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Break Me In Pieces With Words

January 23, 2012


How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?Job 19:2, The King James Bible

I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. I was inspired by a news story in The Grauniad about a writer of ebooks who had just sold her millionth ebook. However, all was not leeches and cream in the world of self-published ebooks. According to The Grauniad:

Hocking became so burned out by the stress of solo publishing that she has turned for help to the same traditional book world that previously rejected her and which she was seen as attacking. For $2.1m, she has signed up with St Martin’s Press in the US and Pan Macmillan in the UK to publish her next tranche of books. The deal kicks off this month with a paperback version of Switched. It’s a fast-paced romance featuring changeling trolls called Trylle who are switched at birth with human babies. The novel cannot be classed as literary…

That last line is a beauty: “The novel cannot be classed as literary…“.

What? A “…fast-paced romance featuring changeling trolls…“? Sounds pretty literary to me, buddy.

Curiosity piqued, I searched out and read some of this woman’s prose. Merciful God, it was wretched stuff. I was both appalled and intrigued.

Appalled, obviously, by the eye-wateringly duff writing; but intrigued by the notion that any idiot, be they ever so inept and talentless, can (and evidently does) upload and sell an ebook (or a multitude of ebooks) on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iPad bookshop, Sony’s ebook shop etc etc, at virtually no cost to themselves.

I got to wondering just how easy it would be to write and publish a best selling ebook.

So, I did a little research. First off, I looked at Amazon’s best selling ebooks. They fell into four distinct categories: Romance (which includes the sub-genre of ‘vampire’ romance); Crime (fiction); Fantasy; and Spritual Journey/Self-Awakening (How Ah Wuz Saved Bah Jeesus; that kind of thing).

Then I bought and downloaded the best-selling ebook in each category and read them (God help me).

I opened a ‘Publisher’ account with smashwords (this allows me to upload any number of books by any number of pseudonymous authors but with all royalties. copyrights etc accruing to me)

Then I bought the latest version of Dragon Naturally Speaking, far and away the most advanced speech-recognition software on the market (Apple’s ‘Siri’ is build around Dragon’s code).

Then I bought 10 grams of ethylphenidate, an isomer of methylphenidate (Ritalin), a powerful central nervous system stimulant, structurally related to cocaine and perfectly legal, from a UK website; it really is remarkable stuff; one small line (about 100 mgs.) and I scoured the house for things to fix/clean/tinker with/re-arrange.

Finally, having driven Inez crazy with my get-up-and-go, she urged me to get-up-and-go. “For God’s sake, go and ride your new bicycle; it’s exhausting to watch you.”

Talking to a graphic designer friend gave me one last pre-mission task: make sure that the books have arresting covers.

So I got some ebook cover-making software and roped Inez and the children into my project. I instructed them to go online and look at ebook covers, at Amazon, at Barnes&Noble etc; right-click-and-save the ones that catch your eye, ones that get your attention; don’t think, I told them: just respond. I want at least a dozen covers from each of you.

When the time comes, I’ll analyze these covers and try to work out what makes them arresting. According to my graphic designer friend, an eye-catching cover can boost sales by %30 to %50.

Now all I have to do is write four books in a month (the mission I’ve set myself). But fueled by a powerful CNS-stimulant and with Dragon transcribing my dictation at 300 words-per-minute, a daily total of 100,000 words is eminently do-able. But I think doing 20,000 words-per-day, five days a week is more than sufficient

We’re not talking about deathless prose here.

Joyce, Stendhal and David Foster Wallace are not going to be fearing for their laurels. This is a cynical experiment in creating, designing and selling a ‘product’. The product happens to be words, in the form of books.

Part of me feels a fleeting sense of shame, as though I’m betraying a lifetime’s love of books, as I imagine I’d feel if I slept with a prostitute when I have a wife I don’t deserve at home.

But I take some comfort in the thought that no matter how awful, how mawkish, how cliched, how conservative (because one thing I learned was that ‘best sellers’ are inherently conservative, in every respect), no matter how shamelessly trite these books might be, nothing I write will ever, ever be as aesthetically repugnant, as morally bankrupt and as stylistically inept as the works of Dan Brown. I couldn’t be that bad even if I wanted to.

But I have one last task: the choice of noms de plume, so I’m asking for suggestions. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Romance/Vampire: Cruella Hawksmoor, Circe Warmbloode, Jocasta De Sade; Selene de Pudenda

Saved By Jesus/Recovered From (you name it): Billy Ray Earl; Earl Ray Billy; Ray Billy Earl; Jimmy Lee Hushpuppy, Billy Bob Cornpone

Crime/Thriller: Harry Slade; Jack Sharpe; John Broke; Nick Fang; Chuck Dick; Ray Clit

Fantasy novel: Alex de Crise-Cardiaque; Theodore Bildungsroman; Wolfe Hundekuchen; Reymondo Galleta Paraperros

Let me have some ideas. The first million earned will go towards chartering this yacht and taking you all for a two-week cruise (extensions possible)…so get cracking.

  1. Captain Ned permalink
    January 23, 2012 10:50 PM

    Romance/Vampire: Serena Darkwoode, Vona de Wilde, Tracy Heartsbane, Merula Noire, Jennifer Lune

    Saved By Jesus/Recovered From (you name it): Cyrus H. Doggett, Martha Woad, Henry Hornfeller III, Shelley-Ann Burger, Jeffrey Dwight Hoakam

    Crime/Thriller: Jess McHale, Viktor Bang, Karin Dagersen, Hugo Storm, Danny Destro

    Fantasy novel: Cedric Gundersooth Jr., Tobias Henge, Gaia Wyrmhole, Glen K. Eldrethorne, Madeleine Woldspell

  2. mishari permalink*
    January 23, 2012 11:28 PM

    Brilliant, Ned…and as they’re appearing here, I believe I’ll claim copyright. Boy, I’m taking to this publishing lark like a duck to water…

  3. hic8ubique permalink
    January 24, 2012 12:50 AM

    Excellent plan. I am taking that yacht very seriously…


    Blanche Letmore,
    Lang Nachtswachetauf
    Rafe Carpeski
    Sycamore Blodgett-Pettibone

    Saved By Jesus/Recovered From (you name it):

    Lucian Beecham
    Grace M. Welling
    Opal Morse
    Earnest E. Erlenmeyer Jr.


    Allegra Blunt
    Finn Ripitoff
    Hank Yamanaka
    Dolores Clara Dogsbootie

    Fantasy novel:

    Sylvia Amethyst Laird
    Indiya O
    Plantagenet Gurne
    Newt Gingercrotch

  4. Captain Ned permalink
    January 24, 2012 7:14 AM

    Grace M. Welling… Allegra Blunt… Plantagenet Gurne… Superb, Hic.

    I’m wondering whether Vona de Wilde would be better off as Mona de Wilde.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 24, 2012 2:17 PM

      Thanks CaptN~ you set the bar high. I like Vona and Mona both.
      Monavona De Wilde?
      Clearly, StudDust will retain all of his options.

      (I made Beecham in answer to your Hoakam.)

  5. henrylloydmoon permalink
    January 24, 2012 9:52 AM

    Romance/Vampire: Philippa Manservant, Morgana Dye, Daisy Goodwin; Léontine de Quelte; Athena Bleakley-Chiles

    Saved By Jesus/Recovered From (you name it): J. Buford Testaburger; Laz “R” Us; Darlene Persimmon-Twist; Sammy Haye Makker; Skyler T. Hogg

    Crime/Thriller: John Slade; Ray Sharpe; Chuck Broke; Jack Fang; Nick Dick; Harry Clit

    Fantasy novel: Eczema K Rowling; Paul K Le Guen; Kneel Gay Man; J.R.R. Tollbooth; Melvyn Summat

    Like what you did with the photo, Stud.

    • January 25, 2012 3:39 PM

      “Like what you did with the photo, Stud.”

      Penny drops…

  6. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 24, 2012 10:20 AM

    Gay/Vampire : Brad Crunch, Gene Cream, Vladimir Heftypec, Lip Salve.

    Cockney Thriller: Geezer White, Loz “Matey” Williams, Babs Kray, Ginger Nutbiscuit.

    French historical: Armand Hohny-Hohn, Visitez L’Ardeche, Hercule Truffaut, Bertrand Boulevardier.

  7. January 24, 2012 11:05 AM

    Got my categories a bit muddled but here goes…


    Allegra Overmuch
    Laksa Carotid
    Molarisk Beit
    OO Cummings
    Vivienne Leech
    Myles Longfellow

    Saved By Jesus/Recovered From (you name it):

    Myfanwy Virgine
    Frank M. Flagellan
    Ernie Blowden
    Roger Nemora


    Tony Townsend
    Ursula Hoare-Martin
    Vince Cardenza
    Leone Levinstrelli
    Sadhbh Salinkell

    Fantasy novel:

    Regina Putzout
    Karl Klatchscher
    Vera Vole
    Seamus Cromwell

  8. mishari permalink*
    January 24, 2012 11:15 AM

    All your suggestions are welcome and are now the property of Politely Homicidal Publishing© GmbH (2012 patent pending).

    Drusilla Breedlove

    Emmet Tom Rickenbacker

    Joe Cannon

    Carter Le Sprague

  9. hic8ubique permalink
    January 24, 2012 3:06 PM

    Scylla Anthogloss

    Hal A. Louiya

    Remington Locke

    Tylwedd Ceregwynn-Jones

  10. hic8ubique permalink
    January 24, 2012 4:45 PM

    This is bad. Everything I try to do makes me think of another one…
    I believe I fancy the SS Delphine’s white Guest Cabin; what’s your word count up to, Stud?

    Boris Cravendish
    Inigo J. Horehound
    Lamb du Prés

    Jezebel X
    P. ‘Stuffy’ Gilmore
    Desiree Morningstar

    Boujemaa Puttaparthi
    Quint S. Gimlet
    Incitatus Baron Charlus [not available for copyright]

    Forsythe Rune
    Madge Faeriebickie
    Arcturus Seax

    • January 24, 2012 4:56 PM

      You’re on fire Hicsteria. We have a colleague nicknamed “Gimlet”. Not to her face obvs.

  11. Captain Ned permalink
    January 24, 2012 6:12 PM

    Chick Lit: Deirdre O’Dowd, Julie Zucchini, Trish Fleeting, Esther Plume, Mimi Labelle

    Sci-Fi: F. Tristram Xavier, Zachary Spoole, Rhoda Machine, Cletus Nimrodian, Helmut Borg

    Cerebral/Historical Detection: Hillary De’Ath, Ettore Manirosso, Quentin McCurdlecuff, Athanasia Downey-Busch, Porfiry Nodovsky

    Motivation and Well-being: Dr. Hiram F. Honcke, Gloria Reisenschein, Phil Smiley, Carlton and Amethyst Crone, Pritti Bhattipandha

    Do Wasps Eat Crap Towns?: Ed Weltbottom, Steve Sprout, Garth Whipsnade, Barnaby Drecker, Sam Jordison

  12. mishari permalink*
    January 24, 2012 7:17 PM

    All great, except for Ned’s ‘Sam Jordison’, which I find a totally implausible name…

    Crime: Biff Smack; Jimmy Crobah; Ruff Traid; Jack Lash; Nick Knack; Chuck Orp

    Ariadne de Veuve-Noire; Clytemnestra Dankpool; Antigone di Vorce; Elektra Skank

    Self-Help/Jesus Crap: Homer Smalltown; Lester Spongeworthy; Atticus Charlatan

    Fantasy: Clifton X. Paradox; Euphrosynê Vortex; Howard R. Xanax; Ulysses P. Tool; Parker Outback

  13. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 24, 2012 7:23 PM

    New Age: Summer Leaf the third, Tobermorey Windchyme, Faye Miasma,

    Medieval mystery: Paulus Treason, Gawain Newcastle, Gwendoline Mallory, Arthur “Inspector” Meurse

    Military: Stoke Ontrent, Biff Bannister, Gerry Serpico, Chas M Curtis,

    Thug O’Realism, Terse Wordsmith, Smack Hedd, Tuff Fraser,Tony O’Neill

  14. mishari permalink*
    January 24, 2012 7:25 PM

    All excellent, Ed…except for ‘Tony O’Neill’, which is clearly an invention.

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      January 25, 2012 12:22 PM

      Rumbled. I tried to make it sound convincing but obviously I need to make more of an effort.

      Lee Rourke? Nah.

      By my calculations you should have knocked off a trilogy and snorted up a 2 metre-long line of ethylphenidate right about…………now

      Didn’t Ethyl Phenidate write ” My Hat, My Hat” ? Now number 206 on the Amazon ebook best-seller list.

  15. Captain Ned permalink
    January 24, 2012 7:31 PM

    A few bestsellers of 2012.

    Bringing Back the Birch: My Vision for a Forward-Looking Education System, Toby Young

    Me and My Mega-Marxist Boobs, Katie Price (with Michael Rosen)

    Beckett et Moi: Towards a New Synthesis, Tom McCarthy

  16. Captain Ned permalink
    January 24, 2012 8:19 PM

    Die, Pinko Fucktards! How to Speak to a Liberal, James Delingpole

    Booze, Balls and Bitches: Acting for Lads, Danny Dyer

    Madrassas in Ambridge: The Terrifying Islamist Takeover of Middle England, Melanie Phillips

    Tribute to Their Majesties: A Loving Jubilee Celebration of Great British Actresses Who Have Played Queens of England, Sir Roy Strong

    The Plankton Plan: My Brand New Guaranteed Weight Loss and Improved Physical Excellence Diet, ‘Dr.’ Gillian McKeith

    Great Leaders and the Inspiration I Have Drawn From Them: Lives of Miklós Horthy, Rafael Trujillo and Andrew Bonar Law, Conrad Black

  17. mishari permalink*
    January 24, 2012 8:31 PM

    So many good names, in fact, that I might have to become an industry, churning out endless ebooks by authors with charmingly improbable names…it’s going to be a busy year but what the hell: yachts don’t grow on trees.

    You think you’re kidding with those titles, Ned; in fact, you’re probably prescient…

  18. January 24, 2012 9:28 PM

    Jesus, this is a good idea. And here’s me spending all day in the British Library reading about concepts of ‘late style’ when I could have been doing this. Such a waste, such a waste.

    Can’t think of any names, though. Ned, I commend you for sharing your current reading list. Must admit I’m a little surprised.

  19. hic8ubique permalink
    January 24, 2012 11:01 PM

    Patience Viola Sitz
    Agnes Day

    Crime/ Thriller
    Fenton Jesuschrist
    Axel Madder

    Eucomia Lott
    Proserpine Blume
    Phineas Caribe

    Romance / Special interest:
    Ponce de Lippenstift
    Vellatio Hornblower
    Dominique Spanks

  20. Captain Ned permalink
    January 25, 2012 12:07 AM

    The Roy Strong tome makes for an especially attractive coffee table book. Indeed, it makes for an attractive coffee table, What could be finer than the sight of Judi Dench’s head, ruffed and crowned and surrounded by a beautiful brown halo?

    I hear Fenton Jesuschrist’s latest thriller has sold well, hic. In fact, you might say it’s been a… runaway success

    Don’t worry, I can fetch my own coat.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 25, 2012 3:10 AM

      Judi Dench… I saw her on stage in the same Cymbeline as Ben Kingsley in fact.
      Wait! I even named my dog ‘Imogen’: the incomparable Imogen-Tutu. Never made that connection before; I must be a fan.
      The burr of her voice is a tonic… Judi’s, not Tutu’s.
      (Tutu makes a sound known as the Frenchie Death Wail.)

      CaptN, when do you venture forth to Korea, the ESL most happening scene?
      Even then, we won’t surrender your coat.
      Back in my goldsmith retail days, I ran a credit card for a Michael D’Eath. It gave me a shock when I saw the name on record. You’ve just reminded me… D’Eath was handsome in a serious hat and long coat.

    • Captain Ned permalink
      January 25, 2012 6:13 PM

      Soon, I hope. I’ve just had by criminal background report back, and as my nefarious activities have thus far gone undetected, it is clear. Once it has been notarised and apostilled, I will be ready to apply for my visa.

      Many happy returns on the splendid occasion of your birthday.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 25, 2012 6:51 PM

      ‘Splendid’ Thankyou!

  21. January 25, 2012 10:39 AM

    Birthday greetings fair Hic; may your nearest and furthest and dearest lavish affection on your smiley head. xx

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 25, 2012 2:07 PM

      Treasures of Ireland arrived yestreen, but I hid the parcel from myself til this morning to be the first special thing of the day. Perfectly delightful! Thank you, Love. xx
      I shall respond in full anon…

    • January 25, 2012 2:49 PM

      Ah, glad it arrived. Have a wonderful day. x

  22. January 25, 2012 10:51 AM

    Mishari, I posted a poem of mine on Perp Walk, which my friend, a published poet in Irish, did me the honour of translating. The translation is wonderful, a vast improvement on the original – if you think it’s ok to leave it there, will you do the needful when you get a chance please? At the moment, it’s tagged onto something else. If you think it lowers the tone overly, feel free to dump it. I will only weep for a year and a day.

    • mishari permalink*
      January 25, 2012 1:52 PM

      It’s up now, kiddo. See it HERE. I hope the image is acceptable.

    • January 25, 2012 2:47 PM

      Thanks a mill. Love the picture.

  23. mishari permalink*
    January 25, 2012 3:10 PM

    I’m sorry, hic; I forgot to wish you a happy birthday. I’ll translate a suitable poem and post it to Perp Walk as a token of my esteem (I’m busy at the moment so bear with me)…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 25, 2012 3:50 PM

      Oo that is very exciting, but don’t let it interrupt our yacht!
      So curious to see what will be ‘a suitable poem’…

      I’m cleaning my desk, for a fresh start, and for space to do the projects that had piled up on it, and I’ve wrapped little table-presents for everyone at the party, which will be tomorrow.

  24. mishari permalink*
    January 25, 2012 3:55 PM

    Nothing interrupts the yacht, baby. It’s a beauty, isn’t it? So redolent of louche, Jazz Age decadence. Very Jay Gatsby.

    I don’t know what will constitute a ‘suitable’ poem; I’ll recognise it when I see it.

    • January 25, 2012 4:00 PM

      I’ll be citing precedent in April…

  25. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 25, 2012 5:35 PM

    On the occasion of Hic8ubique’s birthday
    by Patience Strong

    We are all but comments on the page
    As befits this computerised age
    Bold,italics,emoticons set the mood
    Of opinions that vary from polite to rude
    An avatar gives an idea of the face
    That’s floating about in virtual space
    Though I’m not new to these blogging scenes
    I’ve still not a clue what your username means

    Happy Birthday.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 25, 2012 6:48 PM

      Oh, EdT, thank you! And you have waited all this time to ask me…
      It’s simply ‘hic et ubique’ : ‘here and everywhere’.
      I have several hand-painted ceramic beads from my grandmother Ingrid’s Deruta collection.
      One of them is decorated with HIC*ET*VBIQVE, which seemed an apt online identity. I think the 8 was just to make it scan more easily.
      I hope Patience Strong has now been duly (not dully) satisfied.

      Yours Truly~~
      Yuma Mi Honig

  26. mishari permalink*
    January 27, 2012 3:30 PM

    Here’s that translation i promised you, hic.

    Une allée du Luxembourg

    Elle a passé, la jeune fille
    Vive et preste comme un oiseau
    À la main une fleur qui brille,
    À la bouche un refrain nouveau.

    C’est peut-être la seule au monde
    Dont le coeur au mien répondrait,
    Qui venant dans ma nuit profonde
    D’un seul regard l’éclaircirait !

    Mais non, – ma jeunesse est finie …
    Adieu, doux rayon qui m’as lui, –
    Parfum, jeune fille, harmonie…
    Le bonheur passait, – il a fui !

    Gérard de Nerval (1850)

    Poor old Nerval hanged himself from a window grating in 1855. He left a note for his aunt that read: “Do not wait up for me this evening, for the night will be black and white.”

    Poets, eh? Always making a meal of things.

    But the poor man had bouts of insanity and once wrote: “Cette vie est un taudis et un endroit de malade-réputation. J’ai honte que Dieu devrait me voir ici” (This life is a slum and a place of evil-repute. I’m ashamed that God should see me here.) So, I suppose it was a death foretold, really.

    Mind you, the French are enough to drive the most sanguine of men (me) insane.

    Anyway, here’s my predictably cack-handed job of translation. Happy (belated) birthday.

    A Path In The Luxembourg Gardens

    The young girl passed me,
    quick as a bird and as lively:
    a bright flower in her hand,
    a new song on her lips.

    It might be she, perchance,
    whose heart would answer mine;
    who, coming into my dark night,
    would light it with a glance.

    But no,– my youth is long gone…
    adieu, sweet light that shone on me
    — perfume, young girl, melody…
    happiness has fled–it is all done.

  27. hic8ubique permalink
    January 27, 2012 10:13 PM

    Ohh look what you’ve done, M. *sniff*
    I suppose birthday tears are not malapropos considering my rapidly maturing vintage.
    Please don’t call my present ‘cack-handed’; I love it, and feel truly honoured.
    Thank you so much!

    Here is Robert Frost’s ‘Spring Pools’ which came to mind following…

    These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
    The total sky almost without defect,
    And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
    Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
    And yet not out by any brook or river,
    But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
    The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
    To darken nature and be summer woods —
    Let them think twice before they use their powers
    To blot out and drink up and sweep away
    These flowery waters and these watery flowers
    From snow that melted only yesterday.

    Now I’ll go and see whether you’ve posted your Nerval with a picture…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 27, 2012 10:32 PM

      Not yet. You’ll give us a link when you get to it…

      I hope the French are driving you insane in the best (most salacious) sense rather than the worst…
      I’m a bit reticent with my wanting quotient of francophilia here, since your blog-guests owe a debt of gratitude to Ines for sharing you with us, and I wouldn’t wish to offend her.
      I like the idea of the French, admire their aesthetics from afar, and fully expect that I’ll someday meet a French person whose company I enjoy wholeheartedly. So far though, I’ve found them difficult people to deny; the women in an insistent controlling way and the men in a relentless come-on way. In either case we come to grief, because my innate stubbornness comes hackling up my spine. My son would express it thus:
      “She was all in my face about […].” That captures it for me, sorry to say; just a blighted chemistry.
      I’m sure having a highly neuro Parisienne m-i-l doesn’t help to disabuse me of my reservations.

  28. January 27, 2012 10:26 PM

    It’s wonderful. Lucky girl. Well deserved. x

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 27, 2012 10:40 PM

      Roll on April, eh? but you are gracious as ever. x
      I had a leisurely lunch at my parents’ today, so it’s not really belated since celebrations have extended over three days. It really has been an exceptionally celebratory one; don’t remember ever being so feted.

  29. mishari permalink*
    January 27, 2012 11:08 PM

    Tanks, gels…glad you liked, it hic. I suppose I should put it up at perpwalk. I’ll have to find a good image. Some decent painter is bound to have done the Luxembourg Gardens, so…

    We just got back from seeing The Descendants , which we enjoyed. Clooney really is a much better actor than he’s given credit for…the curse of the former ‘pretty boy’.

    Just found an image. What could be more perfect than Vincent van Gogh’s Path at the Jardin du Luxembourg? The post is HERE.

    • Reine permalink
      January 29, 2012 11:55 PM

      Saw The Descendants earlier… thought the youngest girl was the star turn. And some of the furniture…

  30. January 28, 2012 5:04 PM

    Hullo, good citizens of Pol Homnia… neither time, nor the requisite wit, to comment interestingly on your many interesting things… but how about something strange-yet-soothing for supper…?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      January 28, 2012 8:24 PM

      So that’s where Peter Frampton got it from.

      Have you ever played a pedal steel SA? A friend of mine found it an incredibly difficult instrument to get to grips with and when he did play it he turned the volume right up to mask the cursing-barely-under-his-breath that accompanied his playing.

    • January 29, 2012 1:11 PM

      Oh shit, I’ve… anyway… so…

      Reine-baby! I think that’s called a “drool catheter” and you don’t clean them, you just dispose of the whole machine every third or fourth performance

  31. January 28, 2012 8:01 PM

    Hey Stevie baby – that went nicely with my paella. He is a gas man, Pete. I hope he rinsed that catheter well before blowing into it.

    • January 29, 2012 1:11 PM

      ET: I play a mean wah-wah (I mean *really* mean) and a passable bottleneck in a simple open tuning but never have I tried the pedal steel, which strikes me as a cross between a zither and a sewing machine and, in any case, carries, in the US, for some of us, overtones of incest, diphthongs and lynchings. Perhaps I’m being unfair (since I’ve only ever been a victim of one of the three)…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 29, 2012 3:29 PM

      I do hope it was a diphthong, StA…
      I once had to restrain my helpful Spouse from informing a dancer that her low-rise jeans were allowing everyone to enjoy her scanties. “No, no, Dear; it’s quite possible that her diphthong is a style statement, of sorts.”

  32. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 29, 2012 2:24 PM

    From what I can gather you need a degree in physics to play it. Plus a double barrelled Christian-name and a faith based on rattlesnake abuse.

    It does make a lovely sound though.

  33. hic8ubique permalink
    January 29, 2012 3:38 PM

    I have a new music player in the kitchen, after prolonged dysfunction of dusty-wired components with only the radio rattling its last.
    Yesterday, I was alone and couldn’t switch off the new shuffle function.
    The effect was of a badly mastered variation in volumes with complete absence of segues between cultures, styles, periods, and spoken vs sung verses. The absurdity was fascinating, but… probably the first and last outing for ‘shuffle’.

    Steel guitar and electric organ are the only instruments (coming to mind) that I loathe unequivocally.

    • January 29, 2012 4:32 PM

      Hic Babe! Eh… banjo…?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 29, 2012 5:13 PM

      As in “welcome to Hell…” ?
      No, even banjo would be comparatively illustrious.

    • January 29, 2012 9:49 PM

    • Captain Ned permalink
      January 30, 2012 5:58 PM

      Steven, have you seen The President’s Analyst with James Coburn? That was also directed by Theodore J. Flicker. A very funny film.

    • January 30, 2012 9:43 PM

      I have indeed, Ned! Sadly, it was over my head at the time (the attraction that had me tuned to that channel after supper was James Coburn, who I’d admired in the “Flint” spy-spoof flicks)… I kept expecting someone to steal a thermonuclear warhead or for Coburn to do highly stylized karate on jumpsuited minions. I must have been nine or ten when TPA made it to TV. A little later in life (college?) I tended to think of that era of satire (c. ’66- c.’72) as having been very broad in tone, failing to realize how very broad the tone of Real Life was.

      Btw: semi off piste: speaking of film: have you seen this site? Some very good vintage essays on the art, here:

  34. Reine permalink
    January 29, 2012 11:52 PM

    Heard this on the radio last night, not exactly uplifting but I love the way he sang.

  35. Captain Ned permalink
    January 30, 2012 2:43 PM

  36. reine permalink
    January 30, 2012 2:51 PM

    Fond of the casks of brandy, our Luke. But I would have jumped into a cask of brandy to hear him sing….combining my love of red hair, beards, talent and danger! Hope all well Ned.

  37. Captain Ned permalink
    January 30, 2012 5:55 PM

    All well, Reine. As with you, I hope. I’ve only been listening to Luke Kelly for a couple of weeks. I saw an excellent Australian film called The Proposition, written by Nick Cave. There’s a scene in which the actor/musician Tom Budge gives a haunting rendition of ‘Peggy Gordon’ (see below). I looked it up on Youtube, and then clicked on Kelly’s version. I’d never heard of him before. What voices – Budge’s and Kelly’s.

  38. Reine permalink
    January 30, 2012 9:14 PM

    Incredible, Ned. On Raglan Road (the poem by Kavanagh) is the song Luke is best remembered for here.

    I haven’t seen the film but would love to; my husband is a Nick Cave devotee.

    I’m grand thanks Ned. Nothing of note to report. x

  39. hic8ubique permalink
    January 30, 2012 10:29 PM

    I had a look at the preview for The Proposition… not sure I can manage that one.

    We did watch The Station Agent, which was a pleasure! a refined performance from Peter Dinklage. I was just a bit dozey by the fire at the end, but D said he loved it, which happens very rarely. Thanks for the tip, Re.

    • Reine permalink
      January 30, 2012 11:05 PM

      Don’t mention it Hic, a man of exquisite taste your D as well as a good warbler.

      I sang the psalm at a funeral mass years ago and my bachelor uncle came up afterwards and said: “I didn’t know you could warble”. High praise from the fellow in question, although not sufficiently impressive for him to give me one of his many fields.

    • Reine permalink
      January 30, 2012 11:11 PM

      It is the warbling reference and not D’s name that accounts for my segue above! I think…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 31, 2012 2:45 PM

      It works in both senses.

  40. mishari permalink*
    January 30, 2012 11:06 PM

    Evening all….been a bit obsessed with this attempting to competently write dross. It’s actually harder than you might think. Mostly, I suppose, because one’s fighting one’s natural instincts every damned inch of the way. Still…onward and, erm…downward, I suppose.

    I love the pedal steel guitar…it’s capable of expressing the loveliest of melancholic lines in that fluid, fading and rising, almost tentative way it has (in the best hands). Hell, I love it even when it’s in the service of straight-forward chug-a-lug classics like this:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 30, 2012 11:28 PM

      Steeling myself to attend to these helpful examples…

      I’ve been concerned that your literary instincts and talent would throw snares along the way, M. Will cynicism prevail?

      I went to look in on L who seemed to be crying, but she was laughing at this classic pH material:

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 30, 2012 11:30 PM

      Sorry, wrong one. She was laughing at that one, but this is the pertinent selection…

  41. mishari permalink*
    January 30, 2012 11:13 PM

    But here’s what I was talking about…the lovely filigree work behind Emmy Lou Harris and Gram Parson’s version of the Everly Brothers classic Love Hurts. Subtle, restrained but gorgeous:

  42. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:28 AM

    Lovely track Mishari,

    I was trying to think of some good electric organery and came up with this

  43. art pepper permalink
    January 31, 2012 1:18 PM

    It’s a beauty, isn’t it, Ed? Oh, I can’t log-in properly because I’m on my groovy new mobile device (on a train, to boot) and my long, randomly-generated wordpress password is on my laptop…I couldn’t tell you what it is to save my soul.

    Ah, The SDG, with the 17 year-old Stevie Winwood on Farfisa organ…great stuff.

  44. hic8ubique permalink
    January 31, 2012 2:44 PM

    Precarious staging. So, that was Steve Winwood as a baby!

    Last night was ExB’s gig. I hope he’ll report.
    Whence on a train, M? Thumbing a ride takes on a new meaning? p’raps not.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 31, 2012 2:50 PM

      ‘Whither’ of course. Whither away?
      *need more coffee*

  45. art pepper permalink
    January 31, 2012 3:19 PM

    Paris-London, hic…the usual.

  46. Edward Taylor permalink
    January 31, 2012 3:44 PM

    Paris-London? Enough time for at least 3 chapters of your roman-a-crap I would imagine.

    As a balance why not write a travel book?

    Based on the snippets you’ve posted here from time to time I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking you’d write an excellent travelogue. Assuming you’re not already doing so. of course.

  47. hic8ubique permalink
    January 31, 2012 5:34 PM

    No, not alone, EdT, but for now…


    The Pot-Boiler Express
    A full head of steam

    Romancing the scheme
    A head-full of steam

    Jack the Bodice-Ripper
    Full steam ahead

  48. Reine permalink
    January 31, 2012 10:28 PM

    Girl on a train … of thought

    Omg, he looked at me
    Or did he look past me
    At my mother?
    Perhaps he is just having a lofty thought
    Look at his notebook
    And the way he smiles when he scrolls his phone
    A message from his lover
    Or maybe his wife?
    Lucky bitch.
    Nice shoes, expensive in a non-screaming way
    The jacket is really not something
    Everyone would get away with but he carries it off
    Taupe, mother would call it
    Nice lips, thinner when he is concentrating
    I’m going to marry someone like him when I’m older
    Fuck, he’s looking at me…
    He’s smiling. Shit.

    Totes amazeballs.

  49. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2012 11:13 PM

    I’m back, baby…I got Joseph to get into my laptop and send me my wordpress password. Meanwhile, in Washington state:

    An intoxicated sailor who walked into the wrong apartment in Bremerton, urinated on the floor and then climbed into bed with an 80-year-old woman probably won’t face criminal charges, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

    The 21-year-old, identified as Dalton C. Pierson, was drinking and playing video games at a friend’s apartment in 7600 block of Vineyards Lane Northeast early Sunday when he left and mistakenly walked into a neighbor’s home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Deputies were called by the resident’s son, John Jaeger, 56, who said Monday that he awoke to see a stranger urinating “all over the floor.” As Jaeger got up to investigate, he heard his mother cry out, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Evelyn Whitney said she had been fast asleep when the stranger climbed into bed with her.

    She screamed and asked him what he was doing, according to the sheriff’s report. Pierson answered, “passing out.” — The Seattle Times , 30.1.12

    I think we’ve all been there

    Reine, your impersonation of a hormonal teenage girl is uncanny…

  50. Reine permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:23 PM

    You rock.

  51. Reine permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:24 PM

    Ok, I’m back to “normal” now. So what colour is your jacket?

  52. mishari permalink*
    January 31, 2012 11:33 PM

    In this fucking weather? A Donegal tweed overcoat in dark-grey with all kinds of subtle little coloured flecks, charcoal grey merino wool suit (Richard James), white Sea Island cotton shirt, black raw silk tie, black Bass Weejun loafers (no damn tassels…Christ I hate tassels).

    Inez says I dress like a hip undertaker.

  53. hic8ubique permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:38 PM

    Reine? Reine! Do you need me to come round with the smelling salts?!

  54. Reine permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:53 PM

    No, I’ll be ok… but not yet. Wow wee.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 1, 2012 12:00 AM


      In my house, a tie can elicit an anxiety just short of that prior to being hanged, and tassels seemingly have the power to render a man irrevocably Gay.
      Texture as well; anything with texture (other than raggedy) confers queenliness.

      Must go make salad…with nothing too threatening in it… ;)

  55. Reine permalink
    February 1, 2012 12:04 AM

    I had one of those coats in college, complete with cigarette burns. Tasselled shoes are surely a hanging offence and indicative of all manner of nefarious interest.

    I’m going to bed. That train journey was bloody exhausting.

  56. hic8ubique permalink
    February 1, 2012 1:42 AM

    I still have my father’s cousin’s coat: a raglan black cashmere from before I was born. (no burns, not hip) I still wear it, though it should be re-lined. I look at new ones, but they’re never as good. I may replace it when raglan sleeves have a renascence.

    Having been so imperious concerning the Psalmist, I’ll confess today’s layered sartorial mundanity…
    purple/black wool socks: Goodhew
    chocolate merino ‘loose tights’ : Ibex
    aquamarine merino vest top : Smartwool
    black merino mid-layer (with thumb-holes!) : Ivanhoe
    moss green merino hooded cardigan (with little Moravian stars down the sleeves): Smartwool
    That’s only the indoor edition, and not at all sea-worthy
    (and not mentioning unmentionables).

    What sort of ‘weather’ are Bass Weejuns good for, I wonder?

    • Reine permalink
      February 1, 2012 8:34 AM

      … and in Ireland, the civil servant about town was wearing…

      Black tights, Wolford;
      Black dress, Cos
      Dalmation print wool scarf/shawl, Malene Birger
      Vintage necklace, hoop earrings
      Old black boots with fur trim – Ilse Jacobsen (I am all about the Dane)
      Jacket by New Look with gold-effect hardware

      So there Mr. al-Adwani! Ha.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 1, 2012 3:38 PM

      You’ve arrived just in time to help me counterbalance the smartness of these urbanites, Des.

      I must approve of dalmation print though, and I’m keen on all flecky confetti donegally woollies. Last year, I bought a silk blouse with wobbley polka-dots, not realising there was a fashionable name for it.

      This is my favourite line, Re…
      ‘Nice lips, thinner when he is concentrating’

    • February 1, 2012 6:41 PM

      A friend of mine’s (the Texan, I think I have mentioned her before)lips disappear entirely if one makes any kind of derogatory comment about the Republicans (ergo she is much of the time lipless).

  57. Des permalink
    February 1, 2012 5:48 AM

    My standard twenties footwear was German paratrooper boots, and the Cloak was second-hand burlaps purchased from elderly volunteers in charity shops. The best one owned, for several years, was dark brown, knee length, and I remember hanging it out in the rain once for a couple of days and when it dried became the accessory that resulted in what. I imagined at the time as, a perfect look.

    My heroes then were the vivid characters from Traits and Stories of Irish Peasantry by William Carleton, a hedge-schooled early 19C novelist; who drew them so eloquently and beautiful that I fell in to actualizing a composite of them within my imagination, and fancying to model myself on a swarthy poor and barefoot person from the people who populated the place in their millions. Swarms, hoardes and tribes of excitable illiterate potato eating piss heads and wife beaters, a tragic blight on the Civility of Empire, speaking meaningless babble; bursting into song, urinating in public, engaging in mass recreational barenuckle brawls, with cudgels, sticks and strict rules, modes and mores of intra-generational feuding, grudges, black deeds, dastardly verbal tricks and a competitive spiritual essence there because it rhymes with pleasant sent heavenly grandiloquence quenched in the folding of a letter to its whole half-part to half-part, a bit of jiggery pokery and hocus pocus, voodoo twaddle and the logical positivism mystically mined.

    I have been drinking (again) this morning, for the past few hours slowly slurping Polish lager back and wondering how to shove in this song, ‘I’m The One To Blame’, by a singer I heard for the first time the other morning after a session.

    • Reine permalink
      February 1, 2012 8:36 AM

      Hey Des… I can perfectly imagine you in that get-up… never heard of Holt before.

  58. Des permalink
    February 1, 2012 9:28 AM

    I hadn’t heard of him before this week. He has recorded hundreds of songs; his career spans 46 years and counting, born 1947 and his early stuff is what I like, but had a good listen and gawp to a small bit of the hundreds of songs he must have recorded, and I settled on this one as another classic discovered, that along with another one called Time and the River, make up my, thus far, top three John Holt chart.

  59. Des permalink
    February 1, 2012 9:30 AM

  60. February 1, 2012 9:20 PM

    Hi Hic – the gig went very well, thanks! An exorcism, in a way.

    A dank basement on Old Street with tuft-carpeted walls. Three of the five acts booked cancelled so we went onstage an hour early and got to play an encore.

    Best of all for me was that I threw myself into the absurd stage gyrations I’d been practising in rehearsal to the point of self-hypnotism over the months and which I fully expected to chicken out of on the night. Before my literary ambitions kindled my greatest desire was to strut my ridiculous thing in front of as many people as possible.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 2, 2012 2:47 PM

      “Peel you like an orange” most excellent memorable, that lyric!
      Any footage? I know it’s not the same as bums on seats, but if you want to be seen by the masses…
      I’m glad you had a padded venue; it sounds dangerous 4th plinth material.

  61. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2012 9:58 PM

    I’m sorry I missed your gyrations, XB; I’m sure William Blake would have approved. Didn’t he say that: “The road to excessively absurd stage gyrations leads to the palace of wisdom…for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.”. Q.E.D.

    Anyone heard this cracking rendition of Portishead’s Glory Box by the late John Martyn (who I always had a real soft-spot for)?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 2, 2012 4:54 PM

      Never heard this, but I do like the way he leans into “reason’ and then especially “loove you”
      not an obvious choice, I imagine, but what a good one.

  62. hic8ubique permalink
    February 2, 2012 4:00 PM

    Today 2nd Feb. is the birthday of our much missed freepoland. It may be a milestone birthday, if I’m not mistaken. Didn’t he once say he was a ’42 man? He’s been awfully quiet.

    And *February*, Mishari… Do you mind my wondering and asking how your teeth and jaw are serving you now? and whether your left patella was salvageable? How is the knee? You may be all recovered, but I haven’t quite.

  63. February 2, 2012 6:31 PM

    How do you know everyone’s birthday’s Hic? Did I miss something or are you magic?

    There is shaky video footage of the ‘event’. It’s in Facebook and only features – I’m told – a guitar solo. But if you have an account and locate the Energy Dictator page then you can watch it there.

    Mishari – I forget if I mentioned this before, but I joined the Blake Society last year after attending the tree planting on my birthday (the day, Hic?).

    So far, I’ve only been to one event. Actually, there’s only been one event. It was a discussion on ‘Blake and the Bible’ between Philip Pullman and a more religiously inclined writer – well, an Anglican priest. Pullman quickly defused the debate by saying he wasn’t going to talk about the Bible even a bit.

    The Q@A session was excruciating. One after another, droning, bigoted bores who didn’t know the difference between an objectionable opinion and a question claimed the microphone and held onto it for as long as possible.

    The high-point was a hip, self-satisfied looking young man who began reasonably enough before going insane in real-time and asking how Pullman could deny God (or, rather, ‘Jah Rastafari’ pronounced in the only way a white man can pronounce that name, with insufferable pretension) given Blake and Yeats’s very specific statement on the Matter of England and the Centre of the Universe being unequivocally situated in Clerkenwell or something. Would have been a perfect venue for my sex-cosmic moves, actually.

    • February 2, 2012 7:00 PM

      Nice photo of you sexing up the microphone and doing a “settle down, settle down folks” hand movement. Handsome dudes in your band, you chief among them obvs!

    • February 2, 2012 7:03 PM

      Well, thanks! I zapped the new pic up there because it includes a blurred visual pun that only PH lifers will get….

    • February 2, 2012 7:04 PM

      And the sounds takes me back to my dancing days in the Warwick circa 1989… fair play to ye.

      (birthday 19 April)

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 2, 2012 9:53 PM

      It’s just one of my isms ExB. I try not to have any formal isms, but just certain loosely observed ones. You know William James‘ ‘I am done with great things and big things…’

      I’ll teach you the secret of the magic…
      When someone I’m fond of or appreciate in some way happens to mention their birthday, I make a note of it. Next, if I see something that makes me think of a particular friend, I squirrel it away until the time is right.
      I don’t think you had mentioned yours when we were saying whose birthdays we shared, but I’ve got it now… 18 Sept, yes?
      If I were sending you a present, it would be one of these brilliant inventions:

    • February 2, 2012 10:28 PM

      I must leap in here to say what a marvellous and generous gift chooser Hic is; this very day I was wearing long button down black cashmere gloves and tiger’s eye earrings from my Christmas box… to my great shame in a moment of severe frazzlement I sent her a tea cosy covered in cocks (the fowl, children, the fowl). Morto.

  64. February 2, 2012 6:32 PM

    Birthdays. Birthdays. Sometime’s even Homer nod’s.

  65. hic8ubique permalink
    February 2, 2012 9:57 PM

    Could the visual pun be the shape of the blue and grey figure on your old Revenants and Rigmaroles? That’s what I was reminded of before I zoomed you.

    • February 2, 2012 10:30 PM

      I thought it must be something to do with the Exit sign but too obvious I suppose.

  66. hic8ubique permalink
    February 3, 2012 1:08 AM

    You were wearing them today :)
    Who else in my world would long black gloves be for, I ask you, Tigress!

    I adore my cockerels. Your cosy is so good, it could almost be worn as a Russian hat.
    Which gives me an idea…
    You can’t see my mystic eye pin, but I’m wearing it today.

    May I announce: Reine sent me beautiful birthday presents that had all been made in Ireland.

  67. mishari permalink*
    February 3, 2012 4:03 AM

    Now I’m ashamed. I should have sent you something, too; and I will…just give me a little time to select something worthy.

    My problem with presents is that my immediate instinct is to buy a book. Probably because of my hopelessly old-fashioned idea that a book is most precious; a repository of beauty and wisdom (ideally)…but you probably have a sufficiency of books.

    So I guess it’ll have to be a new washing-machine. I know how keen you gals are on doing laundry. (ducks)…

  68. February 3, 2012 10:34 AM

    Lol Hic, baby Hic models beautifully; it could catch on. I may rush out at lunch and buy up the remainder before the trend goes worldwide.

    Mishari, pick up those underpants…

  69. hic8ubique permalink
    February 3, 2012 2:18 PM

    Ashamed?! No, we can’t be having that. However, you’ve reminded me of the Most Important
    *secret of the magic*…
    Only ever give a present out of inspiration, never out of obligation, or the magic will be spoilt.
    Furthermore, I am tickled to distraction by my exquisite and illustrated Nerval translation . When has anyone ever given me such a gift before? Never.

    These were the books from this birthday…

    L. gave me a new poetry anthology with gold edges – the sort of thing I admired deeply when I was 15. Adorably, she shopped for it alone, and marked with ribbon the pages of poems she associates with me. I asked her to inscribe it, so she took a big indelible felt pen and scrawled her love on the title page. Sweet thing.

    I recieved ‘On Your 51st Birthday from your Spoose’ a desktop single edition publication of family photography.

    from Mum: Robert Bosnak, ‘Embodiment, Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel’

    and from Dad: ‘Carl Milles~ episodes from my life’
    also: The Journal and Catalog of the Exhibition Entitled ‘Sculpture and Carl Milles’ Held at the Institute of Modern Art, Boston, Massachusetts From January Twenty-Eighth Through March Second, Nineteen Hundred And Forty-One
    (which has great b+w photo illustrations).

    last birthday, Reine sent me: Ermyntrude and Esmeralda a novel by Lytton Strachey illustrated by Erté, 1st ed. 1969 … a surprisingly rude book!

    • reine permalink
      February 3, 2012 7:22 PM

      Jeeziz…I thought that was L in the photo, hence “baby Hic”. Just zoomed in, you look about 15 in it!

      I am still trying to figure out who is Ermyntrude and who is Esmerelda. You know I bought it purely for the Erté (bats eyelids).

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 3, 2012 10:53 PM

      heh. I missed that. No doubt, L. would deem tea-cosy wearing beneath her standards of personal dignity. *ahem*
      No one has mistaken me for a teen in many years, I assure you; this lap-top camera always overexposes. There’s probably a setting to adjust it, but when will that become high on my list?

      E or E? As I recall, you were the more experienced one passing on ‘worldly’ wisdom,
      you wicked cat.

  70. February 7, 2012 10:31 PM

    Arising from a conversation between three ladies…

    All talk and no pillow
    In a country casual way
    “We’ll do you a deal dear
    Your loyalty’ll pay

    All talk and no pillow
    With his feathery touch
    Neither here nor yet there
    A fawning nonesuch

    “Sign here dear”
    Obsequious sleaze
    With a draughty crotch clutch
    Nearby jangling, his keys

    All talk and no pillow
    Stained slip of his drool
    Country casual clodhop
    Fellatio-ed fool

    All talk, no pillow

  71. February 7, 2012 10:32 PM

    “ladies” used loosely…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 4:44 AM

      Re, that’s a cryptic one (?!) I was about to put your name forward as our handy in-house editor, but please, ‘among’: among three ladies, no?

      ‘Between’ would indicate Beedle-dee, dee dee dee: two ladies.

    • February 8, 2012 10:57 AM

      Ah Hic… you have found my Achilles’ heel. Between you and me, I’m not at work here! You’re right of course.

      Poor Mishari, sandwiched in a sea of Reines and Hics.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 4:41 PM

      True, not at work… and unfair of me to quibble when I’m free to mangle the language with
      reckless glee, since I’m complacently non-pro.
      Sorry for any plumage disarrangement ;) I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a two-ladies joke.
      I see they’ve raunched that number up considerably since I was eighteen…
      Yes, you were Lady MacBeth, and I was waltzing in a gorilla suit with Emcee.

    • February 8, 2012 5:05 PM

      Hey tea cosy lady… my feathers are glued into place; ‘t would take something pretty strong to ruffle them. Lady Macbeth? How well you know me. Ermyntrude awaits news of your present with bated breath and lots of green eyeshadow.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 6:06 PM

      emerald eyes
      beryl sheen:
      Arya Tara,
      wearing of the green

      ‘bated breath
      batted brow
      see how well you know me now…

    • reine permalink
      February 8, 2012 7:19 PM

      I have a nightie exactly like that … I may stage a reconstruction although I will have to be careful not to fall out…

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    February 8, 2012 4:34 AM

    Remorse… remorse… I’m afraid Mishari is being broken in pieces by plain words in simple constructions.
    EdT was a better friend, endorsing a serious and worthy literary effort.
    Even God rested after seven days, for Pete’s sake! (oh, after six he rested… after eight he had a mint)

    My starry-eyed admiration of the SS Delphine distorted my vision and dashed prudence on the rocks.
    If I were inclined to wager, I’d say chances are we’re likely to see the entire set completed any time now; on the other hand, Mishari may have thrown the scheme over in dismay, and is now engaged in winning the ship outright at poker, but at what cost? what damage to his person, to his soul? I shudder to consider.
    [[[devastating chord on a giant all-stops-out pipe-organ]]]

  73. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2012 12:32 PM

    No place I’d rather be sandwiched, my dear (in an entirely Platonic way of course….well..mostly). Sorry for the silence.

    Been busy as hell trying to explain to a bunch of unfeasibly sleazy Russian investors why I don’t want their money. They have real trouble understanding this: money is money, da?

    If only they’d known who Akhmatova and Babel and Turgenev were, I might have looked on them more kindly…alas, they were just rich thugs. Fuck ’em.

    • reine permalink
      February 8, 2012 7:17 PM

      Oh happy sandwich…

  74. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2012 12:33 PM

    Present to follow, hic…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 4:48 PM

      Ooh. If you should send me a Russian novel, it would be all new to me and you’d be alerted to my unworthiness as an investor, apart from a bewildering dearth of financial resources.

      ‘Dumbogeddon’: favourite new word.

      Now I must gather windfall kindling
      to build a fire under the cauldron
      to boil the socks
      and crank them through the mangle.

      ‘After bliss: the laundry’

  75. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2012 7:09 PM

    Actually, I have a fantastic Russian novel for you, my favourite of the 20th century, I think. I won’t tell you what it is; I’ll let it be a surprise. Send me your address to…no, wait…putting email addresses on blogs is an invitation for “Extend Your Penis In 5-Days!!!” spam. You have my gmail address, no? Send it there.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 8:55 PM

      Yes, a surprise. I’ll do that shortly… just betwixt and between at the moment.

  76. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2012 8:14 PM

    By the way…who’s the blue chick?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 8, 2012 9:01 PM

      Re didn’t recognise me either. It’s my own familiar self, modelling my gorgeous new tea-cosy, as discussed up-thread. I am slightly cyanotic because the laptop camera overexposes– there’s a ‘saturate’ option which helps a bit, but tends to give one the blues.
      I’ll try to adjust it later on.

  77. mishari permalink*
    February 8, 2012 9:17 PM


    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 9, 2012 2:55 AM

      My reference was (weakly) on a ‘recognition’ tangent.

      I mailed you; all anticipation.

    • reine permalink
      February 9, 2012 11:32 PM

      It is bugging me to know whether you just changed the background colour or retook the photo… I fancy you reshot it – seem to see more of the left side of your face … and of your hand here. You now look about 16 so sepia tone obviously ageing!

      Look carefully to see the tiger’s eye and the (almost too subtle) lashes…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 10, 2012 2:31 AM

      Lovely! Tiger eye and snow leopard… I can’t really tell about the lashes, which is probably good. You look radiant; the best picture yet. Yours always look as though you use a proper camera.

      I’ll tell you exactly what I did: It’s the original shot (cosy-posing is a rare and spontaneous occurrence). I can’t adjust the flash; the laptop just does what it wants, but in my ‘edit’ function afterwards I dialed down ‘exposure’, maxed ‘definition’, and slightly increased ‘temperature’.
      That’s my formerly red-gold hair faded to platinum, so very decidedly ‘medium age’.

    • February 10, 2012 11:28 AM

      Thanks for the compliment but my photos are taken in idle moments on my crappy phone. I don’t even own a camera. Yes, I can see how one might not always find oneself reaching for a tea cosy headpiece; in my other idle moments I like to wrap any textile to hand about my head in the manner of a gele with varying results … ranging from stylish to bonkers.

  78. February 9, 2012 6:16 PM

    Many thanks for the Buffwear, Hic, I think. Couldn’t get the video to work but the lady dressed like a superhero is aspirational. Can I have her jacket?

    I see now how you remember birthdays. Still a bit eerie. As a lapsed astrologer, I have near-perfect recall of the sun-sign (if not the birthday) of most people I’ve met, especially when I was a hyper-advocate in my teens & 20s. Bump into me on the bus and I may not remember your name, or why I know you, but I’ll probably remember that you’re a Gemini with Capricorn rising and Mars-Pluto in the seventh (especially that last bit. You’ve got to watch out for that one…)

    Just heard back from one of the nation’s leading theatres re my play: apparently it’s ‘intelligent and skillfully written’, funny and with characters that are ‘well-written and distinctive’, if a bit complicated plot-wise. Still, they’re still not going to produce it. I can’t fault them, though: they took the time to read it rather than shred it as most of the other theatres have done.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 10, 2012 2:49 AM

      Hello ExitBarnadine.

      I am Anoxyana Blučik, wealthy Russian lady.
      I am wishing give you money for back your play.
      Sometime, private investor can be way to go.
      Money is money, please accept offer.
      I am sending Sergei and Vova with first bag cash.
      You will be happy for see them.

      In admiration from your talents
      Yours truly,
      Sooo sorry– that’s a huge letdown, ExB, but an encouraging reception after all. Can you envision some established star actors in any of the roles who might underwrite your play as a vanity project? or any other vested interests you could pitch it to for sponsorship?
      I wish I could help, but obviously… [eye-roll at self]

      I do know about Buffs though. The failed video was of an Aussie giving a quick demo on the various ways to wear them, but if you click on the ‘Original Buff’ listing, you can see all the cool graphics.
      They’re incredibly versatile, not just a headband. Mostly I use them for hair control and neck gaiters. The most unusual case was the year my son and I were hauling all his gear up to the 11th storey of his dormitory. Halfway up the concrete stairwell, he sliced his hand on his computer casing (big boxy unit) and the only thing we had to control the bleeding was my buff; looped it over his hand several times, and we kept going.
      I have an extra one (new) I could send you to try out, but you wouldn’t want it to perform in… too Scandi looking… the design is called ‘Quebec’.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 10, 2012 2:56 AM

      p.s… as a lapsed astrologer, you might be interested to know, my two favourite things I remember from my chart: Moon in Taurus, and Venus in Pisces. I understand you’ve got to watch out for that latter one as well ;)

  79. February 9, 2012 9:46 PM

    Are we conforming to type then XB?

    Heartiest congratulations on being a playwright as well as a dashing rock star… a lot of talent in that astrological combination. Better luck next time on the production dibs but kudos to have made such a good impression. If it gets to that point and you require a buxom brunette who can cry at will, I’ll do it pro bono.

  80. Captain Ned permalink
    February 10, 2012 12:47 PM

    Sorry to read about that, EB. But it’s nice, at least, that you can be sure it’s been read, as you say. Perhaps if you sent it to Lord Lloyd-Webber, he’d compose some nice songs, and then you’d have a smash. Or Sting. He can do Dowland, so why not Hey Nonny No?

  81. February 10, 2012 5:16 PM

    No commiserations necessary, but thanks all the same. I’ve been doing this long enough to know its down to time, numbers, persistence and sanity management. Much better to get a thoughtful response (they gave lots of useful criticism as well) than the usual ‘we’re too busy’ reply. Especially the producer who told me my MS would be ‘shredded’. Which is what I’d do to every last copy and the laptop it’s stored on if Andrew Lloyd Webber came anywhere near it.

    Hic, do you sell Buffs on commission? Thanks for the thoughts. Phase two will certainly include landing the script on a few lucky actors. And weirdly, I’m pretty sure Sergei and Vova were hanging out in the alleyway outside my bedroom window around 3am on Wednesday. Are they drunk and arguing? If so, it was definitely them.

    That reminds me of the two Russians Ned invented for that freeform novel thing a while back. They were funny. We should finish that one day.

    Reine, there are several female roles – buxom, brunette or otherwise – Shakespeare’s wife, both his daughters or a stage-struck Southwark tavern keeper. Take yer pick.

    Mishari’s not an admirer of the Way of Meg, so I won’t astrologise here. But, of course, everyone conforms to type.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 10, 2012 5:50 PM

      No, ExB, I don’t sell stuff. I’m probably conforming to type [sharp intake of breath]
      in that when I discover a ‘really good thing’ I like to acquire a supply and give them to
      friends so they can be in on the satisfaction. My children take every opportunity to tease me for this quirk.
      My latest discovery is the Travelo atomiser which decants perfume with an integral pump so one may carry it without spillage/breakage. [April come soon, Reine]

      The birthday (or Name Day) calendar is a plain as day Victorian tradition. Nothing to spook you there, but I’m with you on Lloyd Webber *blerch*

      And… Reine will read for the part of the Tavern-keeper, or I’ll eat my tea-cosy.

    • Captain Ned permalink
      February 10, 2012 10:06 PM

      I invented a few characters for that unfinished epic, EB, but the two Russians you have in mind were not my own, although I made use of them. Their onlie begetter was, I think, Alarming (or possibly HLM).

      I do regret not carrying on with that (and, indeed, the other PH novel, which ground to a halt even sooner). I remember working out an elaborate scheme linking all the disparate plot threads into one ingenious whole. I don’t remember what it was now, only that it involved Stalin.

  82. February 10, 2012 5:48 PM

    It’ll have to be the tavern keeper Exit (stage left) …

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 10, 2012 5:51 PM

      double snap

    • February 10, 2012 5:58 PM

      Congratulations, Reine! You get to share a bed with Beaumont & Fletcher.

      Hic – I think I found it eerie because, being unobservant, I never noticed anyone – especially Mishari – giving their birthday away for you to note down in the first place.

    • February 11, 2012 4:08 PM

      No bother to me exit, perhaps you would play one of them yourself? Cackles filthy tavern keeper laugh while stuffing a velvet purse down her cleavage…

  83. hic8ubique permalink
    February 10, 2012 6:09 PM

    As I recall, you weren’t with us for the astrology thread (perhaps Autumn ’10?), ExB, nor the CaptN.Those present chatted about whose day they shared. In my case: St Paul, Virginia Woolf, Tom Paulin, and Robert Burns.
    Such a comment makes it a quick business to identify the date.

    • February 11, 2012 12:09 AM

      I never liked that game. Couldn’t compete. My birthday twins are, I think, Peter Shilton and (forgetting the shift from the Julian calendar) Samuel Johnson. Everyone else I knew seemed to have groovy matches like the Dalai Llama or Suzi Quatro.

      It was never easy growing up looking for virgo role models….

  84. hic8ubique permalink
    February 11, 2012 2:56 AM

    Nooo, say not so; you have Trajan and lots of admirable people. You have Greta Garbo
    (My mother used to call me ‘Greta Garbo: I want to be left alone’ as a rebuke)

    Let’s see… your coevals (in a sense) are as cool as:

    Pope Gregory XVI
    Christian VIII of Denmark
    Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos, Archbishop of Goa (a very hip place)
    Léon Foucault (reputed to have an exceptional pendulum)
    John L. Bates, 41st Governor of Massachusetts (another happening locale)
    1875 – Tomas Burgos, Chilean philanthropist (one-off)
    Toni Wolff, Swiss student and lover of Carl Jung
    1895 – Tomoji Tanabe, the oldest man in the world from January 2007 until his death (d. 2009)
    Agnes de Mille, American choreographer (prestige abounding; my m.i.l. danced in her company, no less!)
    Brinsley Le Poer Trench, British ufologist
    J. D. Tippit, Dallas police officer shot by Lee Harvey Oswald
    Takao Doi, Japanese astronaut
    Toni Kukoč, Croatian basketball player
    Xzibit, American rapper
    Kikki Daire, American pornographic actress
    Avi Strool, Israeli footballer

    I expect you too will defy the odds, ExB, and we’ll live to see you added to the 18th Sept. wiki-up.

  85. February 11, 2012 10:57 AM

    Wow, thanks! I knew about Garbo but pretended I didn’t for, ah, dramatic effect. Very happy with the Japanese astronaut! I’m going to see what some of these people got up to. There have been some very bad popes. Of course, in astro-land the only real comparison is someone born on the same day and year.

    I just dreamt that, looking through the magazine racks, I found a bright yellow, glossy-printed inaugural issue of ‘Politely Homicidal’. There were record reviews, articles, adverts (that’s why Mishari’s been talking to investors, I thought), photo-features. Old media, but perhaps a small print-run for your stimulant-driven trash-experiment is in order, Mishari?

  86. February 11, 2012 4:51 PM

    Easy one for the assembled brains: name these languages:

    • mishari permalink*
      February 12, 2012 12:45 PM

      Easy…they’re all talking fluent classical Crapola, the world’s most widely spoken tongue.

      How are you doing, Simon…you naughty man of exotic tastes (and who isn’t? Except David Cameron, of course).

    • February 12, 2012 4:12 PM

      Well enough, thanks, Mish. The winter’s been bloody cold and in my brief periods out of hibernation I’ve wondered why the hell I came here. Spring’s in the air now though: only -4C tonight.

      Exotic tastes? You must mean the frog baked in Sichuan spices we had last night: recommended.

  87. mishari permalink*
    February 12, 2012 12:38 PM

    Garbo’s first spoken lines in a film were in Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, a film I saw in my teens, where she plays the eponymous waterfront hooker. She goes into a bar and says to the barman:

    “Giff me a visky, baby…and dunt be stingy”.

    My kind of girl. You gotta love those Nordic babes.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 12, 2012 2:57 PM

      Yes, you gotta love people who spend most of the year generating their own heat.
      Who appreciates warmth more than a Scandinavian?
      Maybe the crocodile.

  88. hic8ubique permalink
    February 12, 2012 3:03 PM

    Oh, ExB~~ I did a fun thing with my list of 25 January companions;
    I combined Ewan Maccoll with Robert Burns and found double value:

    • February 12, 2012 4:19 PM

      Delightful, Hic. I’ll forward it.

  89. February 12, 2012 11:00 PM

    I can’t believe Meryl Streep robbed me of best actress. Just wait ’til I get it for the tavernkeeper next year. Surely Billy Bob will put up the finance?

  90. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 13, 2012 12:01 PM

    My shampooed hair is now full of nits
    A favourite song gets on my tits
    My healthy dog suffers from the fits
    A cease-fire has become the blitz
    Was up in the air now down in the pits
    The clean bed linen now full of grits
    My best friends are a bunch of gits
    The local pub has become “The Ritz”
    My best tent’s fabric is full of slits
    Constipated I’ve now got the shits
    My glamorous life has lost its glitz
    Nothing Lasts Forever.

    Not autobiographical I should add.

    Or is it?

  91. February 14, 2012 10:40 AM

    As a good Irish Catholic girl, I am bound to wish you all a happy St. Valentine’s Day… and blow kisses on the air in your many directions. (I cannot account for the prevailing winds but I sincerely hope at least one will land on the Isle of Wight).

  92. hic8ubique permalink
    February 14, 2012 5:33 PM

    I too wish you all a sweet day that includes a nod at least to the traditions of Courtly Love.
    Thinking of EdT’s partner and hoping the pair of them have fully recovered from a scare.

    I’ve heard from our dear friend, the incomparable freepoland, who relates that he’s been much out of sorts recently and online very little. He also says:

    “Do convey my good wishes to all at Pol hom, if you still visit there, and maybe I will get around to on line socialising before too long.”

    I hope it would not be too awkward
    to divide Reine’s kisses afork-ward;
    will MM mop and mow
    if we part them and blow
    some blessed Irish kisses to York-ward?

    and my song of this morning…

  93. February 14, 2012 7:10 PM

    “A nod to the traditions of courtly love…” for a minute there, I thought you wrote Courtney Love. Blessed relief. St. Valentine didn’t hold with that sort of thing ;)

    By all means, fork away the kisses to the misters and the misses…

  94. February 15, 2012 12:17 AM

    SappHic kisses, it seems. Hope you enjoyed the day…

  95. hic8ubique permalink
    February 15, 2012 2:21 AM

    As it should be when of all days primacy must be appeased, I’m sure you agree.
    Still enjoying, with a brief hiatus whilst the IP paints a poster:
    “No Chiclé” … for her sins.
    Once completed, we’ll all watch Mapp and Lucia.

    Courtney? [hand passes over head] oh dear.

  96. February 15, 2012 11:50 PM

    I dreamt (same dream as Mishari’s publishing exploit) that Freep had left a long post on PolHom. Hope he’s holding up.

    My mum turned 70 today. Which is fantastic. Very strange, that she was born in the midst of a world war, turned 25 the year Sgt Pepper was released. Very happy she’s still busy, working, reading, travelling etc. A great role model.

    • February 16, 2012 1:36 PM

      Happy birthday Mum exitb. A proud lady, I don’t doubt.

      My Mama will be 67 tomorrow. I strive to be more like her with limited success.

      The Mammies are lovely all the same, as Al J might have said if he was born in Kiltimagh.

  97. Captain Ned permalink
    February 16, 2012 10:16 AM

    Nice to have news of Freep. I hope that he is back to feeling his old self again very soon – and the same for Melton Mowbray.

  98. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 11:10 AM

    What news of the sainted fell-walker Freep? I’m am left in the dark, as usual (mutters to self about ingrates, puppies, etc etc…). What cooks with our old and esteemed compadre?

    I assume (always) that MM’s just being all moody and Garbo-like: “I vunt to be aloone”.

    Probably working on his biography of George Formby, the famous boxer…

  99. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 11:14 AM

    Is it just me or do the girls seem to be speaking in runes, cryptic asides and Linear B?

  100. February 16, 2012 12:39 PM

    Left too much to our own devices, it was inevitable we’d resort to glyph. Be thankful it wasn’t Glyph Richards… ok, bye…

  101. hic8ubique permalink
    February 16, 2012 1:09 PM

    ∂øℵ ‡LχΞθþðæł ,Reine!
    Ħ swæ swæ îØŤ●
    ☀þ☂❍ Ω, don’t you think?

    • February 16, 2012 1:37 PM

      I agree Hic, it is a wonderful specimen, as broad as it’s long.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 16, 2012 1:52 PM

      Heaven preserve us! No, but certainly both the broadest and longest. Pity one can only traverse it by travelling to Japan.

  102. hic8ubique permalink
    February 16, 2012 1:18 PM

    What may I explain for you, Mishari? Not meaning to be opaque, just amusing ourselves in your absence. Here is the pertinent extract from Freep’s missive:

    “…I have been out of sorts for some time, but climbing back towards normality. I am rarely on the computer these days, but maybe I will get back to the liveliness of blogging at some point … in the meantime, trees and the approaching spring are what I look forward to. Do convey my good wishes to all at Pol hom, if you still visit there, and maybe I will get around to on line socialising before too long…”

    And ExB, what is your visual pun, after all?

  103. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 1:55 PM

    I missed that, hic…I’m delighted that the gifted old reprobrate is rising again…as the sun always does.

  104. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 16, 2012 2:09 PM

    I thought freep had written ” the approaching trees” for a minute. Which might explain why he has barricaded himself in at home.

    Anyone else re-watching “The Singing Detective” ? I enjoyed it first time round but my god it’s even better the second time.

    With the SD on TV, the government busy decimating everything in sight to keep business happy and the Falklands making the news it’s just like the 80’s again..

  105. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 16, 2012 2:13 PM

    Thought I’d just posted a comment.

    Have I been binned?

  106. February 16, 2012 2:22 PM

    @Hic – I forgot about that! It was indeed the EXIT sign pointing towards my head. Made me happy, anyway.

    Mishari, have the mind-expanders yielded any usable pulp yet?

    I’ve been having my first experience of Harry Potter, recently. Watching the films in order. Up to number three, which I thought was very good. But, seriously, is this what all the fuss was about?

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      February 16, 2012 2:29 PM

      XB I’m a big fan of difficult narratives but I saw one Harry Potter film on TV and found it completely incomprehensible. Too much backstory which the fans will know by heart I suppose.

      I’ve not read any of the books but it seems like kitchen sink plotting to me. If in doubt throw in something completely new which means anything could happen at the last minute. It doesn’t make for satisfying story telling if you ask me.

  107. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 2:32 PM

    You got binned with all the usual offers of exotic and improbable sexual favours that I’m incessantly offered by Nigerian millionairesses…

    • Edward Taylor permalink
      February 16, 2012 2:52 PM

      Improbable sexual favours? I’m all ears ( which is probably one of the sexual favours offered ).

  108. February 16, 2012 2:52 PM

    Absolutely, Ed. the first two films (and so, I guess, the books) were for me barely even an attempt at re-writing Lord of the RIngs, Star Wars, Narnia, etc. More like a direct composite of themes, characters and speeches from those sources. That the film’s production values are identical to LOTR (to the point of actual shots seeming to be copied) certainly didn’t help. All stories draw on archetypes of course but this seemed to add no original ideas at all. Fair enough for JKR, but the sheer scale of success baffles me. Probably the cosy Pratchett-Dickens world absent of all modern technology and diversity that appeals in chaotic times.

    In general I’m starting to despair of my generation, who seem happy to settle for a recycling of safe childhood nostalgia in lieu of forging any grown-up culture of its own. The success of Potter and the continued omnipresence of all things Star Wars suggests that while we’re happy to settle into a far more cosy centre-right lifestyle than previous generations, we won’t give up the comforts of childhood – Star Wars DVDs, old children’s tv shows, sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks are all marketed to and bought by adults in a way I’m sure they never were when I was a child. Of course, I’m as prone to these habits as anyone in my age group. But it does seem a little sad.

  109. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 4:01 PM

    Ever read any Joe Abercrombie, XB? I have a feeling you’d love him.

    He hasn’t written many books 5 or 6 I think. Start with The First Law trilogy, then read Best Served Cold It really is quite something. Makes Tolkien and Harry Potted look like snivelling brothel cleaners hoping for a raise…

    Have I ever steered you wrong, pal?

  110. henrylloydmoon permalink
    February 16, 2012 10:31 PM

    Love to all, esp. abstaining friends. Something that dropped into my inbox today…

  111. reine permalink
    February 16, 2012 11:20 PM

    He is a far superior cutter inner than I am. How ‘r ya Henry, nice to see you.

    Phonecall transcript.

    Reine: Hello Dad

    Dad: Hello love, I have a small favour to ask you. I wonder could you look into getting me one of those muscle relaxers, now don’t go to any trouble, there’s no urgency but I will fix up with you when you come down if you have it by Saturday. Get me a good one; I’d prefer to pay a bit and be sure it was quality.

    Reine: Do you mean circulation booster Dad? Have you a bull’s notion of using it or will it go under the stairs with all the other white elephants?

    Dad: Stop it now, you’re listening to your mother too much. Of course I will use it. Donie swears by it. I think I have that restless leg thing. Your mother’s coming, say nothing…. Ok love, we look forward to seeing you. Here’s Mam… Reine’s on the phone, Sal.

    Mam: I didn’t hear the phone ringing… hi Reine. (Dad in background “give my leg a quick rub there will ya love, I’ll hold the phone…” “Rub your own blasted leg”… “that’s no way to talk to your no. 1 husband”…) – cue uproarious laughter so I left them to it.

  112. mishari permalink*
    February 16, 2012 11:42 PM

    I’ll send your Da some valium, if you like…no better muscle-relaxer.

    (I am perfectly serious, BTW; my quack gives me a script for a 100 every time he sees me; God knows why–he must think my work stresses me: it doesn’t; it just leads me into The Slough of Despond).

    But if you fancy a few strips (even if they’re for yerself, y’ naughty girl), say the word.

  113. reine permalink
    February 16, 2012 11:48 PM

    Jesus, don’t tempt me…

    Daddy just has a gadget fetish… if he can’t plug it in or sit on it or get a bulb for it, he’s not interested. Thanks though. He has a vast stash of sleeping tabs which his doc gives him but he doesn’t use. He sent me some in the post once and helpfully wrote and underlined DRUGS on the envelope. He thought it was hilarious.

  114. February 17, 2012 12:16 AM

    Ah, memories. I remember the day my dad sat me down when I was 12 and told me how to keep my LPs close for easy access when I eventually started taking acid. Funnily enough, that’s one drug I always steered clear of.

    Mishari, thanks for the fiction tip. But you haven’t told us how the pulp’s progressing…

  115. February 17, 2012 12:17 AM

    And Reine, ehat’s a ‘bull’s notion’? Never heard that one.

    • reine permalink
      February 17, 2012 4:46 PM

      Have you a bull’s notion – have you any notion, a clue, the merest intention…

      Used quite often here Exit in common parlance – he hadn’t a bull’s notion, hadn’t the foggiest/faintest idea, based presumably on the erroneous assumption (according to my farming brethren) that bulls are stupid. All dick, no discernment.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 18, 2012 1:22 AM

      Now, when I was 15, a boy at school offered me a ride home. I asked why he had a toy bull in the back window of his car.
      He readily explained: “Because I’m hung like a bull.”
      I was just at that age when asking “ What does that mean?” is too embarrassing a revelation of ignorance, so I went several years longer before divining the answer.
      At the time, I hadn’t a bull’s notion.

  116. mishari permalink*
    February 17, 2012 12:31 AM

    Haven’t had the time yet, XB….but soon. Mastering Dragon Naturally Speaking takes some doing but a colleague uses it and once it’s working properly, it really is a wonder.

    I was astonished: it’s just that you have to teach it; your voice, intonations, slurs, elides, accent etc etc. Time..which I don’t have at the moment.

  117. February 17, 2012 12:40 AM

    Actually, you should record your own dictation and put that out as an audiobook – doors-of-perception-genre-trash-as-it happens. Improvised fiction.

    Quite extraordinary, the technology we’re already taking for granted. Did you read last week about the new tech that can tell which words you’re thinking by monitoring your brain’s electrical activity? No need to learn intonation – we’ll just think and the words will appear. I’d like to see Des’s posts when that app goes public.

    • reine permalink
      February 17, 2012 4:53 PM

      It always amuses at work to hear the cacophony of Dragon inputting… but as Mish says, the Dragon will only respond accurately when it’s made friends with you and knows your particular speech kerwhibbles. Marvellously efficient when it does and you can customise it so that it will stop putting in tea shop for Taoiseach etc.

  118. hic8ubique permalink
    February 18, 2012 1:12 AM

    I might like to put some version of that Dragon appliance on my ears to ameliorate the incoming sounds from of various persons’ mouths. Someone on the radio said “outgoing” yesterday, and I heard “alkaline”. The alkaline train? uhh…?

    ‘Tea shop for Taoiseach’ : now there is a helpful mnemonic for the uninitiated.

    ‘kerwhibbles’ ∴ I feel the need for an illiteracon…

    • February 18, 2012 1:29 PM

      Should really be tea shock (as pronounced by Gerry Adams) or thi shuck…but Dragon is thinking lake district, tea, scones and clotted cream.

      Off to make my deliveries in the west of the latest in gadgetry and eau de parfum. Happy weekend all.

  119. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 18, 2012 9:32 AM

    Mishari BBC4 showed a 1974 film of Sonny Rollins in concert in London with Rufus Harley in a kilt playing jazz on bagpipes ( I can hear the non-jazz afficionadoes wince at this point ). Samuel L Jackson nicked that look off him.

    They also showed an Arena documentary about his life. it had footage of his 80th birthday concert. A dapper man, he’s certainly still got it ( straight from the fridge man etc. etc. ) but playing sax like that can’t be good for your back.

  120. mishari permalink*
    February 18, 2012 10:07 AM

    Gotta be better than playing the tuba…back-wise, I mean…

  121. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 18, 2012 10:18 AM

    Indeed. Rollins has a really stooped posture which you’d think would constrict his breathing but it wasn’t noticeable in the playing.

    He wasn’t going “Oh my bloody back!” in the interviews so either he’s hepped up on goofballs or all those music teachers don’t know what they are going on about.

  122. hic8ubique permalink
    February 18, 2012 7:19 PM

    I’ve never watched Sonny before (though I’ve bought his CDs) I’d suggest his postural compromises have formed around his breathing habits. I would look most particularly for chronically hypertonic iliopsoas and related myofasciae. He’s extending those long runs of forced exhalation with trunk flexion, probably inhaling into his back while his upper ribs are locked down in front.
    You are right EdT to suspect compounding muscle fatigue in someone functioning so far out of plumb. What incredible passion and power to still be digging deep for what he needs to create.

  123. hic8ubique permalink
    February 18, 2012 7:37 PM

    Here’s Mike Tucker. He had to stop playing for a while (around 2005 ?) due to carpal tunnel syndrome, if I’m not mistaken. He had such benefit from working with the Alexander Technique, he became a practitioner…

  124. mishari permalink*
    February 18, 2012 10:54 PM

    Homeless could be moved to Hull — Headline in today’s Grauniad

    Christ…as if the poor aren’t punished enough.

  125. mishari permalink*
    February 18, 2012 10:59 PM

    surprised you haven’t contributed to the Nordic-themed Poster Poems, hic?

    Fine work from Reine as usual, of course…I don’t know how that girl does it with all the sex & drugs & and & rock ‘n roll & muscle-relaxing machines for her Da…she’s a fuckin’ wonder, so she is. Fair play,

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 18, 2012 11:33 PM

      Thanks for the nudge; I was vaguely aware that it had opened, but have only made a listless attempt to catch up with PotW in the midst of events here. I wouldn’t be looking in now had I not declined to go out to a play. I shall investigate PP directly…

    • Reine permalink
      February 19, 2012 12:22 AM

      In the ha’penny place kind sir. Second Hic’s comments – this my favourite:

      And there, in crow-rich air
      and depth full-loud with raven cry,

      Daddy gently vibrating all evening and Mother and daughter imbibing.

  126. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 12:02 AM

    ok … I haven’t read Reine’s yet, or any other than Absolute Zero. I’m completely beside myself with the perfect exquisiteness of it. Everything else is null for now.
    Soo so so so frabjous, I can’t even say what is good, because it’s all so just right.
    How shall I ever make any poem? Where did that even come from?
    I had just come in from a long walk and I feel as if I need do it over again.
    Yes, beside myself. That is a sufficiency; I must be mad, but there’s nothing else to be said.

  127. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 12:41 AM

    Do you like my new name? The bastard mods put me in pre-moderation for giving that sneering, abusive, contemptible creep @Penisthingy a taste of his own medicine…can you believe those cunts? (sorry girls)

    So I told them to shove their pre-mod up their collective prim, bourgeois arses and have returned under yet-another name…but who is the mystery man? I’ll never tell….

  128. Reine permalink
    February 19, 2012 12:47 AM

    waterproof balls … you are on form. The mystery penis do you mean?

  129. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 12:58 AM

    It’s no mystery, baby…it’s as plain as the nose on your face…erm…that didn’t come out right.

    I meant, the nose on a Probiscus Monkey’s face.

    I was so pleased that hic liked ‘Absolute Zero’…inspired, funnily enough, by the 1st volume of Game of Thrones.

  130. Reine permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:05 AM

    Yeah, yeah… wondered who you were referring to. My nose would have done for me during World War 2.

    Sounds like she might have had to have a lie down. You have that effect.

  131. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 1:14 AM

    I have that effect on all women, baby (that’s an egregious lie-Ed.)

  132. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:19 AM

    I’m here.
    Floored flat, and at something of a loss as to what you two are on about, but
    in mysterious ecstasies nevertheless…

    I got the vas deferens one Re, but I’ve needed a drop of sauvi to calm me down and readings may be impaired from here on in.

  133. Reine permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:20 AM

    QED. I’m in bed already.

  134. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:35 AM

    I can’t write anything sensible; I’m doubled over like Sonny Rollins … getting a stitch.
    Mishari, you have embraced the hyphen with a verve and vigour that warms the cockles of my February heart.

  135. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 1:46 AM

    Thanks, sweetie…over-generous, as usual.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 19, 2012 2:04 AM

      Not so. I aspire to proffer perfect equanimity and poise
      *ahem* … Though that’s rarely achieved, I am honestly not being generous. I’m having pure bottle-rocket champagne appreciation.
      If anything, I’m being transparent with my transport of delight, because why ever not?
      What better antidote?

  136. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 2:09 AM

    You’re an incorrigible good-heart, kiddo…and I mean that as a compliment.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 19, 2012 2:14 AM

      You are too, you know; in your way.

  137. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 11:16 AM

    I see that The Guardian, with all the hallmarks of spite and pettiness that mark the talentless and the inferior, have deleted my poems; out of spite, nothing more. I don’t even have copies. They’re are worse than scum–they are philistines.

  138. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 1:37 PM

    I justed posted a note on PP as @budpowell that will vanish in 5-4-3-2-1…

    Although your petty spite, envy and general philistinism come as no surprise, do you think you might find it in your tiny, shriveled hearts to provide me with the poems you deleted (in sheer wanton pique)?

    They were written under the name ‘prometheusbound’

    I have no copies myself. and while worthless to you (except as a means of causing me pain) they are valueless to you. Or rather, of some value to you.

    Please send copies to me:

    of course, you won’t: there’s nothing mediocrity so despises as talent.

    I understand how the vile @Penilethingy gets on so well here but how Mills has the stomach to stick this petty, nasty, nepotistic, bourgeois brothel is a mystery.,

    God, I despise those petty scum. Had the Nazis conquered Britain, they would have had cadres of these swine to help them.

  139. Edward Taylor permalink
    February 19, 2012 1:48 PM

    I’ve never understood the criteria for removing comments. I had one of my funniest and most recommended comments removed last week in a thread about the tax-payer subsidising Tesco’s workfare scheme – there was sarcasm but nothing remotely offensive or abusive in it.

    Surely we can make up our own minds as to whether comments are offensive. It’s not as if CiF is over-run with the sort of comments you get below YouTube clips.

    btw I’m not suggesting your poems were offensive.

  140. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 2:04 PM

    I have them. Daren’t refresh the page top see whether they were only in pre-moderation…
    they may not format properly, but I’ll try…

  141. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 2:11 PM

    Baby, I love you. That’s why I was livid…because you thought highly of them and I had no copies of my own. And all because I called out the vile @Penilethingy for the sneering scum that he is (as LFDestouches). I expect @Penisgrabber’s another one of that cunt Rusbridger’s daughters…what a vile rag that paper is.

  142. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 2:23 PM

    I have copied them in two ways. In my word processing function, but that only seems to make a word brick of them, so I learnt to do screen shots! but I can’t seem to copy them into this comment box.
    I love me too! I would have died a hundred deaths if I’d refreshed that page and found them gone, when I hadn’t even clipped them.
    I’ll email them to you now…

  143. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 2:33 PM

    Thanks, doll…I can fix ’em…it’s the words I need. I wrote them at white-heat and never save anything. I love you.

  144. hic8ubique permalink
    February 19, 2012 2:47 PM


    You never save anything? I’ll have to start an emergency file.
    I’d like to bask here in mutual adoration all morning, but alas, I must away to work.
    I wouldn’t normally on a Sunday morning, but this once…
    I’ll be impossibly tickled all day now.

  145. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 2:52 PM

    I owe you big time, sweetheart.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 19, 2012 7:27 PM

      Pleasure All Mine

      First impulse is to wave away
      all sense of obligation;

      on second thought I find I’d like
      to accept compensation…

      It seems a shame to squander
      my delectable position

      with rash demurral, when I might
      indulge in favour fishing.

      For services to Letters
      and prospective future tomes

      I believe I’ll take what’s owing
      in the currency of ₱oems.

      I’ll have them murmured ardently
      in timbre burred but clear;

      their langoured spending tantalise
      my hot and tingling ear.

      How shall they be transported
      to me, as from cup to lip?

      Perhaps by such conveyance
      as poetic Brink’s Van Ship.

  146. Reine permalink
    February 19, 2012 3:29 PM

    I am sorry to see that Mishari… I saw they deleted the tart in Oslo one and thought the “dick” has offended. Glad Hic had the foresight to keep them.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      February 19, 2012 7:38 PM

      I didn’t really, Re. It was just my lazy habit of leaving the laptop on standby, so the tab was still there unrefreshed in the morning, and I happened to visit here first. I was terrified of making a bungling move and losing them.
      They may just have been in pre-mod, but the less famous organ of Prometheus, his spleen, may have got him banned.

  147. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 8:25 PM

    I wonder how long my Bud Powell Phillipic survived…or my omarbongodrum addition.

  148. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 8:36 PM

    Well, omarbongodrum just gave them a parting shot; should be gone in 5-4-3-2-1-…

    the mods are as cowardly as they are philistine. But what can one expect from Mummy and Daddy’;s boys who knew someone at the Grauniad and got them a job that a brothel-cleaner would be better qualified to do.

    Don’t bother barring me. I wouldn’t puke in your mouths if they were on fire. (happy thought).

    or did you cretins really think that @omarbongodrum was anybody other than me, your nemesis and superior to the extent that we are separated by a time/space continuum; you mewling, spinless, caitiffs.

  149. mishari permalink*
    February 19, 2012 9:00 PM

    My latest has a certain something:


    19 February 2012 8:57PM

    Poertry’s a piece of piss; even a Grauniad ‘work-experience’ Jocasta or Tarquin could do it.

    On a Distant Prospect Of Rusbridger’s Salary

    Farewell, well-earned lucre;
    You fucked the Guardian;
    Now take up snooker.


    Where do I collect my cheque?

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