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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Novelty Christmas Record

Christian Crusaders and Al Davis (especially Al Davis) reported 'angered' by William Empson's anti-Christianity, 'gigging again', considering rush re-release of 'Gay Weddings Make Jesus Cry' for Christmas market.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Against the Christians

As gleaned from the second volume, Against the Christians, of John Haffenden’s biography of William Empson:

As a girl, Hetta Crouse (later Empson) taught herself to urinate forwards standing up.

The text, all twenty-six stanzas of it, of ‘Praise of the Wife’, Empson’s paean to troilism, the 'love with three corners' ('I loved you in bed with young men, /Your arousers and foils and adorners /Who would yield to me then'.)

He expressed his passing disapproval of his wife giving birth to a child out of wedlock by downgrading his usual epistolary salutation from 'Dearest Hetta' to 'My Dear Hetta'.

His idea of keeping a friendship in good repair was endless cheerful hectoring, disagreement and needle. He once sent T.S. Eliot ‘the most insulting letter which I have ever received.’

Despite the covers of those old purple Hogarth Press editions of Seven Types of Ambiguity etc, Empson’s beard was indeed once attached to the front of his chin, before taking up residence exclusively underneath it.

Speaking at the 1982 Joyce centenary celebrations in Dublin, Empson was incoherent and inaudible, wandered offstage at one point for five minutes, and frequently appeared not to know where he was.

During an ill-starred year at Penn State, Empson 'once, for some minutes, watched my neighbour's door lamp through my telescope, thinking it Venus', reports Paul West.

Outside the pages of Haffenden's book, a friend tells me his wife was once interviewed by Empson in Sheffield from underneath a desk from which he at no point emerged, before, during or after.

Another Empson story I've heard, I can't remember who from, is his interruption of a poetry reading he was giving with the words 'I've set my beard on fire', as indeed he had, with his outstretched cigarette holder. Perhaps this was the bushfire that sent the shrubbery into that retreat below his chin.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

World of Filth Song Title

'Your Heart Belongs to Jesus but Your Ass Belongs to Me'

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dirty Laundry

A sign seen by my brother in Argentina.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

This is Wrong. This is Just Wrong

Going for a pee in a café earlier this evening, I was confronted with this in the urinal:

A fruit salad. They'd piled a fruit salad in the thing to absorb the smell of my pee. Suppose I was eating a fruit salad. I would get up from my fruit salad at the table, go piss on a fruit salad, then come back to one and resume eating it. And that is just wrong.

Rouen Cathedral

If I was Monet, this would be my Rouen Cathedral. Click to enlarge.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bionic Man, Suggested Put-Down Of

Heard this on the radio recently, can't remember who from. But as put-downs go it seemed worth preserving: 'I saw Lee Majors the other day. He looked terrible. I told him, You look like a million dollars.'

It's Always Night

The De Selbyesque sentiment behind the epigraph from Thelonious Monk to Thomas Pynchon's new novel, Against the Day, is all fine and well, but its internal rhyme is just a bit too distracting for me: 'It's always night, or we wouldn't need light.' De Tocqueville, was it, said mankind was given language to conceal its thoughts from itself; and it's so like the English language to come between us and our best ideas.

Attack on Democracy

Commentators have rushed to condemn former loyalist prisoner Michael Stone's gun and blast bomb attack on the Stormont assembly today. 'If Michael Stone wants to attack the democratic process in Northern Ireland', Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain commented, 'why can't he join a political party like the rest of us' {snip}

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Robert Frost

Robert Frost described himself as ‘the author of several books against the world in general.’

Seinfeld Series 7 DVD Bloopers Just In

Monday, November 20, 2006


'Monsieur Prudhomme' on spinach in Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas: 'I don't like it and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked it I would eat it − and I can't stand it.'

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh Joanna!

Oh Joanna, with all that snow, your funny pixie ears, your having Dave Eggers tell everyone how obsessed he is with you, and your sixteen minute tracks on Ys!

All my bones they are gone, gone, gone
Take my bones, I don't need none
Cold, cold cupboard, lord, nothing to chew on!
Suck all day on a cherry stone

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Life is Futile'/DVD Case Flarf Novella

The episode and episode 'chapter' titles from the Peep Show Series 3 DVD.

1. The Victim Flees
2. Big Suze is Here!
3. I'm Getting Threesomes
4. Lump of Monk

1. I've Got a Girlfriend
2. Life is Futile
3. She's Kooky
4. In For Observation

1. German Biscuits
2. Andy's Theme
3. Magic Eye of Execution
4. Endless Pooing

1. Jumbo Cashews
2. Internet Research
3. Modern Day Eunuch
4. The Horsey Type

1. Cheech and Chong
2. Internet Research
3. Jailhouse Rock
4. You Are a Moron

1. Don't Say Crack
2. Yoghurt Cock
3. Flip Flops & Sombreros
4. I Didn't Kill Him

Monday, November 13, 2006


Asbian (n.). A lesbian with an asbo.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tpyos and Other Non Sequiturs (Non Sequuntur)

Aidan Higgins

I posted to the comments stream here the other day but mistyped something and had to post a ps, because unlike the main blog the comments can’t be revised. This set me thinking about typos, about how the pen is mightier than the wrist. As the following examples remind me.

A poem I had responsibility for printing was due to contain the line ‘I no longer goad the stubborn beasts’ but came out as ‘I no longer goad the stubborn breasts’.

The 1631 King James Bible urged readers (Mark 7:27) to 'Go and sin on more', but personally I prefer the 'Bile Fellowship' that used to tout for business on Dublin's Pearse Street.

In Terence Brown’s book about Yeats something which, I’m going to presume, was ‘worth noting’ comes out instead as ‘worth nothing’.

There is a Les Murray poem called ‘The Genetic Universe’ which is listed in its volume contents page as ‘The Genital Universe’.

Or the ad for a Mediterranean cruise describing ‘sofas and chairs […] filled with prostate passengers seeking relief.’

Not strictly a typo, but I like the newspaper line-break that turned Paul McCartney into a ‘pop leg-end’ (insert joke about his wife here).

Do student howlers count as typos? Maybe not. Still, I like the ‘Ironic’ columns the Greek invented, according to a student of D.J. Enright (in Play Resumed). ‘They also had myths. A myth is a female moth.’ I also liked a description I once heard of the novel Langrishe, Go Down by Alex Higgins. The best one I’ve seen was a description of Webster’s The White Devil: ‘Fleeing the Turkeys, the assassins reappear dressed as Cappuccinos.’

There is a poetry urban myth about a typo in a Sara Berkeley poem whereby the line ‘emerging from my discordance’ lost its r and became ‘emerging from my disco dance’. But go look it up. Disco dance it is, but disco dance it’s meant to be. Good story though.

Still, these are fairly rubbish examples. Someone else do the heavy lifting for me and post some better ones in the comments stream.

Tom Waits' New Album

Orphans is dead-end kid driving a coffin with big tires across the Ohio River wearing welding goggles and a wife beater with a lit firecracker in his ear.

Friday, November 10, 2006


According to the BBC a man on Wearside, without so much as taking the precaution of entering himself for the Turner Prize first, has stuck a firework up his arse and lit it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Meteors, Meteorites, Meteroids

Joanna Newsom explains:

Told, the meteorite is the source of the light
And the meteor's just what we see
And the meteoroid is a stone that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee

And the meteorite's just what causes the light
And the meteor's how it's perceived
And the meteoroid's a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee

Private World

This white cat (whose name is 'the white cat') is profoundly deaf. As a connoisseur of Japanese cinema, his appearances through my catflap may or may not be indebted to the scene in Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai in which the apprentice (my cat) is encouraged to whack the samurai (the white cat) over the head with a sword only to be intercepted every time. He lives, or appears to an outsider to live, in an ESSENTIALLY PRIVATE WORLD.

Capuchin monkey given latte in monkey-themed laminated zoo restaurant café menu

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Consolations of Religion

Critic and artist: how close should the two get? I've no idea, but try the following for size, from Shane Alcobia Murphy’s fascinating new study, Sympathetic Ink: Intertextual Relations in Northern Irish Poetry:

In the course of preparing this book, I published a couple of articles on McGuckian’s poetry which prompted a flurry of correspondence from her. She was unhappy with the fact that I was looking for, and uncovering, the sources behind her work. Apologising for her initial anger, and in an effort to describe her own method of poetic composition, she wrote a poem entitled ‘Mantilla’ and dedicated it to me. […] McGuckian self-consciously describes the action of writing a poem with the aid of a source text, the immediate purpose of which, in this instance, is purely therapeutic. She stated in the letter: ‘I had to write something in the usual way as soon as I – as I shouldn’t??? – could in case I never would again. But I was very aware in this of doing so, and trying not to be anyone but myself, and also of your dedication to your thankless task of studying me.’ The perceived (and wholly unintentional) criticism in my articles had caused the poet great fear, anxiety and anger, yet she learned, through meditation, to make peace with it. ‘The sadness of anxiety’, says the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Han, ‘can be used as a means of liberation from torment and suffering, like using a thorn to remove a thorn.’

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Civil War Ends

Announcing the terms of their truce to a press conference yesterday afternoon Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy demanded the immediate reintegration of counties Fermanagh and Tyrone into the Irish Republic, the removal of all brown smarties from their dressing room snacks, and the ironic handover of Rathnew, Co. Wicklow to Northern Ireland 'because it's such a dump' and furthermore {snip}

Attempt to Discover Life (cont.)

Sometimes when the paper jams in the copier and I follow the flashing lights on the console, open the flaps and find nothing, it decides there was no paper jam after all and just keeps going. Attention seeker! Only after running off my copies do I notice the edge of my shirt sleeve visible against the copied page margin. My red shirt, love that red shirt. Photocopiers, the cartoon is telling us, serve as reminders of the menial side of apparently skilled work, yet humourously so. Ah, Dilbert. Turn your eyes radioactive green staring into the copier's heart. Warning: in the event of green glow spillage this room/your life may be encased in lead. If this happens, attempt futilely to evacuate in an orderly fashion before returning to your work station, singing to yourself all the while. Another half-life will be along any minute now. No, you go first if you've only got one to do. I've got loads; I'll be ages. (Paper jams.) Hypochondriac!

Climate Change

In Steve Bell's 'If...' cartoon in today's Guardian (I'd give a link to it, but there isn't one), Tony Blair looks forward to being remembered as the man who 'suggested we invade Greenland and stop climate change by force.'