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Appropriate Revulsion

March 31, 2011

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I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.Gustave Flaubert

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.William Gibson

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How I envy those for whom writing seems to come easily. Our friend Steven Augustine is a case in point: his ability to turn out elegant, witty, sardonic prose at will has me gnashing my teeth (what’s left of them) in frustration (of course, it’s entirely possible that I’m being presumptuous and that Steven has to undergo electro-convulsive shock therapy before he can even face a blank sheet of paper…but I don’t think so).

When it comes to writing, I’m a bleeder–I even re-write shopping lists in an attempt to make them more aesthetically ‘pleasing’.

I’ll never forget the expression of intense amusement on my wife’s face when she first encountered my rather peculiar pathology. We were sitting at a table outside a café in Valencia. “What are you doing?” she said. “Writing a postcard,” I replied. “No, you’re not: you’re writing on a napkin.” I explained that I wanted to ensure that the postcard was properly laid-out. “You mean you’re writing a first-draft of a postcard?” I admitted that I was, whereupon she patted my face affectionately, the way one does with a lovable but not very bright dog. It was the first of many such pats that she’s given me over the ensuing years.

Why do I agonise over such-like ephemera? I think it probably dates from my childhood. According to my mother, I taught myself to read and, in truth, I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. Happily, I grew up in a bookish household: both my parents were avid readers with wide-ranging tastes and our home was filled with books. Setting aside the influences of genetics, upbringing and cultural milieu, it’s books that have, more than any other agency, made me the man I am.

As a small boy, I would climb into a giant eucalyptus tree that grew on our property, up to where the trunk divided into a number of massive limbs. There, in a configuration like an open hand, I would spend hours with books, living other lives in other times and places and dying deaths other than the one I’m owed.

To this day, the scent of eucalyptus oil will transport me back to my tree/study; to the endless play of sunlight and shadow, of birdsong and the rising and falling rustle of the long, slim grey-green leaves; to a time when the power of the written word obliterated whatever rough-formed ‘I’ existed; when the only ‘I’ was dictated by what ‘I’ was reading. ‘I’ was Allan Quatermain; ‘I’ was Huck Finn; ‘I’ was Brigadier Gerard. ‘I’ was an endless array of characters. Books were a magic carpet–a conveyance to anywhere and anytime: to some extent, they still are.

I suppose that this has left me, despite the inevitable accumulation of years worth of scepticism and the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bad books read, with a reverence for the written word that might be exaggerated or misplaced (though I’m not convinced that it is). This, in turn, pretty much guarantees dissatisfaction with anything that I write.

After my recent accident, Reine and Kevin (I think) both suggested I try speech-recognition software and, in fact, both my sons have the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking installed on their laptops and use it all the time.

So, I installed it and tried it out. I have to say, it is hugely impressive. After a (roughly) 30 minute ‘training’ session (wherein you read set texts to the software, which then ‘learns’ to understand your particular accent and speaking style), the speed and accuracy of Dragon is close enough to 100% as to make no difference.

‘Fantastic!’ you might think; and in a way, it is…but I’ve stopped using it. Not because of any Luddite tendencies but for the simple reason that it’s so easy.

Perhaps I’m being ridiculous (God knows that would be nothing new) but it struck me as being too easy: instead of measuring, weighing and testing every word, Dragon encourages a sort of incontinence and I’m convinced that this is inimical to good prose. As the old saying has it: easy writing makes for hard reading. I can’t help feeling that the kind of effortless facility offered by Dragon can only render my prose even less readable than it already is. So it’s back to bashing this stuff out on a keyboard.

Now…to paraphrase Donne:

At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered keyboards go.

…let’s have verse on books and writing.

128 Comments
  1. March 31, 2011 8:36 AM

    Mish, you bastard, that was so inhumanly generous of you that I’ve decided to become a sort of online Gandhi now.

  2. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2011 8:53 AM

    You mean you’re going to sleep with under-age girls and German weight-lifters named ‘Hermann’? I advise against it.

    • March 31, 2011 9:46 AM

      What if I go leave an encouraging comment on the recent Zadie Smith blogicle at the Groan, instead? That should do it.

      “You mean you’re writing a first-draft of a postcard?”

      The mark of a true Aesthete, Sah.

  3. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 31, 2011 9:18 AM

    (singer: Barry Manilow)

    It began in India
    Starting out a new career
    Scrawny little man
    With glasses and moustache
    Charitable to
    The ruling white trash
    Mourning with polite dismay
    When the Empire passed away
    Battling their lies
    With ego transcendence
    I never realized
    You won independence

    Oh Gandhi
    Well you came and you gave without taking
    And they locked you away
    Oh Gandhi
    You stood firm against discrimination
    And we need you today
    Oh Gandhi

    Once again you’re doing time
    Disobedience is a crime
    Caught up in a jail of uphill gardeners
    The tears are in your eyes
    And nothing is rhyming

    Oh Gandhi
    Well you took a firm stand against slavery
    By non-violent means
    Oh Gandhi
    And the colonists scoffed at your bravery
    And sent in the Marines
    Oh Gandhi

    Conquering the foe
    With passive resistance
    Called upon to show
    Tenacious persistence

    Oh Gandhi (etc.)

    • mishari permalink*
      March 31, 2011 10:09 AM

      Fine work, Hank, although you show a disturbing familiarity with the oeuvre of Barry Manilow.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      March 31, 2011 10:40 AM

      We dreamers have our ways of facing rainy days

  4. March 31, 2011 9:30 AM

    I found an envelope you sent me some CDR’s in.

    Having read the above I’m now looking at it in an entirely different light.

    Nice choice of envelope colour, the pre-printed blue ruled lines contrasting nicely with the hand-written black ink. The E of Hinchcliffe’s could have been closer to the line but that’s a minor quibble. Craftsmen often put a deliberate flaw in their work so I’m assuming that’s the case here.

    Overall it’s elegant, efficient but also human too without being cute or sentimental.

    ( all written in confidence that you won’t go “Jacqueline Howett” on me )

    • March 31, 2011 9:49 AM

      Nah (to borrow one of Hic’s tics), M *is* in the mood for playing snake with you, ET.

  5. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2011 9:52 AM

    You’re reading the wrong envelope…you bastard…I hate you ./end J. Howett impression.

    I do hope, Ed, that The Whalley Range All Stars weren’t one of the hundreds of art organisations that lost their funding.

  6. March 31, 2011 10:21 AM

    We survived but as some really good groups got arbitrarily chopped God knows why or how. That’s the nature of this kind of funding of course. Best to adopt a completely fatalist position and enjoy each moment.

    I particularly like the third verse of HLM’s pome above. It’s a LOL-er. My poetic muscle ( such as it is ) is extremely distracted at the moment so I may struggle to add something worthy.

  7. Reine permalink
    March 31, 2011 11:20 AM

    Your Office

    You gave me Herrick’s “To Daffodils”
    To shut me up a while
    I learned it quickly and returned
    You fell foul of your guile

    You gave me Dickens and Maugham
    But I loved Lawrence best
    The torment and the torrents
    Caused quickening in my breast

    I’ve read Yeats and Yates and Galgut
    McEwan, Atwood and Tóibín
    But can’t forget the nascent thrill
    Of “have a look at this one Rein”

    Your father was a printer
    You, a newspaper man,
    Words and letters in the bloodstream
    You made me what I am

  8. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    March 31, 2011 11:46 AM

    As, on a whim, I placed more coffees out
    To serve those on another table sat
    Those cardboard characters who dare to doubt
    The supreme balance of my writing. That
    Is beyond all belief; that don’t make sense,
    Unless your reading a prior copy
    Only grammer pedants could take offence
    At something they should watch hypnotic’lly:
    A rat, perhaps, or else a poisenous snake
    Of stocky build, deserving of four stars.
    Despite Annoymous saying I’m a flake
    My writing is fine and contains no flaws.
    Fuck off! and Fuck off! I preffer to say.
    I’d just as soon not bother, anyway.

  9. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2011 12:44 PM

    Lovely poem, Reine. As mordant as ever, Hank.

    Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is announcing plans to introduce greater private-sector competition in HM Prison Service.–bbc.co.uk, today

    Oh, goody…after all, the private sector have done such an outstanding job of running banks and railways and nuclear power plants: what could possibly go wrong?

  10. March 31, 2011 1:18 PM

    Judging by the grammar the writing of emails like the below could be Jacqueline Howett’s day job

    “am in receipt of your email and the content is well understood, but I hereby to inform you once again that the Ј350,000.00 is your Euro million lottery winning funds which you won, that is why you are advised to fill the form and return back to us to enable us to proceed immediately on the crediting of your winning funds into your ATM CARD.

    FULL NAME______________________________________
    FULL ADDRESS___________________________________
    AMOUNT APPLIED FOR_____________________________
    AMOUNT IN WORD_________________________________
    PURPOSE OF PAYMENT______________________________
    TELEPHONENUMBER_________________FAXNUMBER___________
    DATE_____________________

    ****************************************************************
    We deeply appreciate your understanding and timely co-operation.
    Yours faithfully,
    Ms. Mary Jones
    Please open the attachment and read Reply”

  11. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:29 PM

    Drafts

    I found the original manuscript for these first drafts of Keats’ famous Ode while I was clearing a loft in Shanklin, in a house where the poet had once supposedly stayed for a holiday. Unfortunately I only copied out the first stanza and its drafts. Obeying an urgent summons to a bacon sandwich I stuffed the ms in a pocket, and a few hours later my trousers went for their annual wash.

    1.

    My head hurts, and I feel a bit spaced-out,
    Like I’d done some Mandrax or whatever
    Or stuck some heroin up my snout
    And I’m feeling fairly untogether,
    Not because I’m, like, envious or what,
    But because I really love what you do,
    That you, something something of the trees,
    In some fantastic spot,
    That’s sort of pastoral, and shady too,
    Gives it up for summer with expertise.

    2.

    My head aches, and I’ve got some nasty pains,
    Like I’ve been out and got totally drunk,
    Or taken a midnight swim down the drains,
    Recently, and felt my energy’s sunk.
    It’s not because I fancy you a lot,
    But I’m pretty stoked by your happiness,
    That you, light-thing something of the trees
    In some half-decent spot
    All nice and green, and general loveliness,
    Blows all those divas away with ease.

    3.

    My heart aches, and a drowsy something pains
    My head, as though of Night Nurse I had drunk,
    Or emptied my Dexedrine down the drains
    Ten minutes past, and realised I’m sunk.
    I’m not that jealous of your happy lot,
    But sort of happy in your happiness,
    That you, light-winged something of the trees,
    In some harmonious spot,
    Of greenery, and things that are numberless,
    Is singing your heart out with whatsit ease.

    4.

    My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
    Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
    One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
    ‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
    But being too happy in thine happiness,
    That thou, light-winged dryad of the trees,
    In some melodious plot
    Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

    • Reine permalink
      March 31, 2011 2:37 PM

      Masterful. I’d shower you in maltesers if I had any.

    • HenryLloydMoon permalink
      March 31, 2011 3:02 PM

      I’d stand around applauding you both and picking up strays…

    • Reine permalink
      March 31, 2011 3:25 PM

      For you, I have macaroons. MM won’t mind me saying that his taste in confectionery is pedestrian.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:02 AM

      Thanks.

      As a matter of fact, today I indulged in a highly sophisticated Dairy Milk With Crunchie Bits, which I’ve almost finished. My teeth will be paying for it.

  12. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:31 PM

    Some fabulous work up there.

    Got the book and DVDs today. Thanks!

    • Reine permalink
      March 31, 2011 3:55 PM

      Write Me

      She thrills to his quill
      And its feathery touch
      Her ink pot is full
      He dips in it much

      His characters wander
      Like ants on the vellum
      The result of his quill
      Moved by his cerebellum

      In conjunction with digits
      He has a firm grip
      Much though he fidgets
      He never lets slip

      Either quill or intention
      She’s on tenterhooks
      God, this man is amazing
      This writer of books

  13. Reine permalink
    March 31, 2011 9:10 PM

    Mowbs, are you any relation of Henry Siddons Mowbray, painter of the lovely ladies? He was a moustachioed and impressive looking fellow.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 31, 2011 11:54 PM

      I’m from the unimpressive branch of the family.

  14. Reine permalink
    March 31, 2011 10:24 PM

    Me and the office owner. I’ll take him down tomorrow. He and a photographer friend shared an office building in town in the early ’70s. The photographer found this pic recently when archiving his more mainstream work. Dad was obviously minding me for the day; I perfected the pose at an early age. Still a Daddy’s girl. “Really Reine?”

  15. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2011 11:27 PM

    Aaaw….sweet. You never told us your Dad is Elvis…uh-huh-huh…thangyewvermush…

  16. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2011 11:58 PM

    Ah, the sideburns level with the earlobe. I remember them well. Difficult to get them level, especially with a head shaped like a semi-deflated football.

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:11 AM

      I hope you’re not referring to my father! Ha. I love the two pocket pens, their practicality juxtaposing nicely with the extravagance of my Morris dancer dress. My hair in a bun, crochet tights and shiny black shoes complete the look. Thank you Mammy.

      I am missing the Hicster.

  17. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 12:06 AM

    Time to grow those sideburns back (or shave off the beard), get out the old brothel-creepers, stick a half-dozen rubbers in your wallet and get stuck into some libertine stylings–here’s some musical accompaniment, you old roué, you:

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:16 AM

      I don’t think she’s MM’s type; no room for a Twirl stash in that bikini.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 1, 2011 12:23 AM

      That’s Jayne Mansfield, back when she still had her head. I’m pretty sure we could find room for a Twirl or a KitKat somewhere about her generously proportioned physique…

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:25 AM

      Well, yeah. But it’d melt.

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 9:32 AM

      I share a birthday with J.M. Sadly, that’s where the similarities begin and end.

  18. April 1, 2011 12:14 AM

    There are two sorts of rhyme: the easy verse
    that trips and skips, requiring little thought,
    and a more serious work: I’ll tell of it.
    It comes: a tendril in the mind; a line
    that winds insinuatingly and then
    will not let go, insisting on its right
    to out. I fight it sometimes, horrified:
    its implications… No use! No escape,
    for the alternative is gibbering:
    Art is the light that seeps through Psyche’s cracks.

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:20 AM

      No heat exhaustion evident here. Resist the fight and bare your soul or bear your sole… to the cooker and lightly pan fry with a lemon beurre.

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:22 AM

      Fuck, soul first inst. Fuck and double fuck. I blame the wine. [Sorted, my dear. Follow my example and remain unflappable at all times-Ed.]

    • Reine permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:30 AM

      Flappable Slapper in Typo Meltdown; Ed Saves the Day.

  19. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 12:20 AM

    Yeah, yer muse, I mean yer akshool Muse, naramean?, werl, she’s gorra ‘ave it…phwoar…the tart…

    Hello, Simon–how’s things in the crotch of the Gulf (as we used to fondly refer to Qatar)?

    I hope our old comrade freep is alright. It’s been a long time since he surfaced. Probably wandering lonely as a cloud somewhere…

    • April 1, 2011 1:35 AM

      Not bad thanks, Mish. The crotch is warm and sweaty, but much interesting anaerobic life to be found here.

  20. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 12:35 AM

    Here’s a lovely song, first recorded in 1960 by Stonewall Jackson (who also wrote it) and subsequently covered by lots of people (including, I believe, Elvis Costello).

    Here’s Emmy Lou Harris (a life-long favourite of mine) making it sublime (with Buddy Miller, Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell on guitars):

  21. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 12:51 AM

    And soon, thanks to George Osborne, Boy Chancellor, we’ll all be singing this one:

  22. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 7:32 AM

    Two good (albeit a bit depressing) pieces: The Tragedy of The Obama Administration and The Tragic (and ongoing) Stupidity of Alan Greenspan (my title), which contains bracingly astringent stuff like the following:

    “I keep referring to this passage of a 2010 paper by Andrew Haldane, the Executive Director of Financial Stability for the Bank of England because Greenspan, the Administration, and other banking industry cheerleaders keep pretending that the crisis was a mere blip and their ongoing propagandising needs to be countered:

    Table 1 looks at the present value of output losses for the world and the UK assuming different fractions of the 2009 loss are permanent….

    As Table 1 shows, these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers “astronomical” would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. “Economical” might be a better description.

    It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

    In other words, the financial system as it is presently constituted is so destructive to society at large that very radical interventions are warranted to reduce the costs it imposes on others. To put it another way, it is an extraordinarily inefficient form of looting. And Haldane’s core observation, that severe financial crises result in permanent output losses (more colloquially, a permanent reduction in the standard of living) is not controversial.”–nakedcapitalism.com

    …and in a synchronous development:

    Europe’s debt crisis deepened on Thursday night as Ireland was forced into another €24bn (£21bn) rescue of its banking system and jittery financial markets pushed Portugal closer to a bailout.–The Groan, today

    Apparently, the bailout of the Irish banks has, so far, cost every man, woman and child in Ireland £17,000. I’ll bet that cheers up Reine no end…(sorry, kiddo; it’s not really funny).

  23. Reine permalink
    April 1, 2011 8:28 AM

    Don’t get me started on the bailout; bad enough being made to pay but listening to “debate” on it morning, noon and night has just about pushed me to the edge of reason… I have just typed and deleted a longish rant about it on the basis that none of you deserves to be moaned at.

    You cheer me up, please don’t impose a levy on me for that. I’m skint already.

  24. April 1, 2011 9:29 AM

    Watched a rather repulsive film last night called “Rendition”. Meant to be the US facing up to its torture-habit it still managed to make an American CIA stooge the hero and the Egyptian head of police the sadistic villain. Lots of shrieking fundamentalists from the Al-Loonie-to-the-power-of-three mosque as well.

    Meryl Streep was good as the reptilian Hilary Clinton lookie-likie head of CIA operations but even though the sentiments were liberal-leaning by the end we could all THANK THE LORD we weren’t shifty Ay-rabs of any political persuasion.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 1, 2011 11:25 AM

      I recorded You, The Living on Sunday night from C4. Is it worth watching?

    • April 1, 2011 11:33 AM

      Yes, it’s very odd, very gloomy, it takes time to get into its rhythm but I liked it a lot

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 1, 2011 1:52 PM

      I shall give it a go, then, thanks.

  25. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 1, 2011 11:21 AM

    I happened to be in the British Library a few weeks ago and spent some time in the exhibition of letters from famous correspondents. I was delighted to see an example of Prince Mishari’s work in the shape of a postcard dating back a few years. It certainly bears out the account he gives of the great pains he invests in composing his missives.

    Blackpool Tower and Illuminations

    From the desk of Prince Mishari Al-Adwani, Lord of the Seven Islands, Doge of the Gulf of Yawning, Keeper of the Seals (with responsibility for penguins), MA, RHD, AC, DC, KNO, BBER, Freeman of the City of Portsmouth.

    The Sleep-E-Zee Hotel ‘n’ Bar, The Golden Mile, Blackpool.

    March 17th

    Dear Relative/Friend/Acquaintance/Subject,

    Having a wonderful time. Glad you’re not here.

    Yours etc,

    Prince Mishari Al-Adwani, Lord of the Seven Islands, Doge of the Gulf of Yawning, Keeper of the Seals (with responsibility for penguins), MA, RHD, AC, DC, KNO, BBER, Freeman of the City of Portsmouth.

  26. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 1, 2011 11:32 AM

    Yes, a saddening absence of hic. I hope she’s staying away from bicycles. I shall never go on one again.

    I’ve noticed freep once or twice on CIF since Xmas, so I assume he’s still with us.

  27. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 11:51 AM

    Ah, yes…that was a classic of my Mid-Period, (sometimes called The 2nd Class Stamp Period) when I was experimenting with form. The vague addressees were an attempt to convey an existential subtext that spoke of uncertainty, the whole lightly brushed with weltschmerz and a soupçon of angst. The elaborate listing of a few of my titles was to contrast the uncertainty with the not merely ‘known’, but the ‘known of old’; the established; the ‘effable’, if you will.

    There were some who felt that the British Museum curators had exceeded their remit in outbidding the giant Japanese insurance firm, Sackalototwats Zaibatsu 財閥 Yokohama, for the card. Granted, it consumed the museum’s entire purchasing budget for 2 decades but how do you put a price on Great Art? [You ring fucking Sothebys -Ed.].

    The next time you’re in Paris, you must visit The Louvre’s collection of my Late Period works (the notorious ‘Insufficient Postage’ series). The special gallery designed by Frank Gehry is very agreeable and the entrance fee (of which I receive 75%) is more than reasonable–$500 per person, which includes a cup of lime-flower tea and a madeleine. Speak, memory!

  28. April 1, 2011 12:54 PM

    I once saw a mime show called “Dinosaurs of Weltschmerz”. Terrible but the name lingers on in my memory.

    It was that period in the mid 80’s when mimes started to speak.

    Painting needed Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism, Vorticism, Constructivism, De Stijl, Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Pop Art etc. etc. to break from tradition.

    Mime artists just needed to speak and It Was Revolutionary.

  29. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 1:16 PM

    I know that Buster Keaton wasn’t actually a mime, but his genius for expressing himself wordlessly was, I think, unparalleled. Mime qua mime has always left me cold: whether it’s a Marceau manqué walking into a strong headwind, trapped behind a plate-glass window or leaning against a non-existent lamp-post–I’m utterly indifferent.

    If a mime stuffed a stick of dynamite up his arse, doused himself in petrol and flicked his Bic, he might get my attention (just long enough for me to nod with satisfaction at the exit of another white-faced, white-gloved, bowler-hatted bore.)

    Sorry.

  30. April 1, 2011 1:21 PM

    Like this perhaps?

    • April 1, 2011 9:01 PM

      “If a mime stuffed a stick of dynamite up his arse…”

      What disturbs (or intrigues) me is the fact that within 5 minute of your posting that description, ET knew exactly where… etc.

    • April 1, 2011 10:14 PM

      if you’ve worked on the UK busking, cabaret, street theatre scene Chris Lynam ( the mime in question ) is quite well known SA.

      He’s been trawling that act around clubs, festivals and streets for decades. Never changes, never gets any better but he has a talent for getting booked.

    • April 1, 2011 10:28 PM

      Not that I consider Chris Lynam to be 35 inches on the yardstick of Revolting, ET… for that, there’s (*M will delight in this one*)…. “meat glue”…

      http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/03/meat-glue-is-everywhere/

  31. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 1:32 PM

    Wow…the rollover jackpot of putrid witlessness: Frank Skinner and a man with a roman candle stuck up his backside. Thanks for sharing, Ed. I’m despatching a team of ninja assassins to thank you in person. I mean…right’s right.

  32. April 1, 2011 1:38 PM

    Please don’t imagine I’m condoning this stuff but you did say it might pique your interest so it seemed worth a try.

    Wait….a knock at the door. Three men in hoods? come on in.

    ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

  33. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 1:53 PM

    Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha….here endeth the lesson…mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha…

  34. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 1, 2011 1:57 PM

    That’s not a roman candle, is it? You would have to be suicidal to insert one of those things into your person.

    Dinosaurs Of Weltschmerz: sounds like a German metal band.

  35. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 2:25 PM

    No, I suppose it’s a ‘fountain’ of some sort:, a roman candle would have been a damn sight more entertaining. Listening to the audience near wet themselves in delighted hilarity was as depressing a sound as I’ve heard all week…

  36. April 1, 2011 2:44 PM

    He’s been doing the same act for over 30 years believe it or not.

    The firework is what’s called a gerb same as the ones that the Spanish use in their vastly more entertaining traditional correfoc events.

    Like so

  37. April 1, 2011 2:57 PM

    btw the music in correfocs tends to be a bunch of local Cozy Powell sound-alikes rather than the hideous Moby.

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:37 PM

    Cozy grew up in Cirencester, like me. Bit of a local legend at one time. I think he grew up on the Chesterton estate, which was a no-go area for kids from the Beeches, so I wouldn’t have come across him (he was a few years older anyway).

    I don’t mind Moby. Is that wrong?

  39. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2011 3:52 PM

    I have a Moby double-album (basically, his ‘best’ work so far). Some of the tracks, I like, some I actively dislike and some are just…ho-hum…snore. A bit same-y, on the whole, but he can be good.

    My initial dislike of ‘Moby’ was based on the fact that every other fucking TV advert seemed to have a Moby song as a soundtrack. Anyone whose work strikes ad-men as a perfect stick to rattle in the swill bucket is instantly suspect.

    Vivaldi, for example…now there’s a fellow I’m going to slap if I ever run into him. I mean, Christ–is there a single advert for fried chicken, flavoured potato crisps or salad dressing that doesn’t feature Vivaldi’s The Four Seasonings‘?

  40. April 2, 2011 11:24 PM

    Just been to see Herzog’s ” Caves of Forgotten Dreams” about the prehistoric paintings in the Chauvet caves in the Ardeche. A terrific documentary in 3-D which is used to emphasise the artful way the contours of the cave walls are used to help depict the sensation of animals in movement.

    Lovely music by Ernst Reijseger too – I saw him play in a trio about 10 years ago and it was one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen.

    • Reine permalink
      April 2, 2011 11:42 PM

      Dying to see it. Saw the trailer last time I was in cinema. Looked very promising, as you confirm. Will definitely go in that case.

  41. Reine permalink
    April 2, 2011 11:35 PM

    All bike jokes aside, I am anxious to see Hic make a reappearance. It is not her habit to stay away this long. Love to her and all of you.

  42. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2011 11:59 PM

    Perhaps hic has gone away for a long weekend? In the meantime, here’s what we’ve all been waiting for…The Battle of The Titans:

  43. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 12:06 AM

    My new favourite restaurant:

  44. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2011 12:37 AM

    The Book Of Me

    It begins a little slowly,
    and it’s sometimes hard to follow,
    motifs are difficult to see:
    there’s several ways that it could go.

    Then the narrative picks up speed
    and lasting themes are introduced:
    food and drink, sex, an ardent need
    for gross indulgence is deduced.

    The storyline gets intricate,
    sense fractures and submerges,
    but from this undetermined state
    a new synthesis emerges.

    Throughout the following segments
    the account unfolds more quietly,
    but though there are fewer events
    they seem to arrive more quickly.

    The final chapters are a blur
    coming too fast to apprehend,
    but the plot’s conclusion is sure:
    a page will turn and that’s the end.

  45. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 12:38 AM

    I’m surprised that Dr. Ben Goldacre hasn’t ripped that fatuous ass George Monbiot a new arsehole over Monbiot’s sudden conversion to the glories of nuclear power. Monbiot, exhibiting the bone-headed insensitivity that marks out Grauniad ‘favourites’, chose the occasion of the failure of a major nuclear reactor to announce his road-to-a-nuclear-Damascus moment.

    In the absence of Goldacre, a useful corrective might be helpful for anyone who thought that Monbiot could be taken seriously–the man’s a shameless charlatan and a dangerous buffoon. Discover why HERE.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 3, 2011 12:47 AM

      I saw that. Completely bonkers.

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2011 12:46 AM

    God, that was hard work.

    Spiral 3 has taken me unawares, so now we’re having to watch Spiral 2 (which I bought ages ago) while recording 3. I still don’t understand the French justice system. Smacking people around seems to play a big part in it.

    I had a spot of insomnia last night, so I watched You, The Living. Interesting, though Scandinavianically downbeat. I loved the hairdresser.

    • April 3, 2011 9:40 AM

      I liked the party trick ( pulling the table-cloth out from under a vast pile of cutlery and crockery ) that went predictably wrong and the fact that the bloke who did it was tried, found guilty and then executed. Not so funny when written out like that but grimly amusing nonetheless.

      His “Songs from the Second Floor” is very good too. A sort of gloomy apocalypse as capitalism crashes.

  47. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 1:00 AM

    I have Spiral on disc but I’ve never got around to properly watching it. The French legal system–administration of ‘justice’ and law enforcement– is very different from the British (the Napoleonic system, as you know, put a great deal of faith in a large police apparatus, public and clandestine; the police in France have always been very powerful and worse, unaccountable)…getting a few smacks from les flics is the least of an arrestee’s problems.

  48. Reine permalink
    April 3, 2011 1:20 AM

    I’m sure most of you are aware of a high profile and very interesting case ongoing here since 1996 in one way or another (libel actions and what not) involving a French national, Sophie Toscan du Plantier. A recent ruling in the High Court that the chief suspect could be extradited to France is being appealed to the Supreme Court. “J’accuse” means straight to the clink before any burden of proof is required to be fulfilled.

  49. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 1:36 AM

    Exactly, Reine. In France, you’re ‘guilty’ until proven ‘innocent’; they’ll hold you for months, on ‘charges’ that haven’t been tested. The public prosecutor, the police and the examining magistrate are all members of the same cosy club.

    When your trial does finally come up, you’ll be ‘examined’ by magistrates, who’ll decide on your guilt or innocence and, should you be found guilty, decide your sentence.

    I’ve had people make a plausible case for the French system but on the whole, it’s too inflexible and puts too much faith in the magistrates and prosecutors, technocrats to the last man (or woman). What’s a hard-working villain to do?

    Meanwhile, in a deserted skull on the other side of town:

    NATO planes fly thither and yon looking for targets. There was a rumor that George Monbiot had handcuffed himself to the Libyan nuclear research center to show solidarity with Qaddafi’s alleged commitment to research into nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels, but the word from Monbiot HQ was that that the silliest man in Great Britain is planning a symbolic flyover of Chernobyl as a monument to the safety of nuclear power, before inaugurating a “nuke camp” next to Daiichi 2 at Fukushima. —Alexander Cockburn, @counterpunch.org

  50. April 3, 2011 9:50 AM

    Perhaps George could fly over to Japan and help Bodgit & Scarper try and fix the nuclear reactor.

    My heart goes out to the workers expected to do the job with what we subsequently discover to be inadequate clothing but pouring a load of concrete on it sounds like the sort of thing cowboy builders did to a friend of mine’s kitchen floor ( they poured in concrete without removing the cooker or fridge first.)

    George really needs to consider the fact that nuclear power is untameable and the very opposite of what I thought he was all about ( not that I ever make it past the first paragraph of most of what he’s written ). Perhaps we could dump a load of columnists on the reactor and hope that two negatives make a positive,

  51. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 12:13 PM

    I’m prepared to accept bets on how soon British Nuclear Fuels (or EDS, the French nuclear enthusiasts) circulate a press release announcing than Monbiot has joined the company as Director of Public Relations or some-such title, at £300,000 p.a. plus stock options. Mark my words…you can see it coming.

    Why is it that every single fucking time that the Israeli government is presented with an opportunity to show the world a humane, tolerant, decent face, they reject it and instead, present the world with a government of insensitive brutes, violent thugs and rabid bigots? Every time they’re given the chance to behave like civilised people, they blow a raspberry and enact a little homage to Mussolinis’s ‘blackshirts’. Cunts.

  52. April 3, 2011 2:51 PM

    Someone ought to suggest to Barack Obama that since he has been given the Nobel Peace Prize he ought, at the very least, to do something that merits the award.

    Are we all so war-like that they are struggling to find someone to give the prize to?

    I’m struggling to think what Obama has actually done to be even considered. Said he’ll close Guantanamo Bay down? – whilst not doing it.

    Never mind the apparent dumbing down of UK education – Nobel Peace Prize winners aren’t what they used to be either.

  53. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 9:02 PM

    I turns out that the only ‘genuine’ thing about Obama is his ‘blackness’. So far, he remains black; he hasn’t suddenly been outed as a tanned Saxon (real name: Bruckner Von Obamaschmidt) who dyes his hair.

    In every other respect, he’s been revealed as the opposite of what he was purported to be: he’s not a reformer; he’s not a radical; he’s not a friend of the ‘common man’; he’s not burning with an unquenchable hard-on for justice–he’s not really much of anything, except a corporate errand-boy and political calculating machine.

    The redneck mouth-breathers and chicken-humpers thought they were getting Malcolm X–what they actually got was Mr. Magoo, except Mr. Magoo couldn’t help being blind as a bat: Obama’s blind because it serves his political interests.

    • April 3, 2011 9:38 PM

      The eye-rollingly absurd thing being that former (and current) supporters of GW’s are mouth-lynching BO, essentially, for faithfully shepherding GW’s policies (more robust than ever) into the Reich’s second decade; shouldn’t the filthy Niggra-haters be kicking their heels, instead? The *funny* thing being that, around the time of BO’s election, the price of admission to any conversation on the topic was to pretend that one had actually *voted*. I can see evidence of this in various 3QD threads of 2008: there I am, claiming not only to have voted but to have contributed to the campaign (twice!)! Various actual friends would have died laughing.

      It was after Clinton, you see, that I twigged that all that crap about “Hope” was as valid as whatever hypnosis they had sold me my frozen pizzas with and that the game is rigged… and not in the form (a la Bush, Florida, 2000) we casually accept it: much more *fundamentally* rigged. It’s so facking abvious, innit: if the “People” don’t choose the *candidates*, does it really matter which of the two gets in?

      The profound elegance of that con really is something to be admired… if I had the gumption to be evil, I’d have switched sides long ago, for The People are so gloriously, barnyardishly, stewpid. The real talent is clearly on the side of evil. The bastards have been running things since the dawn of time.

    • mishari permalink*
      April 3, 2011 10:30 PM

      As H.L. Mencken observed:

      “All of the great patriots now engaged in edging and squirming their way toward the Presidency of the Republic run true to form. This is to say, they are all … more or less palpable frauds. What they want, primarily, is the job.”

      He went on to describe politics as “a carnival of buncombe” run by “clowns” and “mountebanks” who were always ready to dispense whatever flapdoodle would appeal to what he called the “mob” of voters…and almost a hundred years later, Mencken is as right as he ever was–except it’s now actually worse than it was in HLM’s day.

      The 24-hour rolling news, constant hysteria and the media’s desperation to fill air-time have reduced politics to the mechanics of a shopping-channel or the dynamics of a supermarket. Eye-catching is good; outrageous claims are good; bogus ‘experts’ (preferably in white lab-coats) are good. Uncertainty is bad; ambivalence is bad; subtlety is bad; complexity is bad.

      Keep churning out the pablum and spooning it into the mouths of the infantilised electorate as they lumber around in a sugar-and-fat induced daze, wearing their pastel-coloured baby-clothes and crying when they don’t get exactly what they want right now.

      Patience is un-American; discernment is un-American. thinking is the work of Satan. Obama is as devoted to Orwell’s ‘permanent war’ as Bush the Chimp ever was.

    • April 3, 2011 10:41 PM

      The desire for that sort of power is a strange thing.

      I genuinely can’t imagine what the benefits are.

      All the money you’d get is tempered by the fact that you have to constantly watch your back and the dam leaks in so many places and so many unforeseen places that you run out of thumbs to stick in the holes.

      I suppose that’s why I’ve never been a despot.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 3, 2011 11:09 PM

      That’s not what I’ve heard. There are street performers who still flinch at the name of Taylor.

    • April 3, 2011 11:19 PM

      MM any more of that and there will be a visit from the boys.

      Oops shouldn’t have pressed the Post Comment button. Damn my tyrannical lack of caution.

    • April 3, 2011 11:21 PM

      By boys I mean a couple of 24 year olds who will rake your lawn, put the bin-bags out, pot up the hyacinths and clean your car.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 3, 2011 11:40 PM

      Too late, Scarface. Expect a visit from the mime police. You’ll need to set aside several weeks for questioning.

    • April 4, 2011 8:53 AM

      The mime jail is surprisingly easy to escape from. Unless there’s a strong wind of course.

  54. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 9:16 PM

    It’s always entertaining watching some over-paid, under-talented egomaniac commit slow-motion seppuku 腹切り in public.

    Certainly more watchable than 2 and a half Men, which I once saw briefly and bitterly regretted the 15 minutes that I’ll never get back. Sheen owes me: nice to see he’s paying up.

    Charlie Sheen was heckled, booed and eventually abandoned by the crowd at his inaugural stage show, with many of the audience members chanting “refund” and heading for the exits even before the show abruptly ended. —The Indy, today

    What? I…I…don’t understand. Sheen is a genius. I know this because he said so the other day. I mean, d00d…check it out!:

  55. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 9:19 PM

    …and it gets better:

  56. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2011 10:45 PM

    Under the on-going disaster that is the Coalition, a lot of people will be learning this song (unavailable in Germany–thanks a lot, Sony):

  57. Reine permalink
    April 3, 2011 11:16 PM

    Write me a billet doux
    Compose me some prose
    How ’bout a limerick?
    I’d like one of those
    Pen me a paean
    In praise of my features
    Anything signed by you
    Among creation’s creatures
    The best and the brightest
    The handsomest one
    Submit me a thesis
    I’ll make your viva fun

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 3, 2011 11:37 PM

      Good Mother’s Day? Mrs M got a carefully wrapped box of expensive cakes from a Covent Garden patisserie with a nice card from one child and a text at 10pm saying ‘Hpy Mths Day’ from the other one. No prizes for guessing the gender of the donors.

  58. Reine permalink
    April 3, 2011 11:47 PM

    Yes, thanks MM. I was with my own lovely Mama and cooked lunch for the extended clan. Kind of a Moroccan buffet if you will, which almost sent Pater into a frenzy. I had to remind him it was Mother’s Day and she likes that kind of food. (The Famine looms large in his consciousness, any day without a spud makes him jittery). Drove back earlier this evening – HI had made another apple tart and remembered the sugar this time and my lovely son gave me an encyclopedia of cheese and wine and a new Moleskine. More impressive, he found a card that says “Mam” on the front – hard come by.

    I am sure you threw sugar* at Mrs. M too. That was a lovely gift from the girl child.

    *are you familiar with this (the saying as opposed to sugar)? Just means to spoil, treat well.

  59. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 4, 2011 12:19 AM

    Glad you had a good day. I hadn’t heard about the sugar-throwing. Might come in handy.

  60. April 4, 2011 3:14 AM

    A facinating documentary released last month, all of it to youtube, by academy award nominated director, which charts the rise of the crop circle phenomena, with the central protagonists who were the first to come together and study it, from the eighties onward. Watching it now..

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 4, 2011 3:15 PM

    I’ve been trying to do a poem on writer’s block. Now I’m stuck. It had to happen.

    Any news on Hic? One can’t help being concerned after recent events.

  62. Reine permalink
    April 4, 2011 4:18 PM

    She is ok MM, I had an email from her yesterday. She will hopefully make a comeback any minute now.

  63. April 4, 2011 7:08 PM

    I *was* a bit worried when Hic didn’t react to my pigtail-puller (referring to “Nah” as one of Hic’s tics)

    “One can’t help being concerned after recent events.”

    There’s a reason the name of this place always puts me in mind of a book by Ms. Christie and it’s not our host’s brilliantined, center-parted hair (or the pencil-thin mustache… or the spats)

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 4, 2011 11:12 PM

      The hand on the hip? The ivory cigarette-holder? The epicene figure?

    • April 4, 2011 11:34 PM

      now that you mention it… (at which point the lights should go out)

  64. Reine permalink
    April 4, 2011 10:46 PM

    On the shyness of children, yet their determination, the potw reminded me of a scene at home with my kinfolk yesterday. We were all sitting around the table and my sister’s kids, a boy and girl, aged seven and four, came in windswept from outside and sidled up to Dad. One each side of him, tugging at his jumper (he was in the middle of a diatribe on something or other) muttering “Grandad, Grandad” until the four year old, very impatient, girl shouted “Sean, excuse me, do you remember you promised we could have a ride in the wheelbarrow?” Cue scenes of joy unconfined as each in turn was whizzed round the house as we watched out the window and Mam gasped and “Jesus, Mary and Josephed”, fearing for their safety and my father’s heart. Dad managed only one high speed revolution bouncing maniacally on his MBTs and ho ho hoing until their father took over. Would that we adults could capture that kind of insane and pure pleasure with such alacrity. Maybe there is a gap in the market for bigger wheelbarrows.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 4, 2011 11:25 PM

    I wouldn’t mind a Bath chair. Lots of oldsters round here have mobility scooters, though they can be dangerous:

    Daily Telegraph, 25th Jan 2011

    Lilian Macey died two days after being run down by a scooter driven by Walter Cousins, 76.
    But police, who investigated the accident at Sandown, Isle of Wight, found that they were unable to bring charges against Mr Cousins under the Road Traffic Act.
    The gap in the law angered John Matthews, the Isle of Wight Coroner. “I’m extremely concerned that there is no control or legislation affecting the driving of invalid carriages or scooters.
    “It is surprising because there are so many controls affecting us in other areas of our lives,” he said.
    “I’m so concerned that I intend to write to the local MP and Secretary of State for Transport so that some control may be brought in for the protection of pedestrians on the pavements.”
    The inquest was told Mrs Macey sustained serious leg injuries after being hit as she stepped onto the pavement after crossing the road on July 21 2009.
    Derek Bailey, a motorist who was driving past at the time, said Mrs Macey was sent flying into the air.
    “She came down and landed on the scooter and rolled backwards onto the ground. I heard a scream but do not know if it came from her or the lady that was with her.”
    Blood was seen gushing from her leg and her bone was exposed, witnesses said. But Mr Cousins, who was known locally as a “scooter menace” drove off at 4mph, after remarking ‘It looks like she’s OK.”
    He was later found shopping at a Somerfield supermarket, where he was breathalysed after a member of the public said they believed he had been drinking.
    Mr Cousins registered a reading of 27 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, below the legal limit of 35.
    Mrs Macey was rushed to nearby St Mary’s Hospital, in Newport, and was then transferred to Salisbury District Hospital where she died two days later.
    Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner condemned the behaviour Mr Cousins, who died of prostate cancer in September 2009,.
    “All the evidence shows that the scooter was being driven too fast for the conditions on the pavement and there was no warning from the horn or the bell that the vehicle was approaching.
    “Mrs Macey was struck from behind and had no idea what had hit her. I have to accept that the responsibility rests fairly and squarely on the shoulders of Mr Cousins.
    “He displays a callous and uncaring attitude to what has happened. There appears to be no regret of remorse.”
    After the inquest Mrs Macey’s son Martin, 55, who works at Gatwick Airport, called for a change in the law.
    He said: “Mum’s death was shocking.
    “I don’t want it to happen to anybody else and we need a change in the law which forces people to pass a proficiency test and be covered by insurance.”
    Norman Baker, the local transport minister, said: “Mobility scooters can be an essential lifeline however it is important that we balance the safety of pedestrians and other road users with the mobility needs of users.
    “The Department’s recent consultation considered whether the law is adequate to deal with cases where mobility vehicles are used recklessly or dangerously.”

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 12:28 AM

      Jesus, what a way to go. Mown down by a scooter menace is not on my list of possible exit strategies.

  66. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 2:27 AM

    I just started Carl Hiaasen’s latest Florida noir Grand Guignol, Star Island. A character is warning a mother to keep her pop starlet daughter under control:

    “And don’t let her fuck any more actors, OK? They’re a bad influence.”

    “Now hold on–that boy she was with last night, he’s done Tennessee Williams in Chicago.”

    “I don’t care if he’s done Tennessee Ernie Ford in the basement of The Grand Old Opry: keep the kid away from her.”

  67. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 12:09 PM

    I see that loony George Monbiot (whose shrill sanctimony on the subject of Man-made Global Warming made otherwise sympathetic readers like me want to kick him) has decided that the best policy upon finding oneself in a hole is…to keep digging.

    Brilliant…and every bit as rational as his sudden Damascene conversion to the joys of nuclear fission power. The final nail in the coffin of Monbiot’s credibility comes when @MoveAnyMountain, an arch-reactionary, old-school golf club bore, comes to Monbiot’s aid:

    “There are plenty of solutions with what to do with nuclear waste. Bury it. Dump it at sea. All sensible.”

    Dump it at sea. Beautiful. All Monbiot needs now is for that professional buffoon Lord Monckton (a sort of Bertie Wooster minus the charm or the intelligence) to give him the thumbs-up. Bingo: the Three Stooges of Anti-Science.

    ***

    Good post by @Greg Callus on the Coalition’s NHS ‘reforms’:

    Interesting enough on the politics of the U-turn, but I suspect what has gone on here is different. Lansley was the first Shadow Cabinet minister to be announced publicly that he would take that role in Gvt. He traded off that, and surprised Number 10 with the boldness of his announcement. They decided to back him ("reducing bureaucracy, reform etc etc") and only now is it dawning how stupid an idea it is.

    The politics are brutal. If it goes through, the Tories will be kept out of power for a generation. Thatcher never dared this - it will not be forgiven.

    But that's not the reason the Right should oppose it. The Right should oppose it, because unless they own healthcare companies, it will cost them. These reforms have been elided with the cuts programme. They aren't. These reforms do the one thing that every businessman and consultant will tell you never to do - fragment your purchasing power.

    For all its faults, the NHS costs a mere 9% GDP - half the US cost of GDP, and well below France and Germany and Italy. It's not efficient as much as it is so big and powerful that it bullies great prices out of suppliers. By sheer force of size, we get the cheapest healthcare (for its quality) in the world (except maybe Singapore).

    Fragment the purchasing power, and costs will rocket. That's a given. You won't get any extra for the billions more - you'll just pay double for the same stuff. I actually don't care if we had Single Payer / Full Nationalised / Completely Private provision - but the one thing that is nuts is to *have* centralised procurement and then fragment it. That benefits no-one except the small medical suppliers who are not big enough or cheap enough to get NHS contracts.

    By-the-by, when these consortia go bust (probably for breaching notoriously complex EU procurement law that - generally - helps keep the market free and fair), the taxpayer will be forced to step in. If you thought politicians were quick to bail out banks, wait to see how quickly they'll bail out a bankrupt Hospital.

    If I were wealthy, right-wing, Taxpayers' Alliance supporting Tory voter, I'd be pretty worried too. My tax bill (irrespective of party) is going to rocket to pay for the new high-cost NHS, the Tory party will be out of power for a generation, and I'll be blamed for causing it, even surely though the only person in the Cabinet who actually thinks this is a good idea is Lansley himself.

    This penny might have finally dropped at Number 10, and I think some people are starting to wonder whether Lansley is actually worth it (if he ever was). If I were him, I'd employ a food-taster at Cabinet away days...

  68. April 5, 2011 1:05 PM

    Maybe they will all volunteer to have the waste stored deep in their own gardens.

    Unfortunately the Japanese ARE dumping highly radioactive water at sea aren’t they? Maybe Monbiot like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons can be made to eat one of the fish from that part of the ocean.

  69. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2011 1:55 PM

    I suppose this will add a new frisson of excitement to Japanese fugu 河豚 consumers.

    In addition to the already existing danger of dying from a neurotoxin in the flesh of the pufferfish (Fugu contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in the organs, especially the liver, the ovaries, and the skin. The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious, eventually dying from asphyxiation. There is no known antidotewiki.), they can now run the risk of radiation sickness. Good news for the owners of fugu restaurants…it’s an ill-wind…

  70. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:16 PM

    From Block To Bollocks

    My novel is still unfinished,
    the short stories just don’t engage,
    my mojo is much diminished:
    the poems lie dead on the page.

    I can’t string two words together
    I’ve lost the power to invent
    there’s nothing in my mind whatever,
    my creative fire is spent.

    I’ve injected, smoked and snorted,
    indulged every sexual quirk,
    I’ve drunk till my brain has shorted,
    but none of it seems to work.

    Talent is like a lucky dip,
    where you win a bottle of wine
    whose level drops with every sip.
    I’ve reached the bottom of mine.

    So now I’ll turn my mind to mush,
    ignore the fans’ reproachful looks,
    steel myself and start to gush.
    It’s time to write some children’s books.

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 6:50 PM

      Every heyday must come to an end, I suppose. I look forward to “Melton and Mary on the Merry-go-Round”.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 6:57 PM

      Boys and girls come out to play
      the moon does shine as bright as day
      beneath its lovely silver light
      let’s torture cats and set them alight.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 7:01 PM

      Two lights. Damn!

      [How about:

      Boys and girls come out to play
      the moon does shine as bright as day
      the night is bathed in pearly white
      let’s torture cats, set them alight.
      -Ed.]

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 7:12 PM

      Melton and Mary rode the carousel
      Mary held Melton,
      She said he felt swell
      When the horse rode up high
      Melton’s coat, it flew open
      And the onlookers gasped
      At what Mary was gropin’

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 8:14 PM

      Those are better than mine, but I think Little Rabbit Foo-Foo will be first to the contract.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:19 PM

    Yes, they’ll be tucking into the iso-topes. Geddit?!!?! [NoEd.]

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 5, 2011 7:24 PM

      I think ‘tope’ is a shark species.
      So, indulge freely; according to the new standards, an iso-tope is 100,000 times less dangerous than it was last week.

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    April 5, 2011 6:20 PM

    Dear MM~ I apologise, and to dear Re too, of course. Please forgive my unaccounted for absence. It was bad of me, though I seemed to be flummoxed out of words. I thought I could just slip out the back quiet-like, but that was lame and thoughtless, following on our strange abstract feeling of vigilance for the sake of Mishari.

    The events from Japan in particular have greatly disturbed me, and that, in addition to having my hands full here, has made my free hours more meditative than conversational.
    I do have a sensitive interest in other people’s pain (contrary to M’s generalisation) and to a vocational extent.

    I’m always aware that I’m not a ‘writer’, and sort of hadn’t the heart to be of any use with
    you Pol Hommes. I don’t know at present how else to account for my going to ground…
    Anyway, thanks for caring whether I just fuck off or not, it helps, and to the ribald St. as well for goading me into a rueful smirk. I’ll do my best to follow along and chirp in, but might need to keep still for a while longer.
    Forgive me ~ xx hic

    • Reine permalink
      April 5, 2011 6:35 PM

      Happy to see you, take it easy.x

    • mishari permalink*
      April 5, 2011 6:44 PM

      You know you’re always welcome here. This has never been much of a venue for writerly excellence ; I mean, all of you are perfectly capable of it but it’s always been more of a place to gossip, crack jokes and trade verse. But don’t feel pressured to contribute if you don’t feel like it, although the odd drop-in to re-assure us that you’re well would be nice.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 6:46 PM

      Nothing to forgive, just nice to know you’re all right.

      I don’t think being a writer is a necessary qualification for scribbling here (I’m certainly not one). Anyway, you have a distinctive style which I very much enjoy reading. I hope to see more of it.

    • April 5, 2011 7:29 PM

      hic no need to apologise for anything.

      Writing isn’t my strong point either as this dmonstreates….. damonstreeats……. bugger it.

      There’s a few regular regulars here plus a small cast of occasional regulars. I only carry on commenting here because our blog host has got an incriminating series of photos of me teaching Jacqueline Howett how to write which will be released on the www if I don’t make a regulation one comment per day.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      April 5, 2011 7:29 PM

      Thanks. I suppose, what better company when I feel fit to be tied?

  73. Reine permalink
    April 5, 2011 6:32 PM

    Write Ahead

    “I write for a living
    I delight my fans
    I make lots of money
    I’ve a villa in Cannes

    I travel to Hay
    This year I’m keynote
    The peasants there love me
    Know my work by rote

    I know I am brilliant
    I know I’m kingpin
    You look a bit hot pet
    Fancy some gin?

    Listen, put down your jotter
    Come here, sit by me
    You’ll see I don’t bite
    At least not before tea

    You’re overcome dear
    It’s quite plain to see
    Who wouldn’t be ’round
    A genius like me?

    My pen is indeed mighty
    My sword’s not far behind
    Fancy a lie down
    Help me unwind?

    Yes, call in your copy
    The phone’s by the bed
    But leave out the bit
    About giving me head”

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      April 5, 2011 6:51 PM

      Top effort. Those writers have all the luck, damn their eyes.

  74. Reine permalink
    April 5, 2011 7:00 PM

    “effort” being the operative word but thank you. What’s rare is wonderful though, console yourself with that.

  75. April 10, 2011 6:22 AM

    We really need writers badly. After looking over your article, we decided we want you on our crew. We offer $35 TO $50 per hour. Our leading writers are pulling in over $91K per year, writing part-time.
    Please stop by and see us. http://write.ncsall.org

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