Friday, 31 August 2007


All I ever wanted was me two front teeth

Tho then I could with you Happy Chrithermuth

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Not Another Competition? No.

“Even a five-word poem has a beginning, middle, and end. A one-word poem doesn’t. You can see it all at once. It’s instant.”

Aram Savoya nighght 1965

But, I asked my Research Department, is there any joke, jest, jape, merry quip, gag &c which is funny of and for itself? Instant?

So far, a team of twenty well-scrubbed blonde Swedish potential Nobel Prize-winners have come up with...

1) The Pantomime Horse

That was it.


The day of the one-word poem has come and gone.

But there's plenty of different at Books, Inq.

Peasants' Revolt

: With a bit of a clever script you could suck the whole of the internet into a single post. Just think of that! A one-click encyclopaedia! Science, the Arts, Music both Ancient and...

Blogista: Even the... naked ladies?

Readers: I don't know why we ever trusted you.

Always Wear A Suit

Dockers (San Francisco) just don't cut it

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


Poke on the pig, make it big.

You know how the internet works.

Your job this week, e-Nibelungen, is to suggest reasons why words like "nestled" and "embosomed" DO NOT apply to this phootoo.

Thank you to Mad Dog for the idea.

Idea? -he asks - and so no doubt do you.


Okay, I admit it isn't a competition at all, just a passing brainstorm. Madness, madness.

Punishment From Above!

Not how Durer saw it...

...a true Wonderment courtesy of WickedRed.

Google Game

Via Bloggoth and Snail's Tales, a Google (has to be good for some sort of fun) Game.

Search for your forename along with seven different added verbs, quote the best lines that the search turns up. Personally I think you should not be allowed to pick and choose, but that's just me.

Michael needs to learn that for every man there is a condom

Michael likes to be around people

Michael is one of twelve spies sent into the Land of Canaan

Michael wants raspberry cake

Michael gets On His Knees To Do Good

Michael says The Secret involves the laws of the universe

Michael has to offer in his latest Writing Tip, "Ever Hear of a McGuffin?"

And for the picture, "Michael looks". I added this bit myself, so the meme is evolving and changing.Woo.

Well, that was fun, What shall we play next?

Medved' Skazal Preved

Explanation here (it is a complicated and boring explanation, so lucky for me a clicky to Wiki passes the buck nice and quicky).

All you need is a bear (medved') and a preved (hai ?!?).

Or nearest offer.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Things That Go Bump In The Past

This week's question from Authorblog's David McMahon : do you believe in ghosts?

My parents used to have quite a collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1930s and 40s. Some of the pictures have, for some reason, stayed clear in my mind for forty years and more (most are long forgotten).

One was from an article on the fauna of the Pacific, the Ghost Crab. Why do I remember it so clearly? Maybe it was the blue-white pallor of the crab's eye stalks, mouth and claws. Perhaps because it seemed the very spirit of such a far-away and exotic place.

Here, without faking, lens artifacts or double-exposure, is photographic proof that Ghosts exist.

Although I have never actually seen one myself.

Also as a child I had a Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories, which included this chiller by M R James, "Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" (1931).

Sad Song for Monday

Gori, gori moya zvezda.

Shine, shine my star - sung by Anna German.

If you don't get a direct connect to the MP3 file, click on the link in the yellow stripe about 1/3rd of the way down the page.

Or, don't bother clicking on anything at all. Try Oleg Pogudin's version, search YouTube or Google for this or anything else. Make a sandwich, smoke a cool cigarette, lick Vanilla ice-cream or Dulce de Leche off your Beloved. Whatever.

With One Bound He Was Free


If you've followed the comments to previous posts and realised what the implications of a prOn version of Tony Hancock's Half Hour are...

...and if you think this is a bit much, wait for my Stockhausen Detox'n'Tupperware evening.

Coming to your sscreens sssoooon...

Sunday, 26 August 2007


Dream tobacco, take me away...

And now that you've all tapped your feet along to the song...

Autobiography (3)

Thirty years, not twenty.

Hope you made an honest woman of her, Gill G-. Or at least a happy one. When do I get a copy of that picture of me made up as Billie Holiday with a magnolia in my hair?

I too was young and beautiful. I was young and beautiful once.

Stiff Records (founded 1976) printed the best records ever on earth. I still have the original of this single, EP, 45, in store somewhere - and no record player. Time for a Dansette. Their promo t-shirts read "If it ain't Stiff it ain't worth a fuck" or "We came, we saw, we left".

Best except Island Records.

Always think it out in the light of reason.

Someone hand me down that opium pipe...

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Celebrity Norks

To whom do these Celebrity Norks belong?

Why, to Chesty Morgan

otherwise Liliana Wilczkowska.

The really horrible thing about these Norks is what they have to say, yes, say, about the English.

"Chesty" in English implies at best a persistent cough brought on by smoking roll-ups all through a warm damp winter.

At worst we are thinking: bronchitis, tuberculosis, badgers. We want to keep them away from our cattle.

In Russia

After following in Venedikt Erofeev's wake from Moscow to Petushki, journalist Grigory Pasko is now travelling with Aleksandr Radishchev from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Fascinating journeys, both.


Erofeev wrote the funny and tragic samizdat satire "Moscow-Petushki" in 1970.

Radishchev was a radical who published his "Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow" in 1790 and was exiled to Siberia by Catherine the Great as a result.


Readers: Why, Mr Chertiozhnik, just as we were thinking you were an insane drunken witless insensitive oaf... is a picture you have stolen from somebody else of violets!

Blogista: Yeah, I thought it was time for some violent jokes.

: Is there a proofreader in th'house?

Friday, 24 August 2007


Around nineteen hundred years ago (90-125 AD) the clerks at a frontier post near the ends of the Earth, Vindolanda, two miles behind the Checkpoint Charlie lines of the border itself, took to emptying the contents of dusty old correspondence files into the nearby tip. As you do.

The clerks are long gone but the letters have survived: mostly ink of carbon and gum arabic on sheets of birch or alder.

So, for instance, here are fragments of a letter, Dad writing to his so far away son

I have sent you [...] pairs of socks from Sattua, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of underpants, two pairs of sandals[...] greetings to [...]ndes, Elpis, Iu[...]. [...enus], Tetricus and all your messmates with whom I pray you live in the greatest good fortune

making lists of things and knowing the names of all his son's pals.

It's the handwriting that gets me.


Buonaparte kept his prisoner Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel seized after the conclusion of a peace treaty, in a cell without firewood or much of anything else, in a fortress in the Jura Mountains. Toussaint died slowly, but died, of privation.

Letters between Toussaint and his wife, a house-prisoner elsewhere in France, were on Napoleon's orders filed carefully side by side in the Naval Archives in Paris, never to be delivered.

One can only wonder at the scale of his ambition and the fanatical meanness of his soul.

B is for Bulldog and Breed

"On this island," she went on, "as you will have begun to notice, no one ever speaks plainly. Whether it's Cockney rhyming codes or the crosswords in the newspapers - all English, spoken or written, is looked down on as no more than strings of text cleverly encrypted. Nothing beyond. Any who may come to feel betrayed by them, insulted, even hurt, even grievously, are simply 'taking it too seriously'. The English exercise their eyebrows and smile and tell you it's an 'irony' or 'a bit of fun', for it's only combinations of letters after all, isn't it.

Thomas Pynchon, "Against the Day", 2006.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


When you can't shake off the narks from the Sheboygan Conservatory of Music, you need to go back to Fieldcraft 101.

Can you spot the non-violinist here at Wickedred?

Wednesday, 22 August 2007



Only because there oughta be.

Museum of Museumologists - you got a membership card.


The pictures in the item immediately below are by Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) and William Hogarth (1697-1764) respectively. Bit of a Rude post but I will keep it as a testimony to the effects of cyberdespair.

And below that, the photographs really are from the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, 1893. More here.


With our stout penes of Truth in hand we set out to

somehow it didn't all pan out, as our few readers will attest. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And here we are in Bloglam.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Ding Dong

1893, Chicago World's Fair. We are making course in an Unlikely Balloon over the stock yards.

"Yes, here," continued the Professor, nodding down at the Yards as they began to flow by beneath, "here's where the Trail comes to its end at last, along with the American Cowboy who used to live on it and by it. No matter how virtuous he's kept his name, how many evildoers he's managed to get by undamaged, how he's done by his horses, what girls he has chastely kissed, serenaded by guitar, or gone out and raised hallelujah with, it's all back there in the traildust now and none of it matters, for down there you'll find the wet convergence and finale of his drought-struck tale and thankless calling. Buffalo Bill's Wild West show stood on its head -- spectators invisible and silent, nothing to be commemorated, the only weapons in view being Blitz Instruments and Wackett Punches to knock the animals out with, along with the blades everybody is packing, of course, and the rodeo clowns jabber on in some incomprehensible lingo not to distract the beast but rather to heighten and maintain its attention to the single task at hand, bringing it down to those last few gates, the stunning-devices waiting inside, the butchering and blood just beyong the last chute -- and the cowboy with him. Here." He handed Lew a pair of field-glasses. "That little charabanc down there just making the turn off Forty-Seventh?"

Thomas Pynchon, "Against the Day", 2006.

"Say, Mother, come have a look at these poor bastards!"


Oh my dear, how derjah said. We all knew all that already.

Monday, 20 August 2007


Robert Browning published "Pippa Passes", a dramatic piece, in 1841.

The song

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!

is well known. Less well known is

But at night, brother Howlet, far over the woods,
Toll the world to thy chantry;
Sing to the bats’ sleek sisterhoods
Full complines with gallantry:
Then, owls and bats, cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister’s moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!

Twats? Browning explained later that he had read the lines

They talk’t of his having a Cardinall’s Hat;
They’d send him as soon an Old Nun’s Twat.

in a poem "Vanity of Vanities" from 1660, and assumed that a 'twat' was an item of nuns' headgear.

Well, we all make mistakes. Such was the purity of the Victorian mind that the error supposedly went unnoticed for forty years, until an OED editor questioned him about it.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Dump and Dumper (2)

They flee from me, that sometime did me seek,
With naked foot stalking within my chamber :
Once have I seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild, and do not once remember,
That sometime they have put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand ; and now they range
Busily seeking in continual change.

Thanked be Fortune, it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better ; but once especial,
In thin array, after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown did from her shoulders fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small,
And therewithal sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, ' Dear heart, how like you this ?'

It was no dream ; for I lay broad awaking :
But all is turn'd now through my gentleness,
Into a bitter fashion of forsaking ;
And I have leave to go of her goodness ;
And she also to use new fangleness.
But since that I unkindly so am served :
How like you this, what hath she now deserved ?

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-42).

And a touch of the hat-brim to Authorblog for the reminder.


A bed of talking begonias in a psychiatric hospital? Good idea.

One moment all was quiet, and the next, a disembodied voice was bellowing from somewhere in the vicinity of the begonias. Strictly speaking, it wasn't actually addressing me, and I know this because it said: "this is a no smoking area. Please put your cigarette out. A member of staff has been informed" and I gave up smoking six weeks ago.

If all this catches on it creates a huge opportunity for the urban terrorist. A few cheap boom-boxes left in crowded places, some tapes of absurd bellowed instructions, havoc.

Dump and Dumper

What would you like to say to the girlfriend or boyfriend who first dumped you?

Asks David McMahon at Authorblog.

I might manage an "oh, well, whatever". Thirty two years ago, first kisses, first love, and the first time it dawned on me that it was all going to be inexplicably difficult.

Which it always has been.

Cartoons by the late and very great B. Kliban, more examples here and here.


Amazing where you can find yourself on Google Earth.


The Romans had neither a word for, nor any concept of, the 'moustache'.

But here is the Emperor (218-22) Elagabalus with a tadger. And long sideburns.

What sort of a bloody chap is that?

Much discussion here and here.


The aircraft graveyard at the Davis-Monthan AFB at Tucson AZ, from Google Maps.

The graveyard has some 4,400 aircraft which make beautiful patterns, like some strange sort of quilting, when seen from above. My dear! Such delicate aeroplane-work!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Car Centre Personality

I am in a blisteringly foul mood today.

Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast...

Pikey Scum like that blind bloke, and the complainy git who had a singing job in Wales once, and the musical whore who did Clinton...

shhhhhh child.



And while I'm in an unusually foul mood, would the Sydney Car Centre please stop sending me job offers four times a day?

While we may have high expectations of our associates, we also give them high rewards. Imagine being part of a stable organization with a sterling reputation - a place where the Sydney Car Centre is an integral part of all that we do. With our car centre personality, you'll not just succeed - you'll thrive. And, with our strong commitment to promoting from within, you'll definitely enjoy your rise to the top.

Today the Sydney Car Centre is looking for an industrious regional assistant to fasten the process of the delivery of customer payments to the suppliers. The position offered is a part-time job, and will only require from you to be available for 1-2 hours a day.

Also hand over your bank details etc etc. The "Bank of Scotland" of Nigeria only ask me to confirm m'details once every 24 hours.

A scam's a scam, guys, but once should be enough. I DO NOT WANT A JOB WITH YOUR CAR COMPANY.


Friday, 17 August 2007


I am lucky enough to remember visiting Stonehenge several times in childhood, when one could still wander around the stones and lie on the altar.

Now it is all closed off apart from the annual visits by "druids" and is reckoned by tourists to be one of Britain's most disappointing sites. It is, indeed, a mess and plans to build a much better visitor centre seem to be permanently stalled.

It is surprising then that Avebury, a mere ten Megalithic Miles away, hasn't also been closed to keep out swarms of tourists. I've seen the odd coach trip there, and the car park can get very full on a hot summer day, but it just doesn't have the celebrity status (hurrah).

Avebury is just as beautiful and impressive a place as Stonehenge (was), and there are also the extraordinary Silbury Hill and the West and East Kennet Long Barrows to explore (West Kennet has been opened up). Work at Avebury began around seven hundred years before Stonehenge was started.

The Beckhampton Avenue of stones, shown by Stukeley on his map of 1724 (the left-hand 'tail', below) had vanished before the next survey was made, and it was assumed that Stukeley had made it up to fit his theories about a serpent shape. Only a few years ago did excavations reveal the holes in which the stones had stood before farmers broke them up. Stukeley's map was accurate.

Pomes Penyeach

She Weeps over Rahoon

Rain on Rahoon falls softly, softly falling,
Where my dark lover lies.
Sad is his voice that calls me, sadly calling,
At grey moonrise.

Love, hear thou
How soft, how sad his voice is ever calling,
Ever unanswered and the dark rain falling,
Then as now.

Dark too our hearts, O love, shall lie and cold
As his sad heart has lain
Under the moongrey nettles, the black mould
And muttering rain.

James Joyce (1913) from "Pomes Penyeach".

The statue is in Trieste, on the Canal Grande looking towards the Piazza Ponterosso, where Joyce lived.

Ezra Pound didn't like the poems, and rejected them for publication. As the Wikipedia entry puts it, rather cattily, "they are remarkable not only for their economy of language and the sharpness of their imagery, but also for their humanity and compassion – qualities which Pound perhaps found difficult to appreciate."

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Were I (who to my cost already am
One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man)
A spirit free to choose, for my own share,
What case of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal
Who is so proud of being rational.

Earl of Rochester, 1647-80, "A Satyre against Reason and Mankind".

Here are some collected bits and pieces on th'internet (warning: nsfw or anywhere else: libertine alert).

A completely complete Complete Works has yet to be published: meanwhile the Penguin Classic languishes under the Key Phrases

Maimed Debauchee
Lucky Minute
Booby Squire
Imperfect Rhyme

If I could only hope that these might be carved on my own gravestone. Alas, a humbler oblivion awaits yr Blogista.


Somehow or other searching for Rochester led me to this delightful site.

Competition Time Again

Three words this time and no silly ones...




Make of them a sentence, poem, lyric, story, whatever you're inspired to.

And if, starting with these three words, you end up with a seven-novel epic that sweeps Harry Potter from the face of the planet, you will have done the world a great service.

Judging next Wednesday. I will be channelling the spirit of Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos, whose judgin' equipment included a law book, a revolver, a pet bear and a bottle of whisky.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Big Wins

Your prize this week is a slice of Butchness without rival.

Pointy nose, hat, dimples.

Take it away.

Nobody at all entered the competition this week - even I wasn't inspired.

So the shirtless Putin is free to enjoy his holiday in Siberia with Prince Albert of Monaco. Hat tip to Hello magazine.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Slowness is Beauty

From Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" (1975), Barry meets the Countess of Lyndon.

The interior scene is filmed by candlelight, using lenses developed by Zeiss for the Apollo moon landings.

After m'fit of the conniptions yesterday, time for a little serenity.

Monday, 13 August 2007


One job interview later, and the first in two years... didn't make a fool of myself, good eye contact, but not quite my line, so I'd give it 3-1 against.

Being one of the first interviewees in a process that lasts all week is not the best position. Better the day before the last, so that I am fresh in the mind at decision time, and have hopefully been followed by at least one completely duff candidate.


The saturnine bloke who hands out the Visitors pass which I have to wear round my neck, which clashes with my tie and looks silly.

The notices everywhere - do not do X. Remember always to do Y.

Employees desked in clusters of four separated by tiny clapboard partitions.

The faint scent of carpet cleaner.

Paper coffee cups, paper papers.

The lumpy woman who is wearing completely the wrong clothes for her frame. Male paunches.

The suits.

A world that I really really do not want to go back to.


"Sweet Victory"

By Ray Caesar

Haunting digital prints, here is how they are made.

Thanks to WickedRed for the link.

Sunday, 12 August 2007


Pity about th dolphin.

Readers: Yeh, rilly sad. Th dolphin.

Blogista: Estinc.

Readers: That glorbal warning innit.

Blogista: Bit like the peoples princess. Pointy nose.

Readers: They oughta do something on the telly.

Blogista: They oughta have a tribute on the telly.

Readers: With a queue an a boook an all.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Australian Rules

David MacMahon, of Authorblog, has a very interesting post on Australian Rules Football.

He seems a little puzzled that I have the impression that it is a violent game, more so than rugby, much more so than soccer.

I've only seen one match, on TV a long time ago, I remember it as being impressively brutal. "Might have been a bad day," suggests Mr. David.

I submit that any game in which a match has earned the name "The Bloodbath" is not quite tiddleywinks.

I'm not sure, but I don't think either of the moves pictured below are allowed in soccer or rugby. Violent? Balletic, maybe. I think I could really get into it. As a spectator.