31 March 2008

daily teleg most useful sites

Thus spake the appalling Rumsfeld

Good piece in another of my favourite reading, Domina Graecia, this one about the ghastly Rumsfeld pontificating and shoving his unwanted conk into the FYROM/ Makedonia brouhaha.


I have a favourite blogger, the Lord Seditionista. Actually he's also a favourite friend from my happy and formative years in WA state in the US of A, but I think one's meant to be over formative experiences by the ancient age of 30 so I don't push it.

I also don't push it because El Sed is a Mountain Man and Lord of the Nitekrüe and I'm a lounge lizard in the good old mould of British fops and villains.

I don't quote Sed as often as I would like because a) I would be done for copyright and b) Most of my readers I now bump into are foppy old soaks like me with Union Jack boxer shorts, bottles of retsina secreted under the bed and very little savvy of the zeitgeist. In fact, very little savvy of what the word means which is why I patronise you with that link.

For a start, they'd be banging their monitors - "Stupid monitor! Make focus the headline!" after which they would wait til sunset and the second chota peg before exchanging glances and fixing me with that amused curl of the lip: "Yes, well, some of us gave your sedition blog a whirl and ... frankly, we're a bit puzzled what we're meant to be looking for ...."

Note - *my* sedition blog; guilty by association. And, of course, got to be 'looking for something' or what's the point?

The good thing about not endlessly quoting from seditious tracts is that I can sans explanation put a good piece up there and not "fuck up the endgame", to quote the eponymous end title from Charlie Wilson's War.

They should thank me for giving their lip curls such robust exercise. I can almost write tonight's script down the Bucket of Beer (you didn't believe we sink to such names): "Yarss, well, saw your latest offering ... very amusing ... guilty as charged, I suppose ... but I still didn't get it. Is it a sort of running joke over there?"

Everything is "over there" where the Lounge Lizard is concerned. Despite my eccent being clipper than before I jumped ship in Puget Sound, I'm defiled by having slept with the enemy; as for 'over there' and the enemy, I'm Exhibit A David Niven soundalike.

When the Beer Bucketeers express puzzlement at SimpleCity, I had better have my line ready: "Dear boy - so very sorry. You should have bellowed at the bally old 'puter,

"Stoopid Sedition - be more embracey!"

(And get the spelling of 'manager' right - be less cribby.)

30 March 2008

Greece Fave Chinese Tourism Destinagger

Well may I compose this in comic sans font ...

I was sounding off about the Genocide Olympics when Herself passed me a copy of a recent news item reporting Greece as top tourist destination for Chinese.

Eighty percent of those surveyed - travel scribblers as well as readers - chose Greece as the leading destination of all countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Deuxième place à France avec 60%

Go effing figure, nai;

28 March 2008

No Bloody Old Countrymen

Here in Greece, we do things in whole measures, and that goes for date movies.

Friday night dahn the Orpheus, the chicks want to hit the Kleenex and the lads want them sobbing on their shoulder for a little TLC later.

movie posters

Back-to-back soberoos for the Corfiot jeunesse:

  • No Country for Old Men

  • and There Will be Blood.

    Orpheus cinema

  • Music or bust

    Why is my InBox suddenly swelling with idiot mail from usually un-idiot pals telling me about an Apple breakthrough: a 'puter chip that stores and plays muzak in a woman's boob implant.

    Cost: $499-$599

    Dud catchline is that wimmin are always complaining of men staring down their embonpoint and not listening to them.

    Oh har har

    April 6: 'commercial blogging' an offence

    "The end, it seems, could be nigh for those cheeky hoteliers who pretend to be customers on TripAdvisor and write themselves glowing reviews.

    As of April 6, Brussels will be banning such underhand activities as the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive comes into force, making commercial blogging, or flogging as it’s known, an offence.

    The new law includes two categories of unfair commercial practise - misleading practices and aggressive practices. Whether a practise is deemed unfair will be judged in light of the effect it has on the average consumer’s consequent decision to purchase."

    Ulp. I call it 'blugging' and it constitutes a large part of my smokes, soaks and pokes income.

    "Laconic Way"

    A few weeks back, I passed some quality time with a proof copy of Phil Pullman's "Once Upon a Time in the North", latest addition to 'His Dark Materials' saga.

    Story: Texan balloonist Lee Scoresby's first meeting (on White Sea Island Novy Odense) with the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison.

    They team up to help a Dutch merchant whose cargo has been illegally impounded.

    Today I read an interview with Pullman where he says of the b'ar/balloonist duo that:

    "I stole the idea from The Magnificent Seven.

    There's a moment there when the two main characters, Yul Brunner and Steve McQueen, who've never met before, join forces in this sort of laconic way, to get something done."

    I dislike it intensely when people read aloud ("Listen to this ...") and expect to instantly distract you from your part of the paper. I so enjoyed that line that I broke my rule. My companion got it in one and was forgiving:
    "'Laconic way'. Neat. At heart, isn't that what Life should be about?"

    26 March 2008

    Choleric "Comment"

    Dept of 'Worm Turning' but also an ace response to a treacherous post I made yonks back which should raise the hackles of every stalwart CS warrior.

    I remember this cove: I'd been asking around my fellow users what sort of customer service there was and to a man they'd rolled eyes and advised me not to need any.

    I don't remember the precise details of the encounter but the blog posting is clear and I trust my descriptions. And the bloke's response/comment leaves no ambiguity. A palpable hit, I'd say and a triumphy for bloggery.

    I don't know anyone in the Kings Rd patch he talks about but anyone reading this should definitely pop in with sympathy and a spare cup of coffee.

    This is *such* familiar fun, what?

    We've met 1,000 growly-bear hermits of this ilk, crouched over keyboard, ready to bare their fangs at any intruder. I felt quite nostalgic.

    And his comments on the local punters ... spot on. In fact, they apply to most of the Londoners I meet these days.

    All good stuff and worthy of the widest audience and visitations.

    25 March 2008

    Nine dogs a-hanging

    I'm asked why I'm too squeamish to run this horrific tale of the hanging of 9 dogs on Kos. Alive, it seems.

    I just found it too distressing but if that's what readers want, I'm here to serve.

    It seems that locals know the culprit. If Kos was nearer to Kerkyra, I'd probably rustle up a posse of Albanian hard men with long guns and settle thrice three scores.

    Long hemp might be more fitting.

    Dustman's Strike

    Greek National Day but not much of a view to greet one on this holiday.

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    24 March 2008


    My happiest blogging is always off the cuff: the turn of the kaleidoscope, the jog of the jigsaw and suddenly there is a perfectly formed tale.

    I have an enemy and we are most wonderfully mis-matched and destined to keep sparring in this small Greek isle.

    He is Australian with all the brutal craggy good looks and shoulder chips that antipodeans possess and hone in their struggle to succeed in the Mother Country.

    We met at a country club 'do' where he and his band were playing and I was air-guitaring along to a song, not by way of enjoyment but to correct or improve on the chords he was fumbling in the song.

    "You also play guitar?" asked a voice and when I turned it belonged to the sort of face that makes my head spin. She was Belgian and married to the Fumbler. Yes, I told her and she said but I must play to which i replied no, no and she said nothing more.

    In the break she introduced me to her husband who gave me that 'look' that real men give flunkey poseurs. I moved away from the heat but in the next set he suddenly announced we had a guitarist in the midst and why didnt I come up and give them all a number.

    I was actually ready to do so, so instead of faux modesty I smiled 'why not?' and inspected their guitars. The other two were playing wide-fret spanish guitars and macho Oz was on a steel string, not excellent but "This will do".

    "Will *do*?" he spluttered but it was too late, I'd grabbed it and gone straight into 'Greenback Dollar', tight strumming and scratch-board tapping, etouffé damping on the verse and full rasgueado on the "Don't give a damn" chorus. For encore, I asked for a capo to do Lyle Lovett's 'Skinny Legs' but he didn't use one. I did Tish Hinojosa's 'Drifter's Wind' instead and then a medley of Sam Hopkins.

    No love lost when I handed the axe back with a "Great guitar" which must have rankled with his wife cooing that she'd never heard it sound tellement si bien.

    After that we kept meeting at various guitarless social functions where he'd ask me what I was up to and to which I would reply 'Damn all'.

    "That's sad. That's really sad. I arrived here 9 years ago, no money no prospects, set up one company with a Greek: disaster; set up another, screwed by the bank; my wife went back to Oz, I went through two relationships before finally finding a woman I could live with ("Martine?" "Yes, she's special").

    I built up my business and here I am. Listening to you, it's sad."

    I tell you - undiluted chemical hostility at every level.

    Three weeks back I happened to learn that Macho Oz and his troubadours would be the entertainment at the birthday party of the daughter of one of Corfu's top pols, a lavish affair.

    Action stations: I tapped the local zeitgeistopoulos for songs that would impress, learnt them up, polished my own Greek compositions and readied for action.

    The band played, the audience applauded. Break.

    "Christo! Play something!"

    I retreated modestly into the limelight, helped by Martine's "Vas-y! Barry - he can play your guitare, he was so good on it."

    Then came the good bit:

    • His mediocre axe has pegs for a strap but he plays without one. Out of my jacket poche I took a simple strap that I slipped on.
    • Out of the other pocket I drew a capo
    • And from my shirt pocket, I slipped a thumb pick over la pouce.
    • Ready for action.

    I played, I picked, I strummed ~ smiling and laughing all the while.

    Do you remember how in "Mash" Donald Sutherland's 'Hawkeye' Pierce serves up a martini and Elliott Gould's 'Trapper John' suggests an olive might complete the package at which Hawkeye reminds them both that they're only a few miles from the front? From the depths of his jacket, EG produces a jar of olives and proceeds to drop one into his glass.

    That how it was for Macho Oz when I produced the strap, then a capo, and finalement a thumbpick.

    As for my launching into Greek stuff ...

    Good times.


    Not quite the same as my July 4 sauntering out of my Bainbridge Island Madison Island apartment and plonking my Union Jack-lined deckchair and Boston Teaparty Commemorative coffee mug right there on the grass verge to watch the parade go by ... BUT, I will be in patriotic mood tomorrow in my "300" gear of snarl and 6-pack abs and mutters of "This is GOUvia!".

    Happy hols, philoi karthiaki!

    heather mills

    A Robust View

    Brown on Mills

    Ace parodist and pasticheur Craig Brown is one of the wittiest writers around and I turn first to him in the Daily Telegraph.

    His latest razor-job - on the gruesome Heather Mills - is one of the funniest and shrewdest pieces I've come across.

    Brown talks about our celebrity culture being,

    "much derided, but sometimes it offers us a fast-moving story with all the elements of an epic novel, each new episode unfolding on a daily basis. These stories are additionally fabulous because they are unfettered by the novelist's obligation to be credible.

    mills in rant Often, they reach a climax in the court-room or the coroner's court, with all the additional drama that brings. The Fayed Story is one such, and so was the tale of Robert Maxwell; others have included the Stonehouse, Lucan and Thorpe affairs, and the trials of OJ Simpson, Conrad Black and Jeffrey Archer.

    They would be too outlandish for any novelist to contemplate, their protagonists too mad, bad or sad to seem remotely lifelike, their coincidences too bold, their low-lifers too seedy, their grandees too grand, their dialogue too obviously crackpot or comical."

    Click the link and read the whole thing.

    "Unfettered by the novelist's obligation to be credible", to be sure!

    Superb stuff by a master.


    When I was too young and too sensitive to be sent from home, I was sent from Hong Kong to England to a boarding school where I slept and ate and sat at the same desk and memorised from books so that the sarcastic teachers wouldnt come up and pull the hair over my ears or stand just behind me and then suddenly cuff me backside of my head.

    I went inside myself and hid in books and my letters back to my parents were full of lies about which schools we played against and what the score was and who took the most wickets, or what I said at Debating Society and which friend I went out with on Exeat Sunday and where we went and how nice his parents were and what a great time I was having.

    I never liked games and only liked school match days because it meant that I wasnt the one being thumped and kicked; there was no debating society; I never knew anyone well enough who'd ruin his Exeat Sunday taking someone else along. Other boys did share their Sundays but they were the ones whose dads had gone to the same school (sometimes *that* school) and it was a good excuse for them to sit in a bar while the mothers went shopping and the boys sat and read the porn of the day (which as mild) and sneaked cigarettes that their dads had sneaked them.

    There was another boy who also read and was good at words and he and I would take turns winning the weekly spelling bee. The teacher preferred the other boy to win because he was in the school rugby XV and I was just a homesick weed who didnt know how things were done.

    One day we tied and the teacher decided on a sudden death plucking of words from the dictionary. I got 'homogeneous' that I pronounced 'homo-ja-neeyus' rhyming with ho-t mo-p ger-bil knee us even tho the teacher said homogenuss.

    I spelled it 'homogeneous' and it was wrong because the teacher said it was homogenous. The other boy spelled his word right, so I lost and the other boy got the full marks which put him top of the class for the week.

    That evening I took my copy of 'Brideshead Revisited' to the teacher's room and showed him page 9 and the 3rd paragraph of the Prologue where Waugh talks of where the 'close, homogeneous territory of housing estates and cinemas ended and the hinterland began."

    The teacher was furious at such insolence and looked at the cover and then threw the book across the room and told me that i shouldn't be reading such muck and that I was lucky he didn't write to my parents to inform them of how I was misusing my time and abusing their money.

    Yesterday I plucked a book from the shelf and it happened to be BHR and I started reading and when I reached the word it all flooded back.

    "Do you know how terrible those 8 years were?" I asked my mother, who happened to be pottering in the background. "How wasteful and hurtful and alienating and frightening ...?" But it registered nothing.

    "BookRabbit takes on mighty Amazon"

    Thus the chilling headline in my Daily Telegraph.

    Is my alma mater in trouble? Is it all hands on deck, as so many times before when the good ship Bezosia hit stormy seas and the old salts rallied to the mainsail?

    Seems that soapie Chuck Denton is setting up a little website with the catchless moniker of ... what was it again? Oh yes ... "BookRabbit".

    Can't see it myself and hark to this...

    "As well as selling books, BookRabbit.com will incorporate a social networking element [my itals], offering readers the chance to interact and recommend titles to each other."

    It sounds absobloominglutely ghastly. Can you imagine the pseudy chat that'll go on. I mean, a whole site of people like *me? Too ghastly for words.

    Quoth Chuckie,

    "By book-lovers for book-lovers ... Amazon is not about books any more ... It's about creating a global brand through which they can sell anything, from toys to TVs."

    Well, at least he got that bit right and gives credit where it's due. But the bit about books NOT ... young Denters is un peu derriè les temps, non?

    Odds bodkins - it started stopping being about books back when Marjean cosied up to me with a splitter back in the autumn of 1998, since when it's been Fromgreps Anonymous and shameless World Domination.

    But the social networking element solution sounds absolutely moi and I look forward to deserting Facebook at the split of an infinitive.

    20 March 2008

    Bolger Report Update

    Bulger, Bolger ... folks seem to be getting a mite confused over the years.

    Anyway, I like to keep the subject warm and the murderers glancing over their e-shoulder.

    Baah-barians at the Gate




    Hip, hot and where to be seen

    I like "thingamadoody" in the black blog.

    This is the tone I wish I could pull off.

    19 March 2008

    Christening Photo

    This large snap hangs outside a photography shop on Main Street Corfu, designed to show off the quality of their printing and enlarging.

    The little chappie doesn't look at all happy and there is local merriment over how, one day in the distant future, he will be less little and possibly less than happy at having been displayed tout nu to all and sundry.

    Ideally, the photo will be judged so splendid and the event so august that it will stay there 'til it ages and wrinkles and fades.

    Then one evening he'll be parading his best girl and they'll be passing by and the babe will say "Oh look, isn't that you? You haven't changed one bit."

    13 March 2008

    ny post pic


    Rather a pretty girl, albeit un peu naif sounding.

    She didn't realise it was Spitzer she was servicing?

    Mon Dieu, even *I* have seen that jutting chin and E-type Jag bump of the brainy forehead to recognise the crime-busting (now busted) AG and ex-Guv.

    What a very bizarre story this all is, to be sure. And *what* fun Eliot's enemies must all be having.

    But can't you just *bet* that Ms K is being fitted up even now for a recording session, book and movie deals and about a gazillion TV appearances.

    snoozeOne set of probs may be over for this cutie and a whole new set begun.

    And you know who i feel sorry for? Eliot's very classy looking wife, a babe in her own right. A touch of the Jill Clayburgh ...

    11 March 2008

    What Is Easter?

    Sorry about this but I am being hounded by folks to tell them orl abaht it (why moi?) so I've decided to run this link and be done with it.

    And thanks to Dr Periklis Daltas' link to Myriobiblos: check out the cool icons and hymns.

    Don't never say I don't not deliver the good stuff.

    10 March 2008

    stefania and roy at the giggles bar, sidari, corfu

    Blues Gig

    Great show - really great evening.

    See if the slide show works for you - I'm having huge probs linking to the photos I took.

    Exactly what makes carnival time in Greece such fun - everyone dresses up and the top musicians come out to play.

    Chanteuse Stefania is actually Allemande but sings pure blues as well as singing professionally in Greek. If this gig had been recorded, I would have snatched up a dozen CDs for my buddies over in Bezosville.

    Roy on his PRS was a one-man dynamo.

    Oh, and I played too (he says plaintively), but I was too shy to ask someone to snap me on the Ovation crooning away my dulcet Corfu songs and that incomprehensible ditty they always ask for:

    "Always Fromgrep when you're in the queues,
    Drat dem duplicate customer email blues,
    'Lost my trolley,' says the voice at the other end:
    AB-Basket gonna be yer friend."


    07 March 2008


    Not just a lovely soundtrack but look at that lovely puff he takes of a cig as he watches the screen and then comes in with his tinkly joanna bit.

    I used to pronounce it VANgelis like angela, but now I meet a vanGELis almost daily, I know how the Greeks say it.

    Just watching that cloud of smoke makes me itch for the pack of Karelia.

    05 March 2008

    Barclaycard Phone CS

    I am having the dickens of a time registering myself and my mother for online credit card control with Barclaycard.

    I go through the process with great care: giving names and exp dates, addresses and secret numbers, memorable words and eminently forgettable word clues should I forget the memorable word.

    Everything is ready for the final click. I click. With suspicious immediacy, a warning error message leaps to the screen telling me of some error in transmission, giving me a phone number to call which I can already see will not work, a reference number to quote and a warning NOT to try to register again or I will screw my chances of EVER achieving the honour of handling my BarCard fortunes online.

    I call and get a friendly Mumbai accent at the end of the line. He runs me through some security questions including my age next birthday.


    "Excuse me, sir, but you don't sound as if you will be 63 next birthday."

    "Thank you"

    (Slight scoffing laugh) "No, I did not mean that as a compliment. I meant that I did not believe you."

    "I know, thank you very much"

    "So, I need to put some more security questions to you to verify your claim."

    "My claim?? I am claiming nothing - I'm claiming my right as a customer to get some service and information. I'm resigned to jumping through a few hoops to get the service I need, but don't push the 'claim' bit."

    "I perfectly understand and please bear with me."

    He asks more questions including some that are clearly invented with no answer and others for which he has no answer, for instance asking me for my previous addresses I confuse my very first Bainbridge address with my Boston one and Mr Chatter-ji Mumbai says nothing.

    Finally he gives me what I need and by way of parting shot tells me that he knew "from the sincerity of your irritability of my questions" that I was who I said I was. I told him, Not at all - all good con men bluster and bark to cowe the security-minded rep into not asking too many questions.

    04 March 2008

    Summing up for the defence

    An interesting meeting ce soir that reminded me of the one time in my life when i felt i had acted quick wittedly.

    Back in the late 1960s I was nabbed from my apprentice publisher job to do jury duty down in some London backwater.

    I was very dutiful and took notes which was just as well since it was a complicated case of cooking the books, both partners cooking behind each other's back and believing themselves to be the only one on the lam. Hence the company being stripped in double-quick time.

    Not that it matters to this story, but the jury's job was also to decided on degree of guilt, and i was determined to keep track of each penny and guide my fellow jurors to a fair verdict. God! Talk about innocent idealist youth.

    The case dragged on which i didnt mind because the two defending counsels (1 for each) and the prosecutor and above all the judge were ALL wonderful characters you dont see any more.

    First off, the 2 counsel were young and clever but not as clever as m'lud, and one case not as classically trained as moi.

    The court rooms were always being changed, Friday had come and the judge adjourned with a common phrase about meeting 'aliunde' - some other place, to be decided.

    We were also looking at a bank holiday and one of the bright counsel - mishearing the -unde for the first day of the week - leapt up and reminded Hizzonner that, "My Lord, Monday is a holiday."

    I had been thinking to myself how wonderful it was to hear these old latin phrases and the eagerness with which the young barrister went for the brownie points brought forth an involuntary and very loud shriek of laughter. (Hey, I was young, it was my first court case).

    *Every*body stared, including M'lud who gave the ever so slightest tweak of the mouth: "It appears, Mr Percival, that a member of the jury has a firmer grasp of the latinate than yourself." But I really DO digress ...

    As I say, our courts of law were miles from my Fleet Street office and it was a right bore going back each evening at 6 to catch up on work.

    One evening I was on a bus when I realised that seated several seats ahead were none other than the Judge and the two defence counsels, heading back to the Inns of Court just up from my offices.

    M'Lud was sounding off and pontificating away and the young men were simpering correctly. Suddenly the judge made a crack about OUR case that was going on presently. Unbelievable. He referred to one of the defendants and said that "I could sum up for the defence and with this jury he'd still be looking at between 3 to 5 years for forgery alone."

    The two young men laughed and, in his mirth, one turned to look back and I swear he caught my eye, even tho' I was buried in the Evening Standard.

    With great speed, what went thru my mind was:

  • This trial has gone on for a long time and the jury will certainly be dismissed with thanks and maybe immunity for a few years.
  • I cannot risk a mistrial and be thrown back into the pool
  • If that counsel tells the others that a juror is sitting behind them and heard their chat, the judge will call a mistrial and be damn'd embrarrassed if the whole story came out
  • Do something, lad.

    It wasnt my stop - it was miles from any well-bred fellah's stop.

  • I pulled the cord and swiveled out of the seat fast so I was facing the back of the bus and the stairs down. I fancy I might have affected a hunch or a limp or some such disguise to throw them further off the scent.
  • I heard the trio being utterly silent, as if turned to scrutinise my back. I fancied the judge looking *very* concerned.
  • As I reached the bottom of the stairs (out of sight of the legal beagles) I shouted out to no one in particular and in my broadest gorblimey East London burr,

    "Orrl roit then, Fred - tha's me lot, yeah?. I'm orff home, nice cuppa and feet up fronta the tele, know wot Oi mean?"

    The conductor gave me a weird look - quite a few passengers gave me a weird look for picking such an non spot to descend. The bus roared off and I was alone. I started walking and i walked n walked, too nervous to look in a boozer to ask my way.

    Finally I saw a cab and had him take me home - I'd missed any decent working hours - and that was that.

    Since jurors and the law didnt mix, I couldnt tell their reaction but I did imagine they were eyeing me nervously and with more than average interest, so I made a point of talking in my loudest foppish Kensington accent.

    I liked to think that the bus journey had ended with the judge assessing the situation in terms of recusal and mistrial and saying,

    "Look, it couldnt have been the same blighter: we dont draw juries from the same locale as the law courts; secondly, that accent was pure south london and nothing like the smatter of conversation I've overheard from this gentleman. Tell you what, you two watch him like a hawk and report back to me. If he seems in any way to recognise you as his bus companions, or be smirking as if in on some joke, let me know and I shall do the necessary. Let us hope it does not come to that."

    Well it didnt and the case ended well for one party and not so well for the other and we were excused duty for 2 years so that was also ok.

    I've thought of that case over the past 40 years and then the other night I was at dinner with some visiting law types and one distinguished somewhat pompous learnèd cousnsel used the very same phrase,

    "I tell you, I once defended a client whose guilt was so obvious the judge could have summed up for the defence and still my client would have been looking at 10 to 12 in the slammer."

    Afterwards, I told him *my* story and memory of the phrase - i had no idea if it's a legal cliché - and he fixed me an odd look that had me wondering, was he one of the young counsels on the bus that night who so liked the judge's imagery that he toadily adopted it as his own and has been using it ever since to the extent that, here in Corfu, it finally came full circle. I do hope so.



    My elder gal's graduation and I had that day bought a crumby camera and this was the first shot I took - guessing at the best timing of getting those jeunesse d'orée as they tossed their caps to the heavens ...

    Quite a shot, huh? Even tho' I say it myself ... look at that curve of the mortars and look at that square-jawed gold-festooned youth destined for bank managery.

    01 March 2008

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    Bavin wits

    It sounds like a line from Bob Dylan - 'With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits' - or some Teuton's name - Bavin Witts.

    But no, it's from the Bard's "King Henry IV, Part I" and yes I *do* love getting in the Part 1 part and yes I *did* have to look it up but no, the person who aimed it at me did NOT.

    Early 40s-ish Alison Janney lookalike, if you must know, and a deucedly fanciable Oxford bluestocking, to boot.

    Out here to research a paper on one Stamatis Boulgaris, but don't bother pestering her in the library because she's mine, despite the rocky progress of my endeavours to inch a metaphorical azure stocking down a decidedly UN-metaphorical endless leg. (By St Spiridon! I hope she never reads this: it'd be metal ruler across the knuckles and some arcane line from Pindar x 1,000, by luncheon).

    I fancy Alison Janney so I fancy the Professor Dottore, hence my Googling of Mr Boulgaris with the intention of rippling off something clever with which to impress her. Tiens! Nothing whatsoever on the dude Boulgaris, which I moan about being thwarted in my campaign to woo her with wisdom. She lays a languid finger on my forearm, "That's precisely why I'm here." Chilly smile.

    Over lunch with friends, during which I wear my most donnish look, nod sagely and watch to laugh when she does, some oaf blows my cover by referring to my carousing and wassailing and minstrel strumery about town.

    Dr Dunmore looks down the table at me and suddenly quotes,

    The skipping king, he ambled up and down
    With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,
    Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,
    Mingled his royalty with capering fools.
    I tell you, the hairs a-back my neck quivered at her delivery and the whole table fell silent. Odds bodkins, never tell me the Bard ain't sexeh.

    And when someone challenged her to go on,

    "Had his great name profaned with their scorns
    And gave his countenance, against his name
    To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
    Of every beardless vain comparative,
    Grew a companion to the common streets,
    Enfeoff'd himself to popularity.

    Enfeoff'd himself, you say? The cad, the bounder.

    (And don't never say you don't learn nuffink from my scribblings - struth! enfeoff? How many blogs're you going to read today that're tossing that sort of lingo off? Right.)

    Anyway, remembering the Prof's crystal olde worlde enunciation, I feel quite in a tizzy just bashing this out for you.

  • Bav´in (băv´ĭn)
  • n. 1. A fagot of brushwood, or other light combustible matter, for kindling fires; refuse of brushwood.
  • 2. Impure limestone.

    "Fagot" of brushwood? I say, Prof, careful how you bandy that around across the Pond, what?