Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bells with no Balls

Mr Oldfield has had yet another go at Tubular Bells, this time with the "definitive" remix of the original. And I have to say it's beefed up in the extreme, lovely and crisp with emphasis on all the right places .... EXCEPT ... the bells themselves. On the original, they had such power, power derived from using the biggest hammer possible to whack them with (supposedly denting them in the process). But now they sound like ... well how Tubular Bells really do sound - a bit weedy and totally at odds with the expectation built up by Vivian Stanshall's breathy and passionate introduction. B+ is the overall score - the ideal version would be this mix but with the bells from the original. Buy it of course.

To be honest I only got this because I'd finally read Changeling after finding it at the library and as this new set comes with the original demos of TB I thought it would be nice to link the description of their creation with the sounds of the tracks themselves. I'd avoided the book for sometime because I had a sneaking suspicion that Mike Oldfield is actually a bit of a dork and I am sorry to say I was right. However, the description of the recordings was in nice detail and quirky enough to make me finish the whole thing. I would have liked similar detail about Amarok or some of the other later albums but as seems usual with any biography of this sort, there was a lot more about the early years. And, while I applaud Oldfield's involvement with various mental health charities, his self-analysis could have been left out without any consequent loss of interest. He needs a good lesson on Lamarckian Genetics as well but that's another story. Beg, Steal or Borrow* but do not buy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Spider and the Eagle

I couldn't wait. I just had to have it. I mentioned a few days ago along with Journal for Plague Lovers as a choice but I had to have both. I mean this :

And it was not a disappointment. Admittedly, it IS rocket science but I like to think that hours of poring over various books and magazines in the years after the missions has made me able to criticise at least some of the technical content of any new ones. I cannot fault this - this pictures are captioned correctly and specifically rather than being either generic or just plain wrong. The structure of the book is logical and well thought-out - the technical content is defined by what needs to be said rather than by what pictures were available. An absolutely definitive layman's guide to both the spacecraft and the men who flew them. If you have any inkling of nostalgia for those heady days of adventure mixed with engineering genius then get this book.

The main thought in my head is how all those years ago, the fact that it all worked on time and almost flawlessly was just a given - I obviously didn't have the rigour to think about all those interlocking parts. The whole Saturn/Apollo stack, from the massive first and second stages to the relatively small conical section of the escape tower, was held together with various bolts which had to separate at exactly the right time. The parachutes had to deploy at the correct times - all the movable parts had to move when ordered to either by the astronauts or the computers which controlled most of the operation. That not one man was lost in space is breathtaking. Truly awesome in the correct sense of the word. And now your modern life is almost certainly very different from what it would have been like had this project not taken place. It is probably also true that the world was saved from destruction by the moon landings as it gave the superpowers something less destructive to flex their muscles with.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sad News

I will take time to reflect on the demise of one of the icons of the past few years, the death of which affects us all in some way. I do of course mean the ending of Labour's National Strategy for schools - the basic upshot of the "Education! Education! Education!" speech by Tony Blair all those years ago. I didn't realise until today, that this strategy is implemented as part of a contract with Capita who I see have a website with a picture that looks like a publicity shot for Joy Division. The end of an experiment which tried to create a nation of clones, all reading the same books at the same time, all doing the same sums at the same time - a sort of worker-bee class with no depth. Of course this isn't what really happened - human beings are real and a social experiment such as this was, born of what I like to call Tavi trash, was always doomed to failure because people don't like being treated like numbers all the while being talked at with jargon. You'd almost think that the Government didn't want parents to understand what the teachers were going on about.

While we are on the subject I would just like to share with you my utter hatred of Synthetic Phonics. To be honest, I think any method of teaching reading which tries to break down the process into tiny elements is rubbish. The world is not made up of discrete entities, rather it is a fuzzy whole with variations in structure, a messy conglomeration and we learn to understand this as whole by osmosis, not by being told to concentrate on different parts. Anyway, if you have read any books used to support Pathetic Phonics, you will know what I mean. I hate the meaningless repetition of sounds which lead to completely surreal and meaningless stories. make the story interesting and simple and children will want to read. SP is like beating the words into the child, like drumming in the Time Table by repeating it over and over. I still do not know all my times table - it was not beaten into me because I was part of the wishy-washy sixties generation which avoided this sort of indoctrination.

I've had too much coffee this morning. Can you tell?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cultural Quick

Too much! Too Much. Manics on the radio very loud on the way home and then the short ride in a fast machine that is the second part of the Pre-Raphaelite prog on BBC4. Last night I would have said that the programme could have been 3 hour-long episodes but I am beginning to think the speedy overview is much more suited to half-an-hour - but with six of them. This was followed by a geeky hour with James May on the Moon - well 13 miles up in a U2 and talking to Apollo astronauts on the ground. Too much I say!

I read this article about mathematics yesterday and I thought it was by some Guardian hack rather than Marcus du Sautoy. Changes nothing though.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Melancholic Choleric

The Manics album is just too good - there is more emotion and meaning in all those meaningless words than any angsty issues band - I hope you know who I mean here. Singing about not wanting to be "like other people are" is rather like claiming that you are mad or eccentric; your own mental status is not for you to determine is it? Anyway, it seems like poems set to music rather than proper defined songs which in this case is exactly right.

In the spirit of such strangeness I dreamt of myself last night, with my hair rapidly turning bright white and wiry and with a straggly beard, not exactly growing old but beginning to look much more like my dad. I have always wondered why we accept such strangeness in dreams. All these things which reflect exactly how the real word is not do not make us flinch - we can be perfectly happy in the midst of events which would have us needing months of therapy should they ever happen to us in real life. I suppose certain theories on dreams would suggest that this is purely to help us examine our minor fears using obvious triggers. Dreaming of a worry about a few grey hairs wouldn't make us remember it in our waking life but a rapid ageing process gives us a jolt which carries over into consciousness.

It is sad to see that Colin Bean, who played Private Sponge in Dad's Army, has died. Boiled sweet to anyone who correctly lists all the members of the cast who are still alive.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Man Bites DOGs

I hate DOGs - Digital On-Screen Graphics - those little channel identifiers that these days sit within what broadcasters call the sweet spot, which means they appear wholly on-screen if the viewer is watching in 4:3 rather than 16:9, because of course so many people still do watch in 4:3 even if their receiving equipment is capable of picking up 16:9. What did we do before we had digital channel identifiers hidden in the signal itself? We do not need DOGs - the channel is displayed prominently along with the details of the current program every time the channel is changed. They detract from the programme in question - looking like a hair in the gate or an eye-mote which you can't get rid of. So many times the letters in The Radio Times talk about the programme makers ignoring our wishes but I am sure that the directors, directors of photography and editors who actually do make the programmes have no say at all in whether DOGs are plastered indiscriminately over their carefully set-up shows. I know I am not the only one to get annoyed about this but so many of us just seem to roll over and accept these visual excresences. To me it feels like being repeatedly jabbed on the shoulder by someone saying - "I'm Mr So-and-so I am! - don't forget me!. I'm bloody great I am! Remember that! Nudge nudge!". JUST STOP IT.

I've been reading Adrian Mole's lost Diaries. Can you tell? I am struck by how it seemed absurd that Adrian Mole could be writing a Serial Killer comedy for the BBC. Surely no one would watch that? I have also mostly been listening to Journal for Plague Lovers which is (pause for search for suitable adverb) ... excruciatingly good even if I have not a clue as to what any of it means. The special edition comes in a beautiful book pack which panders to the Venn Diagram of my obsessions with limited edition CDs and Ladybird books. It goes well with the beautiful, cloth-bound case for Radiohead's Amnesiac and the various elaborate 4AD packages. However, I have always had a problem with the Spritualized Blister Package for Ladies and Gentlemen, we are Floating in Space because it had to be destroyed to get at the CD. Should have bought two.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What's the Big Idea?

More from Steven Pinker. I was going to take issue with a line about birds not being able to evolve propellers what with all the shouting about how pure natural selection could not have brought about the flagellum that certain organisms have, but in a later paragraph there is a qualification which maintains that propellers cannot evolve in vertebrates which is much better, though I am obviously still trying to come up with a reason for even that not to be true. There are the cow-like animals in The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, which use circular seeds clasped between specially adapted limbs to form wheels, though they are only of use in a particular environment where the geology has created long straight and smooth lines of rock along which the creatures travel. Obviously this is not true natural selection (and I do realise that it is only fiction) but it shows that many such problems are easily surmountable in the mind at least.

Pinker also talks about Natural Selection having no foresight - it cannot reach out and pluck ideal solutions to problems out of the air - in short it cannot do any design. The whole of this chapter seems to hinge around the idea that intelligence is not the pinnacle of evolution - it is just a solution, but it struck me that intelligence allows natural selection to become its own engineer and to have that missing foresight. Intelligence allows us to examine the mechanism by which the characteristics of organisms are passed on to offspring and, once we have enough understanding and tools to manipulate that mechanism, also allows us to change the design through construction rather than by blind luck and survival of the fittest offspring. I suppose that this is a sort of meta-evolution. I make no moral arguments here but the evolution of intelligence in humans allows us the beauty of self-reference, the ability to understand everything about ourselves and to engineer our future.

I remember a short story in Omni magazine, in which a group of scientists were attempting to determine if mice could affect a reward mechanism telekinetically so that is produced the rewards at a higher frequency than that set by the scientists. Two project leads had had to resign after being discovered tampering with the equipment to increase the rate of reward. The end of the story described how the mice, being totally unable to affect the machine telekinetically, were actually tapping into the minds of the experimenters telepathically and getting them to increase the reward rate. This is like meta-evolution. Lamarckian ideas about acquired traits being passed on to offspring have been rightly derided but our minds allow us to circumvent this and to actually add traits to new generations - things which would never evolve because there is no pressure for them to. We can imagine many things that would be useful for humans to be able to do but for which there is just no possible mechanism for the evolution to occur. However, any trait already existing in an organism can ALWAYS be explained by natural selection. Most traits are easy to explain - indeed most can actually be simulated. Some, like the flagellum, are very hard to explain but eventually our knowledge of the mechanisms will uncover the truth of the matter.

Most (though not all) of these mechanisms take many generations and consequently much time, to evolve and this is where the supporters of Creationism and Intelligent Design often bail out, when the sheer idea that billions of generations are required to bring about all the diversity we see becomes too much for them. This partners the idea that there are actually billions of people in the world and that some of them might not have the same views as you. Get over it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


After my enthusiastic entry yesterday about self-referential programming in the form of DTS packages which are able to document themselves, I was annoyed to find Steven Pinker saying something along the lines of even a beginning programmer can write a program to examine or even modify itself in his book on How The Mind Works. I suppose he's right isn't he though I'm not sure that system reflection comes that soon after the "hello world" program. Here's a thought along the same lines. There are special tools for opening the devilish shrink-wrap that seems to surround every bought item these days. These tools themselves come in shrink-wrapped packages. Hell is the consumer society mixed up with the general lack of personal responsibility that also surround us all these days. I must say that there is no sign of me jettisoning How The Mind Works just yet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Benzene Anyone?

I know I shouldn't let myself be amazed by technology but trying to remember the adage that exceptional people are amazed by the mundane, I have found a sweet beauty in the fact that I have just created a SQL Server DTS package which documents SQL Server DTS Packages into text files, including itself. My first experience of this sort of self-reference was rather negative in that it involved my predecessor at my work-experience year placing password-stealing code in a login script which then deleted itself so as to leave no trace. At least my DTS stuff is constructive.

Anyway to more beauty in the form of a wonderful three-parter on BBC 4 about the Pre-Rapahaelites. When I mentioned that there was something about the Pre-Raphs on TV I was berated by my daughter for using slang ... which hurt ... and is now in at number 37 on the list of hazards for middle-class parents. This programme is a short half-hour thing with what the reviewer calls Points-of-View style announcements by the early critics of what they considered to be blasphemous abominations, which broke rules of composition as well as those of religious deference. It seems there is not much difference between this and the storm which greets things like The Last Temptation of Christ these days. The PRB were trying to show religious figures as real people, worthy of the messages they were giving out to the people, making the suggestion that Christ understood people by virtue of having grown up with them and knowing what they wanted. To show Christ as living in some remote palace-like environment or worse, by not showing him at all, he becomes a remote dictator of the worst do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind.

The programme concentrated on the three primary figures of the PRB - William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and of course Dante Gabriel Rosetti who, as you can see, looked like Rob Newman although of course I suspect that the resemblance is probably due to effort on the part of Mr Newman. Byronesque I suppose. Anyway, jump cut and with fast string music, this is a definite show to keep up with. Talking of more art, I was caught unawares by the BBC2 programme about Manet at the weekend. I suppose it might have been a repeat but I don't remember having seen in before. Not sure about the need to recreate the two pictures of his which happen to contain nudity but it did shed light on the meaning of both.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The stately tower, sky-seen blocking, betrays the lives of the rangers taking issue with you living there. Down to the sea we go, a mass of friendship, stabbing each other in the back until the spume off the waves brings us back and back to the world we left in that mess of drink. In the cold mess of the Irish Sea, our sea bringing mermaids out of the deep, dead trenches, up for air, up for the songs that bore their own songs all those years ago when myth and reality split and became two worlds. Out on the horizon, there are systems of weather we just can't imagine, thunderheads breaking up the smooth line of sight across the sea, jagged layers of grey cloud, attendants to the high cumulonimbus, the queen of clouds bringing rain and regality to this city.

I'm peckish now, the tang of offal in my nose gives me a desire for something savoury, a wine-soaked kidney, flashed across the pan behind the bar and brought forward with applause and whiskey, thin slices of liver in the same spirit, brought out by the landlady. It's a choice between that and her beating you up, the rent you still owe and all that food she brings you for free. What has she got over you you dog? Oh for snow instead of all this rain, the cloud emperors in on this land have got nothing on the hurricanes at sea. Spelling is nothing either. Off we go, razor in hand and that claimed handkerchief, stolen back, washed and folded up in some allusion to something only you know. Callay rhyming at you mouth and yet held back in silence. They'll think you mad with all that rocking, have you carted away into some nice, neat prison with food three times a day and the rain kept off by proper roofs and windows. You wait! You'll be screaming to get out after an hour, all those doctors prodding you and trying to find out where all the ideas come from.

You think that! I'll be there for life - happy and snug inside, a kept man of the state, dreaming of how the blackness takes you, dead at forty, curled up one cold night in the doorway of one of the posh shops in town. Celtic Tiger my foot, you'll be dead in a year, if that, if it keeps up as bad as the last one. All that rain coming you idiot, all that rain, just off the sweet-smelling coast under the eyes of the millionaires who have nothing in their wallets for you, you waster, you purloiner of razors. The rangers are back for you and you will be dead I tell you. I'm off to the bin, to keep silent and dream of and with the fishes, up tailing myself in all that grub. Potted meat and dragos! It's all there and rivers of hot tea and cocoa, sugars from the tropics, from the cane and the sweet darlings of the sunny fields rather than the draggie-haired matrons of the mud that harvest roots here. Up to the sun all that sweetness comes and a lass with a head in the stars, eyes like planets swimming into ken and no back-talk, just a tinkly giggle and a desire to please you in that sun. Out of the rain. That's where we should go. Come with me friend and we can lie on rainy days and dream of the silken girls bringing sherbet, back on those metal beds with the lasses keeping us clean for home time and back to the woods when the sun comes out.

And with ullulations of pure pleasure, these two break out of the litter under the arches, rising like whales out of the mess of newspaper blankets and meticulously gathered material to keep out the Irish wind, out into the arms of the perfumed ladies with compassion and soup and a hot line to the social services, all the drugs forgotten in the waves of the future washing over them, spirits flying and keeping everyone company. The river runs by in the dark, carrying unseen garbage down to the sea to be forgotten, dead dogs, timber, discarded food, perfectly good for anyone remotely hungry right up until it hit the water, passports lost, money made and lost by millionaires and pissed away into the Liffey, an cat dubh, a wily thing until drowned and flushed down with everything else, all that food, all that money and the animals tripping into the stream up in the mountains, washed in the clear water until so clean; they are pure, unsinning, unsinning, unsinning, angelic beings in this world of sinners, the dead tramps, forgotten in the doorways, or loners found dessicated years after they last spoke to anyone. All that food, all that life and love, missed and flushed away. We are happy though, bringing these two like powerless barges, dragged between docks and canals, back into the speaking world, the world of sweet girls smiling and helping, keeping the rain off them with laughter and with warmth and all that food, with all that food. Famine's over boys! We'll be here for ever. I love the smell of starch and all that whiteness it makes me feel young again, before I ever misbehaved with the silken girls behind the factory. Whose famine was it boys? Not mine! I didn't starve and I won't starve again. Oh all that food!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Swinging From the (Vote) Rigging

We were woken up at 4am this morning by the police helicopter hovering directly above the house sending searchlights up and down the street like something out of The X Files. Eventually a bored-looking policeman appeared in the alley preceded by a number of startled cats and an enthusiastic Alsatian. After wandering up and down the street for a few minutes, the three agents of the law left in different directions. Still wondering what it was all about and how it didn't manage to wake the children. Not very exciting is it?

I actually baked a cake at the weekend, a proper one with eggs and flour and carrots so it was ... er ... a carrot cake. It did taste slightly too much of carrot but because of the jar of honey that I poured over the top it did taste rather good actually so thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are due. This might mean that I have to do the Office Christmas cakes this year myself which might turn into what I understand has to be called an EPIC FAIL.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rock Dude or Geek Chic

Well allowing for the facts that I have never even approached being a dude and have long since passed the age where I could even consider attempting to be chic, we have to decide on what the next purchase will be. Oh to justify both in this time of parsimony!

On a more intellectual note here is very good article about a new book on Clarence Darrow of the Scopes trial.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

There's a Flap On

The BBC4 programme A Poet's Guide to Britain has been very good with analyses of various little-heard poems which have all been up there with the greats. Last night's programme was about Woods by Louis MacNeice which has a depth that I cannot begin to describe. You have to read it, though I cannot find it for a link. However, that is not the main idea hear - rather the rude interruptions of verses by various modern poets asked to comment on the main feature. These have served to do nothing other that to contrast the depth and plain craft of the historical subjects when compared with the tiny wit of these short and grating wannabe poems. It struck me that over the years, contemporary poetry has gradually removed all the elements, any one of which defines writing as poetry. First to go was rhyme which we can happily do without - Rhyme in anything other than skilled hands, does nothing other than distract from real meaning. Next on the hit list was scansion - again not so much a loss, though rhythm might be seen as pretty much essential to a good poem by most people, it is still possible to make a jaw-dropping poem with something which other than its content is just prose (non-prosaic prose perhaps). However, these little interjections in the show seem to have finally removed the last spark of poetry which is the poeticism. In the struggle to avoid cliche, to seem different, the avant-garde now write poems without any poetic hook, without the "hello-clouds-hello-sky" moments I suppose. So we have progressed beyond playing tennis without the net to playing it without the rackets or ball. To stretch the analogy, some modern poetry is just walking around. Maybe this reflects what has happened in art - if crumpled paper or lights turning off and on can be art then random, scansion-free sentences can be poetry. Even EJ Thribb has some go at making the random splits in his prose give the lines some sort of flow.

Then again you may want to throw my recent efforts such as "A Goth in Mufti" back at me. I have an excuse.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Running to Stand Still

Daughter's Doctor Who obsession has been pandered to by repeated viewings of the first ever serial with its commentary and information subtitles. I have to say the first episode was really good though I struggle to tell the difference between the two different versions but my first view of the following episodes was that they were slow and uninteresting but with the commentary they became much more interesting. The original scripts pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on teatime TV at the time, involving vegetable-originated sound effects for the crunching of bones and crushing of skulls in the wrestling scene. The director, Waris Hussein, threatened to resign after being asked to remove these sounds but he eventually gave in and the scene is strangely bloodless, as if the final dropping of a large rock was onto a mattress rather than the antagonist's head.

The escape of the Tardis at the end of the last episode would have been better had they all arrived back home rather than them segueing into the next serial - the first Dalek episode - a nice neat introduction but that may just be that I like the idea of a rest between traumas.

I am intrigued by the idea of Marsh Daleks.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Goth in Mufti

The tip-tap claw,
the panther’s paw,
Across the mouth,
some youth restored,
In pintails, stripes,
in straightened seams,
And chemical abandon.
This is a transport poem,
born of engines,
The resonance and tick,
in time to pictures,
Moving in the windows,
a fit brought on,
by flickering,
the flash of sun,
through verticals,
the sudden brake,
of many tons,
the Green Flash,
missing tragedy,
by seconds.
Here is fear of ends,
The dwindling ink,
The words in deep,
Cannot be fished,
Dragged out of mind,
Or accented,
Or commonly made
From variance of speed,
A graph of time
And creativity,
Bounced calligraphy,
Rendered down,
To doctors scrawl,
A failing list,
Of diagnoses,
Diseases of the mind.
This is a dream,
A vision of wet money,
The avaricious fingers,
Pad-to-pad in space,
Between you,
This summer cloned,
From those before,
A text or call,
To fill the air,
That was so still,
Once on days like these,
A torture in the sun,
Battling the AC hum,
The recharged Freon,
Strange accents,
Not from here.
Gas and filtering,
Slow random walks,
Of insects on the windows,
Gathering intelligence,
On glass, a hanging solid,
Poetic nothing,
Blocks escape,
Of all but light,
Expats’ welcome finance,
Sucked-in sighs,
And memories of court,
And mobs and riot,
None no-better,
In the eyes of judges.
They have an empty talent,
No talent, no desire,
And no claw or paw.
I’m deciding on my end,
Gauging distance,
Measuring to home.
I blend numbers,
Mix up metric,
In the minds of tonnage,
Built into the ships,
The tankers leering,
Looming over terraces,
Slowly dragged before,
And to the bay and home,
So many days aboard,
And boredom,
Crying in the hold,
The last of worlds,
Not knowing home,
Where they come from,
Where they want to be,
Stateless armies,
Brought low with misfits,
The split of mind and brain.
Write in the strange look,
My mad patina.
Think of swallows
Looping superficially,
Lacking rhymers’ dictionaries,
Lacking all sense,
At docks,
The sun heats steel,
With the heat and salt.
This is an empty reel,
A note of tip-tap claw
And panther’s maw.

The Entire Estate of the Recently Deceased Mayor of Ulan Bator

We have finally got around to watching some of the BBC poetry season we have on tape starting with a ten-year old program about Ted Hughes (with of course the usual concentration on his relationship with SP). There was a reading of one of Hughes' Birthday Letters poems with the rostrum camera image of pages from Plath's journals which had me again wondering about the last, supposedly-destroyed volumes of the journals and the salacious idea that somewhere in the various piles of papers sent to different universities around the world, that last volume still exists waiting to be released to us baying culturenistas. What would be the point? What further light would it shed on the situation and would it be worth the upset it would cause to surviving relatives? Dichotomy here - desire to read the details and also to be restrained and to do the right thing. All moot of course, unless that volume does in fact turn up.

The note in the book for this sounds like the title of a Dali painting - The possibility of the continued existence of Sylvia Plath's final journal. It is followed by these fragments of poetry - The tip-tap claw, the panther's maw across the mouth ... which begs completion but is so obviously a rip-off of an early poem by Plath to Hughes - Pursuit. Rereading it shows it to be a very personal poem but not a very good one - simply something to get a bit of her own lust out of the way I suspect. However, all the way through it, despite being stuffed with forest imagery, I see the whole thing overlaid with genteel views of Cambridge, the theatrical backdrops of academia cloaking the real world of pairing-off, of animal instincts and the struggle between the chemical depths of consciousness and the rational electrics of higher functions. But then again isn't that most poetry - the tabloid view of dusty offices, with bespectacled poets scratching away - all Hello Clouds, Hello Sky? In reality it is all rather sexy, punctuated with steamy thoughts and backstabbing.

All this has me looking forward to the Keats movie - Bright Star. This title comes from this sonnet which we end with today.

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art-
-Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-
-No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hawling Like Brooligans

I don't whine do I?

Atheists: No God, just whining It all seems like a lot of name calling and while I obviously lean in one direction to the extend that I need scaffolding to stop being prone I can't help feeling that my declared enlightened ignorance is under attack here. Anyway, much more interesting is the local-political brawling over the imminent opening of Romeo and Juliet's Adult Boutique in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare's plays are of course the definitive catastrophe theory cusp separating high and low culture so this could well be the plot of a great, lost play by Bill Da Bard who I am sure would have popped in from time to time for French Ticklers and Grow-it-big cream.

Beautiful weather here as everywhere and what with the general air of all-things-seventies - three-day-weeks - financial crises etc - I seem to be going back in time - not of course in the surreal Life-on-Mars/Ashes-to-Ashes way but rather more like remembering when we had nowt and felt much better for it. Give me a book and a sunny day and I am happy(ish) - well ... as longs as I can read it in the shade. let's face it, swine flu and heat-waves are going to kill more of us than the credit crunch so let's get all this into proportion and concentrate on the real matters in hand like impeaching a few MPs and getting ourselves a proper written constitution. I do hope you all know where your polling cards are for Thursday.

Book of the month is The Cloud Collector's Handbook from my pals at The Cloud Appreciation Society (sorry just came over all Piers Moron there). It looks like an I-Spy book for clouds. We went for a walk across what is officially called The Country Park but is know locally by most people as "The Tip" and there was fantastic and long-lived cloud, shaped like a phoenix. Unfortunately with our main PC in dock with heat-stroke, the fantastic photos of this will have to wait for while. There was also a Sparrow Hawk which refused to allow itself to be photographed as anything more than a dot in the distance. I did try and get a picture of the bat last night but the camera wouldn't focus on it. We also have an Tawny Owl but of course that is far too elusive.

Catty Update: 12:53 - Ouch and indeed mkgnao.