AM

    Letter in today’s Irish Times:

    Madam, – I am currently in southern Africa where there is some incredulity at the current state of Irish affairs. Having been told for so long that export competitiveness is the key to economic salvation people here wonder how a country where exports continue to grow at twice the level of imports can be in such trouble.

    This incredulity is reinforced when I tell them the real Irish economy is growing despite the best efforts of the Government to close it down and that the debt to GDP ratio was as low as 25 per cent as recently as 2007. How can Ireland now be on the brink of bankruptcy and close to having its sovereignty removed by EU/ECB/IMF diktat? I tell them it is because the Government has stolen circa €70 billion of the public’s money (almost 50 per cent of Ireland’s GNP!) and given it to foreign investors in bankrupt banks.

    When they ask what these bank investors have done to deserve such largesse, I tell them that they fuelled an unsustainable property bubble which made it almost impossible for our young people to join even the bottom rung of the property ladder and which threatened to make the whole Irish economy uncompetitive.

    “Surely”, they wonder, “investors in such banks do not deserve to be rewarded for such irresponsible and destructive behaviour particularly when it is their victims who must now pay the price – home owners in negative equity, the sick seeking health care, the aged and those made unemployed seeking social welfare? Did many of those those now unemployed not lose their jobs because of the irresponsible behaviour of the banks and their investors in the first place?”

    At this point, I admit to being stuck for an answer. Perhaps your readers can help me out and explain why it is that the victims of this crime must pay the perpetrators with money they don’t have and must now borrow from many of these same “investors” at increasingly ruinous interest rates and why the Government is actively colluding in this process?

    Would the proper process not have been what is known in business as a “debt equity swap” and which would have made those foreign investors shareholders in the banks they had so seriously misled in the first place?

    Sorting out the banks would then, very properly, have been their problem and Irish citizens, who had no hand, act or part in the running of those banks could have looked elsewhere within the EU for their banking services if they so desired or required? Why do bank profits belong to their investors and bank losses to the public?

    The Irish Constitution (Article 40.3.2) guarantees the right to property and Article 43 acknowledges that these rights ought to be regulated by the principles of social justice and the common good. By what principle of social justice are those with no ownership of the banks made liable for the losses of those who do? Has the Government not acted unconstitutionally in this case? – Yours, etc,


    Red Lane,

    Blessington, Co Wicklow.

  188. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 25, 2010 10:28 AM

    This week’s centrefold is Kelly Brock, 32-32-32, who says she’s ‘largely nocturnal’. I’ll bet she is! Wouldn’t we like to examine her sett! Cor!

    Better not comment on Ireland. Today I had a letter from the bank telling me that a notice account I have earned £1.24 in interest last year. I might as well have stuck it under the mattress.

  189. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 10:36 AM

    In search of a stray factoid, I was scanning Spanish Steps, Tim Moore’s book about his pilgrimage to Santiago accompanied by a donkey.

    In preparation for the trip, Moore ordered a book called A Passion For Donkeys, the presence of which on your bookshelf could be misinterpreted. As I believe you enjoyed Moore’s Eurovision book, I’ll pass this one along if you like. It’s very entertaining.

  190. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 25, 2010 10:46 AM

    That’s very kind of you. I handed the Eurovision book on to my daughter, who loved it too.

    A Passion For Donkeys would go very well with my copy of The Ass: An Affair Of The Heart.

  191. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 12:51 PM

    And we wonder why we haven’t found Osama bin Laden.

    Though we’re pouring billions into intelligence in Afghanistan, we can’t even tell the difference between a no-name faker and a senior member of the Taliban.

    The tragedy of Afghanistan has descended into farce. In the sort of scene that would have entertained millions if Billy Wilder had made a movie of Kipling’s “Kim,” it turns out that Afghan and NATO leaders have been negotiating for months with an imposter pretending to be a top Taliban commander — even as Gen. David Petraeus was assuring reporters that there were promising overtures to President Hamid Karzai from the Taliban about ending the war.

    Those familiar with the greatest Afghan con yet say that the British had spent a year developing the fake Taliban leader as a source and, despite a heated debate and C.I.A. skepticism, General Petraeus was buying into it. The West was putting planes and assets at the poseur’s disposal, and paying him a sum in the low six figures.

    “It’s funny but not funny because the consequences are so staggering,” said a Western diplomat. “Put it this way: It was not well handled.”

    We’ve heard a lot about the shadow world of Afghanistan, but this is ridiculous. We’re bargaining with the shadow of a shadow. Even President Karzai may have been fooled. The man taking us for a ride may have been taken for a ride.

    Indeed, sometimes it feels as if the entire region is taking us for a ride. Everybody is lining up for Western cash, treating America, the British and NATO like suckers.

    President Karzai and his brother toy with us for their immense personal profit, even as they corrupt their own elections. Karzai undermines the American military plan by going up against General Petraeus on night raids. And the Taliban and the Pakistan intelligence service are playing us as well.

    America is stomping around the moonscape of Afghanistan trying to do the right thing, but we can’t because we’re clueless about the culture to the point where we can be faked out by an imposter masquerading as Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, a high-level Taliban commander.

    As Dexter Filkins and Carlotta Gall revealed in The Times on Tuesday, the Afghan faker attended three meetings with NATO and Afghan officials, traveling across the border from Pakistan, where Taliban leaders are hiding with the help of the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service (even though we give Pakistan billions of dollars in aid every year).

    The Times’s article said that the phony was even ushered into a meeting with Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul. Something the crafty Karzai denied.

    He may have been dispatched as an agent by the Taliban — whose leaders still deny there are any peace talks — or the double-dealing Pakistani intelligence service. “The Taliban are cleverer than the Americans and our own intelligence service,” a senior Afghan official told The Times. “They are playing games.”

    Bizarrely, the Afghans let the fake Mansour retreat over the border. In a further huge embarrassment for the Western intelligence community, he was not held to determine whether he was an enemy agent.

    Nor is this the only confusion about our war. We also can’t seem to get the calendar straight. First, we were leaving in 2011. Then maybe we weren’t. Then we weren’t leaving until 2014. Then maybe we aren’t.

    In trying to please all his many wartime constituencies, President Obama has provided a confusing plethora of plans and semiplans for withdrawal. No sooner had the NATO ministers in Lisbon agreed that we were staying till 2014 than Obama declared that “early 2011 will mark the beginning of a transition to Afghan responsibility.”

    On the duration of our commitment to the war in Afghanistan, we seem to be faking ourselves out.

    Obama wants to get out; Petraeus wants flexibility. “The real protagonists are the president and the general,” one Obama adviser noted dryly.

    It should have been a sign that the Russians, who are a lot more vicious than us [Tell that to the Vietnamese, the Cambodians and the Laotians, to name just a fewEd.] and have a much closer cultural attachment to the Graveyard of Empires, got whipped after 9 years and 50 days — which we’re now exceeding.

    Just as with Saddam and W.M.D., or groping and the T.S.A., we get no satisfaction for the $80 billion a year we spend on intelligence. Or we get fake information like Curveball that leads us into spending trillions more on a trumped-up war.

    Last year, seven top C.I.A. officials were fooled by a Jordanian double-agent who got onto an American base in Khost and blew all of them up. Our agents in the “wilderness of mirrors” may not be up to le Carré, but can’t they learn to Google, or at least watch “The Ipcress File”?

    Who knows? Maybe we’ve been dealing with bin Laden all along. Maybe he’s been coming and going under a different moniker. As far as our intelligence experts are concerned, a turban and beard are just a turban and beard. — Maureen Dowd in The NYT, 23.11.2010

  192. November 25, 2010 1:00 PM

    Frank Schnittger had better stay out of airplanes (and away from whatever it is they use to induce cancer or simulate suicide in persuasively vocal dissidents) for the foreseeable future. Doesn’t he know what happened to Mark Lombardi?

    (PS not to worry, ET, the *real* end is near the beginning… as it is with Life itself)

  193. November 25, 2010 1:05 PM

    Just call me grasshopper Steven.

  194. Reine permalink
    November 25, 2010 1:12 PM

    Comment away MM. I’m just sad really that things have come to such a pass but I’ll rein in my sensitivities.

    I’d do a PH centrefold myself if I had those vital statistics. Every Irish schoolchild of my generation learned a poem about Bernard Broc the badger, by Gabriel Rosenstock, with the opening line “Tá Bernard Broc i bponc” meaning he was confused/pissed off. Could be seeing a revival.

  195. November 25, 2010 1:57 PM

    Reine being Gaelic-ignorant can you give a phonetic for that line of poetry? Is the Bp pronounced like a V ?

  196. hic8ubique permalink
    November 25, 2010 2:02 PM

    ‘This week’s centrefold is Kelly Brock, 32-32-32’

    Is this a puzzle? or a rectangle?
    A welter-weight boy?

  197. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 25, 2010 2:14 PM

    Get hip, hic. Kelly Brook, pouting gorgeous model-type glamourwoman.

    All right. Pretty innocuous, really:

    I notice that when Brian Cowen speaks he has the same mannerism as Gordon Brown, constantly touching the top of his notes as though adjusting them for squareness. I hope, for Ireland’s sake, that’s where the resemblance ends.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 25, 2010 2:54 PM

      Ok Ok, I’m hip, thank you google.
      Kelly Brook, not Kelly Brock who is comparatively underwhelming. And according to my eye-ball research your statistics are erroneous, hipster.

  198. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 2:31 PM

    Unfortunately not, MM. I think I’m right in saying that ‘Biffo’* (as he’s not-so-fondly known) Cowen was Minister of Finance before he became Taoiseach and followed the same loopy ‘light-touch regulation’ of the financial sector that so enchanted Brown and the New Labour shower of dolts and with the same result: jackpot for the banksters, shit sandwiches all around for everyone else.

    *Big ignorant fucker from Offaly

  199. Reine permalink
    November 25, 2010 3:57 PM

    No Ed, it’s pronounced bunk (ponc is the noun and the “b” is an “urú” which is placed in front of certain words following “i” meaning “in” (and others). My Irish grammatical knowledge is rusty so I mainly go by sound these days.

    “Thaw Bernard Bruck e bunk”.

    Níl a fhios agam cad tá i gceist … the g is an urú here. “I don’t know what is in question – kneel iss ahgum cod(th) thaw e geshth. Simon would do this much better.

    Cowen with an “e” boys!

    I think Hic is thinking of Kelly le Brock, ’80s sex symbol.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 25, 2010 4:19 PM

      Uh uh, although googling ‘Kelly Brock’, MM’s first version, (perhaps influenced by badger talk) brought up photos of big-haired Kelly le Brock as well.
      I didn’t know of any of them, Brock, Brook or leBrock.
      My un-hipness is very old news.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 25, 2010 6:50 PM

      I don’t think we’re on the same wavelength, hic. My original post, following on from the Prince’s poem, was a strapline from Naked Badgers. All badger-related.

  200. November 25, 2010 4:08 PM

    “Just call me grasshopper Steven.”

    ET, you sly bastid, you’ve just called me a fat, bald, blind and shoe-less has-been number one son of a Swedish panto-Chinese Detective without even seeming to mean it

  201. November 25, 2010 4:34 PM


    Don’t forget that in doing that I’ve inadvertently laid claim to Keith Carradine being my half-brother.

    “I’m easy, yeah, easy like Sunday morning etc. etc.”

    You’ve got it easy in comparison.

  202. Reine permalink
    November 25, 2010 8:07 PM

    Explanatory note: I am told on the home front that I am very tetchy today and am doing an online survey to corroborate. Messages of condolence and empathy to Boys Indoors, c/o Reine Dublin. Word carefully…

  203. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 8:22 PM

    This one’s for anyone who’s tired of stories about relentless German ‘efficiency’ and ‘competence’:

    A German DIY enthusiast trapped himself in his own cellar after walling himself in. The 64-year-old intended to seal off his cellar to save on heating bills, but was on the wrong side of his wall when the last cemented brick was slotted into place at his home in Gumperda, near Leipzig. He then had to tunnel through a brick wall to escape via a neighbour’s house.

    He was trapped in his man-made dungeon for two days before deciding to use a jackhammer on the wall leading to his neighbour’s home.

    But the German man had been feuding with his neighbours for months, and as the hammer bit through the last bits of concrete and plaster the pensioner emerged through the hole into the arms of waiting police who are now considering disturbance of the peace. —The Telegraph, today

  204. Reine permalink
    November 25, 2010 9:51 PM

    We’re in the shit
    Hell’s very pit
    A fiery seventh circle
    But we’ll be fine
    Way down the line
    Thanks to Rehn and Merkel

    The four year plan’s
    yer only man
    Said Cowen and the lads
    Your rags, once glad,
    Now look just sad
    My bad, your bad, our bads

    Osborne stepped in
    To pardon sin
    Extend a friendy loan
    Once colonised, briefly reprised
    We’re chattels once again

    We’ll take the pain
    And pride regain
    When the gombeen’s finally dead
    And so, in hock,
    We give a fuck
    But need our daily bread

    We’ll still dance at the crossroads
    Comely maidens of de Valera
    But we’re no longer virgins
    We’ll sleep with you, I swear… ah.*

    (for the right price – 90 billion and rising)

  205. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 25, 2010 11:19 PM

    Tetchy, very tetchy.

    • R(ein)epentant permalink
      November 25, 2010 11:37 PM

      Never with you.

      Well, I’m sincerely sorry if I was. Forgive me.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 25, 2010 11:50 PM

      Joking. One would not expect anyone in Ireland to be happy at the moment.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 25, 2010 11:57 PM

      Except for that gobshite Bono, of course. Now he can lecture you on deprivation and ‘feel your pain’, Reine…although, perhaps, you’d prefer it if the bastard just paid his taxes for a change.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 12:08 AM

      No shit baby.

  206. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 11:38 PM

    Not tetchy enough…the Irish need to set up a guillotine on St. Stephen’s Green and get stuck in. I can just see Madame Reine, basket of knitting in her lap, nodding with satisfaction as the heads roll. It won’t solve anything (aside from ridding Ireland of a few parasites) but catharsis is no bad thing…

  207. R(ein)epentant permalink
    November 25, 2010 11:41 PM

    Ah yes, good old Madame Lafarge. I knit as well as I apologise, slowly.

  208. R(ein)epentant permalink
    November 25, 2010 11:42 PM

    Defarge even, Madame Lafarge was a tutor of old. Oops.

  209. mishari permalink*
    November 25, 2010 11:54 PM

    Flight was appointed to the Lords as a reward for his role as president and founder of the Conservative City Circle, which he set up to improve links with the City —The Graun, today

    Improve links between the Tories and The City? That must have been one hell of a hill to climb and well worth a peerage. Jesus wept…

  210. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 12:04 AM

    God, this house is freezing. The Velux has been installed, so when the promised snow arrives on Sunday I can crawl out on to the roof and shovel it off. I’m really looking forward to it.

    IW County Press,
    Monday 29th Nov

    A Mr Melton Mowbray (56) was found dead in the garden of his house this morning. It is believed he fell off the roof while clearing snow. His widow said ‘I wondered where he’d got to. I hope he didn’t land on my azaleas.’

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 12:11 AM

      You’d make one helluva snowman I’m sure MM. Amend your last will and testament over the weekend and leave me a twirl.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 12:15 AM

      I have a mantilla at the ready.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 26, 2010 12:24 AM

      Smoking is discouraged at funerals.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 12:28 AM

      LO very L. I’ve put many strange things in my mouth but never a Cuban.

  211. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 12:08 AM

    It’s my understanding that snow acts as insulation and keeps the heat in (hence the effectiveness of igloos).

    Just do what I do–leave the damn snow, throw another Vermeer on the fire, broach a cask of 200 year-old Calvados, light an H. Upmann Corona Major and have another liqueur-filled chocolate. It works for me.

  212. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 12:20 AM

    If gallons of water weren’t pouring through the ceiling that would be my regimen. Actually it will probably be Mrs M who has to do a Captain Oates since I may not be able to fit my arthritic torso through the aperture. Or so I shall claim.

  213. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 12:26 AM

    Right, I’m going to hibernate for a few hours.

  214. November 26, 2010 12:47 AM

    Anyway, I was at the market research seminar thingummy in Putney last night and it all looks very exciting. There is going to be a major revamp of Guardian Books blog, with the ‘Community’ of readers at the heart of it. No longer will it be just ‘above the line article – comments’ but much more interactive, with users being able to start their own discussions on books. They plan to have a page for every published book, author pages and many more features (including listings for literary events that readers will be able to add to), as well as expanding the Guardian book shop. I saw previews of the planned changes and I must say that I was quite impressed.

    Advert over; I think I’ve earned my £50 now.

  215. November 26, 2010 1:28 AM

    Before bed, just time for this from Language Log. I agree with most of Mr. Pullum’s comments except the one about the bishop, who deserves beatitude at least.

  216. hic8ubique permalink
    November 26, 2010 4:47 AM

    You’re kind to explain, MM. Now I understand why ‘sett’.
    If I seem more confused than usual, I plead a head-cold.
    It seems a shame to waste Calvados mixing it into hot water and lemon, but too late, the suggestion has taken hold…

    We had the water coming in the roof problem, fixed all sorts of things that weren’t causing it, and at last found that when the new roof had gone on the flashing wasn’t wide enough around the main chimney. Replacing that fixed it.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 8:07 AM

      Don’t talk to me about flashing, we are having a big roof job done – such bad value – you can’t very well say “isn’t my new roof beautiful?”

  217. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 8:18 AM

    You can, Reine…but unless they’re prepared to go for a climb, people will just have to take your word for it.

    That dreary twerp Ed Millivanilliband on Today…”people have a sense of anger”. No, Ed. People are angry. Being a focus-group-think-tank twit who’s never had a real job in your life, I don’t expect you’ll appreciate the difference. And this is the opposition? Christ…we really are fucked.

  218. Reine permalink
    November 26, 2010 8:28 AM

    I’ve been subjected to way too much discussion about flashing, husband and workmen standing around having a good old bond and pretending to understand each other. Hilarious if they weren’t in my way.

    There is some rarefied plane on which they move, the pols.

Comments are closed.