Tuesday, May 31, 2005

not really a post...

...more a diary entry.

things that have happened since the last episode:

1) been to oxford. rediscovered its charming streets, toffish residents, and upsetting tourists.
2) met a lot of student journos, who were mildly in awe of me "working for real newspapers". if only they knew.
3) failed to get a job.
4) got an interview for a job.
5) saw my relatives-in-law from new zealand. talked about apples.
6) tried organic cola. it was truly foul.
7) threw up mojito into my mouth. swallowed it again.
8) read richard dawkins' a devil's chaplain. had non-divine revelation that other people think the same as me about religion, and can express it better.
9) as a result of 8) took my mother to task over the doctrine of the Ascension of Mary into Heaven - or, as the Germans delightfully call it, "Maria Himmelfahrt". It's balls, I said. Yes, said my RE-teaching Catholic mother, it is a bit balls.
10) stayed out until 2am, like a proper fun young person, not the prematurely-middle aged figure i often feel i'm becoming.

proper post to follow..

Thursday, May 26, 2005


For anyone who didn't believe Asbo issuing was out of control, here is final evidence from tomorrow's Grauniad:

"A teenager has been banned from wearing a hooded top or cap in public for five years after terrorising residents in a Manchester suburb.

In what is believed to be the first antisocial behaviour order of its kind in the country, Dale Carroll, 16, could face prison if he steps out in public in the teenage uniform of hoodie or baseball cap. The Asbo also bans him from congregating with more than two people apart from family members, entering Collyhurst Village, where he lived with his mother, and possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws."

Several points arise. "Possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws"? How many 16-year olds do you know who you'd be happy about possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws? Teenage delinquency has got much more exciting in the last few years.

But more importantly, it raises the question of whether it's ok to ban legal activity (wearing hoodies, owning axes) because it might encourage illegal activity. Think about it, it's absurd as a principle of law. Cars can be used to commit ram-raids: we must ban people from owning cars.

As you can imagine, it's something the body modification community gets very het up about. There are several US states trying to ban tattooing because of its supposed link to criminal behaviour. Others are trying to ban female genital piercings because they're obsolete oppressive bigots. Or something like that.

Issues like this are the thin end of the wedge, and as such pretty hard to complain about. "So what? It's only a hoodie" or "So what? It's just a tattoo" trip fairly easily off the tongue. But it raises the broader question of how much it's acceptable to interfere in individual people's lives for some supposed benefit to society at large. With the ID cards bill coming up (can you guess I'm massively opposed to that?) it's more topical than ever.

on a completely different note, take a look at postsecret blog. it's really rather touching.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

quite interesting.

so, hang the dj and i went to a recording of QI last night. it was, as you might expect, very funny. i was sitting at the very end of the row, so i could peer behind the curtain where the slebs were waiting.

just after stephen fry came out, i saw it. a glimpse of white jacket. a flash of denim. the gleam of nasty too-brown brogues. it could only mean one thing: CLARKSON.

And so it was.

I also saw alan davies behind the curtain before he came out. he thought no one was watching, looked round guiltily, fished out a big checked hanky from his pocket and evacuated his sinuses extremely thoroughly. touchingly, he then scrutinised the hanky for a full five seconds.

the show was very funny, although the best (ie. rudest) bits will inevitably not make it onto television, like Jeremy Clarkson mocking Beadle's tiny hand.

apart from that, the only other thing worthy of note that's happened is that i've entirely lost my faith in humanity (don't be alarmed, this happens about twice a week). i watched some of the auditions for big brother 6, and you can always tell from the first sentence that these people should never, ever, be granted the oxygen of publicity. example opener: "what this show needs is someone who is intelligent, and not afraid to show it. unlike most of the people here, i've read 1984." i almost wished they had let him in just to watch the other housemates taunt and kill him like piggy in lord of the flies.

and if you haven't seen it, i thoroughly recommend armando iannucci's new offering, the thick of it. chris langham, who seemed destined to be the "interesting"-looking perpetually supporting actor of british comedy, has really come into his own this year. he was excellent on not the nine o clock news, but buggered off to america to work on the muppets. he's back, and following that thing he did where he was never in front of the camera (looked good: but i never watched it properly), there was the excellent help where he was the perfect foil to paul whitehouse's many characters. And now this. Comparisons with Yes Minister are inevitable, as is the observation that this is particularly chilling satire. In Yes Minister the joke was that the civil servants ran the show, not the politicians. Watching The Thick of It makes you yearn for those more innocent times.

There's one Yes Minister episode where Jim Hacker forces the civil service to commit to a measure by announcing it on TV without telling them. Humphrey has to capitulate, and it's a rare triumph of political will. But nothing so simple will work here - in the first episode of The Thick of It the Minister thinks he has the go-ahead for a "sponger avengers" squad, tells the BBC and is promptly rebuked by the sinister Campbell-like figure and forced to kill the story. In Hacker's day, the media were detached, and something on the record could not be expunged. Not any more: the media are players just like the politicians, and they play the game too.

Like I said, chilling stuff, and if the rumours of insider sources are to be believed we can upgrade that to positively terrifying. perhaps we really are a nation of idiots, governed by bullies.

but my faith in humanity's not entirely gone, for one good reason. an off-duty charity mugger turned to me at the traffic lights and said, "are you friendly as well as pretty?" he followed this up by telling me i had beautiful eyes, and he was cute.

what more can you ask for? pathetically, i smiled all the way home.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

not roused.

i find myself left strangely cold by the news. perhaps it was the final push before the government exam, when i had to learn all about constitutional reform, but i just can't get worked up about anything - not even poor dear kylie.

i just finished watching the rules of attraction, a film based on the brett easton ellis book. as you might expect from the author who brought you american psycho, it's pretty weird stuff - lots of drink, drugs, hallucination bits, and for your viewing pleasure, the one with the big forehead from dawson's creek whacking off. i thoroughly recommend it, although it will make you feel dead inside.

but there have also been more intellectual pursuits on offer this weekend: the fa cup final, for example. a few minutes' swotting up on which teams were playing, and i was ready to be one of the boys. there was some excellent unreconstructed masculine behaviour on offer in the pub: short, sunburnt men in tracksuit bottoms swigged beer and shouted 'taxi!' a lot. a friend remarked, "i always wonder why women fancy men". i couldn't provide an answer.

i also finished patrick suskind's perfume, and it well repaid re-reading. the book describes the life and death of jean baptiste grenouille, born on a dung heap in eighteenth century paris with an extraordinary sense of smell (but no smell of his own). grenouille isn't a protagonist in the usual sense, everything in his life seems strangely predestined and most of the characters he meets die horribly after they leave the narrative. he's described as a tick, surviving on drops of blood when he can, and gorging himself when the opportunity arises.

this book is a revelation: simply because smell is such an under-estimated sense. if you've ever read an account by someone with anosmia (that is, no sense of smell), you start to realise how much we rely on our noses to identify what's going on around us. people smell, pleasantly and unpleasantly, clothes left on the floor smell (to dirty to wear again? a sniff will tell), milk smells, food smells. if you can't smell, you can tell if there's a gas leak, if something on the hob is burning in the next room. you are disabled, but no-one can tell and treat you differently.

because of the importance of smell, it's amazing to think how much literature conveniently ignores it. lovers in poetry don't smell (they can't, they couldn't possibly have bodily fluids). after reading perfume, you can't help feeling that's an oversight.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

my living room is full of frenchmen, and so i bring you this post. i'm feeling very smug because i made my first ever stock from chicken bones today, in the manner of hugh fearnley-whittingstall or a 50s domestic icon.

i read this as part of the revision for our Government exam on Wednesday. It, perhaps more than anything i have ever read, made me question why we entrust something as important as running the country to MPs.

Although this story makes me have new respect for Michael Heseltine, who'd i previously considered a bit of a harmless old codger. Now he is reborn in my mind as somekind of Parliamentary tarzan. I also found out the very interesting fact that David Blunkett's guide dog was allowed to sit under the table during Parliamentary debates. I like to think Tony Blair might have tried to surreptiously feed it bacon so that it would like him more.

And one final one - about what MPs can and can't do in the Commons. No to hats, weapons and hands in pockets, yes to snuff. And especially no dying, if you're a commoner.

Friday, May 13, 2005

reality tv

i love reality tv. i'm hard-pressed to explain it: i have watched every series of big brother (except the one with anoushka and tanya et al, must have had a life/boyfriend that summer), i bitterly regret not having seen rebecca loos pleasure a pig, i watched hell's kitchen the night before my last finals exam (and very nearly stayed on for "extra portions"). but i have to make a confession: i am repelled by the thought of celebrity love island.

there it is. i am secretly a puritan, not a crazy heir of the free-love generation. i actually find something morally repugnant about the idea of sending a handful of no-mark celebrities off to live in luxury so the viewing public can sit around, sweaty-palmed, waiting for them to fuck.

my thoughts turn, as they sadly often do, to lord rochester. god bless the mucky verse writer, he had this right: that for sex to be shocking and titillating, you have to start from the assumption that it's bad and covert and seedy. if you become too open about sex, it is inevitably reduced to something mechanic and ultimately mundane.

this is a pretty shady viewpoint, i suppose, given that i would never advocate a return to pre-1960s attitudes, where sex is never mentioned, contraceptives banned and homosexuality outlawed. but still, i wonder if there is anything sexy about sex when it's inevitable?

oh god, i have to stop writing. i actually typed that sentence sitting at my desk, in my pants, feeling thoughtful. i am carrie bradshaw's uglier younger sister.

soon my blog will be full of phrases like, "so, i got to thinking, when did ex become synonymous with sex?" and "are we all just bonobo monkeys in the zoo of sexual experience?"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

my day; and, bad sex.

today: a little light revision, some extravagantly loud spine "manipulation" from the chiropractor, and started reading martin amis' 'the rachel papers' which i purchased for the sum of 50p in chapel market. i'm only two chapters in, but i think i've already fallen in love with it. i hear he writes a mean sex scene too - something i consider to be the most challenging task a novelist can attempt.

in fact, what is the best sex scene in a novel? this may make me sound like a pervert (no!) but i'm going to nominate the encounter with the two prostitutes in brett easton ellis' american psycho. admittedly it gets a bit freaky later on, but i admire the way he calls a cock a cock. euphemism is the enemy of a good sex scene.

looking over at my bookshelves, i realise that everything i own is either pre-1830 or determinedly non-sexual (a history of the press complaints commission, bill bryson's mother tongue, remains of the day being typical examples) so i haven't any other nominations to hand. The first sex scene in Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong is quite good, but from memory there is a phrase along the lines of "he was like a key in the split lock of her flesh", which is grounds for instant disqualification. it reminds me also of the description by an ex-lover of massive tory mp nicholas soames, "sex with him was like a wardrobe falling on top of you with the key still in the lock". genius.

and by the way, i don't think that a sex scene has to be sexy to qualify as "good". some of the best sex scenes describe sex that is clumsy, funny or painful, and i'd say that i find reading a well-written account of 'bad' sex one of the best things novels have to offer. given the hundreds of pitfalls, however, i'm mildly surprised anyone manages to write anything worth reading about sex.

a non-exhaustive list of problems with writing a sex scene:

1) euphemism. as mentioned before, it's incredibly distressing to find a euphemism-heavy sex scene in the writing of an otherwise excellent author, and all too common. so, no flowers or manhoods.

2) stock phrases: nothing, repeat nothing is to be engorged, throbbing or glistening.
absolutely no dripping under any circumstances.

3)use of irony - can redeem otherwise laughable phrases. tumescence may be allowed if used with appropriate irony, ditto veiny. but too much irony is also a no-no. it's a sex scene - now is not the time or place for the writer to usher in a new style of novel-writing.

4) "i'd rather not be writing this" syndrome". some writers try to adopt the posture that really they are too cool to buy into the whole sex-scene thing. it happens; don't get hung up on including it, but equally don't write the sex scene as if you'd much rather the characters were having a chat about Barthes. the hallmark of this sort of writing is use of fantastically unsexy terms, like "vagina" and "perineum". which leads on to...

4) inappropriate detail: the creepy brother of euphemism. no, i don't need to know about the female participant's pubic hair management system; neither do i want a loving description of anyone's anus. save that sort of talk for when you see your doctor.

and for anyone who'd like to sample some truly hideous sex-based prose, here's the winner and shortlist for the 2004 bad sex writing awards.

some sample phrases:

  • "Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns - oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest - no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say "No, Hoyt" and talk to him like a dog..." - WINNER! Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons
  • "Shiva still noticed - with lofty, Brahminical pity - the sprinkling of livid spots on the inside of her anal cleft" - will self
  • "He had peeled her like a kiwi fruit and she was all glistening-moist and sensitive as his unstinting tongue went deeper" - serial nominee wendy perriam
  • "She was riding naked on a big horse, among a pack of hunting wolves, at night" - possibly my favourite.
  • "the vulva itself ... was of unusual plumpness, almost spherical, like a large exotic mushroom in the fork of a tree, a little pleasure dome if ever I've seen one" - andre brink (spherical? how could he tell? the mind boggles).

  • Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    anger management

    i am in a bad mood, but that's another story. yesterday i was in a very good mood: i saw two pigeons fly into each other (hilarious), chortled to myself as i do every day when the tube announcer says, "a good service is operating on the northern line" (ho ho, i think, i'll believe that when i see it) and found out that my blood pressure is no longer a stroke-tastic 150/105, but instead a calm, soothing, longer life expectancy-supporting 120/80.

    I can't really account for the drop in blood pressure, but I'm choosing not to question it - although it is now very tempting to take up smoking as i can get away with it. the other joy of yesterday was my visit to the chiropractor. as a public service i can tell you that it's well worth it, not at all scary, and eminently affordable. my fears that the visit would consist of naked starjumps interspersed with someone running up and down on my back were ill-founded.

    i had planned to write up an amusing/illustrative episode from my past, but unfortunately i was up until 3 o clock last night playing Dead or Alive: Extreme (sorry, Xtreme) Beach Volleyball. The targets in all computer games are reasonably arbitary- collecting stars, cars or weapons; saving the kind of drippy princess who would allow herself to be kidnapped by a toad; perhaps even getting laid. But DOA:XBV (oh come on, I can't be arsed to write it out again) is a particularly fine example. Here, the objective is to collect increasingly eye-wateringly small bikinis.

    Of course, it's not really about what the prize is, it's the fact that you just can't quite manage it as that tiny japanese 13 year old hammers the ball past you for the umpteenth time. I therefore spent nearly five hours of precious revision time trying to buy a bikini which looked like two twenty pence pieces and a handful of beads. It would actually have been quicker to go out into London and buy something approximating this in a shop - and I would no doubt have made new friends, found fame and fortune, and all the other good things that are meant to happen when you follow your dreams.

    and here is the bikini i eventually won, modelled by an actual woman. i don't know who went to the trouble of making it, but all i say is: god bless the internet.

    you might think that as a feminist, i would be appalled by the objectification and ubiquity of the "male gaze" in the game. however, i have decided to put this aside because the emphasis of the game is on sisterhood, with Zack's Island becoming a female space, a feminatopia if you will. It is a place where women, who just happen to be really busty, and who just happen to be wearing very little clothing because it's very hot, can get together, give each other gifts, and play some sport without being subject to the prison of heterosexist existence.

    And gosh darn those swimsuits are pretty, aren't they?

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    ladies and gentleman.... jon stewart

    "They always throw around this term 'the liberal elite.' And I kept thinking to myself about the Christian right. What's more elite than believing that only you will go to heaven?"

    Jon Stewart is, quite simply, the finest political commentator in the world. Who he? You cry. He's the anchor of Comedy Central's outrageously good Daily Show which is sadly only available to Americans and people with CNN.

    Despite his self-confessed shortness, hairiness and jewishness, he is extraordinarily charismatic, and an incredibly refreshing antidote to the usual run of emasculated american political reporters. he even became a news story in his own right last year during the american election, when he launched an impassioned tirade against the "partisan hackery" of the US media on CNN's Crossfire. Yes, I suppose he's a lefty, but he manages to avoid the curse of left-wing commentators, and a sure-fire humour killer: sanctimoniousness... Guardian, take note.

    Recommended segments include piss taking of the hilariously bigoted opponents of the first gay and lesbian school, a Stewart-Colbert conversation on the rumours about Prince Charles (where Colbert tells Stewart he can't possibly discuss the allegations before deepthroating a banana), an investigation of the state which has banned visible thongs and my personal favourite, This Week in God.

    But it was the Iraq war which allowed the Daily Show to come into its own. Its regular feature, "Mess o'Potamia" catalogued Bush's gaffes, including a brilliant double interview with Governer Bush of 2000 and President Bush of 2004, giving completely different opinions, and Rumsfeld's desperate scrabblings in front of the Abu Ghraib senate investigation. When told that his staff have not, in fact, brought the chart on which his description of the chain of command rests, you almost feel sorry for him. "Oh my," he says with a puppy dog look, "we had it all prepared." When the camera cuts back to Jon Stewart, his eyebrow is raised. "So you're telling me," he says exasperatedly, "that the people in charge of proving the military had its shit together, forgot the chart.. which proved the military had its shit together!"

    The Daily Show has tantalising clips available on the net (and several sites host larger chunks, if you hunt around). There's nothing like it: think the best bits of Have I Got News For You in the satirical news reviews, with a soupcon of The Day Today in the correspondent pieces, and celebrity interviews in the style of Jonathan Ross crossed with Mrs Merton. And by celebrity interviews, I don't mean reality TV stars and the usual rent-a-quotes: he's had John Kerry, Samuel L Jackson, Ice Cube!

    Finally the show is achieving the accolades it deserves in America. However, I can't see that it will ever get shown on British terrestrial TV. Which is a shame. The good news is that if you've never seen any before, there's at least a couple of hours of clips on the web, and the show has just been commissioned for three more series.

    "Condoleezza Rice was confirmed by a vote of 85, 13, despite a contentious but futile protest vote by democrats. By the way, for a fun second term drinking game, chug a beer every time you hear the phrase 'contentious but futile protest vote by democrats.' By the time Jeb Bush is elected, you'll be so wasted you won't even notice the war in Syria."

    Bad news though: production on Chappelle's show has been halted.

    PS. Goodies: Jon Stewart quotes and more quotes, and biography.

    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    balls, of the titanium variety

    this weekend, i got a surface piercing - ie. a stapled shaped bar that just allows the two balls to be seen above the skin, giving a sort-of floating appearance. i am already prepared for the backlash, first evidenced by some chav woman in the studio.
    Her: Why the fuck did you have that?
    Me: I could say the same about your unfeasibly ugly child.

    Of course, being me, I was trying to be nice: informative without being patronising. I usually fail. Still, I have my new stock answer for random members of the public prepared:

    Person: What's that on your chest?
    Me: Those would be my breasts.

    I hope that will shut people up.

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    not about bar sports, breasts or tv

    quick question: is dave chappelle the only man in the world who is sexy despite having a moustache?

    on a related note, is derren brown the sexiest ginger?

    the morning after

    Another day, another News 24 and snack food marathon. As I imagine you will all know, Labour are back with their tails between their legs. The lovably litigous george galloway has booted out oona king, a couple of labour ministers are no more, the lib dems are trying to pretend that they never had a "decapitation strategy" and paxman, dimbleby and marr have been on tv for hours on end. They're certainly looking in better shape than i am.

    I'm not going to offer you my fatuous and witless outpourings on the election, you'll be pleased to know. Instead I'm going to recommend a book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. As you might expect, it's about the many ways in which dead bodies have contributed to anatomy teaching, forensics research and crash and ballistics testing, as well as discussing the possibilities of human composting and brain transplants.

    It's a fascinating book, with the right mixture of anecdote and scientific explanation, but there are several problems with it, not least that it kicks off with its two dullest chapters, on corpse theft and anatomy labs. Perhaps I know too much about such things, but I found these distinctly pedestrian. At first, I found Mary Roach's frequent joky asides and annotations fairly irritating, but after a while you begin to appreciate her humour and even smirkingly anticipate it. Let me give you an example, Roach describing a pathologist who performs sheep necropsies:

    "He does not use the word 'autopsy', for the prefix denotes a postmortem medical inspection of one's own species. Technically speaking, only a human's investigation of another human's death can be called an autopsy - or supposing a very different world, a sheep's investigation of another sheep's."

    These asides are hit and miss, but one of the nice things about the book is that Roach oftens includes comments on how reluctant her subjects are to talk about what they do for fear of misinterpretation. Weapons research on human cadavers, for example, is extremely controversial. She also refers to her embarrassment when asking academics and researchers questions like, "What about, you know, poo?" This running commentary on the process of journalism might not be to everyone's taste, but as someone who often wants to ask clever people dumb questions, I found it an interesting insight.

    LINK: Underground blog here. Truly, a work of gimpy genius, I hadn't realise that anyone else deliberately tries to get on the train at the right doors to be best positioned for exiting at their destination. For the record, at canada water that's about half way down the platform, allowing easy access to the staircase connecting to the east london line southbound (because i'm very lazy and often go the extra station to surrey quays).

    My unconscious geekiness is a source of eternal surprise to me, and i hadn't really thought about how i always walk to the end of the northbound northern line platform at london bridge, to allow me to be first on the escalators at angel, saving valuable seconds. Amazing. And someone else thinks it's amusing to refer to the "Waterloo and Shitty" line. Truly, the internet is my spiritual home.

    LINK 2: Transcript of Laura Bush's speech to the Washington Correspondents' Dinner. Highlights include lampooning the leader of the free world for not being able to pronounce the word 'nuclear'.

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    a long night

    I went to vote earlier today, and was much impressed by the quality of loon candidates in my constituency, an impregnably safe Lib Dem seat. "Storm Poorun" of the Greens was excitingly Nordic-sounding for Sarf London, and the National Front described themselves on the ballot paper as "National Front - Caring for Britain". Pah.

    So, the first exit polls have been published, and the BBC reckon that Labour will be returned with a majority of 66. However, we have been reminded that they predicted victory for Kinnock in 1992.

    I'll be at an anonymous national newspaper for election night, where the atmosphere is near-palpable and we've gone with the BBC's coverage. First editions of the Times and Sun (that gives you a clue) have arrived, showing the Sun is currently splashing on "Dad Cert" with a charming picture of over-18 Blair children off to vote with Ma and Pa. Page 3 as ever lowers the tone with some topless wrestling between stunnas in red and blue thongs.

    Ooh, that's the editor. Look busy.


    Getting a little scared at how well the Conservatives seem to be doing. Surely, surely, they won't win another 50 seats? They even claim to be winning a seat in Wales! This is good news for the party, but bad news for Bill Wiggin, Tory MP for Leominster (not many miles from Wales), who was appointed Conservative spokesman for Wales. A rival remarked, "He's been made that because he can just about see Wales from his window on a good day". If the Tories claw back some Welsh ground, I shall worry.

    More news from Sunderland, this time North. Five thousand for Con, 15,000 for Lab, more than a thousand for BNP and two thousand for Lib Dem. Apparently Lib Dems have gained at the expense of Labour.

    Excellent, I think someone's smuggled in beer.


    Pizza arrived ten minutes ago, and now I can honestly say I have seen a "media feeding frenzy", as Professor Roy Greenslade of the Guardian might say. Settling back down to watch the Beeb, Dame Shirley Whatsherchops has just said "bloody" and they've got Boris Johnson and Ian Hislop, so I'm beginning to enjoy this.

    excellent: what we all need. a fine miniature watercolour portrait of BoJo:

    and over to beta for boris photoshop fun here

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    destiny calling?

    they offered me the job. what to do?

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    poetry corner

    as i am going to work hard today and not bugger round on the internet (yes i am), today's entry will have a literary and pro-active bent. After some thought, I will be compiling a list of my favourite poets:

  • e e cummings - including great sexy/playful poems like may i feel said he and very timely anti-war poetry like why must itself up every of a park
  • wendy cope - including the pithiest poem in the world, two cures for love and her bitingly deflating waste land limericks)
  • gerard manley hopkins - absolute genius with the basic building blocks of poetry, and knew a thing or two about consonants. the darker poems are almost unbearably tortured, both in meaning and form.
  • john wilmot, earl of rochester - yes, yes, we all love the ones about sex, but there's also very thoughtful stuff like A Satyr on Reason and Mankind
  • alexander pope
  • thomas nashe (ok, he only wrote one extant poem - but it's about dildos! it was written in the 1590s! give the man some credit)
  • thomas hardy
  • er, does shakespeare count in lists like these? frankly, i could take or leave venus and adonis and the rape of lucrece, but i bloody love the dark lady sonnets.

    There are so many kinds of awful men--
    One can't avoid them all. She often said
    She'd never make the same mistake again;
    She always made a new mistake instead.

    by my reckoning, i've still got the ageing banker and "The practised charmer, less than charming when/ He talked about the wife and kids and fled" to go.

  • Monday, May 02, 2005


    I have slain the Blatant Beast of Engine Technical Management. I am reasonably well-informed now, in fact it reminds me of the two summers I spent being mildly sexually harrassed by my boss at the car parts supplier. That was all about aftermarkets and other companies making cheaper parts (in this case, electric windows and central locking systems) and warranties. As, now I think about it, was my job at the stationery shop, where we sold truckloads of knock-off ink cartridges which were cheaper than the Epson ones but tended to explode occasionally.

    This gives me hope: perhaps there is only one big fact in the universe, and we just need to learn all its different manifestations. Or possibly it's past one o'clock in the morning and I deluded myself into thinking there's a philosophical truth behind all this, when the only thing that's true is this: I can write 2000 words of mediocre copy about anything, given eight hours and enough biscuits.

    Right, to bed, to sleep, perchance to have that dream about the swimming pool gift shop I had last night again. (Remind me to tell you about my incredibly prosaic dreams some time... other people get monkeys and car chases and hot sex, I get a respectable job at an office supply company or spend a day on the sofa watching TV. What's the point of going to sleep?)

    Sunday, May 01, 2005


    I know nothing about engines. This is something I'm fully prepared to admit in public, and in fact did so at the job interview. Which I think makes it a little harsh that they asked me to write a 2000 word feature on some obscure aspect of them. Still, I'm trying, and hoping against hope that at the very least, I'll gain some valuable pub quiz knowledge.

    Other than that, very little to report, apart from the fact I seem to have turned into some kind of emotional zombie and am unable to get worked up about anything. So: bad for the blog, for its natural fuel is vitriol, but good for me, and good for anyone out there who has been waiting for the right moment to tell me that they slept with my mother, or something similar.

    Back to the world of OEMs and MROs and MCPH relationships, sometimes all in the same sentence.