Monday, 20 July 2009

A Small Step For A Man

I must be about the only person on the planet who did not witness Mr. Neil Armstrong take his (and Our! and OUR! Our?????) first step onto the moon.

I was only 11 and cannot remember precisely why I refused to watch the Great Event, and instead went up to my bedroom. Certainly I was too young (by a year or so) for Masturbation: it cannot have been a More Pressing Priority. And I did not have an Airfix Kit to finish. Yet.

As I remember it was because the whole circus was presented on a grainy b&w AuntyBBC TV set by the gruesome James Burke*, a kind of pre-Celebrity celebrity.

Readers: Just get with the flow, Johnson. Push that broom.

* and Patrick Moore and Cliff Michelmore... Jesus H. Christ no wonder I bridled. But J. Burke was the frontman for the Landing, I am certain.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


I chose her for her Daniel Boone eyes
Tense, but sharp at something beyond the dust.
Her wide strong mouth turned down
Too strong for bitterness.

Her blond children standing
One at each shoulder, hiding
Their faces in their hands
Like angels weeping on a marble statue.
Contrast of straight and curly hair.

Her frayed blouse,
Her check shirt,
I made an emblem of the time and people

An American woman
Dispossessed, and travelling westward.

Strange Saturday

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Blogfinder General

Finds - two beautifully designed blogs at

Crónicas da Peste
O Bar do Ossian

from which I have pinched this picture (a diorama of the Seige of Leningrad).



Final Frontier

Robert Osband, Computerist, and the Asbo Twink Collective.

This post would not have been possible without Buckets of Glitter.

Tip of th'tiplo.


Let the lower lights be burning
Send a gleam across the wave...

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Stevie Smith 1957

Monday, 6 July 2009

Profound Speculations

There are quite a few pubs around England called "The Man in the Moon" and I always thought this was just a... well, as good enough a name for a pub as any.

I have found in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:

Man in the moon. The nameless person at one time employed in elections to negotiate bribes. Thus the rumour was set flying among the electors that “the Man in the Moon had arrived.”

So I have passed a placid Monday morning speculating that this might be the origin of the pub name.

Well, there aren't any jobs to apply for that I can find, so I might as well have done this as gone back to bed.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

English How She Is Spoke

Millions of pikey Britons with a can of Wifebeater clutched in one paw and a few quid they begged off passers-by "to get the bus fare home to his/her daughter because his/her baby-father/mother gone and got him/her self locked out of the flat" were gutted yesterday that Mr. A. Murray, a tennis player, only got to the semi-finals at Wimbledon this year.

Teacher: Tell me, Alegria, what do you think is meant by pikey in this context?

Alegria: It har they mean world class sportsmen are all gone into Final themselve, so one only Briton har let the whole side down.


Wickedred judges it so, and so it must be. Time for some heavy-duty alliteratin' -

SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondeȝ and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wroȝt
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welneȝe of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat burȝe he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.
Ande quen þis Bretayn watz bigged bi þis burn rych,
Bolde bredden þerinne, baret þat lofden,
In mony turned tyme tene þat wroȝten.
Mo ferlyes on þis folde han fallen here oft
Þen in any oþer þat I wot, syn þat ilk tyme.
Bot of alle þat here bult, of Bretaygne kynges,
Ay watz Arthur þe hendest, as I haf herde telle.

"Gawain and the Green Knight", anonymous, late C14th.
(Warning: NSFW if you have no script blocker to stop the website making an unexpected "medieval"-style tootly-tootling)

Joy for Sunday Morning

Sing along; just follow the bouncing ball.

If you are getting a "progresión al ratos" instead it is time to lay off the mezcal and drink a vitamin-rich cold beer.