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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arsey Verse-y

Ever felt self-conscious about how you look when you’re picking your nose? Retrieving that piece of last night’s pizza from between your front teeth? Having sex up the bum?

Yes, I too have wondered about the first two of those, but a review-essay about Don Paterson in the new issue of Areté magazine provides the useful service of reminding us that some of us out there can tick all those boxes.

Like his fellow Scot Robin Robertson, Paterson does a good line in gothic bad sex. Raine quotes Paterson’s collection of aphorisms, The Book of Shadows: ‘anal sex has one serious advantage: there are few cinematic precedents that instruct either party how they should look.’

Raine comments: ‘Don Paterson is self-conscious about how he looks in sexual situations. (…) If you asked most people to report on anal sex, the lack of style guidelines – on positioning, posture and facial expression – would be the last thing on their minds. Particularly facial expression. Should orgasm in the anus and the vagina produce different facial expressions?’

Above photograph the best I can do by way of suggested answer.

In other Areté notes, an ad for Craig Raine’s recent book on T.S. Eliot carries the following ‘endorsement’ by Sean O’Brien: ‘Do we need another book about him? The answer, given Craig Raine’s T.S. Eliot, is a strong “yes”’. This reminds me of George Bernard Shaw’s form-postcard reply to people who sent him their unpublished books: ‘Thank you for your manuscript. I shall lose no time in reading it.’

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