Monday, February 27, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

he began anywhere

"I have heard Coleridge talk, with eager musical energy, two stricken hours. his face radiant and moist, and communicate no meaning whatsoever to any individual of his hearers, - certain of whom, I for one, still kept eagerly listening in hope; the most had long before given up, and formed (if the room were large enough) secondary humming groups of their own. He began anywhere ..."
(Carlyle's The Life of John Sterling, 1851)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


In 1938, when he would have been 30 or 31 years old, Louis MacNeice published 'A Personal Essay' entitled 'Modern Poetry'. I wonder will it be reissued for the centenary of his birth next year?

"Neither Spender nor Auden ... is egocentric when compared with epicurean or dilettante poets like Housman and Pound. Epicureanism, being egocentric, lacks tension. Auden's admiration for the objective world is founded on that cosmic pride which, as distinct from personal pride, lies at the base of Christianity. (He holds that Christianity should be taken up into Communism.) Hence his belief, frivolously expressed, that 'Pelmanism' is an important factor both in art and in the good life. The Epicurean, like the Artist for Art's sake, will have no use for pelmanism. Why burden his mind with facts which cannot affect his own life? The Epicurean does not appreciate Otherness as such."

In an uncharacteristically generous moment, on 7 October 2003 to be precise, the lousy Daily Telegraph published these sublime sentences: "Iain Duncan Smith has ... a ‘hinterland’ of interests beyond politics. His hobbies include whistling, lawn-mowing and Pelmanism."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

the poll

Crikey. It's been a rum couple of days for unhemmed. Let me explain (thus breaking, or at least bending, the unwritten rule that unhemmed doesn't deal in explanations). I'll try and keep it brief.

I was admiring this site a couple of days ago. The beard-poll there tickled my fancy, and I was intrigued by the promise that a simple click or two might see it reproduced on unhemmed. While setting this up, possibly coincidentally, Blogger went a bit bananas and started sending me error messages. Lo, the poll appeared, but my slapdash presentation gave the impression that research was being done into the future of my own face. For a day or two - it seemed like a lifetime - unhemmed refused to accept any alterations or new material and continued to return the pesky error messages. Meanwhile, a host of surfers (perhaps as many as one or two) cast their votes with the wrong chin in my mind. Chaos.

Happily, Blogger has got its act together this morning and I've been able to pull the misleading beard-poll. My sincere apologies to Saeed for having skewed the results of his research. There is, after all, rather a lot at stake.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Borjomi, anyone?

a bus must


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

dictionary dell

'1827 COLERIDGE Table-t. 8 July, In the Trinity there is, 1. Ipseity. 2. Alterity. 3. Community.'

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

maybe worth a listen

'rare interview' with Mark E Smith

Sunday, February 12, 2006

big day out

Monday, February 06, 2006

cat person

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Behold the moral Pecksniff!

"It has been remarked that Mr. Pecksniff was a moral man. So he was. Perhaps there never was a more moral man than Mr. Pecksniff: especially in his conversation and correspondence. It was once said of him by a homely admirer, that he had a Fortunatus's purse of good sentiments in his inside. In this particular he was like the girl in the fairy tale, except that if they were not actual diamonds which fell from his lips, they were the very brightest paste, and shone prodigiously. He was a most exemplary man: fuller of virtuous precept than a copy-book. Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there: but these were his enemies, the shadows cast by his brightness; that was all. His very throat was moral. You saw a good deal of it. You looked over a very low fence of white cravat (whereof no man had ever beheld the tie for he fastened it behind), and there it lay, a valley between two jutting heights of collar, serene and whiskerless before you. It seemed to say, on the part of Mr. Pecksniff, 'There is no deception, ladies and gentlemen, all is peace, a holy calm pervades me.' So did his hair, just grizzled with an iron-grey which was all brushed off his forehead, and stood bolt upright, or slightly drooped in kindred action with his heavy eyelids. So did his person which was sleek though free from corpulency. So did his manner, which was soft and oily in a word, even his plain black suit, and state of widower and dangling double eye-glass, all tended to the same purpose, and cried aloud, 'Behold the moral Pecksniff!'"

(from Martin Chuzzlewit)