……………………mar·gi·na·li·a (mär’jə-nā’lē-ə)
pl.n. Notes in the margin or margins of a ………………………….blog

This is the place for veering off-topic; for subjects that aren’t even remotely tangential — not by the most charitable stretch of the imagination — to a post, or flow of comments on a thread.

It’s also a virtual bulletin board. Please post any announcements — births, deaths, engagements, weddings, divorces, remarriages, etc., — in this space. ……………………The thumb tacks are free. ; )


279 responses to “Marginalia

  1. wordnerd7

    @3p4, such a long holiday! . . . Perfect timing for your return because I have some questions, and suspect that only you will have an answer to one of them.

    Last week someone told me about a 94 year-old woman, half-French and half-Ojibwe – her mother lived on a reservation on the Canadian side of Sault Ste. Marie but crossed the border to give birth to give her and her nine brothers and sisters, so that they would all have dual nationality. She is getting near the end of her life — in a place in the American wilderness that has few cultural resources.

    She’s mentioned to her carer that she longs to hear French again before she dies. Of course it’s the Canadian version she knows, and no one around her has any idea of how to get her any recordings — or, even better, videos. She’s a horsewoman and was a homesteader in Alaska — so anything to do with the outdoors, animals, and Native Peoples, ideally the Ojibwe, would be a great boon.

    I’m trying to think of the fastest way to help her. Any suggestions?

    A related question is this: would anyone who has read Peter Hoeg’s marvellous Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow/ Smilla’s Sense of Snow recommend it for this person I’ve described — whom I’ll call I.G. She’s stoical, but I’m afraid that the book might be too depressing.

  2. BaronCharlus

    Dennis Wheatley was best known for spy fiction, a role with the War Office during WWII giving him much inside information. However, this Protean figure also turned his talents to fiction investigating the threat of Satanism, of which To the Devil a Daughter is an example.

    These extracts include spoilers, so don’t read on if you don’t wish to know what To the Devil a Daughter is about.

    Wheatley deftly weaves the paranormal into what, at first, appears to be a more prosaic mystery. Here is the moment when spy novelist Molly Fountain discovers the true reason her mysterious young neighbour, Christina, becomes a more sinister character during the night hours:

    (Molly) threw the thing she was holding towards Christina’s lap, and cried, “Catch!”
    Christina cupped her hands and caught the spinning object. It was a small gold crucifix. The second it fell into her palms she gave a scream of pain. Then, as though seared by white-hot metal, she thrust it from her.
    “I feared as much,” Molly said grimly. “And now we know the worst! Every night when darkness falls you become possessed by the Devil.”

    Wheatley, however, is alert to the need for debate. Nothing is accepted without question in the twilight world he creates. Here, Molly’s son, Johnny, provides an alternative, sceptical voice to Molly’s assertions of the supernatural:

    “While she was in that state, throwing anything at her might have made her scream. I mean putting the idea that she was possessed into the poor girl’s head at a time when she was too goofy to repudiate it?”
    “She didn’t repudiate it because she knows – or at least suspects – that it is true.”
    “Oh come, Mumsie! You can’t really believe that people become possessed. That is now just a form of speech for a particular kind of religious lunacy.”

    Johnny is 23. The debate is an ancient one and, with sly economy, Wheatley locates the troubling mystery of proof versus faith in a ‘rational’ world. In light of this, and for other reasons, it’s worth dwelling on that final sentence: ‘That is now just a form of speech for a particular kind of religious lunacy.’

    Wheatley boldly places the threat of the occult firmly amidst the dangers that were so current in his time. This is not a novel of escapism but rather demands that the reader confront the world as it is, its temporal and spiritual threats. And Wheatley, like a morally-engaged Eco, is not afraid to show his research. As Molly explains to her son:

    “You must have read at some time that in the old days the Devil was often referred to as the Lord of Misrule. The object of these high-up Satanists is to deliver the world up to him, and the only way they can do that is to cause the breakdown of good rule so that misrule can take its place. With that as their goal they do everything they can to foment wars, class-hatred, strikes and famine; and to foster perversions, moral laxity and the taking of drugs…and naturally Communism has now become their most potent weapon.”

    The spiritual afflictions haunting Christina, however, are not of the political variety. One is reminded of Crime and Punishment’s Raskolnikov, had Dostoyevsky the insight to trace his demons to their spiritual origin. Once Christina confesses her history of sleep-walking crime, the reader is left in little doubt as to their Satanic origin:

    “My best friend was engaged to be married. One night I stole the love-letters that her fiancé had written to her, and burnt them down in the furnace. Several times I used a steel crochet hook to make ladders in other girls’ stockings, and spilt ink on their clothes…Sometimes I feel the most awful urge towards immorality – but I’d rather not talk about that.”

    What’s worth noting here, aside from the careful juxtaposition of the ‘furnace’ with Christina’s hellish activities, is that, with taste and economy, Wheatley managed to publish and discuss these issues a good few years before the Chatterley trial. In a Europe still absorbing the horrors of its war, the character of Christina locates the will to malevolence with striking force.

    Wheatley also presents a wider picture of a troubled, post-war Europe and must surely be a precursor, if not a kind of godfather, to le Carre in his approach to the complex socio-economic forces that – even as tools of Satan – control our lives. Here, the Count Jules de Grasse, a Frenchman, speaks what many at the time must have known but which few novelists would have expressed:

    “…In both our countries the Government has become only another name for the People, it really amounts to the idle and stupid stealing from those who work hard and show initiative. But now, alas, they have come to consider it a right.”

    Truly and example of “the breakdown of good rule so that misrule can take its place”.

    I have 200 more pages of To the Devil a Daughter to go.

  3. wordnerd7

    @BaronC, I’m glad to have this for our cabinet of curiosities, but . . . rightly or wrongly, I’m reminded of Anne Rice, and she’s not for me, either. It’s odd. Any mention of the devil in a story makes me snuffle. On the other hand, I have come across a person or two in real life who has seemed possessed — irredeemably bad — and once had that thought about someone on the blog at the other place who went completely papayas on us, on- and off-site, for two or three weeks. . . Oh, and then there was someone else who seemed trapped in a nonstop snarling fit . . . no, no, I’m offering no clues . . . let sleeping miserabilists lie, is my motto.

    I forgot to say, I hope you’ll feel free to post extracts from your own work here, if that seems like the right thing to do . . . Though I remember you saying that you’ve been warming up for your own launch into the blogosphere.

  4. BaronCharlus

    Either you’re poker-facing me or…
    I expected my Wheatley post to get a ‘be off with your sarcastic analysis of wretched right-wing pulp, sir’ response. Sometimes my dead-pan is too dead.

  5. wordnerd7

    === Sometimes my dead-pan is too dead. ===

    Or wn is nearly brain-dead .. . 🙂 . . . worn out by discussion with animal control expert from the local branch of the Humane Society on what to do about rat entering engine of car in which no one ever eats or leaves any food out. She had no new ideas . . . Sorry, @BaronC, I think it was @Sean you were talking to, anyway — so no more from me on Weatabix.

  6. BaronCharlus

    ‘no more from me on Weatabix’

    Please don’t say that. In my further reading today I have discovered riches, riches I tells ya. Of which Wheatley, I suspect was unaware and which the Freudian/CT crew on PotW would have a lot of fun with…

    Wordn, forbid me from posting or it will appear.

    And, rats in your car, really? Can’t you leave poison in the carburettor?

  7. BaronCharlus

    And, Wordn,

    I meant to add, thank you very much for the offer to post my work here. Means a lot.

  8. Hazlitt

    I have had the same problem,(Marder).I tried everythingy.Eventually my neighbour bought a new car and they/it wisely moved on.Try cayenne pepper on the cables.
    If that fails ask your neighbour to buy a new car!

  9. WN Do you have the ferret option available? When I was young the lean-to shed adjoining our house was infested. The canvass inner roof of the shed would ripple with rat movement all day long and you could see them peaking through the tears in the material any time you wanted.

    A man with a ferret and 4 stout bags arrived. He worked out where the bolt holes were put the ferret in one and covered the others with the bags. Worked a treat with 4 rippling bags being taken away and no more rats.

    I remember a news item where a police car had a mouse in it and they could never find where it was – must have given hope to all the local criminals evading justice.

  10. wordnerd7

    @BaronC, I’m sure we’re all dying to know what you’ve been writing. That means that the flow of debt will be in the other direction if you do use this as your showcase. . . You know the various sites well enough to realise that comrades don’t always comment on serious work — mostly, I think, from fear of being either discouraging or gushy. . . Then, if the subject’s remotely exotic — like @ISA’s superb archive of material and drafts related to his South African memoir — it might get quiet enough to hear a feather drop. I think we’re all too afraid of revealing what we don’t know about faraway subjects — a shame, since our questions and other reactions could be useful feedback for him.

    . . . As for the intruder, thank you, but, oh dear no, poison is out of the question. This is a super-green community with a disproportionate environmentalist count — even includes leaders of the movement. There’d be a hullaballoo about contaminating the food chain, something I’m reluctant to do myself (though I have occasionally used mouse-killer, inside the house).

    @alarming, that’s highly original, the ferret solution. I’d guess that the last ferret-owning rat-catcher stuffed his assistant and hung up his hat a long time ago. . . I anyway doubt that the solution would work here. Yesterday a neighbour said that he has a large circular_fortress_ built by these same wood rats in his yard and that he wouldn’t dream of dismantling it because he doesn’t want them moving in with him and his wife. . . . Around here, when the rats in any one house are sent to Siberia, I’m sure that replacements rapidly move in from other parts of the neighbourhood.

    . . . Which brings me to @Hazlitt‘s suggestion. I was still thinking about it when I drove home after dark, a few hours ago. Every time I climbed a hairpin bend, I heard the skittering sound — like a single set of claws sliding on a hard surface on the other side of the dashboard, .. . just as I had on the nights before the garage made its discovery, when I’d told myself firmly, no, no, you will NOT imagine a mouse or any other rodent in this vehicle — it’s probably just the radio antenna swaying . . . I’ll spare everyone the whole story, but after dinner, I found a small dried fern branch in the engine, exactly where I’d heard the sound . . . and it had been immaculate after Sal the mechanic had finished with it. . . If I’m in luck, Mama Rat has a red powdery nose and whiskers that Papa Rat tried to lick off when he heard her agonised squeaks and sneezes . . . and they will never, ever, return.

    Will let you know if the cayenne pepper works, @Hazlitt, grand merci . . . Marder, really??? Small world! (Stug III). I emailed the neighbour with your suggestion and links for sales brochures for the Elefant — you’ll see what a good fit that is if you look at the base of the first statue on the left and the second on the right, here: . ……… : ) !

  11. atf if you are around I remember a very bruising “discussion” with you on the GU rap blog a while back.

    In my defence I mentioned Zippy the Pinhead as an interesting comic to read. You were not impressed!

    I’m not trying to score points here but you may have something in common with the author.

    This from today’s ( 18.01.09 althoug as it’s the U.S it might be 17.01.09 ) strip on

    ” I see a disturbing continuum from fascism and hate to heavy metal music, to super-hero comics and Grand Theft Auto, Zippy…. be afraid……be very afraid”.

  12. atf

    @alarming. how could i ever forget it. i’ve looked. zippy mentioning jean paul satre endeared me for a moment but i daresay griffy is right. he knows. if you start taking to such things the brain deteriorates. it’s happened to the british embassy in dublin. sadly Bono’s koksukers…he’s done them more harm to them than the ira.

  13. BaronCharlus


    Fair enough, re the poison solution. But, poisoning the food chain? I wasn’t suggesting you eat the…no, best not…

    We’ve had to poison mice in our flat. We filled their holes with insulation foam, placed wire wool under the doors (hurts their teeth) but they kept coming.

    I heard a story from a friend who used a humane mouse trap that cages the little mite so that it can be released in the wild. They caught a mouse, drove to Clapham Common, released it into freedom and watched as bird swooped down and carried it off for lunch.

  14. wordnerd7

    @BaronC, there’s nothing quite like under-bonnet roasted rat — or so they said at the garage. Told me that they see at least one car a day with a dead rodent or rodent nest in the engine — and that there have been some spectacular sights, eg., rats not merely cooked but spread out as flat as pancakes.

  15. wordnerd7

    . . . also, BaronC, . .. Blind Willie as a delayed Christmas present has been a huge success. The giftee said that among people of BWJ’s generation, there were many blind gospel singers. Do you agree — and if so, have you any idea of what the explanation for that might be?

    === We filled their holes with insulation foam, placed wire wool under the doors (hurts their teeth) but they kept coming. ===

    Judging by a Cif blog some months ago about a plague of giant rats in London — creatures far bigger than my wood rats — I’d say you’re lucky. 😉

  16. BaronCharlus


    Glad the music’s appreciated!

    There were many blind/crippled musicians full stop. Largely because if you were disabled in some way there was very little else to do for money but play on street corners/at parties/church. Some of the greatest musicians of the period were virtually, or actually, destitute – Blind Willie McTell, despite his blindness, travelled widely and knew his way around several Atlanta towns without a stick. His sense of location seems to have been almost supernatural.

    Many mixed gospel with the ‘devil’s music’ and popular tunes, depending on their audience (no money, otherwise) although BWJ seems to have played purely spiritual songs.

  17. wordnerd7

    I’m glad to know that, @BaronC. I’d wondered about your explanation as a possibility but then thought, why should the ability to sing overlap to that degree with blindness? — but I suppose that with few other ways of earning money, a person might just practice harder.

  18. BaronCharlus

    @Wordn & Co

    Apparently it was Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday this month. Coincidentally I’ve been reading his stories and found this from his lesser-known humorous oeuvre.

    In case you don’t know it, The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq. is a spoof on one man’s literary pretensions and the myopia, feuding and Philistinism of the publishing industry so, Wordn, thought you might enjoy. I include extracts and a link to the full text.

    Here, Thingum, having announced to his father that he will be “making you the father of a genius,” sets about trying to write his first poem. Encountering difficulties he hits an idea:

    ‘At length there came into my head one of those exquisitely original ideas which now and then will permeate the brain of a man of genius. It was this:—or, rather, thus was it carried into execution. From the rubbish of an old book-stall, in a very remote corner of the town, I got together several antique and altogether unknown or forgotten volumes. The bookseller sold them to me for a song. From one of these, which purported to be a translation of one Dante’s “Inferno,” I copied with remarkable neatness a long passage about a man named Ugolino, who had a parcel of brats. From another, which contained a good many old plays by some person whose name I forget, I enacted in the same manner, and with the same care, a great number of lines about “angels” and “ministers saying grace,” and “goblins damned,” and more besides of that sort. From a third, which was the composition of some blind man or other, either a Greek or a Choctaw—I cannot be at the pains of remembering every trifle exactly,—I took about fifty verses beginning with “Achilles’ wrath,” and “grease,” and something else. From a fourth, which I recollect was also the work of a blind man, I selected a page or two all about “hail” and “holy light”; and, although a blind man has no business to write about light, still the verses were sufficiently good in their way. Having made fair copies of these poems, I signed every one of them “Oppodeldoc” (a fine sonorous name), and, doing each up nicely in a separate envelope, I dispatched one to each of the four principal Magazines, with a request for speedy insertion and prompt pay.’

    And here, having achieved some success with his own poem, Thingum receives a strange response when asking a magazine editor for payment:

    ‘Upon my conclusion, he sank back into his seat, as if much overcome, letting his arms fall lifelessly by his side, but keeping his mouth still rigorously open, after the fashion of the duck. While I remained in speechless astonishment at behavior so alarming he suddenly leaped to his feet and made a rush at the bell-rope; but just as he reached this, he appeared to have altered his intention, whatever it was, for he dived under a table and immediately re-appeared with a cudgel. This he was in the act of uplifting (for what purpose I am at a loss to imagine), when all at once, there came a benign smile over his features, and he sank placidly back in his chair.
    “Mr. Bob,” he said, (for I had sent up my card before ascending myself,) “Mr. Bob, you are a young man, I presume—very?”

    I assented; adding that I had not yet concluded my third lustrum.

    “Ah!” he replied, “very good! I see how it is—say no more! Touching this matter of compensation, what you observe is very just,—in fact it is excessively so. But ah—ah—the first contribution—the first, I say—it is never the Magazine custom to pay for,—you comprehend, eh? The truth is, we are usually the recipients in such case.” [Mr. Crab smiled blandly as he emphasized the word “recipients.”] “for the most part, we are paid for the insertion of a maiden attempt- especially in verse. In the second place, Mr. Bob, the Magazine rule is never to disburse what we term in France the argent comptant:—I have no doubt you understand. In a quarter or two after publication of the article—or in a year or two—we make no objection to giving our note at nine months; provided, always, that we can so arrange our affairs as to be quite certain of a ‘burst up’ in six. I really do hope, Mr. Bob, that you will look upon this explanation as satisfactory.” Here Mr. Crab concluded, and the tears stood in his eyes.

    Grieved to the soul at having been, however innocently, the cause of pain to so eminent and so sensitive a man, I hastened to apologize…’

    Here’s the full story:,_Esq.

    As ever Wordn, if you feel this is out of place, too long, etc, do with it as you see fit. You can even edit it 🙂

  19. wordnerd7

    Thank you, @BaronC! . . . this is the most slithery part, for me:

    === ‘[ . . .] In the second place, Mr. Bob, the Magazine rule is never to disburse what we term in France the argent comptant:—I have no doubt you understand. In a quarter or two after publication of the article—or in a year or two—we make no objection to giving our note at nine months; provided, always, that we can so arrange our affairs as to be quite certain of a ‘burst up’ in six. I really do hope, Mr. Bob, that you will look upon this explanation as satisfactory.”===

    . . . it’s something about using French not for the near-onomatopoetic ring a foreign word can have that it lacks in our own . . . but as a pathetic fig-leaf for theft.

    I would leave this particular man bound and gagged here:


  20. . . . @Des — can you please confirm that you are alright? Sometimes people have a delayed reaction to tumbles like yesterday’s, on or off Naked Camera. . . . Also, the Yeats biography has arrived and my eyes popped, reading that he had ‘a Southern Californian side’ — among many ‘invented selves’. . . A full report when I’ve read it.

  21. BaronCharlus


    Glad you liked it. In the story, Thingum’s growing dissatisfaction with the quality of the praise thrown his way must mirror, I suspect, the ego-inflation of many successful authors/artists. Thingum also quotes in French, German and Kickapoo.

  22. 3p4

    Please post any announcements — births, deaths, engagements, weddings, divorces, remarriages, etc., — in this space. ……………………The thumb tacks are free. ; )

    dropinbucket just had dinner with iamnothere,, last night too,, 🙂

  23. wordnerd7

    Just saw this — thrilling . . . and do please say more, @3p4: did you go there or did @Iant come whizzing up from the Antipodes?

  24. Baron, somewhere in here you said that your respect for Grass had dimmed because of his associations with the SS ( what a sentence! and having written it how stupid I will appear for asking further ).

    Can you elucidate further? I ask because as far as I know Grass like many other young Germans was rounded up at the end of the war and put to work in a variety of different army divisions to try and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. If you read Anthony Beevor’s Berlin you’ll see what a callow and cynical exercise it was on behalf of the Nazi’s.

    As he has spent his life examining the guilt and culpability of Germans post WW2 I would have thought that mitigates his youthfull activities at the end of the war which were not full blown SS atrocities in any case. As far as I can make it a lot of the outrage was whipped up by right wing columnists keen to find a chink in the armour of an old adversary.

    Grass isn’t a hero for me – I think his work lost its real fire after Dog Years but the Tin Drum is a masterpiece of 20th century literature.

    Interesting too that so many discussions on the poetry blogs go on about how artists improve with age but very often the opposite is the case. Grass’ recent work is not bad but the symbolic imagery feels forced rather than intuitive these days. The onion cellar episode in the Tin Drum is a magnificently descriptive multi-layered piece of writing.

  25. BaronCharlus


    Thanks for the question. Grass always claimed that he was a conscript to the Wehrmacht. The SS revelation only came out a year or two ago in his autobiography. They were indeed signing up anyone by that time but Grass now concedes he was an eager and evangelical young Nazi.

    The disappointment comes because Grass built his career and his art upon demanding that the German people confront their Nazi past without flinch or sentiment or equivocation. He even protested when foreign political visitors paid respects at a war cemetery containing SS graves; he established himself as the literary conscience of a nation and. The SS revelation showed him to be as – albeit understandably – craven as those he had made himself rich and famous attacking.

    So perhaps his final lesson was that confrontation with such a vile truth about oneself or one’s nation is impossible. Sad that he did it through exposing his own equivocation, rather than fiction.

  26. Baron I knew much of this but I think Grass got rich and famous writing nuanced books about German history rather than simply attacking ex-Nazi’s.

    Cat + Mouse is pretty complex in its attitudes and Diary of a Snail could be a blueprint for how Obama intends to govern. There’s a lot of guilt in his books and the revelations give a good reason for that guilt.

  27. BaronCharlus


    Okay, I was using broad strokes, but surely his cultural position was built upon a moral stance that, as it turned out, was duplicitous; ironically, perhaps the complexity of his work derived from the tension of having such a secret. I’ve said around here that I believe great art to be a product of conflict. Perhaps that was his.

  28. Baron again I think his position has been mainly built upon his books. I think you could say he is a liar about one part of his history and one can see why he would lie but I’m still not convinced it’s enough to bring the whole house down.

  29. wordnerd7

    Thanks for the url, @3p4, that was very good to see. Still a long, hard road for her, .. .but she’s truly magnificent.

    @BaronC, @alarming,

    === There’s a lot of guilt in his books and the revelations give a good reason for that guilt. ===


    === As he has spent his life examining the guilt and culpability of Germans post WW2 I would have thought that mitigates his youthfull activities at the end of the war which were not full blown SS atrocities in any case. ===

    I’m afraid, @BaronC, that I’m a hundred per cent behind @alarming there. . . I’d ask no more of an artist than that s/he expose and draw attention to the unpleasant truth. I’ve always had trouble reading Grass, who just isn’t compelling enough in translation – for me – but exposing the vile underbelly of his society, in those years, is what he’s spent his life doing . . . He’s under no obligation whatsoever to explain how he came by his intense feeling for the subject.

    An artist may choose to reveal personal sources of inspiration and feeling – or not. . . Why are you so sure that reticence is wrong? . . . Do we all _owe_ the world our autobiographies? By what logic?

  30. WN I’m sure you have read it but if not I would recommend the Tin Drum. I find his later work rather ponderous and the symbolism too well thought through or over-thought through but the Tin Drum is passionate.

    But he still does lovely drawings, watercolours and etchings.

  31. wordnerd7

    No, @alarming, it really is hopeless, I’m afraid . . . You see, I’ve read The Tin Drum — and there never was an experience of reading that felt so much like what I imagine sleepwalking to be . . . But of course the translation might have been to blame. I’m waiting for brain extensions on microchips that will supply not only a complete knowledge of a particular foreign language but the necessary cultural background.

  32. BaronCharlus

    ‘He’s under no obligation whatsoever to explain how he came by his intense feeling’

    I agree, but the public are, once his past is exposed, are under no obligation to take him seriously. He expressed that his reticence was caused by extreme shame, which is more than understandable. It’s tragic.

    Don’t forget that this conversation began because I named him as a hero: the Tin Drum is one of the most formative, important works of art in my life. Perhaps he should have kept quiet. Borges’ Theme of the Traitor and the Hero outlines this problem well, I think.

    There was an interesting article in the Guardian when the revelation came out, written by a young German who expressed anger that Grass timed his announcement with the World Cup (?) then taking place in Germany. He said something like ‘how sad that at a moment when Germany is being praised as a modern and welcoming nation a representative of that old, defeated and conflicted generation has to crawl out and draw attention back to themselves’.

  33. BaronCharlus


    This is interesting. I love TD and I’m criticising Grass; you find him unreadable and are defending him. Perhaps, as an admirer, I find it harder to accept his stumble.

    Also, have you noticed there was no new Poster Poems yesterday. There was also a new Sam Jordison post up, which I commented on, that has since vanished. Very weird.

  34. wordnerd7

    Yes it is funny, but remember I said,

    === find him unreadable ====

    in translation . .. 😉 . . . So, really, I have no idea of his _literary_ merits . . .

    === and are defending him ===

    . . . only his right to spill the beans about his own life on his own terms and in his own time _because_ he’s done his job as a writer so well.

    I was glad that @alarming returned to the subject, because I’ve seen it discussed elsewhere — a lot, but the opinions of our own group mean more than impersonal analyses in lit columns of newspapers.

  35. wordnerd7

    Just checked, @BaronC, you’re right: no Ppms — banned by the overzealous mods, do you suppose?

  36. BaronCharlus

    Have you seen the film? I saw it when I was 12 (far too young, in retrospect) and, along with the Singing Detective (seen around the same time) I think it went a long way to defining how I value art. Time Out called it ‘middle brow’. I don’t know about that but David Bennent’s performance is extraordinary. And good old Mario Adorf is pretty great, too.

    I want to get hold of Schlondorf’s Un Amor Du Swann (mostly to see what a hash that tradesman Delon makes of my moustache and deportment) but it seems to be unavailable in this country.

  37. BaronCharlus

    I think perhaps they’ve got, how you say, an imp….

  38. wordnerd7

    === I think perhaps they’ve got, how you say, an imp ===

    oh dear! 🙂

    no, I had no desire to see the film, after that experience . . . but I expect that once you and @alarming have made me feel guilty enough — … anything’s possible.

  39. atf

    “Also, have you noticed there was no new Poster Poems yesterday. There was also a new Sam Jordison post up, which I commented on, that has since vanished. Very weird.”

    Yes, i noticed that too. the sam jordison post didn’t stay long enough for me to read it but I was delighted with the first couple of sentences because he was beginning to complain about the amount of ‘noise’ people are bombarded with these days. I followed the link in the first couple of sentences to an article by katherine Whitehorn about it called Shhh. I was delighted with the article as it’s my pet hate. I’d just been deleted on the Professor of poetry at Oxford blog presumable because I’d complained that I couldn’t use university libaries any more because of the noise. Then I got back to GU to continue to read Jordison’s blog and it was gone. Then I couldn’t get back to Whitehorn’s either and I tried a dozen times but I found it there this morning.

    Whitehorn’s article was dead on. You can’t go anywhere, do anything, these days without being bombarded with teen rock, even using the phone is a pain. But it seems to be a crime of the greatest proportions to complain or disapprove of it. Ears are being damaged but shut up about it. I’m amazed. and billy’s blog didn’t appear either. something goin on! No freedom of speech for those who’s health has been damaged, not even for Sam jordison though!

  40. Baron As a long time fan of the book I was dissappointed by the film as the imagery which works so well in your mind in the book ( like the fizz powder episode ) just looks rather distant on film and for me didn’t touch the imagination. But the boy who played Oskar was perfect for the role.
    I was glad the film stopped two thirds of the way through the book as the onion cellar bit is for me one of the most beautiful passages I have ever read. I sort of gasped when I first read it.

    But WN I wonder if it’s a book that those with a painterly way of looking at things particularly enjoy – I’m not suggesting that those types have a superior way of looking but that the rich tumble of imagery in his books might appeal more to those who draw or paint. Grass being a draughtsman of some calibre as well.

  41. BaronCharlus


    It’s the old ‘book better than the film’ debate, I guess. As I say, I saw it when I was 12 – had no idea it was a book – and many of those images seared themselves very deep.

    But nothing beats the book although, like Heimat, I found the narrative surge – fuelled, especially for an international reader/viewer, by the dramatic irony of the approaching war – tailed off after the war’s conclusion. I expect this is in part why the film ends where it does.

  42. Baron I remember seeing a film on a Sunday afternoon when I was about 8 which burnt its way into my memory. For years I didn’t know what the film was but its twilight world of war-time paranoia lingered strongly in my mind. When I was at art college many years later I was in the library leafing through a film-book and saw some stills which brought it all back. The director of the film was Fritz Lang and the film was Ministry of Fear from a story by Graham Greene. I’ve seen the film several times since and it has several evocative and strong scenes – a fete at nightime amongst bombed out buildings in London – but Dana Andrews is not good in it.

    However it’s telling that Lang directed it – a master at work even for an 8 year old. Several Hitchcock films also had the same effect on me, Rebecca in particular. I was terrified of Mrs. Danvers and Hitchcock said in his great book of interviews with Truffaut that he never showed Mrs. Danvers coming into a scene – she was always already there. Touches like that work for everyone.

  43. BaronCharlus

    Great observation about Mrs Danvers; I’ll have to watch it again and look out for that. Have you seen Scarlet St by Lang? A film noir with Edward G Robinson, a failed painter who allows his femme fatale to become famous posing as the painter of his work.

    For me, it’s the art we encounter as children that almost forms us for life. Or at least that’s been my experience. Perhaps because images, songs, stories, worm in before we have a critical/intellectual filter. And the same goes, actually, for experience in general, I feel.

  44. Baron I think that is true but as Noddy was one of the first things I read obviously I’m hoping it’s not completely true! Jan Svankmajer the great Czech animator makes a similar observation.

    For me it was definitely Rudyard Kipling’s drawings in the Just So Stories and the comical explanations he writes about drawing them and what they are supposed to mean.

  45. Re: Pinkroom

    [I have moved this discussion, threatening to take over the new Barack Obama thread, to this spot.]

    Submitted on 2009/01/28 at 7:39am

    Sorry folks… there’s no fun in this.

    There seems to be some pretty close “moderation” going on (closer than the GU it seems). On Dec. 13th, after two weeks of Ty. Alan specificallly naming me I did write a fairly lengthy, half to quarter tongue in cheek riposte… he rather invites these. Not my best/proudest moment perhaps but my goodness… if were all to “account” for 6 week old posts.

    I have no interest in going over what I may or may not have said weeks ago in other context… that way madness lies.

    Take me or leave me, and of course I can do the same, but you do seem to have developed a slightly irrational down on a very minor sinner here.

  46. === There seems to be some pretty close “moderation” going on (closer than the GU it seems). ===

    Were that the case, @pinkroom, your post would have been deleted and no one would ever know what you’d said. . . Creating this special area for discussing policy disagreements is a solution many of us (starting with @Sean) suggested more than once to GU, and we were ignored.

    === Take me or leave me, and of course I can do the same, ===

    Goes without saying . . . and of course we’ll all drop in at your place from time to time, too.

  47. Wordy, I hope you won’t think it’s presumptious of me but I wrote you a true description of the view from my window here in Africa. Do feel free to delete it.

    The Window II

    Last evening, I rushed to the bay window of my hotel room, like a child at Christmas.

    The loud trombone groan of the Catamaran called out sternly to warn off a small but brave fishing boat. It could have been a case of a stubborn David with Goliath but for the naive Dar fisherman and his ancient wooden companion.

    Armed with its striking flourescent red light as an only weapon, the fisherman cared none for the Catamaran’s snobbish rumble and with a lone oar, beat a hasty retreat.

    A passing obedient dhow shrugged at the truancy.

    Here the super-speed ferry was returning with the usual blustery pomp from the Zanzibar. Soon it would retire for the night anchored at the harbour, along with other rackety ferries devoid of their makeup and lost in snores and yawns.

    Clearly, the spanking white Catamaran pictured itself to be queen of the Waterfront. It would be lulled by the sounds of a soft rain as it rested amid the wind. It was dusk after all and the waters had trembled madly under the ferry’s bulky cellulite weight, in their earlier teary bid to float regally to attention.

    Bold ripples made the coast look like a parade of wrinkly ladies, their skin creamed with a buttered sheen. Not that the army of birds which rested on the nearby palm trees cared as much for this vanity.

    Intent on a last supper, the greedy swallows black in the darkening twilight would polka-dot the brim of the ocean like the latest summer design featuring smooth slippery fabric sashaying up a Parisian catwalk.

    Together they waltzed; the amorous birds dipping kisses into the shy pale sea.

    In the middle of the waters, sat an old dame of a forgotten homeless barge, still panting and puffing her way to an unknown destination from three days ago.

    She twirled and swayed on her last rusty hinges, this way and that, almost as if she would lift first a weathered knee, then a broken toe, then a stiff ankle and so be it. Was there a hospice at sea? She would find it!

    Occassionally, the other boats would extend a courtesy call by sailing carefully around her, then dashing past afraid that she might attempt a watery hitchhike and steal their catch.

    Only last night in the heavy rain, the coast wore a mist of tears, hiding its strange blue face. The storm clouds watched anxiously but decided they would gatecrash anyway.

    Today, the happier emerald waters of the Indian Ocean play their carefree game of sink-n-swim. I wonder if deep in their bottom hearts, there lay still the wreckage of a treasure chest from the days of when Tanzania first sheltered its famous slave towns

    And this was of course, the earlier one which you would have read:

    The Window I

    I am in East Africa today. I actually arrived here on Sunday. What can I say? Scenes spell the exactness of films. Clamour, chaos, crowds and a colourful clutter about sums it up.

    My harbour-front view paints the picture of a sparkling Indian Ocean.

    It splashes up a rich shade of royal blue ink. I’m close to the coast and the wide windows reveal the remnant strips of a closing sunset.

    Other friendly greeters stay the anchored fishing boats, steamers, ferries and the last Catamaran for the day, sailing eager passengers off to the Zanzibar.

    The occasional dhow as light as a feather tails the wind. It zooms past the tall window.

    The Tanzanians like Lilliputians saunter along the coast and mud-tracks, content that it’s a Sunday. I want to weep with the bitter sweet-sadness of an old forgotten nostalgia, far more beseeching than childhood.

    In the night, only the magnificent shimmering lights shape an ocean in twilight. They beckon at my shadowy face. But I spy the sea anyway.

    Restless in its tranquility, it shivers and shakes, its shine too beautiful to resemble a grumbling bellyache.

    Instead, I imagine cold wobbling jelly…majestic and decorative, styled on a tray.


  48. pinkroom

    Very thoughtful/thought-provoking post from isa about Alice etc.

    Why should we not have different “facets”?

    Curiously enough isa was a voice that initially “grated” with me… looking back probably because our voices/views/tics are closer than I would like to have imagined?

    Over a period however I began to see a great deal of intelligence/real integrity behind what I had initially heard as a lot of bombast. We live and learn.

    I am making no such claims for myself but I like to think there is more than one facet to my assumed identity which liberates me from a real world where I am/must be the absolute model of restraint and decorum… yes I can be assertive/say as I see – that often gets a good thread going – but there are other voices too.

    I recognise this capacity in many other regular posters.

  49. wordnerd7

    Good, @pink, so we can perhaps we’ve wrung all the juice we can out of this subject, for the moment? . . .

  50. wordnerd7

    @Suzan . . . I’m taking it all in — _what_ a panorama.


    === In the night, only the magnificent shimmering lights shape an ocean in twilight. They beckon at my shadowy face. But I spy the sea anyway. ===

    Being really prosaic, now: do the Tanzanians look out to sea and worry about Somalis? ; )

  51. No, Wordy. The Somalis are far away. The Tanzanians tend to take their natural splendour for granted as it’s all around them, forever timeless. 🙂

  52. anytimefrances

    His susan!
    what’s Zanzibar like! is it as lovely as it looks on the net. I looked it up when i read your piece and think it would suit me. is it expensive there? do they speak english? how about property prices? is it a place one could retire to? it looks a dream. where are you at the moment?

  53. Hi atf,

    Zanzibar is better than the pictures! I’ve never seen a shoreline like it! Pure white, like cream over custard. Or resembling a very white flat pan. The sea hardly moves. Just a stretch of complete calmness. Very beautiful. There are cafes here and there and they tend to be run by Italians.

    The Aga Khan restored the island and there are still Arabic influences. For architecture…stone buildings, ancient churches… Donkeys carrying carts of vegetables…old honking scooters and the like.
    A small island to walk about. The largest spice island in the world is over here.

    It’s not expensive at all if you’re thinking sterling. Uses the US dollar. Many cheap places to stay.

    Yes, many speak English. And if you arrived by the Catamaran from Dar at the harbour or at the airport itself, there are ready tour guides.. who all speak English…

    Yes, it is a place you could retire to.

    I’m on the coast in Dar at the moment, atf. But I will be going to visit the Zanzibar and I’ll find out the property prices for you.

    Atf, here is something I wrote once before. It all really happened exactly like that. I accompanied my mother’s friend – a tiresome old lady.
    This was on the Zanzibar.

    [Please go to TESTS to see @Suzan‘s excerpt from her ms.]

  54. anytimefrances

    hi Susan
    thanks for the info. it seems to be as good as it looks in the pictures. just the place for me!

    take plenty of pictures while you’re there. I did while in Seville and though it can seem a burden at the time they’re so precious when you get back home and sit back and recall the experience.

    thanks for posting the piece of fiction. i’ve read only about half of it as I need to give it my full attention and will take another look later. but so far i think it’s amusing and excellent. it reminded me of the way i felt when I first came across the writing of katherine mansfield. the social observation and the light touch in the telling. i might gently(!) make a few suggestions to you later as a reader which you can consider, but nearly all fiction needs a bit of revision to get it into shape, mostly editing for most writing, but think it’s well worth working on and you should try to write a little every day you are there. you have the gift for local detail with the human interest angle quite strong and very amusing.

    have a good day!

  55. BaronCharlus

    Re the fracas,

    I appreciate completely, Wordn, your position. It would also be unfair of me not to confess that I don’t see what you find so objectionable in PR, who I find encouraging, cheerful and not prone to making personal attacks. But I recognise that, as in our analogue lives, chemistry is a powerful thing. There are posters over at GU who make me gibber and howl in frustration yet they are praised and encouraged, to my enduring bafflement. In general, I’m often bewildered when reading PotW etc when one comment causes a full-blown row whereas others, which often seem far more confrontational to me, are ignored or taken in good spirit.

    It’s interesting, amidst all this talk of personas, that aspects of our personalities can emerge with such force from these little, silent, paragraphs.

    I don’t come here to alleviate any suffering but for extra pleasure in an already happy life. And your site, Wordn, provides that in abundance.

    Just had a look at the McCrum thread, freep. I’m not for censorship but there’s some truly poisonous, spiteful people posting there. Reading stuff like that can ruin my day.

  56. I would love your feedback atf and you don’t need to be gentle. Indeed it was written some years ago and I believe the material is still raw.

    Thanks ever so much, atf. 🙂

  57. anytimefrances

    hi suzan
    yes i liked the story. it was great fun. i think you have a nice sense of fun and action. the boys on the vespa rounded off the story with great gusto and the play on mrs Lewis’s appendages unified the story with a thread of humour. there are traits here worth developing so I’ll just give a few of my reactions, not to many as I don’t want to appear to be ‘tearing it to pieces!’ and these are just for your consideration as the way one individual reader sees the story and not a critic’s dictat…anyway someone will come along and contradict every one of my suggestions which, again, is a good thing because the more reactions you get the more an editor and critic will form in your mind and be there as you write.

    all these suggestions are ‘to my mind’ ones so to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    the opening isn’t right. it doesn’t really make the reader curious enough about what is to happen. it doesn’t create the suspense in the reader’s mind that makes her/him say, oh I must read on to find out what happens. I wouldn’t start with ‘The next day,…’ because the reader feels they’ve missed something from the start, but this may be part of a longer narrative and not a complete short story.

    The rest of the sentence isn’t a good opening for a short story and you need to arouse interest/curiousity in the reader about what is to happen, so something like “When Mrs Periammah Lewis took Valentino Rudolph the Third into her employment she had no idea what she was letting herself in for.” This gets the reader’s curiosity up to know what’s going to happen here.

    **Overnight, he had received his promotion {papers} for self-proclaimed butler and high-alert bodyguard.**

    I’d leave out ‘papers’ here because you need to be a ruthless editor with yourself to write the short story well and here what really packs the meaning is ‘promotion’ and putting ‘papers’ after that dilutes the idea. Also, you need to think of avoiding the passive form of verbs as much as possible, ‘he had received’ doesn’t tell us from whom or how he did and so lacks the quality of clear images. “Mrs Lewis called Valentino to her table and put a hand on his arm. His face lit up with delight. Valentino, I want you to be my bodyguard from today.” something like that seems stronger to me. The active in preference to the passive.

    {Of course,} welcome and goodbye hugs were out of the question.

    I’d leave out the ‘of course’ here as it’s the narrator’s voice and is too conversational in tone to the reader. I’d also think of foregrounding the important word ‘hugs’ here as it’s the nugget of the theme of the story and consider, “Hugs were out of the question, whether of goodbye or welcome.”

    {Pardon} Valentino for being rude but he was so short that had he dared attempt an embrace into Mrs. Lewis’s Himalayan chest which possessed two shaky, unconquerable Everests (it was whispered that her long-dead husband had been frigid) he would have been forever suffocated and buried in burning flesh.

    Again I’d be inclined to avoid the direct narratorial voice to the reader being so conversational, and strengthen the idea that the narrator is telling a story rather than communicating with the reader.

    I think the idea here is very good and comic but you need to make more of it. something like ‘Had Valentino been taller he might have managed a dignified embrace of Mrs Lewis but his height such as it was merely made it look as though he had no other desire than the plunge his face into Mrs Lewis’s Himalayan chest with their two quivering unconquerable Everests…etc.

    The contrast between the snowy peaks of the mountains and the burning flesh is a brilliant comic touch here and it evokes all sorts of images. to me images from Shelley’s Frankenstein came to mind and images from the later scenes in Women in Love where they are at the ski centre.

    That’s it for now from me. I think you have good ideas and a nice tone and good grasp of humous situations and a control of the ridiculous which are great qualities, essential, only you need to be able to edit and make the best use of your material. loved the story!

  58. Oh thanks, atf
    Just one mistake on my part. I’m so sorry but I forgot to explain that this was a slice of a scene I had picked out from something bigger that I was writing.
    That’s why the opening didn’t read right to you. They were just middle portions to a longer story.

    So the part where it says, The next day Mrs…
    actually continues from an earlier paragraph.

    I’m out for the evening but when I do get back later at night I’ll place the earlier portions that would make better sense…

    I’m so grateful atf that you took the trouble to explain your thoughts to me in detail and I will definitely study them. 🙂

  59. anytimefrances

    thnx sue. have a nice evening. see ya latr!

  60. seanmurray

    Nice excerpt, Suzan. Takes some guts to post your writing here too.


    Admirers of @atf and @pinkroom’s conversational style who share their interests are invited to savour their exchanges in extra-special displays in this thread.

    Submitted on 2009/01/28 at 10:30pm

    Hi atf

    Right on brother/sister.


    A bit more on heroes: Barack Obama’s odyssey, part 2
    31 #
    Submitted on 2009/01/28 at 10:09pm

    “…thanks for having me!”
    he said and waved to the crowd
    “I now give you your new president
    the 45th
    after two years
    which have been a bad mistake
    – the open palm, a disaster, instead of the closed fist –
    Mr Ibn Arabi Al sheik Muhammad!

  62. Longer writing experiments by members of our group – a new type of post that has begun to appear spontaneously : ) — are blocking the flow of traffic in Marginalia. I’m not sure that they belong on this site at all, but am putting them here, for the moment:

  63. wordnerd7

    A new collection of posts censored by The Guardian in Salvage Operation, part 2: . . . Many thanks to @freepoland for tipping me off about the latest acts of insanity by moderators at The Guardian.

  64. ISA


    I want to hold our first literary flash mob.

    As one of the first to split I’d like to do it at Xuiltacoche, if I may.

    Could you please write me something and then I will invite the others, without exception, to comment on Norman Mailer as you suggested.

    With regards to the title, I could write it or you could, but it should include the words Norman Mailer in it and one other common search term related to Norman Mailer.

    I will also invite participants from CiF and the Books blog to participate.

    We could call ourselves the literary fringe or some such.

    The interestng thing will be to see if someone types in Norman Mailer, then will they get Xuitlacoche?

    If it works then we could hold another literary flash mob at aciaccature and take it from there.

    It seems like a natural progression.

    Are you game?


  65. ISA

    Or perhaps we could try it at yours or Mishas as my comment function is a bit dodgy.

  66. seanmurray


  67. Hazlitt

    I was soaking in the bath and began to ponder why on earth John Updike,even in old age,liked to wear a shirt and tie?

  68. ISA


    Hey Sean and Wordy

    [If you aren’t busy Wordy]

    Why not have a two part literary flash blog.

    The formula I suggest is like dueling banjos in Deliverence. But there the resemblence with Deliverence should end. Noone should screw anyone else. Capish. Lay off Susan Misha, she polishes up very well and she is full of heart. A Des will get you, one day.

    [Godfather 2 was brilliant. The Sicillians are mainly Phoenicians you know.]

    In fact that might be an interesting formula for a lot of these flash blogs. Set people off against each other, so that it’s no longer such a blogger commenter thing.

    I suggest we rotate it down the alphabet backwards. Because I am a tit, as 3p4 was perspecacious enough to notice, and I have a poem to prove it,

    I have been writing the alphabet backwards for about three days now. So backwards is good. We start with a Flash blog on Norman Mailer on X for Xuitlacoche [If that’s OK?].

    The point is that we can still “leech” a little from the Books blog poetry threads in the sense that that there is no need to abandon it completely. We could also invite some of the writers there to join in our unmoderated free for all. The Guardian should be proud to create its own literary fringe. I am sure its one of the things that they were hoping for.

    If we do this thing right then it will be interesting and lots of fun and a sort of launch.

    Can I suggest the umbrella name for these duels or meetings of minds? Something with “Flash” in the title and a we need to include a flatteringly disparaging reference to the Guardian.

    Any ideas?

    Perhaps Carol and Billy could be unpaid guests to at some point.

    P.S. I am going to post this suggestion everywhere, regardless.

    Let’s do it.

  69. seanmurray

    I’m on for this but here’s my worry: if google catch onto what we’re up to they might tweak their page rank etc to keep activity like this off their first page. Why not just do the thing but keep the promo low key for now?

  70. ISA

    Too late. Too late. I’ve noised it around.

    But I don’t think Google or anyone else will mind. The end product should justify the high rankings.

    It would be an occasional splashy thing.

    Where’s Wordy?

  71. wordnerd7

    @Hazzy, shyness, d’you think? . . . Formality can be used to create a small but vital distance for someone wary of being overwhelmed . . .You can create a shell with an old fogey (old-fashioned) style in clothes and exceptionally gracious manners — something many obits and other tributes have noted. Went with his leaving New York for a quiet rural setting when only in his mid-twenties or so, partly from exasperation with people advising him, unasked, about how he should develop and what he should write. . . I have the greatest sympathy for all this: never a ‘retro’ look (no self-respecting nerd has any need of additional disguise), but — much as this will astound people after last week — have often been accused of excessive politeness. Not just parental moulding but cover, I always answer; protective cover.

    @Sean and @ISA, I’ve just put this note on @ISA’s blog:

    Okay, Phil, we’re on . . . Sorry it’s taken me so long to answer. I had so many real-world responsibilities weighing on me yesterday that I haven’t even checked my email since the small hours of Monday. I’ll return to your site with a few paras by your mid- or late morning — depending on what else I have to do. . . I love the idea, I mean, what I can understand of it.

  72. Guys

    Let’s do what the Guardian does and develop an independent blog platform for the Boks Blog fringe.

    It may not work, but if it does it will be an interesting experiment that we can repeat on other blogs in descending alphabetical order.

    I’ll launch the flash blog at 9pm this evening. Comment until you BURST at Xuitlacoche.


  73. elcal

    this is a marginal note i wish i could pen into the margin of the books blog this week.

    i am tired of this stuart evers character. tired of his fucking bangs, tired of his romanticization of the US (and that’s a lot coming from a knee-jerk fighter of [sometimes] british anti-americanism). yet i am so tired, that i simply cannot find the words to satirize his latest crap blog article. further, i feel alienated in my anger–i am astonished that of 18 comments thus far, most are in agreement with his limp prose. Even the dissenters are weak. Gone are the days when TheBomber could put up objectionable content and the pot would be quickly stirred. Tiredness abounds now…

    i am grateful that this margin exists. cheers.

  74. seanmurray

    Elcal —

    But were there ever decent above-the-line pieces? Books is one of the few (the only?) Guardian sections that have never put print articles up on its accompanying blog. Imagine how much better it could have been if they’d posted stuff from e.g. the Review.

    The place has always reeked of contempt for its audience, both in the selection of above-the-liners and the half-hearted, appallingly-written cack many of them turn in.

  75. elcal

    i don’t doubt the above-the-line content has always had its flaws, i’m just romantic myself for a time when we could all roundly dismiss such preening fools as Evers. perhaps we’ve done it so much, that as the onslaught of shite continues, the dikes must break.

    agreed that the Review content would be much more interesting on the blog. I always read that first anyways.

    perhaps the issue at hand is that the Mods and Eds finally got a handle on their little corner of the ‘sphere and could finally regulate. two years ago it was, as has been said, a bit Wild West…

    I’m all for keeping up these para-GUlag blogs up in order to say the things we feel won’t be appreciated or cleared by the Mods. However, i still have the desire to go in there (GU) and fuck around.

  76. wordnerd7


    === Tiredness abounds now…===

    That perfectly summarises my impression, too. You and @Sean are both right because you’re talking about different things — you, about the weak-kneed and colourless debate, now, in the comments sections . . . and @Sean about how ‘[t]he place has always reeked of contempt for its audience, both in the selection of above-the-liners and . .. ‘ …. I’d say, homegenised and too-predictable prose.

    There have even been fewer exceptions to that than there used to be. I like the Daniel Deronda blog and Sam is funny about Murdoch . . . but these have been the only interesting pieces for _months_.

  77. wordnerd7

    @elcal, just saw your new post.

    === However, i still have the desire to go in there (GU) and fuck around. ===

    . . . yes, but the few people trying to do that nowadays remind me of watching a polar bear in a too-small enclosure in a zoo. What can the poor thing do? Come out of cave; swim in tiny pond; clamber out of pond; jump in again . . . and so on, endlessly. . .

  78. Yes, I wanted to ridicule Evers too, and I even got as far as logging-in … but then I strangely lost my resolve. There was too much to say and it all became unclear in my mind.

    One of my ideas was this: if we do like American writers, it is because they fulfill two contradictory things that people want from novels:

    a) they are similar to us: – we can sink into an easy world (Western, fairly wealthy, Christian, sex-obsessed, superficially amoral etc.) that we’re comfortably familiar with, and

    b) they are different to us: – they use some different words, have some different attitudes (guns, a belief they’re involved in a life & death struggle with an invisible enemy, invite members of the military to open sporting events) – so that we can slip into an easy fantasy.

    Didn’t irritate me as much as the article by Alastair Harper today though.

  79. 3p4

    WEEK OF FEBRUARY 8, 2009


    Poetry on the Rise: Twelve local poets jumped into the frigid Green Lake in Seattle in December, just because they thought it would be a good way to publicize their art. “It’s not enough to write,” said one. “You need that audience.” [United Press International, 12-14-08]

    The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of Antonio Batista in November, declaring that his “death threat” against a Missassauga city council member, in the form of a sonnet on long-neglected potholes, was more likely literary expression. [Globe & Mail, 11-5-08, National Post, 11-29-08]

    Jose Gouveia, 45, recently published “Rubber Side Down,” a book of poems by bikers about the open road (including 17-syllable “baiku”), some from the educationally upscale Highway Poets Motorcycle Club of Cambridge, Mass. [Boston Globe, 10-21-08]

  80. wordnerd7

    Where on earth did you find those, @3p4? Can there be a web site dedicating to collecting news items involving _poets_? Three cheers for the Ontario Court of Appeal . . . Funny that poetry gets so much attention when I’d guess that most people never read a single poem, unless it’s in a Hallmark card, from one end of a year to the other.

    @elcal and @obooki,

    I was too bored by the post about American lit to get even mildly worked up about it . . . I did notice a ludicrous comparison of American and English versions of a sentence about a trip to a gas station (supposedly thrilling and dangerous, and routinely so . . . oh, right, of course . . . if you’ve watched Natural Born Killers and Bonnie and Clyde sixteen times) vs. a mere petrol pump . . . Since cars and everything to do with them occupy a space in the American psyche utterly unlike their meaning for Brits, it’s a meaningless contrast.

    What I’ve always admired most in American fiction is writing in which land and the outdoors predominates. I don’t know of any other literary tradition in which farmers and varieties of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen who would be sneered at as peasants or country bumpkins in the Old World can write as if fully entitled to do so, as if there never was any question that they were; and as no one had ever done before. . . And the same is true of literature by immigrants. The Jewish-American writers (especially Bashevis-Singer and Malamud) responsible for many of us using ‘kvetch’, ‘schlep’ and ‘schlemiel’ as if they were words we’ve always known cleared the way for other categories of immigrant writers to write so intimately and revealingly about their tribes that you can almost hear the clangour of scales falling from readers’ eyes.

    . . . Perhaps you’re both reacting against the ludicrous posturing in claims about the Great American Novel and if so, I’m with you all the way. As I said a few days ago, I recently tried re-reading Hem’s Snows of Kiliminjaro and The Sun Also Rises for the first time for decades and was stunned by the hideously contrived prose about vacuous twits. . . Surely the inverse relationship between self-inflation and talent has been mathematically established by now.

    @Des . . . at last I know why I was never able to Google Mick Donahue . . . you didn’t say that the author of the exquisite Machines you posted for us was secretly Michael Donaghy. 😉 . . . . . (is Donaghy pron. Donahue, btw?)

  81. elcal

    the problem with the gas station analogy, and this reinforces wordy’s good point about the centrality of the car in our culture vs. UK, is that we have more than one kind of gas station; further, you will find different car cultures through the different regions of the vast country. for instance, here on the East Coast of America, we have a lot of turnpikes and toll roads. these roads tend to have what is called a “plaza”, and looks much like a “plaza” i remember stopping at on the M6. now the corner gas station of the East Coast is very different from its counterpart on the West Coast or in the South, namely in size and purpose. A rural New England station was my liquor store while at university, but I’d just go down to the grocery store for wine in California. and I’d never find a strapped hitchhiker at a city gas station. most of the hitchhikers i’ve seen have been on the side of the road, natch. you can’t just say “gas station” and expect all us yanks to dream of the same thing.

    Stuart: “its hundreds of races, its gulfs between wealth and poverty”

    um, have you been to London?

  82. wordnerd7

    For anyone interested in what @Hazlitt meant here, on the Don’t Shoot the Piano Player thread . . .‘I see ISA has just been nominated comment of the day(revolutionary stuff) on the Seamus Milne thread’ . . . a time-saving step with the url below:

    [in reverse chronological order]

    16 Feb 09, 1:45pm

    During the French revolution and up to the declaration of war Unitarian ministers who preached non violence,liberty and the rights of mankind were attacked in Parliament.
    Many were brought to trial on the evidence of spies paid by the government.The Rev.T. Fyshe Palmer of Dundee was sentenced to 7 years transportation (of which he died) for the correction of a handbill for The Society of the Friends of Liberty.
    The house of JB Priestly was burned down by a mob,prejudiced by the war mongering rhetoric of Edmund Burke.As someone said at the time:

    Truth itself has become seditious

    16 Feb 09, 11:20am

    The government security clampdowns are not about red herrings like Muslim extremists. They are about increasing social control in an unjust society and preparing to clamp down on dissent.

    16 Feb 09, 11:18am

    If the government starts to cut back public sector jobs because of the failure of their blue eyed boys in the private sector they are going to need every database and cctv camera they have got.

    Isn’t this what they were really preparing for. Public revolt when the government comes out openly on the side of the rich and the establishment, using our high taxes to pay for the failure of the rich instead of to pay for public services.

    This is what the state security services have really been preparing for. Civil revolt, not the intervention of some outside terrorist force. [wordnerd7’s emphasis]

  83. 3p4

    interesting to see a blog on the GU books blog about a very old writer just like the link i posted above recently,,written by a blogger who has

    “”” (one friend, for instance, is a night watchman)”””


  84. wordnerd7

    Haven’t seen that blog, @3p4 . . . this is just to ask if you’ll please try and post a test message as soon as you see this. . . The gremlin consigning your messages to spam should have been frightened off by now and I’d love to find proof that the magical incantation worked (el brujo should understand, si?). . . Thank you again for being so patient.

  85. 3p4

    “a test message as soon as you see this…”

  86. 3p4

    abara cadabara

    hocus pocus

  87. 3p4

    another “pissed off at moderators” spin off blog

    i know of 8 of them now

  88. wordnerd7

    Tact and indirectness are apparently wasted in cyberspace. Making the rounds of various places where our comrades blog, I was surprised to find that misharialadwani considers me interesting enough to devote an entire thread to me – even though its subject is supposedly an old, long-dead American journalist. . .

    I don’t usually waste time on squabbles, vendettas and petty feuding, but it has occurred to me that people who weren’t blogging at GU in the weeks after Al Adwani arrived there might want to know why he so dislikes me. Here are some clues — in an explanation I felt obliged to give on obooki’s blog last October – after a post of mine about censorship at the Guardian, addressed to obooki, was met with a typically charming and gracious enquiry from the ever-choleric m-a-a:


    10. wordnerd7 Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 8:26 am [an abridged version of my complaint about GU on obooki’s site]

    Censorship at GU


    As you know, everyone posting here was once able to discuss Stasi-like behaviour at the other place on Steve’s blog. I’m pasting in my attempt to support zonkladim/thebeardedlady on the Beale thread a few hours ago — to let anyone interested see exactly what was just deleted


    Oct 24 08, 2:17am (about 4 hours ago)

    ==Starting to feel a bit like Winston Smith here.==
    You’re not alone.
    Sarah Crown promised us openness and transparency about editorial and moderation policies. (I can reproduce her post, if neessary.)
    But two weeks ago, I had email from the mods suggesting that discussions of deleted posts would only be possible by email, not on this site.
    I reminded them of SC’s promise, and said that it was important that everyone understand the reasons for censorship.
    Their answer?
    [And their answer to these posts was to remove both of them.]

    11. mishari Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    When I was banned because the laughably incoherent suzanabrams complained to the mods that I had ‘bullied’ her, (a nonsensical charge), your outrage was notable by its absence. All of a sudden, a few posts get deleted, no adequate explanation is forthcoming and you’ve noticed the mods are unjust and unaccountable?

    Jesus…have you been in a fucking coma for the last year?

    12. mishari Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Sorry, obooki…I just felt compelled to point out that wordy is, as the saying goes, ‘a day late and a dollar short.’

    13. wordnerd7 Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Your attacks first on anytimefrances and then on Suzan were extremely personal, mishari. Before you went ballistic, I tried telling you that you hadn’t blogged at GU long enough to have read her many posts about a life of extreme hardship in which extreme poverty was far from the worst part of her fate. . . Poor Suzan got into trouble trying to defend atf. Like the rest of us old-timers, she also knew atf’s story and does not lack compassion. Something else you didn’t know was that Suzan had been gravely ill around the time I started blogging on that site. Since you’d ignored what I’d said about atf, you seemed unlikely to want to know about that.

    After you were banned — and were understandably very upset indeed — you created an entire web site ripping apart both Suzan and her web site, day by day. Yes, I was silent until I saw that — and knowing what I did, made for painful reading, to say the least. I wrote to Steve [@cynicalsteve], who agreed that you’d gone ott — much as he liked and admired you, and even though he shared your irritation with some of Suzan’s and atf’s posts about you.

    He wrote to you at my request asking that you reconsider the particular form of retaliation you chose. Fortunately, you did.

    . . . So you see, these moderation problems are rather different.

    14. wordnerd7 Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    . . .knowing what I did, IT made for painful reading, . . .

    15. wordnerd7 Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    long enough to have read *atf’s* many posts about a life of extreme hardship

    16. wordnerd7 Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    === a few posts get deleted, no adequate explanation is forthcoming and you’ve noticed the mods are unjust and unaccountable? ===

    Again, you don’t know about our histories before your arrival on the books blog — when you were warmly greeted by me, if you’ll remember.

    Everyone who has been blogging there over the months I have knows that I’ve gone many rounds with the mods myself — though not usually on my own behalf.

    Those weren’t any old posts of mine that were deleted, btw. What interests me is that they were attacking the excessive commercialisation and dumbing down of literature. I’ve never seen anything like that censored before.


    . . . Was I wrong to defend @suzanabrams from (by his own account) an immensely wealthy man who set up a site dedicated to attacking her every single day — because she had defended anytimefrances (atf), someone (by her own account) struggling at the margins of subsistence? Everyone who posts here is mature enough to make an independent decision.

  89. Hi Wordy,

    Forgive my trivial lines but I have just seen this on my return to London.
    I am also just reading your site after a spell.

    First of all and I am repeating this for the 1000th time that this person holds a lie in his head when he says:

    “When I was banned because the laughably incoherent suzanabrams complained to the mods that I had ‘bullied’ her, (a nonsensical charge), your outrage was notable by its absence…

    Ludicrous descriptions like laughable and incoherent does not a world traveller make. No one who knows me in real life and I’ll throw in a few continents at that, would agree with anything he says of me, except for his friends. People who know me either as an acquaintance or a close friend would never agree to a single thing he has said. I can guarantee that. I’d be happy to give out a score of names and addresses worldwide at random if a checklist is required.

    Someone who is laughable and incoherent cannot travel the world on her own. My knowledge on Middle-Eastern literature that far bypasses a simple-minded word like enthusiasm would well shock him and leave him red-faced. This, with the exception that I have never bothered to flout it, except when I have felt intensely about something.

    And if such descriptions are not intended to bully and to humilate an individual online, then what are they there for?

    But the most silly assumption – never checked for facts – is that I would write to the mods. First of all, I still don’t have their address. Second, I have no idea who they are and don’t wish to know.
    This is not the way I operate. Des is banned too, in a far worse way than Mishari. He’s still allowed to post in a variety of user names. Des isn’t allowed to post at all.
    Big Difference!
    I also have no idea who atf is and only know her online where everyone else has seen me writing to her, that’s all. Des knows her better but NOT me.

    Frankly, I hold nothing against Mishari. Nothing he says affects me these days because I am not that person he thinks I am. It’s someone fictional he’s built up in his little head.

    Wordy, if I am the cause of your hostility with Mishari, then I’d say go and make your peace with him. You’ll be far more popular than if you stayed around, defending the likes of me. I’m cool because I know who I am and I don’t need the approval of others to make me feel good. I am very much the maverick.

    I could have told you if I had known, that talking to someone like Mishari to explain this dull truth is a waste of time. The lie he lives by at the moment, offers a far more exciting excuse to take out his dislike for the mods. Why spoil his fun? But please do go to your friends already, who believe these stupid things of me and be done with it.

    I have always adored your friendship but as I said, before, I am the lesser player here. And thanks for your loyalty for as long as it lasted and also for defending me at the time. It’s time for you to do an S.A., Wordy. At least with you, I’ll know it’s coming.

  90. Wordy, on second thought, if in case I appeared ungrateful above, I am not at all.
    I am very thankful and humbled by your friendship, that you stood by me, when many changed overnight, following Mishari’s drift and that of his initally loyal wrestler companion, Jane Holland. Of course, there are many others.
    All that sick trolling from the “well-read & smart thinkers.”
    I can remember every word to this day.
    Wordy, I was only thinking of you…of your intentions for a joint site…of a big happy brood, especially that you love a blogging camaraderie and you don’t want things to get unnecessarily painful because of me.
    I’m so sorry you ended up being caught in the middle.
    But thank you Wordy, thank you for everything most sincerely. At least, I had one real friend at the end of it all & Isa too, for the kind thing he said about me not too long ago.

    Alright, I’m going away now. 🙂

  91. wordnerd7


    I don’t believe I’ve ever asked for a favour quite like this before, but would you please, please, track down the elusive @Suzan and give her a seriously big hug from me? Also, tell her — as she and you and I know perfectly well — that since the debts have flown in both directions for many a moon, now, her thanks are redundant. (I still have a copy of her lapidary defence of me – at a certain in-camera hearing over which you presided.)

    Yes I’ll admit that it’s been good to read what her last post said — not unlike catching whiffs of massed freesias or roses on a warm spring day, . . . mmmm : ) . . . but @Suzan should have realised long ago that we’ve all been getting to know each other rather well. She should have known that I didn’t defend her to put her in my debt, but only because the cranky (yes, now I _am_ being kind and restrained) Kuwaiti’s behaviour violated my sense of what’s right and fair and decent, just as it did @cynicalsteve’s.

    Now, dear @Suzan,

    this part is just for you. Would you please consider not posting anything — I mean, not one single word — on any blog about the inhabitants of any country, when you are jetlagged and rushing about? Who has written more affectionately than you about Iranians, Nigerians (esp. Chimamanda Adichie) , Middle-Eastern Muslims of every hue, the Irish, Chinese, … Indians? .. Knowing this, I found some of your remarks on the surreal vacation thread puzzling until I realised that you were probably blogging too fast to see what you’d said or strongly implied.

    As I’ve noted before, you’re constantly switching cultural styles and standards of etiquette in your head — not just languages. People who haven’t been reading your posts for two years could sometimes think you’ve got it in for one race or another — whereas we old-timers know that that isn’t true. How can you be anti-African, for instance, when you defended Adichie winning the Orange prize against practically every other blogger — with only Sarah Crown and one or two others in your corner?

    I’ve also guessed that in racially mixed Malaysia, where you grew up, all the races tease or even mock each other cheerfully — rather like the characters in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (not a good book overall, as I’ve said before, but good for what it reveals in a documentary way about eg., styles of banter in racially mixed sections of London.) … On blogs read far from KL, this can easily be misinterpreted. . . yes I know, you have friends all over the world, but on the net you can’t stave off misunderstandings with body language.

    Still, don’t worry _too_ much. Your vicious attacker – anyone whose head contains copies of his posts about you knows just how apt the adjective is – is often far out at sea, culturally speaking.

    Some of the most basic rules of good behaviour in England that he constantly violates: (i) Never boast about money or possessions, or any other advantages of wealth – such as an expensive education; (ii) Never boast about your pedigree or the past or present accomplishments of your family – not just from good manners, but because thoughtful people very soon begin to wonder, well, but what have _you_ done yourself, my friend? (iii) Never boast about the innate talents or good looks of your family or — especially — of your devotion to them – since that immediately raises a red flag in people keenly attuned to certain psychological defences and stratagems. . . Also, as a superstitious Middle-Eastern friend of mine would say, why tempt fate and the evil eye? . . I’ll leave it at that, for now: could say a great deal more.

    .. . Yes, @Suzan and @Des, I do indeed love the camaraderie in this curious medium, and the idea of two comrades finding themselves in the same house in Dublin, and happy, … wunderbar! (. . . sorry I can’t sing as well as Cole Porter . . .)

  92. Dear Wordy, 🙂

    Des asked me last night after he read the earlier post, if I thought that your site was an unruly playground as I appeared to be heading dangerously for a schoolyard brawl.

    A little peeved, I pleaded the contrary, insisting that I had returned from my travels in a somewhat sophisticated fashion and written my defence in a highly matured manner, armed with a courage that was to be left uncontended.

    Des summed up the fact that it all sounded like a hysterical “drama queen moment” based on the words laughable and i>incoherent. 🙂

    I cried from my London hotel room that he didn’t understand me. He said that it sounded like I had returned, still unchanged from my celebrated little “tizzys”. I said again that I should have stayed on the Persian Gulf, that I was ready to leave even now and indeed, it was Iran, at the earliest opportunity. I had planned…to go…there is a super international poetry festival on the waters of Iran. But of course, I won’t.

    Wordy, I am lost for words. Honestly, everyone is the same to me. I love the world and couldn’t have travelled if I was prejudiced in any way.

    There have been a couple of tut-tuts from the endearing 3p4. Once he warned me of dire consequences for something I had written. He wrote, “Danger, danger,” on my blog & another time, he placed a short prayer for peace in my comment box.

    Your list is one of high comedy poking fun at the most inappropriate of toffee-nosed manners.

    Wordy, I’ll just say in my most soppy voice, that I love you whoever you are.

  93. wordnerd7

    @Suzan … sorry, I’ve got my threads confused and have just replied in Whither Blogging . . . ?

  94. Hazlitt

    I just stumbled on this again and thought you would all enjoy it:
    Sir Arthur was the son of Lady Beryl Streeb-Greebling – a ‘wonderful dancer’ who was still dancing at 107 years of age, and who was capable of breaking a swan’s wing with a blow of her nose – who inspired him to take up his life’s work of teaching ravens to fly underwater. Sir Arthur claims “She came up to me in the conservatory – I was pruning some walnuts – and she said ‘Arthur… if you don’t get underwater and start teaching ravens to fly, I’ll smash your stupid face off,’ and I think it was this that sort of first started my interest in the whole business.” However, his work was largely inconsequential. When Dudley’s interviewer asks “Is it difficult to get ravens to fly underwater?” his honest response is “Well, I think the word difficult is an awfully good one here. Yes, it is. It’s nigh impossible… There they are sitting on my wrist. I say ‘Fly! Fly you little devils!!’… (then) they drown. Little black feathery figure topples off my wrist and spirals to a watery grave. We’re knee deep in feathers off that part of the coast… not a single success in the whole forty years of training” When a perplexed Dudley asks if this makes his life a miserable failure, Sir Arthur is forced to reply “My life has been a miserable failure, yes.”

    Sir Arthur’s 35 years as a restaurateur were nothing short of disastrous. His restaurant, The Frog and Peach was a catastrophic failure, owing to its location – in the middle of a bog in the heart of the Yorkshire Moors, and its very limited menu – the “nauseating” Frog à la Peche and the “positively revolting” Peche à la Frog.

    It was Sir Arthur’s father who inspired his life’s other work: the study of worms. Sir Arthur’s father claimed to have found the world’s longest worm, at approximately three thousand miles. He came across the head in the Andes and spent five years tracing it back to the Azores. However, accusations were made that he had actually discovered the head of one worm in the Andes and the tail of another worm in the Azores. As a result, Streeb-Greebling spent a great deal of his life trying to encourage worms to speak to him, again to no avail.

  95. wordnerd7

    Delicious, thank you, @Hazlitt . . . the Italians have a keen sense of the absurd but — in my experience — slapstick predominates in their humour . . . Really, there are no people on earth capable of matching English dottiness, greatly missed by me, . . .. and something that has never been explained.

    Little black feathery figure topples off my wrist and spirals to a watery grave.

    How on earth could anyone think of ravens as ‘little’? They are _huge_ — compared, for instance, to crows. On a holiday not far from the North Pole a few years ago, at the end of winter, the only birds I saw for hundreds of miles were ravens — and I was so mesmerised by them that I rushed to the first library I could find to read about them . . . and learnt that my guess about their extraordinariness by any measure was spot-on. I should think they’d be too intelligent and independent to be trainable — wonder if that was part of Peter Cook’s joke (like ‘herding cats’)?

    … Your clip reminded me of this wicked take on Briddishness, found in a six month-old newspaper I’ve only just come across:

    a man on a couch saying to his therapist, “Look, call it denial if you like, but I think what goes on in my personal life is none of my own damn business.”

    . . . that’s actually a comment on a certain McCrumble we all read from time to time. Connoisseurs of transatlantic bafflement won’t be altogether surprised to learn that his American wife – an excellent reporter for the NYT – sees him as an echt Brideshead character. From a review of her book, The Anglo Files:

    She is married to the writer and former editor in chief at Faber & Faber, Robert McCrum, who is described as being “like something out of ‘Brideshead Revisited,’ ” who speaks in a way she can barely understand, while exuding a “charismatic arrogance.” He also has “the native constitution of a mushroom,” habitually shaving in the dark, and striding out into a storm without raincoat or umbrella.

    . . . will we ever read his blogs the same way after that, I wonder . . .

  96. wordnerd7

    also meant to say, about

    === Streeb-Greebling ===

    . . . on an exercise machine, just after I read your post, I suddenly remembered what other fictional name that reminded me of . . . the arch-villain of the execrable Da Vinci code, no less unconvincing than any other character, Sir Leigh Teabing. . . I would swear that ‘tea bag’ got crossed with ‘Streeb Greebling’ in the unfathomable mind of Dan Brown.

  97. Teabing is an anagram of Baigent, the surname of one of the authors of the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, much of which Da Vinci Code is based on.


    ‘I have learned from my mistakes and if required could repeat them exactly’

  98. wordnerd7

    Ah, @Baron, you’ve reminded me about the anagram — it was mentioned in the copyright infringement trial — but I hope you’ll agree that there’s always a range of choices in anagram construction. . . It seemed clear to me that Dan Brown wrote TDVC with tongue nestled snugly in cheek. Admittedly no easy feat, when hanging upside-down above your desk in anti-gravity boots (or something of the kind), but he did it.

  99. abramsuzan

    Hello dear Wordy,
    I didn’t know where to write this so I settled for Marginalia. Hope you’ve been well.
    Just a mix of things.
    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to come here of late as I was battling a bad head cold, no thanks to Des. Anyway, it’s almost all gone now but awful while it lasted.
    Secondly, I spent my time in solitary confinement while nursing the flu; so decided to change my site. I am no longer at Kafez which I felt was going nowhere, but have opened up a new site at
    which is mostly for my own writings & something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. It will be updated often.
    I wondered if you would be so kind as to change your link and many apologies for the inconvenience, Wordy.
    I went already to Des and Baron and I’ll go to Phil as well.
    Wordy, I read one of the recent snippets in long posts about translations. I don’t know if this makes any sense but from a subconscious level, I was so hungry to read Middle-Eastern and Iranian classical literature that I wasn’t even satisfied with translations.
    Incidentally, I started learning Persian and Arabic from a few months ago just so that I could get my hands on some beautiful Persian literature and also to enjoy world cinema without the aid of subtitles. I feel led to this in a spiritual way, which was how I align my love to Middle-Eastern literature. I should be able to do this properly within a year.
    Also, I saw that you mentioned Samuel Beckett in your most recent post.
    There is an excellent review of the recently published first-volume of Samuel Beckett’s letters by Cambridge University Press – Beckett was described as a prolific letter writer.
    Here is the online link and Wordy, I would also be happy to post you a copy of the literary magazine if you give me any kind of addy. The article takes up just under 4 pages and Beckett looks fabulous on the cover, striking a pose with his trademark glasses and with cigarette in hand.
    Also, fancy that about McCrum striding out into the rain without a care in the world. It was McCrum too, who discovered Kazuo Ishiguro whom he once described as striding into the Faber office, looking the classic hippie clutching both a guitar and manuscript. The rest is history.


  100. Hi Wordy,
    Just wanted you to know that I posted an entry just now to write out a few things and that it is awaiting moderation. Hope you’ll see it.
    Think its ’cause I used a different email addy.

  101. wordnerd7

    Hello and welcome, @abramsuzan, sorry it took me so long to liberate you from the approval queue . .. and hello @Suzan ! . . . Can’t reply with an adequately engaged head to you or @BaronC at the moment, . . . lots to think about in what you say. . . I can certainly understand this:

    === I was so hungry to read Middle-Eastern and Iranian classical literature that I wasn’t even satisfied with translations. ===

  102. wordnerd7

    Hello again, @Suzan, how would you like me to describe your new abode in my link to it? I ‘ve only had one quick look — yesterday — and have been wondering if ‘Fiction by Suzan Abrams’ might fit best?

    Many thanks for linking to that entertaining review of Beckett’s letters . . . and for the Ishiguro story. I particularly loved the mentions of a bap and garbage buckets in this scrap from a letter to SB’s agent:

    === The abominable old bap Russell duly returned my MSS with an economic note in the 3rd person, the whole in a considerably understamped envelope. I feel slightly paralysed by the courtesy of this gesture. I would like to get rid of the damn thing anyhow, anywhere (with the notable exception of “transition”), but I have no acquaintance with the less squeamish literary garbage buckets. ===

    . . . Yesterday an immense, courteous and kind Mr. Ahmed — a specialist in juggling heavy inorganic objects with many zeros in their tonnage — came to give me an estimate for a job. Of course I thought of you the instant he said he was from Tanzania. I told him that an otherwise delightful and obliging invisible friend who recently gave some of us the curious idea that we’d all been in Dar-es-Salaam with her had adamantly refused to answer my questions about how tapioca was cooked and served in his country.

    What I’m about to reveal is really for @Des — as you’ve explained that it is he who likes to cook — and now he’ll be able to satisfy your cravings for this remarkable substance that Mr. Ahmed said he prefers to think of as cassava. Also, I know he’ll make sure that you don’t overindulge, as you did on one occasion in Dar, with remarkable results, dear @Suzan. . . ahem . . . Anyway, the answers are:

    i. peeled, sliced in large chunks, and grilled
    ii. sliced and steamed
    iii sliced and deep-fried, just like chips
    iv pulped — but not quite pureed — and cooked with coconut and spices

    When I suggested that iv sounded a bit like the hominy grits that people eat in parts of the American southeast, he said, smiling radiantly, ‘Not quite, but we have another dish almost exactly like grits with no connection to cassava.’

    So I hope you’ll let me know how you get on, @Des, and that @Suzan will give us a detailed report on your first attempt.

  103. Hi Wordy,

    I’m writing you this from Belfast where I’m afraid, I have overindulged in something that may prove more more dangerous than a chubby belly…that of an empty wallet from leftover winter sales!
    Actually, Tanzanians love corn/maize and use it as a staple diet in the way, that Asians love their rice.

    To all the rest that you have said… I hang my head in shame.

    PS. Fiction it is then. I don’t know where atf got the notion that my head is imbued in fantasy. Of course, I still adore her. But… as if! 🙂

  104. atf

    I think you’re a fantasist suzie dear, nothing to be ashamed of! Joyce was a fantasist but a rather ghostly sort. You’re the cherubbly (cherub+bubbly) sort. Here’s a lovely poem I came across today showing his light gossamer thought, his word weaving dream…

    James Joyce

    Thou leanest to the shell of night,
    Dear lady, a divining ear.
    In that soft choiring of delight
    What sound hath made thy heart to fear?
    Seemed it of rivers rushing forth
    From the grey deserts of the north?

    That mood of thine, O timorous,
    Is his, if thou but scan it well,
    Who a mad tale bequeaths to us
    At ghosting hour conjurable –
    And all for some strange name he read
    In Purchas or in Holinshed.

  105. abramsuzan

    Oh my God, Atf!
    Are you really here?
    Alright, I confess, I confess.
    P.S. Thanks for seeing the magic in my laundry. 😉

  106. wordnerd7

    Some really fine line lines by Joyce, there — and I’d also thought of his influence on writing, as I flitted through your new site, @Suzan. . . since of course it says ’stream of consciousness’ right away. Though I might call your style in that category of work not fantasising but oystering. Something — a feeling of hurt, irritation, etc. — begins an elaborate construction of words that draws on memories and weaves in the first images that float into your mind. . . As I said here in the last thread (Whither blogging …?) I find all blogs like this — personal themes, fiction, poetry — hard to comment on. I prefer to ‘listen’ in a respectful silence and simply savour the chance to know the blogger in this intimate way. To say anything at all would seem intrusive. A contradiction, I know, since blogging is in the public sphere, but there you are . . .

    I’ve updated your link in the blogroll. It took five seconds.

    . . . Didn’t mean to make you feel so guilty about keeping the secrets of cassava to yourself … the Tanzanian potato is how I’ve come to think of it. . . . Every time someone tells me gleefully about a shopping expedition I feel like saying, here’s my list, please take it and do what you can . . . I cut sales notices out of the papers and then never go, year after year. My motto could be: Hates to shop. . . But how nice to see the word Belfast in connection with something so innocent. It was only ever linked to sadness and dread when I lived nearby (relatively speaking).

  107. Hi Wordy,
    By the way, I did forget to thank atf for the lovely poem. Thank you, atf.
    And Wordy, thanks for the link.
    You are able to see into souls without the help of mirrors, aren’t you. You’re very astute. So too is atf, but the both of you project sharp revealing insights in different ways.

    Des will be answering you shortly, on the subject of kitchens of which I’m afraid I am not very domesticated and prefer if I may so boldly steal your words… “to keep a respectful silence.”
    If you only knew how many times I have burnt his toast! 🙂

    Wordy, Belfast is a cool, stylish and very friendly city. The pace is exactly like that of London. Lots of cafes, arts events etc. No, I didn’t go for a shopping expedition – I hate to shop as well, but just happened upon a very noisy cheerful group of pensioners in a shop this afternoon where winter things were going for a steal. So it was just a spontanous thing. And we all started helping each other out, if what suited who. Vanity knows no age & vanity never turns old.

    Thank you for everything, Wordy & Atf.

  108. Hi Wordy.

    I will try it out and report back.

    Thanks very much atf for linking one of my poems on billy’s thread, which looks like it has come to an end. Do you think it was his decision or made by the powers that be?

  109. atf

    hi des
    there were others of yours i liked better but my computer is agonisingly slow when loading comments that i didn’t go far back.

    not sure about billy’s motivations. i think more likely that the eds decided it was falling off. i thought he was putting less effort into them and there were some murmurs from regulars that it was getting boring. personally, i’m sorry to see it go; the enthusiasm of posters was still there and it had settled down nicely from its excesses to a modest input. i’ll miss the stimulus to compose as otherwise i might hardly bother.

    enjoying your other posts on the threads there!

    have been following wordnerd’s planning a major site with interest and sad to see it dropped. could be interesting and fun.

    if sue is in belfast still she might think of making a trip to Derry which is an interesting city with brilliant walls fairly well preserved and a brill bookshop in the craft village. only an hour or so in the bus.

    weather’s turned nice here the last few days. makes me want to go someplace. anyway off to the library this morning as it’s possibly quiet. though last time there was a ‘fair’ of military uniforms guys dressed as everything from ‘redcoats’ to fascist generals; i get to have a peek at their gear because i have access to the canteen for a tea break. once there was this group of old british guys who believed in returning to their ancestral past and were naked and covered with paint, where else would you see it; there are some things I do love about the british…

  110. Hi Wordy.

    I didn’t get round to it today, but one of the shops I go to is a Nigerian fella where I get susan plantan chips, deep fried and spicy. Sue is very Indian in her taste for hot food, chilli oil on the many take aways, about two a week, lots of fried food, sausages, eggs and full pork breakfasts, which are her favourite and which I have to make, because sue is not the worlds best cook, though she does spend most of her free time watching Gordon Ramsey on the new sattelite with 368 chanels, which means there is never a spare moment, between eating her take aways, watching telly and moaning at me.


    Hi atf

    I think you may be right, that the editors may have called time on it. The comment in general seems to have slowed down a lot and it will be interesting to see how things go there in the coming months.

    I see Motion wrote an article about his tenure as Laureate in todays poetry section, wanting it all ways.

    I have to go now, as sue is caling me to put the kettle on and make her dinner.

  111. All lies Wordy,
    all lies.

  112. wordnerd7

    @Suzan, @atf, @Dessie, .. . I am sending you each a gigantic……mmmwah! ….. for these scrumptious little laughs, technically marginal but life-sustaining on a day of nonstop physical drudgery after several days of nonstop physical drudgery, much of it book-related heavy lifting, that has my bones shrieking all the way from waist to feet (now can you beat that for a whinge?)

    I don’t know which made me laugh more, Des as moaner-chef or atf fantasising so uncontrollably that she’d make Tolkien weep from envy:

    have been following wordnerd’s planning a major site with interest and sad to see it dropped. could be interesting and fun.

    Where, my dear Frances, did I ever say I had any such plan? Find me the sentence!

    . . . About the demise of Poster Poems on the Guardian’s books blog . . . I was most amazed to note the thread-runner’s inability, to the end, to give @SeanMurray credit for the idea of a thread dedicated to letting comrades express themselves freely. Let it be on the record, again (since the Gruan’s archives support what I’m saying here): in his valedictory post, Billy Mills (@BillyMills) took credit for a suggestion of @seanmurrarydublin‘s without ever thanking him for it, not even once. . . His excuse, when confronted about this, was that it was he who actually wrote to the eds about the scheme. But that was because he knew he’d get their attention — being something like a quarter-century older than Sean (or so I’m guessing) and well-established on his Irish poetry scene. It is up to older and more financially secure scribblers to encourage and properly credit their juniors, some of whom are fighting not just for recognition but for time to write at all.

  113. WB Mills is well established, but only within a very marginal grouping of linguistically innovative poets who see themselves as the hiers to Brian Coffey and for whom Beckett is their god.

    They see themselves as outsiders, and marginalised by the mainstream because their genius as oracles goes unrecognised by all but themselves. The head honcho is a chap who instigated Sound Eye poetry festival in Cork and their online HQ is British-Irish Poets list, run by Randolph Healy. The poet with most respect is Maurice Scully who grew up with Mills in Dublin.

    Healy banned me from his gaffe because of this piece here – which used *real names* of poets, a light hearted comedic deposit – but he broke his own rules as it was only the second time I had been warned over my *behaviour* in print, when the rules state you go out on the third or fourth. And when I asked the person who I named – my old uni poet-tutor – about it, he said he had not complained, so Randy had clearly got the hump on his behalf.

    The first warning came from a man who works in Carol’s dept at Bangor, Ian Davidson, for some bullshit problem he had with my writing. Basically the usual at this gaffe is one line, usually ads for whatever is going on with the members of this marginalised avant-garde academic mob, most of whom are terminally boring and people like me who write freely, even though they’re supposed to be the crazees, they show their true traffic warden sensibilities by indulging in the literary equivalent of harumphing and pained looks of dissapproval.

    Their enemy is the gang at Holland’s gulag, lyric normals, but really, both camps are full of dreaery bores and a few unconcernewd artists just doing their own thing. It reminds me of Fintan O’Higgins description of the two types of poetry on offer in Dublin, either the holy mob into being deep and esoteric as though poetry and God is one and they the priests, or the racous open micers, the experience of both O’Higgins said, is not unlike looking for plump raisons in bowls of rabbit droppings.

    I think if you add all of Mills’ posts up most will be maxims from the wise master, delivered with all the charm of sheenagh pugh sucking a lemon.

  114. wordnerd7

    _Funny_, _lovely_, post @Des, thank you. Do you suppose that they’ve all had anything resembling a sense of humour extracted laparoscopically?

    I’m sure that I’m the problem, not the poets, but these lines by you (from your link) sum up ‘linguistically innovative’ poetry for me — talk about deadly aim! . . . .:

    contain no meaning – – – – –

    — s/he read —

    there is a cow in a field
    the machine is out of order

    – and many more there
    wished for truth but not

    evidence deconstructed
    asleep upon the pages

    🙂 (will need emergency resuscitation if I laugh much more than this)

    … If I were a publisher, I’d be begging you to write a novel about @DS vs. the patriarchs of Irish poetry.

  115. atf

    “…or atf fantasising so uncontrollably…”

    wasn’t sure what you had in mind and i wouldn’t know until i’d seen it but thought you planned to bring several sites together and have a ‘portal’ and for each site owner to take turns in writing a blog… something like that is all I meant by ‘major’. it seemed exciting and would generate i’d imagine a bit of information flows and comments. i think maybe this qualifies for a slightly lesser fantasist than Tolkein, i feel flattered rather than praised. you were onto a good thing wordy, fresh, innovative…maybe you like to dream, and not to do, wordy? the others were up for it…a sort of jamboree. leave competitors weeping with envy? sounds cool -:)

  116. The thing is, Wordy & Atf, I’m constantly puzzled about Jane Holland.
    She says her book is available in Waterstone’s but you could go into the most popular stores in London as I did the other day, and you still wouldn’t be able to find her.
    On the contrary, you’ll likely bump into the collections of lesser known poets in the UK.
    There was this newly-published book in Waterstone’s Piccadilly which featured women poets in Britain in the 21st century…it was rather chunky fare, only she wasn’t even there.

    So where, tell me where…


    By the way, Wordy, as referring to the thread-runner in question not mentioning Sean, maybe the former just forgot?

  117. wordnerd7


    === but thought you planned to bring several sites together and have a ‘portal’ and for each site owner to take turns in writing a blog… something like that is all I meant by ‘major’. ===

    You’re confusing me with @ISA . . . he had a plan like that, and might yet execute it, and I agree that it might be fun . . . I’m the comrade who can barely find enough time to keep this blog ticking over, so would hardly want to launch a new site — as I hope you can see. . . Have never mentioned running a site with contributions from anyone else.

    . . . Ah, @Suzan, as I said . . . .the thread-runner did answer my complaint about his failure to give Sean any credit for the idea. If you look at my post upthread (March 21, 10.35 pm) you’ll see what he said. . . Sorry I have no opinions about poetry books appearing in or disappearing from bookshops, and I only listen with half an ear to gossip about contemporary poets — to be able to understand wizard posts about their world, like the last one by your @Des. ;). . . I’m sure he makes them far more interesting than they really are.

  118. Wordy, it’s Des’s birthday today. 🙂

  119. wordnerd7

    Happy birthday, o wonderful and inimitable @Scalljah! . . . and thank you for letting us know, @Suzan. You’re up to your elbows in cassava flour, i trust ? — baking him the flarffiest cake anyone ever tasted? . . . ; )

  120. Oh Wordy,
    Really now!
    I’m a bakerygirl. 🙂

  121. wordnerd7

    Suziecake, Suziecake, bakery girl,
    Bake him a cake as fast as you whirl;
    Roll it and pat it and mark it with a D,
    Put it in the oven for Scally and thee.

  122. Very funny Wordy but highly clever.
    Des is asleep now but he’ll certainly read what you wrote.
    Thanks Wordy.

  123. wordnerd7

    Not all, thank you, @Suzan, for keeping us all on our toes in a hallucinatory interlude in my life – the happy, not the sad kind – that has left me woefully short of blogging time for weeks.

    It’s fitting in a thoroughly Borgesian way that I’ve just discovered from WordPress’s dashboard that you are famous as far away as la blogosfera above Argentina for your comentarios recientes, and that los bloggers there have been eagerly linking to both ‘Ficción por Suzan Abrams’ and ‘Poesía irlandesa’ (I feel sure that it was a memorable birthday, @Dessie, with your ‘bakery girl’ as MC).

    Typically kind and considerate of you to tell us everything you have to say to your fans in the land of Eva Perron before you tell them, eg., in

    Promoción del libro: fanfarria para uno de nuestros encargados de:

    Suzan Abrams
    February 11, 2009 at 5:57 am 11 de febrero de 2009 a 5:57 am

    This is wonderful, inspiring news, Wordy. Esto es maravilloso, inspirador de noticias, verboso.

    For Sean and also your site. De Sean y también su sitio. Is that champagne you’ve got in your hand? Es que el champán que tienes en la mano? 🙂

    Many congratulations Sean! Sean muchas felicitaciones!

    . . . You say, what _are_ you wittering on about, wordnerd – . . . well, see for yourself:

    . . . Now would someone please explain how on earth this blog has acquired an entire parallel existence – in Argentina, where no nerd I know has ever set foot, or knows anyone at all ??? . . . 🙂 ! — your friend verboso (!)

  124. My God, Wordy! How do I know the strange ways you end up getting yourself tango-ed? 🙂 There’s no rose between my clenched teeth at the moment as I stride about the room, I’m afraid.
    Africa, ok, I can offer some kind of explanation but Argentina?
    I’m not just a bakery girl but also a microwave, refrigerated, supermarket and restaurant one, I’m afraid.

    Wordy, your absence is sorely felt and by the way, are you in love at the moment? 😉

  125. wordnerd7

    === the strange ways you end up getting yourself tango-ed? 🙂 There’s no rose between my clenched teeth ===

    (i) I had nothing to do with it, I assure you … it’s a whole mirror of this site that you reach from that link, @Suzan — everything I’ve ever posted rendered into Argentine Spanish (as far as I can tell).

    (ii) Must do something about your lack of roses. Send address, soonest — ?

    . . . so many thread-starters in my head; so little time . . . but I’ll post again as soon as I can, don’t give up on me, and thank you — as always — for all the kind things you’ve said. . . Maybe @Des and @atf can have a fight in this space, to keep things interesting until I can return properly? 😉

  126. Hi dear Wordy,

    “Must do something about your lack of roses. Send address, soonest — ?”

    I meant while dancing… like the tango??? 🙂

    Btw, never given up on you.

  127. 3p4

    knock knock ?

  128. wordnerd7

    Thank you, @Suzan, though it’s been clear to me for at least a year that you never give up on _any_ of us.

    . . . ‘knock knock ?’

    ‘Who’s there?’


    ‘Three p for whom or what?’

    ‘Kind @3p checking on witless wordnerds who have let too much time pass between posts and just might need help . . .’.

    Thank you, comrade, and where _have_ you been? Visiting @Iamnothere Dahn Undah, perhaps?

  129. Hi Wordy,

    Glad to see you’ve got a new post up but not feeling too well so I’ll be along to check it out later.

    It’s 2 years that we’ve actually been writing on the books blog… and that was March/April 2007. 2 years since I said one of my favourite writers was Muriel Spark and you agreed. 🙂 I think many of you were there much earlier.

    What great topics we had for the books blog then – then it was more to do with the personality of the book itself rather than the many p.r. errands that engaged a brand name’s publicity.
    There were some wonderful pieces on villians, characterisation, plots etc.

    Des stormed off to his new site when OvidYeats got dissolved at the start of August 2007 thereabouts. What drama at the time with Atf, Kennedy Rocks and the like locked in arguments with Rob Woodward, Tony O Neil… Des would come in hopping mad and brandishing strange user names like Mother Theresa etc. Do you remember? And people would start talking to him, having no clue he was OvidYeats…

    Atf came to the books blog in May 2007 and although she and I didn’t get on at the time, I think she alone has stayed the etheral goddess, able to withstand all.

    Last year, in March/April 2008 was when awful things went on for me personally. Someone’s name got banned through no knowledge of mine and there was then the horror. I have a long memory. 😉

  130. wordnerd7

    Dear @Suzan, I hope you’re feeling much better by the time you read this. After your extraordinary globetrotting in both hemispheres, a big sleep-in for at least the weekend would be no bad thing. . . Thanks for the chuckle about @Des as Mother Teresa — although I think the screen name was slightly different. Will have to check. . . I’ll look forward to your reaction to any part of the new post.

  131. abramsuzan

    Will do, Wordy. I’ll be back tomorrow or Monday to read your new post.

  132. wordnerd7

    I just put this in the wrong place . . . Thank you, @Suzan, and I hope that your rest cure is beginning to work . . . : ) !

  133. Hi Wordy,
    Do you read your emails?
    Can I write you on the addy posted here, under the About page?
    Need to contact you. 😉

  134. wordnerd7

    Dear @Suzan, the cunningly disguised compliment in your post suggests that you think I can _read_, to begin with . . . THANK YOU 😉 . . .Of _course_ you can send me email there, and I’ll look for a note from you, balanced on the edge of my seat, every hair on my head standing on end … How’s that for keen anticipation?

  135. Hi Wordy,
    Thank you.
    It’s noon and unfortunately, I’ve just woken up. Am still following wrong time zones slightly.
    I’ll write later and you’ll probably read it, several hours from now.
    The keen anticipation is cool, Wordy. 😉

  136. Have sent it already, Wordy.
    Just the reminder you wanted.

  137. elcal

    Here’s my marginalia for the week, lifted from Poets & Writer’s mag (SA should enjoy this). 4 young (over 30) agents are interviewed by the mag, and along the way this question:

    Q: Where are you finding writers, aside from referrals? Are you reading literary magazines? Are you reading blogs?

    MASSIE: No blogs.

    RUTMAN: Not for fiction.

    STEIN: Hell no.

    RUTMAN: Referrals are about 75 percent of how I find writers.

    MASSIE: A lot of my clients teach in MFA programs, so I get referrals from them. I get referrals from editors. I get referrals from other agents.

    RUTMAN: There’s a big range of where referrals come from.

    STEIN: But every now and then there will be something in the slush—and I bet this is true for you guys, too—that’s not just well written but is also well researched and shows that the person knows your list and is really appropriate for your list and also has published well.

    MASSIE: And sometimes when I read a short story that I like I’ll send an e-mail. “Are you represented?” Once in a blue moon someone’s not represented.

    RUTMAN: There are too many of us. (elcal: indeed)


    And to tie this into the writer/marketer topic, the agents further complain that MFA programs are teaching writers how to better market themselves, or at least write for or to agents. A bad thing, they say! Apparently the air of mystery and slush piles is important for publishing good art? (not that MFA means good art)

  138. wordnerd7

    Thanks, @elcal, this is riveting stuff. . . So much for the complaint that it’s only middle-aged or old readers/writers/publishers/agents that haven’t taken to wallowing in online fiction like … pigs in er, . . . clover. . . I’ve read this three times, now, and laughed every time — from bemusement as much as amusement:


    Q: Where are you finding writers, aside from referrals? Are you reading literary magazines? Are you reading blogs?

    MASSIE: No blogs.

    RUTMAN: Not for fiction.

    STEIN: Hell no.


    … avoiding it like the Black Death, apparently.

  139. ISA

    Hi Wordy. I have just asked CiF to delete my Guardian account.

    They did.

    Time to redirect energies.

  140. wordnerd7

    Congratulations, @ISA, since that almost reads like an announcement of breaking away from a nasty addiction. I haven’t been reading as much as skimming Cif or the biblioblog for months, now, and for similar reasons . . .

    Btw . . . did you notice that the Observer has a splendid new Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg? Should he buy Matumi?

  141. They are very touchy.

    I mentioned how the charitable foundation the Scott Trust, became a Limited company last October and that the NUJ Manchaester chapter passed seven motions in relation to 67 job cuts by this new commericial entity which owns the Guardian Media Group which owns the Guardian – and they snipped the username and the petty petty act of removing five day old posts from potw, going through the last two pages taking off all the faultless stuff they had no excuse to when i first posted it. They also removed five day old posts from Shirley’s Shakespeare thread and Jay Panini (wrong spelling, i think) who wrote on the American poet Merwin.

    Somoen got really really angry..hurrah!!

  142. wordnerd7

    @Des, are you quite sure that that was their reason? I’m not, because they ran a report on the NUJ protest themselves:

    Since the Guardian — certainly the arts pages — submitted to mercantile manipulation long before the change in legal status, I don’t see that the Scott Trust’s new identity makes any difference. (Doesn’t mean I’m sure that it doesn’t, just that I’ve had no reason to think so.)

    . . For the new wave of excluding your posts, I’d blame the same person I always have. Think of someone not too far from you who always reads the blog at the start of the day and tends to post soon after 8 am BST. In a pattern of long standing, your comments tend to vanish not long after this blogger’s first posts of the day — and almost exclusively on weekdays.

    I’ll admit that I was only teasing @ISA with ‘nasty addiction’ . . . as with my mention of Matumi (since it was you, Phil, if you’re reading this, who started the speculation about who would or should take it over. .. : ) . . . The truth is, after the glory days of the biblioblog ended, I mainly showed up on that site to keep @cynicalsteve company — as so many of us did. . . Once I’d said what I had to about their censorship in support of book marketeering (yes, like racketeering :)), and once there were too few dazzling wits about to respond — for instance, to you and @Flarf — I simply got too bored to go there very often.

  143. ISA

    Don’t mind your comments at all and in fact I am quoting you in a post explaining my withdrawal. And as for Matumi – well why not.

    I’ve gone rather dour on Xuitlacoche and am not posting on parents and family simply because I am writing about them and it saps my energy. But if you have a voice then you have a moral duty to use it. Hence stuff about Sri Lanka, Swine Flu, Zuma and so on.

    I had no idea that Cynical Steve was ill. As it was I was very hurt whn he dismissed the poem I wrote that laid bare bpoth what had happened to me and what I felt about it. But had I known that he was a doggerelist reacting honestly to the question of his own demise I would have groped my way towards understanding him, of course.

    I am disappointed that I didn’t.

    Of course the son or daughter of a British doggerelist would be understated and humerous about his or her father’s death. That was appropriate.

    I do think he was very good.

  144. wordnerd7

    === am not posting on parents and family simply because I am writing about them and it saps my energy. But if you have a voice then you have a moral duty to use it. Hence stuff about Sri Lanka, Swine Flu, Zuma and so on. ===

    … all that makes perfect sense to me. In the book you’re writing you can create the rich context I think readers need to understand your family’s story. The fragmentary attention spans that most of us bring to blog reading, on most days, make that harder to do. E-books are somehow going to have to extract a bigger commitment of time and effort for e-reading. I don’t doubt that that _will_ happen, I’m interested to to see _how_.

    Haven’t yet had time to read your swine flu post, but will.

    There were some extremely unfortunate misunderstandings between you and @cs that might have had something to do with your Cif history together — about which I know almost nothing. But I think that you each admired the poet in the other — often, if not always — and suspect that that might have been most important to both of you. . . Am only guessing, of course.

  145. wordnerd7

    Oh, and @Des . . . the same dull-witted informer/tale-bearer/mods-butterer — who has since reverted to an old below-the-liner pose — also arranged for the deletion of the last link I posted there for this site. It stayed up over a weekend. On Monday morning, the duck-billed platitudinous one* reappeared and no more than fifteen minutes later, as I remember . . . pooffffff! . . . my post vanished.

    You know, of course, that any of those recent deletions you mentioned that seemed right for this spot would be very welcome indeed in Salvage Op. . . ? 🙂

    [ * can’t, sadly, remember whose nickname that was — not my idea, alas 😦 ]

  146. Who’s the tale bearer wordy?

    I would be fascinated to know.

  147. wordnerd7

    @Des . . . I’m not trying to crucify anyone. Besides, the offender is too boring, hypocritical and inconsequential in every other way to deserve free publicity here. A naming would only add interest to . . . and therefore gratification for . . . an ego already morbidly obese.

    What’s the salient point, here? That a particular person not a salaried GUlag administrator was consistently reporting you to the mods in private communications. In an earlier phase of this tale-bearing, the mod alerts were made by the same person in public — until some of us drew attention to it . . . Remember the disingenuous question, as you swanned into view in your latest see-through disguise: ‘Is that you, Des?’

    This week, I noted a childish attempt at a cover-up, when one of your, er . . . team . . . posted on a tweet-tweet blog. . . Let us say that little Tony/Tina is plainly-but-indirectly accused of stealing chocolate. For several days, little T sits right next to the chocolate box but refuses the smallest nibble at its contents.

  148. Cheers wordy.

    I didn’t know the bore was reporting me in private, and when asked if that was me, i had no idea that the sad little snitching crap poet with zip talent, was doing thus.

    maxims and dictums from the dickhead and their own stuff, shite.

  149. wordnerd7

    Well, I’d be quieter than a mouse if the record didn’t bear me out . . . I’m sure you noticed that ‘Is that you, Des?’ used to tip off new Stasi recruits, since your comments always vanished shortly after its appearance, even if they’d stayed in place for days before . . . Also, that those alerts ceased as soon as attention was drawn to them by the rest of us.

  150. @Dessie, . . . I’m guessing that you’ve nearly suffocated from chortling, . . . reading about you shaping the conversation on another site?

  151. wordnerd7


    Predictability: Does the Flap of Seagull/Butterfly Wings on a Mid-Atlantic Server Set Off a Tornado in a Hysterical Kuwaiti’s Teacup?

    Key idea

    ‘While the butterfly does not _cause_ the tornado, the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado.’ . . .

    . . . See, @Des, it seems that we’ve been giving an impeccable demonstration of the ‘butterfly effect’ in chaos theory, all by ourselves. You thought that GU mods went on that post-purging binge because of some remarks you made about the Scott Trust [newcomers to this discussion, look slightly upthread]. . . I suggested the far more likely culprit without naming names – based on a long record of tale-bearing stored in bytes (on several servers). . . . Lo and behold! . . . bloggers desperate for renown by association with us insist on joining our conversation . . . and choose to finger one of their own as the culprit. Zounds! ; )

    Shall we let @Suzan decide whether we are seagulls (er. . . spray-painting those hopping-mad bloggers) . . . or butterflies (skimming under their noses, doing ballet)? . 🙂 . . . I seem to remember that you’ve posted about this idea in chaos theory yourself– it has a magnetic appeal to artists and scribes — but for any reader who hasn’t come across it before, this mashup of paras, including a bit of a wiki entry, explains that the core concept is that

    small differences in a dynamic system such as the atmosphere–or a model of the atmosphere–could trigger vast and often unsuspected results.

    These observations ultimately led [Edward Lorenz] to formulate what became known as the butterfly effect–a term that grew out of an academic paper he presented in 1972 entitled: “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”

    … Lorenz published his findings in a 1963 paper for the New York Academy of Sciences noting that “One meteorologist remarked that if the theory were correct, one flap of a seagull’s wings could change the course of weather forever.” Later speeches and papers by Lorenz used the more poetic butterfly.

    . . . Btw, it was wonderful to see how swiftly @Flarf and @deadgod silenced the ever-irate sewer-mouth so swiftly – you temporarily switching to sewagespeak yourself, to accomplish your mission . . . I don’t believe that Mr. Crude[Oilman] dared to return to that spring poems thread after you’d dealt with him. The exchange:

    Mishari-al-Adwani/ misharialadwani/ @arturopimiento:

    […] Get a grip. Are you talking poetry or an episode of the frigging X-Files? Hidden primordial my arse. […]


    14 Apr 09, 7:21pm

    Hey arty, you’re back tellin us how to think and write. Nice one !

    Will your poodle* be joining us, or is this a solo attempt to reclaim your spot as the most erudite geezer wiv a bit of yer know, yer know, the aul whe hey, the aul sneery sexist laid back civilised chap who likes everyone suckin up yo ass? […]



    [. . .]

    Flarf, you probably need telling less than almost anybody to beware the phauxteur of those Too Clever To Be Bothered But Not Too Busy To Tell You To Get A Grip.


    A great day in the annals of blogging, @Des. . . . BRAVO . . . : )

    [ … * a.k.a @MeltonMowbray . . .yipyip—- yap! . . ]

  152. Dear Wordy,

    I’d associate you with a seagull in added terms to what you already pointed out…someone able to observe correctly, a vast and intricate tangled web from a distance and unafraid to spill the agenda of the odd manipulative bean/s with loud determination – metaphorically speaking, this would refer to the graceful sea-bird’s swift ability to circle and dive without a care over a body of water while demonstating tremendous zeal. It caws excitably at the sight of a dinner discovery, yet stays equally content to perch itself quietly on a rock and observe the whispering tide from a faint distance. It doesn’t abandon its community, not even in the face of a tempting open freedom. Whoever you may be in real life, Wordy, you demonstrate those inner qualities and your steadfast online camaraderie reflects a distinct loyalty to your flock.
    (“no chirping sounds intended”) 🙂

    I had meant to come in and thank you for your astuteness. It was a shock to Des and myself – we had not realised the eerie pattern you pointed out but yet, there it was, ugly as hell. I have held reservations about that embittered individual myself for many months now as you know, but failed to anticipate these low measures amid the usual dose of scorn and pessimism afforded to any cursed post, a blogger may choose to write esp. on publishing & poetry on the Gu bks blog. Even Sam Jor… is not spared especially with regards to his Booker club but still, an uneasy truce must be maintained between the two. I would know this easily, having contributed to several comments over the past year, on Sam’s booker club threads & watching this bizzare mode of behaviour between the said embittered individual and the ever-pacifying Sam.


    Des, I can report is slightly shocked and amused but there’s no stopping him. What said individual had suggested be deleted, were pieces of writing Des had worked industriously upon but he has them saved in any case, in his MS Word documents.


    And as for the @arturopimiento‘s of this world … I remember Des’s s classic line which said simply
    Shut yer gob!

    But this often is the bullring style, Wordy. The poster who had a go at Flarf did it because all of you – and a few of his own commentors – had afforded Des some praise beforehand on one of your threads. This person – and I would know – can’t bear to see someone else being praised, especially someone you’ve praised. Someone you have disagreements over (pinkroom – it doesn’t matter if its blackroom, greenroom, indigo-room whatever…) is instantly embraced and someone you praise – let me ephasise: not on the person’s regular list of commentors – is shunned. It’s a form of personal jealousy. I stand easily by this truth.

    What happens next is the person who’s received praised will be further trespassed on. There will later be some sneering or insult thrown at the individual. In Flarf’s case, watching all of you going on at Des’s talent was too much, so arturopimiento takes the opportunity to give Des a good kicking up his arse in the poetry thread. Public humiliation at which art… excels art… is one sharp insult. Then he feels regaled and once more truiumphant. He feels once more in control, that in making fun of someone else’s gift, his own supposed talents are restored and art goes away at peace with himself again.

    It’s happened to me and a few others over the space of one and a half years. I’ve observed this interesting parallel and can give you more examples of a similar pattern, if you wish.

    It was from this observation alone – and I turned out to be absolutely right when I told Des, that whether Des had replied or not was immaterial; that art… would be unlikely to return for another retort.

    True enough, he failed to return. Simply being that he saw one sharp insult as an adequate payback for the praise Des had received on this site just a few days beforehand.

    You were also spot-on in figuring out that the poodle was Melton Mowbray I don’t have anything against such a smooth-talking troll but the pair remind me of a sleuth bent on arresting the wrong suspects and his hapless, bungling assistant. Quite the comedy.

    And Wordy one of the crowd that he hangs out with. This person St. Pollyanna of the Holy whatever…– one of the most silly user names I’ve ever come across – and who joined Mishari in insulting my play one night here in the UK, which few others knew about and which I stupidly took down from my site the other day from an old fear…and then I go to check this person out… pinkerbell – ring any bells? – and I find a long-winded, dreary crack of a bore and I think how stupid I was. ‘Long-winded’ is the word.
    I wonder that Mishari‘s arse isn’t half-wet from all that sucking up. And no, this isn’t bile. It’s just an intelligent observation.

    I’m not interested in what this St. Pollyanna of the Holy Long-Winded nunnery, writes frankly but to insulted by someone second-rate is what I call an effrontery. You would know if you blogged on personal matters for a long time, you can get praise from any number of individuals. It’s a matter of you reading their blogs and they reading yours. I used to have a fair amount of this sort of thing going on, for one of the older blogs when I wrote on personal issues, which is why a long time back, Steven Augustine had suggested I close my comment box as he pointed out that I would never realise a valuable critique otherwise. It wasn’t a books blog then; just on personal issues, the odd poem whatever. That was a wise comment on Steven’s part as I’ve seen it happen with many others.

    Wordy, as for me, I’m back in circulation again and so looking forward to your next post.

    Love you as always

  153. Oops, Wordy,
    Would you mind removing the bold print from those lines in the second last para. My fingers slipped a little…
    They were just meant to be in ordinary print.
    Thanks, if you do manage it.

  154. ISA

    OK. I guess I have to stand up for Misha.

    It’s a shame that he is negative about you Des and Sue. Bad.


    He has always been very kind to me. Moreover he is talented and witty.

    Don’t you think it’s extraordinary that we can speak so familiarly about such disembodied people?

    Isn’t it amazing how hurtful some disembodied words are?

    I am sure Misha is smarting too.

    I suppose the whole point is to be uncompromising, in some way. It’s the idea you have of what a poet is that makes you adopt certain poses and attitudes. This is a little juvenile, maybe. But I would say vitriol is very entertaining and healthy sometimes. Not when it’s misdirected.

    I don’t know. I used to find Des a little irritating sometimes too. But watching him read he’s good. Susan really annoyed me before, but then she was so kind and so I shut up.

    It takes someone like Wordy to see behind the login. Wordy advocating Des and Sue. And spot on.

    I think the fireworks are quite fun in the end.

    I hope I am not stepping out of line here, folks.

  155. Phil,

    You didn’t see the last batch of insults aimed at me, did you. I don’t speak these days unless I’m sure of what I say. If someone insults my work without me looking their way, over and over until it becomes sickening and demoralising, then I have the right to speak.

    I never knew I annoyed you by the way.
    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll be sure and stay out of your way from now.

  156. ISA

    No, I didn’t witness the way Misha insulted you.

    He shouldn’t. Wrong! However, I think you are a very sensitive person. And of course everyone irritates everyone from time to time. If you look back at our posting history on TPOTW we have had a spat or two. I think I criticised someone and you defended them. So what. Water under the bridge. You must be born under the sign of Cancer.

    But being sensitive is what makes you a good writer, Susan.

    Being insensitive and intellectual and sharp is what makes Misha good.

    Being in a sort of Bardic trance, probably makes Des good

    What do I know, really?

    I love the idea of many voices coming together and focusing outwards not inwards.

    For example there should be a lot to say about Carol Anne Duffy. Well the Guardian is spinning its line about her, but wouldn’t it be nice to hear all of us on the same page defending and attacking and sharing insights and all the rest, as we did on POTW, – rather than splitting into cyberspace factions.

    That’s why I watched Misha with dismay as he criticised you…I could see that he was closing down spaces that were not his to close down.

    Life is claustrophobic enough as it is.

    Did you go to the Shah Abbas exhibition? I would like to comment freely on that, but what would the consequences be?

    In fact what are the legal protections to bloggers?

    If we set up a hard hitting joint blogsite together, and if it got read by a wide audience then presumable it would suffer the fate of Private Eye.

    Of course, the website would be in court constantly. In fact the Guardian provided some cover. Because if you express yourself freely on the Guardian then they are co-responsible for what is posted.

    Presumably, if the Guardian lets the comment stand then they also have to stand by the comment. Think what a problem that must be. That must explain a lot.

    So I don’t know. I think this freedom is illusory. I think that when what one says matters, then it will come to the attention of people who can easily take one to task: take one to court and mash one up.

    But if we agreed to post together on an open source blog then I would definitely be interested in Susan’s travelogs.

    Because boy, has Susan travelled.

  157. wordnerd7

    Dear @Suzan,

    I couldn’t hope to do justice to your extra-special long post in this reply, so won’t even try. I know that you know that all the good feeling from you and @Des is completely reciprocal; has been for a long time, . . . and, most importantly, has been come by honestly on both sides.

    There’s been no manipulation, no pandering or seeking to boost the ‘friend’-count here — as on Facebook; no offers of free books or CD burns to people who post in this space … On the contrary, my honest reactions to what people say have often meant that they’ve quietly stopped blogging here.

    That’s all in keeping with the spirit of this experiment. Diplomacy and tact were emphasised above all other skills in the way I was brought up, and have shaped my life. Blogging fascinated me for the chance it offered to say exactly what I think. . . How many — or rather, how few — comrades would I end up with if, for once, I allowed myself the freedom to be completely frank? … That was the whole plan at the site where we met, continued here, and from this you’ll easily deduce that my intentions couldn’t possibly be more different from those of someone seeking to develop a ‘following’.

    There’s a lot more to say in answer to your comment, and I will . . . eventually. I haven’t had a chance to read any other blog, or most of my email, for a day and a half. The correctional commune that @ISA and @Hazlitt have told you all about has been keeping me frantically busy. Yesterday, for instance, I spent two hours untangling messes in the installation of the wireless network that made it perfectly apt that the Americans pronounce ‘router’ the same way we do another word for ‘defeat’. All’s well again, with our bits-and-bytes, thanks to a lovely geek in Bangalore – but now the community hens are refusing to lay eggs until the pig sty is moved further away. . . Yes, you’ve guessed right . . . I keep arguing that our porkers are too lazy to give them swine flu . . . but, oh dear oh dear. . .

    @ISA, this is going to be even further from the complete reply I owe you, too, but about

    === Presumably, if the Guardian lets the comment stand then they also have to stand by the comment. Think what a problem that must be. That must explain a lot. ===

    If this train of thought has anything to do with defending the person @Suzan has aptly characterised as the ‘embittered individual’ . . . let’s call him BitterMelon . . . What the Guardian might and mightn’t think about its responsibility for remarks posted on its site is one thing. Encouraging bloggers to sneak on each other – rather than openly object to what they’re saying – is another altogether. . . Tittle-tattlers rank somewhere near the bottom of my list of the lowest of the low.

  158. ISA

    I suppose you are right, Wordy. The points I made were unrelated though. There are many forms of aggression. Criticising and sneaking is one, passive aggression another. They feed off each other.

    But ultimately we can all find ourselves in each other.

    When you behave badly and have thoughts that are unworthy or based on some feeling of helplessness or alienation or need then do you punish yourself for it?

    What difference is there between you and me and Susan and Misha and anyone else. Not much.

    I must say I understood something for the first time today. I was always revolted by those couples that gazed adoringly into each others eyes where they were almost twins. So I was waiting for the bus today and a young couple was necking and they really looked identical. But I didn’t feel that disgust that I usually do.

    Instead as the girl looked into the boys eyes, just like her own, I thought of my teen age daughters constantly looking at themselves in the mirror. Mirrors and women.

    Interesting. Because I grew up with two brothers and my dad had three brothers and my mom had no sisters, but very close women friends who were sister-like. I asked an old flame of mine what to do. Just tell them they are very beautiful all the time, she said. And I do. But they are very messy and “mare-ish” (word coined by my sister in Law whose family owns a farm in Devon) and annoying a lot of the time.

    My son does it too, but not quite as much: Mirror looking.

    So instead of despising vanity I just though of my teens’ insecurity. Looking into their reflections for affirmation – and choosing to appreciate someone like themselves not because of their vanity but because of their immaturity.

    I don’t know. There is not that much difference between us all, now is there? When you look into anyone’s eyes you look into yourself, a living mirror, no matter how different they may seem.

    The point is what the hell do you want to achieve with getting offended by someone or offending someone? We hope there is some constructive purpose to people’s behaviour and not simply a cause of some sort that we must understand to help us tolerate that behaviour.

    I once confronted three intoxicated rough living men on a stairway coming up from their flat smelling of dog piss, with knives in their hands with the intention of attacking the boyfriend of a girlfriend – if you follow that – and the best thing to do is to talk people down and out of these things. And so I did, on the stairwell.

    When I was 12 I stepped between two guard dogs who were having a dog fight, an Alsation (I love Alsations) and another rough fellow. As I pushed them apart one of them leaped up and bit me with his long canine tooth in the shoulder. But he was immediately ashamed and both dogs slunk off.

    No the point is that if you are taught to make the assumption that this person or animal you are dealing with, despite their appearance is, at base, your brother or sister at a very deep level, then you are a sound person to advise them.

    But if you haven’t grown up then you can’t see your reflection in all life.

  159. wordnerd7

    === Criticising and sneaking is one, passive aggression another. They feed off each other. ===

    @ISA, again – I only have time to reply in part, for which I’m sorry. Also, if anything you’ve said relates to the conversation on the site where the air is so dense with scatology that it reeks like a urinal with a delinquent cleaning attendant in a heat wave, I’m afraid I wouldn’t know what that is. Some words you’ve used in your post remind me of remarks made in that place, in the past . . .

    I allow long gaps in my visits there because I don’t find much of _substance_ in the thread-starters on that site. It’s chitter-chatter-y in a way I’m not. Yes, another character flaw of mine, I’ve no doubt. . . Now, which site am I referring to? The one run by the hyperventilating Kuwaiti. Since everyone we know knows exactly who I mean, there’s no passive-aggression in my refusing to name him, I just have no interest in peppering my posts here with the names of bloggers I don’t respect.

    And I find it fun to be direct beneath a see-through indirectness, the kind in which @Des – for instance – specialises. I enjoy having to pause for a beat to see who he means.

    In one of my favourite scenes written by Dumas père, the evil Cardinal Richelieu stumbles on the musketeers in a temporary encampment not far from the siege of Rochefort. He is about to confiscate a critical letter from d’Artagnan when Athos intervenes and lets the cardinal know with a delicious indirectness that he can name all the holy one’s mistresses . . . and saves d’A from certain punishment. So you see, there can be motives other than ‘passivity’ for obliqueness, even in one whose courage is unquestionable. That’s something Dumas shows us, incidentally, with this particular character.

    .. . So, no, _transparent_ obliqueness is not passive-aggression. It’s simply good hygiene – in relation to the Kuwaiti’s site. No offense to the people of Kuwait is intended, it’s just a simple way of referring to the way he refers to himself.

    === But if you haven’t grown up then you can’t see your reflection in all life. ===

    And yes I know exactly what you mean. See Sam Keen’s ‘Faces of the Enemy’ or, more cheerfully, consider the ancient Mayan inscription, ‘I am another yourself’. . . But spotting the _potential_ Hitler in ourselves and keeping a close eye on that possibility at all times is something entirely different from condoning people giving in to their lowest instincts and expressing themselves — chronically and pointlessly — in the most foul language . . . or allowing them to trample all over people one likes or loves – don’t you think?

    === I suppose you are right, Wordy. ===

    I’m never sure I’m right, @ISA, so don’t you be, either — I’m with all the doubting Thomases and Thomasinas, particularly in judging myself. After all, there is nothing we can do about blind spots: that’s how they came by their name.

  160. Hazlitt

    “The correctional commune that @ISA and @Hazlitt have told you all about has been keeping me frantically busy. ”
    Do you mean the “Great Satan”? or the British Houses of Parliament?
    I don’t remember discussing my school days..:)

  161. wordnerd7

    Pheeeewwwwwwwww, thank you, general — suh! — the _relief_ of being let out of those leg-irons …

    Your mention of school has reminded me of something I’ve posted on @ISA’s site — where he’s asked a most interesting question: are the rich, poor or middle-classes more susceptible to corruption? I’m pasting in a link and part of what I’ve said there … it would be great if others would join the debate on that blog.

    … It occurred to me after I’d posted there that @Des is one person we all know who suggests that I must be right … there’s never any calculation behind his affinities or affection. . .

    Here’s the magnificent Henry Green about life at Oxford in his day — recording fellow-students cosying up to wealth, a phenomenon some of us have observed among our own fellow-bloggers, including some supposedly ardent socialists:

    === Several undergraduates had incomes of up to three thousand pounds a year and they were sought after for their cars and the parties they gave . . . [A] man one had been happy to kick on his knee-cap where he stood by a corner every day at [Eton] . . . was taken up as they say. It did not follow that because his father was an enormously rich man he need yet be in receipt of a huge allowance, it was the potentiality of the vast wealth that one day should be his which made him an irresistible attraction. . . In these circles ability and character counted for as little as they were to count in after years when women would come love-hunting money . . . ===

    . . . There’s genius in that phrase: ‘love-hunting money’. Indeed. And what finer description of the ultimate corruption could there be.

    . . . What about offering Cif a version of this blog entry — it would make a great debate.

  162. Dear Wordy,

    When you say here,

    ……..@Des is one person we all know who suggests that I must be right … there’s never any calculation behind his affinities or affection. . .

    oh dear, what does that make the rest of us… I poured out my heart out to you in my comment above, in what I only assumed to be a sincere camaraderie and thankfulness for your friendship and loyalty since it couldn’t possibly be anything else…

    and now I too, may be seen as suspect in the way of calculations etc

    Things are just looking worse and worse by for me by the minute aren’t they.

  163. wordnerd7

    Oh SUZAN!!!!! Lovely @Suzan, please don’t be so over-sensitive. . . You read me too fast — just as I do other people, sometimes.

    I emphasised that @Des is ONE person of whom that’s true [ I put the word in italics: one ]. . . doesn’t rule out others, now, does it? 🙂 … grrrrrrrr …. Then please look at my stunted answer to your beautifully considered long post upthread. . . I said ‘come by honestly,’ referring to _both_ of you, didn’t I?

    I picked @Des because as far as I know, the risks he took for his writing — and other reasons — left him poorer, on the material plane, than any of us. Yet even before we all blogged together on the old site, did you ever see him trying to ingratiate himself with anyone boasting of great wealth? No, he treated the worst offender, in this respect, the same way he did everyone else — was polite or rude to him depending on what he thought he deserved.

  164. wordnerd7

    === Things are just looking worse and worse by for me by the minute aren’t they. ====

    where? how? . . . sorry to be so witless.

  165. Oh, I’m glad Wordy.

    I was very hurt but just for a swift minute and equally glad you wrote back so quickly.
    I understand now what you’re saying.
    Of course, you’re absolutely right about Des in that respect and I still see the old days as the best of times.
    He’s well looked after now.
    He does get wounded everytime BitterMelon does his thing but bounces back quickly.
    He doesn’t give up with his poetry, his passion for the old Bardic/Celtic era is still burning bright and I just try to encourage him where I can.

    Wordy, about things looking worse for me, I’ve been told I’m annoying and before that, that I was irritating and I wonder which way to turn. Suddenly, I find comfort in burying my muggy little head somewhere in a piece of Arabic sand.

    as I said before,
    love you as always, Wordy.

  166. Wordy, please remove the bold print for me, again.
    Terribly silly on my part.

  167. wordnerd7

    @Suzan … bold print run amok has gone . . . always okay to ask . . . not just you, _any_one bothered by a formatting mistake in a comment.

  168. wordnerd7

    === I’ve been told I’m annoying and before that, that I was irritating and I wonder which way to turn. ===

    Dear @Suzan, there’s a saying in the US that the three most important rules for investing in property are, ‘Location, location, location.’ . . . Too many misunderstandings in this blogosphere stem from what the three most important rules for communicating in it could easily be: ‘Culture, culture, culture.’ As @BaronCharlus/@exitbarnadine once said, every time we post about anything important, we should consider — to the extent that we’re capable of doing so — how the same words might be read on continents far away, in profoundly different cultural contexts.

    I know I probably make such judgments poorly myself — or am wrong at least as often as I’m right.

    Styles of femininity in the East and West are different, aren’t they? At the furthest extreme from you is the emotionally bottled-up, dry, just-the-facts-please, woman blogger . . . I mean, someone identified as such. She’s more likely to be Western than Eastern — an academic or executive. I know that you’re a bi-cultural creature, and that’s part of your immense charm, for most of us. But it’s difference that always gets the most attention, and I think your emotional expressiveness disturbs people brought up in the stiff upper-lip tradition.

    Don’t pay any attention to them. Just be yourself. @Des obviously loves you just the way you are, and I think he has excellent taste. [which doesn’t mean he’s _always_ right — I mean. incapable of mistaking eg., me, for a Google-bot _)+&&%%**(())&&%#@++= !!!!!!!!!!! . . . . 🙂 ! ]

  169. Hi Wordy,

    I just read out your last two lines to Des and he’s looking sheepish and saying ‘yeah…yeah…yeah…’. 🙂

    Well, thank you very much, dear Wordy. Your words are an ointment to the soul. Still, I do try to be careful with what I say these days. I’ve always BaronCharlus a wise, talented gentleman.

    Just for the record, I live a European lifestyle – and this has happened naturally – but am deeply pleased with my roots. I feel I have the best of both worlds. I am far more at home in Europe or Australia than I would ever be in Asia probably also with regards to environmental consciousness, communications, the fast-paced life etc.

    My travels have prompted my reading material which is universal. I can’t remember for example any Asian on any of the safaris I’ve been to. The Asian acquaintances I’ve met in East Africa (Arusha/Zanzibar) are all hoteliers, bankers, restauranteurs, businesspeople, tour agents etc. They don’t go on safaris. I’ve only ever met Americans, Italians, Germans, Brits etc on these adventures.

    And also I think when it comes to concert recitals in London, say the St. James’s church, Piccadilly or at the Abbey the other day, when I went to watch a Shakespearean play or book signings like one I remember at Hatchards when I went to visit the late Sir John Mortimer, I was the only Asian present. And I don’t know of any Indian woman or else very few – as I’m sure there must be -, who would travel alone spontaneously the way I do.

    There are a select group of Asians who would be able to easily identify with me but only and this even in 2009, only those who have broken away from communal traditions, rituals and religious expectations.

    Thank you for understanding me so very well, Wordy.

    By the way, I forgot to tell you that Des is also a talented mimic. He can mimic various voices and expressions and can appear extremely comical.

    Thank you, Wordy. 🙂

  170. wordnerd7

    Ah … now, here’s a good example of tripping a (minor) cultural fuse, @Suzan. . . All of us who have blogged with you for a year or two know that you are not in the smallest degree a snob.

    You’ve fought ferocious battles on behalf of comrades of every hue and nationality, . . . bright or dim, rich or poor, young or old, etc.. But the word ‘select’ in this sentence makes you sound like a bit of a grande-dame — a specialist in making the most superficial distinctions between people:

    === There are a select group of Asians who would be able to easily identify with me but only and this even in 2009, only those who have broken away from communal traditions, rituals and religious expectations. ===

    . . . Can you see what I mean? Wouldn’t you have said ‘progressive’ or ‘modern’, if you’d stopped to think?. . .It’s funny, but most of us have trouble living up to the idealised images of ourselves discernible in our words — or from reading between our lines. . . Your words, by contrast, sometimes have trouble living up to you. When you go a bit awry, it’s because of some tiny but crucial misjudgment of meaning or tone that you have no idea you’ve made.

    … Just to make you feel better, I only realised a few minutes ago, stirring stewed rhubarb, that I’d said ‘siege of Rochefort’ when I meant ‘siege of La Rochelle’ in my mention of Dumas in an earlier post . . . Looked up the text — as I should have done before I posted, … heheh … — and found that it was Aramis not d’Artagnan who had the letter the cardinal wanted, and that Athos saved the musketeers’ collective bacon … . [ heaves tremendous sigh of exasperation with wordnerd ]

    Tell @Des that so many centuries have gone by since I was the not-Google-bot that he’s only supposed to laugh when reminded of that wheeze-for-the-ages, since that’s all I do. . . And I promise you, even then, I nearly laughed myself silly. . . about how hopeless communication between reasonable human beings can be, sometimes, even when we want to believe the best of each other. . .

  171. since being thin-skinned seems in fashion at the moment is there an insinuation here that by accepting an offer of some CDR downloads ( and saving myself £50 by not buying them in the shops ) from the hated Mishari that I have now been effectively bought off and any views I have are now corrupted?

    It no doubt is being thin-skinned on my behalf but that’s quite an assumption if I am not.

  172. Wordy,

    Yes, I can see what you mean.
    I wouldn’t have chosen progressive because that would have indicated a backwardness as regards traditional communities in the East and this definitely isn’t so.
    I wouldn’t have said modern either because that would mean that Asian communities were old-fashioned when they’re not.

    For example, something as simple as sitting alone sometimes on a late evening, listening to the rain beat against the window pane and finding solace in Chopin – one of my favourites – and a glass of wine, or dining alone and hurriedly at a hotel restaurant after returning late from an outdoor adventure in Africa, which I was often prone to do…
    you’d really just never see an Asian woman doing this kind of thing. Many of those I know or who have spoken to me would explain with some envy no doubt, that they would be too ‘fearful of danger’, their husbands would be ‘furious’, would think they were up to no good and as for listening to Bach, there would be no time and if so, a Bollywood film would almost certainly win the day.

    I think I would say alternative. Would that sound better?
    Thanks, Wordy.


    I feel I need to make it clear also that I don’t hate Mishari and anyone who knows me or reads my blog would know that.

    But I draw the line at foul-mouthed expletives thrown at myself or anyone else, trolling, heckling and bullying targetted at a lone individual by any one group and this cruelty being carried out for the longest time. I don’t condone this. I don’t think it’s right.

    It’s not the person I have had to battle a problem with for over a year now, but the person’s actions. Anyway, just wanted to set the record straight that I don’t hate anybody. That’s not my style.

  173. Oh not you now, o model of good sense and moderation, @Alarming, . . . but thank you for the chance that this fragment of your post gives me to explain the madness to some lovely new readers of the blog:

    from the hated Mishari

    That’s all back-to-front. Look at the documentation further up this very Marginalia thread, and you’ll see that it’s the excitable Maa [ aka Mishari al Adwani ] who hates me.


    As he explains, in the extracts in that earlier post, he thinks I did wrong to stay silent after he ignored my warnings not to attack @Suzan, well-known for being sensitive — and got himself banned from posting at the Guardian under his own name, as a result. . . As one extract shows, instead of asking me in a neutral tone why I didn’t join the protest about his banishment, this was how he broached the subject of my choosing to be Switzerland:

    October 24th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    When I was banned because the laughably incoherent suzanabrams complained to the mods that I had ‘bullied’ her, (a nonsensical charge), your outrage was notable by its absence. […]
    Jesus…have you been in a fucking coma for the last year?

    . . . As anyone will see from reviewing the record in that earlier posting, I suppressed my extreme disgust with his manner to answer his question politely. . . When I reminded him that I’d been the first books blogger to welcome him onto that part of the GU site, . . . instead of understanding my mention of past friendliness as well-meant, he spat out his outrage at the implication that I had any _authority_ to welcome him anywhere. . .

    . . . So you see, it’s rather hopeless with him, @Alarming. He has told us in the past that his family name means something like ‘unending enmity’ . . . and I, on the other hand, am too lazy for anything like that. The dogs – and in this case, at least one poodle 🙂 – bark, and my caravan moves on . . . with my head filling up with thoughts of my next destination even before the woofing has completely faded away . .

    Now, about

    is there an insinuation here that by accepting an offer of some CDR downloads ( and saving myself £50 by not buying them in the shops ) . . . that I have now been effectively bought off and any views I have are now corrupted?

    Intentions are one thing and results another – yes? … Think of the film title, ‘Take the Money and Run’. ? : ) . . . So, no, I don’t think he’s necessarily bought anyone’s loyalty by handing out freebies in the first few weeks after he started his blog – something I’ve never seen any other blogger do, . . . but then, what do I know? I suppose he could be Mother Teresa reincarnated in a djellabah. . .then, let’s see, . . . there’s a long tradition of ritualised gift-giving in places like the Middle-East and Japan and if I think a bit longer, I’m sure I can come up with another idea or two for his defence counsel. . . 😉 . . . without _any_authority for doing so, mind you . . .

    ================== UPDATE =========================

    Submitted on 2009/06/19 at 8:17pm

    There is, sadly, a carrying-out-the-rubbish side to blogging. Today’s waste is smellier than usual — decomposing fish skin and rotten eggs, dear comrades, make a particularly noxious combination.

    A squabble between @atf and @Alarming in this thread led to a mention of a site owned by someone very rich and bored: see yesterday’s note in italics, addressed to @Alarming, and inserted into one of his comments. As a result, that blog-owner, someone remarkably fond of boasting about his wealth, has, for lack of anything better to do, been writing about this site, yet again.

    Here, for the record, are the only responses I feel are required of me:

    (i) No word of any comment by any contributor to this site has ever been altered or deleted by me — except for the blanks inserted in place of rich-and-bored‘s personal and site names, as I’ve explained to @Alarming upthread. Nor have anyone’s posts ever been censored. . .. . Since I act as my own subeditor/ copy editor, I do correct my own posts from time to time.

    (ii) No comrade posting both here and at rich-and-bored’s site has ever been discouraged from commenting there — or indeed anywhere else.

    (iii) A blogger on that site has been bleating persistently about not being allowed to comment here. Her screen name begins with StPolly — and the second half changes often. I’m going to stick with St.Pollywobbles, to save myself the trouble of keeping up. . . A few days ago, she tried posting a first comment — a complaint about a passing remark @Suzan made about one version of her screen name. Since everyone knows that @Suzan has her own site, Wobbles could easily have gone there, and should have done. I have no interest in turning this into the Petty Scrapping Site. . . I have, however, saved the comment she tried to post, and if any regular visitor here feels it needs airing in this spot, I’ll display it.

    … whoosh …. into the wheelie-bin …. !

  174. ISA


    Can I just say sorry. You are very sensitive indeed. Which is good for an artist. I had a friend like you called Bunny she was big and warm and cleverer than me ( I can attest to that) and came from Trinidad. A very good friend who I would like to get in touch with again.

    So sorry. Wordy is more perceptive than I about people.

    I would love to hear Des declaim. Come down to Canterbury in summer all of you and we’ll get pissed together.


  175. ISA

    And as for Mishari, I imagine him in an Edware road eirie, but very insecure. He is not monstrous enough. I could make him into a real monster.

    Didn’t we have a thread on alebrijes.

    I think I did mention them before.

    Wish us luck. Old Edwardian house in the middle of little Korea.

    Enough to make five bedsits.

    …and five poets.

  176. ISA

    I think we should all go back to Carol’s threads at some point.

  177. wordnerd7


    I quite see what you mean about my suggestions for alternatives — very much off the top of my head, I’m afraid. . . I wondered about ‘cosmopolitan,’ but that’s an overworked cliche, now . . . Anyway, I’m grateful for your perfect comprehension of my point.

    As for,

    === But I draw the line at foul-mouthed expletives thrown at myself or anyone else, ===

    Exactly. Did you happen to notice him beginning a a comment to a woman who has told us she’s over sixty with, ‘FFS, Carol . . .’ — or so I seem to remember the same blogger asking in the spring poems thread. . . I suppose that there might be some cultural difference at work here, too. Maybe that’s a conventional way of saying, ‘Delightful to see you, Carol …’ in some part of the world he knows and we don’t. . . since he does seem extremely fond of her.

    . . . Very mean of you, @ISA, to mention a joint treat that I couldn’t possibly share … Canterbury no less … but do go, @Suzan, all will be forgiven if one of you blogs in detail about what all of you say after you’re fifteen sheets to the gale . . .

  178. wordnerd7

    === Wish us luck. Old Edwardian house in the middle of little Korea. ===

    The very best of luck! Am glad that it seems that poor Teresa isn’t going to have to look at a sewage plant , after all. Though if you’d bought that house, I was going to suggest making it the twin of the San Francisco poo processing facility that was named for George W Bush last year … there is _some_ justice in this world, apparently.

  179. ISA

    Just think Wordy,

    Whitstable oysters, Kentish hops, ancient Cathedrals.

    Des and Susan could tour Kent bardically speaking. My friend and mentor is the greatest authority on ancient Cornish. I could introduce Des to him and his wife who sees ghosts and there is the possibility of a completely nuts but quite interesting woman being there. Someone who was in Kuwait for a long time who might know Susan.

  180. I maybe need to say one more time and for the last time, that I had NOTHING to do with Mishari’s banning. It’s an illusion in his head.

    And for all the false accusations and grief, that came out of it I am by right owed an apology for the false accusation by the individual I mentioned above & which I have still not received.


    Isa Not to worry. I apologise too for my unintentional & multiple – as I’m sure of it – errors of the past.

  181. ISA


    I know you treasure your anonymity, but can you see the sea from where you are? Are you on an island off the coast of Seattle. Thats where my aunt, Felicity is. You could go and say hi. She studied with Iyengar for decades.

  182. ISA

    OK Susan, but will you and Des come and see me in Caterbury this summer. That’s what I want to know.


  183. ISA

    PS I am REALLY into Kit Marlow at the moment.

  184. Isa I can see ghosts too! 😉 But don’t like oysters.

    Wordy please help me out by removing the bold-print again! I don’t understand the recent volatile relationship between the bold lettering and myself. 🙂

    And Wordy to all you’ve asked,
    my God, it feels like a circus. I don’t even know who’s on the tightrope or who’s doing cartwheels anymore. I’ll check out the spring poetry thread and return to you on that.

    I can’t help thinking that you have been the perfect Chief Inspector for Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie’s beloved Poirot. How she would have loved your intricate mind and it’s ability to sort out strange forbidden mysteries with the delight of a jigsaw. You’re a born sleuth and too, the seagull through and through! 🙂

  185. Wordy,
    actually cosmopolitan is the better word.

    I will draw Des to your invitation. I will be in London sometime now in May, June & July. In August, I’m returning to Africa and can’t decide on the second route between Cairo & Melbourne, Australia. Both call out with the same intensity.

    I am a free spirit and my heart is always in flight. I can’t sit still and as I get older, the wanderlust bug shouts urgently to hurry and get on with a suitcase. Maybe, I’m aware that time is shortening dangerously by the hour. Still, would like to meet sometime.

  186. ISA

    Good. So that’s settled then. I expect to see you and Des in Canterbury soon.

    I am off to Munch, Barcelona and South Africa. I don’t travel much, nowadays, but that will do. In Munich to see my uncle who will be 99. And in Barcelona to accompany my wife and see my sister-in-law’s family and in South Africa I have to see about Matumi and, hopefully, to see the heir to William G. Grey.


  187. Sounds grand, Phil.
    Don’t forget your memoirs!
    Laters, then. 🙂

  188. ISA

    Nope. Decided against it. Big loft though.

  189. wordnerd7

    Bon voyage, @Phil … though we’ll all miss our UN peace-keeper 🙂 … I hope you’ll have time to keep a trip diary, for this collection of journeys … Lots of potential for sharp contrasts in those places.

    @Suzan, this has made me shake with laughter:

    ===I don’t even know who’s on the tightrope or who’s doing cartwheels anymore ===

    Yes, your circus metaphor is perfect.

    Now for once I’m going to suggest keeping those particular words in bold type. . . since that’s the essence of the problem. Why can’t the blogger let bygones be … ? … Why not give unending enmity a holiday in his generation — and lead the way?

    If you still want the un-bolding, I’ll do it right away.

    Naturally I am giggling about your munificent estimation of my powers as a sleuth. If _only_ ………… 🙂

  190. wordnerd7

    … oh, and thank you for choosing seagull over butterfly, too … A missile capability can be useful, sometimes.

  191. I was just joking really but alright, Wordy leave the bold lettering on then. The humble word apology which appears to be a poor relation to intellectual brilliance in this case, might get some much-desired attention. 🙂


    Where sleuths are concerned, you’d definitely not fit into A Touch of Frost, Wordy. Why! You’d be laughing too much/

    Whereas Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders possessed the appropriate humour. I may also take into account a wily Miss Marples and Murder, She Wrote discounting any prejudice that may so arise from how shall I put it succinctly… your ever-elusive gender??? 😉

  192. Wordy,

    I’ve figured the circus bit out.
    We’ve all fallen on the trampoline and the ringmaster is nowhere to be found. 🙂

  193. wordnerd7

    @Suzan … perhaps the ringperson was only on a tea break? . . . Yes, leave those words in bold, I think … They’ll help future readers in a hurry, trying to understand our Byzantine history as a group – disbanded.

    @ISA . . . I’m sorry I didn’t realise that you might have been explaining that you changed your mind about Little Korea — very sad, since I remember your post on Xuitlacoche about your little kim-chee habit. . . But you’ll find the perfect house yet. You’ll all walk in, you Halls, and will know immediately.

  194. wordnerd7

    @Suzan, I didn’t realise that I hadn’t answered this exceedingly kind suggestion of yours — like too many other interesting comments, I’m afraid:

    === a wily Miss Marples and Murder, She Wrote discounting any prejudice that may so arise from how shall I put it succinctly… your ever-elusive gender??? 😉 ===

    The only trouble is that I seem to remember that she has rather a big bottom — something surely undesirable for any blogger, whether male, female or gender-neutral? . . . Can’t imagine where I got that idea, since I feel sure that Agatha Christie would never have mentioned anything so indelicate. . . Now, Poirot, on the other hand, was perfectly shaped and immaculate, wasn’t he? It’s been a long time since I read an AC whodunnit.

  195. My dear Wordy,

    I was talking about brains, not bottoms. Please don’t tell me that you look anything like Poirot. 🙂

    By the way, Des is a little too much this morning. He’s come here and is mimicking all my lines to you in the line of a melodramatic script and throwing his head back with laughter…
    and also said that my “laters…” to Phil reflected the most shallow trait imaginable, coming from watching too many films on satellite television, a relationship of which Des has expressed great insensitivity.

    He has made me laugh so much, reading my own lines with the same comic acumen, as afforded to a soppy screenplay. He didn’t do anything with you and Phil, just mine, although he did read Phil’s invitation to Canterbury inviting us to get pissed, with the jovial mood of an old drunken bard.

    He also afforded the very idea of expecting an apology as waiting for the fairies. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    He’s still going on, Des. He’s at Midsomer Murders at this point and has stopped for a pause to consider that you could make a fine sleuth.

  196. I am deeply upset susan, at how you could betray our most secret private activities to our very close and exceedingly stalwart comrades here, in the front room, Jeremy Kyle sorting out broken britain and judge judy weeping in the wind as you levetate several yards away from me.

    Please untie me and remove the handcuffs, i don’t like this game any more. susan, please, no, arghh, no, no, susan, arghhh.

    heeeeelp, heeeelp, please, please wordy, isa, phone 0044(0)214775092 and ask for detecive inspector Murk and tell her i am being violently abused by susan who became very angry about me turning over to watch doctor phil, who she hates and i love and which has brought on a bout …arghhhh, no, no, stop, please sue, naawwww..

  197. wordnerd7

    But lovely @Suzan, do brains ever come without bottoms? I think Poirot probably had a big brain and small bottom and this is surely far preferable as a ratio?

    === my “laters…” to Phil reflected the most shallow trait imaginable, coming from watching too many films on satellite television ===

    Well you must please not mind that I’m one hundred percent with @Des on that one … I’ve puzzled over other people using the expression … where _does_ it come from? The Wire? Sex and the City? … I at least have the excuse of coming to it raw, and certainly without the thrilling or glamorous associations the word must have for you. 😉

    === He also afforded the very idea of expecting an apology as waiting for the fairies. 🙂 🙂 🙂 ===

    Spot-on, there, too.

    … Would you ask him please if he’d consider making some rude recordings reading bits of _all_ our posts . . . for me to put up here as audio clips? Eg., pick a monotonous nerdy whingeing sound for me … a nonstop shriek for @Alarming .. . @Hazlitt barking orders like a proper WWI general who’s been at the Bordeaux a bit too long . . . a silky sophisticated urbane voice for @BaronC . . . @ISA sounding a bit like Tyneside; a bit South African, inciting riots … @Sean delivering his masterly, decisive ‘And if Paradise Lost were about earwax, would you still consider it a masterpiece?’ line like a great thespian . . . and so on . . . Go on, @Des, please say that you will . . .

  198. wordnerd7

    Ah, Dessie, you’re there . . . you can answer for yourself.

    My goodness, S&M, and in such a good Catholic country . . . I’m shocked ,…. _shocked_ !!!

  199. My dear Wordy,

    Des is exaggerating, fantasising. He’s mad.

    And what they would say in Nigeria, if I could be called upon world cinema to make a subtle influence…
    an ee-dee-yacht!!!
    ! (pronounced, idiot!)


    And he says yes, he will do the audio clip for you, as he’s writing something else on another site at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind me answering. I will remind him about it, Wordy. Very much like the idea myself. He can be terribly, terribly funny.

    As for laters, I believe it’s more a condensation of see you later… or catch you later…
    from yours

    swotty sue.

  200. Hello wordy

    As i was reading bits of the thread, i found ther voice came naturally for both yourself and susan, and the dialogue spoken, shed a very and hitherto unapprehended dramatic quality, as though it were two fictional characters in a drawing room scene, and what was interesting were the possibilities of tone and tenor, hovvering at a gateway which led off in innumerable directions an actor can take when first encountering a new text.

    I will post summat up in the next few days, a five ten minute piece.


  201. wordnerd7

    === I will post summat up in the next few days, a five ten minute piece. ===

    ………………….HURRAH … ………………………….!

    Thank you, @Suzan and @Des, you’ve just made my week … wordnerds _love_ treats, and everyone knows that the anticipating is the best part. . . Yum.

    What Nigerian film is this? I’m going to practice saying that word as if it meant batty boat.

    Yes I guessed what ‘laters’ (hurts just to type it … ugh) meant from its regular use by a PP/Potw regular, but why the plural form, I wonder? … Not to be pedantic or anything, innit … 😉 .. . But which bit of tv-land does it come from?

    … Btw, @Des, I wish that all reviewing in the arts could be as informative and precisely descriptive, each word impeccably judged (that’s clear from the audio clip) – not one of them dismissible as hype – as your critical appreciation of Jane Hirshfield reading her work on your Irishpoetry site. You make important points about the difference in transatlantic styles I’ve never seen anywhere else. . . Haven’t attended a performance, even though I’ve often been in the same part of the world, and now I know what I’d find if I did.

    Here’s the link, for anyone curious:

  202. I have actually took that recording down, bit will put it back up. I was getting wobbles because i strictly speaking didn’t get her permission and was going to say summat but at the buffet the only chance i got, dennis o’driscoll was there with her and i’d only seen him a few days before.

    Now when o’driscoll launched his collected, i was the worse for wear and got introduced to him at the very last, when naturally he would have been going somewhere with his family, as it was a once in a 30 year do, and with few about i asked him if he fancied going to brogans to see the world slam champ buddy wakefield, who was on straight after o’driscoll in a different venue, absolutley bladdered and since then i have seen him about, but irish poetry do’s are very much a lot of poets in confined spaces pretending they cannot see one another, due to the strange code of acknowledgement which to trust is to open yourself to the doh ! i fort you wuz gonna be nice and yer just blanked me, kind of carry on among the titans.

    So i thought, na i won’t chance it, i have the recording and rather than have a possible scene i will trust in the gods.

    Around the same time, Robert Pinsky had had a blog going but very few comments apart from *excellent, i love you can i be your slave* kind of thing.

    Evan Boland had written summat about dublin and i responded with a very good piece, Seigas in there all pukka and it never appeared because, erm..who knows, but at the top its very brittle, and then i had just seen Thoma Lynch and Julia O’Callaghan and told lynch i had taped him and sent it and never heard back, so you just don’t know, some of them, the games they may be playing, and then Charles Simic had a post of his appear on the books blog, someone must have joined under his name and posted it, on O’Riordan’s thread, about a crow flapping

    who said you could speak for the leaves on the trees poem, and that lasted a couple of days before it went off so it must have come to his attention and he asked them to take it off, sdo a lot of americans, close to the edge, best to not upset the fizz too much, otheriwse its a hearing at the court of ultimate poetic fair play on Achill island at Seivemore, every blue moon, and, at least you heard her.

    It was only listening back to her the skill hit, as when she was reading i thought she sounded like a computerised voice, but only because she was so unique. Now i know she is great.

    i’ll send you some audio on atachments to your e mail..


    Robert Pinsky had been running a blog

  203. Thanks, @Des, I’ll look forward to getting that, and for those of us on the other side of the world, this is vicarious experience of the best sort . . . not to mention a chance to 🙂 . . . :

    === but irish poetry do’s are very much a lot of poets in confined spaces pretending they cannot see one another, due to the strange code of acknowledgement which to trust is to open yourself to the doh ! i fort you wuz gonna be nice and yer just blanked me, kind of carry on among the titans. ===

    . . . I can’t actually get enough of it, since when will I ever get to Dublin?

  204. Hi Wordy,

    Promise to come back a little later tomorrow to answer your questions on Nigerian films and also to leave a comment for your new post.

  205. wordnerd7

    Thank you, @Suzan. I have a sneaking suspicion that you might know a bit more about pixemones than the rest of us — and will have something to say about how they compare with pheromones. In general, if not in personal terms. . . Nothing came up on Google for that construction but pix*i*mone seems to be a misspelling of the name of an anime warrior. Imagine my delight when I found this:

    === . But Piximone was a lot stronger than he looked physically. Pixiemon stops midflip and reverses, sending Jesse to the ground. Jesse slowly crawls back to his feet, respect in his eyes.

    “You are good, young DigiDestined,” Pixiemon says, “now, shall we go to Infinity Mountain so you may do battle with Vilemon?” ===


  206. Hi Wordy,

    Will be coming back later for the comments I still owe you either shortly or to be spaced out over the next several hours depending.
    By the way, I know nothing about Pixiemons but daresay that you would lend a deft hand in the writing of some say, skilled Manga or science fiction.

    Des is downtown and rang to say that he’s got us tickets to the theatre tonight. He sometimes surprises me with theatre or cinema tickets. Just don’t know if we’ll be going at this stage as there’s no sign of Des and I dislike being late for anything. If I’m late, I just won’t go.

    But off the cuff, wanted to draw your attention to this current Gu bks blog thread titled:

    There’s nothing poetic about the poet laureate.
    Looks like you may actually have a disgruntled fan in dic…desk.. since he aptly used vocabulary from this recent Marginalia thread, stealing my very own laters and also words like thin-skinned…
    if it all ain’t a little strange 😉
    But you’re far more astute with observation of this books site than I am, Wordy and will be able to draw up more reliable conclusions.

    He’s managed to spoil such a beautiful thread with a childish spat…that can’t take a form of argument no matter how trivial from Des. Watch out how he goes all out to insult him with the buffonery of a puffed-up balloon…I suspect some unsavoury character from The Pickwick Papers, could well be in order.

    He has absolutely no understanding about Des’s history with the mods and that Des may have had an important legitimate reason for specifically using his full name this time round in a silent language that only the mods will understand, considering that Des’s relationship with them may be changing for the better.

    So instead of probing with enough decency as to why Des would use his full name, he proceeds to insult him. In my many years working with fashion journalism that opened up many snobbish ventures, I can assure you Wordy,that Des is the least snooty person I’ve met in my life, very much the unmaterialistic unsung hero to his own penniless trade. He doesn’ care who anyone is.

    And in any case, the nasty poster got it all wrong with a current fashion sense considering that the look with many of the Trinity students is presently gothic. This comes as no surprise as many prefer to hang-out at like-minded clubs, discos and boutiques across the road and which adjoins Temple bar. You’d be surprised if you can get Des to dress in anything but a tee and jeans.

  207. wordnerd7

    @Suzan, … doesn’t matter if you don’t have a position on pixemones — any reaction that the post sparked in you will make a good read. . . I hope that @Des has appeared to whisk you to the play — bowing as he hands you this evening’s orchid. 😉

    I couldn’t stand the suspense about ‘laters’, so looked it up myself … The BBC World Service expert is also fascinated by the terminal ‘s’ :


    === It’s unusual though, to add an ‘s’ to a word like that, isn’t it? It’s not the first time it’s happened, but it usually happens with reference to names of people or names of relatives – pet names. You know, instead of saying ‘mum’, you might say ‘mums’ or ‘mummsie’. Instead of saying ‘pop’, you might say ‘pops’, ‘gramps’ for ‘grandpa’. And proper names too, I mean, Will becomes Wills – a member of the royal family is sometimes referred to as Wills, for instance, or Babs for Barbara. So there are some uses where you add an ‘s’ to make something nice and friendly, but it’s unusual to see it before a kind of general phrase like ‘see you later’ or ‘later’, and thus – laters. ===

    … Many thanks for that dicke-di link — I’ll hop onto it in my next break. . .

  208. Julie becomes Jules & Wordy becomes Words.
    And don’t forget those beddy-byes. 🙂

    @Wordy: What Nigerian film is this? I’m going to practice saying that word as if it meant batty boat..

    My dear Wordy,
    I hope you don’t mind at all that I have written a slightly long text of what I see special about Nigerian films. I couldn’t help it…so please do feel free to delete the info or move it to somewhere else if you prefer. I don’t mind at all. If I had time to look up the availability of certain stastistics or date, I could present a good paper on Nigerian cinema. I really could.

  209. And so here, very much off the cuff:

    Such flamboyant pronounciations appear in any one number of Lagos films rightly nicknamed Nollywood, a state which sees one of the quickest rise in West African cinema with Ghana as a close contender. South Africa holds its own and East Africa relies on film studios managed from either the South, Nairobi or Lagos.

    What stays spectacular about the recent super rise of Nigerian films are its vast worldwide popularity especially with thousands of home videos and channels like Moviestar or distributed on popular cable tv like Sky digital (UK). In Africa, these dramatic productions managed by an ever-growing band of sophisticated stars, are splattered together with normal programme schedules throughout the continent, are shown in 5-star hotels and I believe Nigerian films are currently ever popular in states like New York and Philadelphia. Currently, a strong following exists in Ireland alone.

    I think I stay fascinated by the version of pidgin English. For instance only in Nigeria will you hear a phrase as shut up remarked instead as shut your mouth up. Or not just ,b>idiot (pronounced ee-dee-yacht, but also ,shameless pronounced as sham-loss or Jesus pronounced as Jay-soss and nonsense pronounced as non-cents. The words are often loudly spoken and highly exaggerated in the face of volatile confrontations. Picture a fishwife scene, for instance.

    Wordy, what I really like about these films are their simple themes that still highlight a somewhat puritannical morality although a screenplay’s structure may easily be long-winded and lose the crux of the plot. Heroes and heroines can die and return to life, black magic persists in the face of a traditional and rigid Christian belief. Almost every director or producer is a Christian and so too, the cast in real life. You could easily discover a credit at the end of the film wound around the lines of “To God be the Glory.” The English Language attributed to scripts are fluent.
    In the face of modernity, female characters who are highly-educated and cultured, almost always end up pregnant and single after the first ‘instance’. It appears to me that contracepton is a taboo word in a Nigerian screenplay.

    There doesn’t seem to be a middle-class, and like the duplicated Hindustani (now Bollywood) films of old, which feature their own deities and supernatural historical plots…flying carpets, wizards and the like with equal passion, so too a Nigerian film.

    What really appeals to me are the stories…not of your everyday “The Young and Restless” or the “Bold and Beautiful” kind of plots but those of villages, farms, peasantry and folklore. Amid the primitive, colourful and sometimes highly-comical squabbles over property or possessions or neighbourly rights, I think that these films would help any viewer holding a low self-esteem to value the self and ownership of any meagre possession as a right to dignity and a self-cultivated sense of wellbeing.

    My favourite actress stays the legendary Patience Ozokwo a brilliant actor for wicked mother-in-low roles, where I think she would stand tall on any international platform.

    Wordy, you can get a taste of these plots from the stories of writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi whose very new collection of short stories called The Thing Around Your Neck, I have just finished reading. The stories present slightly same-ish themes and Adichi’s voice still untouched or spoilt by Western attributes, stays refreshing.
    There is also Helen Oyeyemi here in England who has just come out with a new novel White is for Witching. Oyeyemi has said in interviews that as an unbeliever in London, she has had to battle with the the lack of respect her own plots may spin for a conservative Christian morality; everytime she publishes her stories. For this alone, she has sometimes faced a scornful wrath from back home.

    Interestingly, as concerns the black magic and supernatural power ideologies, Rushdie wound his fantastical plot in The Enchantress of Florence from the Hindustani film idealogies of the past. Both Rusdhie and myself have been brought up with films like these, thanks to our parents who were faithful viewers.


    Wordy, I liked Nigerian films from my first visit to the Kilamanjaro in East Africa. It’s amazing how Africa presents a prism of different faces, each one foreign to the other and how where passions engulf the human mind and spirit. Travel so easily feeds off literature which may easily feed of cinema or art etc. Everything is interconnected with the fibre of a soul and passion can so easily turn into the Great Flood of the Human Spirit if one ever lets it.

  210. Wordy, I don’t know if you have ever seen this. I wrote it in Africa last February.
    This is how a Nigerian peasant-woman would speak, from a screenplay:

    Please feel free to delete this, if you see it as inappopriate to Marginalia, Wordy.


    In pidgin English, Come is pronounced koom or com & no is pronounced as nor

    (Raucous voice). When you kom to Lagos, you leave your old man’s toes or old woman’s toes…whatever… in the house n you just coom here to Lagos, you wear your baby toes. Don’t ask so much, just do what I say n God will bless you. You will not bring shame to your name. Your enemy will not curse your mother n your father n you will not curse your father’s father a 1000 times over. Blessings from heaven will drop down on you like shiny water.
    So listen I am speaking… you must take off your old shoes n fetch your baby toes. Then you can run about here n also run about there. Who cares whare the hell you are running about. You can play on our land which is laughing n calling you, coom baby coom. The sky will make its colour blue for you. The mud on the road will turn to gold only for you. You can pick up n enjoy. The sea will make a mirror for your face. How else to see the world with the eyes that we can see?
    So remember…when you koom to Lagos, wear your baby heart n bring your baby toes n the thunder will not spit on you. I swear by my great-great-great grandfather’s grave five times over. How will you know when you kom to Lagos, that you have a blessing?
    Look at your enemy’s feet.
    Two big bandages on his swollen feet. You on the other hand, will have one mosquito bite on your small toe, aiyah, that’s all. One mosquito bite on your small toe is a very good thing to a bandage on your enemy’s balloon feet. Is it not? What is there to complain about? Serve her right n Praise the Lord! Hallelujah and Glory be to his High n Mighty Name!
    For dinner tonight, I wish you roasted chicken n not taufu. I wish you a kitchen flowing over with toes…or nor, nor, I mean baby food. Enough! Enough! Don’t talk so much. My ears are going deaf, understand me or not? You think I was born yesterday? I only have baby toes, not even one baby ear! – suzan abrams –

  211. wordnerd7

    @Suzan, … _fascinating_ Nigerian posts ….

    Hmm, seeing’s believing. I’d have to watch this for myself and see how they make it even remotely plausible . . . especially with AIDS doing its thing on their continent:

    === In the face of modernity, female characters who are highly-educated and cultured, almost always end up pregnant and single after the first ‘instance’. It appears to me that contracepton is a taboo word in a Nigerian screenplay. ===

    As for

    === There doesn’t seem to be a middle-class, and like the duplicated Hindustani (now Bollywood) films of old, which feature their own deities and supernatural historical plots…flying carpets, wizards and the like with equal passion, so too a Nigerian film. ===

    Would be nice if I didn’t have to sit through the singing with my fingers in my ears, as I had to do for long stretches of the Bollywood musical or two I’ve endured. I’m thinking particularly of the screechy, nasal actresses . . . how _do_ you stand it? 🙂

    Now this I can understand:

    === What really appeals to me are the stories…not of your everyday “The Young and Restless” or the “Bold and Beautiful” kind of plots but those of villages, farms, peasantry and folklore===

    … and so I’m going to make a point of trying to see a Nigerian film. No DVD player at present, except on the computer, but I mean to do something about that soon.

    Your toe vignette is a perfect gem. . . This must be one of the most fantastic — from ‘fantasy’ — sentences I’ve ever read . . .

    === When you kom to Lagos, you leave your old man’s toes or old woman’s toes…whatever… in the house n you just coom here to Lagos, you wear your baby toes. ===

    Now why doesn’t your Chimmie write anything seriously funny like that. Could you keep it up for the length of a New Yorker short story?

  212. Hi Wordy,

    I half feared that you were going to turn up in your full wrath as accacciatura and throw my posts in the nearest cyber-bin. Phew! You had me terrified there. 🙂

    Go for any film with Patience Ozokwor, Desmond Elliot, Ine Edo (female) or Jim Iyke as a cast player and you’ll get something of a really good quality.

    Just a few loose ends:
    I spelt ‘contraception’ wrong earlier.

    and no, Wordy,
    I could never sit through any Hindustani film – I could never take to the singing and dancing myself, not even when I was tiny. My mother never forgave me for that. In fact, I thought such an execution, a completely unecessary scene at the end of Slumdog Millionaire and I think, pushed poor Des with some hurried frenzy out of the cineplex.

    Now why doesn’t your Chimmie write anything seriously funny like that.

    Did you really think it was funny? I plan to develop the story in any case.

    Thanks Wordy.

  213. wordnerd7

    …. Really? …….. Off with acacciatura’s head, in that case! the sooner the better!

    By my own mis-shapen nerd toes, @Suzan, I promise you that that scrap of dialogue is hilarious and rings perfectly true. . . As you know, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to say nothing at all if I don’t like something and I dislike hyperbole intensely.

  214. Ok great, Wordy, 🙂

    In that case, I have one more…interesting liner that denotes pidgin English.

    In Nigeria, if someone threatens another for instance,
    if I lived where I have, I would say, “Don’t talk to me like that.” or “Are you threatening me?” or “What are you saying?” but if it were a Nigerian character in a film or story, you would get a retort, that would go something like this…

    “Are you threatening me, Mare-ree (Mary), who is the daughter of my father and my father who christened me Mare-ree? Are you threatening THIS Mare-ree? (Actions would account for the said Mary’s chest being passionately jabbed with steady rhythmic beats by Mary’s excitable forefinger determined to crush any sprouting cleavage, as she makes her point.)

  215. wordnerd7

    === you would get a retort, that would go something like this ===

    … makes you wonder how they get anything done in a day (!) There are faint echoes of that style among black Americans speaking to each other, though — so much more colourful, saying perfectly ordinary things, than the dominant ethnic groups in the US . . . You’ve already made Nigeria ten times more interesting than it was before your posts. . . Sad, don’t you think, that newspaper reports seldom capture anything like that about faraway places.

  216. Sad, don’t you think, that newspaper reports seldom capture anything like that about faraway places.

    Dear Wordy,
    Yes, I agree and so it’s left to the vast world of the arts to do the honours.

    It’s a lovely spring noon here in Dublin so am just going to go outdoors for a bit Wordy, and this evening I will write my piece on gender neutrality for you as I want to give it the same amount of time and interest, which I did in my comments on Nigerian cinema.

    oh…oh…should I say it?

    laters 🙂

  217. wordnerd7

    === oh…oh…should I say it?

    laters 🙂 ===

    jeepers creepers

    …. Curtains ….. for laters, soons, we hopes ……. ; )

    (I’m beginning to feel like the incarnation of Spiro in My Family and Other Animals: goshes, Miss Suzans, why someone intelligents as you speaks here like tv-lands airheads … )

    Looking forward to reading you on Pixemones not least because I know that someone you know does not like neutrality at all … but perhaps dislikes it less, now, than two years ago.

    …. Clicks and comments on that blog are wildly disproportionate. Avid readers; few commenters, if the click statistics are to be believed.

  218. Very funny, Wordy!

    Incidentally, I have a best friend whose name is Lidia and I’m always calling her Lids.

    Wouldn’t worry too much about the comments, Wordy. Blog postings with a slightly long absence in dates, often suffer a temporary mishap as regular commentors may take awhile to return. Also, it’s the weekend.

    regards (and that has an s too) 🙂

  219. wordnerd7

    === Blog postings with a slightly long absence in dates, ===

    Yes. There have indeed been some long gaps between posts on this site … Unavoidable, I’m afraid, since blogging can’t compete in importance with typing connected to any means of keeping fridges stocked or paying rent or mortgages — for any of us . . . : )

  220. Dear Wordy,

    Just to let you know that Des sent you a post for Pixemones but said that his post had been placed under ‘Moderation’.
    Thought I would alert you. 🙂

  221. For anyone longing for a report with an authentic insider feel on what’s really happening in book publishing, I came across a superb blog on the subject, following a link from this excellent site:

    The Reading Experience:

    . . . to …


    Extracts [my ital.]:

    When asked about the kind of authors that sold, the outlook was grim. One editor said it was easier to sell a new author than one who had published three or four not-so-successful books. The situation was worse than that, said another, because the booksellers simply looked up the sales figures for first novel and, if they had not been good, refused to take another book from that author unless there were ‘compelling reasons’. And when they thought about it, it was nigh impossible to sell a first time novelist, either. Even in-house, this selling problem persisted. When asked what editors did for authors, the response was heartily that they championed their work. ‘That’s why I have to really love a book to take it on,’ Anita Brookner’s protagonist said. ‘I can only publish a few books a year and so anything I say yes to takes up a slot I might want to use for another book.’ ‘Well, you can’t be enthusiastic about absolutely every book,’ Precious Ramotswe added. ‘Otherwise the people in marketing cease to believe you.’ So, let’s think about that. On the one hand, editors have almost impossible standards for books because there is always that perfect fantasy manuscript out there somewhere. But even the books they do agree to, and do champion, might fall foul of political practices, the love for some suppressed in order to curry favour for others. Surely you would hope that editors, with their much reduced lists, could champion every single book they bought, and petition for more, without damaging their credibility.
    Nor were this group interested in new technology. Asked about e-books they were straightforwardly dismissive. . .


    To be honest, I didn’t really expect anything different, but I suppose I always nurse a little kernel of hope. That one day, publishing will sort out its elements of business and artistry so that each helps the other, rather than undermines the other. That publishers will find ways to work the demand that does exist for books, rather than lament the promised land of demand that doesn’t.


    Books continue to get published despite the book industry, rather in the same way that people continue to move house, despite mortgage lenders and conveyancing lawyers.


    [Does anyone remember the Publisher in the Attic post here – featuring @liberaldogooder’s dastardly scheme? It apparently works!]

    The editors were asked to produce encouraging stories for us, and Precious Ramotswe described how one author had effectively stalked her, ‘but in such a charming way’, that she had eventually read his manuscript and called him in to talk for an hour about how terrible it was. He came back to her with another book and this time she took him on. ‘But I wouldn’t really suggest stalking as the way to publication,’ she told us with a wry chuckle

  222. ISA

    Do have a look at the very good cartoons of our fellow blogger Dan.

  223. ISA

    I’ve facebooked properly for the first time and suddenly contacted a bunch of old friends. A TV producer, photographer etc.

    Our kids are shocked. All three brothers. I do think we are still in a bit of a huddle after the last couple of years.

    Visit Steve’s blog. His wife is being forced to sell his garden. Very sad.

    Finally, I popped into second life – to the disgust of my son who’s 18 today (yesterday).

    And visited:

    A Chernobyl museum
    A virtual car showroom and luxury yacht
    The Smithsonian Latino Museum where you watch videos and link to the Smithsonian’s pages.
    A second life university where I learned movement techniques – patrolled by virtual police (?)
    An an interesting creation called black Taj, White Taj. And there I left my avatar quietly doing Tai Chi on a marble balcony.

    How I waste my time, and yet..

  224. ISA

    PS Did anyone like my poem taking the piss out of non-political poets?

  225. @ISA … Enjoyed your poem very much indeed …. . not least for its revelation: you’re a Roundhead!

    Must regretfully decline your invitation to see all three Hall brothers on Facebook. . . The last thing I need is another digital distraction. . . Most enjoyable reading about you wasting time there, though … but be careful … didn’t someone say. ‘And now doth time waste me’? …. I’ve been repeating that to myself.

  226. Thanks for the link to the Dan strip — sharp, both about role-reversal and the enthusiatic reception vegetarianism gets. I suppose you’d have told us what his screen name is if he wanted you to …

    Good that you’re reminding us about Michele, … keeping the house won’t bring Steve back, so it’s probably best to let it go.

    She will recover well, just as he’d have wanted her to — because she’s an artist. Anyone who can get absorbed in making something as stunning as this is among the luckiest of those who have suffered what she has:

  227. ISA

    I don’t know Dan’s handle, but he is a cifer

  228. I apologize Wordy. I know I should have written those clarifications out in Marginalia.
    Phil, you’re great to have made a stand.

    I’m happy with how I’m coming on as a writer. No problems there. I too, find the Kuwaiti’s actions passe
    I vote we move on.

    WordyI have a personal blog on Tall Tales and I wondered if you’d like to bookmark it as I write about my experiences in Dublin – which you like reading about – and also later, when I return to Africa next month to collect my luggage. I’ll be going to another safari and another continent. Can’t decide which yet. But I’ll record it all down.

    I wrote about Irish Coals Tits yesterday. I’d not seen these birds till I got to Dublin. We’ve a couple nesting in a tree in the next door garden. They’ve beautiful plumage but can be cantankerous in spirit.

    Thanks Wordy & Phil.

  229. Forgot something, Wordy

    Here are my thoughts on Twice Born, the novel by Leela Soma, that may provide a clearer glimpse of her story.

  230. [@Suzan is continuing a discussion begun here: ]

    Not appropriate to thank me, @Suzan., since I’ve been too bored by the tediously repetitive behaviour from that quarter to do a thing about it — for months or certainly many weeks.

    === Phil, you’re great to have made a stand. ===

    All thanks are due to @ISA/Phil — proof that chivalry isn’t dead and that a high intelligence and kind heart aren’t mutually exclusive.

  231. [ refers to this conversation elsewhere on the site ]

    There’s no reason why discussions of serious ideas shouldn’t be interrupted by fun.

    I like spontaneous, larking-about threads that wander unrepentantly … and the proof is in the archives. . . I don’t like petty fighting, though, and the comment below was an attempt at a _first_ post by a blogger. I detected no meeting of minds or sympathy in it, nor anything resembling an interesting or entertaining argument. And, as I’ve said already, since this was a complaint about @Suzan, she should have posted it on @Suzan’s site – had she really wanted to discuss something so perfectly trite in public … We have all got used to being teased about our screen names, … so what is this woman wittering about? . . .

    Any comrade who thinks my decision mistaken will please just say so.

    I have removed only the blogger’s email address and computer IP number from this record of her post – since I doubt that she’d want them exposed.

    The ‘bla bla bla,’ btw, is her doing — not mine. I’ve heard it said that self-knowledge is the first step in the getting of wisdom — ? 🙂

    St Pollyanna bla bla bla
    Submitted on 2009/06/02 at 10:36am


    I’ve come here because I’ve found the following on Google, although I can’t seem to find the whole comment here. I’m not wanting to pick any kind of fight, I’m just genuinely interested in what the point was so that I can understand and hopefully sort it out with you. I didn’t come to the blosphere to intentionally offend anyone, but sometimes these things happen anyway when I’m being reckless and not thinking…

    “This person St. Pollyanna of the Holy whatever…- one of the most silly user names I’ve ever come across – and who joined Mishari in insulting my play one…”

  232. Oh Wardee, Wardee

    What can I say? 🙂

    At the time, one night when she joined a certain Kuwaiti in encouraging thoughtless remarks about my play and also when I exposed a plagiarist and she made negative comments about this on said Kuwaiti’s blog…she didn’t think I would come across them or find out…??

    She found the following… in Kuwait… more likely. 😉

    Wadi Rum I am laughing so much. This is so much fun. Only trouble is I have moved on & found better things to do. About time too, don’t you think.

    thanks for the nightcap. xx

  233. So @Suzan, to summarise, … from all you’ve said here and on the Rafts of the unwelcoming print journos thread …

    = the blogger did get in touch with you about casting a slur on her fair screen name, St Polly of the Holy something or other

    = she emailed you to warn you that she would be attacking you on this site

    = she then tried posting a complaint about you here, but for some unfathomable reason, without naming you … (why on earth not? is your crack team of libel lawyers really that well-known?)

    = I decline to post her nonsense

    = she seeks out a bilious and obsessive attacker of this site and complains on his site — once again not naming you, and this time, also refusing to say what you’re supposed to have said

    = Mr. rich-and-bored-and-bilious asks her what she’s on about and she coyly refuses to explain

    = she continues her mystifying moaning Minnie-ing there … and rich-and-bored fans the flames of her ire — or was still doing so when I last looked in there yesterday or so …

    = … what I still can’t understand is, why didn’t she confront you on your site, since she’s obviously been so anxious to fight with you in the public eye?

    … Hysterical laughter here, every time I consider this sequence of events … thank you StPollywolly .. . thank you … life can be so sad, but thank Dawkins for such relief from everything grey and grim … never mind if it’s unintentional …

    … Hmm, … maybe those critics have a point about the madness of the Blogosphere, after all …

  234. Part 1

    Addressed to:

    Chief Inspector Wadi Rum,
    affectionately labelled Wardee
    or if failing in absence,
    Sergeant Phil Hall,
    Marginalia Metropolitan Police Station,
    Sunset Strip,
    Branch Offices: Interpol Kiosks
    South Africa or Kenya – depending on urgency for memoirs & leopards.

    Present: Location of Crisis: London & Dublin.

    Plaintiff: Miss Wobbles aka St. Pollyanna of our Holy Optimism
    Defendant: Ms. Suzan Abrams aka Mizz Nigeria.

    Case File: Opened March 2008 – Still Pending.
    Title: The Case of the Bungling Sleuth
    ReprintVersion: The Case of the Hyperventilating Kuwaiti and His Mad Circus.

    Enter Ms. Suzan Abrams.


    “But Chief Inspector, if I may have a wee word…
    Thank you very much. A glass of water would indeed do nicely.

    “It was just this morning if I may that I conferred with my solicitor, one Mr. Desmond Swords, currently operating from his flourishing practice OhGodNotHimAgain in Kilmanhaim Dublin. Mr. Swords as you would be well informed is reputed for his brilliant poetic measures in the blogging world.

    “He specialises in human rights abuses in what may be termed by some as a nuisance-fixture; thriving on dire situations involving bans and censorship seals from corporate book blogs. He last won a case against a hefty female poet blogger, who gave him not an ounce – the poor mite – but a pint of trouble on the Guardian bks blog; in her Frankenstein role as Mrs Jane Amsterdam, poet laureate of the sun and moon and I suppose the Wrestler Association of the Midlands, if I may put it mildly. 😉

    “I took Mr. Sword’s advice if you will as to the recent structure of this ahem..madness, as you so delicately put it Chief Inspector. Plainly speaking, he spoke just the one line, “Tell ’em tossers, to get lost.”

    “It was on a cold and rainy April evening, when the howling wind tore against the window pane, rising on the last stroke of an Irish winter; that armed with my glass of port and a heart of Christian goodwill, I would discover to my shocking horror, a link to my beautiful unfinished play where a certain neurotic Arab took it upon himself to dissect the fragile with the sensitivity of a bulldozer… to make fun of a language he sheepishly confessed to not being able to comprehend. An insult here and an insult there was more than I could bear, Chief Inspector, you must surely understand my distress…

    “I was tired at being hounded by the usual web stalker. Why, Mr. Swords was of the impression that the neurotic Arab had long emigrated to Greenland.

    “With a loud sob, I immediately ransacked the house for a Kleenex and had adequately recovered when in zoomed someone, from of all places.. the monastery…

    “A Saint… a saint of all things… would haloes redeem me, but no, Chief Inspector on the contrary…haloes tied me up and knotted my thoughts. It was a Pollyanna do-gooder but there was to be no good in collaborating with the evil one. How she desired his approval! How she desired his favour! There was no hope for me, no hope at all. And then… and then.. guess what, Chief Inspector….

    “She proceeded to add pepper and salt to the insults. And I could only think of my dear late husband Horace, and of how he loved to listen to my radio plays with a burp or two for company after Sunday lunch, in Malaysia on the Playhouse.
    We lived in the Tropics then, Chief Inspector, in the very sweaty Far East.

    “I made a plan to rescue my play from the crook. I immediately hid the unfinished manuscript. The neurotic Arab would in all disgruntlement remove the link and comments the next morning, when he happened upon the missing play.

    “I had at that time out of a great curiosity, maintained a sharp desire to know what a blogging Pollyanna was all about. For a rare scrutiny on the neurotic Arab’s comment box, I would make another gruesome discovery.

    “Coffined in a hidden vault were comments sewn up on a plagiarist I had exposed. Miss Polly Wobbles who had no idea of the major haul that I had dug up, presented her own sardonic silly views on the situation. I only wonder if she would have announced the same had someone stolen her stories. It was a post-mortem of the grisly kind.

    “I then proceeded to her blog and after reading some strange things, formulated a criticism of my own. This was after all to my blessed relief, an amateur writer.

  235. Part 2

    “Nothing more was said of the occasion until my views on Marginalia more than a month later.

    “This with the exception of an unsuspecting afternoon when Sergeant Phil Hall dashed into the web residence of the neurotic Arab who was at the time rehearsing for his circus act.

    “I encountered upon an invitation to a swashbuckling duel from your heoric Sergeant Chief Inspector, Sir/Madam??..

    “I trust you know all the rest. I see no sign of him, the handsome gentleman. Has he disappered in a huff? I believe, if you promise to tell no one, shush! .. that Mr. Hall had formed an acquaintane with Miss Polly Woggles where he said he hoped to see her in her dancing shoes.

    “In any case, on the same day of Hall’s threat to a duel, I received an unexpected correspondence from Miss Polly Wobbles. She complained that comments she sent your way Chief Inspector had not come to light. She then invited me to a kind confrontation. The letter was titled, “Not to Fight, But to Talk!”

    “I then proceeded to the neurotic Arab’s den once more, to see if I could make sense of the note and how best to reply a stranger, with which my only encounters had been unpleasant ones. I desired to act with humility with what would serve to make my late Horace-Porace the Second proud.

    “Instead, I saw that Miss Polly Wobbles was ranting on about the matter in a piqued mollified air where she whined that she felt bullied by me for daring to criticise her writing.

    “She was in the middle of receiving urgent counself from a master bully himself, the neurotic Arab’s sidekick. Think of a sour MM where even asprin is sweeter. 😉

    “It was then that I decided to ignore her letter and to say nothing more about it.

    “The neurotic Arab was compassionate in his consolation of Miss Polly Wobbles. “Never mind,” he smiled. His teeth as I can only imagine a Colgate version, gleamed in the darkness. He promised a rescue, comforting Miss Polly Wobbles that she musn’t at all worry about being second-rate.

    “That night while I lay in bed fast asleep dreaming of my Horace receiving his angel wings, the neurotic Arab would perform a burglary operation on my site. Up to now, despite several earlier burglaries on my stories which were sadly not insured; I had pressed no charges. The crook made off with a fraction of a tale called Nomadic Madness.

    “The psychological disposition of this neurosis is clear, Chief Inspector. It all started when I dared to say that a poem on harbours and heavenly shores reminded me of something a 12-year old schoolmate had stuck in my scrapbook once before. But Chief Inspector, that was the truth, I swear on my late Horace’s soul, may he RIP.

    “The neurotic Arab has had no obvious female sidekick for sometime now. Imagine the loneliness! Imagine the grief!

    “Mrs Jane Amsterdam was a firm ally. But one day, when blogging turned into a libel suit threat and Mrs Amsterdam decided after a fearful run-in with you, Chief Inspector, to simply beat it; he was I daresay, left bereft, surely, you must forsee this possibility and evoke sympathy, however little that may be.

    “It’s common knowledge now Mrs. Jane Amsterdam, who threatened to drum the heads of posters with a ruler if anyone dared sing an ode to Amazon Books, shot off with her heavy self a good year ago. Have mercy on her Chief Inspector. Her poetry books were being sold for £1 a copy.

    “As she escaped, how she heaved and puffed into the foggy night, her hair blowing like ghostly entrails in the wind. How the birds trembled, the owls went mute and the ground shook for miles around the Continent of Europe.
    Rumour has it that Mrs Amsterdam has now given up poetry which brought her a beggar’s profit, for prose. Tut-tut!

    “I am afraid you lost a good Sergeant Chief Inspector when Mr. Phil Hall would proceed to retire to his study in the interiors of Africa, that his memoirs would find a place in the history books.

    “As for Miss Polly Woggles, I would with womanly intuition, deem her harmles as she succumbs readily to the Miss Cornflakes variety. She doesn’t know her wobbles from her ripples.

    “If I, the now worldly-wise Ms. Abrams would give her the benefit of the doubt as she proceeds to remember nothing of what I say, that indicates a short memory span than my dear Chief Inspector, doesn’t it, which doesn’t say much for brains, does it.

    “In fact, I read on her blog that she cried so much over my unkind ways. Now, that’s a lot worse than I was. It looks like the neurotic Arab has inherited an official crybaby on his hands. And wouldn’t that be just up his street. Serves him right.” 🙂 🙂

  236. Wardee please do me a favour and remove the italics from the last paragraphs if you can. It was when I wrote Nomadic Madness and failed to close the symbol.
    The psychological disposition carries on with the rest…

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    You don’t know how much I laughed and laughed over this. Thank you, Wardee.

  237. Anyone new here, trying to follow @Suzan‘s script — this is the outline she’s been filling in for us.

    Dear Mizz Nigeria,

    bold type has now been removed

    wd7 will be back soon … is faint from a dangerous excess of L-O-L 🙂

  238. @Suzan,

    Case File: Opened March 2008 – Still Pending.
    Title: The Case of the Bungling Sleuth

    How very mortifying — you knew … all along!

    === that she felt bullied by me for daring to criticise her writing. ===

    Bullied? …. _Bullied_? . . . Must have missed having the tale of The Blogger Who Cried Wolf read to her as a child.

    === With a loud sob, I immediately ransacked the house for a Kleenex ===

    You are a born comedy writer — even this fragment has had some of us howling. I am perfectly serious, … please write a novel in your _impeccable_ Nigerian. Just like the vignette on Rafts of the … yesterday.

    === And I could only think of my dear late husband Horace, and of how he loved to listen to my radio plays ===

    Not made up? … No need to reveal all. Just sounds as if there could easily have been someone like that in your life — haven’t had enough time to read you closely, but I will.

    Funny: a would-be conspirator left without the smallest fig leaf. Ha!

  239. From the dask of
    the esteemed
    Mizz Nigeria.

    Wardy Nardy
    I shudder at the thought that I who have gallivanted round the warld chasing after guys…would ma-rey anyone with a nam like Horace Porous!!! Puleeeeeeeeese!

    That part is totally fiction, I assure you. I laughed so much reading you this morning that I spilt coffee all over Des’s keyboard.

    And remember in Africa, I did write a tiny story of a little old lady whose life was lived totally upside-down. You liked that. 🙂

  240. Oh Wordy,
    The mention of the radio plays on Sundays in Kuala Lumpur, were real.

  241. @Wordn

    You’ve been kind enough in the past to credit me with a degree of diplomacy and integrity. If you choose to respond to the following, please do so in that spirit. I’ve mulled over making this post for two days, but it’s what I must say.


    @Polly’s post is very clear and in no way is she ‘wittering’. She asks why she was being discussed by people she doesn’t know and makes a clear, rather brave, attempt to resolve any misunderstanding or take responsibility for any offence she may have caused. Your response is to sneer. Why couldn’t you have just published her post as you would anyone else’s, without the editorial carapace? It would have been very simple, and a great deal more generous.

    Also, I wonder how you would have treated @pinkroom if she’d tried to entertain you with Nigerian patois.

  242. Hi Wordy,

    Only just a few minutes ago, picked this up from my WordPress spam box. Had no idea it was there. It was addressed to you from Glasgot (

    Submitted on 2009/06/06 at 2:12pm

    What wonderful comments acacciatura! Thank you so much My book ‘Twice Born’ is available on or with the book depository with free world wide postage. Do read and send me your comments or put it up on Amazon. Also please read my blog on how the book is doing.The Borders launch on Thursday was a sell out.

  243. @Suzan … sorry for this slow answer … Weekend timetables are different, as I’m sure you’ve guessed … Not a bit surprised about the radio plays in KL. You have an exceptionally sharp ear for dialogue, and a terrific instinct for comedy . . . and yes I do remember loving the upside-down granny. . . But I’ve developed a serious addiction to that Nigerian story and can’t wait to know what happens next. 😉

    Thank you so much for liberating @glascot‘s comment. I really am looking forward to reading about the unlikely combination of Glasgow and South India in her book. And I haven’t stopped hoping that she’ll be back here with more of her stimulating and unusually perceptive posts. . . I do indeed plan to visit her blog again.


    Typically kind of you to offer to be our Kissinger. You know, don’t you, that these blogs, though they might be spinoffs, are not actually attached to any newspaper? Hence there can be no such thing as a ‘right of reply’, can there?. … I was blogging on another spinoff site last autumn and when the owner of it didn’t like what I had to say — not about him, but disagreeing with friends of his — I found that my IP number had been blocked from posting. . .

    Other comrades — for instance, @Sean Murray — have from time to time turned off _all_ commenting on their sites from irritation with petty or unfriendly posters and critics. I’ve never done that, but thought that they acted well within their rights.

    Was there a squeak of complaint, … the merest protest from … me — _anywhere_, about being excluded from the site where I was barred?

    _No_. I would no more insist on being on someone else’s blog than I’d demand an invitation to a dinner party.

    Please do consider that unlike a newspaper, I’m not being paid to run this blog, nor am I collecting money for ads — nor do I have any such expectation, since I often write for a very small church indeed.

    So would you please tell me: in what way am I obliged to post a first comment by someone (i) with whom I’ve never had any exchange, and have no interests in common, as far as I can tell; (ii) who expressed no interest in any blog topic being discussed here but only wanted to complain about another blogger _joking_ about her screen name? … In sign language that I’d blow up in billboard type if I could: 🙂 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You might have noticed that practically no one uses the straight version of my own screen name, but a humorous contraction. Who started that? Not a friend, but someone in Dublin who addressed some of the nastiest posts to me at GU — long before you ever appeared on the scene. . . and in the heat of an argument.

    Again, did I complain? Did I bleatingly insist on wordnerd7?

    Of course not. That would be childish and ridiculous, and it would never happen … unless everything resembling a sense of humour was surgically removed from me.

    Why, dear Dr. Kissinger, don’t you address the salient point: why didn’t this ‘St Polly of the Holy Optimism’ discuss a problem she has with a joke @Suzan made about her — yes — particularly silly screen name, on Suzan’s site? Or, since she got in touch with @Suzan by email, why didn’t she have it out with her in private — since her complaint is of no conceivable interest to anyone but her?

    Did you happen to notice a few days ago that on the Kuwaiti site you visit regularly, someone — either @Sean Murray or @atf — was boxed about the ears and told that since the site-owner saw his as a ‘personal blog’, he’s under no obligation to admit anyone unless he wants to?

    Strange as it is to find myself saying so, I agree with him on that point.

    Just as a person might want a particular atmosphere in her or his home and choose guests to suit it, I do — and he obviously does.

    I’m not always thrilled by what some people say here — recently, for instance, @atf carrying a battle she’d started with @Alarming elsewhere onto this blog…. But both of them generously helped me get the site started. He’s been a stalwart friend. She mostly has, even though we’ve had our disagreements.

    If @atf had come here last week and tried to post her grievance against @Alarming for a first comment, would I have posted it? Absolutely not. She’d have been treated exactly as I did StP’s wish for a scrap.

    … One last consideration for you, dear @exitbarnadine — to whom I’m also deeply indebted — is this. You might not remember — even though I’ve said it often enough — that fun and relief from everything hard and grim about the world are my principal reasons for being in the Blogosphere at all. . . That means I’m not interested in personal vendettas or any form of petty unpleasantness. They are depressing.

    . . . You may have noticed that last week, I asked @Alarming — on the Rafts of the unwelcoming print journos thread — not to mention someone constantly slinging mud at this blog on his site. . . In Marginalia, I have patiently explained — quoting him at length — that that blogger dislikes me for having chosen to be neutral in a fight he had with @Suzan. . . . in, oh … was it the spring of last year? You’d think he’d have got over it, by now …

    Nonsense, yes? … If I ever shut acciaccature down, wasting time on this sort of stuff will be at the very top of my list of reasons.

    Thank you again for taking the trouble to write your post, @eb, and I’d be most interested to know what your conclusion is, from all I’ve said here.


  244. anytimefrances

    I think if you look carefully at myself vis a vis Alarming that you’ll find it is he who has continuously carped at me all along. I’ve never had much interest in anything he had to say but he latched onto me and continued to carp at me. On GU it was that I was ‘shoehorning’ in arguments that were irrelevant. Well on GU it’s pretty much anything you want to say, say it; and let the mods decide. Alarming kept playing mod with me but it was for the mods to decide and delete whatever, not Alarming’s job to keep lecturing me.

    His argument here recently shows how long he’s been holding a grudge against me – it goes right back to some O’Riordan’s blog about rap…how long ago is that? something about that has got him going for me even since, but I’ve forgotten all about it, it’s so long ago. Every time i post on an art topic he’s on top of me, once forcing me to accept that it was nothing to do with Giotto that made some ceiling a great work of art, but that it was the blue, the sheer blue of the pigment.

    The recent bawling about his criticism being called ‘sh.’ is easily seen through. Would anyone call his criticism ‘sh.’ if he hadn’t referred to poem/s on Poster poems as ‘shite’. The one golden rule of PP was that it would be a safe place for anyone to post; by ‘safe’ I mean that posters would not be subjected to offensive language so that poor/beginners poets could post without fear of ‘superior’ types using offensive language againt their poems. I was strong on that from the start but Alarming broke that golden rule and referred to poems posted as ‘shite’, which brought on him the reasonable retaliation that he crit was ‘shite’. really tit for tat but one that he started by using offensive language on that particular thread, and trying to ge MM to join him. no argument. he started it.

    Another example of his carping slying at me was when I posted something and mention that football guru brian Cluff – sounds like, and how I didn’t like the bronze in Nottingham. His sly person reply was that I ‘had more in common with him than I think.’ why does he continually carp at me and try to score points over me. I’m not interested much in his stuff and never have been.

    He’s latched onto me and pounces continually. People don’t notice that sort of thing happening, even mods can fail to notice is, but often the upshoot is that you just blow up and get banned.

    I’m sure I’ve asked me more than once to get off my back.

    Recently, I tried to stop them going on about me on that site, because I saw them mention me more and more, always moaning about me, and me never wanting to comment there because I feel about him the same way as you and Suzan – sickened by all his jeering comments about Suzan’s blog and the way he made her delete her writing and the way they went on and on about des whinging endlessly about his interest in the Literature of Celtic Ireland and being offensive about Amergin. But I just had to try to stop them starting a nasty whinging campaign against me, so I put a comment there and he responds with his usual vicious manners as though he was the law and the only law.

    I answered a post by alarming here in an agreeable way but a short while later I find he is back over there continuing to mention me on that blog – after I’d gotten banned for trying to stop it; he’s there making silly jokes about lawyers, abusing me once again.

    Only once can I remember taking up a point he made rather than responding to his carping at me and that was when he posted something about the Pope being to blame for AIDS in Africa. That was the only time I’ve ever felt like responding to a post made by him. When I pointed out the absurd and defamatory nature of this argument he, typically, starts bawling again about ‘bruising’ and ‘a bear pit’.

    I’m so sick of him carping at me that I finally felt there was only one phrase that would tell him to lay off. It’s only the second time I’ve used the ‘f’ word to anyone on a web site but as far as I’m concerned it was well – deserved.

    I hope this is one place where posters will be defended against the sort of thing Susan and Des have had to put it with from that site, particularly from M and MM.

    It’s great that Susan has such a ‘wicked’ defender as Wordy, and that des can feel welcome here. it’s a pity that BM had to spoil the PP anthology by going cap in hand to @art&*(^%; I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt their support and work degraded by his making the success of the anthology dependent on someone who was banned from GU. i’m sure many felt insulted by being told it would be no good without his diddly tripe.

  245. Atf where do I call PP poems shite – hard evidence please. I asked for it before but got no response. I don’t call PP poems shite . End of story. Stop making things up.

    As regards Clough – he was a huge thorn in the side of the Soccer authorities . You’re a bit of a thorn in the side too – especially to me! A back-handed compliment in fact but let’s face it you’re too tribal in your response to me to realise that.

    As regards the AIDS argument I’ll take my info as I did from someone who’s been there and done it not someone who’s playing devil’s advocate. Nothing wrong with playing devil’s advocate but a bit pointless at times.

  246. anytimefrances

    it’s you should get off my back. you seem to have a grudge against me for some comment on “O’Riordan’s” blog. I don’t know anything about it.

    God you just went on and on at me about some comic character, saying that I must read him, that I had to read him, that it wasn’t just for kids; i told you time and again that I didn’t read comics, and that I wasn’t interested in the character, but you went on and on insisting that I had to read this comic character, then you posted a link saying that I didn’t have to go out and buy it that I could read the character on line and that I should read it, had to read it, that the character was ‘like you’. so I read it and some character was going on about capitalism and the gap between the rich and the poor…and I think you have something to do with an online comic forum because I googled my moniker and found that your comment was posted there and mine so as to make a laughing stock of my objections to reading comics. You like to abuse by wrangling me and then posting my comments on another site for fun. I told you I didn’t read comics, and that I just wasn’t interested in them, why must you push me to make comments just to have a laugh by posting them on the comic forum, and without telling me? if you want to be left alone why did you go to M. site and post comments about me after I’d been banned from requesting that posters there stop grinding on about me? the comment about Cluff wasn’t made to you so why don’t you just ignore it, ignore all my comments because only one has ever been made to you, that was the one about the Pope being the cause of aids. I’ve seen a few dozen mentions of me, remarks and comments, on the other blogs from you, mm, freep, art-whatever and didn’t reply to any of them until a day or two ago. I’ve not interest in anything you say and leave it to the mods to decide on GU whether i’m relevant or not and stop going on at me about ‘shoehorning’ in this and that. the mods decide. you’re not a mod. just leave me out. I’m not interested. You’ve everything in the film world to discuss on homicidal from Mickey Mouse to Al Capone, why me? leave me out. a thorn in your side?? mmm get real or get lost.

  247. atf Not really proof of anything I’ve asked you to prove other than a willingness to disagree with you about comic strips which I felt you were dismissing unfairly. What on earth is wrong with reccommending something you may be unfamiliar with? It goes on all the time on this very blog doesn’t it?

    I have nothing to do with any on-line comic forum – nothing at all so, once again read things properly – I thought that’s what you were good at????? If it’s been posted it’s been posted by someone else not me.

    All I would say as per Wordnerd is get a sense of humour and lighten up.

  248. Just wanted to say to Wardee, atf & Philly(Isa) if he is anywhere about that indeed I am having a ball here, that all of your web camaraderie is much appreciated.

    And that atf is right in one respect, that on Chief Inspector Wadi Rum’s blog I can breathe. I don’t have to be afraid of trolls and this is not a poor-me-pity-me thing…but that seriously, in this space, I can breathe and just be myself. How long ago does that feel now, all the way from 2007 in the good old days of the Gu Bks Blog when there was pure debate and very little trolling. 🙂

    Also, I just so love Nigerian culture – and my niche stays with the peasantry – same with Arabic & Persian; languages I am studying at the moment. I would never offend anyone.

    On the contrary, it’s so nice just be regaled and to stay in my element.

    P.S: Miss Niger will be back! 😉

    PPS: atf, if I remove anything from my blog, it may be that I had a change of heart. As regards my play, I’m going to complete it and put it right back up.
    The M you mention has power over me only in his dreams. 🙂

  249. @Wordn

    Whilst the central issue for you is why @Polly chose to post here – and I accept your point about not being duty-bound to publish posts – for me it was the phrases you used; describing a stranger as ‘wittering…petty fighting…attempt at a _first_ post…nor anything resembling an interesting or entertaining argument…perfectly trite…etc,’ just seemed unkind and unnecessary. It’s strange that you should describe @Polly as looking for a scrap. She manifestly isn’t and, from her own blog, is genuinely upset about the whole thing.

    But, as you say, it’s your blog and you should act as you wish. Also, I appreciate that you’d rather keep the site as dispute-free as possible. Good luck with that, looking at the last few posts!

  250. [ Dear @Suzan, I want to give @exitbarnadine space to reply — and then close this subject to anyone who has already spoken on it. So I hope you don’t mind me putting your latest post here. . . with thanks … we’ve all got better things to do and think about, as you said earlier. ]

    Submitted on 2009/06/22 at 11:00pm


    I make up a police scene for you out of my own creativity & wit and someone – you know who – copies me in part. You should be so flattered! 😉



    I don’t want you put into a spot so I am now compelled to speak about Pollyanna…etc…etc…a subject I have the dire feeling is being continually aimed at me, with you somehow caught in the middle. I am getting really sick and tired of this.

    This person who calls herself Pollyanna etc etc joined the Kuwaiti late one night in providing derogatory – or if I can most honestly put it…highly negative remarks in insulting my play…a script for the stage, which I took a long time to write out. She made certain remarks in a way that lured the Kuwaiti to carry on with the insults…questioning him as to one of my character’s phrases… something to the effect of “how can anyone speak like that etc. etc… pointing out certain words etc.” She then after awhile goes on to ask, if I am foreign…the meaning – clearly implying or rather giving any reader the implication that someone foreign would write English as strangely as this. You mean, she can’t remember this simple thing? She knew as any moron could well read, that the Kuwaiti was saying horrible things…why would she feign innocence and carry on goading him about it, prompting him to say more horrible things about my play. I read the whole thing, because I wondered what the Kuwaiti’s link was doing on my WordPress site and I saw the entire exchange. It was very late at night. To read those scenes, she had to come into my site. So if she can’t remember this that happened just a couple of months ago I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt but also conclude with immediate effect, that she’s pretty dim. That’s my right since she assisted an ill-mannered bully directly or indirectly in attacking my work.

    I was pretty shocked and took off the play. You know, when it’s incomplete, it’s bad karma to see someone who hates you, rubbish it and I had a desire to protect my own words.

    This same person Pollyanna etc etc has also made negative comments on one two actually of my other posts…one a case of plagiarism I exposed and had the Malaysian writing circle shocked but she doesn’t know anything about anything and she complains about me picking on this person, etc.etc. Either she came into my site again and read it or just bleated on the usual poisonous gossip going on around her.

    Maybe now she will be more careful about the careless, thoughtless remarks she makes of other people if she doesn’t want a taste of her own medicine. If I’m a pushover, that’s fine, she can rubbish me all she likes, but I am not a pushover. I will give back as good as I get.

    Of course, my impressions of her would already be formed and I have the right of free thought to her writing. And of course, I am angry.

    Much later when I have already forgotten the matter, she sends me an email to say not to fight, but just to talk. Yes, that’s graceful and noble. At the same time, she complains Wordy, that you aren’t running her comments. Then she wants to know all the whys and whens. But if I’ve moved on and I no longer want to talk about it. Then just get over it!

    But I think never mind, I’ll write to her since she wrote to me. I want a day to think about it but I’ve already planned to write to her. That’s the day Isa has his big duel with the Arab. On that day too, I happened upon the Arab’s blog and while reading about Isa, was shocked to see that after sending me the email, this Pollyanna woman was busy complaining about me to the rest…that she felt bullied, that I was unkind blah, blah, blah. MM the master of all bullies, was giving her advice and she went on whining. Just whining about me. So why did she say something as irrelevant, as not to fight, just to talk. And there she was happily engrossed in slander of me, before I had a chance to reply.

    Do you really think I’m that stupid that I’m going to reply her email after that? I couldn’t be bothered. I said not a word to anyone But she doesn’t let the matter rest and carries on this fiasco on her own blog. Why can’t she just say sorry for having insulted my play?

    When I was sneered at for no rhyme or reason except for you, Wordy, atf and a few others – and please bear in mind that the sneering faithfully carries on – I don’t see any other heroic defence of me.

    I just want this woman t to leave me alone, please. Because you don’t write an email to someone in confidence, and then rubbish them to the hilarity of great gossip on a public blog, less than an hour later.

    And Wardee, this is where it’s all coming from in case you get repeatedly questioned about this nonsense.

    And Wardee speaking for myself, I do enjoy my very happy disputes with you. No doubt, it’s all been going on since early 2007? Can’t others see that we have a healthy respect for each other’s opinions and that we’ve known one another a long time?


  251. @exitbarnadine,

    The ‘central issue’ not just for me but any rational being is why @StPolly insisted on posting here when … (a) the person she was supposedly upset with has her own site; (b) she was already communicating with that person, and (c) StPolly has her own site.

    Obviously, there’s a bit more to her insistence on coming here. That makes the supposedly injured and innocently enquiring post she attempted here disingenuous, to say the least.

    Context is everything, isn’t it? ... And she is a well-known supporter of the man I mentioned in my last post in this thread — who chronically attacks this site. . . That also means that I have read many of her posts there, and I’m afraid I must stand by ‘wittering.’ … I’ve only popped in on her own site once, weeks ago, and the main post was all about her own knee. No, nothing entertaining or unusual to say about it or knees in general . … She offered to write about shoes for a collaborative blog, and that, someone said, was something he thought she could do well. I agree: for people just like herself. . . But how interesting do you suppose people who post here would find a blogger like that?

    Add it up, @exitb.

    Thanks @Suzan … I’ll be back to answer you later.

  252. … As for calling her complaint ‘perfectly trite’ — about being teased about the screen name she chose herself, ‘St Pollyanna of our Holy Optimism,’ … yes, I’ll stand by that, too. 😉

    @Suzan, please see the amendment to your last post … which explains in part that this subject is now virtually closed — unless @eb or anyone else has anything new to add. Time to move on, as I think everyone will agree. . . This point you made about your communications with the kvetching blogger is a good one — supports the idea of ‘disingenuous’,:

    === … you don’t write an email to someone in confidence, and then rubbish them to the hilarity of great gossip on a public blog, less than an hour later. === [ my emphasis ]

    But let’s please move on, now …

  253. anytimefrances

    yes, good on you wordy for spotting a Trojan Horse and dealing firmly with it. The Gates are closed. We are safe.

  254. @Suzan

    I’m not indirectly aiming anything at you. I can see why you would have been angry; it’s just Wordn’s handling of @Polly’s post that troubled me. That’s what I talked about, that’s what I meant.


    I have attempted to ‘add it up’ and you’ll not persuade me that what I found unkind and unnecessary was either kind or necessary. I seem to be making things worse, so I’ll go away.

  255. @exitbarnadine,

    @anytimefrances has said the words on the tip of my tongue throughout this saga. Trojan horse. Exactly right.. . With a first faux-innocent comment approved, she’d have been free to make trouble more obviously. Then I’d have been saddled with the chore of getting rid of her.

    Funny, @eb, that you’ve twice refused to answer the question I’ve asked you about why your Polly had to post here at all. . . Anyone new to this thread trying to follow the discussion can see that you’ve been trying to do a Houdini. . . Two venerable old sayings would seem to apply: the heart has its reasons, and birds of a feather blog together. . . But no one’s been fooled for a minute @eb.


  256. anytimefrances

    A very enigmatic approach indeed, with its high moral tone and its moral blackmail barely concealed but we know full well that he comes from a ship of bucaneers, the captain of which had only just chucked our dear friend ISA and AFT into the briny in a typically ruthless way! Hardly a place from which to re-run the Sermon on the Mount! lol!

  257. Am afraid I’m with exitb on this so perhaps I should go to. No doubt my reasons for doing so will be twisted to suit various agendas but as this isn’t going to lie down easily I’ll not fan the flames any further.

  258. Hazlitt

    Atf,Alarming,Exit B,Wordnerd7,all…………..
    I was looking into Alarming’s point about how dependent Manet was on photography and came across his Girl Serving Beer,of which there are apparently two versions,one in the d’Orsay,the other in the National Gallery London.”It is not known which painting is the earlier….the London version is itself,the right side of a larger picture which Manet cut in two(the left side is in O.Reinhart collection,Switzerland).A comparison between the two works suggests that Manet has,to use a photographic term,”zoomed in on the original shot,” stripping extraneous detail for a more revealing close up.”
    The writer(Linda Bolton) points out that Manet’s Girl Serving Beer,prefigures the frontal gaze of the waitress in the Bar at the Folies-Bergére,a personal favourite of mine.As atf points out,the dangling feet in the top left hand corner is a typical photographic feature.The Bar is in the Courtauld Institute,Somerset House,off the Strand.I have often gone in there just to see the Bar.
    The trick is ,Exit B,in order to avoid oil paint indigestion,is to walk through the gallery as if you are late for a train,until you arrive at the chosen painting..:)The waitress has been described as melancholic.She’s probably looking at us..:)
    Any other interpretations??????

  259. Last word, Puleeeeeeeeeeeese Wardee 🙂

    “Truly sorry for the misunderstanding, Exit
    & God Bless. xx

  260. Hi Wordy,

    Won’t be travelling yet for a few weeks. But I’ll still be in touch just in the way it was the last time. My plan was to go to Africa to collect my luggage and take in a couple of safaris and I am also most probably going in to Australia plus one other country, can’t decide which.
    However, I don’t know if you read of Jordan’s first banned poet, Islam Samhan, whose amorous poem in a self-published collection was accused of apostasy by the country’s Grand Mufti.
    He has received many death threats and has had to go into hiding.
    Needless, to say he is now very-well known and has come out of hiding.
    Jordan’s journalists and writers are all fighting for his acquittal.
    At the moment, he has been sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and fined 10,000 dinar but also has a month to appeal. Samhan currently commands overwhelming support.
    He knew of me last year when I wrote about him and sent me an email a few days ago, asking me to come to Jordan to see him as his guest. I can go anytime from now.
    He will give me an interview with his family or engage in any other discussion that I want.
    The only obstacle for me is time.
    Everything happens at once and as they say, it never rains but pours.
    Still, it is a sensual romantic culture and I would love to visit once more; both the Red and Dead seas.
    Still making up my mind about this.


  261. === Jordan’s first banned poet, Islam Samhan, whose amorous poem in a self-published collection ===

    @Suzan, there’s something amazing about a short word string that includes the words ‘first banned poet’ with ‘amorous’ and ‘self-published’ in the 21st century. Not only are we all publishing ourselves every day, but there are so many voices that it’s hard to imagine the authorities anywhere picking on just one for something like this . . . And ‘amorous’ when pornography is ubiquitous. . . and _poet_ when words set to music — which can be sung — are so much more influential, now.

    I know you’ll make up your own mind, but I’d only go if I felt I could make a difference by doing so. Seems as if he already has masses of supporters, which is good.

    Why has Jordan gone off its head so late in the day, I wonder.

  262. Hi Wordy,

    Will return tomorrow morning for a reply on your other post here on your blogsite.
    Why does everything always happen at once?
    Now, I have plans to move in a week. 🙂
    Plus, also go to Belfast on Wednesday to buy my airline ticket.
    I have a favourite agency in Belfast and I do like catching up with the UK routes on transit. Want to have a look at all the latest fiction that would have popped into the airport bookshops.
    The exhilaration of another heady season of flights is a terrible temptation.
    I have pushed my trip to start mid-week next week instead of this Thursday/Friday.


  263. Hi Wordy,

    How are you?
    Managed to move almost everything into the new apartment. Without Des, it would have been harder. I didn’t realise how good he was at organising and packing and all of that, once he puts his mind to it.
    Having the weekend to relax a bit but so much in my head, on Africa.
    Will write to you all those promised notes in a week from now when I’m totally relaxed in Dar.
    Hopefully, my luggage is there, still in one piece. 🙂

  264. Well it’s been said that nature abhors a vacuum, @Suzan — perfectly true in my experience, since I have more than enough projects making me grateful for this slow season in blogging.

    Am delighted to hear that your resettling is going so brilliantly.

    Do be careful once you’re aloft, though. Flying is almost as dangerous as blogging, these days, and also has _evil_ anonymous (/pseudonymous) troublemakers:


    Panic aboard flight as croc takes mid-air stroll

    Yesterday, 03:16 pm

    A baby crocodile triggered panic among passengers on an EgyptAir flight from Abu Dhabi to Cairo on Friday when it took a leisurely stroll on board the aircraft, airport officials said.

    Terrified passengers screamed at the sight of the 30-centimetre (one-foot-long) reptile as it made its way under seats and down the aisle.

    Crew members managed to corner and capture the croc […]

    All of the passengers were questioned about the crocodile, but none admitted bringing it on board.


    I seem to remember you saying that you might be going to the Middle East again, after Dar. Don’t forget to pack your croc rifle.

  265. Oh my God, Wordy.

    For a minute, I thought you were joking. 🙂
    I can just picture the scene.
    Women and children would have screamed in an undignified unision.
    Many would climbed up their seats and started furiously moving their bags from underneath the seats.
    The men would have all been talking loudly, nine to a dozen.
    The fact that both points were middle-eastern destinations meant that there would have been plenty of mothers and children about.

    I’d have screamed and jumped on my chair, that’s for sure. Crocs are something else. 🙂

  266. === For a minute, I thought you were joking. ===

    Thank you for recognising that mistake in time, @Suzan. It would have been a grievous error.

    As you know, I have no time for sillness. It’s well known that joking leads to obesity, drunkenness, hypertension, gout — and hypochondria.

  267. Hello Wordy,

    Hope all’s well with you. Just wanted to say that I’m safely settled in Africa now.

  268. Thanks for letting us know that you’re still blogging about your travels, Suzan. Your latest post on your site is so entertaining that I wouldn’t mind if you told us what you did in every hour of that day. . . Every time you file a dispatch from there, I get sorrier about refusing to listen to someone — in what now seems a past life — begging me year after year to go to Dar and enjoy sharing a generous travel allowance. The trouble was, the honest answer about the weather always was, yes very hot and sweaty — and my spirits tend to sink very low indeed in a climate like that. . . The reply to my reminder of that unfortunate effect always was, ‘Oh, but the people more than make up — you see, you’ll love them.’

    Took a trip of a few hundred miles on Saturday and drove back yesterday evening, enjoying the sight of a moon sliced impeccably in two, sometimes through lacy white mists — and am now wondering how it might have looked above your harbour. Not sure what direction you’re looking in.

    Please don’t say you’ve settled over there. Some of us could get frantic with worry about Des. : )

  269. Hi Wordy,

    No, I haven’t settled. 🙂
    Returning to Dublin & to Des after the safaris.
    Your description of the moon sounds wonderful.
    We can actually see it in the way you yourself did, from the new apartment at home.
    But no, I’ve not seen it here above the harbour, not even once, now that you’ve mentioned it… more’s the pity.
    The waters are beautiful though.
    Shimmering like silk.

    Promise to write more later today. Just woke up. 🙂


  270. @Suzan, … I’m sold on your harbour. A bewitching scene. . . The only detail I don’t like is that you can’t risk taking a walk alone. I think you said that on your blog.

    This site tells you about what the moon is up to where you are:

    And this one astonished me — seems to be explaining that the moon looks different where you are, in the other hemisphere:

    … I’ll have to return to look at those explanations more closely …

  271. Wordy

    Hi. I seem to have been on my feet ever since I reached Dar. There’s not been a relaxing moment.
    But I will write you in detail today.
    I’m off to Kilimanjaro city early tomorrow morning.

    I wanted to let you know that the full moon in Malaysia was also small to look at…ever since I could remember and so too, Singapore. That’s SE Asia on the equator.
    I remember that when I started travelling, the moon really looked much much bigger elsewhere even Melbourne Australia. Whereas its image is nothing larger than a lost penny in my part of Asia. 🙂

  272. @Suzan, that’s really interesting, … it’s been years since I crossed the equator or lived anywhere near it, so don’t remember the moon looking smaller thereabouts.

    Please look in As goes blogging … , … for the rest of my reply.

  273. Hi Wordy

    So sorry I couldn’t even manage today. I truly am ashamed. Unfortunately, I’m writing this at midnight and have to leave for the Kilimanjaro at 6 in the morning.

    It’s been go, go, go ever since I was offered the apartment back in Dublin. I thought I would have been able to relax in Dar but no such luck. It feels like I have a complete lifestyle going on here as well.

    Wordy, I will write you as soon as I can somewhere along the line, when I have access to a wireless. 🙂 It will be hard this coming week as I will be in rural regions along the border of Kenya, somewhere thereabouts….

    And I will have a look at what you have asked me to, definitely.

    warmest wishes meanwhile & happy blogging

  274. So sorry I’ve missed you, @Suzan — unless a delayed departure has made it possible for you to get on the net again. In case you see this in time … Hack a rhino! — or whatever the equivalent of ‘Break a leg!’ is for safari-wallahs. . . ; )

    Please don’t lacerate yourself when you can’t post here or on your site. . . We’ll wait to read you when you’re relaxed enough to type in a report. You’re the only person I know who has ever been able to make safaris sound exciting. . . Everyone else I’ve met who went on one had absolutely nothing not woefully predictable to say about the sights and animals — or about the guides, who might just as well have been guiderons (from ‘waitron’ — usually used for gender-neutrality, avoiding waiter/ress, but here to suggest beings closer to robots than people).

    Warmest good wishes to you — and please see if you can’t send us a close-up of some beastie’s fangs with that new phone you bought to communicate with @Des. Surely it can transmit pictures?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s