31 October 2008

How does it feel?

Simper whine bleat whinge.

(And don't you just adore  that whole downtrodden "Father, forgive them" pose?)

Not an ounce of regret except where the wallet winces.

The great Paul Gambaccini joins Rod Liddle in sussing them out right.

Someone else nailed them, too. The great Bob Dylan could have been thinking of exactly this shower when he reminded us that,

"Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you

You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel?
How does it feel? ...

Princes on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you'd better take your BBC job, you'd better pawn it babe

You used to be so amused
A Manuel in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal."

Terminal: God is working his purpose out. £800,000, is it now? Repute this!

And repute this, the sober sane salutary sensible Charles 'Old' Moore:

"I find myself in the strange position of recommending that people listen to the full recording of the Ross/Brand BBC broadcast of their telephone calls to Andrew Sachs's answering machine. You need to do so to understand what we are dealing with.

People keep describing these calls as "mindless", "a mistake", a "prank".

If you listen, you realise they are none of these things."

30 October 2008


Tosser Ross out

Pray God it's true - and permanent

mug shots: ross, grand daughter georgina and russell brand

Rossell Bannned

If I didn't so love the sound of my own keyboard, I'd leave the onlie and final word on this idiocy to the Speccie's incomparable Rod Liddle who gets these twerps absolutely bang to rights: they are plain doggone unpopular.

May details of their greasy behaviour now reach an even wider audience and the BBC be bombarded with even more  complaints until the tipping point rolling thunder is so deafening that this creepy pair are flung into the stocks and pelted with rotten veggies and useless £ notes.

Theirs is exactly the slipshod arrogant smartass behaviour I myself would indulge in if ever I found myself behind the wheel of a £200,000-a-year Saturday night radio show, or that twonker Ross's wage slip of £6million.

Can't be doing with it. Pray God this part of the public's licence fee is made an exemplary forfeit.

Who in the once-proud Beeb will take a stand and speak for England?

What a splendid kick in the balls for these jokers to pick on an old man they assumed had slipped down the memory hole, and find that he is more belovèd than they will ever be.

I shall try to keep current with the most damaging and humiliating press coverage, starting with:

  • Calibre and experience - and I love the idea of Beeb execs foregoing their bonuses as a result of all this caterwauling. Also - duuuh - the producer of the show found to be too immature to be i/c the programme. For heaven's sake, that goes for the pack of them. Only NOW it dawnws on them?
  • Beeb ditherings
  • Ethos not an Extra
  • Rude, lewd and crude:
    • Jonathan Ross has a long history of subjecting his guests to crude and offensive comments. Here are some of his low points.
  • Controller of Radio 2 resigns; Ross suspended until next year sans pay.
  • That phone jape ... and listen to those ghastly accents. Lineage and progeny, indeed. I hope the echo of their cackles follows them to their debtors' prison grave.
  • Grand-daughter Georgina speaks.
  • Beeb on the ropes: everything's '-gate' these days: corfugate; depansygate.
    • When I was on the Microsoft account with Waggener Edstrom (Tech PR to the Geek Gentry), I kept hoping for a Gatesgate. I love it that the BBC prefects are having to May Day scramble and soul-search.
    • Standards have slipped to such an extent that they clearly assumed the puny public fee payers would put up with anything.
    • Gamecocks are home to roost, chaps, and they're packing razor gaffs. Speaking of tupada , I bet Lord Sedition saw the sort of jousts out east that I saw in the Philippines: those sabongs  are mean, bloody and monetary.
  • Lay off the witch-hunt: Let no one accuse this blog of fairness or even-handed balance of opinion. I've liked Peter Tatchell's past shrewd comments on equally sticky matters, so he is a good example of the best that people are coming up with in defense of what I trust turns out to be indefensible and dealt with accordingly.
  • Non-plussed: India Knight good as always and, of course, her usual very plussed self. This is exactly the sort of forthright shrewd lambasting of bigoted fogeys like me that I do not  like coming across in the public prints for fear that the wrong people (i.e. those not sharing my opinions) will read and inwardly digest.

Eagle's Nest

I've just read about a cookery show cancelled over an Hitlerian favourite of trout in butter sauce. Yum.

What intrigued me - and I didnt make the connection at the time - is that this nosh was of course served up in Hitler's Kehlsteinhaus - 'Eagle's Nest' - hideaway in the Bavarian Alps.

I lived for many years in a condo on Bainbridge Island WA, off Seattle, called exactly that: Eagle's Nest.

Should we not have been firebombed, or egged, or something?

29 October 2008

One-summer Stand

I wrote a song for someone I thought I'd not see again.

It's a bit of a crib of Dylan's Shooting Star.

"My one-summer stand:
I thought of you and that Albanian gypsy band.
Summer's winding down but they're still on the lam.
Slipped them 5 €uros, RIP for you 'n' me and our summer stand

My one-summer fling:
Kids OK? Husband? Everything?
Miranda get those good marks for the posh school?
I wonder if you made that trade on the soccer-mum carpool?


You were out here to think things thru',
Didn't help, me making a beeline for you.
I think we played it right, nothing sneaky or underhand,
Going with the flow, everything cool and unplanned.

Everybody needs a now-and-then summer stand.

[jangly guitar solo]

Summer stand:
Remember how we ate so we could hold hands?
Someone always turned up, meeting of the clans,
I waved them over and joked about my busted one-summer stand.

London rain, whither the credit crunch?
Hubby's job ok? Meeting that second mortgage with just one punch?
You were always minimum makeup, hair tangly brown.
They say you're lady prim back home in London town,
But you were built for sin where the Corfu sun beats down."

27 October 2008

Ἥφαιστος Enchainé

statueGood one, this. Only in Hellas.

  • Confab in Athens to tackle aerial firefighting, first of its kind, experts from 22 countries
  • Quoth Ben Drew of conf organisers Tangent Link: "What sparked the idea ... was the Greek fires of last year."
  • Leading panel discussion: Chris Allen of the European's Commission's Directorate General for Enviro' Civil Protection Unit
  • Confab speakers included: Deputy Commander of Athens Fire Service; Major Economou of the Hellenic Air Force and test pilot/flight instructor for Bombardier 415s
  • Scientists: Professor Statheropoulos of the European Center for Forest Fires; Dr Gavriil Xanthopoulos of Nat Agricultural Research Foundation's Institute of Mediterranean Ecosystems and Forests Products Technology.
  • Attendant representatives of the Greek government: 0

Ben Drew: "As the host country, and one which has had the most appalling time with forest fires, they seem to have missed the point."

I know whereof he speaks.

dogsJuly 25, 2007, 1700hrs: Hacienda Corfuchsia took some heat. Roaring flames on three sides and I mean flames, roaring, not namby-pamby flickerings.

Up close and personal roaring.

capEver heard a fire roar? It has a demonic personality all its own, and it owns you

The sheer blanket heat as it crackles and spits and builds up the venom to come at you again in the knee-level breeze, rearing up in your face.

Liquid Smoking

Dept of WTF Next:

Someone's come up with "a fruit-flavoured herbal drink that claims to deliver the same fix as cigarettes." Ugh.

"Called Liquid Smoking, it promises an instant high followed by a 'euphoric calming feeling'." Double ugh.

Targeted at those who can no longer light up inside public premises under the smoking ban but want to feed their cravings.

Ah well, no need for roobish like that here in blessèd Hellas, Doxa to Theo - we light up every- and anywhere we like, cadge a light off the fruitier's glowing Assos, borrow the lighter on the banker's desk, use the candle on the restaurant table.

Speaking of restaurants, do try to see In Bruges where Colin Farrell is back in Irish form and put the restaurant scene on slo mo' where he's dining the divine Clémence Poésy, she goes to powder her retroussé and the neighbouring table of Americans (excellently cast but uncredited) moan about her cig smoke drifting over.

The Yank muttering away and suddenly Farrell dukes him a proper one: "That's for John Lennon, you American c**t." The lady then swings at CF with the vino bouteille that he sways back to evade and then cold cocks her a splendid one:

"A bottle, is it? Don't bother."

When my pal Alex from Pittsburgh PA came to stay in my Swiss Cottage piole , we did some drinking around the haunts.

chick smokingIn the 'Windsor Castle' was a berk no one paid much attention to, despite his penchant for flashing a switchblade, twirling it with much light-catching skill. Anyone who'd annoy him, he'd hold it up and make empty threats to which we'd shrug and go back to our pints.

Natch, the day came when he did it to Al who wasn't used to steel unclasped sans business being intended.

"Hey yankee boy, don't look at my woman that way 'less you want some of this." Ignored. "I'm talking to you."

Al looked at me for guidance on local lore and etiquette, I shrugged and Al signaled the jerk to meet him outside.

Bit of dancing and weaving and swapping the knife hand to hand at which Al blanched and asked him to please put it down or at least not cut him bad. When chummie looked at his pals in triumph Al took the knife hand and twisted it cruelly, punching the guy with t'other fist.

Retrieving the knife from where it had skidded, he knelt down by the idiot and hammered his knuckles: "Anaethestic."

Then he rammed the tip under his 'pinkie' and with one upward jerk took the nail out.

Bit of yelping.

"Don' ever show me a blade if you don't intend to use it."

Back to 'Bruges' and the priest that Farrell guns down: tell me if Ciarán Hinds isn't the spitting image of Gabriel Byrne.

A Drean to Work on

Honestly, I do get grumpy when a routine naff page is ruined for a hap'orth of attention.

There should be a simple test for certain folks before they're allowed behind the HTML reins.

Look at this front page, all very nice and fancy, the eye glides down and ... Life is a *drean* to work on.


Wha' the figging fag is a drean that it needs working on?

Unless it's Camus' birthplace of Dréan. (Arabic الدرعان)

Honestly, and Monday had started so nicely.

I shall go to my English-as-She-is-Spoke class with added ruthlessness on spelling and proofreading. The pupils will redden and tears well to their eyes and the parents will hand me the fee at the end with a murmured,

"Is OK. Thank you very much. Don't have to come no more."

"I should think not!" I will bark back, shocked.

"It's I don't have to come any  more."

25 October 2008

Cricket a 'fag' game?

Uttered in Oz?

Is that fossil Jerry Lewis mad ?

Of all the places to shoot his mouth off about cricket being a jeu de pouf , Australia was not the best choice. I'm just surprised not to have read on and found that he'd had his goolies kicked in.

"Following a news conference in Sydney, Lewis was asked by a national TV reporter for his opinion on the Australian nation sport of cricket.

"Oh, cricket? It's a fag game. What are you, nuts?" Lewis replied.

The network broadcast the comment in full, along with footage of Lewis handling an imaginary cricket bat with an effeminate gesture."

Comment Post-script: Yerss, well, I hate conceding but BadAss's comment does sort of make sense and it's about time I let go of my image of Oz as peopled by hearty cricketing types. Actually, last time I was there not so many years ago, I'd never seen so many Village People/Tom of Finland types, all camp as can be - but big buggers and gymn'd up to the whazoo.

24 October 2008

Subterranean Roomsick Blues

For various reasons I need to be cautious about anything I post on this subject.

I believe today, October 25, is the second anniversary and I'm also pretty sure the father is out here to do I know not what, probabably visit the site (bevy of journos in tow?) and then hang around for the trial.

It's just down the way from me and I know some of the staff, so I intend to amble down there in the next few hours and see what's what, maybe tease any of the 4th Estate with dark hints at a memorial service over in Holy Trinity.

Some links that remind and refer:

  • Licence Loss - Ya know? This whole penalty phase still puzzles me. As I say, I live nearby and the hotel is/was a favourite watering hole. I don't recall any speed bumps in my Corcyra corcyrousing.
  • Interesting video showing the main players, I mean literally the central cast, if that covered stretcher they wheel out is carrying who I think it is.
  • Usual crisp coverage by The Beeb
  • 23 October 2008

    Bird-eating Spider

    Golden Silk Orb-Weaver

    Check out this genus Nephila, you lotus-munching readers of this most lotus-centric of blogs.

    Put some silk on yer chests.

    Snapped in the land of Oz (natch), in Atheron, close to Queensland's tropical north.

    I originally sent it to the one man in my Rolodex who'd 'get it'.

    He replied:

    "I believe that is the spider I used to see in Korea around the rice fields on my walk to work."


    And nice that the old radar's still working on who should get what.

    Speaking of which, I was chided the other night for not bcc'ing some limpwrist in on one of my meatier mails. Something about not pre-judging people's tastes yadda yadda.

    yellow jacquetActually, Philip, it's not just a question of guessing your tastes a'right (which, incidentally, I got bang to rights); there's also the fun of holding fast to mine as to whom I treat myself. Omitting folks is as much fun as clicking on those I favour.

    I shared this with Mountain Man because it makes me feel I'm channeling an ounce or 2 of cojones, of which I've noted short supply on Ναυσικάα's isle since she waved Odysseus Καλό ταξίδι.

    But OK, Philip, point taken: here's a gritty take on the Return of the Revenge of the Afternoon of the Living Yellow-Jackets.

    21 October 2008

    palin rap


    Palin Rap

    God this is funny ... and very brave of La Palin.

    [But what's the deal with the "I can run" bit on the preceding breast cancer commercial?]

    20 October 2008

    corfu owl

    The R-word

    I'm getting a leetle fidgety about how shakey folks' grasp seems to be on what exactly *is* a recession.

    Recession 101

  • What is a recession?
  • Prep: Dept of Closed Barn Door.
  • peter kay

    Spoof song sticks it to the 'real' rubbish

    Not very funny man Peter Kay tried to spoof the unspoofable with his satirical Britain's Got The Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice.

    The joke is, mere days after the broadcast, Kay seems to have scored one over the pap pushers: his very catchy joke Winner's Song – that I can't stop humming and singing - delivered by PK's fictional cross-dressing overweight Irish transsexual ... well, it frigging well beat the "real" winner of The X-Factor in the charts.

    Who says the Vulgarian hosts of the great greasy limpopo British public have lost their sense of humour? Well, we have - it went down the jakes when we lost any Britishness of character or identity - but this little flash of independence is bloody funny.

    Addendum: The Beeb's take .

    Dr von Hagens

    von Hagen's week

    I love Helen Brown's 'My Week' series in the Telegraph arts section but surely last week's with Dr von Hagens was on the spoofish side?

    This is the bloke who works "with the human body, plastinating corpses for the international Body Worlds exhibitions." You know, those what featured in 'Casino Royale', quite made my blood turn, oh you know what I mean/

    Among his deadpan quotes - I can see this will be a pun-riddled rant/rave - were:

  • "Then I worked on the dissection of a hunchbacked old man which I hope to finish in time for this month's exhibition in London.

    "Because of his curved spine, it was difficult to open him up from the back and arrange his intestines and genitals correctly. If I haven't finished him by the time the delivery truck leaves, I will drive him to London myself.

  • body exhibition"Today I talked to my father about his life. He is 93. He talked about the first time he saw a bicycle and his experiences in the war - he was a cook in the German army.

    He has always taught me about the importance of staying out of danger, driving safely, not smoking, and he wants me to dissect and plastinate him when he dies.

    I am not sure how I will present him, maybe with a beehive as he was a beekeeper.

  • "When I die my wife says my plastinated body should be at the front of the exhibitions to welcome people inside.
  • "In the afternoon, I had a long conversation with a body donor who has only three months to live. Donors want to discuss their physical and metaphysical condition with me. I am both consultant and consoler."
  • 'Consultant and consoler', indeed ... arranging intestines and genitals. Can you imagine being at dinner with the cove and there he is staring over with that *look* as if sizing you up for his next show. Shudder.

    Speaking of 'that look', isn't that jokester on the right in the picture just the spitting image of Achmed the Dead Terrorist?

  • bacon

    Freud on Bacon

    THAT? That is meant to be Francis??

    Not that Lucien cares, but that is not how I recall FB.

    One of my famous gaffes that Jeff sniggered at and never let me forget: went up to the Colony, Muriel and Ian there but "nobody" else, so I cruised dahn to the French.

    Anyone up there? I was asked.

    Nobody, I said. Just Lucien Freud.

    Oooh, I don't think Lucien would like to be referred to like that

    19 October 2008

    One for Jo

    Bert's voice at its finest bertiness.

  • This features on his 'LA Turnaround' album that Tony Stratton-Smith lui-meme gave me as a review copy in the Nellie Dean pub. Of course, I can't find it any more.
  • I took it home and Saskia and I played it all that Christmas.
  • I am *still* trying to get that fingering that he makes look so - well, relatively - easy.
  • Oh lawks, look at the audience. That means *I* must have looked like that at the time. (Sask', baby, how did you stop from a-giggling? Oh, I remember - I was also giving shelter to your cat. Yes, that would keep a feliniphile from laffing out loud)
  • Pan's People

    Wanna see what would silence the Balliol common room in the late '60s?

    And, I gather, brought a frisson frown to certain donnish brows on the top table ...

  • The extreme cutie is Cherry.
  • Oh all right, let me pop another heart pill and here's the naughty bits
  • OMG, they danced to Love's Theme?? Alethia! Truly my - er - cup runneth o'er.
  • roseanne barr

    Roseanne Barr

    Back and batey

    This is Roseanne Barr?

    This is that slobbery-cheeked foul-mouthed blue collar harridan?

    God, she's hot.

    18 October 2008

    Clémence 'Poésy' Guichard

    I *love* that Clémence Poésy in "In Bruges".

    She has the minx look of a Thinking Kate Moss.

    The movie itself is a hoot and Farrell is at his best.

    That scene in the restaurant where he dukes out the blonde who's trying to slam him with a bottle? Beats a grapefruit in the moosh any day.

    And Fiennes is hilarious as the foul-mouthed hard man:

    "How can swans and old buildings not be someone's fucking cup of tea?"

    I shall write more about it once I have watched it yet again, this time with the sister of a midget who topped himself.

    Tension City

    Queen Visits London Google

    I tell you, I have watched some tension-packed clips in my time but this beats all.

    Her Majesty visiting Google? What the deuce would she know about it? The briefings must have been hot and hilarious.

    Just look at those faux relaxed rictus smiles ... nobody with the faintest idea what's happening or what's going on in HM's mind.

    What was the baby gurgle stuff she was viewing ... and when she mounted the Youtube platform to ... to do what? Download a video? I was praying too hard for HM that she wouldn't blow it.

    Can you imagine the chat in the limo back to Buck House? Nor I.

    Phew. Too tense for me.

    15 October 2008

    Bookfair funding stymied

    Just as well I didn't take up my booksy pals' offer to invest in a ticket and garret at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair (Oct 15-19) because even my pukka publishing pals may not be there.

    The Hellenic Fed of Pubs and Booksellers had fixed everything yonks back with the Kultur Ministry in re funding of the Greek stand yadda yadda, publishers booked rooms, representative books chosen etc.

    What happens? Or doesn't? The effing money isn't forthcoming, with the result that the organisers don't get paid, so no stand for the 8 or so chosen publishers to set up their wares.

    That's 300+ titles won't be seeing light of day. As I say, that's all hearsay from my troubled pals but it sounds to have a grain of truth.

    Nor has the moolah been flashed for the Nov 1-9 Istanbul Book Fair, so there's another train wreck but it was Frankfurt I was looking forward to and, in particular, swanking up to Gwyn Headley's stand in my Εύζωνες gear and surprising the heck out of him.

    It's all rather Greek in a way.

    14 October 2008

    starkey starkers

    this one isn't worth a glam or legible typeface so i'll go with default.

    my eye caught by trivia that ringo starr is trying to cut down on fan mail and the rest of it.

    frankly - and this is wholly sour grapes mixed with a hyssop of taste - i never cease to be amazed that this talentless clown is still around and sufficiently traceable for people to get an address to which to send anything to.

    He produced a dire CD or DVD some years back into which i put a very large and hobnailed boot and rather hoped that that would be that.

    Anyway, let's hope this is the beginning of an oozing slide into awaited oblivion.

    Honestly, the unwashed public's taste ... I was shocked - shocked - that enough people were still in touch with him to make this a news item in the first place.

    Charlotte Higgins

    From Homer to the Hippocratic oath: how Ancient Greece has shaped our world

    As you can see, my previous post was a raviki about my current can't-stop-reading book, Charlotte Higgins' riveting It's All Greek to Me.

    Loipon, I totter out to mow the hloi, totter back in for a foaming Mythos and sapristi! there is a comment,

    "Hey - thank you - Charlotte Higgins"
    as if from l'auteur. But the comment is attached to an earlier posting ... Wait, I've got it. When she's not being artsy for the Guardian, Charlotte is majority stockholder in Sussana's coffee shop and she is saying thanks for my powerful plug that will ensure a tintinnabulation of the till 'til season's end. That's it.

    Blimey, as of typing, no one has yet reviewed it on the 'Zon. Quick, lad! Skim and knock out some toadying rave - doesn't have to be true ...

    Skim la Higgins? How dare you, sir! I shall savour it at my own pace and jot a few words if anything original occurs.

    Actually, I had better savour it at a snail's pace if I'm to have any dosh left over for Hristougers because I'm racking up a further shopping basket even as I read.

    The Homer I'm reading to keep CH's work company is the 1955 World's Classic (6s. net), translated by Thomas Edward Lawrence and with intro by Maurice Bowra, which Ms Higgins thinks is 'a rather bad translation' altho' TE was "surely right to call it 'the first novel of Europe' ".Homer and Higgins

    Loipon, such is Charlotte's persuasive prose that I've swapped allegiance to Robert Fagles' Penguin Classics work and will be back in the Elta queue ere long.

    Dude! There's still a tiny sticker on the inside flap showing that Dad bought the Lawrence/Bowra in its year of publication at the Challenge Bookshop, Queen's Bldg, 1st Fl, Ice house Street, Hong Kong.

    In '55, I was just about to be despatched for imprisonment in an Ascot prep school. Dad already had umpteen volumes of everything from his Cambridge 'Greats' days, so I wonder if he got this one for me but got home just in time to hear me come up with some idiot remark and thought, Eheu! There's no way I'm submitting Homer's pearls before that yokel.

    Absolutely right decision at the time, I'm sure, but look, dad - I got the book in the end. Just sorry I can't present you with the Higgins this yuletide; you would have approved.

    I can just see him removing the wrapping paper with customary meticulous care, faux grateful expression at the ready.

    By the neckwear of Agios Nektarios, a cravate! Just what I wanted. How nice - and then being genuinely pleased and looking over to mittera as if to say,

    "By the nine gods of Clusium, there may be hope for the lad yet."

    kolovriFinale: OK, enough already. That photo to the right of some "rock". Most folks accept that Homer's Sheria or Island of the Phaeacians was situated here in Kerkyra.

    Book V of the Odyssey describes Odysseus' meeting with the fragrant Nausicaa.

    That rock there is the teensy isle of Gravia, a corruption of Karavi or Ship.

    Some folks have it that it's the boat that carried Odysseus home to Ithaca only to be turned to stone by a batey Poseidon on its return.

    If you don't like that legend, a less satisfactory one poured into tourists' lug-'oles is that Algerians were coming to plunder the monastery but God heard the abbot's prayers and stoned the bateau, saving the monastery.

    Well, mercy me! If I'd written a worthy (but nothing flash) book about It Being All Greek I'd not be surprised if my publishers warned me gently,

    "Ahem, Charlotte, we're keeping the review list very specialised on this one, some classical mags, some ivy-bound profs, that ultra-brainy classicist in the Speccie. Don't get hopes up about massive high street sales; I mean let's not count on free PR from Madge blaming the breakup of their marriage on Guy losing boudoir time on the Iliad. This is a 'nook' book."

    Loipon - if I was Ms Higgins, I'd whip out my laptop and with rippling fingers call up this silly blog:

    "Explain me that, Mister Marketing Maven! And that's all the way over in terra Phaiakes."

    It's all mini epics to me

    How on earth did clever clogs rwells know that I am right now enjoying Charlotte Higgins' excellent It's All Greek to Me and therefore right up on my Homer.

    This lightning tour is all the more humorous for my catching the finer points.

    10 October 2008


    First Look

    Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
    Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
    Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

    Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
    Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

    Badass Ley will be stunned to see this but I'm not just out to impress him. I have a tale.

    German girl and I had been to an arty 'do' where some foulard-enfolded type had declaimed Donne not very well and she hissed at me, "Why you don't read poetry any more?"

    My dear, could have knocked me down with a feather. How on earth did she know of my secret vice?

    Anyway, to cut to the quatrain, I agreed to revive some of my greatest hits including the Keats with which I took the laurel at a school recitation by taking it slow and calm and savouring each syllable.

    I remember the adjudicator drawing a laff with his comment that,

    "If I may make one observation, I somehow doubt that RCA records will release a record of 'The King' reciting Keats but if they do, he will certainly deliver the final line in exactly that husky basso profundo fashion:

    Silen'. Uponna a peak. In Derrnnn."

    But this isn't why I'm posting.

    I was camping it up for the Germaniki when maman walked in and burst out laughing, "Oh I got in such trouble with your father over that. We might never have got married."

    Ooh Mum, do tell!

    So like my dad was a secretive type with the British Army Aid Group (BAAG) en Chine during his war, sneaking into Hong Kong under Ianni Nippon's flat nostrils to do mischief and then hightail it back again via Lion Rock and comparative safety. Brave stuff considering that he didn't exactly look like a casting director's immediate choice for the chorus line of the Mikado.tanto

    He and my mother had just met, she down in Oz to where he was apparently able to send mail.

    I've never understood how that worked, them being all cloak and tanto, like.

    "Psst, evening, all. Rickshaw Express. Any mail to go? Right, here's one for you, Major, usual tax demand. General Cho, one for you, flyer from Lane, Crawford, their summer sale. Special on the anti-macassars"

    So dad had sent his sweetie a trés daring coded messagio saying he felt "like stout Cortez".

    Mum had only a vague idea where he was, so she wrote back to the effect, "But I thought you were somewhere in the Pacific?"

    You didn't know my dad: ultra stickler for the rules, trained to take a man out with just one punch; I don't like to talk about him all that much. He must have died to read his subtle literary allusion blasted to the universe.

    "Calling all units, the accursèd gaijin are in Honkers after all."

    Back to Keats, it feels good to be learning verse again; good for the old memory, too.

    Dear Santa ...

    Serious Adrenaline Junkies

    One of my nightmares is to be munched by a croc.

    The idea of looking one of these creatures actually in their - whatever you call it - face is ... shudder.

    Banksy's Bizarre Petshop

    Oh boy oh boy ...

    And sexy reporter ...

    As any sonic foulard kno

    By the necktie of Agios Nektarios, I haven't chuckled for so long.

    Check out this Antoine Dufour cove. Talented enough plunker, nothing special. But what about that daft scarf dangling there? Naff colour, drab design, and badly tied, to boot. But still, no law against that.

    But scroll down to where someone has actually singled the scarf nonsense out for mockery, and then read the RevNasty's glorious rib tickling rationale response.

    Quoth the Rev,

    "The bandana/scarf isn't a stage prop. It serves a sonic function for Antoine by preventing sustain of the strings beyond the nut.

    Its a shame your attention is so easily swayed from a talented musician. Give it another go and ignore the bandana for your own sake. He's brilliant!"

    And the reply:

    "I *love* the 'sonic function/sustain beyond the nut' rationale and will raid my lady's boudoir for some floaty thing to attach and be *very* grumpy if no-one falls into the trap of mocking me and allowing me to flatten them with your explanation."

    Know what this reminds me of? Remember the brilliant Dick Emery? Didn't he play some limp-wristed chappie good with colours? And didn't a chiffon something bubble from his neck? Of course what i remember best is the scrumpy "girl". She'd be flouncing down the street and the interviewer would say "Excuse me miss" and she'd correct him quick as a flash "Miss".

    Good times. Where are they now (well, i know very well where they are): Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper, Arthur Askey, Jimmy Edwards, Sellers and Secombe of course; my belovèacuted Spike whose 'Where Have all the Bullets Gone?' he made such fun and hell to promote ... Terry Thomas, Ken Dodd (still going strong; actually I can't stand Ken), Norman Wisdom did I like? Not sure I did; Max Bygraves I got to know so I suppose I *have* to let him tell me a story; Larry Grayson - yes!!

    The gay ones - what they got away with in those days. Nowadays, from what i see, they just shove it in yer face and totally unfunny they are, too.

    Anyway, check out this buffoon with the idiot scarf.

    09 October 2008

    hephaestus by rubens


    We have been acquired by a crippled kitten that Fonda says must have been hit by a car. Whatever, he's a feisty chappie and Sam treats him respect so he stays. Doesn't come in the house and when he places a paw on the lintel I point at the good leg and enquire politely, "Want the other one seen to, mush?" which mother for some reason thinks is a little 'sick'. Whatever.

    Louka is gone but Someone up there is determined we're landed with another 4-legged so here is ... whatever we name him.

    I looked up game-legged Greek gods and they gave me Hephaestus which is a lousy name for a feline so it's back to the drawing board. I'm just terrified that BadAss Ley will come up with summat brilliant which will mean I have to kow-tow and comment back "Brilliant! You da man!" or some such rubbish to set him preening.

    hephI saw him first. I was lugging pots out of the greenhouse and there was this movement and i thought shit that is a sizeable rat but it turned out to be Heph with his sideways gait.

    I have a lot of pals with crocked limbs - bikes, cars, mountains, dojo, plain careless taking their eye off the ball - and they're mostly people I'd choose for my foxhole. The BS's been skimmed off them and they've mostly come back quiet and better than before.

    Heph reminds me of them, the way he scoots around with that crooked gait but it doesnt slow him.

    Rats have gone. He spurns mum's cushioned box for somewhere in the wood pile, exactly where the rats would come from and never seemed to die out not matter how many poisoned pellets I'd drop between the cracks. Apond talked of ammonia announcing a serious cat presence; now we have the real thing.

    He yeowls at the door at brek lunch and dinner and then is gone for the day.

    I've suggested to maman that no one picks him and fondles, that he stays unpampered.

    Anyone with a good suggestion for a name, leave it at the door. Just in fun, I suggested to mater that Ashley might be a good 'un.

    "But Ashley's a girl's name, we don't even know what sex it is."

    The sun went behind a cloud and somewhere over Albania thunder rumbled.

    "Careful, mother. There's a mountain man out there would dispute that."

    07 October 2008

    By the Lake on Naboo

    Worst Movie Dialogue

    OK, I like (and spew) bad dialogue as energetically as anyone, so I have a few quibbles:

  • What's wrong with that wonderful line about Lurve meaning never having to say you're sorry? I've used it to enormous effect over the years.
  • Don't diss Rachel Leigh Cook. She can say anything and still sound like Donne.
  • Helen Hunt can chisel my wall any time
  • Meg Ryan? Wish *I* was made to fit together.

  • Fragrant Sound

    Belovèd Hong Kong *and* that Love's Theme - what more could i ask?

    When I returned to Hong Kong to work for the HKTA, this tune was the Cathay Pacific theme and played in all the adverts.

    I found it delightful and assumed it had been written by some local composer for the local ad agency that handled the local advertising in which it played. I kept asking when and where I could meet the composer - some artistic looking Chinese, I assumed, who whipped up such jingles in a trice - and only got odd looks.

    "Gimme the f***ing money"

    Bang bang he's dead

    Oh I do like this. Dirty Harry lives.

  • Punk points gun. Taken out by police sniper.
  • Accomplice picks up gun. Another shot drops him.
  • Third shot rings out. Clinches it.

    Cluck cluck: In the late '70s I lived in Tours and spent vacations with a healthy country girl in her rural family home in Châteauroux.

    The grandpa was famous for having been plagued by robberies by local youths, sat up one night with his crossbow and caused the death of the ringleader.

    He missed the boy who bolted the bolt causing it to travel into the next property and into a neighbour's coop and the proud breast of a prize bantam cock. Muchas litigation.

    The agile thief vaulted a hedge, impaling himself on the prongs of some heavy-duty thresher.

    Edwige was not given to exaggeration which lent a certain dry drama to her account of how gramps and the cock's owner argued the toss in the moonlight as the thug choked loudly to death, two prongs piercing his lungs to protrude from his back.

    I must have looked shocked because the old man interrupted her with a toothless chuckle to add that at one point he'd had to ask the chicken owner to speak up because he was a little deaf and couldn't hear over the mec's gurgling and kicking and general clamour.

  • 04 October 2008

    MGMT: Time to Pretend

    I love this sort of indie song and just wish the production values were higher so you could hear the drum rhythm.

    Also these 'making of the video' clips.

    03 October 2008

    Forever Young

    This is the timbre of Dylan's voice I liked best. And he's wearing what I call his 'Hurricane' duds, which is also cool.

    100 skills for everyman

    don't even ask ...


    Say it isn't so.

    Palin pernounces it that way, too ?


    samurai sword attack

    this story of shopstaff fighting off some booby wielding a 'samurai' sword reminds me of an odd incident in hong kong. nay, also an odd incident in seattle.

    the hong kong one took place back in the early 1980s when i was in connaught building on the harbour front from where it was a mere 50 storeys down to the square to gawp at some unfortunate who'd been handing out $100 bills to passers-by and then whipped out this sword and started waving it around.

    the police surrounded him and we had what's called an impasse with the fuzz not daring to get too near.

    then - according to reports on the evening news - a young copper asked his superior for permission to disarm the man. permission given. the youngster then borrowed an umbrella off one of the crowd and advanced in what looked like classical mode and proceeded to send the sword spinning from the man's hands, much to his annoyance and complaint that the umbrella's tines had hurt his fingers thus causing him to drop the sword.

    the policeman said something or other and must have offered the man a second chance because he picked the sword up and they tried it again and again the blade went whirling up into the air to clang harmlessly on the ground.

    by now the swordsman was thoroughly pissed off and shouted at the policeman to the effect that how come/dare he knew moves like that? no one knows moves like that, ok maybe NAME or NAME or NAME.

    One of them turned out to be the policeman's uncle or grandpa or whatever, anyway he'd learnt his skills from there.

    the poor chap fell to his knees shouting what an honour it was to be out-fenced by such an opponent and why hadn't anyone lent him a fan to do the job, much more graceful moves involved.

    it was on all the news channels and would have been a youtube hit no question.

    the seattle one was less dramatic. it was around 1997, i guess, some black dude in central seattle, around the market i think, was waving a sword around and no one dared come near. they hosed him and pepper sprayed him and everything but the guy kept standing etc.

    in the end they wore him down and marched him away but i remember thinking 'what stamina'.

    01 October 2008

    loo sign at internet cafe

    Transgender Loos

    I'm sure there's a wittier title out there.

    Any road, I despair of blighted Blighty. Every day brings new evidence of my sceptred isle plunging straight down the latrine.

    This time it literally *is* to do with toilets: The bogs in Man U's students' union are no longer distinguished by 'M'/'F' signage but renamed "toilets" and "toilets with urinals".

    The idiot student union made the decision after complaints from ... wait fer it ... from transgender students.

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