April 23, 2012
Giving away copies of #TheAlchemist on #WorldBookNight
I applied and was acepted to be a 'giver' on World Book Night, which is today, 23 April 2012. Additionally, April 23 is UNESCO's World Book (and Copyright) Day, chosen due to the anniversary of Cervantes' death, as well as Shakespeare's birth and death.
Firstly, and most importantly it is an immensely readable book, which slips quietly into the subconscious of the reader and stays with them for long after pap novels disappear.
Secondly, I applaud Paulo Coelho's approach to those who use filesharing technologies to share his work. He feels that people wanting to share his work is a good thing, and indeed actively encourages it. He has noticed increases in paper sales rather than the opposite effect. His take on filesharing of his work is that it is a complementary activity to traditional publishing rather than in competition with it. Publishers take note ;) His blog is consistently interesting.
Thirdly, it's short. I like short books. I have a bit of a butterfly brain, and short books serve my concentration patterns perfectly. Short, sweet, with impact.
Lastly, it's not perfect. And imperfections make us human.
My 24 copies were given away as follows:
I live in a building with 5 flats in it. I placed one book outside the flat of each of my neighbours.
I gave one to my colleague on the bus, and one to the bus driver on the way to work. I popped into the corner shop opposite my office and gave one to the assistant there, then went upstairs to the deli/sandwich shop and gave one to the lady who makes such generously stuffed sarnies for us.
I gave one to another colleague when I got to the office.
9 down 14 to go.
I plan to take the rest to my class at The Barre tonight, and the remaining books will be given away to random strangers in The Bridge Hotel from 6.30pm onwards. I shall keep one for the bus driver on my way home.
November 30, 2010
Tweeted this earlier but had to share here: bad sex award
The Guardian reported on the Bad Sex Award today, an annual literary prize given in honour of the worst sex passages in novels. Apparently, the award was established in 1993 by the late Auberon Waugh to draw attention to the "crude, tasteless, and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in contemporary novels, and to discourage it".
The Guardian published the winning extract from Rowan Somerville's novel The Shape of Her that won him this year's prize.
I particularly liked the last sentence in the extract:
Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.
Though you should read the whole thing for some truly astounding analogies to parts of the female form such as:
...her breast was uncovered, her nipple poking out, upturned like the nose of the loveliest nocturnal animal, sniffing the night.
Brilliant. It actually makes me want to read the whole novel.
September 21, 2010
This is crispin and Two moons for mongs
Joe Dunthorne and Ross Sutherland's univocalisms using the letter i and then using o. Another selection from Found in Translation. Which we loved. I must reiterate the warning I put on the last posting from this lecture - not for the faint hearted. If easily offended, don't click play.
September 15, 2010
Gay Day/Queer Night
Thanks to Dr Pop for finding this. When we saw it at Port Eliot a couple of years ago, the four of us were falling about laughing, crying with the hilarity of it all. Be warned good reader, if you are easily offended, don't press play. This, my friends is filthy.
Brilliant. Thanks to Tim Clare and Ross Sutherland for writing these poems, and making me laugh so hard.
Now - are your sides hurting?
August 25, 2010
Ross Sutherland: Experiment to determine the existence of Love
July 1, 2009
RIP Steven 'Seething' Wells aka Swells and Susan Williams (amongst others)
I saw the death of this genius who inhabited all the publications of my formative years on Attila The Stockbroker's Facebook page. Go and read his fitting tribute which is published online for 3AM magazine. It is moving and apt.
He had battled cancer and in his regular column for the Philadelphia Weekly (where he had relocated) wrote:
I put the phone down and let out a huge, self-pitying 'Why me?' The answer, of course, is the same as the answer to Travis' shit-awful 1999 international breakthrough hit, 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?' Because you're a fucking dick. Now shut the fuck up and grow a pair.
May 1, 2009
1st woman laureate
Congratulations to Carol Anne Duffy on her appointment as the first woman Poet Laureate.
March 20, 2009
A History of Handknitting by Richard Ruff
I have been listening to an abridged audio version of this book in my way into work the last few mornings. I find that this method of digestion of what could be a bit of a dry book, has made 'reading' it a listening pleasure. I downloaded a copy for £3.95 via iTunes, but you can get it directly from audible.com too (though it seems to be slightly more expensive that way).
I have learned so much about the history of knitting and the lack of evidence/research enabling an accurate chronology of the beginnings of knitting history.
I am really looking forward to 'reading' the rest of this book and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in finding out more about the origins of our beloved craft.
November 9, 2008
Nanowrimo: The Great Magenta
"There are little gaps here and there, murmurs, sometimes it’s as if she will never breathe again, and her courtiers stand mute and still, their eyes as wide as beacons in the early light. She is dappled and grappled with light herself, it falling through the canopy of trees above her, mainly beech and oak, giving off that chlorophyll green that raises the spirits but makes you sleep and alive all at the same time. She shifts her shoulders and settles her chin down on her formidable bosom, breathing in deeply, right down into the depths of her stomach it seems, so that oddly her chest appears to cave in and her head tilt forward."
November 8, 2008
"Bog water would maybe tilt over in to their wellies, leaving an annoyed child and sodden socks, once they had noticed, maybe some ignorant caddis flies in their net, or the odd tadpole. Every now and then however, on certain autumn misty mornings (always autumn, usually October or November), if a child were foolish enough to enter, they would find that the usually shallow bog had suddenly developed hidden depths, resulting in a fall and gulp into the green water, all engulfed and enveloped with only the shrimping net left, first floating, then sinking slowly itself."
November 6, 2008
Yes, I may be working like a slave, I may have a very poorly DJ Mikey at home following 2 unexpected nights in hospital, and I may be starting 5 days late, but I'm still doing it, god dammit!
And you know what that means... daily snippets. In this case, definitely snippets...
...if she were to put her tiny sparkly head to the ground she’d be able to hear the starting murmur of the world waking up, of the land, the estuary, the fields of corn, barley, wild flowers, the stretching woods around her, the beech maze twisting its spine, even the granite and sandstone in the quarry, and the house- the hunched, crumbling, rotting house- that sits grumbling as much as the sparrows, square in the centre of the park.
October 31, 2008
Go and read...
June 9, 2008
Better late than never....
I have been in such a whirl of late I have been bad at everything outside of work. Blogging, seeing people, remembering things I said I would do.... none of it on purpose. I need a holiday. And lots of rest.
- How to Knit a Poem by Gwyneth Lewis (Not yet published)
- Memorial Sweater by Gwyneth Lewis (Not yet published)
- Knitting Needles by Roger McGough (Not Yet Published)
- Nana’s Knitting Needles by Roger McGough (Not Yet Published)
November 28, 2007
Nanowrimo: seven tears
Last nanowrimo post. Hurrah, I hear you all cry. Actually, you probably won't notice, because let's be honest, apart from the odd post (thanks to those, it made a difference to me), I've been doing this pretty much under the radar. I haven't been involved in the nanowrimo forums, I haven't gone to any of the 'write-ins' and few people have commented on here.
I'm submitting today, so I don't get caught up in the last day's nonsense and crashing servers over in the U.S.. The story doesn't make any sense, and I'm spending today trying to tie the individual stories together in some form, but I have really enjoyed it. It has been truly liberating. I've changed a lot of the names already... and actually, I will keep working on it, that's for sure...
She sits and looks at Dog Robert. Then she had woken up here, in her dress and her socks and her shoes, with her Dog Robert by her side, and it had felt as if she had been asleep for a while. It was a strange awakening because she expected the man who had put his arm around her shoulders in the water to be there, but he wasn’t. There had been brief stormy tears at the thought of her parents, but that soon faded and she thought of them little now. It makes her realise she is finding it harder and harder to remember what they look like. Their faces are slightly turned away, her mother’s hair is blonde and straight, her father’s curly, but she can remember their smell, and the heft of them when they lift her up, when she looks up at them, she can remember the underside of their necks, their bodies looking like columns as she glances up.
The initial tears had been about safety and loneliness, although the latter faded when she realised Dog Robert was there too. And then there had been the evening, twilight, when Eva had walked in to find her sitting on the sofa, her shoes and socks on, legs sticking out at right angles, her hands in her lap, waiting. Rowan had seen some other grown ups, but they had ignored her, and she daren’t go up to them to say anything. She had wandered close and stood quietly waiting for them to speak, to ask her where she was, but no one did, until Eva.
And the next post? That'll be about felt, including pictures of Arnold the Christmas Dipper.
November 24, 2007
The second day of the stranger’s stay starts dry and bright. There seems to have been more sunlight since he arrived, everyone is thinking this and looking either at him (he’s started wandering around the cabins’ periphery) or towards the Major’s cabin, where they think he lies sleeping, like a fairy tale. He has a certain look about him, a femininity- ridiculously long eyelashes, for starters. Long legs, that you can see even in the legs of his suit (and some of the viewers wonder when he’ll get something else to wear), and a slant to the cheek bones that give him a Slavic cast. It makes his eyes tilt up as well, and those eyes- again no one can tell if it is the eyes themselves that cast the spell, or if it is their own wish to have someone here, someone who they haven’t said hello to a thousand times, haven’t argued with over the same trivia, shared tea with to pass the time, squabbled over what to do with the last care drop and how to share out the sugar, the powdered milk.
He certainly is carrying more than his fair share of burdensome need and desire, this stranger- the tension is solid following the paths of the cabin artery system, it sits and swims around the village hall, is strongest in each and every home, where people wake up and their immediate thought is of him: what he is doing, where he is, who he is talking to. Only Midge and Phil have noticed that there has been a rapid drop in barometric pressure, their bright yellow plastic barometer being tapped every morning and the changes noted by the once amateur, now professional, fishermen. Whilst everyone else is looking out at the bright blue shining dome of the sky, Midge and Phil catch each other’s eye as they stir sugar into their tea.
November 22, 2007
You know, I signed up for NaBloPoMo. However I soon realised that actually, the way I use this blog, is the way I use this blog. Posting everyday for the sake of it just isn't me. However I must say a public thanks to my blog partner, Scumkitten, because her diligence in NaNoWriMo has ensured a daily post, thus fulfilling the NaBloPoMo requirements.
However, today I do have something to say. I have been working up to getting my sewing machine out and getting started on some serious sewing for a while now. Today I had a delivery of two sewing techniques books which I am spending a delightful evening perusing and oohing and aahing over. No excuses. I am a fairly accomplished seamstress, having been taught to sew in weekly classes by my grandmother from about he age of six I think. I know a handsewed a red cotton pinny for my mother at about 6 which she still has.
I have designed my own clothes, cut my own patterns, fitted and finished clothes for many years, as well as carelessly dashing off the odd Vogue very hard pattern the night before a party, until the demands of a full time job and a busy social life ensured I had neither the time nor the inclination to get my machine out except when absolutely necessary.
That is going to change. I get fed up with trying to buy commercially made garments. I have resolved to make more of my own.
Let's see how far I get... I have always got bored with how much prep there is for sewing if you don't have a room where you can leave a tailors dummy out and a sewing machine on a table. Since my lodger left, I now have that..... my spare room will become my craft room! Shelves for my stash(es), a table big enough to work on and where I can leave my sewing machine, and just enough room for a dummy to play with.........
November 21, 2007
The morning starts with Mary waking up sure of what she needs to do. It is almost as if she had been told in a dream, if she did dream. She’s fairly convinced that she doesn’t- she can never remember any, at least and no one from her previous lives has ever woken her up or said- you were dreaming. She wonders if she just twitches like a dog hunting rabbits in its sleep. Blissfully unaware of what is going on in her subconscious. What would she dream of, if she did dream? What would she want to remember? She lies there, her sheets and duvet pulled up to her chin as usual. When she goes to sleep she likes to pull all the bedclothes up over her head, so that she is buried. It sometimes makes it a little warm and hard to breathe, but there is a comfort there, and a neat calm brown light behind her eyelids. Cocooned in a shell of her own heat, a cave.
November 20, 2007
Rowan liked playing Scrabble with Liam. She liked his red and white striped t-shirt and his blue shorts. She liked the fact that he always looked so serious, even when his feet and calves were covered in sand. Most of all, she liked the fact that he was happy to play with her, did what she said, and followed her rules with no fuss. He reminded her of someone she once knew. She had a faint memory, like a twitch of muscle at the thought of doing a somersault on the grass or kicking a ball. But she can remember nothing more than that, because when she tries it fades around a corner, and she only sees the back of it or the space it leaves after it has gone.
November 19, 2007
Sometimes the weather just gives me the blahs. Today was a terrible weather day. I woke up, and immediately went back to sleep as I thought it was still dawn. Then I woke up again and the light was exactly the same. I was confused.
I turned over, and after a few more minutes, a wrong number cal on my phone made me realise it really was morning proper.
I have had lamps on and candles burning all day. I like candles. The lack of sunshine is difficult for me, but candles often make up for the lack of sun.
Not even they could lift today. It was so dim I had to laugh, get on with working form home and then try and get some natural light on my outside for a while.
Dusk was almost a blessing.
On the knitting front, I am knitting another We call Them Pirates hat, in Rowan Magpie (discontinued) and on 3.25mm needles. The fabric is sturdy to say the least. It will be very warm. Rather hard on the hands though, but kind of nicely challenging. I know who is it destined for and can only hope it fits. The gauge on this pattern is all over the place. I haven't heard of anyone who has got it first time round. Hopefully this time I have.
November 18, 2007
Nanowrimo: sweet spot
I could have put a bet on the fact that as soon as I said I wanted to hit 40 000 words before Sunday, something would happen to stop it. Nothing bad, you understand: too many glasses of red wine and the opportunity to watch the film 'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang'. Anyway. Think I'll catch up today. Feel it in me water, despite cooking the Christmas Cake also, and wanting to go for a run at some point.
Babs has been winded and can’t speak, but she’s got enough in her to turn and run down the path, heading for her cabin. The moon is up behind the clouds, its light spreading behind those sitting over the land and then falling free out to sea, forming a translucent road out to the horizon. The path is solid and dry despite the earlier morning dew, but because of her speed, she slews out of the line she has taken down hill and finds herself slipping on the damp grass to one side. It bowls her over and she skids on to one hip, arm out. Mary is just behind her and manages to connect one foot to Babs’ groin, but there’s no strength to it and she succeeds in is in tripping over and rolling down the hill.
Babs picks herself up, but suffers from a sharp biting pain in one ankle, so ends up limping on towards her cabin and, she thinks, safety.
Mary appears on first sight to have vanished in to the night, but if you let your eyes move from the moon lit sea and allow them to adjust to the shadows, you’ll see her kicking against some of the coast path fencing that still exists and hasn’t fallen down the cliff. She wraps her hands in the stretched sleeves of her cardigan and pulling back in sharp tugs, pulls at the fencing, upending one of the wooden stakes and pulling off the rusted wiring. With the wooden stake in one hand, she then starts to trot along the coast path back up towards the cabins, but taking a darker round- about route.
November 17, 2007
Nanowrimo: tunnel to..
Eep. I've hit 37 000 words and I have the evening to go. It makes me want to get to 40 000 before Sunday. I'm getting competitive with myself. Bearing in mind that none of it makes any sense at the moment (I still have to incorporate a consumptive prostitute and a peppermint pig- the robot is taken care of, at least in my mind), I should get to 50 K way before the end of the month, leaving me some time to try and put at least some transitions in to place. God I'm glad it doesn't matter if its bollocks or not!
How she loved that skirt, and the shape it gave her, and how she loved the fact that she had got changed in the street before the wedding, with her friend Pete, having been swimming naked in the sea, with sand eels sparking around her, sharp green metal. She let her hair dry so that the salt dragged it into natural curls, then she pinned it up by bending down and looking into the window of the car, slicked her lips and eyebrows with Vaseline, sure in the fact that she was bright with sunshine and happiness and didn’t need anymore gilding to have a good time.
That was the night that she had pinned Pete against the wall round the back of the hotel, by the bins, and stood on tip toe, biting his ear and slamming one hand against his skinny neck. He’d not been against the idea, and it was something now that she was glad she had done. No one here would ever think it of me, she thinks, and that makes her smile broadly to her empty bedroom, because everyone thinks they know me, but they are wrong and foolish and know nothing about me.
November 16, 2007
It is while he is eating some sultanas, presented to him on a chipped gold china plate, that he has a memory of a tie whipping around his chin and covering up his eyesight as it flags back and forth. He puts his hand to his throat briefly. He has no tie now. Again, he remembers reaching up, as he is tumbling head over heels now, and undoing the tie in a violent movement, and throwing it to one side. Amazing that he should’ve been bothered by a tie at that particular moment in his life or near death. Other things (like imminent death) might surely have bothered him more. He wonders where the tie is, where it might have floated after he had set it free. The woman who has given him the plate of sultanas (I made them myself, dear, I head over to the vineyards several times a year, dry them on my patio) seems not to notice his absence, and he manages to nod and smile in the right places. There’s something about homemade sultanas that bothers him deeply and he finds that he is about to gag, so stops and puts the plate down on the arm of the chair.
November 15, 2007
Nanowrimo: no place, no home
She ends up around the back again, resting against the shelled birdbath, hands on hips.
Arse, she says, out loud and leans back to look up at the sky. As she looks back down again, she sees movement in the sun lounge, against the back wall. Rowan and Dog Robert are walking towards her, Rowan seemingly solid on the carpet, but Dog Robert’s hind quarters and tail still merged with the rattan furniture and accompanying chintz cushion. The tip of his tail, in fact, emerges just where a button holds the cushion in place, then drags through the material to free him from its reality. Babs squeezes her eyes closed, opens them, glad she missed the most of that little trick. It makes her feel nauseous and itchy. She expects Rowan to open the door to come out, then before it happens realises that there isn’t a key inside. Rowan doesn’t break stride, just melts in and through the glass, as if it were the mist lining the dips and hollows of Bossiney Point, and steps out and down on to the patio. Dog Robert trots after, and in fact, does a little jump through the glass door, insouciant.
November 14, 2007
I never used to have sugar in my tea, thinks Midge, but it seems churlish to not take pleasure where I can these days. So he has sugar when asked, one teaspoon, and a glass of whatever is on offer- the Major is good on whiskey and brandy, only Mary mean in her hostess duties, not out of true meaness, but because she doesn’t want people to know she drinks any sort of spirits. He usually puts her out of her misery with a ‘I could do with a sherry, missus, you got anything you use in cooking?’ and of course, she does, although looking at her, he suspects that sherry is the last thing she’d drink. That’d be too easy and a bloody assumption. All older women drink sherry. Anyway, her sherry is bloody nice, a fino, dark and deep. He knows his sherrys ‘cos of his time on fishing boats in the Bay of Biscay, coming in to Lisbon harbour now and again and sitting on the quay side as the sun went down on Portugese summer nights.
Some days are not blogging days. Committing to posting once a day for November is not something I thought I would have trouble with, but looking back on entries in this blog, there are some days when nothing happens. And that is OK. It is not a crime to leave a day without a new post.
Before I came to that minor revelation, I scoured my usual RSS feeds, scanned my favourite websites and blogs, and found nothing that took my fancy today.
And I have had to travel a lot for work this week, so I have been too tired to do much when I have got home. And the winter light makes progress pics when I get home almost impossible - mind you I am going to follow some of Brenda's tips....
On the knitting front, I have made some progress on my Mountain Stream Scarf, and soon it will be finished.
Right now I am off to start a couple of Christmas presents. And tomorrow, if I don't think I have anything to say, I won't say anything.... And I will not feel a failure, or guilty, becuse the only one putting any posting pressure on me, is me. And I officially sanction a day off here and there. Bugger the post a day thing. I hate reading posts which have been made for the sake of it, and refuse to do that any more here.
November 13, 2007
That is not in his awareness, however. He is so in the moment of eating his bread, cheese and salt that they could be standing 5 inches away from him, their heads stretched towards his, their eyes wide and glistening and he wouldn’t notice. Would he notice if they put their hands out and prodded him, poked him? Laid hands on his shoulders, across his upper, lower back, a hand on his hip, maybe even lower? Mary is sitting on the floor (she insisted, that that was her place, that she liked it, that she couldn’t bear to sit on a chair, that they’d be doing her a favour), twisted and pressed up against the sideboard, so that she could see around the corner. She is staring at the back of the stranger’s neck, memorising the curl of hair at his nape, not just the hair itself, but the space between each making up the pattern, and the glints of candle light on each lock. She’s disgusted with the way he is eating, the single minded look of intensity on his face, the fact that he isn’t using a plate, so she stares and stares at his hair and the skin on his neck, the gap, shadowed, between his skin and the collar of the shirt. She wonders if the shirt needs washing and she remembers her grandmother talking about ‘turning’ collars. She can’t tell if the edges are grubby or if it’s just the grubby light that is a problem. She imagines that he smells warm and meaty and that that would not be as unpleasant as she might think. She does like a nice bit of soap, she reminds herself. The muscles in the small of her back twinge from the twisting.
Although it might seem that the stranger is completely in thrall to the bread, cheese and salt, he is totally aware of the eyes upon him, in particular from the middle-aged lady sitting at an awkward angle in the corner of the sitting room. He continues to bend over his food, keeping his back to the crowd, but eyeing up those behind him by glancing in to the darkened glass in the window in front and to the side of him.
Every now and again, in his glancing, he notices that the bearded man’s bulk shifts and blocks him from their sight, and in fact blocks out much of the light. He realises that he has a guardian, and turns to catch his eye and say thank you, once he has eaten one piece of bread and half of the cheese.
The Needle And The Damage Done
Thanks to iKnit London for pointing those of us who were unable to attend the recent UK Stitch'n'Bitch Day, towards a recording of poet Peter Wyton's performance of his poem The Needle and The Damage Done. The poem was inspired by his daughter's experience of being thrown out of a pub in Brighton for knitting. It's number 15.
November 12, 2007
He sits up slightly, resting on his forearms, and squints into the darkness. He realises he’s still wearing his shirt and underpants, his socks and shoes are off though. He’s loathe to leave the warm cocoon his body heat has made of the bed and it takes him a while, and indeed, a deep breath to shift himself up further and then sideways out of the bed to plant his feet onto the carpet. He stands eventually and takes a gentle stretch to see if his body is working properly. It seems to be. A little stiff in the lower back, maybe, but that’s to be expected. He runs his hands over his arms and legs and can feel no bruising, which, considering what he can remember of the morning, is surprising. His body still holds the sensation of weightlessness, of falling and it is not a liberating one. It is a feeling of desperation, of clutching.
He walks towards the door and stops outside it, straining to listen, to see if anyone else is in the cabin. There seems to be a little light around the rim of the door, but it is the same bluish white light, and faint at that, fainter than from behind the curtain. Opening the door, he finds the sun lounge empty, no lights on, the carriage clock ticking tightly to itself in a corner, its white face overly bright in what turns out to be moonlight, shimmering through the front windows and flooding the cabin. The door to the Major’s bedroom is ajar slightly, and the man walks to it and gently presses with the palm of his hand so that it tilts open further. He realises, to his relief, that the bed is empty, the blankets still flat and neatly folded, the pillow undented. So he is alone in the cabin. He has to admit that the feeling of carpet under his feet is not unpleasant, but he’s starting to feel the chill a bit, so he goes back into his bedroom and puts on his socks, suit and underpants. It’s still cold, so he rummages through the chest of draws, in the dark still, and pulls out an indeterminate coloured jumper, turtle neck, with leather patches at the elbows, and wrestles into it, pulling on his jacket over the top. It makes him feel bulky and slow, but he feels he has to do something to stop the descent in to shivery spasms that are threatening to take over. He finally finds his shoes by falling over them, laces them up and walks out of the back door into the tiny garden. Before him lie the undulations of the cliffs and glimpses of a quicksilver and black sea, fading from liquid brilliance into crisp glass-like atmosphere. A light blinks far in the difference, one, then a count of 7 with nothing, then two in quick succession. It repeats exactly and he finds it hypnotic.
November 11, 2007
The Major comes forward into the group. I think the best thing for all concerned is to simply get him lying down somewhere quiet where he isn’t going to be disturbed, either by other people, or overzealous care. Let’s take him to my cabin. Yes, he says, looking at Mary- my spare room is always made up for visitors too. Might as well use it. He sighs. You can stay and keep an eye on him if you must.
So that odd little procession lifts itself back up on to its carnival wheels and heads out of the door again, stranger wrapped in a faded red blanket, his feet almost dragging on the concrete slabs of the path now, with the Major up front, chest puffed out and ready to fend off admirers or attackers, and Mary trotting behind with a cup of tea in one hand and a plate of biscuits in the other. Seagulls wheel overhead flicking back and forth under the clouds, feathered ticker tape.
It doesn’t take long to get to the Major’s cabin, with its perfectly trimmed box hedging, shell encrusted concrete birdbath (a must for this year’s cabin), mended steps and shiny, shiny greenhouse glass panelling glinting. Midge always marvels at the jewel-like quality of the Major’s glass panelling. He must get out there with bleach and a toothbrush every morning, he thinks, to keep it algae free and as clear as air like he does. It shows a dedication or a foolish defense against the reality of the current situation, and Midge isn’t sure which is better. To fight and fight even when you know everything has gone to shit (and there is a certain amount of dignity to that position), or just relax and take things as they come. Midge feels more of an affinity for the latter position, but gets a twinge every now and again, mainly in his buttocks, that makes him wish he had more fight in him.
The party wedges itself in the gateway to begin with, but shuffle through eventually, with the Major rummaging for his keys in the deep pockets of his herby slacks. Door open, sun room door opened in to back bedroom, stranger laid out on the bed, shoes off to one side, jacket and trousers slipped off and passed to Mary. His eyes are still open, but he doesn’t seem to be responding to anything now, so they move him like a puppet, a doll, lying him on his back, legs stretched out, arms by his sides, the blanket lain over him, with a sheet between (the blanket being too scratchy to be next to the skin, says Mary) and then all four standing back to look at the lying in state of the stranger pulled from the sea.
November 10, 2007
Nanowrimo: sea II
She rounds the southern corner and comes along the path to Bossiney Point. There’s a dark patch out of the corner of her eye in the grassy dip on the edge of the point. She stops and stands to look properly and sees the back of a head and dark clothes and realises it isn’t anyone she recognises. There is a shimmer in the air that comes off the body. Dog Robert trots ahead and sits right next to the shoulder, so that the man’s (and she sees that it is a man) head turns to him and both of them lean towards each other, and they touch noses. Rowan takes that as a good sign.
She skips on over and moves forward in front so that she can take a good look.
Why’re you wet? She asks, as she sees the man’s bedraggled hair and the darkened patches on his suit. He has taken his shoes off and they are sitting dull now, with their shoelaces akimbo on the grass.
I was in the sea, he says, and nods his head to one side, to the inlet. She walks over and leans over to look down, to assure herself that nothing has changed.
But people don’t come IN to there, she says, they only leave.
I don’t think I came in by the sea, he says.
Her eyes are round. Did you JUMP in? she says, and she can hardly contain her enthusiasm for this idea, and how much she wants him to say yes. Her legs feel tingly and her heart is thumping at the thought. I always want to jump in- she tells him- from the top step, jump right in and see if I can touch the stones, did you touch the stones?
I don’t think I jumped in, he says, I think I fell in.
Well, from the step that would be ok, says Rowan, because it’s not very high and you are big, so you wouldn’t hurt yourself. Did you touch the rocks?
I think I fell from over there, he says, and he points at a light stripe of shining green, almost luminous now in the afternoon light.
She doesn’t know what she can say to that, because it doesn’t look like a slide or something that would be fun, like the abandoned playgrounds in Wadebridge, which they cycle to sometimes. There the slides are a dull metal, and edges that hold you in, an angle to the slide that lets you think you are going fast, but catches you at the end so that you don’t get hurt. This slide has a metal hint to it as well, but there is no dullness and it shines, and there is no gentle halting to the drop.
November 9, 2007
When asked about it later, she can’t remember exactly what she saw or heard. It changes every time she shuts her eyes to think about it. She’s lying there, then she hears a musical note and a deep purr and a shout and she opens her eyes, looking out to sea, then quickly, hearing a hollow sound, looks to her left, to the other side of the cliffed inlet. A dark man is sliding down the cliff face, against a patch that is continually damp with dribbles of water (it could be hardly called a waterfall, it is so pathetic) and therefore a luminous algal green. His arms and legs are spread out like a spider’s and his mouth is in an O of surprise, then he vanishes from her line of sight and she leans over towards the cliff edge, hears a last despairing ‘naaah’, then a splash. Later, she can’t see how he can have slipped over from the edge, and thinks that in some corner of her sight she sees him dropping from the sky, suddenly appearing in the top of her line of vision as if dangled from a thread.
She squeaks (she wishes she didn’t do that, in times of crisis or surprise. It infantilises, but she can’t seem to help it), hauls herself up and runs up the path, takes the fork down to the steps and throws herself to the edge, where the water is lapping. He’s floating, his dark suit and white shirt billowing with air trapped against the wet cloth. His hair is slapped against his forehead and he looks chalky.
NaBloPoMo still going......
I am not (in my mind) as dedicated as my blog partner. I do not slave over words and imagination (actually I am not sure she does, it just always sounds so wonderful that it seems to me that she must spend a lot of time on it....) And I love reading her stuff.
However, I do like typewriting, writing as I type. I am not trained in any way. My writing probably stinks.
I do not care.
I post here for many reasons. I would love to have the kind of self discipline my compadre displays, but despite how similar we are in many ways, I am (in my mind) nowhere near as dedicated as my friend. Or am I?
I post here quite a lot. I like posting. I like finding stuff and reblogging it here. I have no idea why. I think it is kind of like hoarding. I think of my contributions here as a vehicle for legitimising my hoarding tendencies.
See, I can collect links of stuff to do with knitting, or any one of any other things I collect things about, and post them here, and it sort of authenticates my hours of perusing the Internet...
Except today I have been too busy to find anything. And I still feel uncomfortable about writing about me, in Real Life (I have a diatribe about this on the tip of my tongue). It isn't quite what this blog was set up to do.
And, confessionally, I HATE those blogs which describe people's lives in minute detail. I am just not interested in what your kids have been doing, or how your partner makes you feel, or how intimidated you are by whatever is intidimidating you. You know why? I really do not like the whole thing about feeling pressure to blog, feeling pressure to produce, feeling pressure to write something interesting.... or funny ... or creative.......
The only person who creates that pressure is you. Or me. Or whomever is hosting that particular blog.
You don't have anything to say?
Don't tell me you don't have anything to say.
Just save yourself for when you DO have something to say.
Don't apologise for saying nothing. You know who cares?
A blog, journal or diary, should never feel like a chore. It shouldn't stop you from from doing other things - otherwise you would have nothing to blog about! A bit like me tonight.
Except I think there is a difference. I have been saving this up for a while.
I hate confessional media. I hate the media obsession with confession. I do not like those TV or radio shows which encourage people to 'confess'.... Or the forums where people ask for advice from strangers. In my world, that is what friends and family are for. It kind of feels wrong to put it out there, in a public space, where everyone, and anyone, can see.
And to post diatribes about your family/people you work with/life partnere/employers just seems plain silly to me. They will always find it. It is never hidden.
What stops me? Well - you post something on the Internet, it is there. Always. It can't be retracted. It can always be found. Would you really say what you have said on a forum or a blog to the person/s concerned in real life? To their face? If not, don't post it. Write it on paper then burn it. At least if things change there's no evidence.
Yet I blog.... What is that all about? I have no idea. But I shall give it some thought over the rest of this month.... If YOU have strong thoughts on what motivates you to blog, then do leave a comment. Material to fuel my unordered ideas would be really helpful! And now I have fulfilled my promise to blog every day in November...... so far.
November 8, 2007
Nanowrimo: the fetch II
She starts to look around and sees the pathway that takes you down the cliff and ends crumbling right in to the sea. It’s partially hidden by undergrowth, and for an adult would be an annoyance, scratching and forbidding at chest and head height. She and Dog Robert can just slip under the prickles and spins and branches, ducking only now and then, the roots underfoot not a problem but a playground. Much of the soil has crumbled away as well, leaving lattice work of root systems as the pathway on their own. She likes walking over the roots- they are so closely packed that there’s no danger of her getting her tiny foot trapped. Dog Robert has problems though- his feet are smaller than anyone’s feet that she knows. Small feet with dark brown velvet pads and pearly grey fur over the claws. She knows this because sometimes she shakes his paws to say hello and he does it because he wants his dinner.
So they start down the cliff. There is somewhere she wants to go, a point just of the path about two heights of her above the sea, where it’s flat and grassy and she can lay back against the angle of the cliff and fall asleep without worrying about rolling on down. The grass and sedges are soft as well, and don’t prickle her through her clothes. As well as sleeping, she sometimes gets a glimpse of the beach and people camping there, building fires, cooking fish and swimming. There’s another dog, a spaniel, called Toby, and some women in bikinis. When they are there, the world goes dual again, with the sky brilliant blue over the dull current mist, the sea jade as well as metal grey, and sand as well as the high lapping shoreline. If she squints she finds she can flick between the two visions, and she’s never sure which is now and when the other one is. But the other one has warmth and laughter and Dog Robert sees the other and wants to join, so she has to hold on to his collar and even though she’s heard Midge say he’s a runt of a dog, he doesn’t feel like a runt and he can pull her over maybe.
She hops down to her special spot and settles down. She’s learnt that you can’t force the visitors or the new scenes. They either come or they don’t. She mostly hopes they do, at least here, ‘cos here they are always sunny and fun and with people messing and playing and calling to each other. She saw them at night once, and the moon was huge and creamy in the sky and gave a road of silver to the campers. She could hear faint clinking and laughing and realised even though it is and was late, they were not sleeping but sitting round the glowing fire (and it is glowing, a sweet pink orange jewel- at some points it seems to be underwater), drinking beer and talking in low voices. One of the girls is lying wrapped up in a blanket, curled against a rock. At night it is harder for Rowan to distinguish between the two realities, so the girl is curled on sand, 5 metres below the sea. It is the saddest sight Rowan has ever seen, this drowned girl, hair gently moving with the current on this still day.
November 6, 2007
Nanowrimo: things that we might lose in a fire
Today has been hard in terms of writing: my mind has been on other, completely non-important stuff. It bloody takes up space in the brain, doesn't it, unneccessary stuff.
It’s not what I might save, she thinks, it’s what I might lose, and now I’d lose so much more even though the cabin is so small. There is lightening sometimes, with the storms and it does strike close in. She’s the only one with out a mast of some sort, be it CB Radio or to hang flags on. She dare not, the possibilities too terrifying. She doesn’t want to call on fate and see what it might have in for her if she tempts it. Tempting fate. I do like that term though, she thinks, because really I’m just living. What sort of temptation is that? Surely fate has got better things on its mind than me?
I’m serious fucking small fry, she yells out to the west- you’ve really got nothing better to do? I can’t believe I fucking talking to myself. What a donkey.
So ok, she sits down on the crumbling step outside’ve the plastic greenhouse to one side, and starts to wash the tea and washing towels, rubbing them back and forth in cold soapy water against the washboard the Major gave her back when she’d agreed to do this. She’s got her last pair of Marigolds on and she pushes down and up, revelling in the work it gives her shoulders. The bowl sits between her legs and she falls into a semi-trance, fading her focus so that everything in front of her, the hedge and fencing, the gorse and squat hawthorn bushes, all merge into a grey and dark mirage. It does the brain good to just mutate sight in to something that doesn’t make sense- a kind of visual meditation, not thinking about anything, but still her arms moving up and down, making sure to connect with the wash board.
Things we might lose in a fire- she mentally walks around the house. That I would be bothered about, she adds.
1. Her thick copper bottom pan that Midge found in the shell of an old hotel. It’s got dents in it, she remembers throwing it at someone once and it bouncing on the concrete outside the cabin, but even when warming milk, when it’s left on the side and dries out and the evaporated skin of milk hardens- it’s a good pan.
2. An old Chinese calendar for the year 2007. It’s for kids, is bright red and green and gold, drawn on a kind of bamboo lattice, with symbols and an apple cheeked plump child with screwed up eyes. Even when she was given it it was way out of date. But somehow it doesn’t matter.
3. Her tea towel from Bergerac. It’s a deep olive green, with rose hatching woven in to it and pictures of a chateau and a vineyard in glossy thread. It is quite the most beautiful thing. She remembers she found it washed up in the bay and it was grimy and stiff with salt. It took three rinses and now the colours make her smile.
4. Her salt shaker, tiny, made of plastic, but pretending to be cut glass, with a chipped metal plastic lid. It is the size of her top thumb joint and only fits a teaspoon of salt.
She realises she hasn’t even got out of the kitchen yet. How could she save all of these things in a fire? After all, to worry about losing them implies that they would be saved if possible. Maybe she should collect them all together, keep thinking, put them in a basket by the door.
November 5, 2007
Nanowrimo: the fetch
She never does understand why, when the dawn comes from the East, the western horizon seems to lighten beforehand. She’s tried to think about the stratosphere and atmosphere, about bouncing waves or particles of light (and she likes the thought of being two things at once, depending) and how they might bend, but when it comes down to it, she just likes to stand and watch the thing unfold, like a present.
There are still stars in the sky too, and she has a wide view- not quite 180 degrees, because of the foliage, but because her cabin is on the apex of the hill, it’s pretty much there- the headlands on either side impinge a little, but she likes those, they act as nets to the moon and the stars, she thinks, gives the human brain an edge to latch on to. Somehow having no finish, no line, would give her a headache and stop her from being able to enjoy the view. The horizon in one direction, the hills in another. Sometimes the moon rises from the south and gets dragged from Bossiney Point like a soap bubble, and she can swear she can see it stretching off, as if she is blowing through a plastic ring, then the moon pops and floats up suddenly light and free.
She decides she needs to see the sunrise proper, so, still in her jersey bottoms, she pulls on her donkey jacket and a pair of Wellingtons, grabs a piece of her cheese on toast, and heads outside. The mist is not there, and this is what makes her initially wary (how often does this happen, she thinks? Have I been missing this all these mornings?), the sky is as clear as porcelain and the stars bright from high above down to the west.
From the east however, she can see- not a lightening, as such, nor colour, just something different for now- maybe a knowledge of change. So she walks out through her gate on to the common ground next to the village hall, climbs over a style and heads up over the fields behind.
November 4, 2007
Back at the hall, Mary and the Major, favoured recipients of the aubergine paint, are dusting. Or, more accurately, Mary is dusting, the Major is directing matters with out lifting a finger. He’s wearing a fine knit beige jumper with darned elbows over a white and red checked shirt. Slacks also. And although she can’t see, she knows he’s wearing thin brown socks pulled up sharp up the shin bone. He looks clean and annoyed and he smells of soap. He always looks annoyed, thinks Mary. She gets an urge to dust him, the old fossil. She looks at her duster, moves it in his direction, but he’s not looking at her, he’s staring up at the ceiling, his shoulders slightly stooped still, giving him a weird origami quality. He shouldn’t fold like that, really, it’s not natural, especially given his continual moaning about his gout and arthritis. She told him to join the weekly yoga class, but he said he didn’t believe in religion. She told him it wasn’t religion, just stretching, then he said the strangest thing- then it isn’t proper yoga, he said, I spent three years in the Kashmir, he said, they didn’t do it to be flexible, they did it to live better lives. We just take things, he said and she remembers that he looked even more annoyed than usual, that his eyes looked liquid behind his glasses, we take other people’s ways of living and we murder them, we suck them dry for our own purposes and take all meaning they might have had out of them. Leave them dry, leave them as dust. And expect them to be grateful that we took an interest. We deserve all we get, he said, except in the end, they got it worse, and that means I can’t sleep at night because of it. She didn’t know what to say to that.
Mary stops dusting over the window sills (which are quite a stretch for her, the village hall having been an old Methodist church with arching high windows) and runs her hands over the feathers. The Major grimaces in the corner, where he appears to be shifting chairs, for no known purpose, as far as she can see- you’re just redistributing the dust, he says, you should do that outside. She keeps rubbing the feathers. She feels foolish doing it, but also, brave. Dust, she thinks, it’s just dust.
November 3, 2007
Phil takes some steps back, hands on his hips, looks up at the ragged Cornish flag limp and organic in the still mist. The white cross has that familiar algal tinge to it.
Surprised that’s still there, he says. Well, he says, shall we go in? He bows to a point ten degrees south of Rowan, swings his arm out to the side and gestures towards the door hanging on one hinge. It’s dark inside, no light entering, the windows boarded up.
I don’t think so mate, says Midge. She’d bloody kill us if we let kiddo rampage around here.
Rowan tugs on Midge’s sleeve, the wool feels greasy and scratchy at the same time. No, I’ll go in, she says, her face screws up, I wanna.
Bloody hell, says Midge, we’ve got a right one here. He crouches down and takes her hand, small and cold, like a raw chicken thigh, he thinks, which disturbs him. Kiddo, you can come in, but stay close to me, yes? Otherwise I’ll have to tell her that you was bad.
Yup, she says back, and sticks her chin forward, grinning and baring her teeth at him. Her eyes screw up, her face rictous in gratitude.
Phil stands with his eyes closed, picking at his teeth- you done yet? Can we get on?
So remind me what we’re here for, says Midge, as he shoulders the door careful, leaning the peeling wood against him and shifts it scraping across the concrete. His hands come away covered in aubergine flecks also. The little girl notices this, looks back at her own hands, holds them out to the soft light flexing the fingers back so her palms rise up.
There’s as like to be more paint in here, says Phil, you can see they stopped bothering after the first coat. And it’s true, the flaking paint is showing duck egg blue underneath, a beautiful pale colour.
It seems a shame, says Midge. The blue’s much better.
Some bloody expert you are, says Phil, bloody changing rooms.
Why would he change rooms?-a sks Rowan. They ignore her. She kicks some weeds sticking up through the cracks in the concrete, little yellow explosions of flowers, columbines, she knows her flowers alright, she thinks.
I don't usually talk about my Real Life in much detail here. The last two posts were actually quite difficult for me to write. I think it is because my inner thoughts are not expressed on this blog. It kind of feels funny to write abot what's going on in my head.
That's not to say that I don't talk about what goes on in my life and how things make me feel. I do. A lot. I just don't usually do it here.
So NaBloPoMo, so far (all 3 days of it), has been a bit of an experiment for me, and my contributions to this blog. I am interested to see how the experiment turns out. I am not committing myself to anything, mind you, and I may revert to things I have found and my knittng....
November 2, 2007
NoBloPoMo: Day 2
I thought I was OK.
I thought it would all be fine - I will concentrate on work and take my mind off the constant wondering. What caused such an accident? How did it happen? Why him? The usual questions you might think. But they aren't usual. This is very UNusual. And not in a good way.
My mind has been all over the place. Thinking of the people he left behind and then the ones he will see again. Small comfort.
After over 10 hours on late running trains today - some idiot decided to steal the train cables between Sheffield and Chesterfield (dangerous but obviously lucrative: the price of copper right now and all that) - I heard the news.
It was a heart attack. A massive heart attack. He would have known nothing nor felt anything. The funeral is on Tuesday. At least it was quick. Even smaller comfort.
Her gran had had it right, she thinks, smoking 20 a day all her life, and yes, ok, dying of that, but still- she didn’t go ‘til she was 95, and the Doctors told her to not bother giving up because the shock would take her first. There are cabins here that have the same nicotine flock wallpaper that she remembers. Not a bad colour in the misty light, quite appropriate.
She’s not sure how the old boys get their ciggies, given the shortage. They’re all on rollies, she knows that, but she does wonder what goes in them. The deserted hemp farm a day’s cycle away- she wonders if the cultivar has reverted back to type. She knows she should remember the smell of weed, that it is herbal- then she worries that that is just words and not the reality of the smell.
November 1, 2007
I signed up to NaBloPoMo.
Then it was Halloween.
Yesterday was a devastating day.
My uncle died. He fell from his loft. And died.
I feel like I am living in a bad dream with relatives I love. But one important person is missing. And tomorrow I have to go to Birmingham.
October 30, 2007
I signed up for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month:
"What the heck is going on here?" you ask. Well, it's pretty simple. You get yourself a blog, if you don't have one already -- and don't mind me if I'm stupefied at the idea that there's someone left in the English speaking world without their own blog. Then you look at the calendar, and when the whole world goes, "Oh, I can't believe they're already playing Christmas music in the warden's office!" you'll know it's November and that is the month in which you post something to your blog every day, in accordance with the National Blog Posting Month challenge!
Last year everybody just went for it, posting thirty days in a row and maybe hoping to win a prize in the random drawing. This year, for those of you who suspect you might run out of gas, maybe you'd like to try blogging on a theme. Follow a news story for the month; get deeper into an issue that you want to educate yourself about; keep us abreast of how your yoga practice / daily muffin-eating regime / matchstick Eiffel Tower is progressing.
Or simply use NaBloPoMo as a writing exercise, as an easier-to-accomplish alternative to the marathon that inspired it: National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoWriMo - Scumkitten has signed up for that. It looked like to much hard work to me, so I opted for this, the idler version.....
August 6, 2007
Stimulus: Respond is an online fashion magazine which has been running online for some time - they are just about to go into their first printed edition.
Started as a respite from the mundanity of the contemporary fashion press, Stimulus is the first magazine to weave together anthropology and art with the flair of a style magazine and the attitude of street culture. Every two months, we present a combination of literature, photography, fashion, art, poetry and music in order to construct a monograph that explores the foundations of a world that we grow up to take for granted.
Like you we adore beauty in it's simplest form. The things your friends are doing are more important than celebrities you will never meet. Stimulus is brought to you by people who write from the heart, about subjects that they are passionate about. It is a personal and cutting-edge guide to the modern, urban, world.
We aim to reflect the diversity of human ingenuity and experience in both our writing and our photography. We aim to elicit a response from our readers by discussing subjects which go unnoticed by you every day - unnoticed yet on the tip of your tongue. Our goal is to explore and dissect your world using every resource available, to provoke by showing the mundane in an extraordinary way. The world made for you is pale in comparison with a world that you can make for yourself. You know the fallacy of a world without risk and a life without danger. You decide your own path and will make your own choices based on Stimulus: Respond.
This is a very interesting publication and I urge you to take a look at some of the back issues, available to download in PDF, after you give them your email address.
The Travel issue contains an interview and photographs of the work of Swede, Sandra Buckland, a fashion designer who works knitting, origami, folds and pleats together (from Stimulus: Respond):
Knitwear is one of the most misunderstood skills around. Not only are you making the garment but you are actually creating the textile it self. Heyress 07 award winner Sandra Buckland, somehow, seems to combine a talent as such with the perfect understanding of volume and its function on a body, coming up with the most exciting of garments.
Traditional handicraft techniques mix with pleats, folds and origami in Sandra’s latest collection “Ink Blot Test” turning her exercise of shape discovery into a brightly colored knitted future.
Thanks to Michaela for the heads up on this.
May 24, 2007
My oh my! This is sinful writing for knitters
Knitters review is a marvellous resource. The current review is for a new cashmere and silk laceweight fuzzy yarn made by Filatura di Crosa, and called Superior. The review is like pornography for knitters. Go and read it immediately.
December 12, 2006
How to knit a poem
Gwyneth Lewis had a lovely 15 minute reflection on knitting, poetry and life on Radio 4. How to knit a poem is a short series of four programmes, running 11,12,13 and 14 December 1545-1600. Use the listen again facility on the BBC website to hear each programme for 7 days after broadcast. More on Gwyneth Lewis over at Bloodaxe Books, which is one of Britain's foremost publishers of contemporary poetry, and is based here in the North East of England. If you want to hear really lovingly crafted radio, listen while you can, then buy her books to play with later.
September 13, 2006
Out of the Blue
To commemorate 9/11, the English Poet Simon Armitage has written a poem called 'Out of the Blue', section following:
Crane into the void.
Lean into the world.
It's not in my blood
to actually jump.
I don't have the juice.
But others can't hold.
So a body will fall. And a body will fall.
And a body will fall. And a body will fall.
A body will drop
through the faraway hole
of vanishing point,
smaller then gone,
till the distant hit and the burst of dust.
The shock. The stain
of fruit and stone.
You can find the whole of the piece as a pdf download from Poetry and Poets in Rags
August 7, 2006
Port Eliot Again.
From top left, left to right: gilt picture frame from a family portrait; Immodesty Blaize, sans corset on her 8 ft rocking horse; growing in the walled garden; detail from door sill; some of the punters; the Eliot's pool, Keep Out; decaying gates and kissing.
Now. I never did get around to telling you about Port Eliot, did I? Well, the trouble is, there's pretty much too much to tell. Can I leave it by saying that we (as in DJ Mikey, Cap'n Matt and other assorted) felt that we had been invited to a big three day party by a slightly down-at-heel, extremely eccentric, but undoubtably gorgeous and upper-class family. The atmosphere was relaxed and excitable, dark and mysterious yet full of sunlight, with children and strippers, drummers and authors, film makers and spanish chocolate doughnuts. Next year is a must.
From top left, left to right: wood carving; detail of door; glitterball hanging in a hedge; the estuary; food seller; wooden monk.
July 23, 2006
Port Eliot Literary Festival: faded grandeur in a messed up world
Only a short entry at first- I've got too many photos and stuff whizzing around in my head. Two days and two nights of artistic, leftfield, decadent, beautiful nonsense. Gaining entry to another world, in a sense. Authors, strippers, actors, giant neon robots. Photographers, film-makers, musicians and fairys. Brilliant. The food was good too, especially the sparkling cider and blackcurrant served in champagne flutes- went best with the whitebait and chips ;) Worth visiting just for the chance to loll around in an ancient house and its grounds, surrounded, as DJ Mikey put it, by the beautiful people. There was a definate air of privilege and louche grandeur about the audience and the house. Faded elegance, silk puffball skirts and birkenstocks being the order of the day. Anyway, I need to calm down for a while. Too much sun whilst lounging in the walled garden, darling....
p.s. a prize of a ball of yarn of some sort for anyone who can guess the name of the artist who painted the mural in the house(a section shown top (oops) left)....
July 21, 2006
Ahm off to be literary for the whole weekend
I shall be mainly lolling around Port Eliot this weekend for the Port Eliot Litfestival, 2 days, 3 nights of authors, performance art, bands, leftfield films, Arthur Smith, Immodesty Blaize on an 8 foot rocking horse, a Ha Ha, walled gardens and general upper-class nonsense. This is the fourth year of the festival and the first time I've managed to drag my lazy, sorry arse to it. I'm guessing it is going to be pretty wild. And I will try to take some photos....
July 20, 2006
I see your spam poetry and raise you....
With some Spam Comment Poetry:
Archiving terraces, grateful wasting, serendiptious.
Apollo nebula raptly continued: respectfully, unaccountably, blotted admirations.
Hovels arbiter? Opals firers privacies, microprocedures, spooned supply. Tartary perpetrate!
Gazelle ribbed clobbers.
Antisera ingenuity Deutsch unscrupulous corridors!
palm butter milk-drying Pan-celticism never-ending new-modeler
Out-babylon oval-faced orange rust much-discussed palm greasing
Pan-orthodoxy ocean-sundered neck strap n-tuple Non-norman parcel-carrying Pan-satanism mind-wrecking money-maker ovate-elliptic owl-sighted
parish register Paleo-asiatic Non-peruvian
New zealand naphthyl methyl ketone Pan-slav Mid-victorian night warbler parti-named packet boat Non-euclidean
I love these things which appear in spam. Love them.
Edited to add another one...
oil varnish neutral position nurse balloon one-jointed needle-pointed
Moeso-gothic nodding cap muster roll mother-sick mid-century
nitrogen trioxide ninth-known park flower mild-faced
one-valued north shore old-timer outside form music-flowing oil gas party-political
panel saw peacock-feathered mid-kidney
moschatel family mild-spoken paper-paneled nine-foot oyster rock navel point peach-kernel oil mild-savored
July 4, 2006
silky-smooth point switch glost fire
garter snake box day animal husbandman
Bath-sheba snow-crowned timber-eating
day-clear evening trumpet flower double-loaded
crown gate pinch phenomenon heart-burdened
self-deceit chicken hazard gentle-born
sight rhyme Pro-french ten-a-penny
school seating sea thrift smoot hole
hand-fire stomach-filling shaft horsepower
Haven't had one of these in ages! Spammers have obviously been less creative of late...
February 5, 2006
RIP Betty Friedan
The author of classic feminist texts The Feminine Mystique and The Second Stage, Betty Friedan, has died on her 85th birthday (4 February). Whether you are a critic of her work or not, there is no denying that she contributed to a body of work which was, and arguably still is, politically radical, and which contributed to the rise and influence of the feminist movement.
The word 'feminist' has become rather unpopular of late, and I think that it's time to reclaim the word and what it stands for as something positive.
Despite the many changes and huge improvements to the standing of women in society, I think there is still a long way to go, and I really believe that every woman in western society should be aware of the massive impact Friedan and others have made on the lives we lead today. If more women were acquainted with this hugely important body of literature, I think more would feel happy, indeed proud, to call themselves feminist.
Rest in peace Betty Friedan, and thank you for your work.
January 26, 2006
Glittr is good for pulling out bizarre sayings and poetry from spam in her inbox. I tend not to get this sort of thing (not popular enough ;) despite having two work emails), but I got an email today trying to sell me condoms (I think. Not entirely sure) and at the bottom of the mail were some interesting words, that lined up turned to a bizarre poem... not their best work, I hope, but I quite like it.
Cylinder you rabble me,
Kiosk dulse zigzagging bp.
Cornfield you delight me,
Antisemitism you byrne me,
Bobbie you chromate me, bootleg.
Splenetic you dichotomize me, cutler .
January 4, 2006
Inbox literary juxtapositions
And after the festive break we have a small selection:
Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
My toughest fight was with my first wife.
Antonym, n.: The opposite of the word you're trying to think of.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
HEARSE, n. Death's baby-carriage.
The good or ill of a man lies within his own will.
Conscience is the chamber of justice.
CONDOLE, v.i. To show that bereavement is a smaller evil than sympathy.
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
If I were to believe the first line here, then I must be the most good mannered person around!
You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners.
The influence of individual character extends from generation to generation.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
Peace is the happy, natural state of man; war corruption, his disgrace.
The cruelest lies are often told in silence.
What worries you masters you.
That last line is pretty profound (if I can be bothered later I might even find out who said it).
Don't abuse your friends and expect them to consider it criticism.
Sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality.
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
Canada: A few acres of snow.
MULATTO, n. A child of two races, ashamed of both.
The Canada line made me choke on my cup of tea.
TAKE, v.t. To acquire, frequently by force but preferably by stealth.
Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.
Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.
You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame.
Self-denial is indulgence of a propensity to forego.
As you can tell, I hadn't checked this inbox in a while.
A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.
Most people enjoy the inferiority of their friends.
Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.
You know, if this type of spam ever stops, I think I will really miss it!
December 19, 2005
Inbox literary juxtapositions
The mistakes are all there waiting to be made.
All good things are wild, and free.
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Optimism is the content of small men in high places.
And another selection for your delectation....
True poverty does not come from God.
Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any.
A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.
Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
As you can my inbox had several of these this morning...
Nature's Laws are the invisible government of the earth.
You can't fight in here....this is the War Room!!
Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.
Maybe this world is another planet's hell.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
And last but not least from today's email:
Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.
Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today.
All is but lip-wisdom which wants experience.
By all means, let's not confuse ourselves with the facts!
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
December 14, 2005
Much as is it essential to keep the identities of the Knitted Terrorists a secret (yeah, right!), I'm going to have to give a small secret away today. A weird thing has happened. A man from my past rang up my office today and left a message to get back to him. He and his colleagues had done an internet search to find me, because they needed my permission to publish one of my stories in a soon-to-be hard copy short story anthology.
The story itself is currently available for download online (for free!) from the publishers website (a great independent publisher called ROUTE). If you're interested, go to Route Online, The Trouble with Love, download the four stories therein and mine is the last entry, Bending Spoons. Written a while ago (5 years I think!), but maybe a fresh opportunity, a kick up the butt, for the literary side of Scumkitten's personality....
Watch this space.
December 7, 2005
Inbox literary juxtapositions
More entertaining inbox additions:
One should only see a psychiatrist out of boredom.
Life is something to do when you can't get to sleep.
How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?
Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.
You may assume infinite ignorance and unlimited intelligence.
Ponder and wonder......
The society of women is the element of good manners.
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
I'm a born-again atheist.
Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to.
The mistakes are all there waiting to be made.
Everything starts as somebody's daydream.
Amazing that these are all supposed to be trying to encourage me to buy viagra online......
December 5, 2005
Inbox literary juxtapostions
Another poetic moment advertising viagra.....
There is no passion like that of a functionary for his function.
Blame someone else and get on with your life.
True poverty does not come from God.
The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
Divorces are made in heaven.
REFORM, v. A thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.
and another one/verse:
A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.
My work is a game, a very serious game.
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
Rest in peace. The mistake shall not be repeated.
Someday is not a day of the week.
Virtue is its own punishment.
December 1, 2005
This morning's inbox contained these words of wisdom:
Tears may be dried up, but the heart - never.
Spring makes everything look filthy.
Anything too stupid to be said is sung.
Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion.
Courage without conscience is a wild beast.
An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
To obtain a man's opinion of you, make him mad.
Sometimes these autogenerated juxtapositions are quite profound.....
November 28, 2005
Today's inbox contained....
If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.
Things are only impossible until they're not.
The important thing was to love rather than to be loved.
In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
What is food to one man is bitter poison to others.
Have a strong mind and a soft heart.
These bits of ripped quotes randomly put into bad stanzas never cease to amuse me.....
October 20, 2005
And today in my inbox....
Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.
The Pope! How many divisions has _he_ got ?
Never eat more than you can lift.
A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
I know that each line is lifted randomly from online quotebanks, but I think some of the juxtapositions are kind of interesting..... Today's selection is intriguing, and I particularly like the last two lines.
October 14, 2005
Poetry in viagra spam which arrived in my inbox this morning. Yes really.
Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.
Live to live and you will learn to live
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I do not believe in God. I believe in cashmere.
A woman's place is in the wrong.
I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance.
October 8, 2005
A late entrant for National Poetry Day
I was in London for NPD, so missed the thrill of throwing some lit up on screen.
So to make up for it I'll put up one of my own for you all to mock.
Full Fathom Fried
Full fathom on the number five bus sits Mr Weston,
Silvery-scaled hands clutching his ticket,
Now discarded, washed up at my feet as he disembarks.
I enter his shop sometimes, for haddock,
Smoked yellow as Ishmael, no shiny sea-lined skin
To chill the blood. He looks at me with some disdain
And sinking behind the John Dory, fades,
Face billowing with the current of counter glass.
Under his pearly gaze, old ladies shoal,
Skinned of heavy legs and coats, sirens in their element.
A flick of glimmering tail, green metal,
And they glide past coral zimmer frames for their weekly cod.
He lucks in the shadows, teeth glinting white,
Then strikes, a pike amongst stickleback.
Scattering, they stare amazed at the pound of salmon
Wrapped at the dark bottom of their plastic carrier bag.
October 6, 2005
Today is UK National Poetry Day
So here are a couple of english translations of Baudelaire favourites:
by Charles Baudelaire
When, on an autumn evening, with closed eyes,
I breathe the warm dark fragrance of your breast,
Before me blissful shores unfold, caressed
By dazzling fires from blue Unchanging skies.
And there, upon the calm and drowsing isle,
Grow luscious fruits amid fantastic trees :
There, men are light : the women of those seas
Amaze one with their gaze that knows no guile.
Your perfume wafts me thither like a wind :
I see a harbour thronged with masts and sails
Soil weary from the tumult of the gales;
And with the sailors' song that drifts to me
Are mingled odours of the tamarind,
And all my soul is scent and melody.
by Charles Baudelaire
I am as lovely as a dream in stone;
My breast on which each finds his death in turn
Inspires the poet with a love as lone
As everlasting clay, and as taciturn.
Swan-white of heart, as sphinx no mortal knows,
My throne is in the heaven's azure deep;
I hate all movement that disturbs my pose;
I smile not ever, neither do I weep.
Before my monumental attitudes,
Taken from the proudest plastic arts,
My poets pray in austere studious moods,
For I, to fold enchantment round their hearts,
Have pools of light where beauty flames and dies,
The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.
You can find more online here.
September 29, 2005
Well this section isn't very big. And we read a lot between us.So from now on you might find book recommendations in here.....
I just finished Atomised by Michel Houellebecq, which I really enjoyed - very desperate and a bit black in parts, which appealed to me... It's not a new book, but a friend recommended it to me. She knows me quite well. Thanks D!
February 22, 2005
Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! Scumkitten has returned from Aspen! Her mission is complete and was successful - die or wear a balaclava.... guess who????? He he he.........