Monday, November 28, 2005

A Brew

Friday, November 25, 2005

The South-Sea House

'The simultaneous sound of his [Evans the clerk's] well-known rap at the door with the stroke of the clock announcing six, was a topic of never-failing mirth in families which this dear old bachelor gladdened with his presence. Then was his forte, his glorified hour! How would he chirp, and expand, over a muffin! How would he dilate into secret history!'

Charles Lamb

I can't stand another minute

In the 'Foreword' to 'Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage' the author recalls delivering his 'Lecture on Nothing' in 'about 1949 ... at the Artists' Club on Eighth Street in New York City ... Jeanne Rynal, I remember, stood up part way through, screamed, and then said, while I continued speaking, "John, I dearly love you, but I can't bear another minute." She then walked out. Later, during the question period, I gave one of six previously prepared answers regardless of the question asked. This was a reflection of my engagement in Zen.'

He also shares this memory: 'As I look back, I realize that a concern with poetry was always with me. At Pomona College, in response to questions about the Lake poets, I wrote in the manner of Gertrude Stein, irrelevantly and repetitiously. I got an A. The second time I did it I was failed.'

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The King of Aberdeen

UNHEMMED has reason to believe that this man accessed the site from Aberdeen today at 6-02am, or thenabouts. Good on him!

Lojalna Jola, nielojalna Jola

Tongue twisters po polsku.

George Szirtes digging Jeff Bridges

"Paterson points to the twin dangers, as he sees them, of Populism on the one side and Postmodernism on the other. I'll leave Postmodernism out of it because it seems to me he uses the term loosely to mean people who are in fact Modernists in the post-Poundian sense. I am more interested here in his idea of Populism. He never quite defines the term, talking merely about "chicken-soup anthologies full of lousy poems". I have an idea what anthologies he might have been talking about, but it would have been good had he pointed to a few examples of lousy poems as illustration, for lousiness is a self-validating term. "Yeh, well that's just your opinion, man," as the Dude says in The Big Lebowski. I don't see why anyone should have a problem with chicken-soup. Nor would anyone who was genuinely hungry. What are they supposed to do? Starve until they can eat what the committee has chosen to call cake?"

This year's T S Eliot lecture taking issue with last year's T S Eliot lecture.

My brain has got so bent out of shape that I can't stop myself suggesting that the phrase 'genuinely hungry' is also the phrase 'genuinely Hungary' in disguise.

Looks to me like Jeff Bridges's gaff rocks pretty hard.


Name given by Milton to an imaginary plant having supernatural virtues.

1634 MILTON Comus 638 He called it Hæmony, and gave it of sovran use 'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp, Or ghastly Furies' apparition.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Monday, November 21, 2005

common sense

The tiniest snippet of Ivor Cutlery. Borrowed from the official site,

It was that John Donne who said

On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and hee that will
Reach her, about must, and about must goe;

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Did Elias Canetti approve of the 'in-joke'?

So, it turns out that

22 Across : Law, cheating it (anag) (5,8)

is just an anagram, and the solution - Wigan Athletic - has no obvious connection with illegal activity. That made it pretty plain that

15 Down : Knocking sound (3-3)

would be 'tat-tat' as in 'rat-a-tat-tat'. I was stumped by

12 Down : Celebration (8)

for an eternity or two, but I realised they wanted, as a solution to a different clue, not 'leitmotif', but rather 'leitmotiv', the v at the end of which meshed beautifully with the sixth letter of 'festival'.

Problem solved.

Monday, November 14, 2005


The Kingdom of Moravia, now in the SE of the Czech Republic. Its major city is Brno, which is currently my favourite placename of all time. Sigmund Freud was born in Moravia, in Freiberg, today known as Pribor. The malt used to brew Budvar is supposed to be Moravian.

George Moore

"On 27 May his ashes were buried on Castle Island in Lough Carra, co. Mayo, where he had played as a boy. Over his crypt was erected a wooden marker inscribed ‘He deserted his family and friends for his art’; however, ‘deserted’ was softened to ‘forsook’ when carved on a permanent stone monument."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

the latest stop-press information on literature 003

"Tennyson has always weighed on me as the original National Heritage Poet - all that is bogus, empty, self-parodic, dishonest, false and dead-as-doornails in the culture is epitomized by his verse. Alfred Lawn Tennyson, as Joyce called him. His cadences remind me of cheap firetongs, flat clangy tin trays furred with velvet, the boring sonorities of Gielgud's voice. But I can't let go of 'In Memorian VII', one of the saddest love lyrics in the language ...
"The simple-minded patriotism, the deep racism, the professional Angst and gravid sonorous chill of the verse all remind me of a solemn Victorian statue of King Alfred which I once saw in a dreary market town somewhere in the south of England."
(Tom Paulin, TLS, 2 October 1992)

Wantage, coming back to haunt me.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

South Park