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A Place To Stand

November 25, 2010



Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world. —Archimedes, 220 BC.



The 22nd of November marked the 17th anniversary of the death of Anthony Burgess. Best known (rather unfairly, in my view) for A Clockwork Orange, Burgess was that most suspect of creatures (in Britain, at least): a polymath.

Novelist, playwright, poet, composer, linguist, translator, essayist, critic and intellectual gadfly, Burgess possessed the kind of casual brilliance that needled and infuriated his less gifted contemporaries.

For me, his most appealing creation was the poet F.X. Enderby, whose picaresque (if not downright surreal) life Burgess chronicled in four novels: Inside Mr. Enderby (1963), Enderby Outside (1968), The Clockwork Testament, or Enderby’s End (1974) and Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End of Enderby (1984).

If you’ve never read the books, I can’t recommend them highly enough. Penguin published the first three in a single paperback volume in the 80s and 90s and it’s probably available on Amazon for a pittance. It’ll be, I assure you, a pittance well spent. They are hugely entertaining.

One of Enderby the poet’s many idiosyncrasies was that he wrote his best work while sitting on the toilet and voiding his bowels.

Let’s have poems on ideal places for writing, either experienced or imagined.

  1. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 12:03 PM

    Love Hurts

    God, I adored her. I loved her so much
    even at work I was always thinking
    of her wonderful smile, her eyes, her touch,
    the gorgeous texture of her satin skin.

    It was as I gazed at her lovely face
    that a marvellous poem came to me:
    everything, the tools, the time, the place
    combined in perfect serendipity.

    I set to work at once, my flying pen
    vibrating like a demolition drill:
    I wrote all that night, only resting when
    the poem was finished, and she was still.

    I’ve been in here for a very long time.
    I ought to have gone for something leaner:
    maybe a haiku, or a single line.
    Tattooists should avoid sestinas.

  2. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 12:26 PM

    Thanks. As a token of my gratitude:

    A Writer Prepares

    By Mishari Al-Adwani (as old to MM)

    I’ll start the day with a swim in my pool,
    then a rub-down from my personal masseuse.
    I eat a frugal breakfast as a rule,
    oysters, champagne, perhaps some confit goose.

    I do a little fencing with Jazzfan,
    then I’ll shower. I always dress with care,
    usually Prada, silk shirt, slacks in tan,
    handmade white socks. I don’t use underwear.

    Then, after spraying myself with perfumes,
    to the workplace, which is unorthodox;
    I prefer to write in one of my ballrooms.
    Perhaps that’s why my stuff is bollocks.

  3. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 1:32 PM

    Your grasp of my daily routine is almost uncanny…are you a peeping Tom?

    Singapore’s government has rebuked the water polo team which is competing at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, for failing to treat the national flag with respect.

    The red and white trunks feature elements of Singapore’s national flag, five stars and a crescent moon jutting up from the groin, leaving an somewhat unfortunate impression.

    The team has apologised and said the offending trunks, which were designed by some members of the team, will be binned after the games close.–The Telegraph, today

    You can see the problem HERE

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 26, 2010 2:28 PM

      That thing could do someone an injury. You’d need oven gloves for those private moments.

      Peeping Tom is the name of the detective agency I use, as it happens. I have more, including pictures, but as long as the usual arrangement stands I’ll say no more about it.

  4. November 26, 2010 2:22 PM

    20 minute sonnet

    I sometimes take a stamping walk, from Reading
    to Pangbourne, through the hills. The river’s
    a distant gleam below, and while I’m treading
    the unworn track the lines will come in shivers.
    I doubt there is a rhymer anywhere
    who does not feel the force of nature’s hug –
    a gravity-commensurate affair
    from broadest oak to slimiest glistening slug.
    Cliché I know, but none the worse for that.
    I’m looking forward to Russia’s frozen lakes,
    its steely soils. Its endless steppes inspired
    Pushkin and Gogol, writers I’ve admired
    translated. Frightening perhaps; I think it takes
    some courage, writing where your heart is at.

  5. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 2:29 PM

    Thought I’d better move that, Ed. Seem to have been troubling you a bit today.

    Nice pastoral, Simon.

  6. November 26, 2010 4:11 PM

    M! Excellent choice! Actually made a Burgess-inspired pilgrimage to Hove, years back (I know, I know: erm, what…?), with a well-read crazy lady I was then dating. I owned just about every book Burgess published (now I’m down to various collected essays and his autobio, which is one of the curses of the Gypsy life: library evaporation)… I always liked the “small” ones like “The Right to an Answer” and “The Doctor is Sick” best…. the sense of headlong, barely-professional creation as Burgess (or was it Wilson?) banged it out.

    Paul Theroux wrote an entertainingly bitchy short called “A. Burgess, Slightly Foxed” (NYer) which is worth reading, if you haven’t…

  7. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 4:38 PM

    Like you, Steven, I think I’ve read all of his fiction (the essays and criticism, too) and like you, I liked The Doctor Is Sick, The Enemy In The Blanket etc. very much.

    I actually came to Burgess quite by accident in the late 70s when I picked up (in a Boston, Ma. second-hand bookshop called Ave. Victor Hugo) his Malaysian trilogy (published in one volume by Penguin). I didn’t read A Clockwork Orange until much later.

  8. November 26, 2010 4:54 PM

    CWO is my least-favorite of his books (and “Earthly Powers” was so camp; still undecided on that one)

  9. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 5:14 PM

    Funnily enough, Earthly Powers was his biggest seller. Like you, I’m ambivalent, although there is some good stuff in it. ACO wasn’t bad but it was a bit thin–once you got past the Nadsat and the Burgess-the-lapsed-Catholic-ponders-Free Will stuff, there wasn’t a lot to it.

    A Hell of A State was good fun as were A Dead Man In Deptford (Kit Marlowe gets his) and Nothing Like The Sun (Will Shake gets his)…and I should mention Here Comes Everybody (1965) reprinted in the U.S. as Re Joyce, probably the best introduction to Joyce’s work for a general reader ever likely to be written.

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 5:27 PM

    I liked The Doctor Is Sick a lot. I thought the opening pages of Beard’s Roman Women some of the most evocative I’ve read.

    When I went for interview at one of our most prestigious universities and told my interlocutors that Burgess was one of my favourite writers a significant glance was exchanged. I knew I was a goner.

  11. mishari permalink*
    November 26, 2010 5:41 PM

    Like I said, MM…the establishment in Britain hate a polymath, especially a brilliant one. I’m not absolutely certain but I think I remember reading in the first vol. of AB’s autobiography that The Doctor Is Sick is autobiographical.

    That AB was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given months to live. Fearful of leaving his wife with nothing, he wrote furiously in an attempt to provide her with a legacy, The Doctor Is Sick being one result.

    He needn’t have worried quite so much as A.) the quacks had mis-diagnosed him and B.) his wife drank herself to death anyway…

  12. Captain Ned permalink
    November 26, 2010 6:03 PM

    ‘A Dead Man in Deptford’ is the only one I’ve read. I found it a little disappointing, what with all those historical figures shoved into the action. Walsingham, check. Nashe, check. Shakespeare, check. The prose didn’t quite gel, either – a bit laboured at times. It was published the year he died, and I wonder if the writing was hurried in the face of impending death. Still, the last paragraph is great, and the book as a whole is interesting enough to make me want to read more of his work.

    So, farewell then,
    Bernard Matthews.
    Your catchphrase was
    I had a turkey twizzler once,
    but it wasn’t ‘Bootiful’ at all.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 26, 2010 10:09 PM

      I’m afraid you’re quite right, Ned. The book is a bit perfunctory, a bit by-the-numbers–but flashes of the old brilliance are there and, as a long-time admirer of AB’s work, I was prepared to overlook the weaknesses. However, AB was an old and ill man by that time.

      I do wish you’d come to AB through one of his earlier works. I urge you to read The Malayan Trilogy, The Enderby Trilogy and The Doctor Is Sick, if nothing else of his.

      He was a very prolific writer and inevitably, some works are more fully-realised than others. But the aforementioned should give you a fair idea of Burgess’ brilliance as a novelist.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 26, 2010 11:24 PM

      There’s a moment in The Doctor Is Sick which has stayed with me for years. Spindrift asks a nurse why she took up the job.
      ‘Well, you help people, you save their lives…’
      ‘Yes, but what do you save them for?’

      A question which had never crossed my mind. I started with Tremor Of Intent when I was about 14. My mother had it from the library under the impression it was a straight spy novel. The one based on Vico’s theory of history The Wanting Seed really impressed me as a youth, though I’m not sure what I would make of it now.

      A singularly unimpressive figure on TV, sadly, which probably put some people off his work.

  13. November 26, 2010 7:21 PM

    For some it’s considered a white-collar crime
    But I like to write during office time.
    Whilst others to their boss do grovel
    I’m half way through my debut novel.
    I like writing best when I’m being paid to work
    But office work is the sign of a berk.
    I know how to look as if I’m working
    Not giving the game away that I’m shirking.
    But I am working just not for my boss
    If they decide to sack me I don’t give a toss.
    The money’s good, I don’t earn a mint
    Enough to support me until I’m in print.
    Only one drawback to this cunning plan
    I happen to be a self-employed man
    But writing’s the creation of imaginative illusions
    So I’ll persist in living these paradoxical delusions.

    • November 26, 2010 9:23 PM

      got my blues mixed up in the wrong wash with the whites.

      Can the first line be changed so that it’s a “…..white-collar crime ” ? [Done-Ed.]


  14. hic8ubique permalink
    November 26, 2010 8:27 PM

    I don’t know, Vicar… Though I’m often up the creek without GPS, I am a sensitive reader after all. In your second offering, those perfumes could get lost without causing me any pain.

    And what about those socks? ‘hand-made white? do you mean the sort that go with a kilt and sporran?

    Why couldn’t he have had Madras silk boxers? Please!
    A Highland commando chav image, is that what you mean to invoke?
    I’m sorry to complain, truly, but I know you want to be responsive to your appreciative public and the aesthetic gestalt here is regrettably awry.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 26, 2010 8:30 PM

      Oh grief! Mishari, the italics are meant only for ‘hand-made white’. (The blockquote is to convey that I’m joking.) [Fixed-Ed.]

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 26, 2010 10:26 PM

      Tack så myket. x

      I’m appreciating as well your felicitous congruence of ceiling and Archimedes.

      a putto may have
      himself into my poem…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 26, 2010 10:28 PM

      Ja, ‘mycket’

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 26, 2010 11:04 PM

      I cannot tell a lie, Father.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 11:32 PM

      Then, tell me, my child, do you sin alone?

  15. reine permalink
    November 26, 2010 8:36 PM


    I write on the Onedin Line
    So christened is my bed
    My side, his side, central divide
    Room for seven heads

    I fluff my pillows up behind
    Wrap my fur stole about
    Arrange the laptop, get my notes
    And let a warning shout

    That I am not to be disturbed
    Save for my coffee breaks
    And then I put on a CD
    To let the muse awake

    If it does not, then I will sleep
    To let the senses rest
    And when I wake up I may find
    My brain has been caressed

    With endless perspicacity
    Words pithy, poetic, apt
    So then I have a coffee
    And get up and have a bath

  16. reine permalink
    November 26, 2010 8:42 PM

    Marvellous crop so far. Lovely work Simon. And MM’s portrait of Mishari has certainly pricked my imagination.

  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 11:27 PM

    Terrific stuff, ET, Reine. I’d done the first stanza of a writing in bed piece. In the bin now.

    • Reine permalink
      November 26, 2010 11:30 PM

      Take it out of the bin – I’m sure you can better the Onedin Line. Plllllleeeeaaassee

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 26, 2010 11:55 PM

    I wasn’t convinced anyway, and after seeing yours… hasta la vista.

  19. hic8ubique permalink
    November 27, 2010 12:00 AM


    Spine eeks open narrowly giving
    way into a spacious creamy plain
    sewn hush of relaxation and I can drop
    in gently delineated,
    suspended pencil poised,
    breath enquiring~

    nought but a bossy little gold claim here
    not even marbles, just expanse from centre
    as a notional lotus opens between temples.

    Phrases chase, beg for plucking
    then squiggle away til they let me
    pin them helplessly giggling
    stitched down eleganza~
    A whiff of red leather arches smiling so
    I long to be left alone with them:
    good enough to eat code morsels
    teasing catches tickling my insides
    marginal behaviour clambering
    like over-indulged putti.

    I haven’t the heart to restrain them
    impose discipline here
    in this chuffed-up dove-winged sanctuary
    untethered, uncorrected
    leap-frogging around a fountain
    where light floods through
    the crowning oculus
    and spills to a milky tableau
    tumbling over-leaf
    now with sussurus
    spreading out and winking.

    • Reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 1:09 AM

      See? The Onedin Line is sinking fast. Super Hic.

  20. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 27, 2010 12:25 AM

    A crisp X-ray of the teeming brain, hic.

    And now I must carry my lifeless hunk of grey matter to its hours of brute unconsciousness.

    God natt!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 27, 2010 12:43 AM

      god natt, kära

    • Reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 1:07 AM

      Oíche mhaith a cháirde.

  21. Reine permalink
    November 27, 2010 1:04 AM


    Little moleskine, so discreet
    Soaking up my every bleat
    I scrawl as the train trundles
    Shifting in my seat

    Hemingway was fond of you
    And Pablo sketched a few
    You wore your talent humbly
    Your cover gave no clue

    Of the canvas you provided
    When a thought and hand collided
    Your pages kept our secrets
    In your leaves they were confided

    My collection lies in various drawers
    Charting my life to date
    Some darker than the others
    As I hurtled towards my fate

    Some keep accounts, some shopping lists
    Others tell of heady trysts
    Toilet rolls and limericks
    Vie side by side with twists

    Of fortune and the absurd
    Hastily jotted new-learned words
    I write of serendipity
    Avocados, lemon curd

    I see I’ve written “clerihew” in 1992
    And “ring that f*ing bastard about the broken loo”
    Addresses I’ve forgotten run across the page
    And in your inside pocket I find a stamp or two

    So much has changed since we first met
    I never knew back then that “stet”
    meant let it stand, but so it has
    Moleskine, I still love you yet

    • mishari permalink*
      November 27, 2010 7:57 AM

      Cracking link, Hank:

      Since all white people consider themselves to be “creative,” they are constantly in need of products and accessories that will allow them to capture their thoughts. One of the more popular products in recent years has been the Moleskine notebook.

      This particular type of notebook is very expensive and was quite popular with writers and artists in the olden days. Needless to say, these are two properties that are highly coveted in the white community. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to know that white people like anything that old writers and artists liked: typewriters, journals, suicide, heroin, and trains are just a few examples.

      …ouch. I blame Bruce Chatwin.

    • November 27, 2010 9:01 AM

      I actually paint on live moles.

      This from “Art and the People who do it” magazine March 2009.

      “Taylor’s mole paintings where diffferently coloured moles move around their self-constructed series of burrows is an ever-moving, self-assembling, subterranean, abstract painting in 3-D made more powerful in that because no-one can actually see the results the work becomes interactively conceptual as the onlooker imagines their own version of the piece thus adding a subtle critique on the nature of today’s global democracies.”

    • mishari permalink*
      November 27, 2010 9:13 AM

      If you think being an ‘artist’ gives you a license to inflict cruelty on moles, then you have another think coming, my sadistic friend. Expect a team of crack ninja RSPCA inspectors at your next so-called ‘exhibition’.

      I think you should be strung up…now that would be Art (as well as being the only language you understand, of course)…

    • reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 12:22 PM

      Very amusing indeed. Who knew I was pretentious? ha.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 27, 2010 2:00 PM

      Vous, pretentious? Non.

      I’m not sure who the blog’s satirising, apart from the idea that white people are a homogeneous mass: not the white people I know, who would rather be considered paedophile than creative. Alcohol, TV, cars, alcohol and sport are very popular among my acquaintances.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 27, 2010 3:43 PM

      Trust me, MM…things are rather different here in the Big Smoke. The blog is satirising recognisable urban types.

      Walk into any coffee shop from Shoreditch to Ladbroke Grove, from Brick Lane to Brixton, and I do assure you, you can’t swing a cat without hitting half-a-dozen trendies with ‘interesting’ haircuts hunched over Mac Powerbooks, pristine Moleskines close at hand.

      Given the literacy levels down in your neck of the woods, notebooks would be as superfluous as surfboards in the Sahara. You might just as well buy your cat a Bechstein baby grand piano…

    • reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 4:47 PM

      Usually hogging the best seat when they’ve finished their espresso grande hours since. Here, as elsewhere, they add another piece of kit to their paraphernalia, their handsfree phone attachment, proclaiming loudly about their latest venture and laughing at the good of it all. I’m not bitter.

      In general, I find the voyeurism quite entertaining but I was in my favourite cafe one day in search of what my father terms a quiet corner when I was disturbed by one such invading my space with all her truck. After twenty minutes of a very loud exchange during which she tapped furiously on her laptop and crowded out the table with glasses of water, coffee, echinacea, folders etc., I asked her if she’d like a microphone. Finally silent, she hooshed up all her belongings and beat a cumbersome retreat. Little victories…

    • reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 4:51 PM

      When I told my son about it, he said “Ah, Mam, you can be an awful bitch sometimes”. From the mouths of babes.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 27, 2010 2:04 PM

      I have a Silvine memo book. You can put it in your back pocket and still sit down.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 27, 2010 2:07 PM

      Sorry, I meant to say I liked the poem.

  22. hic8ubique permalink
    November 27, 2010 2:01 AM

    Reine, yes! Moleskines: a most satisfying accessory.
    I must send you my incomplete effort from/for the last thread because…

    I called it Reeling Off and then found (aghast) you’d posted something with a similar phrase at the same time (the Biddy one).

    It has ‘toilet-roll’ in it,

    and I bought Wilkin&Sons Tiptree Lemon Curd yesterday.
    (good in a pinch, but should have made it)

    Mind-meld for sure, Little Sister.

  23. hic8ubique permalink
    November 27, 2010 2:18 AM

    Well, I’ll just swallow my dignity and post this here among friends. It’s from 18th November, and the co-incidences are too many to leave it in the draughts… sorry to be out of order, O Most Indulgent of Hosts.

    Reeling Off

    Dismay, chagrin, they try to be kind, but
    nobody ever has loved my mind,
    and as I lose it bit by bit,
    the Earth whips round and swallows it.
    I have no plan for the end of the world,
    but I do reef sail when the wind’s unfurled.
    And I’ve extra blankets, water, rice,
    though that’s been visited by mice
    or wharf-rats as the case may be
    who come in to exact their fee
    when the wind is raw and the moon is low
    as I read aloud in the laptop’s glow
    incantations from afar
    conjuring Apollo’s star-
    like form with lipstick on his arse,
    the shade is pale, I can just parse
    a number writ in “fox-glove pink”
    take note of it and sip my drink
    of Calvados to keep me warm
    under Norway wool in an autumn storm
    to please myself, despite retorts,
    in place of puzzles by Will Shortz
    which once for solace were preferred
    for wanderlust in quest of word.
    I’ve plundered all the blanket-chests
    for winter curtains, shearling vests.
    I’ve KI tablets, a generator;
    marooned on an island, sooner or later
    help would come, or maybe not
    I’d open the door and share the lot:
    cat-food, dog-food, toilet roll?
    hot bouillabaisse in a Denby bowl?
    bird-seed, futon, sleeping-bag?
    some aged scotch, but nary a fag.
    I’ll lay some in though, just in case
    of desperation about the place,
    ‘cos I won’t turn anyone away,
    and keeping calm could save the day
    or else it won’t, but when my knell’s ringing
    I know for sure: I’ll go down singing.
    But wait, I lied; I have a note
    before she died, my grandmother wrote:
    “I didn’t have brains or beauty it’s true,
    but you have both, and I’ve had you.”
    I want what she had when all’s said and told:
    to greet the next day with a heart of gold.
    As the rot is purged, as the veils come down,
    I’ll tend this hearth and stand my ground.

    • reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 12:11 PM

      Hic, brilliantly descriptive and evocative poem. What a pity to think it might have perished. x Is it the lipstick on his arse I am to be credited for?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 27, 2010 3:54 PM

      ThanKx Re~ You started the ball rolling when you said you loved MM for his mind, and yes the fox-glove pink is for you, following on the pecs/cheeks conversation.
      Simon is right about courage.

  24. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 27, 2010 7:26 AM


    i got myself a basement
    for writing it’s ideal
    the seething of the whirlpool
    mirrors the way i feel
    the writhing of the clothing
    reflects my inner doubts
    the wringing hands the low
    self-esteam iron thereabouts
    to flatten aspirations
    despite the stark strip-lighting
    it subdues expectations
    and it’s ideal for writing
    i got my self-abasement

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 27, 2010 4:04 PM

      Excellent/horrible poem, Moon.
      Stuff White People Like is wickedly funny, goes right for the gizzard of the ‘cultural creatives’ who will buy such a book just to display that we aren’t too self-serious.

    • November 27, 2010 4:43 PM

      hic there’s a big trend here and probably in the US too for hipster bashing.

      Some of it hits the target with great accuracy but some of it just seems like long lists of cool things to like and long lists of things it’s not cool to like. It seems as studiously self-conscious as the people it’s satirising.

      But then I am an old git who hasn’t mastered how to get italics in his comments yet

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 27, 2010 6:12 PM

      I hadn’t looked into it enough to narrow down to ‘hipsters’. I think these are the boys with nerd glasses and napkin rings in their earlobes? There was a fashion piece in the G last Spring about the outfit of one in short shorts. He deserved the bashing he got below the line.
      I had to laugh at the ‘Black music that Black people don’t listen to anymore’.
      And scarves! imagine being ridiculed for liking scarves.
      I love them.
      And yoga…once you have a mat, yoga costs nothing.

      I should take a turn explaining the italics method…
      This is what Mishari said:

      For italics = (em)text here(/em)
      However, instead of using normal parentheses, you have to use right-angled brackets.

      These are the brackets to use:

      use them in place of the parentheses above.
      The em signifies emphasis.
      also there must be a space between text and bracket
      (em) text here (/em)

      otherwise the whole mess will run together.
      If you omit any detail, the dog gets breakfast.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 27, 2010 6:16 PM

      ok, so it seems the brackets won’t show up at all, but they are not these: [ ]
      they are the arrow-head ones. [One small correction…the spaces need to be on each side of the brackets, i.e. treat each bracket as the begininng or end of a word..and you can use (i) instead of (em): both will work -Ed.]

  25. November 27, 2010 10:23 AM

    I do hope you realised it was a joke Mishari – quite coincidentally there are people in the next field inspecting the cows.

    However in real life ( not done by me incidentally )

  26. mishari permalink*
    November 27, 2010 10:42 AM

    No, Ed…as you know, I believe that humour is for light-weights and weaklings. I thought you were out there painting moles, you bastard. I was going to drive up there and sort you out myself. You’ve had a narrow escape.

  27. November 27, 2010 10:45 AM

    Sometimes the humour here gets so bone dry it’s difficult to tell so just making sure. The RSPCA people still here so they might not have seen the joke. Paranoid moi?

    Right…now for my 1,000-cats-build-a-shopping centre project. It’s a comment on something.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 27, 2010 11:03 AM

      I understand you can work them to death 9 times…

  28. November 27, 2010 11:10 AM

    A genuine LOL there

  29. Alan Titchmarsh permalink
    November 27, 2010 1:12 PM

    A coffin’s dark and dreary gloom
    Instils the mind with mystic doom.
    ..The writer’s then a willing slave
    ..To dreadful demons of the grave.

    The deathly aura of the tomb
    Entraps me in my Muse’s womb
    And lets poetic genius bloom.
    That’s the reason I always crave
    ……………………………………..a coffin’s dark.

    Mausoleums about me loom;
    I tend them with a witch’s broom.
    ..Hellish spirits my soul deprave;
    ..There’s nothing here a priest can save.
    Thus I write in my dearest room:
    ……………………………………..a coffin’s dark.

  30. November 27, 2010 1:39 PM

    Dank and evocative poem Mr. Titchmarsh.

    Who realised gardeners could have such macabre souls.

    here’s a short one by Bill Sowerbutts

    ” The bodies pile up high
    I must cover them with lime
    Then make an appearance
    On Gardener’s Question Time
    I don’t wish to compromise
    My bluebell dingly dell
    With the increasing drift
    Of a rank cadavre smell.
    The police won’t find the bodies
    If I put them under a plinth
    But for now I’ll be answering questions
    On how to grow a hyacinth.”

  31. mishari permalink*
    November 27, 2010 5:15 PM

    No…I don’t know, either:

    • reine permalink
      November 27, 2010 5:19 PM

      Must try that.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 27, 2010 6:24 PM

      “Vagina bubbles from Hell!”

      At times like this I reflect on having spent half my life composing subtitles… and realise that my mission is not yet complete.

  32. November 27, 2010 5:32 PM

    what you were looking for when you found that?

  33. mishari permalink*
    November 27, 2010 5:43 PM

    I knew someone was going to ask. Actually, it was part of a clip show of weird interwebz stuff that I was browsing, a regular thing put out by a fellow called Ray William Johnson (check him out HERE). It was so weird that I tracked down the original clip. It leaves me lost for words….

    The main American concern is that the diplomatic cables will reveal either damaging episodes or duplicity by the Americans that will undermine trust in the good faith of the US–Grauniad, on the upcoming wikileaks, today

    It would make a cat laugh. Who exactly do these idiots imagine trusts in US ‘good faith’?

  34. mishari permalink*
    November 27, 2010 7:59 PM

    Good piece by Rory Fitzgerald on why the Irish government should tell the bondholders to go fuck themselves:

    If you bet on the wrong horse at the Kentucky Derby, would you get 20 percent back? They decided to invest in Irish banks in order to get higher returns over a safer investment. They bet on the wrong horse.

    However, even this paltry haircut only applies to junior (or subordinated) bondholders. Mr. Lenihan last October indicated that the state was wary of scaring markets by defaulting on Anglo’s senior debt: “We have to get bondholders from overseas to fund the Irish state, and to fund the substantial deficit,” he said. “You can’t go to your bank manager and say, ‘I want to default,’ and at the same time, ‘I want more loans.’ If that’s the underlying message coming out of Ireland, we’re not going to flourish as a country.”

    Back then, senior bondholders were a sacred cow: “If we burned them, then who would lend us money? We would be forced to go to the IMF” the argument went. Well, now that we are in the IMF, we can take a flamethrower to the bondholders to our hearts’ content, as we wont be looking for money from the markets for years to come.

    Full article HERE.

  35. hic8ubique permalink
    November 28, 2010 3:11 AM

    Here’s an example of Stuff White People Like.
    Perfect for you to step in a back up singer, Reine…

    • Reine permalink
      November 28, 2010 2:10 PM

      That’s a great version Hic and, yes, perfect for hip action and tambourine playing. I was shimmying in my seat watching it.

      That song was done to death here having featured in Alan Parker’s 80s (?) film, The Commitments, about a young Dublin band. I thought it had put me off it for life until now. Thanks for the rehab.

  36. November 28, 2010 12:01 PM

    “Lord when the time comes, I’m gonna have a face-lift, a jaw-lift,eye-lift; everything that is falling will be lifted and the things that can’t be lifted will be moved!”

    Good article in the Observer colour supplement by John Waters about an interview he did with Little Richard.

    I remember Little Richards on Loose Ends on Radio 4 promoting his autobiography in the mid 80’s. A truly hair-raising performance. That book is a great read if you like lurid OTT autobiographies. I don’t think anyone since has been as rock’n’roll as Little Richards and Jerry Lee Lewis. Wild wild men.

    I also liked what JW wrote in his autobiography when doing book-signings “See you in hell, John Waters”.

  37. Reine permalink
    November 28, 2010 2:24 PM

    Just looked it up, 1991 it was. Here’s their version of Mustang Sally. Watching it now, I wonder if it might have sown the backing singer seed. The film was a massive hit here; I thought the girl with the long dark hair was very cool – Maria Doyle Kennedy (singer and actress – she starred in the Tudors).

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      November 28, 2010 2:41 PM

      Much as I love the backing singers, they can’t compete with Wilson’s pulsating horn section.

    • Reine permalink
      November 28, 2010 2:46 PM

      You won’t get any argument from me there.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 28, 2010 2:47 PM

      We are of imagination all compact, you and I.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 28, 2010 2:45 PM

      Haven’t seen the Tudors, but I do remember
      The Committments…
      (Step in ‘as’…not into an actual singer, of course.)
      The WP version is just asking for a cameo from you with all that lovely horn.

  38. Reine permalink
    November 28, 2010 2:50 PM

    Didn’t follow the Tudors myself.

    If Motown sees a revival, I’m ready and poised. I’ll even polish the horns for an opportunity to shoo wop.

  39. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 28, 2010 6:42 PM

    The comfortable study, the padded chair,
    the cork-lined walls which shut out the world,
    the still, sequestered and unruffled air:
    this is where you never write a word.

    Washing, reading, putting on a shirt,
    eating curry or scratching your bum,
    hiding in the lavatories at work:
    this is where all the writing gets done.

  40. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 28, 2010 6:44 PM

    I think the Tudors are overrated: as I’ve said before, I’m an Angevin man.

  41. hic8ubique permalink
    November 28, 2010 6:49 PM

    I await now the next al-Adwanian opus
    revealing his sanctum of deepest travail.
    Will he come out swinging, or sly rope-a-dope us?
    Will he stir from his lair to rhyme us a tale?

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 28, 2010 7:32 PM

    Give the old boy a break, hic. Those breast reductions take a while to get over.

    Out on the roof this afternoon. Fucking snow.

    • Reine permalink
      November 28, 2010 8:07 PM

      Snow will only melt in response to that. A damp squib if ever there was one.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 28, 2010 8:45 PM

      Yes, I couldn’t decide between face-lift and tummy tuck and went for a compromise. Never a good idea.

  43. hic8ubique permalink
    November 28, 2010 7:49 PM

    Early days, not even winter yet.
    Here’s something for your poor old torso, Vicar…
    My son forwarded it. Sorry about the sound quality, I just turned it down:

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 28, 2010 8:49 PM

      I’m a big parkour fan. In my imagination.

  44. pinkroom permalink
    November 28, 2010 8:00 PM

    Seconds to the book ET mentions above:


    It is just about the best/funniest book by/about a musician I have ever read.

    Among other things it forced me to radically alter my view of Buddy Holly… there are some things you just cannot unread.

    Also must say MM has hit a very rich vein of form at the end of this week’s potw. I’d almost given up reading it due to the endless trolling/wiki-wittering when I came across a couple of beauties from the old fellow… Larkinesque according to Carol.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 28, 2010 8:55 PM

      Kind of you to say so, pr. I’d been trying to do something for this thread but getting nowhere so I thought I’d give the sisters a call. A couple of good comebacks from hic, I thought.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 28, 2010 9:33 PM

      A pleasure, thanks, MM.
      The occasional little rally takes me back to our earliest acquaintance.

      Still out of sorts I see, Reine? ouch.

    • Reine permalink
      November 28, 2010 10:07 PM

      No, no Hic, that one isn’t a reflection on HI who is most particular about bathroom hygiene. Just a melange, if you will, of types.

      When HI came down from his revolution high and finally took his hat off when his ears warmed, we went for a walk in the snowy woods and they got cold all over again. On the way home, in between updating me on the economy, he wondered aloud about the possibility of wearing two hats at once. Fascinating, said I. Let’s set up a high level group to investigate.

      (If anyone cares to know (and please God ye have better things to wonder about), Hic refers to an email chat we had last night when HI was in the doghouse…. and a recent post on POTW)

      All’s well, I am a loving spouse once more.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 1:42 PM

      Tea-cup tempestuous.
      Our verses have attracted the wild enthusiasm of your ‘HA HA’ friend.
      The news from Dublin was on the radio here this a.m. Normally they keep to regional murders, deaths generally, the plight of tuna…

  45. mishari permalink*
    November 28, 2010 8:03 PM

    Love In The Decade That Taste Forgot…the horror, the horror…

  46. pinkroom permalink
    November 28, 2010 10:50 PM

    …I thought I saw Tom Cruise somewhere in that lot.

    There seems to be an interesting correlation between the physical repulsiveness of the chap and the length/pernickityness of their ‘dont likes” in a woman. There must be an explanation

    Snow waist deep in Alnwick apparently… freep may be lost forever.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 28, 2010 11:19 PM

      Yes, that non-smoking bloke… I don’t think he was in a position to lay down the law.

  47. Reine permalink
    November 28, 2010 10:57 PM

    Channeling the French Lieutenant’s Woman

    When I was a girl,
    Young and idealistic,
    I thought of true love
    As almost eucharistic
    A suspension of all
    One’s rational senses
    (Akin, if you like,
    to a permanent menses)
    I cycled to the beach
    To gather my thoughts
    About what life would bring
    – Save for crosses and noughts –
    Sat in my favourite spot
    near the pier
    And looked out to sea
    Full of teenage good cheer
    Which is to say readers
    I cried very often
    As I wrote “poetry”
    That would hardest hearts soften
    Then one karmic occasion
    Having finished my writing
    I went for a walk
    In my talent delighting
    But where do you think
    I had left my ring binder?
    As I watched from the pier,
    ’twas a floating reminder
    That love may be sacred
    Or a glorious sin
    But never leave your quill down
    When the tide’s coming in

  48. Reine permalink
    November 28, 2010 11:05 PM

    A suspension of all
    One’s rational senses
    (Akin, if you like,
    to a permanent menses)

    Mishari, when you get a chance, will you change this for me please? Doesn’t make sense as I have it. Thanks in advance. R [Sorted-Ed.]

    • Reine permalink
      November 28, 2010 11:51 PM

      Thank you Ed. You are super-efficient. I’d go on a date with you any day of the week!

  49. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 28, 2010 11:07 PM

    Some nice-looking gents there. Is ‘adventuresome’ a word? Quoting Blake cannot be a good way to get someone’s interest. I wasn’t dating anyone after 1981, of course, but had I been there:

    ‘Hello. I would like to apply for the post of lover. I have some experience in similar positions. Unfortunately I cannot supply any references owing to a number of misunderstandings. However, I am a highly motivated self-starter who puts in 110% effort. Thank you for listening to me.’

    My trimphone would have been melting.

    • mishari permalink*
      November 28, 2010 11:28 PM

      It’s the fellow dressed in a Viking costume, complete with horned helmet who had me gawping. Who the hell is he looking to meet? Brunhilde?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 28, 2010 11:33 PM

      Good job hic didn’t spot him.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 28, 2010 11:37 PM

      I was plaiting my hair in anticipation of that.

  50. hic8ubique permalink
    November 28, 2010 11:25 PM

    We’ve heard nowt from freep in months. I’m unhappy about it, and miss him. What’s to be done?

    I was seated next to a gent from Hull at dinner several evenings ago. He passed such frequent remarks on the inauthenticity of the South, that I began to keep score whilst he took every opportunity of extolling York Minster.
    “Well, York Minster, you know, now there’s something!
    I’d place a chop stick… a dessert fork… the little envelope to clothe the chopsticks… at last I said something so impertinent, just for devilment, he made me take one token back.

  51. mishari permalink*
    November 28, 2010 11:45 PM

    I heard that freep has shaved his head, donned a saffron robe and Clarkes sandals, and joined the retinue of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, where he instruct acolytes in how to avoid the snares of maya (illusion).

    This had my offspring helpless with laughter. It is pretty funny, although the cat looks well pissed-off:

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 29, 2010 12:15 AM

      Looks more like Catboy Slim.

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 12:09 AM

    Freep does seem to have been absent for a long time. Fencing, I suppose.

    Yorkshire folk can be difficult. I find a simple ‘If Yorkshire’s so brilliant, then why don’t you just fuck off back there?’ works very well. I can see it might be difficult in a dining context. Fainting or pretending to choke on your food is a socially acceptable manoeuvre.

    Now then, ET. Saturday Guardian, cryptic crossword, 7 down:

    All that’s unusual in a girl’s name (5)

    I rest my case. And now I propose to rest my head. Oiche mhaith.

  53. mishari permalink*
    November 29, 2010 12:20 AM

    ‘If Yorkshire’s so brilliant, then why don’t you just fuck off back there?’ has long been my response of choice whenever I’m cornered by some Yorkshire bore, hymning the glories of the county while heaping scorn on my beloved London. Dozy twats.

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 9:02 AM

    Blast, Leila not Alina. As you were, ET.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 1:36 PM

      New England went off the air last evening, so I couldn’t answer, but I was wondering about ‘Alisa’, since it has ‘alias’ in it.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 29, 2010 2:05 PM

      No, it’s an anagram of ‘all’ and ‘that’s’, which in crossword-speak is ‘ie’. I mistakenly seized on the Alina which is in the clue. I think it’s a Slav name.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 2:11 PM

      Yes, I know an Alina. She’s Polish/Lithuanian.

  55. November 29, 2010 9:53 AM

    I’ve never met a woman called Linag so couldn’t answer the clue.

    Plus my other half, the person who normally gets them right in order for for me to nod “yes that’s correct” isn’t here.

    I work with loads of people from Yorkshire and have managed to avoid that Geoffrey Boycott/Bernard Ingham attitude.

    They are a bit snooty about Eccles cakes though. Eccles cakes for the uninitiated are a layer of raisins in a lump of sweet dough and are better known as flies’ graveyards.

  56. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 2:10 PM

    What, because of its White Rose origins? Some Yorkshire food is edible: I like curd tart and parkin is all right. The much-vaunted pies I’ve always found disappointing, apart from a place in Boroughbridge we dropped in at once. They can keep the tripe (or is that Lancashire?), which I’ve tried to like but… no.

  57. November 29, 2010 2:26 PM

    Tripe is Lancastrian. You see huge folds of it in markets round here. It’s apparently delicious but you really need to get over the look, texture, everything really.

    I’ve eaten it in Italy where it was cooked in wine. Very nice too.

    Eccles cakes are a like it/hate it thing too I think. I used to like them in my pre-diabetic days but they are very reminiscent of school dinners for some. Nice heated up though on a frosty day like today.


  58. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    November 29, 2010 2:45 PM

    I’ve successfuly steered clear of tripe, having cooked it for the dog and been thoroughly sickened by the experience. I came across a can of it when raiding the nuclear attack box last night. It’s not squeamishness – I’m a lover of andouillette – just revulsion.

  59. hic8ubique permalink
    November 29, 2010 3:00 PM

    A summary of the known connections between the amygdala, a structure deep inside the brain that processes emotions, and the different areas of the cerebral cortex—many of which are thought to be involved in what are thought of as ‘rational’ features of the mind. The multitude of connections between these areas argues for a view in which thought and emotion are less dissociable from each other than is commonly believed.

    Here is a fantastic gallery of ‘Brainbows’. Not to be missed:

  60. November 29, 2010 3:07 PM

    Lovely pics hic.

    Yesterday I went to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester to see an exhibition of Outsider Art from the Musgrave/Kinley collection which has been donated to the Gallery.

    Some of the drawings are patterns which are incredibly similar to some of the drawings in that link.

    Outsider Art often seems to be an accurate depiction of a mental condition and the artists seem to be drawing the inside of their heads. After seeing those pics I’m even more convinced of their accuracy and insight.

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 4:09 PM

    Tinned tripe. The 58th variety.

  62. Reine permalink
    November 29, 2010 4:22 PM

    I like Parkin too. So did Constance Chatterley. (The First Lady Chatterley is my favourite edition.)

    Oh, and parkin, the cake is quite nice oo.

    Tripe and drisheen is a Cork delicacy sold in vast quantities in Cork’s English Market. So utterly revolting looking, I couldn’t bear to even taste it. Usually boiled with milk. Nearly vomiting thinking about it. Here’s a contrast with the lovely pics above.

  63. Reine permalink
    November 29, 2010 4:24 PM

    Sorry Mish, must work on my links again…[Sorted-Ed.]

  64. pinkroom permalink
    November 29, 2010 5:07 PM

    A Yorkshireman is a Scot with the very last drop of generosity squeezed out.

    Ahhh, yes Yorkshire.
    Where men are men and sheep are worried.

    The above usually works particularly well. There is a delicious time delay as that proud, faraway look suddenly gives way to a sense of insult.

    Failing that simply call them monkey-hangers. They’re not of course (they were dimwits from Durham) which makes it even more fun when they deny it.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 6:15 PM

    There are mixed views on parallel parkin. Was there a Parkin in Lady C’s Lover? I can’t remember one (though it has been about 40 years).

    I’ll have to try that one next time I’m up there, pr. I can’t be any less popular.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 6:23 PM

      If he hadn’t been in it, Lawrence would have needed a different title.

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 6:52 PM

      He was in the first version – The First Lady Chatterley – and the second version – John Thomas and Lady Jane – but was renamed Mellors for the third and most widely read one.

  66. November 29, 2010 7:58 PM

    Lady Chattersley’s Parkin might not been such a racy story either though no doubt Lawrence would have made something ectstatic about biting into some cake.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 29, 2010 8:25 PM

      Damme, you got there before me, ET.

  67. November 29, 2010 8:03 PM

    I thought you’d invited me in here
    For some sweet loving we could make
    But instead to my horror
    You’re asking me to sample cake.
    We should be symbols
    Of the gap between the classes
    With at least 200 pages written
    About our heaving arses.
    Over-excited sixth-formers
    Are going to find it hard
    To read four hundred pages
    About cake made of ginger and lard.

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 10:47 PM

      Leave owt those chickens Connie
      And lift up your skirt
      Lie you down here my pretty
      And let’s have a flirt
      The fuckin’ it gives me a big appetite
      But forgive me, my dear, your parkin tastes shite

  68. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 8:18 PM

    So there was no parkin in the third book? I didn’t know that – in fact I didn’t know there were three versions. You’re a mine of information, Reine.

    Parkinless I suppose it might have been Lady Chatterley’s Lardy. Relocation to Wiltshire would have been necessary.

  69. pinkroom permalink
    November 29, 2010 9:01 PM

    Parkin sounds puny; Mellors bigger somehow. Who would be likely to have more success with m’lady: Parkin Mowbray or Melton Mellors? I rest my case.

    Do try out those Yorkshire jokes mm; in my experience Yorkies, like the Scots, generally respond rather favourably to the firm (and repeated) smack of command. Show them who’s boss and there’s no more loyal man.

    Similarly, when one is in Ireland and happen to meet a native of Co.Cavan, be absolutely sure to directly call them “a mean Cavan bastard” and crack a joke about their tight-fistedness. Perverse as it may sound,they’ll love you for it.

  70. Reine permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:39 PM

    Melts, I am thrilled to educate you in the places Parkin has found itself. He did a lot of parallel parkin’ in that first book (less politics, more sex – shocking to you all I am sure that it was my favourite). I did my third year dissertation on LCL – my friend highlighted all the f— and c— words in the book every time I left the library for coffee. Didn’t take long, I drank a lot of coffee and smoked a lot of Silk Cut as I mulled over the ways of the aristocracy and their minions.

    My colleague, David, a man of strict routine has a tea break and a slice of brack every evening at seven. If one forgets and rings him about some work matter – the phone goes unanswered and an email promptly follows saying “I’m eating me parkin, ring you presently”.

    Yes, Cavan people would take the eye out of your head. Mayo people on the other hand are generous to a fault. They would give their parkin away and starve themselves pretending they had had a big feed at lunchtime. My mother needs only a communion wafer and 20 fags to get through the day.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:04 PM

      I wonder what made him change Parkin to Mellors? The cake, perhaps, though he didn’t seem to have much of an ear for names. Gudrun Brangwen must be one of the least mellifluous names in the canon.

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:10 PM

      I think the focus group said they thought Parkin a better name for a chauffeur than a gamekeeper. Boom, boom.

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:18 PM

      Parkin was, cake like, a bit soft and squishy. Mellors was a harder man, character-wise, you understand. DH obviously felt the class struggle needed a bit more lead in its pencil.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:21 PM

      Are you rolling your r’s, with lips pursed through all four syllables?

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:24 PM

      I’d purse my lips for either of them to be honest, I’m not fussy.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:28 PM

      (Oh go on, you are. Lovely 10:39.)
      I mean Good rroon Brrahn ooen

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:32 PM

      Just a bit, then. Over to you Melty, it’s your lips she thinks of. Don’t we all?

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:39 PM

      Oh just me then, oops.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:40 PM

      You’re welcome to my cold sore. No, I don’t think my lips are pursed. Simon would be the expert on the fricatives and plosives and what not.

    • Reine permalink
      November 29, 2010 11:56 PM

      Well there’s the zovirax to my unrequited passion.. Have gotten this far without one so will pass, thank you though.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 10:42 PM

    I say, Mellors, don’t know how to put this
    but I think I may have made a mistake,
    let’s give the sex and racy chats a miss,
    just hand me a slice of that lardy cake.

  72. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 29, 2010 11:44 PM

    Gerald Crich is another one. It’s crying out for the extra ‘ton’, or ‘ley’. As it stands it seems unfinished or damaged. Unless that’s Mr Obvious’s intention.

  73. Reine permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:00 AM

    Geraldton Crich? Ha. I’m off to beg HI to call me Connie for the night. Slumber well peasants.

  74. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:07 AM

    Well, I must get Mrs Bolton to give me a hand up the stairs to bed since Connie’s not here… at the hairdresser’s every day now… hair never looks any different… always full of twigs and leaves… kind of a flattened effect at the back… well, good night…

  75. Solwing permalink
    November 30, 2010 1:40 AM

    Cute are the Cork, as mean are the Cavan bastards, the saying is Pinkroom my darling.

    I was back in Achill last week, getting my head outta Dublin. Forst time in ten months. Cabin fever had set in and one didn’t cop on to it till back at the cottage on the second bottle of whisky, after the session in Lynotts, with the six Wirral workers, two native sons and a barmaid from Bunacurry who dished the D on John F Deane.

    THE EPISTLE by pak-in

    Dearly beloved Cousin, these
    Are sent to thank you for your cheese;
    The price of oats is greatly fell:
    I hope your children all are well
    (Likewise the calf you take delight in),
    As I am at this present writing.
    But I’ve no news to send you now;
    Only I’ve lost my brindled cow,
    And that has greatly sunk my dairy.
    But I forgot our neighbour Mary;
    Our neighbour Mary – who, they say,
    Sits scribble-scribble all the day,
    And making – what – I can’t remember
    But sure ’tis something like December;
    A frosty morning – let me see –
    O! now I have it to a T:
    She throws away her precious time
    In scrawling nothing else but rhyme,
    Of which, they say, she’s mighty proud,
    And lifts her nose above the crowd;
    Though my young daughter Cicely
    Is taller by a foot than she,
    And better learned (as people say);
    Can knit a stocking in a day;
    Can make a pudding, plump and rare,
    And boil her bacon to a hair;
    Will coddle apples nice and green,
    And fry her pancakes – like a queen.

  76. pinkroom permalink
    November 30, 2010 8:15 AM

    Yes, the cute Cork hoors are indeed spiritual cousins to the Cavaners in the way the Scots are to the Yorkies. Mayo folk are indeed generous to a fault, except when it comes to matters of land where they are sharp as mustard. Lay claim to so much of an inch of theirs and expect the Wrath of Hades… I’m sure a social anthropologist could explain all this in terms of hinterlands and whatnot.

    I’m glad Lynotts is getting some business… seemed very quiet in the summer. Nice spot.

    John F D is in part at least a mosdel for Tweed… although the Bard of Anbhas is a generation older and partly of ascendancy stock to give him further contradictions. It is that idea of being once ranked/named alongside Heaney and what happened next I find interesting. A sort of Jonny and the Hurricanes vs Fab Four thing. It must be a special kind of hell.

  77. November 30, 2010 10:39 AM

    These recent wikileaks are good.

    “Prince” Andrew criticises the Kazakh’s for being corrupt and needing a lifestyle beyond their means and then we learn he managed to sell his Surrey mansion to the president’s son for £3million over the asking price.

    How do these people get jobs as diplomats? Old boy connections of course and being a member of a particular family but it makes a mockery of all the hoo-ha about bad teachers that Gove is try to stir up.

    Credentials and common sense don’t seem to matter if you are a leading trade ambassador.

  78. mishari permalink*
    November 30, 2010 11:30 AM

    To be fair to Air-Miles Andy, he did say that the UK had “…the best geography teachers in the world…”.

    Which doubtless means that he and his dysfunctional family of benefit claimants can find their own way back to Germany.

  79. November 30, 2010 11:39 AM

    But Gove is making them unemployed isn’t he and replacing them with ex-squaddies and people who have had a few months rather than a few years of training.

  80. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 30, 2010 11:50 AM

    True. And how unlike our own dear Prince! He would never own a mansion anywhere as déclassé as Surrey.

    Members of the Diplomatic Corps, however, must be pretty bright. I saw the examination paper for entry many years ago, and immediately lost interest in applying. Sheer intelligence, of course, is no guarantee of insight, social awareness or discretion (I didn’t have any of those qualities either).

    Cyril, Gudrun, Ursula,
    names which sound odd to the reader,
    but they probably seem quite normal
    if you’re married to a Frieda.

  81. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 30, 2010 11:54 AM

    Sorry. Addressing ET’s 10.39.

  82. November 30, 2010 12:27 PM

    Presumably as a trade ambassador Andrew is a step further up the rung than mere diplomats. I can’t imagine he’d pass any of those exams – can’t imagine he’d even be asked to sit one of those exams.

  83. MeltonMowbray permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:50 PM

    I can’t imagine he’d pass any of those exams – can’t imagine he’d even be asked to sit one of those exams.

    Oh, certainly not, Andy is in a different category altogether. I’m not sure what his role actually is. As a glad-hander his natural insensitivity and conviction of superiority can’t be helpful. Are foreign potentates really impressed by boneheaded representatives of the Royal Family? You’d think some of those sharks, who must be fairly sharp themselves, would regard him with contempt.

    The ex-servicemen who have taught at Mrs M’s school have been a bit of a disaster. Without the Army’s disciplinary apparatus some of them find unruly kids very hard to deal with. I suppose those who gained respect in the services through force of character will make good teachers. Those who relied on Queen’s Regs won’t.

  84. November 30, 2010 1:09 PM

    My dad taught at a primary school when he left the army – but he did 2 or 3 years ( can’t remember exactly ) of teacher training. He was a major too so had years of dealing with large groups of men.

    Gove seems to be convinced that a few months of training at an Academy school is all you need. I suppose it’s the same logic that finds Andrew an ideal ambassador for this country.

  85. freep permalink
    December 1, 2010 1:47 PM

    A place and time for writing.

    Just oil this thigh once more, my sweetest vixen.
    That’s right; go further, up, yes, higher;
    Yes, firmer now. And make my leather glisten;
    Your touch revives this aged versifier.

    Come, heap these logs up firmly in the grate;
    Then, plump those cushions so, behind my back.
    And over there, you’ll find a little plate
    Of jujubes, by the flask of applejack.

    My lips need salve before my words will flow.
    You’ve aspen balm? Exquisite little minx.
    Sit here. Anoint me, help these thoughts to grow,
    And shape my ‘Elegy upon a Dying Sphinx.’

    My quill needs work. This dainty jewell’d knife
    Will trim it. You hold it; such enchantment;
    Yours fingers ply the steel. You give the pen its life.
    Now paper. Smooth down the chamois parchment.

    I might begin now. Yet, when your eyes
    Half close like that, I feel less like a bard;
    My inspiration, like my sense of purpose dies;
    All authorship’s a pointless promenade.

    • Reine permalink
      December 1, 2010 2:03 PM

      Super Freep, how lovely to see you.

  86. freep permalink
    December 1, 2010 2:00 PM

    I have been somewhere, but I forget why.
    A propos of Yorkshire, above, note that my dogg was denied entrance to York Minster (unlike other welcoming cathedrals, Lincoln, Ely, Norwich) and that thereafter I swore vengeance against Yorkshire and its pomps.
    Durham Cathedral is a girt lump of a building which would do well as a carpet warehouse. North is not good for cathedrals, better for castles. Carlisle is best of a bad bunch, with an excellent mediaeval Dance of Death.

  87. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 1, 2010 2:14 PM

    Terrific poem, freep. I hope the fencing went well.

  88. freep permalink
    December 1, 2010 3:09 PM

    Thanks, Reine, MM. I have a little PH browsing to catch up on. The fencing was good. Larix Decidua is the nonpareil, rotproof, like this site.

  89. hic8ubique permalink
    December 1, 2010 7:19 PM

    Those larix must have been hand-hewn and the post holes spoon-dug, either that or you had vast estates to fence, freep.
    In any case, a hearty welcome back to the bosom of camaraderie.
    Lovely poem; I always love a sphinx, and ‘jujubes’ is pleasingly kissy in context.
    I’m delighted the weather has driven you in to seek your hearth, though it’s distressing Reine, and I’m afraid Mishari may have migrated to the Mediterranean without us.

    Is it the wearing of sensible boots that gets you down, Re?

    Here’s what Jess Cartner-Morley said about wearing shearling:

    … how to pull it off? Shearling – the real stuff, and even much of the fake – is bulky. A woman in an aviator jacket cuts an imposing figure. The heft of the fabric affects posture, so you walk in a slightly stiff-shouldered, robotic way that makes you look, literally, a force to be reckoned with…
    This autumn, shearling also comes in soft, cardigan-style wrap coats. But be wary. If you are 17 and gazelle-like, you’ll look adorable; if not, you’ll look like the female elder of a cave-dwelling tribe, left at home to skin the rabbits.

    You know exactly which one I am, yes, MM? Every so often, the way I normally look comes into style.

  90. Reine permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:04 PM

    From the Dublin correspondent…

    Being a curvy lady Hic, I give the shearling coats a miss although I do have a pair of Uggs which I find a great consolation these days on the warmth front. Look horrendous (except on 17 year old girls) but I will sacrifice vanity for intact and warm limbs on ice and snow. I have a very fetching pair of long leather and (shearling!) snowboot things but they blistered my ankle after a long walk at the weekend (the cause of my discombobulation). HI gallantly gave me his hanky to stuff down my sock.

    I love the snow but we are not equipped to deal with it here. We got the train this a.m. and HI had a massive rant as it approached about it being four carriages short. I thought he was behind me as I boarded and turned around and said “just shut up and sit down would you” to an alarmed stranger. He had sloped off into the next carriage unbeknown to me. Buses stopped running at 2 p.m. today, mass exodus of cars from the city causing terrible gridlock – I left work early around seven and was lucky enough to get a train (and a seat from a kindly gentleman). Very packed, two people fainted that I saw. A woman joined in a conversation with two others who clearly didn’t welcome her input, quite amusing, and then proceeded to try to put on waterproof leggings from a standing position on a vibrating and packed train. It was all go.

    Frantic phone calls from the parents who are weather obsessed to see how we were coping and urging caution and the wearing of thermal underwear (a bridge too far for me).

    It’s very cold, the lowest temperatures on record here I think. We substituted hot whiskeys for coffee at work – one of the benefits of working in a place with an on-site bar.

    Not long home, fashioned a makeshift meal for myself and the child from the dwindling “store cupboard” as Nigella might call it – “the press” as I do. Drinking a glass of wine now and looking out at snow, all’s well. Hope all of you are, thrilled to see Freep back in the saddle.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 1, 2010 9:54 PM

      Hilarious account, Re. Between you and the jujubes, I’m having a jolly day. I believe freep was in the saddle and has just now come out of it.
      32F is the lowest temp on record?! No wonder everyone’s so ill-equipped and flustered.
      Looks as though I’ll be skinning the rabbits alone in my cave.
      They say Quebec City does a beautiful job managing snowfall. They tamp it in place rather than try to remove it from walkways. We talk every winter about going North to skate on the canals, but have yet to do it. I’ve skied in a windchill of -17F, but that’s my limit.
      You really might want to see about some silk thingummies as a thermal layer, beautifully warm and comfortable. We’ll have a chat…
      I do like a man with an Irish linen hankie fresh at hand.

      The hiker’s trick for a blister is duct tape. First you stick it to itself in a size the area of the blister, and the put another bit over to stick it in place. I realise this method will never displace the romance of a timely hankie.

  91. mishari permalink*
    December 1, 2010 9:11 PM

    No, I’m still in ice-bound London, goddamnit. Been a bit busy lately, is all, and what free time I’ve had, I’ve spent writing subtitles for an Italian documentary film that I want to distribute to the regulars. The trailer for the film was banned by most Italian television broadcasters

    It’s called ‘Videocracy’ and it’s a funny/creepy/disturbing look at the way Berlusconi has taken over Italian public life and discourse and turned into a meretricious, sleb-infested whore house.

    Unfortunately, the English subtitles were a disaster, mostly unintelligible, verging on the surreal. I’ve re-written them in idiomatic, grammatical English.

    It’s a tedious business. I often do it with non-English language films but I’ve never had to re-write almost every goddamn word, as I did in this case.

    Mowbray must watch this film as I fear he is slipping into that netherworld of TV limbo. He watches Come Dancing, you know. ‘Nuff said.

    Welcome home, freep. I had disturbing visions of you, frozen in a snowbank, St. Bernardless and doomed. Fine poem, too.

  92. Reine permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:20 PM

    “Strictly” we afficionados call it! The shame…

  93. freep permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:29 PM

    Well, hic, autumn was a most busy time day and night, and I just got out of the habit of peering at the electronical screen, as well as forgetting to have poetical paroxysms. Glad you liked the jujubes, and good to see all the activity here that I missed. I see where Des has been visiting, the cad and pooka, and that the Guardian beasts are still dismissing him for no good reasons.
    In the last three months I have been making friends with numerous trees, including a Wollemi pine (only discovered in NSW in1994, and already planted around Britain, doing well in Northumberland – it is a tree where you expect find a pterodactyl perching on its boughs) some angelica trees and lots of chinese friends such as wingnuts and a prickly ash. Planted quite a few eucalyptus, and some good Irish bladdernuts.
    But the snow came here a week ago, and all tree work has had to be abandoned. Curvy Reine, I have just seen a female person negotiating giant snow hills in six-inch heels (and this is a very rural place), and in Newcastle there have been extraordinary instances of near-nakedness among the drifts.
    Mishari, you have posed some excellent poetick tasks of late, and I am sorry not to have kept up.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 1, 2010 11:44 PM

      I thought those eucalyptii were regarded as a bit of a pest. They’re rooting them out in Sicily.

  94. mishari permalink*
    December 1, 2010 9:44 PM

    Reine, what do I know? You don’t think I actually watch that bilge, do you? When I’ve got Vol 37 of my CD box-set The Sound of Paint Drying to listen to? It is to laugh…

    freep, there’s actually a wingnut tree? Awesome, dude. Does it bear fruit that resemble Michael Gove?

  95. Reine permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:49 PM

    Irish bladdernuts is even better, I know many of those.

  96. freep permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:59 PM

    Mish, wingnuts (pterocarya) are second cousins to the walnuts, and a most beautiful fast growing tree, with long hanging catkins, and big shapely leaves, like giant ash leaves (pinnate, to you) . Look out for them in London parks – I’m sure a few will have been planted by discerning council gardeners. They (pterocarya) are extremely unlike Gove, who I take to be ugly and smugly and unshapely and concerned to make a name for his vain and foolish self. Wingnuts know themselves very well and are self-effacing as well as elegant. And we all know how well the Irish bladdernut comports herself. (They are really large shrubs, with lovely pink blossoms in June or so and papery fruits like tiny leprechauns’ purses)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 1, 2010 10:05 PM

      I have a nutwing bush: caryopteris.
      It has lavendery looking blooms.
      Never knew there was an inverse tree-version.

  97. hic8ubique permalink
    December 1, 2010 10:02 PM

    Do you speak Czech as well, Mishari? I haven’t been able to download a version of the 13th C Marketa film, and YouTube doesn’t have subtitles. No, not really asking you to do it. I’m just glad to see you.
    I suppose you could post your Italian work on YT segments.

  98. mishari permalink*
    December 1, 2010 10:11 PM

    Are the bladdernut fruits orange-coloured, by any chance?

    Yes, Reine, it’s a pity the ignorant fuckers keep deleting Des’ posts. They’re good value. They’ve got it in for him even more bitterly than they do for me. I keep getting banned for no reason at all (tho I suspect it’s because I keep changing my user-name) but they don’t delete my posts.

    My latest incarnation was as @raycharlesxbox. After 2, count ’em, 2 fucking comments (one making fun of some twit who said here were no conspiracies and the other poking fun at Robert McCrumbly and his inane defence of publishing), I was informed that I was in ‘pre-moderation’.

    Well, fuck that…I already have a new identity but I can’t work up the interest to actually use it. The Grauniad is just so fucking dull and predictable, above and below the line.

    Still, what can one expect from a newspaper that hires staff based on their relationship to the editor?

  99. Reine permalink
    December 1, 2010 10:18 PM

    Jeez, from curvy to really large shrub in the blink of an eye! I’ll take it and raise you a year-round bloom. Cutting in the post.

    I thought for a minute Hic that “nutwing” might have been the season’s latest shade. Silk thingummies, I have aplenty – I know the ones you mean though. Bought some for my very cold mother who was astounded at paying 90 quid for a long sleeved silk vest and so keeps it to be laid out in. She fails to see the irony.

    “Timely hanky” – beautifully put. Thanks for the blister tip.

    Mishari, the shame, you understand, is mine. Do not think badly of me and MM for our weakness.

  100. mishari permalink*
    December 1, 2010 10:31 PM

    I don’t think badly of you for watching mind-rotting trash, honey. I’m concerned that valuable brain-cells are self-destructing as you watch. I’ve been tinkering with a post on this very subject i.e. the dangers of watching (reading etc) what you know to be rubbish but imagining that cultivating a sort of post-modern, ironic, knowing detachment will render you immune from the pernicious effects. Don’t you believe it.

  101. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 1, 2010 11:42 PM

    You’re scaremongering there, boss. It simply woan’t hapen. Mi mynd iz az sharb az shez allays bin. So… what wuz I sayin?

  102. Reine permalink
    December 1, 2010 11:51 PM

    Madmen was a bit frantic, did you think MM, in its attempt to tie up all the loose ends and tee up for the next series? Satisfying though and a few good lol moments.

  103. freep permalink
    December 2, 2010 12:58 AM

    Farewell Madmen until next time, when I will have to pay for you. Right Reine – a bit too neat, but still handsomely done.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 2, 2010 1:47 AM

      I’d be delighted to send you a flat rate parcel of maple syrup for a Christmas present, freep, if you’d like it. I imagine it’s very dear there in the wilds of the northlands?
      I always think you must like a tree sap sweet, but we’ve nice spun raw honey if you’d rather…

  104. hic8ubique permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:42 AM

    I’ve no idea whether Mad Man has been playing here, so my neurons are intact on that score at least. (Though as a below the line person, I may as well give up.)
    We’ve had a power outage of several hrs, so people will have been frustrated in their evening viewing habits all over the region.

  105. Solwing permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:15 AM

    Mad Men i haven’t watched, nor The Wire or the eighty seven day full box-set DVD of the Supranos & House, Hill Street Blues & Not The None O’Clock News.

    American drama is just too good and ephemeral to be twisting my melons man, like the thespians talking so hip, they’re too fucking brilliant, yeah; the bastards, giving away to be ye life man, with balls of Whitehart Lane i applaud American drama bcuz it’s soo superficially solid; built on the american Dream …Jack & Al man, bumming to Frisco on the jallopies of America’s ooh ur missus nob jokes, some say, is the dream tonite at this minature hovel & hole from where to sing, c’mon ye bums & get your reality a dream, American, man.


    The cnuts on the Guardian have been grrling again. It’s continual bullying of innocent us, a happy band of random punters escaping our domestic bliss, the offline three dimensional us of the first order in a realtime of being the fat boring middle aged handwafting tossers ashamed of ourselves, at times, but c’mon, like them fuckers, the wankers, the CommunityMod cunts who sit in judgement of our rants man, are total a-holes & deserve to be first up the lampost when the revolution happens, next week on O’Connell street as we stride as boldly as is possible for a nation so ashamed, once again, and my personal soveriegn self also, thoroughly disgusted at how bitter, petty, unintelligently vile I as a lancashire lout in need of a non-stop bleep machine, have failed to edit out the horrendously stupid shit one speaks as a full time depressive performing for no one but us, comrades-in-bore, and also for the sheer fuck of being able to speak as we think.

    A rare quality in today’s unprecedented age of fulltime hypnosis by the cnuts dug-in for a long campaign of full time Community Moderation, a gormless set of people, just like us, no doubt, but unable to connect on any personal level, wanting to, but without the wit or interest to post shit themselves, get involved in the revolving online chat, at work perhaps, being a cunt, taking out our whims and fancies on the poor US & Them, comrades, the cunts who need teaching a lesson by our random bunch of dreamers connected by the common thread, each to our own cause, but to poetry also, being such it is, we have become a gang of poetry bloggers victimized by the wicked individuals banning pple like me, who is all fucking right, can be trusted to swear a lot and argue from what corner the cnuts fucked me over into posting poetry from, and because they’re worth it and I’m just a lancashire lout who doesn’t do – though can and does when requested – posh, the middle class fake accented british bints from the chavviest shitholes of England, like my good anti-self living on the Dock road in Bootle, an empty shell in a towerblock on the demolition site, perhaps when all this unpleasantness is over, and I have attained my dream, America will beckon and i will rush to serve the People daft enough to believe a word being read, thick cnuts, they will learn, there’s only US Winners of owt we wanna fix as the New Same in a thousand different names, by the time i retire from the field of anti-social behavior, as a fictional printed entity posting poetry.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 2, 2010 8:30 AM

      …that’s exactly what I was going to say…

  106. December 2, 2010 9:08 AM

    interesting that the Guardian writers/columnists often defend the likes of Big Brother, I’m a Celeb etc. by saying that the public are very good at spotting the bullies, the unpleasant, the whiners and having done so vote them out. True democracy etc. etc.

    On the blogs it seems we have to have a middle-man/woman to do that for us so that those who post up controversial/offensive views rather than have those views challenged /torn to shreds/ whatevs get moderated instead and probably become martyrs in their own lunchtimes.

    I started this trying to add a different strand to Des’s’s’s views but have ended up parroting his points. So comrade-in-bore indeed or more accurately brother-in-bore.

  107. mishari permalink*
    December 2, 2010 9:18 AM

    I couldn’t resist giving that idiot stonen a 100 recommends. Except for being completely wrong, his comment was spot-on. I feel that someone as bitter and unhappy as he clearly is will get a warm glow from thinking that the anti-clique clique are behind him…the dolt.

  108. Solwing permalink
    December 2, 2010 9:20 AM

    Don’t get me wrong, the no-telly days prior to the arrival of SA three years back, are gone. Now i have learned to tolerate and love the very stuff that made me switch off, disgusted at myself for having been brainswashed since a child, from fulltime to not having a telly, 2000-7.

    Seven years until three years ago (the time a bard spent going from foclo to cli or anruth) when the Zen like calmess accrued over this period, re-synthesized telly back into the everyday blare going on in the life of an unemployable bore attempting to pose as a clown at work, as an entertaining mental patient suffering a diet of full time gay reality shows in which ‘normal’ pple are plucked from the depressing shitholes they volunteer from, ‘bond’ under the unintrusive gaze of a piss cheap format of ‘reality’ Coach Trip tv, with Brendan the short, bald, bespectacled Yorkshire gay I hurl abuse at on first becoming aware, around 2pm, that he is mincing about, again, doing his act as the middle aged feline host to an increasingly tacky set of ‘normal’ passengers on a free drive thru Europe with cameras and crew to film normal people in the scenes at sending home time, capturing the goodbye hugs, tearful farewells between really lovely silent angry deparees, torrents of bleeped-out filth foaming from their gobs, as Duncan and Randy, two gay zen masters living in a bedsit in Newquay – my favourite place in England – smirk and ramp up the camp in Coach Trip, whose entire contestant base seems drawn almost excusively, from the gay community; that can only suggest that to enjoy watching it, I must be gay myself.

    I dunno, but behind my berating of Brendan the head camper & slow-burn star of these entertaining journeys, I must admit, I sit and watch shit telly all day, for the rest of my entire life no doubt, one will enjoy it.

    But come on, the covert all gay reality shows, the dining competiton, spread over five nights; totally different again, but the same sorts of gay couples the gay mafia at the top of the ponzi scheme that’s showbiz, are clearly showing preferential treatment to, covertly, subverting the shit telly ethos by oh, it just so happens, yer gotta be not only gay to get on, but have some tinpot bullshit backstory of going from a poor little boy-girl dreaming to escape whatever shit pit they come from, like my favourite camp Coach Trip host and star, Brendan himself did, bumming his way out of Sheff and look at me now you horrible arghh, who the heck are you mucking about princess, arghh, ooh urm Brendan, the fuckers on his bus, first up the lampost comrades, string up all and any gay person who has taken part in a reality tv show with a core competitive composnent to it, and next, anyone who watched ’em, or at least whoever enjoyed and needed to watch the shit, on a full time basis, whose neural map flashed a constant pattern that their scanners detect, the anti-gay radar equipment detecting emotional reality in sad fuckers like the cnuts on Dine With Me, who are next up the lampost to swing and learn the error of our ways, insidiously seeping into the consciousness of the hypnotized masses, of which I am one, fucking brilliant to slag off, because the freaks and tossers who are on ’em, naturally lend ’emselves to comedic critical attack, even tho they are among the unhappiest bunch of wankers alive today – reality tv contestants.

    The neediness radiating from them, is fucking hilarious. The desire to be famous, to take part in the biggest lottery of all, never getting a proper job, always talking bollocks, loafing, in the dressing gown at 1pm, dictating to a flunky, splashing about in Language, revealing keys and codes no one but ourself Celebrity self can center in our slums, palaces and homes, realms, sovereign selfish bastard selves, elfin horrible gits, pretending as a clown and getting away with it, making punters laugh coz comedy in the poem of ourselves, chanelling imbas, clothes & washing machines, parties on the chord change that is coming when gravity slips & yr space-time meshing past and future selves, swarming about the place, on the brink of collapse, switches on and sees the fucking horrible camp of some gay reality tossers, stripped of Celebrity and sincerely (or as sincere as these rich smug celebrity cnuts can be) bonding among themselves and at work being it, the Self common to all; Ryder in Oz, the young chicken they turned on after the bullying of Gillian ended and tey partied her absence, the final two ‘teams’ of contestants, old git entertainers led by Jenni the old bag and her two brand new celebrity pals she met at work in a jungle, turning the focus of their gaze to the next sacrificial bunny model with six to one odds, and the presssure showing, about to break a boring 23 year old with no personality, Herod like, younger and prettier the better, for Jenni the old bag.

    Sean, three years out of a twenty five year methadone addciton, with perhaps the most ruthless of all this years crop, Joley the comic, like Sean, a fair bit fatter on arrival, but now reality has bonded them to their Muse Hag Eclair, and the chat is fantastic, Joley calling McKeith’s condiments, ‘vile vegetarian gruel’, going for the jugular, the luvvies bullying women claiming to be fifty who are clearly lying about their age, and if not deserve to be humiliated. If she is a lying pensioner, so what who gives a fuck, she needs sacrificing to the gods of real enertainment.

  109. mishari permalink*
    December 2, 2010 9:29 AM

    You have to be discerning, Des. I watch virtually no television but I do download a lot of stuff that looks interesting. Stuff like The Wire, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, The Shield etc.

    I find that as mainstream Hollywood films get drearier and more mindless with every passing year, the better TV production companies are stepping into their shoes.

    But on the whole, TV is an example of what the director of Videocracy calls (in a play on Hannah Arendt’s famous line) ‘the evil of banality’.

    Videocracy is terrific, by the way. If you fancy a copy, Des, email me your address and I’ll pass one along.

  110. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:07 PM

    You don’t watch TV? Blasphemer!

    Yes, Mad Men did seem a bit perfunctory. I wonder if Don and Betty’s departures left and right indicate her exit from the series? I would be sorry not to see her and her wonderful child-care practice again. Especially now the Summer Of Love has arrived and Sally approaches teenage rebellion.

    Unfortunately I shall never see the series again now it will be in Murdochvision. A shame.

  111. December 2, 2010 1:27 PM

    I fell at the first Madmen hurdle – couldn’t face the possibility of getting addicted to another TV series and tbh the episodes I saw didn’t move me greatly. I know, I know.

    But MM are there not box-sets of these series to watch? Although I suppose Fox will control the release dates.

    Fox currently in a “spat” with the Simpsons who showed a Fox News helicopter overhead with ” Fox News not racist but No.1 with racists” written on its side.

    I don’t know how effective these things are – the current C4 Simpsons has some pretty good anti-US army in the Middle-East swipes in it – which Fox don’t appear to have a problem with. Let them feel they are making a stand, let them have their swipes as we carry on regardless seems to be the tactic.

  112. mishari permalink*
    December 2, 2010 1:46 PM

    Relax, aged islander…you won’t miss Madmen because of Murdoch: I’ll make sure of that.

    The Simpsons have been mocking Fox News for years. I suppose that as long as the show makes money, Murdoch doesn’t give a shit.

    BTW, I watched the first 15 minutes of a film called The Town. Looks pretty good, with Don from Madmen (John Hamm) as an FBI agent after a gang of Charlestown armed robbers. Charlestown is an inner-Boston blue-collar neighbourhood that produces more bank robbers and armoured-car jackers per sq. mile than anywhere in the US. I’ll pass it along if it turns out to be good.

    Stone me, I just noticed that Peter Postlethwaite is in it as well. That bugger gets everywhere. Still, @imdb gives the film 8 out of 10, so we’ll see…

  113. Solwing permalink
    December 2, 2010 2:27 PM

    Cheers Al, knowing my weakness for top quality televiion drama, I may take you up on it some day, there’s no alternative to the present diet of trash tv, except going online to watch the stuff impossible to have watched outside its, usually one and only, terrestial (arghh) broadcast.

    I think we all have our phases of getting into whatever it is we choose to be enertained by. A pal put me onto Channel 4oD, four on demand, two weeks ago, and there’s plenty of documentaries up my street. I am yet watch owt on it, but will do no doubt.

    Recently I watched a 2003 BBC documentary in six youtube chunks, whose study was Sean Ryder: The Ecstacy & Agony, before he got new teeth and was still living with the beautiful mother of his (I think) eldest son; a northern lass half his age then, who left him around (i think) 2005, taking the lad and not leaving him a forwarding address, adding to his complex personal web of various daughters by different mothers he never knew growing up, bankruptcy and the methadone addiction that was not as blindingly obvious until seeing him seven years on, with two new toddlers with a wife the same age as us, his girlfriend when he was 21, and now for the first time in his adult life, on form as a cleaned up top class clown being funny for Salford.


    Ed, brother-in-bore, this is exactly it, an eminently nickcable bit of wordplay, the perfect original score. As regards ‘making the same points’ as me, tho’ this response could be a total comedic misgrasping of what ye refer to; if it’s not the treacle of incomprehension made in a short-lived, now disappeared post a one appearance only act of mine riffed, before the immediate removal of her posting ‘privileges’ by the cnuts, for a crime of making the observation, that Mary Neighbor in Leapor’s potw, is really the poet talking about herself, at a third remove, the narrator’s voice transposed into a mask of the person-in-a-poem Leapor birthed and named Mary, the same as herself. Hm, the sock puppet wrote, I wonder who that could be, who one of Leapor’s anti-selves, Deborah Dough makes the main protaganist and, erm, is entertaining us with this week in her Epistle.

    She would have been about the same age as Kayla the bunny in the jungle when she wrote it. A tragic loss to English poetry, Pope would have been right in there, making sure she knew her place as a poetaster, compounded by the crime of being female, when it was well known then that only the most competitively boring and twisted of English thoroughbred maes hiding the plastic roots, were allowed into the dangerous and exciting coffee shops where fermented all the shit that we are now lied to by Bob McBum’s unenlightened equivalents in an age of the barabarian plodders whose full, easy peasy couplet drone, was de riguer in the delusion that the twee bint this week, doesn’t deserve to be transhumanized into Pam Ayres, who we can all go to town on slagging off, using much the same poetic process as Bunny Leapor did with Deborah Dough, who is well out of fucking order, in my view, for taking the piss out of Mary in the poem, that doesn’t exist in reality and is all a loada early twaddle from a poet whose doggerel does not detain one, sister in drag.

    That’s the key to unlocking this fucker, connecting Mary Leapor the poet, with Kayla Nude who the model hag Eclair so desperately wants to believes, in the delusional social bollocks of jugle chat her entertaining celebrity bullies, conspire to agree with her about, whilst secretly ewanting to shag her, no dount, unless they are gay, like you and me.


  114. Solwing permalink
    December 2, 2010 2:32 PM

    Arghh, I meant of course, not to make so many typos that have consigned the above to a fucking failure as literary blogging.

  115. December 2, 2010 6:47 PM

    I’d like a copy of Videocracy please, meister. Don’t bother with the English subtitles; I’d prefer the Italian ones or none.

  116. mishari permalink*
    December 2, 2010 8:19 PM

    Simon, email me your address at:

    …and I’ll pop that in the post for you. As there’ll be a fair bit of extra space on the DVD, would you prefer (in addition) Restrepo (a documentary by Sebastian Junger following a year in the life of a platoon of airborne infantry in Afghanistan) or Carlos, a five-hour, multi-lingual, Canal+ docu-drama about the eponymous Jackal. Both highly-rated critically, neither of which I’ve actually watched yet.

  117. freep permalink
    December 2, 2010 10:57 PM

    Maple syrup, hic? Perhaps Maine is famous for it? That’s a very kind thought, and if you email me at I’ll give you an address. I recall that most maple syrup comes from Quebec, up the road from you ….

  118. mishari permalink*
    December 2, 2010 11:15 PM

    I seem to remember that Vermont was the go-to place for maple syrup. You’d drive up there in late fall to view the foliage or in winter for the skiing and there’d be little roadside stands selling jugs of maple syrup, maple syrup candy, taffy, fudge etc etc.

    It is addictive stuff. I guess that any place that supports sugar maples will do. I wonder if they have them in Russia? I know that they have birch syrup (which is also nice).

    OK, wiki tells me that outside of the US and Canada, Japan and Korea produce maple syrup, although any country that can support sugar, black or red maple can produce it.

    Most of the stuff they used to sell in supermarkets and such-like in the US, wasn’t the real thing but merely ‘flavoured’ corn syrup.

    But hic would never fob off a man like yourself–fence builder, fell walker, dog confidant and badger friend–with the inferior stuff.

  119. Ann Widicombe's Arse permalink
    December 2, 2010 11:46 PM

    I see McBum’s blog about what he calls the ‘boys’ club of men closer to pension age than free school dinner tickets, has been closed to comments early, coinciding with the disappearance of the last post (no 5), by BarbudaLyn, that was up there for a day and a half.

    Lyn merely alerted Bob and the readers to the winner of this year’s All Ireland Live Poetry Slam, Colm Keegan, a very talented live poet and writer, three times shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, for both poetry and fiction. In 2008 he was shortlisted for the International Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, and is currently working on a first novel and a collection of poems.

    Lyn left a link to a post on the Irish Poetry Blog, that not only publishes a print version of Ireland land Is – one of the three poems that contributed to Keegan being placed first – but also details the transparent and democratic nature of this competition, the fourth annual one. The post is also topped by a studio recording of Ireland Is, and tailed with a video of the full ninety minute competition. Open and honest poetry tat makes Bob’s musing on topics such fairness and democracy, all the more strange. I mean, McBum writes as tho he’s all for it, and yet when other, less experienced, undamaged by poetry lovers, come in speaking of the new and exciting developments Bob claims to be encouraging, this info is not only removed, but causes the blog to be closed.

    Could it be McBum, is not the outsider speaking for us the mugs, demanding change to the status quo, agitating for change; but is in talking utter bollocks that is wearing thinner and thinner by the day, and really, has no desire to see any opinion contrary to his own – about the boy (pensioners) fiction and poetry circles he as a hack inhabits – appear in print?

    You can read the poem below at the link above.

    Ireland Is by Shirley Chance

  120. Ann Widicombe's Arse permalink
    December 2, 2010 11:49 PM

    oops, forgive the double stuff, and it was post 55, not 5, that was zapped..

  121. Ann Widicombe's Arse permalink
    December 2, 2010 11:53 PM

    Link to the Colm Keegan: 2010 All Ireland Poetry Slam Champion blogpost.

    Thanks very much Mish.

  122. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 12:06 AM

    No worries, Des.

  123. hic8ubique permalink
    December 3, 2010 3:23 AM

    No, hic would not fob anything faux off on anyone, least of all a tree man.
    We’ve been having a lovely birthday celebration for my eldest today. I’m a contented cat.
    I’ll email you to make a plan freep. Delighted you will accept!
    You are correct that Quebec produces most of what we see hereabouts in Massachusetts, even when it says ‘Made in Vermont’.
    The Vermont ‘harvest’ is smaller, and what Mishari is thinking of are the small independent farmers who tap their trees and make a small side business from tourists passing through. They do this in ‘upstate’ New York as well.
    The particular conditions for ‘sugaring’ require cold nights and warm days for the sap to run, usually in March, so it’s not just a matter of growing the trees (many of them) but of climate as well.

    We buy the grade B variety which is darker and stronger with more flavour than the ‘fancy’ grade A. There’s a sort that comes in a plastic bottle which should be safe to ship even if it freezes.
    Reine tells me it’s available in the UK, but I’m sure it’s far less expensive for us, as are most things…
    The caramel coloured corn syrup doesn’t pass muster in New England, maybe down South.
    There’s a pure maple spread called maple cream, I’ll look for that for your parcel too.
    I do like making parcels. When I was a child, my grandmother was always south for my birthday, and would send me one every year, usually with a new cardigan she’d knitted and a few other less practical things, but it was the most magical event.

  124. December 3, 2010 9:41 AM

    It’s grim up here snow-wise and meant to be worse up in Freep country so if necessary I could send a bale of Lancashire tripe which would go well with maple syrup.

    Last year I trained a robin to eat off my hand ( training perhaps too strong a word ). This year they are back in force with at least 5 vying for territorial rights of the bird table. They seem more interested in being seen at the no.1 spot on the bird table than eating what’s on offer.

    Half-watched A Mighty Heart last night with Angelina Jolie giving her “most restrained” performance to date apparently as Marianne Perle, wife of the journalist who was abducted and murdered in Pakistan. It was well directed but I couldn’t quite see what the point of it was other than to cement the idea of untrustworthy foreigners into our minds. Perhaps I should have concentrated more

    If Jolie was restrained in the final scene then God help us when she’s off the leash

  125. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 9:53 AM

    It’s funny, Ed, but I can get almost any bird (especially in weather like this when the ground is covered and food hard to come by), to eat out of my hand–robins, finches, sparrows etc. But crows and magpies never lose their wariness.

    They walk up and down in that rolling, fat-man’s gait, head cocked to this side or that, peering at me suspiciously as if I’ve offered to sell them a time-share in Torremolinos, never coming close enough for a slap. Do you get the same treatment from our corvine friends?

    • December 3, 2010 10:43 AM

      The crows stay in the farmer’s fields and by the roads – better kinds of food for them than the vegetarian fare I put out for the rest. We’ve got mink and weasels in the surroundings so no point attracting them with crow friendly food.

      when we lived in whalley Range in Manchester the magpies were the most successfully birds there – drove all the others out.

      But “Raise Ravens and they peck out your eyes” is the Spanish saying I believe so probably best to keep a distance. Crows, rooks and ravens – magnificent animals to draw and paint. Such subtle colours in the black plumage and a lovely silhouette too.

  126. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 10:02 AM

    Talk about injustice. Ofile’s comment that I have tasted the princely phallus (no mention of the necessary magnifying glass) is allowed to stand (as it were) and my quotation of that remark is deleted! It’s unconscionable.

    Last night I watched The Georgian House. Not very interesting. Then I lay awake all night listening for water coming through the ceiling. Nothing so far. Back on the roof this morning, I suppose. It’s a way of life.

  127. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 10:08 AM

    Blimey, my comment about it on POTW has been deleted already. They must have fellatio detectors.

  128. pinkroom permalink
    December 3, 2010 10:18 AM

    I recommended your comment viz injustice on potw and it was promptly zapped.

    I have also posted my bewilderment that I was zapped simply for suggesting a possible target for the poem’s satire… it too is no doubt being zapped as I type. It all seems very…inconsistent, although perhaps the mods have finally cottoned on that a gentle ribbing can often be a far more telling response than plain dog’s abuse.

  129. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 10:41 AM

    I must say, I’m not very gruntled by all this loose talk about my proud organ–it’s unseemly. Although, stonem’s weird obsession with me continues apace.

    As unedifying as his constant sniping, bleating and whining is, I don’t understand why he keeps dragging me into it. I haven’t posted a single comment on POTW.

    Alright, I mischievously gave his ‘clique’ comment a 100 clicks (haha) but that was more in the way of highlighting how useless the ‘recommend’ system is. I’ve never got the point of it, anyway.

    Still, MM, you’ve failed to grasp the First Rule of Moderation: You Don’t Talk About Moderation.

  130. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:02 AM

    one-bounce moderation
    rubber self-fellation
    too bent double too
    ribbed for extra sensation

  131. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 11:44 AM

    MM, do NOT go up on the roof or even out of doors. At your advanced age and decrepitude, it could prove fatal:

    A pensioner is feared to have collapsed in her garden and frozen to death, police said today.
    Officers discovered the body of Lillian Jenkinson, 80, in her back garden in Workington, Cumbria, at 10.40am yesterday.

    The day before an elderly man was also found dead in his garden in Kirby Stephen, also in Cumbria. It is not currently known how long he lay undetected. —The Groan, today

    You’ve been warned.

    I’m sitting here, warm as toast, in my new silk thermals. In the past, I’ve spurned thermals because they just felt bulky and constrictive.

    But Inez got me these silk ones and they are really good–light and thin but incredibly warm. Why, it almost feels as if I’m wearing nothing at all…(cue 70s softcore porn music…lights dim)

    Time to open another box of liqueur-filled chocolates, throw another Vlaminck on the fire and think about going out for a bit of crow-slapping.

  132. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:56 AM

    Too late. Just spent half an hour up there. It’s covered in ice so I’ve thrown a ton of ice-melt on it.

    My comment asking if my previous deletion was the quickest in recorded history has been deleted.

  133. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 12:00 PM

    Remember: The First Rule Of Fight Club Is……

    When you say ‘…a ton of ice-melt’ do you mean salt? If so, is that really a good idea? Salt is quite corrosive, no?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 3, 2010 12:05 PM

      No, it’s an (allegedly) non-corrosive chemical compound, which is not inexpensive. It’s probably salt.

  134. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 12:02 PM

    We’ll all be asking hic for food parcels if Georgie Osborne remains in control of the economy. I wonder if macaroni cheese travels well?

  135. December 3, 2010 12:56 PM

    MM Parkin travels well – but the post office being what it is you’ll probably end up with Mellors.

    had a weird power cut here last night. The lighting was going from dim to bright to dim to bright to dim. Much like me but more like the Amityville horror.

  136. hic8ubique permalink
    December 3, 2010 1:57 PM

    MM, I’ll send you my special kit of:
    The crampons and rake are for the short term, then when the entire roof comes in you have the tarp at the ready.
    Oh, it includes a small flask of something warming as well.
    I use this stuff for ice:

    Silk is amazing, but it doesn’t like harsh detergent, so I always wash it separately. There are some who won’t use it because of cruelty to silkworms, but so far that’s not weighing heavily on my conscience. In fact, as I consider ways I might behave better, silkworms don’t feature high on the list.
    The polar fleece/capilene made from recycled bottles is a great invention, but I can’t get excited about wearing it, just as I’d never put petroleum ‘mineral’ oil on skin.

    • reine permalink
      December 3, 2010 5:14 PM

      I thought crampons were what one gets if a tampon is inserted hastily at a bad angle!

      Fleece?? No thunder snow, however cold, could drive me to such lengths.

  137. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 1:57 PM

    Mellors would probably have some nice lean cuts on him. If it comes to cannibalism I’ll pass on Osborne: something like pork belly, I should think, thin layers of pale meat surrounded by thick seams of greasy yellow fat. Vince Cable – too stringy, Clegg – that forked tongue of his might be a gastronomic adventure but there’s sure to be a vile aftertaste. Really, there are no decent viandes on the government benches. Ed Miliband is fresh at least, Balls might provide some sweetbreads, Yvette a couple of chops (but forget about the brains).

    Back to the roof.

  138. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 2:01 PM

    Sounds better than the stuff I’ve got, hic. Thanks for the tip.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 3, 2010 2:19 PM

      It’s a bit spendy if you need a lot though…
      I was thinking, the roof-rakes people use here are like wide garden hoes.
      A hoe might be a useful implement turned to your purpose.
      And a climber’s harness!
      My son intends to go ice-climbing this winter. It’s an unforgiving activity; I’m not in favour of it.

  139. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 2:30 PM

    Harsh detergents? Perish the thought. I’ve instructed my concubines to take my silk undergarments down to the river and beat them on orphans (usually, they use rocks but who am I to rob poor orphans of honest work?).

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 3, 2010 3:02 PM

      As you yourself are a roof-rake, you might just recline on the slates and allow the natural elements to work their wonders, or is that accidental when the concubines gang up and lock you out?

      We had thunder-snow here two winters ago. That really was a wonder. I’d never experienced it before.
      Reading of warm air moving into Scotland reminded me of it.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 3, 2010 4:58 PM

      What’s thunder-snow?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 3, 2010 5:05 PM


    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 3, 2010 8:39 PM

      Glad I’ve avoided that one. So far.

  140. freep permalink
    December 3, 2010 3:56 PM

    We have crooked icicles here, which puzzles me. Guttering contractors will be making good money as soon as it clears. There’s been a foot of snow for about a week now, and the birds are getting fractious. St Francis Mishari is needed, but have just fed a young swan with organic wholemeal bread – funny how they always prefer Mothers Pride.

  141. freep permalink
    December 3, 2010 4:02 PM

    This is Health and Safety gone mad. You can’t be a Geordie lass and be soft.

  142. reine permalink
    December 3, 2010 5:31 PM

    Bit of a thaw here today but the paths in town are still “treacherous”, a favoured word this weather. People slipping and sliding all over the shop.

    The biggest tragedy (mistress of overstatement, me) to unfold in snowville occurred last night on way to 11 p.m. train via pub post-work. The weather was horrendous so we adjourned out of it for a drink which became several. Daddy phoned in the middle of it and was even more concerned about how I would negotiate “treacherous” paths with a bottle of wine on board. Having flagged a taxi for a lady in distress, the beloved’s wedding ring flew off into the deep snow and was nowhere to be found. Gone forever I fear. We ended up (again) on separate train carriages due to my tetchiness about the ring loss and he slept through our stop. Momentarily concerned that he might have slipped off the platform, I phoned to wake him in time for disembarkation at the next stop to walk the half hour journey homeward. A joyous reunion did not ensue.

    All is well now though; the boys are at a gig and I have the house to myself for several delectable hours. Confit Mellors cheek on the menu for supper.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 4, 2010 10:18 AM

      Any sauce with that?

    • Reine permalink
      December 4, 2010 12:03 PM

      pinko peppercorn

  143. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 3, 2010 6:43 PM

    Some Snow for you…

  144. reine permalink
    December 3, 2010 6:57 PM

    That is pretty spectacular. I take back any references to my puny snow.

  145. December 3, 2010 7:45 PM

    The water pipes where I lived in Somerset passed through a stream and froze solid in that winter of 63.

    We had a well in the garden and had to use that to get water. We had to throw stones down to break the ice before the bucket could be sent down.

    HLM I was having a conversation with the bloke who does sound for our shows last week about Delia Debyshire ( who did the theme for Dr. Who ) and is credited with being THE pioneer of electronic music. He, being a man who likes one-upmanship and being ahead of the pack said Daphne Oram should get what little credit there is. She set up the Radiophonic workshop for the BBC and did the music/sound on that clip.

    I’d never heard of her before so a happy coincidence there.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 3, 2010 8:35 PM

      I remember opening the sitting-room curtains in ’63 to find the snow was half-way up the windows. One puny coal fire and a paraffin stove ‘heated’ the entire place. Life was hard in those days etc

  146. freep permalink
    December 3, 2010 7:49 PM

    Nice film, hlm. None of the workers in the snow wears gloves…

  147. December 3, 2010 7:51 PM

    Here’s Daphne

  148. December 3, 2010 7:53 PM

    Here’s Delia Derbyshire

  149. December 3, 2010 7:57 PM

    So, ET, is this one-upping fellow claiming Delia *didn’t* compose/perform treats such as the following…?

  150. December 3, 2010 7:58 PM


  151. December 3, 2010 8:02 PM

    Not in the least SA the one-upping is saying that Daphne was the first in electronic exploration. There was a documentary about DD last week on the Beeb which claimed she was the first which was what triggered this discussion.

    Wikipedia would seem to back this too. Delia’s stuff is better to my mind but a lot of the stuff was made in the 80’s by all accounts after she left the BBC and went into a sort of exile.

  152. December 3, 2010 8:12 PM

    Daphne takes the “first” cake, without a doubt. But I think I agree that Delia’s grabs me more (and more of me)… though I haven’t heard enough of Daphne’s egg to say with certainty. Now let’s toss Wendy “Clockwork Orange” Carlos into the ring…

  153. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 8:22 PM

    Somewhere in my stacks, I’ve got Wendy-when-she-was-Walter doing Bach on a Moog. So there.

  154. December 3, 2010 8:25 PM

    Don’t forget Tonto’s Expanding Headband. There was a programme about them on Radio 4 yesterday so this electronic stuff is in the ether.

    TEH weren’t women of course but was Wendy Carlos Walter Carlos when she/he/oh I dunno did Clockwork Orange?

  155. pinkroom permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:39 PM

    Never mind these knob-twiddling old school-marm types (don’t think I don’t know where all the bleeping fascination lies) that was appalling news from freep back there.

    I think we can now very clearly trace a line from Sting’s first lute lesson to the first coat sighted in the Bigg Market. We have now lived through the period in which Geordies have gone soft.

  156. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 8:40 PM

    According to wiki:

    Carlos underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1972 but was billed as “Walter” on the album By Request (1975). The first release credited to her as “Wendy” was Switched-On Brandenburgs (1979). (The earlier albums have since been re-released under the Wendy Carlos name.)

    Clockwork Orange was 1972 so I’m guessing it was as Walter.

  157. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 3, 2010 9:15 PM

    Daphne Oram also worked on another Geoffrey Jones film about trains, which I rather think won an oscar. Not really for the small screen, but…

    • mishari permalink*
      December 3, 2010 11:38 PM

      That’s gorgeous, Hank.

  158. hic8ubique permalink
    December 3, 2010 9:18 PM

    I couldn’t find a way to work trains into this, but …
    Louis Killen has come out as a woman. He may be ‘Louisa Jo’ or similar now, it may come back to me.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 3, 2010 11:44 PM

      Ah, yes…Lord (actually Sir John) Franklin, who became famous as ‘the man who ate his own boots’, and his gallant crew, who ended up eating their shipmates.

      Have you seen the photographs of the (uneaten) dead crewmen, so well-preserved that they looked like they died last week? I read a very good book about Franklin and his quest for the North-West Passage called The Gates of Hell…highly recommended.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 4, 2010 12:03 AM

      I hadn’t heard of the Franklin expedition eating one another. Are you thinking of the Whaleship Essex?
      Owen Coffin was eaten on that voyage. Owen Chase survived and wrote an account of it, which inspired H. Melville.
      I’ll see about the The Gates of Hell, thanks.
      My Dad gave me Kenneth Roberts’ Northwest Passage when I was far to young for it, and I’ve never found my way back…

    • mishari permalink*
      December 4, 2010 9:42 AM

      In 1854, the Scottish explorer Dr. John Rae, while surveying the Boothia Peninsula for the Hudson’s Bay Company, discovered the true fate of the Franklin party from talking to Inuit hunters.

      He was told both ships had become icebound, the men had tried to reach safety on foot but had succumbed to cold and some had resorted to cannibalism.

      Rae’s report to the Admiralty was leaked to the press, which led to widespread revulsion in Victorian society, enraged Franklin’s widow and condemned Rae to ignominy.

      In 1997, more than 140 years after Dr. Rae’s report, his account was finally vindicated; blade cut marks on the bones of some of the crew found on King William Island strongly suggested that conditions had become so dire that some crew members resorted to cannibalism -wiki

  159. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 3, 2010 10:15 PM

    He’s changed trains? Switched the points? Gone off the rails (no offence)?

  160. mishari permalink*
    December 3, 2010 11:28 PM

    Upbeat winter (that’s the Boston Common in the vid):

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 4, 2010 12:06 AM

      I’ve read the trans-sexual blogs on the GU, but I have a hard time understanding it. I get the gender-identity distress, but gender reassignment surgery is beyond my grasp at this point.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 4, 2010 12:07 AM

      That looks too wide to be Tremont St, but the buildings there now are old. I guess I don’t get that either.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 4, 2010 9:45 AM

      It’s hard to say in the dark and snow (and after a 30 year absence), but I think it’s the Boylston St end of Tremont and that’s the T stop in the upper left.

      But here is an even greater mystery:

  161. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:34 AM

    That is mysterious. Norwegian TV must be in a desperate state. Norwegian, TV, two words which do not sit well together.

  162. December 4, 2010 10:38 AM

    Extraordinary how sophisticated animatronics are these days. They brought Roger moore to life in a way we haven’t seen since …… ( suggestions on a post card please ).

  163. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 10:44 AM

    George Costanza, Right Said Fred, Roger Moore, John Nettles, Boyzone and Dolph Lundgren–together at last. It’s like a erm, dream come true…or something.

  164. December 4, 2010 11:07 AM

    Where was Dixon of Dock Green?

    It’s hard to tell what Norwegian TV might actually be like. On this evidence it’s a load of old re-runs of US shows just like everywhere else.

    Is there a country in the world that doesn’t show Friends 24/7? Perhaps Simon can give us an update when he reaches Russia.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 4, 2010 11:13 AM

      Italian/Berlusconi TV has to be seen to be believed. It makes ITV look like Plato’s symposium. I’m sending you a copy of Videocracy and you can see for yourself.

      That ad for a Norwegian chat show was made in 2002, by the way, hence Moore’s life-like aspect.

  165. December 4, 2010 11:29 AM

    Videocracy sounds great. Thanks.

    Berlusconi is a fascinating character. It’s like he’s read about Caligula and many of the excesses of the Roman Emperors and decided to do a contemporary equivalent.

    We all know he’s a dangerous nutter but nothing ever seems to stick – his coating of Teflon must be even more resistant than usual.

  166. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 11:39 AM

    At 75, his non-stop partying and life of booze, under-age girls and (allegedly) drugs is catching up with him. Apparently, his health is deteriorating rapidly. Or perhaps his hair transplant has gone horribly wrong and started growing into his brain.

    From cruise-ship crooner to cut-price Caligula–it would make a great biopic…

  167. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 4, 2010 11:49 AM

    I believe the Russkis have their own version of Friends, Comrades, set in a shebeen called Gorky Perk. As in the US show the characters are drawn from Real Life – Chandlerski an oil tycoon, Monika a prostitute. Of course they are all raging alcoholics.

  168. December 4, 2010 11:56 AM

    Given that he controls the media I guess it would take his mortality to bring him down rather than anything else.

  169. Reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:01 PM

    That video is absolutely hilarious – words defy me. Thanks Mish.

  170. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 12:02 PM

    And of course, there’s the Russian version of Seinfeld, Seinfeldoff. Jerzy Seinfeldoff is a dissident physicist, gloomy, depressed and internally exiled to a small town in Siberia, where he befriends local mafia hoodlums Giorgi Costanzinov and Kosmo Kraminsky, and falls in love with local prostitute, Elaina Benisovsky–despair, murder and suicide follow. A laugh a minute.

  171. December 4, 2010 12:13 PM

    Then there’s “Stalin.” He leaves his job as a brutal Russian dictator and becomes a radio psychiatrist in Seattle. People phone him up and he dispenses advice based on 5 year principles. His overwhelming sense of rightness provides many hilarious interactions with guest callers.

    He has a brother Nilesovitch who dissappears at the end of every episode to be replaced by a different actor. His father also dissappears, as does the dog, the neighbours, the staff at the radio station and local Armenian corner shop owners. None of these re-appear and they are never mentioned again.

  172. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:14 PM

    I found that video profoundly upsetting. I had to stop watching and finish after lunch. Now I feel sick. The only remotely comforting part was seeing half of Milli Vanilli lipsynching…

  173. Reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:25 PM

    In the absence of satellites, Sky dishes etc. we had only two television channels growing up – the national (Irsk (I learn)) broadcaster’s – and I still managed to see most of the stuff referenced there up to the late 80s. Like a trip down memory lane. Perhaps the kind of trip one would need to take tablets for.

  174. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 12:39 PM

    Hahahaha…our friend @pinkroom gave Herr Prof. Rosen a splendid skewering on Richard Lea’s Babar piece.

    Rosen said:

    See Herbert Kohl ‘Should We Burn Babar’?

    Yes, consider naked elephant arrives in city and learns how to dress, to acquire the trappings of civilisation, which he takes back to his brethren back in Africa, who then proceed to ‘get dressed’ and imitate human (ie Parisian) characteristics etc etc

    To which knee-jerk Socialist Worker auto-drivel @pr responded with:

    Hi Michael

    A post-colonial reading of your own “Little Rabbit Foo Foo” is similarly instructive as a mallet wielding rabbit dressed in western dress, and riding an industrially produced motorcycle. sets about “bopping” various groups of previously peaceable woodland folk. He is surely a thinly disguised representative of an out of control oriental – or possibly African – puppet government – in this context the “Foo Foo” label is actually quite offensive, but probably has to be seen in the context of its time.

    That “good order” is only restored by an aged white woman (a clear cipher for US imperialism?) who warns, then violently transforms, the Rabbit into “a Goonie” (oh dear – no excuses there) with her vastly superior firepower speaks volumes I’m afraid.

    Can we really trust our children with such dangerous material?

    Bravo, @pr.

  175. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:50 PM

    I co-opted won of MR’s poems for children on the GU Books good sex blog. Now I know why it got so many recommends…

  176. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 1:20 PM

    I see that the wonderfully-named Monty Sunshine, jazz clarinettist, has popped his clogs.

    “In 1987, he and Lonnie Donegan formed Donegan’s Dancing Sushine Band.”

    Oh, dear. Maybe it’s just as well, then.

  177. December 4, 2010 2:33 PM

    Can’t remember whether Monty Sunshine shows up in George Melly’s autobiography Owning Up but he ought to.

    An interesting read about when playing trad jazz in the UK was like beng in a punk band rather than the cosy image it has now.

  178. December 4, 2010 3:52 PM

    Oh, look… it’s that time of year again… (ie, celebrating the eternal torment of faded North American celebrities in a Norwegian Purgatory)…(keep an eye out for the Dolph Lundgren-to-Malcom Jamal Warner segue… chills)

  179. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 4:23 PM

    See my 9:45 am, Steven.

    Ed, I’d be surprised if Monty isn’t in Melly’s autobio. He certainly played with him.

  180. December 4, 2010 4:46 PM

    oh poo

  181. December 4, 2010 4:47 PM

    Answer this, then: why are Huey Lewis and Jason Alexander singing with Paul McCartney’s voice, eh?

  182. December 4, 2010 4:50 PM

    (I started reading the thread with “I believe the Russkis have their own version of Friends, Comrades, set in a shebeen called Gorky Perk…” and missed the video-drop just before it. BTW, that’s a hit you’ve got there, MM… )

  183. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 4:59 PM

    Yeah, I noticed that, too , but assumed Mr. Lewis was just doing a really good impersonation, while Jason moved his lips. You don’t think…? No…no…surely not…lip synching?

  184. December 4, 2010 5:42 PM

    the vagaries and/or mysteries of Nordic showbiz….

  185. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 5:48 PM

    the embarrassment of an air-guitar display to the tenth power.

  186. pinkroom permalink
    December 4, 2010 5:59 PM

    Rosen’s beccoming a bit of a slow, moving target I’m afraid,

    I loved this riposte to another poster who suggested he read a bit of Edward Said, he snipped back,

    “…re Orientalism. I read it when it came out. Thank you. I interviewed Edward Said for the World Service when his book Culture and Imperialism came out.”

    Sometimes you have to just let people speak for themselves.

  187. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 6:10 PM

    He should have moved to the Bologna Book Fair on a permanent basis.

  188. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 4, 2010 7:37 PM

    They wouldn’t have him.

    An amusing story in this week’s local paper (Red Funnel is one of the IoW’s two ferry lines):


    After days of disruption and cancelled sailings, Judith Ferris (42) tackled Red Funnel chief executive James Fulford on a sailing between Cowes and Southampton about poor levels of service.

    He challenged her to run the service if she thought she could do better and now Mrs Ferris has decided to take up the offer.

    ‘I was rather shocked at the time and said if he was just going to be rude to me I did not wish to continue the conversation. On further consideration, I would like to accept Mr Fulford’s offer. Red Funnel can furnish me with the same salary as the current chief executive and I will happily run the service. I await notification of my start date.’

    Mr Fulford said: ‘I am pleased to hear of Mrs Ferris’s interest in Red Funnel and I would like her to come in to meet me and discuss her ideas on how we can improve the business.’

    Mrs Ferris said she saw little point in meeting with Mr Fulford, since if she was called on to improve the service, the first thing she would do would be to fire him.

  189. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 4, 2010 7:39 PM

    Any ideas on cooking squid? Whenever I do it it’s like eating elastic bands.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 4, 2010 7:48 PM

      You have to either cook it very quickly over a high heat (fried in olive oil would be my choice) or to slowly cook it long enough to break down the muscle fibres. Anything in between will be tough and rubbery.
      That really is all you need to know. Well, that and the fact that uncooked squid goes off very quickly…

      Mrs. Ferris sounds like prime executive material.

    • reine permalink
      December 4, 2010 8:21 PM

      probably done now but I would do as Mishari says, cut into rings (calamari), fry on high heat for jig time with some seasoning, chili flakes or fresh diced chili and a squeeze of lime.

  190. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 8:51 PM

    I’d suggest a high oleic sunflower oil, since it’s also monounsaturated (like olive oil) but isn’t damaged by high heat. Safflower has a taste I don’t care for, but the same properties.
    Then I’d give the calamari to the cats, and saute scallops or tiger shrimp instead.
    Also there’s an Asian brand ‘Ka Me’ with a ‘stir-fry’ oil already infused with garlic or lemongrass &c… tasty.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 4, 2010 11:00 PM

      Thanks for the advice, cuisineurs. I’ve tried the high heat route several times without success: I just can’t find the right moment to stop cooking. Perhaps I should go for the slow method (which I wasn’t aware of as an option). Had scallops tonight, strangely enough.

    • reine permalink
      December 5, 2010 12:06 AM

      Throw it in the pan, go for a quick wee in a nearby toilet, come back, shake the pan and it’s done. Crude, but effective, timing trick.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 5, 2010 12:20 AM

      I am a 56 year-old man. The quick wee is a thing of the past. I see what you’re driving at, but the Mowbrays have an aversion to undercooked seafood (some bad memories) and there’s a period of anxious prodding to test if it’s done which probably results in the vulcanisation.

    • reine permalink
      December 5, 2010 12:23 AM

      If you marinate it in lime, garlic, chili or whatever you fancy first MM, it will tenderise and practically cook it so it really needs only a brief toss. Would a 56 year old be up to that?

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 5, 2010 12:37 AM

      All right. I’ll give it a go. It’s probably going to be midweek, so I’ll let you know the result. Unless I’m dead from shellfish poisoning.

  191. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 9:02 PM

    Old Spike Milligan joke:

    Diner in a Chinese restaurant calls the waiter over and says “Waiter, this chicken is rubbery.”

    Waiter says “Thank you velly much, sir.”

  192. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:10 PM

    Cooked calamari for my father (a meat and spuds man) once. He said he’d bear it in mind if the famine made a comeback.

  193. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:23 PM

    Is he prone to prescience, generally, your Dad?

  194. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:27 PM

    If he were Hic, I think he would have advised that I marry a rich man and emigrate. He is a true patriot (of the pacifist and democratic politics vein) though and it would take more than a famine to shift him from these shores!

  195. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:47 PM

    I can’t believe I said that actually. Sometimes I’m aghast at the rubbish I come out with. When I call to mind the photo of that homeless teen sitting on the pavement, I feel beastly for joking.

  196. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:52 PM

    Oh don’t beat yourself up Hic. I have that very same feeling often, but you are all very indulgent of my ramblings (publicly at least).

  197. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:57 PM

    That’s the Irish spirit, Re. I love your ramblings. The last one was so typically farcical, in the midst of film discussion, I wished you’d had a button-hole camera to film the proceedings. Is HI ringless at large?

  198. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:07 PM

    He is at large but the ring isn’t. Our anniversary on Tuesday, I may buy him a holding ring. (The lost one was Tiffany, the next will be Argos).

  199. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:19 PM

    … confused momentarily. I mean he is here, the ring isn’t. But you knew that.

  200. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:19 PM

    Hmm. I googled Argos.
    How about…since he looks like Sam Eagle….how about one of those bands they put on birds’ legs? just temporarily. You could give him a registration number and receive reports on his whereabouts.

  201. reine permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:26 PM

    Yes, he is the Sam to my Miss Piggy. Monobrowed and easily exercised about the issues of the day but not blue I hasten to add. Irish Rail already has his photo on file for when they find him at the end of the line.

  202. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:35 PM

    We’re going to see the film ‘Freakonomics’ this evening. There’s a poetry salon at the same time, as I’ve just discovered, but I’ve committed to a family date. There’d be baleful looks in Paradise were I to opt out now.

    It’s funny that you know the Muppets, but the idea that people abroad can bear to listen to or look at ‘The Simpsons’
    (mentioned recently) is frankly unimaginable.

  203. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 10:40 PM

    The Simpsons is one of the best things US TV has produced in 50 years. Bite your tongue, heretic.

  204. hic8ubique permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:51 PM

    I suppose you have to be able to listen to it to find that out.
    I don’t last 30 seconds, so forgive my ignorance, man of the faith, but then, I’m not sure about the runners-up either…
    US TV…? what have I liked? I’ll need to ponder.

  205. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 4, 2010 11:07 PM

    Some of the best lines of all time on the Simpsons, I’d say.

    A film about economics. Sounds great.

  206. mishari permalink*
    December 4, 2010 11:24 PM

    The Simpsons isn’t about the animation at all, hic…perhaps that’s what’s putting you off. The animation is crude and perfunctory but it’s really about the words. It’s absolutely brilliant, merciless satire…but you have to listen.

  207. December 5, 2010 12:00 AM

    I beg to differ: the animation on the Simpsons is pretty damn good.

    The drawing is simple but the images are always animated and imaginatively done so – some brilliant visual cartoon gags throughout. Compare it to Japanese TV Manga where only the lips move or an arm goes up and down in a scene . Or some of the Hanna Barbera stuff which really is cheapo crap churned out on a factory line.

    I really don’t like the Simpsons when they visit another country but otherwise they’ve sustained the quality pretty well.

  208. reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 12:01 AM

    I’m with the boys on the Simpsons Hic, my son is a devotee so I am surrounded by them but the scripting is shit hot.

  209. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 12:04 AM

    Fair enough, Ed. I meant if one came to it from the heyday of Warner Bros etc. It appears crude but as you say, it isn’t really. Still, it is, I think, words plus pictures, not the other way around.

  210. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 12:13 AM

    I thought Futurama sounded like a disaster, but in the event that was pretty good as well, though not quite up to the Simpsons.

  211. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 12:44 AM

    All right, Unfashionable parka, rucksack, ice pick, time for me to tackle the north face of the stairs. Why do I do it?
    Because it’s there. And because I’m going to bed.

  212. hic8ubique permalink
    December 5, 2010 2:58 AM

    Rest in peace, Hillary.
    Freakonomics was interesting…
    Our teen remained awake and alert.

    I’d be amenable to reading the hot shit script of the Simpsons, but as to seeing it or hearing it, I’d rather chew glass.

  213. Ann Widicombe's Arse permalink
    December 5, 2010 3:39 AM

    ‘When I call to mind the photo of that homeless teen sitting on the pavement, I feel beastly for joking.’

    Don’t be, if it’s the photo used recently of a I am thinking of, because the person on the bridge could well have been a scanger, and/or part of a team who send the cash they make here as professional panhandlers, to support their own people back ‘home’ in other parts Europe.

    Most people begging in Dublin are alcoholics & drug addicts, many of whom are capable of very vile antisocial behavior patterns tey are trapped into due to their physical addictions.

    The real pictures to weep at are the one’s of Lenihan, Cowen and Bertie Ahern in a cupboard with a cup of tea, filming propoganda for News of the World, Rupert’s earner; stooge to obscenely bankrupt set of gangsters in cozy international banking cartels. People who do not give a fuck about the hundreds of thousands of Irish they swizzed into poverty – just the 19 billion cash pension pot a faceless few market raiders got, without fuss, because the politicians of Ireland, selfish, stupid & greedy for too long, having their good life; turned into moral cowards who ran away from the natural will of the people, whose best interests they are paid an obscene amount of money, to look after, protect and keep sovereign, as the Republic of Ireland.

    The shameless, brainwashed, failures-as-republican Irish politicians, transfering power to their international, besuited gangster pals, to the estates, palaces and playgrounds of Davos & the monster of a bankrupt IMF, our short lived experiment as the Republic of Ireland, over; i hereby dissolve it, with the power invested in me by RTE, the BBC, Hill Street Blues and the grand-nephew of a bloke called Micheal Collins, Ryan Tubridy, Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Mallon, Alan Partridge and Jock from Fartuncles bar Benidorm, 1992.

  214. Propaganda permalink
    December 5, 2010 9:01 AM

    A quarter of a talk delivered in Chicago, August 2006.

    The title of this talk is Freedom Next Time, meant as an antidote to the Propaganda that’s so often disguised as Journalism. And so I thought I would talk today about journalism; about war-by-journalism, propoganda and silence, and about how that silence might be broken.

    Edward Bernays, the so called ‘father of public relations’, wrote about an ‘invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country’. He was referring to journalism. The Media. That was almost eighty years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It’s a history few journalists talk about, or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertizing.

    As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called ‘professional journalism’ was invented. To attract big advertizers the new corporate press had to appear respectable; pillars of the establishment, objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of Journalism were set up and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional Journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well – ‘entirely bogus’.

    For what the pubic didn’t know, was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by Official Sources, and that hasn’t changed.

    Go through the New York Times on any day and check the sources on the main political stories, domestic and foreign – you’ll find they’re dominated by governements and other establishment interests; that’s the essence of ‘professional journalism’.

    I’m not suggesting Independent journalism, was, or is, excluded, but its more likely to be an honorable exception. Think of the role Judith Miller played in the New York Times in the run up to the Invasion of Iraq. Yes her work became a scandal, but only after it had played a powerful role in promoting an invasion based on Lies.

    But Millers parroting of official sources and vested interests, was not all that different from many famous Times reporters, such as the celebrated W.H. Lawrence, who helped cover up the true effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945: No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin, was the headline on his report – and it was false.

    Consider how the power of this Invisible Goverment, has grown. In 1983 the principle global media was owned by fifty corporations, most of them Amerian. In 2002 this had fallen to just nine corporations. Today, it’s probably about five. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there’ll be just three global media giants and his company will be one of them.

    This concentration of power is not exclusive, of course, to the United States. The BBC has announced its expanding its broadcasts to the United States, because it believes Americans want principle, objective, neutral journalism, for which the BBC is famous. They’ve launched BBC America. You may have seen the advertizing.

    The BBC began in 1922, just before the corporate press began in America. It’s founder was Lord John Reith, who believed that impartiality and objectivity were the essence of professionalism. In the same year, the British Establishment was under siege; unions had called a general strike and the Tories were terrified a revolution was on the way. The new BBC came to their rescue. In high secrecy Lord Reith wrote anti-union speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and broadcast them to the nation, while refusing to allow the Labour leaders to put their side, until the strike was over.

    So a pattern was set: Impartiality was a principle to be suspended whenever the Establishment was under threat, and that principle has been upheld ever since.

    Take the Invasion of Iraq. There are two studies of the BBC’s reporting. One shows the BBC gave just 2% of its coverage of Iraq, to anti-war dissent. Just two-percent. That’s less than the anti-war coverage of ABC, NBC & CBS.

    A second study by the University of Wales, shows that in the build up to the Invasion, 90% of the BBC’s references to Weapons of Mass Destruction, suggested that Saddam Hussein actually possessed them, and that, by clear implication, Bush & Blair were right.

    We now know that the BBC and other British Media, were used by the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, in what they called Operation Mass Appeal.

    MI6 agents planted stories about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, such as weapons his in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All these stories were fake.

    But that’s not the point. The point is, that the work of MI6 was unnecessary because professional journalism, on its own, produced the same result.

    Listen to the BBC’s man in Washington, Matt Fry, shortly after the Invasion: ‘There is no doubt’, he told viewers in the UK and all over the world, ‘that the desire to bring good, to bring American Values to the rest of the world, and especially now in the Middle East, is now increasingly tied up with American military power’.

    In 2005 the same reporter lauded the architect of the Invasion Paul Wolfowitz, as ‘someone who believes passionately in the power of Democracy and grass-roots development.’ That was before the little incident at the World Bank.

    None of this is unusual. BBC News routinely describes the Invasion as a ‘miscalculation’. Not ‘illegal’, not ‘unprovoked’, not ‘based on lies’, but a ‘miscalculation’.

    The words ‘mistake’ and ‘blunder’ are common BBC News currency, along with ‘failure’, which at least suggests, that if the deliberate, calculated, unprovoked, illegal assault on defenceless Iraq had succeeded, that would have been just fine.

    Whenever I hear these words I think of Edward Herman’s marvelous essay about normalizing the unthinkable; for that’s what media cliched language does, and is designed to do. It normalizes the unthinkable. Of the degredation of war, of severed limbs, of maimed children, all of which I’ve seen.

    One of my favourite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. ‘I have to tell you’, said the spokeman, ‘that we were astonished to find, after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day, that all the opinions on all the vital issues, are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag, we even tear out their fingernails. Here, you don’t have to do any of that. What’s the secret?

    What is the secret? It’s a question seldom asked in news rooms, in media colleges, in journalism journals. And yet the answer to that question is critical to the lives of millions of people. On Augist 24 last year, the New York Times decalred this in an editorial:

    ‘If we knew then what we know now, the invasion of Iraq eould have been stopped by a popular outcry.

    This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists had betrayed the pubic by not doing their job, and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of challenging and exposing them.

    What the Times didn’t say, was had that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million people might be alive today.

    John Pilger

  215. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 9:23 AM

    All too true, Des. The moment my intense dislike for Jack Straw turned to burning, visceral hatred was when he described the deaths of innocent Iraqi men, women and children as ‘…regrettable collateral damage…’.

    Shooting really is too good for these people.

  216. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:38 AM

    The General Strike was in 1926, as far as I remember, not 1922, and Bonar Law was PM. If journalism is always partial, what’s Pilger’s agenda?

    Change of plan. Having the squid for lunch today. If you don’t hear from me again you’ll know what’s happened. Don’t blame yourself, Reine.

  217. reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:39 AM

    I have started a rosary…

  218. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:41 AM

    I mean Bonar Law was PM in ’22, of course.

  219. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 12:16 PM

    Can’t journalism be ‘partial’ to the ‘truth’ (as far as it can be determined), MM? Granted, Pilger can be a bit strident and he may get the odd fact wrong, but on the whole, I think he’s on the side of the angels.

    Would you prefer flowers or a donation to your favourite charity (The Bangkok Home for Distressed Lady-boys)?

  220. freep permalink
    December 5, 2010 12:41 PM

    From his diet of battered kraken
    Melton Mowbray may never waken.
    A poet’s life that meal undid,
    That beastly, leathery, tasteless squid.

  221. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 12:49 PM

    To comfort his old fat-clogged ventricles
    Mowbray dined on food with tentacles;
    MM and squid–such battle scenes!
    Perhaps next time he’ll dine on beans.

  222. freep permalink
    December 5, 2010 12:57 PM

    Indeed it was a silly sod
    To grill so tough a cephalopod.
    The gust of squid is just so subtle
    It’s oft confused with fish of cuttle,
    The which I rarely feed my canary.
    (Today I’m casseroling cassowary.)

  223. December 5, 2010 12:58 PM

    Sick squid would be my donation towards the stomach pump MM.

  224. December 5, 2010 1:05 PM

    Pilger acts as a useful correction to much of the swill that the news churns out. However because he sets his stall out so clearly he can be accused of being too biased.

    He most certainly is but it’s refreshing to hear what he says.

  225. December 5, 2010 1:12 PM

    Squid will make a trembling heap of ya
    If you don’t drain off all the sepia
    The draining off of all that ink
    Will reduce its tendency to stink.

  226. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    December 5, 2010 2:07 PM

    Fished from Iceland’s sell-by freezer
    For a squid; our Ebenezer
    Filled his salmonella basket
    Express check-out; cut-price casket

  227. December 5, 2010 2:27 PM

    Pilger references in this thread? All for it, comrades. But it’s funny that we perceive JP as biased/opinionated/polemic, etc., while MSM in the Anglo-American sphere has been actively cheer-leading all manner of illegal invasions/resource-grabs/genocides since before the Falklands and yet manages, largely, to seem “objective” to us.

    • December 5, 2010 3:43 PM

      Who MSM SA? Have become temporarily acronym deficient. [Main Stream Media-Ed.]

  228. December 5, 2010 2:31 PM

    (PS: I tend to enjoy Crypto-Geopolitical musings even spicier than Pilger’s: )

  229. December 5, 2010 4:26 PM

    There was a tough squid on a plate
    Masticated until it was late
    Said Mowbray “the hour
    is late, this squid’s sour
    and my vesicles really aren’t great”

  230. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 4:38 PM

    Just thought I’d scribble an informal line
    to all the gourmands who have helped me here,
    the sauteed squid was really very fine,
    not much vomiting or diarrhoea.

  231. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 4:50 PM

    It was the best I’ve managed so far, though I used lemon juice (no limes at Tesco), and eschewed the urination timer since we would have lunched off squid crisps. Thanks for the ideas.

  232. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 5:06 PM

    They are the celebrity must-have gift of 2010, with Katie Price and Rupert Grint said to have fallen for the charms of the micro-pig, which sell for anything between £100 and £1,500.

    Ministers are so nervous about the craze, which has led to several owners being mis-sold regular piglets which grow into full-size sows, that guidance is to be rushed out next week specifically targeting prospective keepers of the pocket-sized creatures.–The Indy, today

    That last bit had me smiling sardonically.

    The Scene – The Mowbray residence
    The Time – Six months after Christmas

    Melton (for it is he): Jesus fucking Christ…that mini-pig Mishari sent us for Christmas has just eaten the postman…oh, God…he’s coming for me…
    no…no…aaarrrrggghhhh…(the rest is silence but for the sound of an 800 lb pig digesting contentedly)

  233. hic8ubique permalink
    December 5, 2010 5:29 PM

    An all around pungent day here on the thread;
    the squids, pigs, and scandals entwine in my head.
    Still… we await a revelatory poem
    describing our host’s favourite sanctum sanctorum .
    Does he cogitate in a monkish scriptorium?
    or revel late in wild outdoor euphori-um?
    Indulge us! this manuscript illuminate.
    Dip the quill! toss another white cow on the grate.

  234. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 6:08 PM

    As far as it can be said that I’m able,
    I do all my work at the kitchen table.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 5, 2010 6:16 PM


      (That’s what I get for being pushy.)

    • mishari permalink*
      December 5, 2010 6:47 PM

      Sorry if that sounded brusque…it wasn’t meant to. Just a rapid-response squib attempting to divert attention from my failure to produce.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 5, 2010 11:25 PM

      Brusque is the sound of a crispy bruschetta
      with plenty of garlic, the oftener the better.

      What a great word.
      I can withstand a bit of brusquery, but as ever you are the most indulgent of hosts, and I took your
      ex tempore squib in that spirit…
      indulgence that is.
      Now perhaps to indulge in my spirit of choice following a vigorous afternoon at the Salsa workshop…

  235. Reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:06 PM

    Squids In

    I can rest easy
    To know you’re not queasy
    And a lemon is ample
    As a citric fruit sample
    Next time, for a thrill
    Flame them under the grill
    Or braise for a week
    ’til they’ve lost all their squeak

  236. freep permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:27 PM

    We all are most relieved that nobody
    Was poisoned to death by a squid.
    We owe it to Reine’s pure rosary,
    Which was blessed by the Pope in Madrid.
    She uttered the sorrowful mysteries
    With ardour and spirit and piety
    Which averted the possible dysentery
    Caused by cooks who indulge inebriety.

  237. Reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:57 PM

    Freep I am more Mary Magdalene than Holy Mary Mother of God but I do indeed strive for purity. Thank you for recognising my pious side.

  238. Reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 9:45 PM

    Seated at his table
    Draped in some sable
    He wielded his quill
    The masses to thrill
    But a squid intervened
    In his lofty high thinking
    And he cast off his fur
    With his heart ever sinking
    What have I done?
    I wish they’d aspire
    To thoughts above squid
    – Now my quill is on fire –
    Really it’s too much for a renaissance man
    To have to instruct in the ways of a pan.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 5, 2010 10:50 PM

      I’m glad the rosary saved me
      and the danger of poisoning’s fled,
      my thanks to the saintly Reine,
      and yet. And yet. A squid is dead.

      No longer will his siphon push
      his mantle through the chilly seas,
      that horny beak no longer crush
      the fishes that its suckers seize.

      Below a heavenly ocean
      a ghostly shape will ply,
      with a supernatural motion
      its tentacles wave goodbye.

  239. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 9:55 PM

    This one would make the late Fatty Arbuckle get up out of his grave and shake his not insubstantial booty…
    ¡ Vamos a bailar !

  240. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 10:35 PM

    For daily, or even hourly, updates on the life of Cheryl Cole, a British television talent-show judge and sometime pop singer who used to be married to a soccer star, there may be no better resource than the Web site of The Daily Mail.

    According to the research firm comScore, more than 32 million people flock to the Daily Mail’s site every month for the latest on Ms. Cole, as well as news of narrower interest. —NYT, today

    Narrower interest? They must be fucking joking. How could you have a narrower interest than the doings of Ms. Cole (who I wouldn’t recognise if I found her in my morning bowl of cornflakes)?

  241. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:02 PM

    Howay! You shud woach sum Tay Vay, pet! She’s a bonneee lass, yower Cheryl!

    I’ve been totally enraptured by The Nation’s Favourite Abba Song. I was sure the lousy Dancing Queen would take the title, but I was wrong. Instead, the brilliant:

  242. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:04 PM

    One day I’ll get one you don’t have to go to youtube to watch.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      December 5, 2010 11:49 PM

      It matters not, and I’d forgotten about white pianos.
      Set off by our Reine’s scarlet piety, a white piano is a Christmassy thing.

  243. freep permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:06 PM

    Strong echoes of old beardie’s rather good sonnet, MM:

    The Kraken, Tennyson

    Below the thunders of the upper deep;
    Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
    His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
    The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
    About his shadowy sides; above him swell
    Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
    And far away into the sickly light,
    From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
    Unnumber’d and enormous polypi
    Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
    There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
    Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 5, 2010 11:41 PM

      A bit of a Kraken himself now, Tennyson. Rather sad.

  244. Reine permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:15 PM

    Having a little bed dance to Liegó Teté. Mishari, how, even if you never seek her out, have you avoided sight of Cheryl? She is everywhere.

    Nice ode to the squid above MM. What did you serve with it if that’s not too impertinent a question? I will never again speak of squid after this.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 5, 2010 11:50 PM

      Squid-related queries are always welcome. Wild rice for Mrs M, long-grain for me, diced courgette, diced butternut, chopped red onion, slivered fennel, sliced chilli (green). Sauteed, mixed with rice, squid on top. Pear tatin to follow, with rum sauce. Wines: Cotes du Rhone, Averna. Coffee: Tesco Classic Gold.

    • Reine permalink
      December 6, 2010 12:07 AM

      Well, I can’t believe you did two types of rice. And all those dicing and chopping and slivering techniques. Wonderful. I wouldn’t put butternut with fennel myself but there you go, I have learned something new. Hats off to you.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 6, 2010 12:21 AM

      Well, I’d like to say it’s my gift for matching flavours, but they both happened to be in the fridge, so in they went.

      Now I must empty my swim bladder and sink to the floor of the Sea of Unconsciousness, there to drift among the weed and kelp until the sun lightens the depths. Or get caught and end up on someone’s plate.

    • December 6, 2010 8:27 AM

      MM are you the voice over on those M&S ads?

    • mishari permalink*
      December 6, 2010 8:32 AM

      “….it’s not just squid…it’s M and M squid…”

  245. mishari permalink*
    December 5, 2010 11:20 PM

    I don’t watch TV, Reine, and I don’t read tabloids, so I guess she might as well be invisible as far as I’m concerned–I doubt I’m missing much.

    Funny you should bring up that poem, freep. I recently read China Miéville’s Kraken in which it figures prominently.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      December 6, 2010 12:28 AM

      I thought you admitted to being a Sun reader.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 6, 2010 12:35 AM

      Once in a blue moon, I’ll find a tabloid left at a pub table or in a cafe and I’ll glance through it…can’t remember the last time it happened, though. My brain’s in a parlous enough state with subjecting it to that kind of abuse…

      So that’s Ms. Cole…I walk past a hundred women a day who look very like her. I just don’t have much of a memory for animated Barbie dolls…

  246. Des permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:23 PM

    Unpublished Writer’s Epistle

    Dearly beloved Brian Cameron, this
    Is sent to thank you for the cheese
    & a euro price that greatly fell,

    We hope your bonds are doing well
    & tell us please, we’re none the wiser,
    What happened to our Celtic tiger,

    You say it was the People’s fault
    That all now has come to a halt.

    We thank you for the bailout loan
    It’s good to know we’re not alone
    & we’ll pay it back, and then some more,
    To ensure that Banks are never poor.

  247. David Cowen: Disappeared permalink
    December 6, 2010 3:15 AM

    Leapor’s poem shows promise, there are lots of arresting images and the wordplay unforced, the second sentence stretches to twenty-one lines, and this alone, the fact she is keeping the rules of the day, coupleting an unforced plod in deh deh, deh deh, deh deh,deh deh, deh doh!/ deh deh, deh deh, deh deh, deh deh, deh doh! – shows she has the basic gift a writer must possess to write this kind of nursery-rhymish poetic comedy, from the teen-brained mind of our 21-3 year old poet setting out on her way to finding keys and codes to skeletel selves within her, she transposed onto the page here, as Deborah and her self-image refracted through a mask-that-isn’t-really-a-mask (for the poetry critic), because ‘Mary’ in the poem, is clearly Mary Leapor herself sitting down ‘scribble scribble all the day,
    And making – what – I can’t remember
    But sure ’tis something like December;
    A frosty morning – let me see –
    O! now I have it to a T:
    She throws away her precious time
    In scrawling nothing else but rhyme.

    Great stuff. Those with an ability to understand what is going on in the Reality of this poem, and as an English feminist oneself, with plenty of patter trotted out in the classes and corriders over the years to know how to propogandarize Mary Leapor’s poetry, on behalf of the Establishment pantheon of English Poet Greats, her place in the canon, almost all but unknown, is still somewhere far higher than one’s own, at the moment.

    Her ditty reminds me of summer bells and kittens kissed by a sun luring in September, cool hay and dry straw on which nuts from a scared well, circumvent east-west round a tower clock tick tocking & counting front-back down-up, in a void your nuts cannot root in, detached of plod deh deh, deh deh, deh Noh poetry – from a moderate buck. Cuchulain perhaps ooh ye say, aint like us prententious pricks, ooh come moderate it, take it down, Community Mod, right fecking now ye anonymous cnuts.

    ha ha ha ha ha

  248. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 8:03 AM

    James Naughtie on Today at 8 AM: “……after 8, we’ll be talking to Jeremy Cunt, the Hulture Secretary…(cough, cough, cough…corpses….snuffles hysterically)…

    This one’s for James Naughtie:

  249. BoringShyTVCritic permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:44 AM

    Campers, a poster on the gnuts bs blog: BoringShyTvCritic’s posting ‘privilges’ that consist of being allowed to speak, the tuncs in official propoganda suspended after one outspoken, highly offensive post – just, fair, brave, proud and -7C in Dublin as i write, and 7C in Galway, -10 at Casement Baldonnel airport and 7 at Mace Head.

  250. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 11:32 AM

    Bright as meringues, the swans sweep/ sideways down the passionate water…

    …the what water? Jesus…ever hear of the pathetic fallacy, Craig?

    Like the unshaven prickle
    of a sharpened razor…

    What the fuck does that mean…and when was the last time anyone sharpened a razor? 1920?

    Craig Raine: Andrew Motion for 60s bores who wore kaftans, took drugs and subscribed to Penthouse Magazine.

  251. December 6, 2010 12:01 PM

    I knew you’d love this week’s POTW, mish. I’m trying to be polite over there for a change.

  252. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 12:22 PM

    It just reinforces the dislike I conceived for Raine a long time ago, Bill. All those words, tortured and abused in the service of saying so very little. Well worth a read is Michael Hofman on Raine (thanks, Des).

  253. December 6, 2010 1:20 PM

    I like one image and I liked the budgerigar lines a lot but I find these poems are trying to stuff too much into a short space.

    He may as you say have little to say but there’s no space for the ideas to breathe. That could be because he doesn’t have any or it could be that he’s throwing too much into the pot. tbh I don’t know his work but I suspect it’s the latter.

    re: the razor line. It doesn’t make sense to me either ( new razors are a delight ) but to be fair all razors are sold in a sharpened state and become blunt.

  254. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 1:34 PM

    But they aren’t sharpened, Ed–they’re made sharp…’sharpened’ implies a pre-sharpened state, i.e. dull.

    The razors you buy were never in a ‘pre-sharpened’ state; they were in a ‘pre-razor’ state. They were not-razors (raw materials), then they were razors–they were never dull.

    Or perhaps Raine imagines that the Bic and Gillete factories are teeming with workers hunched over benches busily sharpening disposable razors? Rather like me hunched over my keyboard, busily splitting hairs.

    But I don’t think I am hair-splitting, really. It’s the imprecision of Raine’s language, or lack of thought or falsity, that I object to. Just ‘razor’ would have sufficed.

    Or take ‘…bright as meringues…’. What the hell does that mean? Certainly, the inside of a meringue is white, but the exterior is toasted brown. Does he mean that the swans resemble split meringues? Why ‘meringues? Is he suggesting that swans are as delicate and fragile? Then he knows nothing about swans, which are large, powerful and aggressive birds. Just so many bum notes…

  255. December 6, 2010 2:05 PM

    Yes, it’s the imprecision of language that hurts most, especially in such a short poem. So few words and yet so little razor sharpness with them.

  256. December 6, 2010 2:27 PM

    tbh I don’t give much of a toss either way but to nitpick one last time meringue can be white and in a well-made isles flottantes are precisely that.

  257. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 2:40 PM

    Fine, point taken, Ed…but I still don’t understand why meringues and not marshmallows or whipped cream or cotton balls…the only reason that suggests itself is the wish to conjure up fragility, delicacy etc.

    But swans are neither fragile nor delicate…they can break your leg with a blow of their wing, you know (or is that pterodactyls?).

    …and ‘…the swans sweep/ sideways down…’. Huh? One gets the impression that Raine has never actually paid attention to how swans move on the water or, indeed, to the ‘reality’ of swans. They’re no more than a ‘poetic’ conceit to him. Bah.

    Although to be fair to Raine:

    ‘The budgerigar pecks at the millet,/ his beak prised apart like a pistachio nut/ by the fat kernel of tongue’

    …isn’t bad at all.

  258. December 6, 2010 2:57 PM

    Sorry I’m a nuisance today but took interest in the swans because I’ve just downloaded a bunch of photographs I took in Southport of a huge flotilla of swans where a river ran into the sea.

    Many of them do drift rather than use their legs to propel them and yes some were drifting slowly sideways rather than facing front.

    But that image complete with meringue topping, which I can see quite clearly is knackered by the passionate river which wouldn’t allow a lazy drift.

    As I said over on PotW it reminds me of an Imagist poem but in those the poet presents the reader with an image ( durrr ) and the emotion comes from what the reader makes of that image.

    Raine acts too much like a middle-man I think, adding what he thinks of the image into the mix and cluttering up what could be something good. Or something like that.

  259. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 3:14 PM

    Equally sorry to be so dogged, Ed, but ‘drift’ is very different from ‘sweep’. I walk Honey by canals and the River Lea a lot and I often watch (and feed) the swans.

    They drift, to be sure, often raising their wings slightly to create a sort of sail, letting the breeze propel them, but they’re always in control, being powerful swimmers.

    I saw a pen (female swan) with chicks launch herself at a small dog on the canal bank. She came across some 20 ft of water like a bloody rocket, almost walking on water.

    That dog aged 10 years in 10 seconds. Swans are no cream-puffs (or meringues).

  260. December 6, 2010 3:28 PM

    I’ve been chased several times by swans so have no illusions about them but they can also be a distant image too. Two different things surely?

    If I was painting them I could either depict them as uptight malign beasts or as a few white spots in a river scene. I could depict them as royal symbols on a river or, as seen on Sunday, two odd long-necked weird birds flying silently over my house.

    But although I have just done so I have no real interest in defending Raine. I haven’t read the link that Des supplies but no doubt he’s one you have to kneel before if you want to get on in the poetry world.

  261. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 6, 2010 3:35 PM

    Those meringues you get in packets are white, and swans do allow themselves to be swept along in a strong current. I think the image stands up – it’s just not that interesting.

    It’s quite nostalgic revisiting the arguments of the early 80s. As soon as I saw the King of the Synonym at the top of the article I knew BM was likely to be hostile. There was such a fuss about A Martian Sends A Postcard Home when it came out that I actually went to the bookshop to order it, and a huge disappointment it was. Yes, some nice comparisons throughout, but the poems themselves amount to nothing. I’ve always disagreed with all that ‘making things new’ and ‘windscreen wipers for the eyeballs’ toss: those synonyms just make things foggier, not clearer.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the poet turned up at some point. He’s not shy. Get some newspaper down your trousers.

  262. mishari permalink*
    December 6, 2010 4:02 PM

    You can buy ready-made meringues? Who knew? The only meringue I’m actually familiar with goes on lemon-meringue pie and is just egg-whites, caster sugar and lemon zest, whipped until stiff and baked.

  263. MeltonMowbray permalink
    December 6, 2010 6:05 PM

    Lemon zest? What’s that in there for? Get with it, Fanny Craddock.

    Those shop-bought meringues are hard as rock, but they break up satisfactorily in Eton Mess etc. You’ll probably find them in Waitrose in the Amusing Lower-Class Foodstuffs aisle.

  264. December 6, 2010 9:58 PM

    I write
    Have written

    Drunk and harried
    Overcrept midnight
    Scrawl never finished

    Camels and instant coffee
    A PC that fell off the back of an open-plan office
    16 font – visible from bed

    In Deptford attic
    Overlooking St Nicholas
    Where Marlowe ended
    Skylight uncovered

    In spy-view of gravestones
    And junkies’ nook
    At a lady’s desk: I’m here now

    In bankrupt luxury
    Racing a Saturnine deadline
    With a chapter centring on a tomato

    Kreuzberg, four floors up
    Imagining the fall
    I conjured moon-ghosts
    Unknowingly stolen from Wenders

    Ronda, of course
    Perched like a chough
    Whittling unfinished Time
    Witnessing the fall

    Everywhere, I taste samphire and briny mud:
    Facing inland, ocean implicit
    A guardian’s shadow over me
    Something like Vishnu

    I fill my pen
    With the salt mud from my boots

    • reine permalink
      December 6, 2010 10:06 PM

      The best ’til last, bravo XB.

    • mishari permalink*
      December 6, 2010 10:59 PM

      Seconded, XB. Outstanding work.

  265. reine permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:05 PM

    On meringues … a proper homebaked one should look slightly beige and be whipped from the oven at the point of exterior crispiness and interior squidge. If shop bought, I favour M&S’s and the squidge factor can be obtained by leaving open to the air for a while. Do not, repeat not, serve with butternut squash. A raspberry pavlova is worth a bit of elbow grease.

  266. December 6, 2010 10:45 PM

    Many thanks, Reine!

  267. reine permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:02 PM

    De nada Exceptional Barnadine

Comments are closed.