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Off To The Yards Afresh

September 10, 2011

.

.

Here come I to my own again,
Fed, forgiven and known again,
Claimed by bone of my bone again
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me,
But the husks have greater zest for me,
I think my pigs will be best for me,
So I’m off to the Yards afresh.
The Prodigal Son by Rudyard Kipling

.

.

Home again. Well, it’s not quite ‘home’ anymore; that would be Paris. But London will always be ‘home’ to me. No fatted calf so I settled for a full English breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread) and the English papers. All very depressing (the papers, I mean).

I hope I find everyone well? I’m just putting this up to refresh the page, so to speak. I have an interesting tale to relate concerning my old friend and neighbour Ramon and the god Mithras but it’ll take me a little while to organise my thoughts. I’ll try to have it up by tomorrow, though. À bientôt

271 Comments
  1. September 10, 2011 11:56 AM

    Fatted calves are overrated
    Prodigal meets constipated
    (never a good look)
    …Your appearance, however,
    Delightful

    (Just a new verse form I am trying out, ha. Welcome home Mishari)

  2. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 10, 2011 12:19 PM

    Was just about to post up the annual Hockney drawing Auden anecdote ( now in its 32nd great year ) so everyone can be relieved that you’ve returned and saved me having to make the effort/cut and paste the previous version ( delete according to opinion ).

    Welcome back to the UK – a fairly gloomy place at the moment as the Tories try and turn everything into profit-driven businesses. It’s quite depressing to see what’s happening to the NHS….and education….and ( fill in according to opinion).

  3. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 10, 2011 12:48 PM

    A true response to a Prodigal Son

    That’s it? just a knock at the door?
    It’s been at least two years or more
    Since you last “graced” this place
    Now you turn up, you dare show your face.
    Although I see that you look well
    Don’t treat this place like a fucking hotel
    Two years without a call is obscene
    Just where the hell have you been?
    That’s it just dump your bloody rucksack
    Your mother will kill you when she gets back.

    You’ve been absent for two years more or less
    People have given up missing you I must confess,
    If no-one saw you entering our domain
    No-one will be suspicious if you’re suddenly slain.
    In the cellar or the garden? No burial mound
    We have to make sure that you won’t be found.
    It’s too late for excuses, you should have thought before
    You upped and left, no reasons, nothing more.
    As you can see we’ve taken it all VERY badly
    The Prodigal Son story? Not for you sadly.

    • September 10, 2011 3:28 PM

      Nice one Edward; I do hope that father in the pic isn’t trying to exact any other kind of compensation.

      And I second Hic’s verse, initially.

  4. hic8ubique permalink
    September 10, 2011 2:45 PM

    Much Missed

    He straddles channels like a colossus
    surveys his demesnes like a Midas of Knossos
    with world-weary mien and a home-again slouch
    Melton wields the remote from his Heal’s special couch.

  5. hic8ubique permalink
    September 11, 2011 2:26 PM

    Put ‘Incendies’ on your film lists, everyone. It gave me nightmares, but was amazing. You especially must see it, EdT, after a poem like that one.
    It reminded me a bit of the story of Eleni that I read years ago, by her son Nicholas Gage.

  6. September 13, 2011 8:23 PM

    Melton Mowbray is on the Great British Bake Off … oh I do miss my favourite pork pie.

  7. henrylloydmoon permalink
    September 13, 2011 8:41 PM

    sometimes i feel like
    a bramley apple bursting
    through my latticework

  8. September 13, 2011 8:57 PM

    … Then open they lattice love, let’s ‘ave it for tea

  9. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2011 9:27 PM

    Evening, comrades. Sorry about neglecting my blog duties but I’ve just been so exhausted for the last week that my brain feels like wet cement. It’s all I can manage to pour a stiff drink and light a cigar. Normal service will be resumed once I’ve cleared all the crap that’s on my plate at the moment. That’ll teach me: I should have been a hobo…a rolled blanket, a billycan and a pair of stout boots…no place in particular to go, no time in particular to be there, no-one to answer to…I still might, at that…

    • September 13, 2011 11:10 PM

      Goodnight Mishari; there must be a gap in the market for a posh hobo.

  10. mishari permalink*
    September 13, 2011 11:37 PM

    Yes, I think I’d make a fine bindlestiff…and this is what I’d sing as I tramped:

    • September 15, 2011 12:58 PM

      My mum used to feed the various tramps who showed up at our house. We had chalk markings on our gatepost to indicate what kind of household we were. There were several regulars who covered vast distances between visits – Somerset to Scotland and back for one.

      You don’t see that kind of travelling man anymore or at least I haven’t. As they ate they used to tell stories which were perfectly coherent and interesting.

      Of course I was a kid when all this happened but I really don’t remember them being like the sort of homeless men you meet in Manchester these days who tend to have mental health and alcohol problems.

    • mishari permalink*
      September 15, 2011 1:23 PM

      When I become King of The Hobos (an inevitability, I should imagine) I shall name you Edward Taylor, Tramp Friend. We’ll have an official ceremony down by the railway line where we’ll cook a stolen chicken, eat a pie stolen from a window-sill where it was left to cool and drink Sterno that’s been strained through an old sock. You’ll love it.

    • September 15, 2011 1:36 PM

      Make it Sterno strained through a new sock and I’ll be there even though I’m not sure what Sterno is.

      That’s How Much I Trust You.

    • mishari permalink*
      September 15, 2011 1:45 PM

      Ed, you’re too trusting. Sterno…AKA ‘Canned Heat’…

    • September 15, 2011 2:25 PM

      You can drink the Sterno first.

    • September 15, 2011 8:22 PM

      Don’t forget the requisite tussles with Borgninian heavies in open boxcars, M! Comes with the territory. It’d be unethical to sugarcoat it for young ET just because you’ll need a lookout for the pie jobs…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 15, 2011 8:46 PM

      The ability to steal a chicken pie from a windowsill whilst rushing past in a boxcar would surely demonstrate that there’s nowt to fear from the Borgnine thugs.

      Young ET though I like it.

    • September 15, 2011 8:47 PM

      Chalk? Damn that fellow who told me it was a red light in the window. No wonder they all seemed so “hungry”.

    • September 15, 2011 9:07 PM

      Ed, I love that your mother welcomed people into your home; a kind of lost art that but I suppose everyone is a bit more wary these days.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 15, 2011 9:34 PM

      She was very much a typical Daily Mail reader Reine . Truly blood-curdling opinions on some things but also possessed of an unpredictable nature too.

    • September 15, 2011 9:39 PM

      I have a friend like that Ed – possessed of absolutely vile and lunatic opinions on some matters yet if all the people she rails against turned up on her doorstep, she’d feed them and give them fags.

    • September 15, 2011 9:39 PM

      Shit, not saying that your mother had vile opinions…

  11. hic8ubique permalink
    September 14, 2011 3:58 AM

    Things will simmer down, Mishari. Take heart.
    Holidays are a pain. You beaver away in advance preparation, improvise throughout not knowing where essential items have been packed, and then at last come home to find what leaked through the roof, burst underground, grew in the icebox, bunged up the drains, died in the wainscot, infested the garden, and incurred a late fee. It is exhausting indeed, and only amplified by culture shock.

    I had a satisfying day scavenging art supplies for my university man. The family studio coughed up a giant old roll of canvas and two golfbags-worth of vintage stretchers which are so stout they must have come from the Black Forest, long before everything was made in China. There were many tubes of oil paints practically untouched which had belonged to an elder acquaintance (who had taken up painting in his last days) and many other useful bits and pieces to cross off the list, leaving a much diminished expenditure at the art supply wholesale shop. It was an altogether satisfying enterprise, culminating in meeting for dinner and the triumphal transfer of loot.

    On our musical theme, childhood memories of mine…

  12. hic8ubique permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:22 PM

    Those chalk-marks featured prominently in a Sherlock Holmes story, but I’ve forgotten which one.

  13. ExitB permalink
    September 15, 2011 5:45 PM

    I get the feeling that freewheeling intercity travel is rare these days. My parents used to hitch-hike everywhere, up and down the country. Hitch-hiking as an option seems to have died out entirely. Is it more dangerous these days or are people more scared?

    As you say, Ed, the hobos of yore have devolved into urban street drinkers, junkies, the mentally ill and generally abandoned. Guess we’ll see a lot more of that in the months to come as the cuts dig in. Is it still possible to ride the blinds? Or is that just what they call Standard Class these days *ba-boom*.

    Also, I will be attending this on Sunday if any Blakean Londoners are reading:

    http://www.blakesociety.org/2011/08/23/september-event/

  14. mishari permalink*
    September 15, 2011 7:25 PM

    Apparently, XB, ‘hobo jungles’ of the modern variety are springing up all over the US. The modern residents, however, tend to own cars and are the victims of the US property collapse/foreclosure epidemic. The British tramp of Orwell’s Down and Out In Paris and London is, alas, a distant phenomenon, I suspect. Now, they travel to foreign art-fairs with giant, inflatable pigs and drink Merlot.

  15. hic8ubique permalink
    September 16, 2011 3:35 AM

    One thoughtful voice that came my way during the onslaught last weekend…
    worth listening to the reading:
    http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/s11/silence.html

  16. September 17, 2011 12:19 AM

    Today’s commuting highlight came in the form of a young man who had fashioned a microphone out of the morning freesheet and went about the carriage interviewing people about their choice of clothes, jewellery and footwear. It was not an ideal day to wear this necklace (boo hoo that I did not set it off with the same aplomb as the model) but I got a round of applause for my bravery:

  17. mishari permalink*
    September 17, 2011 8:31 AM

    Jesus…that looks like some kind of baroque noose, suitable for hanging Dali or Louis XVI. You’re a bold hussy, to be sure…

  18. hic8ubique permalink
    September 17, 2011 1:37 PM

    Naughty Nautical Nancy?
    The model does look in urgent need of oxygen, which I’d say contributes to the noose effect. (You are much aplombier, Re.)
    Were I to appear in such a necklace, Spouse would fear I’d come to grief with the belt of my old velvet dressing-gown.

    • September 17, 2011 3:10 PM

      I sometimes forget I am wearing it and wonder what people are looking at/laughing at. I think all that would shock HI is if I appeared in this …

      I’m watching Charade; very funny scene with Walter Matthau …

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 17, 2011 4:30 PM

      I take it that’s for the arch-rivals, otherwise team jerseys are fine?

    • September 17, 2011 6:15 PM

      That is a Mayo jersey; if I won’t wear that, I won’t wear any team jersey… ever. Ugly garments. Now, if they design a tasteful pashmina in cashmere, I might consider it.

      Strindberg? Quite.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 17, 2011 7:22 PM

      You might wear black feathers obliquely referencing the All Blacks.

    • September 17, 2011 7:31 PM

      Ta-dah!

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 17, 2011 7:37 PM

      You’d need to accessorise the Mayo shirt with an appropriate blow-up mascot.

      A highlight of a festival we need in Salalah in Oman 10 years ago was seeing grown women in burquas ( the ones where the face is completely hidden ) bashing each other over the heads with those inflatable hammers you get in fairgrounds.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 17, 2011 7:38 PM

      we need??? where the hell did that come from?

      Or should that be where the hell need that come from?

    • September 17, 2011 7:53 PM

      Need your mind wander Edward, thinking about blow up mascots?

      I’m not sure what an appropriate mascot would be – perhaps an inflatable Sam Maguire because we have not won the all-Ireland since 1951 or 1952. Legend has it that on the way back from Dublin that time a Traveller lady put a hex on the team – I forget what they did to offend her – to the effect that Mayo would not win the all-Ireland again until all the members of the then victorious team had died. One or two still live; they must be on permanent alert.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 17, 2011 8:36 PM

      I’d need to recollect my thoughts to find out if it need Reine

  19. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 17, 2011 3:26 PM

    combine the two Reine. You’ll be rocking a look or channeling someone or trending or something to that effect.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 17, 2011 4:28 PM

      !Yes, she could be ‘referencing’ Strindberg…
      Bell-pull Bondage: The Footman’s Fetish

  20. mishari permalink*
    September 17, 2011 8:05 PM

    Apropos of nothing at all, my toaster blew-up this morning so I went to buy a new one. Do you have any notion of the variety of toasters on offer? 2-slices, 4-slices, wide-slots, will take muffins, won’t take muffins, extra-wide slots that will take tea-cakes, has crumb-tray, doesn’t have crumb-tray, in steel, in chrome, in plastic, in byzantine mosaics, simple controls, no controls, elaborate controls (dark toast, medium dark toast, light toast, toast with an image of Jesus, etc etc)…I swear to God, I’ve spent less time picking a wife.

  21. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 17, 2011 8:41 PM

    Williamsons in Oldham used to sell army toasters. Useful if you have 24 people in your family. Big bulky things – built to withstand a bomb blast and/or a sudden run on beans on toast I shouldn’t wonder.

    • September 17, 2011 9:30 PM

      My hairdryer blew up on Thursday; I am “referencing” Diana Ross since then; the prospect of getting caught up in the Boots weekend hordes means the curls stay put.

      Crumb trays are rubbish, unless you remember to empty them daily and who does? The detachable muffin rack will just be cast aside gathering dust unless you have a muffin fetish … why, though, oh why does no one think to make a toaster that will take a full sized pitta pocket rather than having to take it out midway and turn it around, with the inevitable result that one end gets more done than another? Maybe someone has, I haven’t toaster shopped since 1990.

  22. mishari permalink*
    September 17, 2011 10:24 PM

    I ended up buying a Dualit. They’re mainly aimed at the commercial/industrial market and although they’re handbuilt in the UK, they look like old Russian tech–indestructible: if you were going to take a toaster to the moon, this would be the toaster you’d take…plus, they last forever, all the parts being replaceable. It’s not just a toaster…it’s family. And it toasts bagels, muffins and crumpets and has a mechanism that lifts whatever you’ve toasted well clear, so you won’t be digging in the toaster with a knife and giving yourself a bit of breakfast ECT…

    What an interesting life I lead and how very fortunate you are to hear about it in such detail. Coming Up: I Make Toast (Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture)…

    • September 17, 2011 11:19 PM

      Mishari, I will have a bagel for breakfast please, toasted medium, lightly buttered with a choice of homemade preserves. Strong coffee.

      I wish Hic would come and look at me in my feathers so I can take them off, they’re roasting.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 18, 2011 1:16 PM

      I’d forgotten the feather picture! no wonder I associate you with them.
      We’ve been at a sexagenarian birthday celebration which continues today. This is my interlude for sleep and silence.
      We were all in a frabjous Italian restaurant in Cambridge (stage right) last night which was a bit too close. Half of us were made to change seats after the pasta course, which caused a sort of game of Twister to break out. I escaped for a few minutes to window-shop antique European furniture across the street. Today we’ll be on Boston harbour festing on and it looks to be a beautiful day.

      I love to hear the interesting details and discernments of your life, hobo rex .
      We haven’t had a toaster with a tray for a long time, but I did buy a bargainous Bialetti panini pan back around the time of your ice-cream making phase. It’s been a hit with everyone. There’s a cast iron top which pre-heats, and a square grilly bottom, then whatever one toasts gets pressed between. The down-side is that it’s easy to get carried away with the olive oil.

      Now must drink more coffee and rally for the next wave of birthday…

    • September 18, 2011 8:29 PM

      Thank God. If anyone is wondering, Dublin won the all-Ireland today. The place is awash with blue jerseys and will be for some time to come – I don’t know if I can bear it. What’s worse, HI was at the match (an independent observer) and will doubtless bore me to death with the details when he gets home. How I suffer. Maybe I will have an early night.

  23. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 18, 2011 9:12 AM

    Toasters always with the toasters.

    Have you been watching Mark Cousins’ history of film on More4?

    Very good – his way of delivering lines is an acquired taste but he’s been showing clips of films by directors that even our Buenos Aires-based obscure-film afficionado Captain Ned may not have heard of. Last night’s episode featured a Eisenstein, Bunuel, Ozu as well an early Japanese avant-garde film which was eye poppingly good. Can’t remember the director’s name – something Japanese probably.mongst others. Made you want to see the films which is always a good sign.

  24. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 18, 2011 9:16 AM

    join mongst others to the a before Eisenstein and my post will make slightly more sense.

  25. mishari permalink*
    September 18, 2011 10:00 AM

    I haven’t, Ed, but speaking of film history, a book I took to Spain and read was Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and The Rise of Independent Film, which was hugely entertaining. You might have read Biskind’s earlier book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, which was also excellent. Both highly recommended.

  26. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 18, 2011 8:27 PM

    Have read the Easy Riders book. I wondered whether Biskind was using the book to settle some old scores.

    If it’s to be believed I wonder how some people manage to retain any sense of humanity or artistic focus in that hothouse situation.

    The answer being that they probably don’t – constantly having to look over your shoulder must be incredibly wearing and the knowledge that you can be removed from a film at any point must induce industrial levels of paranoia on top of all the coke they were stuffing up their noses.

  27. mishari permalink*
    September 18, 2011 9:33 PM

    I guess it’s a business for hard-core obsessives, Ed: sensitive types like you and me need not apply.

    The ‘Down and Dirty’ book is, in the main, an examination of the character and methods of Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, a man who appals and fascinates at the same time. One keeps thinking “I can’t believe nobody’s put a bullet in this son-of-a-bitch”. A great read, though…I’ll pass it along if you fancy it.

  28. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 18, 2011 9:56 PM

    That’s very kind – but I’m almost knee-deep in Infinite Jest at the moment. I’m enjoying it immensely but I’m also a very slow and dogged reader so it will keep me occupied for a long while.

    My partner can keep several books going at the same time but I can never manage that. She finished IJ a few months ago and has found other books since rather pale in comparison. China Mieville was the latest to get short shrift but the Island of Dr. Moreau fared much much better.

  29. mishari permalink*
    September 18, 2011 10:18 PM

    I thought Mieville’s Perdido Street Station was a terrific work of imagination but a couple of his other novels didn’t impress me as much. I’m re-reading William Gibson’s ‘Virtual Light trilogy–Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow’s Parties–and enjoying them as much as I did the first time around. Also just read Hitchen’s memoirs, Hitch-22, which was very entertaining and the second volume of Peter Guralnick’s Elvis bio, Carelesss Love, 700 heavily footnoted pages bordering on the obsessive…a bit exhausting but interesting, nonetheless…

    Studying to be a veterinarian, he (Rick Perry) stumbled on chemistry and made a D one semester and an F in another. “Four semesters of organic chemistry made a pilot out of me,” said Perry, who went on to join the Air Force.

    “His other D’s,” Richard Oppel wrote in The Times, “included courses in the principles of economics, Shakespeare, ‘Feeds & Feeding,’ veterinary anatomy and what appears to be a course called ‘Meats.’ ” — Maureen Dowd in today’s NYT

    Meats? Meats? Jesus wept…

  30. September 19, 2011 4:40 PM

    The Meats final exam is easier to pass than the Utensils one.

  31. September 19, 2011 5:17 PM

    I failed sausages.

  32. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 19, 2011 5:35 PM

    So did Walls

  33. mishari permalink*
    September 19, 2011 5:54 PM

    I wanted to do ‘Offal’; I was gutted when they turned me down…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 19, 2011 6:01 PM

      Who reads this tripe?

    • September 19, 2011 6:07 PM

      That’s rasher than your usual comments.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 19, 2011 6:24 PM

      on a streak?

  34. hic8ubique permalink
    September 19, 2011 5:59 PM

    Four attempts to pass Meats lawnchaired Perry into aggro-business.

  35. mishari permalink*
    September 19, 2011 7:27 PM

    It’s hamburger on a pun…

  36. hic8ubique permalink
    September 19, 2011 9:22 PM

    …with cheese.
    How now, ground cow?

  37. September 20, 2011 12:08 AM

    Flattened.

  38. hic8ubique permalink
    September 20, 2011 1:42 AM

    It would be wrong to let a hobo thread go by without this one…

    http://www.youtube.com/user/twinlights11?feature=mhee#p/f/5/r6V5DXk6TbA

  39. Captain Ned permalink
    September 20, 2011 7:36 AM

    These puns are offaly good, but I’m not sure I can stomach any more.

    @Alarming. A Page of Madness by Teinosuke Kinugasa, perhaps? Not seen it, but read about it. I have a particular penchant for Japanese cinema.

    • September 20, 2011 4:14 PM

      Just YouTubed Kinugasa and a clip comes up with an unecessary indie-band soundtrack. It is indeed the film that Mark Cousins showed so forgive me for doubting that you’d know of it.

      If you watch it on YouTube turn the sound down.

      The series is worth seeking out if Channel4 have an iplayer service. Cousins sounds a bit like a sex pest but he knows his onions and has real enthusiasm for the work. It’s a 15 part series so he’s not skimming the surface.

      Hope Buenos Aires is going well for you. The weather here is crap, the politics here are crap – you’re not missing much.

  40. ExitB permalink
    September 20, 2011 3:04 PM

    Jamon, feel the noise.

    Just read Carless Love, Mishari and halfway through Last Train to Memphis (wanted to do the grim stuff first, of course). Wonderful books.

    I attended a tree-planting in Peckham Rye on Sunday. William Blake once saw angels in an oak tree on the Rye so the Blake Society decided to replant an oak on the approximate spot in order to encourage future visionaries. The artist Martin Sexton did some strange things with a digital projector although the oak – rescued from an edge of crumbling coastline – seemed rather sickly. Hope it can adapt to urban soil.

    I just re-read the Poster Poems anthology. All those names, feuds, topics. Seems so long ago.

    Cap’n, hope all’s well in Buenos Aires.

  41. ExitB permalink
    September 20, 2011 3:24 PM

    That would be Careless Love, of course. How carless of me.

  42. mishari permalink*
    September 20, 2011 4:22 PM

    I can’t understand why Ned would forsake Call Me Dave’s Big Society for the sun, beaches, cheap drink and drugs, great music, fabulous food and beautiful women of Argentina: there’s something not quite right about that boy…

    Ever read Hellfire, XB? Nick Tosches’ biography of Jerry Lee Lewis? A great read. The Killer was, in my opinion, a much more interesting man than Elvis.

    Actually, I’ve just noticed that The Graun has done a piece about the Blake tree-planting. Are you in this photo, XB?

    Alternatively, you must be in one of these 54 pics…no?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 20, 2011 5:04 PM

      I think that’s Exit wearing specs and leather in no.48 of 54.

    • mishari permalink*
      September 20, 2011 5:09 PM

      That’s him; I’d recognise those Teddy Boy sideburns anywhere…

  43. ExitB permalink
    September 20, 2011 4:45 PM

    I’ve not read it. But I’ll put it on a list for sure. Actually, I keep trying to ween myself off art history and rock bios and get back to some new fiction. Can anyone recommend a recent novel?

    I can’t read the UK news. One glance at the headlines tells me I don’t want to know more. It’s like the start of the 80s except I’m old enough to actually have a vague understanding of what’s going on.

    Reading the bios in the back of ‘Eveyone’s Sense of the World…’ I noted that UnpublishedWriter claimed to have a novel due this year. Amazon tells me it’s out early 2012. Good for him.

    • September 20, 2011 5:15 PM

      XB I’ll try not to bore people about this but I really recommend Infinite Jest if you’ve not tried it.

      Bonkers plot, OTT footnotes, such ridiculously long acronyms and so many of them that you can’t remember what they stand for and above all else it’s extremely funny whilst being extremely bleak at the same time.

      i’m particularly keen on it because it reminds me in all sorts of ways of my all-time favourite book “The Bark Tree” by Raymond Queneau whilst being totally different.

    • ExitB permalink
      September 20, 2011 5:28 PM

      I’d forgotten about The Bark Tree. You’ve recommended it before. Well, it’s in my Amazon basket now and – as soon as I get paid – I’ll order it.

    • henrylloydmoon permalink
      September 20, 2011 9:08 PM

      I remember recommending The Bark Tree as my favourite French novel in the last round of GU polls. Based not entirely on this, I have amazoned Infinite Jest. Eagerly.

      Nice to see you in Peckham, XB!

    • September 20, 2011 9:22 PM

      You mean you were there, too, HLM, or nice to see me in the photos?

    • henrylloydmoon permalink
      September 20, 2011 10:46 PM

      I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree in photograph number one.

      Sorry, another lie. My next visit to the Smoke is October 1st, by which time I should be waxing again.

      Nice to see you in the photos!

    • henrylloydmoon permalink
      September 20, 2011 10:48 PM

      Sorry again, number two. Oh what a tangled web.

  44. ExitB permalink
    September 20, 2011 4:57 PM

    Criminy! Glad to see they’re writing about it. I seem to be absent from the photos – perhaps I’m an angel. Nope, there I am – photo 19, peering up in the corner as Martin Sexton projects UFO-seeing children onto an oak tree. Also, 11 shows my beloved (on the right, not the lady in the red dress) adn we’re both in 48, where the Head Librarian of Peckham Library seems to be lifting my head in offering like some south London Salome.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 20, 2011 5:06 PM

      I thought of Salome too!

  45. mishari permalink*
    September 20, 2011 5:06 PM

    I seem to remember Unpub mentioning that his novel had been picked up back in 2008/9 but then he seemed to be getting the run-a-round from the publishers. I remember teasing him that he’d have to change his user-name soon. 2012 is only months away so I wish him all the best.

    I wish I could recommend some new fiction but I read so little of it (aside from crime novels), finding that there’s just so much older stuff that I haven’t read or didn’t read properly the first time around. Consequently, most new stuff just passes me by.

  46. ExitB permalink
    September 20, 2011 5:18 PM

    Well spotted, Hic! Actually, the end of the ritual required my head to be buried with the tree’s roots. Hence the recent typos.

    I share your feeling on new fiction, Mishari. I’ve given up trusting blurb and reviews and so it’s very hard to know what to read from new authors. And there seems to be a deluge of funkily-packaged novels that appear, are briefly proclaimed, then vanish. Or perhaps it was always that way and I never noticed before.

    • September 20, 2011 9:09 PM

      Exit dear heart, the new(ish) fiction book I liked most recently was The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker… won the IMPAC award here last year I think. I loved it. I will happily send it to you if you would like; I don’t read books twice (with the exception of some classics). Only say the word…

      In a stuck moment, I read David Nicholl’s One Day which was the biggest pile of shite I have read in quite a while. And the film is worse to the power of a thousand.

  47. September 20, 2011 9:20 PM

    Reine, that would be wonderful. Many thanks. So, one copy of One Day….

    Drop me a line at info@ckgilchrist.com

    Thanks again. I’ve had a low success rate of finishing novels over the last 18 months – receipts and ticket stubs sticking out accusingly from Alone in Berlin, Anna Karenininina, The Butt by Will Self…but then I finished off Titus Alone after a 10-year break a couple of years back.

    How long can you leave a novel half-read before you have to go back to the start?

    • September 20, 2011 9:38 PM

      I left Bleak House for a week and had to go right back to the start. Catch 22 was another that was not cast-aside friendly. Depends on the novel I suppose. Will email you shortly.

  48. hic8ubique permalink
    September 20, 2011 10:16 PM

    I abandon novels with abandon in recent years, though I used to love them. Got only partway into the second chunk of Rutherford’s ‘The Forest’, and a few pages into Kingsolver’s ‘Animal Dreams’, both urged upon me by friends.
    I enjoyed Mary Gordon’s ‘Spending’, which has some art history in it, XB, but that’s from ’98. I’m faddish, so I expect novels will appeal to me again eventually.

    Now reading The Botany of Desire: a plant’s eye view of the world (nf) by Michael Pollan which I picked up two ? years ago.
    I’m guessing it’s more a Mishari than an Exit selection.

    Oh, but if you haven’t read SK Penman ‘The Sunne in Splendour’ I’d recommend that for you especially.

    What an attractive couple you two make! I recognised your ski-slope.

  49. mishari permalink*
    September 20, 2011 10:26 PM

    Funnily enough, hic, I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma a few months ago, a fascinating study of the American (and much of the West’s) attitudes to food and the means by which food is produced. Or as Pollan says in the introduction, “How did it ever get to a point where we need investigative journalists to tell us where our food comes from and nutritionists to determine our dinner menu?”

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 21, 2011 12:59 PM

      aha, well I’d be delighted to send you my copy when I’ve finished, if you’d welcome a friendly surprise in your box one day. I’d include my extra copy of Naukhala Redux, which I’ve long thought should go to you.
      I’ve heard of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, perhaps from you, but hadn’t realised it’s the same author.

      Here’s a teaser… (from p. 58 after the history of apple cultivation in the New World)…

      Wallace Stevens wrote a poem about the power of a simple jar sitting on a hill in Tennessee to transform the surrounding forest. He described how this very ordinary bit of human artifice “took dominion everywhere,” ordering the “slovenly wilderness” around it like a light in the darkness. I wonder if a wild treeplanted in the middle of an ordered land-scape can make the reverse happen, can unstring this taut garden, I mean, and allow the cultivated plants all around it to sound the clear note of their own inborn wildness, now muffled. There can be no civilisation without wildness, such a tree would remind us, no sweetness absent its astringent opposite.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 21, 2011 3:29 PM

      That looks much better than the dog’s breakfast I posted, Mishari. I should have said… if you send me an address at hic8ubique@gmail.com I’ll make you an entertaining little parcel. (It’s actually Naulakha Redux: Songs of Rudyard Kipling.)

  50. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 20, 2011 10:58 PM

    I’d recommend “Welcome to Dingburg” by Bill Griffiths – a collection of Zippy the Pinhead cartoon strips by one of the best underground cartoonists. As good a satire on the US as anything else.

    I would imagine it’s syndicated in newspapers around hic’s part of the world.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 21, 2011 3:32 PM

      I haven’t bought a newspaper in some time, EdT, but there was a period my sister was quite keen on the folliculous Zippy. I remember the strip particularly for its defiance of expectation of anything so trite as a coherent narrative.

  51. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 21, 2011 7:23 PM

    Final nail in the coffin for anyone labouring under the delusion that Obama is a force for good. tonight.

    Bush at least tried to pretend that there was equanimity in the way Israel and Palestine were treated even if there wasn’t.

    Like Labour under Blair and Brown Obama seems absolutely terrified of what a certain band of middle-class voters ( Daily Mail readers here, Tea Party in the US ) thinks. I wonder if it’s a a mixture of overestimating the importance of this band of voting preference as well as Obamas’s inner conservative coming to the fore.

    In comparison Clegg’s address to the LibDem party barely raised the blood temperature at all. In fact his ” Never trust Labour” call came across as hilarious when you consider that the LibDems would have jumped into bed with any party with the bigger vote.

  52. mishari permalink*
    September 21, 2011 8:01 PM

    Ed. here’s what Barry The Busted Flush said in a speech in May last year:

    “The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state”.

    Since then, the rabid ‘Israel First’ crowd have accused Barry of ‘throwing Israel under the bus’ etc etc. Now Gov. Rick Good-hair (you know, the clown who got a ‘D’ in ‘Meat’) is accusing Barry of ‘betraying Israel’. That Gov. Good-hair and the rest of the ‘Israel First’ crowd are betraying the US doesn’t seem to occur to these maniacs.

    Still, in a way, I suppose this is a good thing: any one who was deluded enough or dimwitted enough to pretend that the US was an ‘honest broker’ between Israel and the Palestinians is sunk.

    Here’s what Glenn Greenwald wrote a couple of days ago:

    There were numerous reasons that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer were accused in prominent venues of all sorts of crimes — including anti-Semitism — when they published The Israel Lobby, but the most common cause was the book’s central theme: that there is a very powerful lobby in the U.S. which is principally devoted to Israel and causes U.S. political leaders to act to advance the interests of this foreign nation over their own.

    In The New York Times today, Tom Friedman — long one of Israel’s most stalwart American supporters — wrote the following as the second paragraph of his column, warning that the U.S. was about to incur massive damage in order to block Palestinian statehood:

    This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.

    Isn’t that exactly Walt and Mearseimer’s main theme, what caused them to be tarred and feathered with the most noxious accusations possible? Indeed it is; here’s how the academic duo, in The Israel Lobby, described the crux of their argument as first set forth in an article on which the book was based:

    After describing the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel, we argued that his support could not be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds Instead, it was due largely to the political power of the Israel lobby, a loose coalition of individuals and groups that seeks to influence American foreign policy in ways that will benefit Israel . . . We suggested that these policies were not in the U.S. national interest and were in fact harmful to Israel’s long-term interests as well.

    Is that not exactly the point which The New York Times’ most “pro-Israel” columnist himself just voiced today? This thesis has long been self-evidently true. Indeed, many of the same Israel-loyal neoconservatives who accused Walt and Mearsheimer of promoting an anti-Semitic trope of “dual loyalty” — by daring to suggest that some American Jews cast votes based on what’s best for Israel rather than the U.S. — themselves will explicitly urge American Jews to vote Republican instead of Democrat because of the former’s supposedly greater support for Israel (you’re allowed to argue that American Jews should make political choices based on Israel but you’re not allowed to point out that some do so).

    Ed Koch just ran around the 9th Congressional District in New York successfully urging American Jews to vote for the GOP candidate based on exactly that appeal (“Koch, a Democrat, endorsed [the GOP candidate] in July as a way to ‘send a message’ to Obama on his policies toward Israel”). And in The Wall Street Journal this week, Rick Perry excoriated President Obama because of the small handful of instances where Obama deviated ever-so-slightly from the dictates and wishes of the Israeli government.

    Walt and Mearshiemer merely voiced a truth which has long been known and obvious but was not allowed to be spoken. That’s precisely why the demonization campaign against them was so vicious and concerted: those who voice prohibited truths are always more hated than those who spout obvious lies. That the foreign affairs columnist most admired in Washington circles just expressed the same point demonstrates that recognition of this previously prohibited fact has now become mainstream.

    Unfortunately, though, it is still a fact. While there is little doubt that blocking Palestinian statehood will damage the U.S. in substantial ways, there is a reasonable debate to be had about whether Palestinian statehood is actually beneficial to the Palestinians. But American politicians won’t be entertaining that debate as they exercise their veto because, as The Israel Lobby documented and Tom Friedman today put it:

    “the powerful pro-Israel lobby . . . can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.”

    Glenn Greenwald, Sep. 18, salon.com

    Isn’t the U.S. the world’s brightest beacon of human rights?

    It is, if conditions are right. If the lobbyists and organizations that line the campaign coffers of the U.S.’s elected officials approve; if it will not alienate some vocal constituency; if it will produce photo ops that can be used in a future election, then the U.S. will always endorse any democratic movement for human rights.

    Unfortunately, these conditions are not often met. South American countries that elect leftist presidents; Middle Eastern countries that elect leaders hostile to U.S.’s pets: these democratic movements must not be tolerated. Capitalist democracy that supports the needs of the rich over anyone else (thus following the U.S. model), and that doesn’t offend Israel, will always be endorsed. Any other version of democracy isn’t really, in the eyes of the U.S., democracy at all.

    Can anyone imagine a United States where its leaders did what was right, rather than what was politically expedient? Where the safety nets for the poor were strengthened, even if it meant that the local CEO had to keep his or her Mercedes for two years, instead of just one? Where there was something more important than individual power? Where ego took a back seat to service?

    It is difficult to visualize such a United States. Many people believed, however naively, that the U.S. was on the verge of such an actuality as the inauguration of Mr. Obama approached, back in January of 2009. That seems, today, so long ago. — Robert Fantina, @counterpunch.org

  53. hic8ubique permalink
    September 22, 2011 10:55 PM

    This one is especially to cheer you, Re…

    She selected a feathered merkin
    (bespeckled) to bedeck her,
    chuffed in anticipation that his
    woodpecker woodpecker woodpecker.

    • September 22, 2011 11:42 PM

      Far from my mind this evening Hic but I will work it into my burlesque routine. Thanks for the laugh. x

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 23, 2011 2:17 AM

      *helpless*

  54. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 22, 2011 11:29 PM

    went to see Tinker Tailor tonight. Very well filmed in widescreen but everyone in Le Carre is a triple double secret mole/agent/traitor/spy/Russian so nothing surprises you in the end. Better as books I think.

    But the trailers for the forthcoming films were extraordinary. All edited at the same speed possibly because the films are so crap that the makers feel continuous fast-cuts will distract you from their crapness or possibly because today’s X-Box savvy teen cinema-goers can handle watching a succession of 2 second long shots.

    In one of the trailers I had even less of an idea of what was going on than in the Le Carre. it was difficult to see who was in the film as it jumped around so quickly. Could have been George Clooney, Meg Ryan or Jim Carrey.

    I wondered if the trailer for T T was similarly edited – in which case anyone tempted through watching it would have had a big surprise.

  55. September 24, 2011 6:57 PM

    I know it’s generally considered very dull to share one’s dreams, but this one needs to get out…

    I was travelling to an arranged face-to-face meeting of Politely Homicidal regulars. When I arrived, only Mishari and Melton were present, already chattering away. I was surprised by their appearances, as both were much younger than I’d expected. Much, much younger. Both were adolescent boys although Melton had the face of an old Indian man, softly wrinkled like an old apple – clearly a boy who’d seen too much too young.

    The two jabbered away in an argot half-their own, leading me along the street (we were in Norwich, natch) excitedly embarking on some adventure they’d already schemed. Anxiety set in as it became slowly apparent from their nudges and winks that Mishari and MM were not simply very, very youthful but had in fact remotely possessed the bodies of two boys – piloting them in order to perpetuate some pre-planned mayhem.

    I woke up shortly afterwards (thank God) but not before Mishari had rampaged into a restaurant and made surreal and insulting demands of the Maitre d’ and MM had begun to rave, shrieking and waving his arms, panicking about the unhealthy effects on his hapless avatar of all the scattershot promiscuity he was hoping to enjoy.

    Where is MM by the way?

  56. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 25, 2011 11:01 PM

    I dream but the minute I wake up I can’t remember my dreams at all. Given the rubbish I think during my waking hours I should be grateful I suppose.

    MM pops up from time to time on PotW. I suspect his breakdance crew has had some success so he can’t find the time to contribute these days.

  57. hic8ubique permalink
    September 26, 2011 2:26 AM

    ‘argot half-their own’
    That’s perfect, and a delightful dream account, XB.
    I occasionally bore the unsuspecting (even here) with a dream, as I do go through phases of vivid dreaming…
    Two nights ago, I got a good look at a landscape and structures which I’ve previously only visited in parts. That was a treat to get the whole orientation, though there was a passage where I was wading chest-deep and clothed through a flooded swamp and considering whether snakes might be present, but the footing was good, so I wasn’t bothered.
    The trees were 200 ft giants (possibly beeches) and much older than any I see in daytime. I’d wade a long way to see those! There’s more but, y’know… it can become tedious.

    My parents were deeply into Jung when I was growing up, so breakfast was usually spent listening to someone’s dream in thoughtful detail. My six-yrs younger sister has a remarkable faculty for recounting events in precise sequence, which amazes me. I’m good with the high-lights. (Have I told you this before?) Since last Christmas, The Red Book has been prominently placed in the parental sitting-room.

    On MM’s departure, if he’d account for himself, I’d be most appreciative. I can only tell you this…
    He’s been even more than usually cross on PotW.
    Among those Pol-homming of late, Reine has pined for their former bonhomie, Moon has expressed anxiety for his health, and I’ve been vexed that he won’t just have out with what’s got into him. If our host has a clue, he’s not saying.
    And EdT, well, who among us can fathom the arcane fancies of the artiste?
    That’s my summation for what it’s worth, XB; good to have you about to assuage one’s raw feelings of abandonment, though presuming to speak only for myself*.

    * a lie

  58. September 26, 2011 8:23 AM

    I cannot deny the pine.

  59. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2011 11:17 AM

    Morning, comrades. Again, my apologies for being an absent host. As for MM, I can shed no light on his silence. I just assume that he’s either out-of-sorts (and given the state of the world, who can blame him?) or that, like me, he has more pressing concerns at the moment. I hope that doesn’t sound like a slight; it isn’t meant to. It’s just that I’m up to my eyeballs in work that can’t wait…should be all done fairly soon, though. Best wishes to all.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 26, 2011 2:46 PM

      Good Afternoon,M~ Not slighted in the least; given developments in your world, I’m perfectly content to anticipate the tortuous tale of Raoul in patience… Ramon…Ra…

  60. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 26, 2011 11:32 AM

    Arcane? Moi? well really.

    FWIW as his occasional appearances on PotW and obooki’s blog demonstrate MM has probably not been struck down by an accident or illness ( which would give cause for concern ) so I can only respect his decision to give PH a break.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 26, 2011 2:48 PM

      Yes, You really… in a Zippy sort of way ;)

  61. September 26, 2011 12:33 PM

    From what little I know of him – and it seems I know less than I thought I did – I am sure he will not relish this spotlight but to throw in my thruppence worth, and notwithstanding anyone’s right to come or go, it was the sudden departure that perplexed and the change in tone. Of course, none of us is obliged to explain himself or herself to another but one can’t help wondering. All of us have all manner of shit going on in our lives that we don’t divulge I presume but sometimes I suppose there is an uneasy collision of the public and private spheres. Anyway, this is all too deep for a Monday morning and I have important matters of public administration to attend to. Best wishes to all, near and far and behind the curtain.

  62. hic8ubique permalink
    September 26, 2011 2:41 PM

    Well said, Reine.
    I’m quite sure none of us expects command performances here, but to turn on his heel so abruptly and unaccountably and persistently seems deliberately hurtful. I realise it’s ‘only’ a blog, but we aren’t cardboard avatars after all we’ve exchanged.
    It would be silly to be affronted by a person who has no manners to save his life, but, I hasten to add, that is clearly not MM’s problem, so I hoped for a line or two of forthrightness from him.

    Sorry to be so blunt chaps, I don’t mean to damage the furniture, but perversely I suppose, I wouldn’t want the bloody-minded Englishman to think I don’t give a damn.

  63. henrylloydmoon permalink
    September 26, 2011 3:01 PM

    I have been worried about MM since a post he made in July referring to “medical conditions” and calling himself an “ill person”. I just found it again after a search. Though not our place to intrude, I do hope he keeps his (legendary?) pecker up and comes through any hard times he might be experiencing. AICDTH, don’t hesistate, etc.

  64. September 26, 2011 6:10 PM

    @everyone – That’s a shame. I hope he’s okay.

    @Hic – my mum’s a therapist and I grew up with Jung books etc around the house and quite a focus on dreams. I often lucid dream (which seems to be what you’re describing above) and will try to explore the locations I find myself in, madly trying to interpret and memorise my surroundings, get advice from the people I meet and generally make the most of the brief freedom from law and physics before I awaken. Occasionally I wake up in the wrong room and have to try again.

    Also, if anyone has a couple of idle moments, I have a new website (a couple of the stories are carried over from the old one). You can download sample chapters from two of my novels! For free!!!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 27, 2011 12:51 AM

      Sounds like home, XB.
      That’s very lucid dreaming indeed to be aware of awakening in the wrong place. (I’ve never done that, though I often end up in strange circumstances through searching for a bathroom.)
      Your description of your habitual dreaming activity sounds remarkably similar to navigating the internet! I recognise the feeling of freedom from constraint you describe, which for me seems to manifest as, if not total fearlessness, a sort of self-witness detachment.

      Perhaps unsurprising that PH and its inscrutable creator would attract a community of people not uncomfortable with the principle of the omnipresent shadow, eh?

      I had a peek at your airy new digs, and look forward to returning soon for some downloading.

  65. September 26, 2011 10:03 PM

    The website is impressive ExitB and your biog. has made me feel very inadequate. I’m working on mine … “Reine won a plaque, aged seven, for first place in the two hand reel (with her friend Clare) at the Islandeady feis. She also won twenty pounds in a competition run by the Mayo Soroptimist Association in 1985 with which she bought some gold ankle boots and Fame legwarmers. She cared less about feminism, only about winning the money. She has dabbled in soft drugs, hard marriage, tambourine playing and limerick writing and currently works for the Irish State. She has a soft spot for men with facial hair.” It’s a work in progress…

  66. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2011 10:17 PM

    Yes, the website looks good, XB. I’ll explore it more thoroughly when I’m less harassed. The link, by the way, is on the blogroll; it’s ckgilchrist.com…

    Your biog. is fine, Reine; mine would get me deported so fast it would give me wind-burn….

  67. September 26, 2011 10:19 PM

    “Fine”?? Damned with faint praise. (Irish dances stage left in legwarmers, weeping)

  68. mishari permalink*
    September 26, 2011 10:51 PM

    I was being diplomatic…I’m sure this is the real you:

  69. September 26, 2011 10:56 PM

    Laughing out very loud. Room 714 so? Give me half an hour…

  70. September 26, 2011 11:59 PM

    Heady on incense, candles lit and wine breathing… “where can he be?”

  71. September 27, 2011 12:00 AM

    candles lighting, sorry Sr. Oliver.

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    September 27, 2011 1:03 AM

    Oh, I think, just for that, Mishari deserves his own special selection…
    http://www.youtube.com/user/twinlights11?feature=mhee#p/f/14/VsIrMXMhTU0

  73. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 27, 2011 5:25 PM

    • mishari permalink*
      September 27, 2011 5:56 PM

      What that young thug needs is a long prison sentence…decline in standards…moral vacuum…lack of discipline…different in my day…boy! another pink gin, chop-chop…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 27, 2011 7:00 PM

      Bring back the birch.

      Judging by the comments below it YouTube ( presumably fearing an outbreak of wheelybins being knocked over ) removed the original version of this clip.

      A friend of mine once found a teenager upside down in a wheelybin that had been pushed into a phone-box.

  74. September 27, 2011 6:09 PM

    Book arrived, Reine! Thank you very much. I’m looking forward to reading it (I try not to read the blurb on the back of books, so I’ve no idea what it’s about).

    • September 27, 2011 6:54 PM

      I’m glad to hear it ExitB. Hope you like it. I may add “Reine once posted a book to the renowned writer Kim Gilchrist” to my biog.

  75. September 28, 2011 6:55 PM

    Most peculiar weather here … summer returned yesterday; swelteringly hot today – the lawns of Trinity College awash with bright young things in shorts and sandals. Most disconcerting to have to make this mental adjustment and go back a season, not to mention the havoc it is creating with my wardrobe. Long boots Monday, sandals Tuesday…

    From The Irish Times:

    “Today was Dublin’s hottest day of the year, with temperatures in Phoenix Park reaching 25.5 degrees in the early afternoon according to Met Éireann.

    The reading surpasses the warmest temperature officially recorded anywhere in the country by the national forecaster so far in 2011 with the previous high mark being 25.4 degrees in Oak Park in Carlow on June 3rd”

    Oh … and the presidential election is going to be filthy; I can say no more.

  76. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 28, 2011 8:40 PM

    Will mud wrestling be involved?

    • September 28, 2011 11:03 PM

      Only slinging Ed but you never know.

  77. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2011 9:48 PM

    In late breaking health news…I’ve just been informed that I have a peptic ulcer (duodenal). I’d been getting these sharp abdominal pains, usually a few hours after eating and sometimes bad enough to wake me up in the middle of the night. Inez put her foot down and insisted I see my doctor. He listened to my symptoms and said, “Classic peptic ulcer of the duodenum…”.

    At first, I was baffled…I thought only stressed-out people and those who live on rot-gut whiskey get ulcers and I’m a pretty relaxed sort and I don’t drink that much (well, not usually), but apparently, the cause is a bacteria: in fact, a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori.

    So the good news is it’s easy enough to cure. A 2-week course of anti-biotics to kill the bacteria and a course of Zantac to minimise acid production (so the ulcer can heal) and I’ll be right as rain. So I’m happy. I was dreading being told that it was something more lethal. The bad news is, I can’t smoke or drink for 2 weeks, which is brutal. Oh, well….

    “…the presidential election is going to be filthy.” You mean as opposed to the usual feast of reason and flow of the soul? Oh dear…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 28, 2011 10:30 PM

      Oh! the page hadn’t refreshed, and there I was having the most self-indulgent rant.
      Now I’m ashamed of myself. How awful to be waking up in pain. Do you ever take acidophilus / bifidus probiotics? That might be a good idea along with the antibiotics.

    • September 28, 2011 11:07 PM

      Snap, had that two years ago. The antibiotics are very powerful – don’t be tempted to drink on them. And be warned they may make you feel quite low spirit-wise. I was on a ferry on the last day taking them and nearly flung myself overboard. The change in my mood once I was over them was remarkable. “Feel better” as the kids say. x

  78. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 28, 2011 10:14 PM

    Bad luck. How do you get the bacteria in the first place? Or is it always there and flourishes when you get run down? Perhaps all the recent change in your life has had an effect?

    • mishari permalink*
      September 28, 2011 10:31 PM

      Nobody’s quite sure how you get it, although contaminated food or water is the most likely vector and God knows, I’ve eaten and drank things that would give a Health Inspector the vapours. I daresay the accident and the recent stresses of moving etc etc didn’t help and in fact, my doctor said much the same thing, describing it as an ‘opportunistic’ bacteria. Still, no big deal, really…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 28, 2011 10:41 PM

      If you’re in London lay off that Indian restaurant at the foot of Brick Lane – I had terrible indigestion after a chicken curry there, delicious though it was.

      If you’re in Paris lay off the garlic pizza – I ate one there 30 years ago in an Italian near the Gard du Nord and it was one of the most bizarre meals I’d ever eaten. Pizza dough withaurant garlic and fuck all else on it. I’m not even sure why I ordered it

  79. hic8ubique permalink
    September 28, 2011 10:25 PM

    …mud-slinging perhaps.

    *MOAN* I’ve suffered all day in facing/not facing the ineluctable grind of my annual book-keeping reckoning. I’ve procrastinated so incorrigibly that I’ve gathered all my ephemera for the task, and accomplished little more than dithering, making tea, running errands, and every small task other than sticking to the seat and reconciling myself to the tangle.
    It just drags out the whole hateful enterprise, so I’ll be phoning in numbers to the accountant on the last possible drop-dead day. It’s all my own fault, and Spouse looks on dolefully, making tentative suggestions as to how I might join the new century. He’s gone hunter-gathering for Mexican.

    It was urgent that I report this to you all (though the Pol Hommes have done little to aid and abet my badness today) and now, having not made a chicken soup because I had such work to do, I’m itching to cut up that old cotton jersey nightgown. Because it will make such lovely painting rags, you see. I’d better take care of that straight away…

    • September 28, 2011 11:11 PM

      Hello Hic, I am just home. I need a new job. Book-keeping? God help us, pay as you earn may have something to recommend it at least although it’s beginning to feel more like pay all you earn. Moan, bitch, sigh. Mercifully, it has cooled down a bit at least.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 29, 2011 12:30 AM

      Just now, and it’s gone eleven!? You do need a new… something?
      I would need a mid-afternoon nap.
      The heat wave was courtesy of us on the other side. Last week was drippingly humid. It’s lovely and cool now, should be arriving with you anon.

  80. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2011 10:34 PM

    Actually, I hadn’t thought of that, hic, but it’s a good idea, seeing as how the anti-biotics kill off all your intestinal flora, both good and bad. I will do that.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 28, 2011 10:40 PM

      It helps to reestablish ‘eubiosis’ (as opposed to dysbiosis which is when yeasts and fungi and such are dominant) but you must get the sort that say ‘guaranteed living organisms’, not guaranteed living ‘at time of processing’ and it should be refrigerated. Metagenics and Solgar are good brands, but may not be available in the UK.

  81. hic8ubique permalink
    September 28, 2011 11:07 PM

    Wow, astronomical price for maybe a week’s worth, but this is what I gave my youngest when she needed it, prior to having her appendix out, which cleared up her tummy pains for good:
    http://www.vitaminsuk.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=980_981&products_id=18016
    I think it’s only about $35usd.

  82. mishari permalink*
    September 28, 2011 11:31 PM

    Thanks for the encouragement, Reine and the advice, which I’ll take, hic (although for £74 for 30 capsules this stuff had better make me fucking immortal)…and your tale of upsetting meals, Ed…although there are only two ‘Indian’ (actually Bengali) restaurants in Whitechapel that get my custom: Tayyab and The Lahore, both of which are outstanding and unbelievably cheap (considering the quality of the food).

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 29, 2011 12:19 AM

      Wait, this is the stuff we actually used:
      http://www.vitaminsuk.com/index.php?cPath=980_982&sort=20a&main_page=index&filter_id=714
      (Maybe the IB stands for irritable bowel.) These versions are much lower concentration and twice the quantity, as you see, but may be all you need.
      If not, you could work up to the mega-dose version.
      It will all be worth it to start feeling better soon.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 29, 2011 9:54 AM

      When I lived in London 30 years ago and frequented the Brick Lane restaurants ( more accurately cafes back then ) they were virtually giving it away. Some traditions never die out – it makes you wonder what profit margins the more up-scale establishments are operating at.

      We did our final summer tour gig in Derby last weekend and half way through one of the shows an extremely eccentric middle aged Irish woman came up and offered me a few words of “advice”. She was perfectly pleasant but I did find myself wondering if it was anytimefrances – not that I really know what gender atf is.

    • mishari permalink*
      September 29, 2011 10:28 AM

      I can’t help noting, Ed, that you place ‘advice’ in quotes. Is this ‘advice’, as in: “We’re here to sell you some fire-insurance, guv…very nasty stuff, fire…you’d be amazed how fast stuff goes up…stone me, your curtains have just caught light…see what I mean, squire?…we’ll be round tomorrow to collect the first payment…”. That kind of ‘advice’?

      Good piece on why The Guardian should come with a health warning.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      September 29, 2011 10:35 AM

      It was advice on how to organise the queue better and who we should be allowing in to watch the show.

      She wasn’t a woman with some kids trying to figure out a way of jumping the queue as is often the case in this situation – just a poor lonely soul I think.

    • September 29, 2011 11:18 AM

      She’s definitely a woman Edward. Could have been her or it could have been my third cousin twice removed, Assumpta.

  83. September 28, 2011 11:36 PM

    Just think, you will be even more fabulous than you are now and be glad you didn’t have to be colonically probed to find the bloody thing. But stay away from ferries or balconies in the meantime just be on the safe side.

    • mishari permalink*
      September 29, 2011 10:31 AM

      ‘…even more fabulous…?’ I don’t think the world is quite ready for that.

    • September 29, 2011 11:30 AM

      Fabulous Mishari,
      Flasher than flash Harry,
      Smote by a bacterium
      Inducing such delirium
      He needed acidophilus
      For his intestinal metropolis
      The girls were most solicitous
      Thanked God it was not syphilis
      Edward, too, expressed anxiety
      About spicy food propriety
      In short, Mishari, take your meds
      Steer clear of heights and strangers’ beds
      Lie low, lie late, lie lie lie lie*
      And, Mishari … it’s ok to cry

      *musical interlude

  84. hic8ubique permalink
    September 29, 2011 12:10 PM

    * …and The Boxer never cries…

  85. hic8ubique permalink
    September 30, 2011 12:22 AM

    How are you faring, Mishari? Tolerating the antibiotic? Any relief?

    My grandmother had diverticulosis, and I would try to give her miso soup, because it’s so gentle and alkalysing for the GI tract. It may be both soothing and nutritive for you to take frequent cups of it at this stage.
    Oh, mineral water as well, probably still is better than fizzy.
    Thinking of you… x hic

  86. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2011 12:40 AM

    I’m fine, thanks, honey, now that I know what was causing the pain and how to control it. It’s always a bit of a shock for me when I get ill (i.e. almost never): I feel betrayed by my body, particularly as I take reasonable care of it (if you overlook the smoking, drinking and occasional narcotic abuse). Still, considering all the ghastly things it might have been, a bacteria-caused ulcer is a walk in the park. But enough about me…you’re well, I hope?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      September 30, 2011 1:44 AM

      Glad to hear it, though such bacteria are nothing to sniff at these days. I could get carried away worrying about perforated bowel and so on…
      Yes, relentlessly well myself, despite my irresponsible rant yesterday. I made a good chicken soup this evening.
      However, you remind me of the time I had ‘rigors’ in the night, (oh, 7 or 8 yrs ago) and assumed I was having an emotional reaction to my husband’s surgical procedure that day, as I hadn’t til then visited a hospital since my grandmother’s death years before.
      But no, it turned out I had an actual kidney infection . Oddly enough, I was prepared to accept I was having a psycho-emotional breakdown before considering I might be physically ill!
      It was a lesson, but I do understand how peculiar it is when you’re accustomed to feeling hardy. It’s not really surprising though, after all the antibiotics you must have been plied with after your accident.
      Prolonged hospitalisations are always risky, even when they are saving your life. Back then, I was fretting over you getting pneumonia.
      I supposer my uncharacteristic anxiety is down to the inherent helplessness of this medium of connection.
      Anyway, thanks for checking in, and for the honey :)

  87. September 30, 2011 10:10 AM

    Oh yeah, you get a “honey” and my brilliant poetic tribute doesn’t get so much as a “howya”!

    Heading west – I had expected to be greeting my week old niece or nephew by now but he/she hasn’t yet appeared. Good job I watched so much Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, I ‘ll know what to do if she goes into sudden labour. Happy weekend all.

  88. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2011 12:47 PM

    Jeez, Reine…how could I have been so dim? I appreciated your cunning verse and should have said so…no excuses…I’m just a doofus. But…I’ve sent away for a How To Not Be An Insensitive Doofus course and I expect to graduate with honours…you won’t recognise me…I’ll be so goddamn sensitive, it’ll sicken you…I’ve bought some velvet knickerbockers in preparation…

    • September 30, 2011 4:52 PM

      Pray do not change on my account. It would be a pain too sharp to bear; ignore me any day and stay as you are.

  89. hic8ubique permalink
    September 30, 2011 1:53 PM

    Have a relaxing visit on your well-deserved weekend, Auntie Honeybunch.
    You see, I’m generously passing my honey forward, it’s only a little bit used and is still very sweet.

    Velvet knickerbockers? I see frightening people like that outside my window. They are extremely insensitive, and happily crow to each other whilst smacking little white balls regardless of hitting pedestrians…

    What the fuck is that?
    What’s that fucking sign?
    It’s a fucking right-of-way?
    Who the fuck owns it?

    They are simply dripping with prestige and bright crayon colours.

    I must away to visit a most ancient of days lady…

    • September 30, 2011 4:56 PM

      I thank you for the honey cursing girl. Bloody golfers.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 1, 2011 1:21 AM

      I should have used italics to show that was a quotation. I am mild as milk, as you know…

    • October 1, 2011 7:57 AM

      I knew you were quoting but it still amuses me to “hear” you cursing. I had forgotten that young children (such as those we are babysitting for the other sister for the weekend) are such early risers. One joined me in bed at 2 a.m. and from 6 the two begged ever ten minutes to get up. “Reine, Reine, Reine is it time now?” So I was a sleepy cereal waitress at twenty to seven. It’s been a while.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 1, 2011 6:21 PM

      I once helped look after a friend’s children while she was abroad (in India, actually)
      One early morning, I awoke to the close presence of the three-yr-old, right at face-level.
      She asked in great earnest: ‘Where are your lips?’

  90. Edward Taylor permalink
    September 30, 2011 2:00 PM

    Good work on the current PotW thread Mishari. I trust your ulcer hasn’t popped in exasperation.

    Of course no-one likes being criticised but in this instance the thinness of skin coupled with the construction of straw men by the dozen makes for a far more toxic stew than Billy’s non-anonymously expressed responses to the poet’s camp-followers.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 1, 2011 1:27 AM

      You called for the pachy derm…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 1, 2011 9:02 AM

      Pachydermologically I find this more pachydermological

      Those elaborate folds of skin used to fascinate and baffle me when I was a kid.

      Good work on the PotW thread as well hic. It needed saying.

    • October 1, 2011 3:38 PM

      Re: that “poet”: The Emperor’s not naked this time… he’s just covered in steaming pigshit

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 1, 2011 5:20 PM

      SA I can only assume that my definition of what constitutes a personal attack differs so completely from the poet’s that either I need to go back to school or that the poet should grow the sort of skin seen on the clips above.

    • October 1, 2011 5:56 PM

      ET, I think less-than-effusive responses will suddenly feel very ad hom to the author used to winning PC Gongs for her/his noble work in the field of reminding us all to feed the poor, stop wars and purchase only free-range chickens.

      Well, I can only imagine how surprised and hurt my daughter would feel if I suddenly held her watercolors to the standards by which I judge Cy Twombly, after all these years of putting everything she cranks out right up on the refrigerator.

      This could all be cleared up if Artist came labeled in official categories of, eg, “For Real”, “For a Good Cause” and “Harmless Dabbling”… and our critiques were sorted accordingly.

    • October 1, 2011 5:58 PM

      (trade “Art” for “Artist” in the last confusing sentence in my rant above)

  91. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2011 2:41 PM

    Yeah…the ‘poet’ really got on my nerves…all those accusations of ‘bad faith’ (which is essentially what she’s saying), as if any criticism was unacceptable and somehow perverse. Fuck that. I dislike the ‘poem’ intensely: it strikes me as a facile attempt to make an easy point, using clumsy, ugly language and calling it poetry, as if poetry were simply a matter of intent. I expect I’ll get banned again. Sigh…

  92. Captain Ned permalink
    October 1, 2011 5:51 PM

    A poet who can thank her readers for their ‘intelligent, thought-provoking, sensitive, even moving comments’ really is in no position to raise an ironic eyebrow at stale and clichéd language. Nonetheless her posts are quite funny. All that namedropping to boost her position, the special pleading, the prickliness, the pomposity, the irrelevant asides; were it not for the fact that he’s been dead for 16 years I might almost have believed that ‘Shanta Acharya’ is the latest Peter Cook alter-ego.

    Buenos Aires has not gone too well, alas. Great city, but I can’t get enough work to support me, so I’ll probably be back in Britain before too long, although not, I hope, for an extended stay. I’m now thinking about Korea, which is apparently the place to go in English Language Teaching at the moment. The pay is better than anywhere else, and if you land a good contract, you get your flight and accommodation sorted for you. If I get a couple of years of teaching experience, I could always try South America for a second time.

    I wish the speediest of recoveries to all those with ailments.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 1, 2011 6:17 PM

      That’s a shame, Capt. I’d have thought otherwise, since the Argentinians I’ve met had excellent command of English. Maybe the school curriculum has been good enough for long enough that most adults don’t need tutelage?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 1, 2011 6:33 PM

      Sorry to hear that Captain. Have you visited the Jorge Luis Borges institute at all? It’s probably crap but the name intrigued me and a few years ago I saw it had organised an exhibition by a particularly odd Belgian theatre group whose work I have liked.

      Craig Brown? Is he actually any good? By posting it here I actually appear to be anticipating your question. A cunning ploy – shame the GU threads don’t allow it.

      On Jonathan Jones’ threads it was a dead cert that if the blog was about the Stuckists then at least 6 would eventually appear to defend themselves and bathe in self-love. If they hadn’t already done so I used to post a comment predicting when they’d show up, furiously denying that they’d been self-Googling all day of course.

      Having just mentioned them it’s entirely possible one could land here.

    • Captain Ned permalink
      October 1, 2011 10:12 PM

      @Hic, there’s plenty of demand for English lessons here, but it’s not translating into work for me. I gather that the current trend, and it seems to be a recent one, is for many of the teaching gigs to go to students. People who have spend a year abroad as a requirement of their Spanish degrees come here in their droves; it’s always been the case that they’ve picked up a few lessons here and there to give them a bit of pocket money, but institutes and agencies are now increasingly turning to them because of the stability they offer. With people like me, there will always be an element of good luck involved as to whether we manage to stick it out and establish ourselves; if we don’t, then it’s goodbye Buenos Aires. During one (unsuccessful) interview, a woman explained to me that some of her company’s pupils had had three teachers in five months. Students hardly ever have any qualifications or teaching experience, but they can guarantee their presence in the city for at least a year. It is still possible to make a living as a teacher, but employers are pickier than they used to be, and it’s very tough unless you have both a qualification (which I do) and extensive experience (which I don’t).

      @Alarming. I haven’t visited the Borges Institute, but I have been to several museum and galleries here, which are superb. I also saw the mausoleum of Borges’s mate Adolfo Bioy Casares at the amazing cemetery in Recoleta, which is also where Evita and Sarmiento are buried. As for Craig Brown, he used to be very funny indeed; I recommend his book entitled, wildly, This Is Craig Brown. However, he does seem to have gone off the boil in recent years. The old bite has lost some teeth; there’s been a move towards middlebrow cosiness; he now writes for the Daily Mail. Even his ‘Diary’ feature in the Private Eye is not what it was. Still, I enjoyed his latest piece in the Guardian; I only hope that his new book marks a return to form.

  93. Captain Ned permalink
    October 1, 2011 6:06 PM

    Oh, and Alarming: I see that Craig Brown is a fan of Queneau and Perec. Who’d a thunk it?

  94. hic8ubique permalink
    October 1, 2011 6:09 PM

    I appreciate you saying so EdT, as I find you to be a consistently just and astute critic.

    Great to see you and your illuminating comments, StA. (no, I don’t mean the pig shit one :)

    I consider it a futile effort to confront an operating narcissist, and normally just walk away when I twig to why I’m having a bad visceral reaction, but this lady has parrot followers billing and cooing and drinking her kool-aid. It’s a sort of occult ( with a small ‘o’) predation that gets my Irish up and eventually I develop an intent to expose the charade.

    • October 1, 2011 7:23 PM

      I’m assuming you don’t know how wonderfully pigshit burns, hic… !

      re: all that: what I esp. don’t like is the modern convention of having the comments “voted on” … and imagining the patently-wrong as they bask in the instant democracy of their world-conquering number.

      sample comment: “Rod McKuen is one of the three major lyric poets of the 20th century and anyone who… etc. ” (= Recommend? 256)

  95. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 7:27 PM

    Hahaha..Rod McfuckingKuen? Hahahahahaha…what a wag you are Steven. By the way, did you get the stuff I sent you?

    • October 1, 2011 7:33 PM

      M! I am both relieved and horrified to have you present that question, since I was hesitant to ask after the package (fear of pressuring you); we were locked in a Super Politeness Standoff, I’m afraid. But, back to your question: erm… no! Being as our tenant broke the f—king lock on the mailbox weeks ago (he’d lost his copy of the key, you see, and rather than wait an hour for me to deliver it, he resorted to the butterknife, thanks), and we haven’t gotten *any* mail since then… etc.

      Fuck! Maybe it’ll bounce back to you… ?

    • October 1, 2011 7:37 PM

      (I mean, I know this all sounds contorted-preposterous in a fabulist’s standard manner but it’s all true. That’s what I get for being clever; I should have given you *this* address and cautioned *our* mailman to deliver the package and I’d have had it months ago)

  96. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 1, 2011 7:45 PM

    This from Infinte Jest. Slightly appropriate but also a reminder of SA art category no. 1

    Context: A radio sports commentator is trying to think of different ways of saying one player has beaten the other at tennis.

    ” Diane Prins hopped up and down on the thorax of Port’s Marilyn Ng-A-Thiep 7-6, 6-1 and Bridget Boone drove a hot-thin spike into the right eye of Aimee Middleton-Law 6-3, 6-3. Gretchen Holt made PW’s Tammi Taylor-Bing sorry her parents were ever in the same room together 7-5,2-6,6-3 right next to where Jolene Criess at 6 was doing to P.W’s Mona Ghent what a quality boot can do to a toadstool, 2 and 2.”

  97. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 7:45 PM

    Godamn it…that’s really annoying…2 books and a bunch of DVDs. I suppose some scumbag lifted the envelope from the unsecured box, imagining it was something of value (which it was but not in the way they imagined). What’s worse is I deleted the files from my machine and the best I can do is point you to the same source (Pirate Bay) that I downloaded them from. Sorry about that. I’ll send you some other books that might entertain/amuse you if you give me another address…

    • October 1, 2011 7:58 PM

      That *is* horrible, M! How long ago was this? There may be the chance it’s all heading back to you; I doubt very seriously that it even went in the box. Or maybe the yellow notice card is under a pile of our tenant’s crap…

    • October 1, 2011 8:02 PM

      (erm… the other possibility makes me rather paranoid, as I think of it; Customs may be involved)

  98. October 1, 2011 7:56 PM

    Example from the thread in question: “They thus, seem to me, to be just the views of the person expressing them, who has their own particular taste in poetry which, the impression is given, they think everyone else should subscribe to.

    Of course, poems on here should be open to criticism – but the critcism offered, often in vitriolic and abusive terms, is merely subjective – and no more valid than another’s view who likes this, or any other poem that Carol chooses.” (Recommend? 25)

    Phwoar! Really? De Gustibus and all that? This is a new notion!

    But, erm, isn’t De Gus so universally applicable that it’s *irrelevant*, and if we’re to bother with the folly of critiquing works of Art and Lit , at all, we have to *ignore* that loophole and argue our preferences and evaluate the competing arguments in terms of cogency, elegance and precedent (and so forth)…? (Ie, try to defend yourself in a murder trial by very craftily invoking the “there is no such thing as an objective morality” defense).

    But the arguments aren’t openly evaluated; they’re trumped by the “recommend” system. And the mods, of course. Which is fine unless the site is meant to take Lit/Poetry seriously.

  99. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 8:01 PM

    I hope you’re not suggesting that people have differing…whatchamacall ’ems…opinions, all equally, erm…valid (banal, predictable, asinine etc)? This is a radical notion, Mr. A…I can see why you’re shunned by right-thinking persons (i.e. morons)…keep an eye out for drones, sport…those literary types can be very unforgiving.

    • October 1, 2011 8:04 PM

      Those literary types *are* the drones, Sir! Not the kind the POTUSOC favors but lethal in their way

  100. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 8:08 PM

    Steven, I didn’t put a return address on it (I never do), so…it would be nice if the yellow ‘come and collect your damn package’ card is in there, buried under flyers for pizza delivery and hygenic massages…do check.

    • October 1, 2011 8:14 PM

      I’ll be over there to pick up rent this Monday, in fact. Will shoot off a signal flare the moment I know! (And, again… again… again: you’re one helluva gent to bother)

  101. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 8:22 PM

    A gent? Nah…I’m just (as i suspect you are) a born proselytiser; I would have made a good religious nutcase. I believe in spreading The Good News (not the imminent arrival of Mr. J. Christ, the popular evangelist but books, music, films etc etc)… it’s compulsive.

  102. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 8:26 PM

    I meant to say hello to our old comrade, Ned…have you considered trying Rio, Ned? Apparently, the Brazilian economy is booming and (as I know myself, having done the TOEFL gig in various places), when times are good, people want to learn English. Something to consider. Not, of course, that we wouldn’t be delighted to have you back in Britannia’s billowy bosom…

  103. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 10:14 PM

    As I suspect that my latest comment on POTW is destined for the chop, I’ll park it here:

    @Parisa – I’m an artist & I think I can safely say what a “real artist” is looking for…

    Yeah…sure. What a pity that brutish philistines like me, whose antipathy to language and beauty is a by-word, were allowed to spoil the love-in but that’s a free press for you.

    There you were, ‘artists’ together, being ‘sensitive’ and ‘concerned’ and, you know, troubled and sharing your profundities….when, oh no…someone farted (or the intellectual equivalent); what a world, eh? ‘real artists’ having to share space with the riff-raff and seeing a puppy die every time a poet is offended.

    Oh, and by the way, the ‘egomaniac’ crack was made after the poet made it personal by attacking non-cult members who refused to drink the Kool Aid, completely invalidating your soi-disant ‘point’..

    Anyway, I’ll leave you to get on with being a ‘real artist’ while I get back to drinking Tesco vodka from an old jam-jar and watching Steven Segal pretend to be a sea-cook…Segal: now there’s a real artist…

    • October 1, 2011 11:13 PM

      Oh Sweet Jeeeezis, it didn’t half go to Parisa’s head, designing that one cover for the Poster Poem’s project, eh? I started to unload both barrels on her but decorum deflected my hand from the “send” button, in that I haven’t checked in on POTW (before today) in well over 2 years and haven’t contributed anything super-relevant to this particular thread and, even worse, the comment I was about to dump on her doesn’t even *mention* the original “poem/poet”. I’d have looked an even bigger dick than I actually am. I don’t mind looking a dick but I prefer being in the right when I’m deleted…

      However, in hopes Parisa will be checking in over here (as she will)… my first (spittle-flecking) draft went something like…

      ***

      “I’m an artist & I think I can safely say what a “real artist” is looking for…”

      Parisa, my father dedicated the final quarter of his life to generating his mature oeuvre of 800 paintings (neo-fauvist portraits of his neighbors in the Liberian village he stranded himself in for the tragic purpose of forcing an epiphany)… a dear friend of 22 years’ standing has bagged (among other prizes) a Golden Lion in Venice, the top gong for a Biennale in Berlin, put on a wildly-successful installation at the Tate, scored a major public works commission in Denmark, etc… my two best friends in Berlin are a film director and an academic (PhD) New Media Artist (who studied under Peter Greenaway, among others, and recently organized the McLuhan centennial in Berlin)…my wife is a working, in-demand classical musician who’s performing in Paris tonight… I’m a professional composer with work appearing in film and TV but I *started*, in the 1980s, as a painter (and as the reluctant protege of a heavyweight curator in control of North America’s finest public Neo Expressionist art collection, with emphasis on AR Penck, Clemente and Chia)… etc etc etc… and I have *always* been surrounded by Art, Artists, Art Fatalities and late-into-the-wee-hours talk of same.

      All to say that your self-approved qualifications don’t do very much to rattle the conclusions I’ve drawn from not-entirely-narrow experience. Please, do, disagree with me… but not on those grounds.

      ****

    • mishari permalink*
      October 1, 2011 11:28 PM

      Ah, but are you a real artist, Steverino? Or are you, perish the thought, a disposable, casual, best-before-date, part-time, fair-weather, battery-operated, imitation, wax-work, plastic, fibreglass, papier mache, here-today-gone-tomorrow, only-in-it-for-the-money, weekend dabbler, crayola bunny, ersatz, bogus, I-don’t-know-much-about-art-but-I-know-what-I-like, my-five-year-old-could-do-that, why-does-she-have-both-eyes-on-one side-of-her-face, draw-a-dog-that-looks-like-a-dog, dilettante? Hmm? Well?

      By the way, thinking about it, the envelope I sent you was far too thick (2 fat books) to fit through a normal letter-box slot and would almost certainly have to have been handed to the householder, so there’s a very real chance that there is, in fact, a yellow-come-and-get-it card (it was posted, incidentally, on the 5th of August)…

    • October 1, 2011 11:39 PM

      I’m a Freemason Warlock in the Dark Arts of Funky Romance, man… I don’t know anything about flimsy, brittle, asexual crap like paper, pixels or canvas…

      (If the yellow card isn’t there I’ll have to garrotte our tenant, who is, tragically, an old chum…)

    • October 1, 2011 11:43 PM

      PS the Wife performed in a Parisian *castle* (68 hectare estate), tonight (praying the orgy is optional)

    • October 1, 2011 11:44 PM

      (well, actually, it’s an outskirts-of-Paris-sort-of-thing)

    • mishari permalink*
      October 1, 2011 11:48 PM

      Dude, unless you sacrifice virgins to your Muse on a regular basis, you’re a light-weight. Steven Segal bought a whole Philipino convent and offed 83 nuns as an offering to the film Gods: That’s what I call commitment (and that’s why his films are such exceptional works of Art).

      PS, do email me your proper, non tenant-dependent address.

    • October 1, 2011 11:52 PM

      The Jungian Irony being that… well… re: puppies… http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/31/actor-steven-seagal-sued-for-driving-tank-into-arizona-home-killing-puppy/

      (will send better address)

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 2, 2011 12:01 AM

      I’d heard that Seagal’s film set got robbed of 83 buns by a Phillipino convict .

      Don’t need to tell me – I’m off to bed.

  104. Captain Ned permalink
    October 1, 2011 10:23 PM

    Mishari, Brazil is problematic for two reasons: 1) the cost of living is much higher than it is elsewhere on the continent, and 2) a recent law has been passed forbidding schools and other relevant bodies from giving preference to native speakers. The idea behind this law is that Brazilians qualified to teach English are just as good as Brits, Yanks and Aussies, which may be true, but it’s not good news for foreigners wanting to set up shop there. A friend of mine managed it for a year, but then his wife is Brazilian, so it was easier for him to make the right connections and to rent a flat. Still, I do like the idea of spending time in Brazil; I love the music, and there are few languages with quite such a beguiling sound as Brazilian Portuguese. Only Japanese and Swedish come close, to my ear.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 2, 2011 1:53 PM

      Not to mention the pleasures of Samba…
      No language sounds more beautiful to me than Swedish, and sadly, Liv Ullmann made an appearance here last week (to raise funds for our lovely little cinema) and I dropped the ball and missed it. She has a house nearby so I’m sure there’ll be another chance… someday.

      I’ve had a sort of ridiculous fancy that I’d phone my former client, whose terribly urbane cousin is from B.A., and tell her my brilliant associate ‘Captain Ned’
      would be interested in an introduction to any likely employers…
      hmm… it’s one of those odd moments of not quite lining up.
      Really do wish I could help though. Perhaps cast a somewhat wider net?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 2, 2011 2:07 PM

      http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/browse/volunteering-issues/vacation-volunteering/doc/voluntourism-pros-cons.html

      Just a thought, CaptN. I know a person who applied for a ‘voluntouring’ gig teaching English. She went to Spain.
      Her dining and hotel were covered and she spent part of each day on walk-abouts and in cafes conversing with clients who wanted to improve their conversational English, for business purposes and such.
      The voluntourist is responsible for airfare, but I suspect B.A. has a demand for this, perhaps Rio as well.
      It may be a different way of thinking about your options? I imagine it might give you a way to economise while your resulting clients might be a source of contacts for paying jobs.

  105. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2011 10:28 PM

    That’s a pity, Ned. I also hear that Peru is going strong. It’s a country that I’ve never visited but would love to. I mean, as you’re already there (-ish) it seems a shame not to give a few places a try. I apologise for speaking out-of-turn: I don’t know your precise circumstances and my glib suggestions might easily offend, but I know that you understand that’s not my intent. Obviously, my best wishes for a happy outcome go out to you (I’m sure all the regular Homicidals concur)…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 2, 2011 2:12 PM

      “my glib suggestions might easily offend”

      Oh, dear. I just stumble in and break the crockery. I should have Homisidled.

      Not my intent either, CaptN!

  106. October 1, 2011 10:56 PM

    Amen to that Ned, hope the flux settles in the most fortunate way. x

  107. Des permalink
    October 2, 2011 12:10 AM

    I didn’t realise oldpossum was you when I swooped in as Allingham looking for a dust up the other day. The poem itself did nothing for me, which is why I never referred to it. Saying that, most of the poems Carol chooses do nothing for me. I can’t remember the last time I got excited over one. I am a lurker now anyway, following events but rarely commenting. I do on other sections of the site, and have got stuck right into the Assange threads. The Guardian’s transparent strategy made the scales drop, beginning with that self-serving editorial a few weeks ago and continuing with the nonsense Leigh spouted. Reading that editorial, the illusion of a singular liberal voice dissolved, and the books section, it’s obvious, is the same, run by faux trendies, very competitive witches who fume silently when the world doesn’t fall for the bullshit broadcasts written to give an impression that they aren’t really the uptight drips they so clearly are.

    Anyway, I was just setting the cat amongst the pigeons, wanting to stick the boot in. Sorry about that. Not really, but, I dunno, I’m just waffling, watching match of the day, trying to think of summat to say. The Indian poet though, did seem to want it all ways. Not only to be an investment banker type writing on how to maximise profits, but sing on the side of the angels who aint into the money markets, I imagine. That she got so upset about anonymous people’s opinions on her stuf shows how weak the state of poetry is. Contemporary poetry, it’s mainly rigged. Suck up hard enough to the right egos and you too can have a career, selling two hundred books.

    The lowest form of showbiz, reading the criticism, its just a game. Some duffer writes a few ditties and then the commentariat taking themselves seriously start waffling on about their political relationship with the planet; as if some old bag in Bangalore churning out doggerel, means s/he is all of a sudden up there with George Bush and Hugo Chavez, on the world stage, theirmond making an impact. Delusional. Totally fucking gaga.

    I dunno, the sheen of potw has rubbed off. Carol’s free-writing exercise-intro, you would never guess by the high-praise she spins week-in week-out, that the plain guff sitting below her high-blown prose has any relationship with the ‘tender dissection of modern morals, ethically cleansed by the exacting yet light touch of a poet at the height of their formidable intellectual and instinctive powers, honed after thirty years at on their arse chatting shit to the arts council johnnies who fund their delusional practices’.

  108. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 12:25 AM

    No worries, Des: it’s all a load of bollix, anyway…I dunno why I bother commenting at all–a desire to wind-up the stiffs, I suppose…

  109. Des permalink
    October 2, 2011 2:30 AM

    It’s interesting that potw has such a toxic reputation among poets. They, according to Carol, slag the quality of chat off but this shows only that they take it seriously. The thing with poets is that they occupy the lowest rung of the showbiz ladder, the audience is minimal, primarily subsidized and a core cadre consisting of academics. People who want to be cult leaders, profund priestly poetical types acting as if writing poems is a serious political act; that they are not only person X teaching undergraduates creative writing, filling their heads with their own poetic philosophies, but somehow changing the world with a bit of doggerel.

    I think the whole potw is a toxic snakepit shtick, is disingenous, an excuse, a burial of the head in sand, like David Leigh’s refusal to accept that him publishing the passphrase to the wikileaks cables was inconsequential. The reason to classify this venue as such is so the contemporary poets who Carol bigs up with unrealistic praise, don’t have to come in an expose themselves as being not quite the magi they are made out to be in the blurbs written to advertize their books.

    Contemporary poetry relies more on who says what than the poems themselves. An endorsement from X, Y or Z carrying more weight in this community of incredibly competitive ditty makers, than what they write. They would be doing themselves a favor if they came in and acted like normal human beings, because that’s what readers in the net age aprove of. Normal people with talent that they don’t make a big deal about. A rule of thumb in poetry – although there are excpetions to every rule – is that the more snooty the poet the less they have to be snooty about.

    The whole Poetry Society debacle and the resignation of honarary positions held by Sean O’Brien and Don Paterson, in support of Fiona Sampson, shows how false the scene is. Here we have three poets with al the top prizes divided among them, along with established platforms to show off themselves, and yet still they wanted more, to have the whole of British Poetry establishment stiched up between them, which suggests to me that they don’t really belive in themselves as poets pure and simple, and that the culture of poetry prizes defining who the ‘best’ are, is seriously flawed, because even the people who award themselves all these things, are never happy winning them, to the extent they did what they did at the Poetry Society, i.e., try and effect a behind-the-scenes coup and when it failed, outed themselves as petty competitors in a rigged game.

    The only thing to do is have a giggle and see through the subterfuge.

  110. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 2, 2011 9:04 AM

    Des I think it’s probably more simple than that.

    Good criticism is always ( or usually ) hard to take so people adopt methods to lessen the sting. Shanta Acharya’s big, big mistake was not taking it on the chin, coming BTL and using blog defence strategy no. 3 ( “It’s easy to criticise from a position of anonymity” ) to try and expose the critics as moral cowards. Curiously enough those who praise are astute and wise whilst those who are not so impressed are confused and semi-illiterate.

    That’s not to say the poetry world isn’t inside a big bubble but I think as hic astutely pointed out it’s the egotism of the poet that caused this storm in a teacup in this case.

    “Criticism” of my work has landed me in A+E in the past so these poets should count themselves lucky!

  111. October 2, 2011 11:27 AM

    Criticism is very hard to take and telling the critic they are somehow ‘wrong’ is the worst move you can make.

    Last week I held a read-through for a play I’ve written with eleven actors reading and a couple of director and academic friends watching. The purpose was to hear the thing read aloud in preparation for a second draft. After the play was read we had a discussion. It was a very good day and everyone, I think, enjoyed themselves.

    Despite this, I could feel myself getting defensive in the discussion. The criticism was mild, supportive and – generally – just plain right. But still I had to suppress the physical reaction to interrupt, justify my text and explain away the criticism coming from these people I’d asked to give up their time, hear my work and offer criticism. It’s a gut reaction that should, for dignity’s sake, be suppressed.

  112. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 2, 2011 11:41 AM

    XB A recommendation I meant to give you is Magnus Mills’ “Restraint of Beasts”. Easy to get as a paperback and it’s a good read. His other stories are not so strong but this one is funny and grim.

  113. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 11:45 AM

    Very true, Ed and XB. As you say, XB, it’s as much a gut reaction as anything else; the tigress defending her young, sort of thing. Something we all do, I think.

    In the POTW case, the poet compounded the error by making all sorts of laughable accusations of spite and personal animosity, that just made her appear very foolish indeed, especially as she brought along her very own claque of first-time posters who were all, funnily enough, wildly enthusiastic about her work. Hmmmm…

  114. October 2, 2011 11:47 AM

    The part of me that does the stuff for money operates on a less painful level of feedback; the songs I’ve composed for my wife’s project get two basic responses from every audience: enthusiastic attempts to dance/ sing along… or good-natured indifference. The songs that get the latter response (more than once) are very quietly dropped from the show. Now, that’s not Real Art: that’s Working Hackery. It helps to know which hat you’re wearing when your stuff is out there and “on the line”. When I’m wearing my (unpaid) Real Artist hat and putting bizarre texts and filmlets out there, I am the indifferent nail-paring god of legend. A friend once asked, after I’d sent a text over, “Will you be expecting feedback?” “Why should I?” I asked. “It’s already done.” What I didn’t say was, “Why do you ask, are you Edmund Wilson?”

    A couple of years back I signed a contract to (anonymously) co-write a debut album for a thirteen-year-old Pop Prodigy with a third of a million Euros behind her. I waived the “royalties” option and took my (very decent) money up front, thanks. Well, the songs were fucking awful, weren’t they? (I did the lyrics).

    Some of her (expensive) videos were dutifully put up on YouTube and I checked in and caught the record producer (my co-writer) energetically abusing the ill-fated project’s hundreds of teen naysayers. Nothing more tragic or telling.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 2, 2011 12:35 PM

      SA I broadly agree with you but I think when you are making theatre or performance the audience’s response is important to the shaping of a show. It’s often impossible to gauge how they will respond so you need to constantly adjust timings and even sequences – especially if their response leads you unexpectedly down a new and better path.

      On one level I suppose it’s working hackery as you put it but as the work is about making the audience experience something then it really can’t all be decided beforehand can it? There’d be no point in doing it if that were the case surely?

      Obviously the content in terms of imagery and progression is fairly fixed but having seen shows in their first and final showings it’s extraordinary how much better the final shows are because the audience’s response has been taken notice of.

    • October 2, 2011 12:52 PM

      Yes indeed, ET… Theater a weird hybrid needing to draw on both approaches. The nail-paring version of Theater is probably “Performance Art”, which is done in the neutral territory of the church-like sanctuary of the art gallery, subsidized by the wealthy (who are counseled by their accountants to say how “interesting” it all is)

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 2, 2011 3:05 PM

      It’s probably true of the US version of performance art SA but the UK version has at least gone outdoors to confuse, annoy and very occasionally stimulate the non-art public.

      Art-nuisance Ian Hinchliffe ( sadly no longer with us and if memory serves me well another Brixton-based artist known to our blog-host ) was often beaten up or arrested or both when he took to the streets.

      In the early 90’s I was once asked to put together an evening performance cabaret for tManchester-based art centre Green room who were programming a week of stuff at the ICA in London ( don’t ask….. mainly because I really can’t remember why I was asked ). They wanted an “edgy” Hacienda-trendy evening and I gave them a bunch of oddballs, misfits and topping the bil Ian who if you want “edgy” and Northern has both by the bucketload. He had been banned from the ICA years before as well.

      He came on stage completely drunk and proceeded to tell the audience that he would carry on in one way or other til he’d cleared the building.He is a terrific performer however so the audience weren’t going to leave.

      As he went on and on I got the money, paid all the performers including Ian’s partner and made to leave. I was nabbed at the door by the ICA director and told that I’d have to get him offstage as they didn’t want this kind of “edginess”. Reluctantly I got on stage and called the evening to a halt.

      A few days later he wrote me a letter which included a cartoon of me dressed as a football ref showing him the red card. Considering how drunk he was that evening the caricature he drew of me was extraordinarily well-observed.

      He was a mess of contradictions but extremely sensitive underneath it all and dedicated towards performance art being a breathing, living experience rather than the distant, video-heavy art-gallery commodity it often is now.

    • October 2, 2011 3:31 PM

      You’ve made me sorry I wasn’t around to see it, ET! Do you know the word “Irritainment”…?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 2, 2011 3:48 PM

      Along with Dadaist Arthur Cravan Ian was perhaps the supreme irritainer.

      I can understand any person completely loathing what he did – even within his own parameters he was incredibly inconsistent – but I’ve also seen him being completely inspired.

      He worked with Mike Figgis back in the days when Figgis was involved with experimental performance. He occasionally cropped up as an extra in Figgis’ early features.

  115. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 11:48 AM

    Funnily enough, Ed, I know Magnus quite well (or I used to; haven’t seen him in well-over 10 years) we were friends and neighbours in Brixton for 10 years, back when he was still driving a double-decker for London Transport. Nice fellow.

  116. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 11:50 AM

    ‘Why do ask? Are you Edmund Wilson?’ Excellent. Gave me a laugh-out-loud….

    • October 2, 2011 12:01 PM

      Well, it’s that Consumer Arrogance (“I know what I like!”), isn’t it? The unspoken agreement I have with friends and acquaintances is that if they don’t like something I’ve written, just say it’s “interesting…” and we’ll change the subject.

  117. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 2, 2011 12:14 PM

    “interesting” that most transparent and recognisable way of criticising. I go with “it’s not my particular cup of tea” which allows for the fact that it might be someone else’s cup of tea whilst leaving you free to be critical if pushed further.

    • October 2, 2011 12:35 PM

      Yeah, I know that one! Most often encountered, in my case, when I was young and using Art to get “chicks”, before it dawned on me to narrow it down to the kind of “chicks” whose cup of tea my sort of Art more probably was. Working from the larger category of “chicks” who were “hot” was just too hit-or-miss. After I refined the process, the dreaded “not my cup of tea” response tapered to a bearably rare occurrence. With the added bonus that “hot chicks” deranged enough to actually appreciate the weird fucking bullshit I was into (I remember a ditty called “The Ancient Fireman Song” and, yeah, a poem called “The Evening of the Airshow Over Mid-century Paris” whose only line was “a girl looked up” ) were much more fun in bed.

  118. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 12:24 PM

    Yes, I’m a firm believer in the diplomatic approach myself. I take the writer or poet aside and say to them: “You have a 24-hour head-start. After that, I’m coming after you with the dogs. Nothing personal. But duty is duty…”. Does them a world of good–toughens them up, shakes them out of their complacency, the dogs get blooded and with any luck, the erstwhile writer never picks up a pen again: it’s a win all around…

    • October 2, 2011 12:40 PM

      I also like the Vlad Tsepes approach to *deterrence*; why not just nip the process in the bud before even having to *read* the cack…?

  119. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 2, 2011 12:39 PM

    You could try the 48 hour head-start approach.

    After 24 hours I’m coming after you with the dogs but after 48 hours it’s the fast-car ….with the dogs in the back.

  120. October 2, 2011 3:48 PM

    That POTW thread has now taken a bizarrely comical turn…

    • October 2, 2011 4:07 PM

      (Because I knew they would delete it, I copied the exchange)

      ___getlost
      2 October 2011 2:25PM
      @Augustine Steven
      So suddenly you appear – coming in for the kill, profiteering from the fallout?
      Perhaps a puppeteer…working out on the fringes

      ___AugustineSteven
      2 October 2011 2:32PM
      I like all that, getlost, I do… but the “profiteering” part has me feeling I’ve missed an opportunity I wasn’t aware existed. I’m less infernal than I should be, then.

      ___getlost
      2 October 2011 2:58PM
      It took seven minutes Augustine, well opportunist sometimes do take longer

      ___AugustineSteven
      2 October 2011 3:12PM
      @getlost
      … “opportunists” and people washing the dishes after having made lunch for their daughters, yeah. Uh… I don’t really suppose your next comment will not tend to make even less sense than your comments preceding it…? (and why am I imagining them in a “Peter Lorre” voice…?)

      ___getlost
      2 October 2011 3:20PM
      @AS
      14 minutes! you’re slowing..

      ___AugustineSteven
      2 October 2011 3:27PM
      Well, now my daughter has moved on to do acrylics on the living room table (I had to set boundaries as to where the painting could and could not happen). Peter, are you planning on timing us the rest of the day…?

      ___getlost
      2 October 2011 3:41PM
      Well augustine you have halfed it; ie. you are back to your original seven minutes
      What’s your daughter doing here? Sounds like she’s tiny, not a fit venue I would have thought.
      Possibly she cannot read, so no problem
      Who’s Peter?

    • October 2, 2011 5:46 PM

      Part 2:

      ____getlost
      2 October 2011 4:36PM
      for those not conversant with ‘report abuse’
      moderators must pay attention to a reportee
      Stephen what were your grounds?

      ____AugustineSteven
      2 October 2011 5:06PM
      getlost
      Please: getreal. I had nothing to do with [those or the next round of] deletions; I found the exchange (bizarrely) funny. I assume you were deleted for going too far off piste.

      ____getlost
      2 October 2011 5:25PM
      Steven comments cannot disappear without a valid reason, the moderators don’t do that! you were the only one

      ____AugustineSteven
      2 October 2011 5:43PM
      “Steven comments cannot disappear without a valid reason…”
      Oh the Borgesian irony of it all…

  121. October 2, 2011 6:13 PM

    Christ, where is everyone? Get over to POTW before all the thigh-slapping lunacy is deleted… I’m stuck in an early Peter Cooke/Dudley Moore routine over there… !

  122. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 2, 2011 6:13 PM

    Voice-wise at the moment I have getlost as Peter Lorre ( good call ), leahfritz is Lon Chaney, dongil is Fernando Rey and if I give you a Vincent Price voice the whole effect is delightful.

    Not that I would give you a Vincent Price voice.

    But I just did.

    Gah the logic of your fellow commentators is becoming contagious.

    • October 2, 2011 6:23 PM

      VP in “Usher” or “Phibes”, ET…? (one fruitier than the other)

    • October 2, 2011 6:25 PM

      I like how leah… I mean… Lon’s baseless/irrational/self-parodying comment has now racked up a healthy 5 “recommends”

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 2, 2011 6:39 PM

      Both would work but the more “sensible” voice of Usher would counterbalance the nuttiness of Chaney
      (cruelly perhaps I’m going for the Of Mice and Men Chaney here) and Lorre.

    • October 2, 2011 6:46 PM

      Can we try “Sunset Boulevard”-era Joan Crawford for Leah…?

  123. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 6:28 PM

    Jesus…this @getlost character is a bit…deranged, no? Oh, and you must make allowances for leahfitz, Steven…I believe she’s in her 80s…you know…a bit forgetful…easily confused etc…last week, she actually called me a racist for refusing to join in the orgy of faux 9/11 grief…

    • October 2, 2011 6:43 PM

      Well I haven’t had that much fun since my daughter was 1.5, shat on the WC floor and I slipped on it… !

      (It really is entertaining if you do it in the assigned voices, though)

  124. October 2, 2011 6:50 PM

    Ooooh, and now Parisa re-enters the picture, leading the charge with her astonishing humorlessness…! (cue: whistles & cheers)

  125. October 2, 2011 6:54 PM

    This definitely deserves a Pol Hom t-shirt of its own:

    “comments cannot disappear without a valid reason, the moderators don’t do that!”

  126. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 6:55 PM

    She is the archtypal earnest, middle-brow hippy granny: laughably literal-minded, dull as a hoe, prolix as a drunken Baptist. Mrs. Pooter writ large.

  127. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 6:56 PM

    Yeah, that one got a mocking laugh from me. Clearly, @getlost just came down with the last rain-shower…

  128. October 2, 2011 8:03 PM

    @Ed

    Thanks for the Mills recommendation. I read his ‘All Quiet on the Orient Express’, which I liked. I gave it to a friend, maybe six or seven years ago, who didn’t like it. On Friday he called me to confess that he’d read another Mills book, which he did like. Liking one and not the other seemed to confuse him enormously.

    That’s quite a dust-up on POTW, although I’ve assumed for a long time that it’s always that way. Very pompous response from the poet. Hic, your response was magnificent. It is a silly piece of work.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 3, 2011 12:22 AM

      I’m gratified far beyond any expectation, Exit; one ‘magnificent’ will last me at least a week if I’m frugal.
      I now harbour a vainglorious hope that EdT will tell me what sort of voice I told Shanta off in.

      Although, S✝A, without diligent dilettantes, what would Artists do for an audience?
      I took getlost to be one of Des’ millefiori personae mucking in.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      October 3, 2011 8:26 AM

      The producers of season 6 of Poem of the Week obviously felt things were getting a bit too settled. so the introduction of getlost as a character may be the right move to get the audience figures back up.

      hic I’d go for a “Lauren Bacall in the anti-McCarthy phase of her life” voice.

      Me? Lou Costello sadly.

    • Sarah Crown permalink
      October 3, 2011 8:47 AM

      Funny you should say that hic, cuz when I read getlost I was pretty sure I’d created and used that username in the dim past, thinking one or two others familiar with my history as an evil spoiler of poetic jolliness, may assume it was me. Having a gander at their profile though, it’s plain to see it is not moi, as the poster’s history goes back many years. My average lifespan, depending on if I decide to alert the mods to it being me, is only a week or two, occasionally more. I have become very flexible now, always maintaining several usernames, and a few that I keep for serious non literary comment, that play no part in the ego-driven swaggery personae games at Carol’s toxic tank of jealousy and hatred where the unpublished and envious duffers like me, wank off in some sick and despicably twisted game that disgusts the real talent too amazingly deep and intelligent to debase the art of eloquence with any chit-chat amongst the lowlifes HerHIghness so bravely exposes herself to, week-in week-out, for the dutiful reasons related to reasons of mental illness and idiocy, that I cannot divulge here because I can’t be fucked as I am too fucking busy thinking about that talented bastard from Barnsley, Whatsiname.

      Also, I am typing this on the I-pad, lying on the couch watching Bear Grylis jumping out of a helicopter and wondering how long I can keep up the lie of being anything other than a total lover of rubbish and hater of the talented people Her Majesty chooses and who make my eyes explode with envy bcuz I am not them.

    • October 3, 2011 11:19 AM

      I never once thought getlost was Des: far too laconic, not sly/crafty enough, no poetic message. I’m sorry they deleted those exchanges because getlost was A) the perfect foil and B) the absence of his Peter Lorre voice sucks most of the humor out of the play, now. Any thread with so much Parisa in it is crying out for laughs.

      I remember back when arguing on the POTW threads (and in the vicinity) meant bashing your head against hyper-literate types who, for whatever reason, were tragically wrong about something (laugh). Over the years, the hyper-literate types seem to have wandered off (only to make occasional cameos) … leaving too many of the types who don’t strike me as being terribly well-read. Arguing with them about literature is like pouring a bottle of champagne over a fucking cat’s head… fine, if that’s what turns you on, but… Christ. At some point you have to ask yourself why you’re doing it…?

    • October 3, 2011 12:19 PM

      Hic: you must be *exhausted*, spending time at POTW; is it, now, always as bad as this last one…?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 3, 2011 10:18 PM

      StA~ not a bit of it. I seem to have taken the summer off from PotW for no particular reason, except that vague feeling of not having anything to say. I go back because I find Carol to be so good in her role, which is attractive, though it’s certainly more fun when the verse monkeys are about.

      Did you ever see Mishari’s quip?…

      “My name is Carol Rumens
      I write a weekly column.
      I hope for [something something]
      but mostly I get Gollum.”

      (Sorry M, you are welcome to fill it in if you remember.)

      I’ve never had such a bad reaction to one of her choices as I did this week.
      It was outrageous that Shanta should show up and make an overt display of exactly what I loathed in the poem.
      You could make that into a script, but it would seem too patently fictitious.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 3, 2011 10:20 PM

      Lauren Bacall is not unflattering I think, EdT, if she wasn’t yet a baritone at that stage?
      As to you as Lou Costello, I’d be !shocked! if that were true.
      You know that saying: ‘She has a face for radio’?
      You could say ‘I have a voice for mime’.
      Hope you’re pulling my leg.

      Must go let the bulldog pull my shoulder…

  129. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2011 8:13 PM

    Gov. Rick ‘D In Meats’ Perry is revealed as the greatest surrealist since Magritte:

  130. Edward Taylor permalink
    October 3, 2011 1:16 PM

    It went off the boil for a while but this episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm sounds like it hit the mark

    http://gu.com/p/32a7x

  131. October 3, 2011 3:25 PM

    Oi, M, you wizard… how’d you do it? (I made a ref to Samuel Becket at POTW, just now, because I thought mentioning Marcello Mastroianni might be cutting things too… close)

  132. October 4, 2011 6:29 AM

    Greetings from cool, sunny Beijing. A new entry for PP and, if you like, Perp Walk, Meister.

    Du Fu: The Winding River (2) – 曲江二首 (二)

    Returning every day from court, I pawn
    spring clothes. The river sees my drunken mien;
    my boozing debts mount up all over town.
    Men do not often live three score and ten.
    The butterflies go deep into the flowers,
    the dragonflies on wing among the drops.
    The passing time is always rushing hours;
    no time to know you: separation stops.

    朝回日日典春衣
    每日江頭盡醉歸
    酒債尋常行處有
    人生七十古來稀
    穿花蛺蝶深深見
    點水蜻蜓款款飛
    傳語風光共流轉
    暫時相賞莫相違

  133. mishari permalink*
    October 4, 2011 8:50 AM

    Lovely, Simon. I’ll get that up on PW as soon as I find a suitable image. [Done HEREDiligent Ed.]

    Not sure what you mean, Steven: how do I do what (something really groovy, I hope)?

    hic, I think it went:

    My name is Carol Rumens
    I write a weekly column.
    I hope for witty humans
    but mostly I get Gollum.

    I’m amazed and flattered that you remember it…I’d forgotten it myself.

    • October 4, 2011 11:57 AM

      Someone was playing havoc with the “recommends” on that last POTW (and when I commented that something satirical was happening with the recommends, *that* comment immediately got 60 recommends)… Dude, I assumed it was you behind it!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 4, 2011 1:28 PM

      How should I forget ? Gollum turns up so often that it’s become one of the laughs that keeps on giving. ‘Witty humans’, yes, thanks for repairing that.

  134. mishari permalink*
    October 4, 2011 12:39 PM

    Oh, that…yeah…that was me. It’s easy…go into the ‘options’ on your browser ‘tools’…under ‘privacy’, you’ll find ‘accept cookies from sites’ with an ‘exceptions’ button…click on that…then just enter and block the Grauniad…what that means is that everytime you refresh the page, you’re a brand-new visitor and can fuck around with the recommends (which, as you know, are a joke anyway)…

    • Muso permalink
      October 4, 2011 5:41 PM

      Fiendishly clever; webtard that I am I assumed you were *deleting* the cookies…! (someone suggested it was someone with a “job lot” of pseudos but that would obviously be too laborious)

    • October 4, 2011 5:43 PM

      (ooops… erm… that was me…)

    • mishari permalink*
      October 4, 2011 6:26 PM

      Steven, it also means that the ‘recommend’ button is susceptible to the ‘high-speed clicking’ trick: get the rhythm just right and you can rack-up 50 to 100 or more recommends in one go. I enjoy giving especially asinine comments a couple of hundred ‘recommends’ just to highlight the essential worthlessness of the system…

      Unfortunately, Simon, one faces an embarrass de richesses…so many idiots, so little time. So you’re back in The Celestial Kingdom, then? How’s everything with you? Well, I trust?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 4, 2011 7:14 PM

      No kidding?
      ‘Fiendishly clever’ had to come from your job-lot.

    • October 4, 2011 7:54 PM

      May I call you “Darth”…?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 4, 2011 9:08 PM

      …but why? my voice is not nearly that low.
      That would be scary, St.
      so, no, you must not.

    • October 4, 2011 11:59 PM

      (sorry, that was aimed at M, Hic; I’d like to call you… Sif!)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      October 5, 2011 1:02 AM

      Yes, please.
      I’ll be on my guard…

  135. October 4, 2011 3:52 PM

    Just a pity you can only add recommends, not take them off. Who’s your bet for the biggest negative score on PoTW?

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