Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christopher Hewetson (1737-1798)

Bust of Sir Thomas Gascoigne. More information here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Nobody Laughs At Mr. Fish!

Truer words were never spoken, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Micaela Flores Amaya (c.1938- )

Her artistic name is 'La Chunga' ('The Difficult Woman', 'The Handful'). More information here.

Los Tarantos (1963)

More information here.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Lungo Drom

José García Ayola, Retrato de gitana (c. 1905). There's a great exhibition about Gipsies in Spain at the Conde Duque exhibition centre until 20 January. Well worth the trip.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Great Supervillains of Times Gone By

Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. No, seriously... More information here. I particularly like the detail that he gained his powers after 'falling into a vat of amino acids'.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Maria Moravsky (1889-1947)

Great captions, Batman! More information here.

Valeria Sreznevskaya (1888-1964)

Olga Vaksel (1903-1932)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Elinor Carucci (1971- )

Bath (2006). More information here and here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dog's Nose

We are having a Dickensian party tomorrow, with authentic Dickensian drinks taken from Cedric Dickens's Drinking with Dickens. One of these is the Dog's Nose, which I made this evening so you don't have to, ever.
Dog's Nose
1 pint Guinness
2 fl oz gin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Heat the Guinness and the sugar together in a small pan until hot, nearly boiling. Turn off the heat. Add the gin and sprinkle nutmeg on top. Offer to Marian. Watch and laugh as Marian takes a sip and then rejects it in revulsion. Take a sip yourself. Realise that this is no laughing matter. Plan what to do when the fifteen people who drink it tomorrow evening are all found dead in a ditch together somewhere near Vallecas. We shall see. Watch, as they say, this space.
The picture at the top of the entry is from here, a blog written by a braver soul than I will ever be.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


From a selected Coleridge I bought the last time I was in London. Who knows if it's the M.R., but it's nice to dream.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dan Hillier (19??- )

More information, as always, here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Elizabeth Price (1966- )

When I was last in London I went, almost without meaning to, to the Turner Prize exhibition. Elizabeth Price (more information here) was for me the most interesting artist on the shortlist by far, but this may be down to my weakness for cinema, my desire for the womblike darkness of the viewing room, and my love of clerestories.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

La vie parisienne

More information about this 'naughty French magazine' here. I was directed to this illustration because I was looking for a definition of rastaquouère, which is my new favourite word.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ruby Bridges (1954- )

More information here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Classic Toscano Cigar


More information here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lyda Borelli (1884-1959)

More info, very sketchy, here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Chuck (1923- ) and Glennis Yeager (née Dickhouse, 1924-1990)

More information about Chuck here.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Han Suyin (1917-2012)

Pen-name of Rosalie Elizabeth Kuanghu Chow. I read And The Rain My Drink over the summer, without knowing anything about the author, another one of the miscellaneous orange Penguins I picked up in fistsfull on first returning to England.

Alex Wylie (1980- )

Among other things, Mr. Wylie is one of the editors of Poetry Proper, which has just published its fourth issue. Crude self-promotion: follow this link.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Carolyn Adams Garcia (1946- )

a.k.a. Mountain Girl, with Ken Kesey while they were all being Merry Pranksters together. More information here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disconcerting Fictional Encounter of the Day

We neared our destination, The Trade Towers. Smoke still drifted near the base of the south tower, where the latest blast had occurred. Our operations were located in the north tower, as was Mister Dryden's downtown apartment. To the right of the towers, near the river's edge, stood the beginnings of the floodwall. When the possibility of the Green first showed itself, years ago, the city borrowed funds from the Old Man toward the construction of a fifty-foot wall intended to surround Manhattan. The funds were no less liquid than the waters to be fought and were mostly diverted to other campaigns. The floodwall ran only from the towers south to the Battery. Traditional American handicraft was employed in the wall's construction, and so most of it had collapsed.
Jack Womack, Ambient (1988)

Sunday, October 28, 2012


More information here.

Lord Melody (1926-1988)

More information here.

It Allegedly Came From The Depths...

Current Favourite Sentence

The video's appeal is pretty concentrated to the hipster crowd and was therefore able to avoid severe conservative criticism.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Collette Renard (1924-2010)

Quel vocabulary lesson! More information here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Adolph de Mayer (1868-1949)

More information here.

William B. Dyer (1860-1931)

L'Allegro (1907). More phorogravures here.

C. Yarnall Abbott (1870-1938)

Photographer. More, brief, information here.

Frederick Rolfe (1860-1913)

More information here.

Alasdair Gray (1934- )

More information here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Vakhtang Chabukiani (1910-1992)

More information, In English, here.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Tatiana Mikhailovna Vecheslova (1910-1991)

More info, in Russian, here.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September is Etymology Month (30)

billiards 1590s, from Fr. billiard, originally the word for the wooden cue stick, a diminutive from O.Fr. bille "stick of wood," from M.L. billia "tree, trunk," possibly from Gaulish (cf. Ir. bile "tree trunk").

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Current Favourite Sentences

There are no traffic lights and not much traffic at such an hour in the morning, and Feet passes me in a terrible hurry. And about twenty yards behind him comes an old guy with grey whiskers, and I can see it is nobody but Doc Bodeeker. What is more, he has a big long knife in one hand, and he seems to be reaching for Feet at every jump with the knife.

Current Favourite Sentence

He is a big guy of maybe thirty-odd, and he has hair blacker than a yard up a chimney, and black eyes, and black eyebrows, and a slow way of looking at people.

September is Etymology Month (29)

lapwing M.E. lappewinke (late 14c.), lapwyngis (early 15c.), folk etymology alteration of O.E. hleapewince, probably lit. "leaper-winker," from hleapan "to leap" + wince "totter, waver, move rapidly," related to wincian "to wink." Said to be so called from "the manner of its flight" [OED] "in reference to its irregular flapping manner of flight" [Barnhart], but the lapwing also flaps on the ground pretending to have a broken wing to lure egg-hunters away from its nest, which seems a more logical explanation. Its Greek name was polyplagktos "luring on deceitfully."

Current Favourite Sentence

Well, I will say one thing for Ambrose Hammer, and this is that he is at all time very gentlemanly, and he introduces me to the Arabian acrobatic dancer, and I notice that he speaks of her as Miss Cleghorn, although I remember that they bill her in lights in front of the Club Soudan as Illah-Illah, which is maybe her first name.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Image The Romney Campaign Tried To Ban!

But seriously... It's a picture by Roy Ellsworth. I can't find anything else out about him, apart from the fact that he's from Australia and likes Celtic art (as can be seen here).

September is Etymology Month (28)

forget O.E. forgietan, from for-, used here with negative force, "away, amiss, opposite" + gietan "to grasp". To "un-get," hence "to lose" from the mind. A common Germanic construction (cf. O.S. fargetan, O.Fris. forjeta, Du. vergeten, O.H.G. firgezzan, Ger. vergessen "to forget"). The literal sense would be "to lose (one's) grip on," but that is not recorded in any Germanic language.


Or, Haloxylon: see here for further info.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September is Etymology Month (27)

creep O.E. creopan "to creep" (class II strong verb; past tense creap, pp. cropen), from P.Gmc. *kreupanan (cf. O.Fris. kriapa, M.Du. crupen, O.N. krjupa "to creep"), from PIE root *greug-. As a noun, "a creeping motion," from 1818; meaning "despicable person" is 1935, Amer.Eng. slang, perhaps from earlier sense of "sneak thief" (1914). Creeper "a gilded rascal" is recorded from c.1600, and the word also was used of certain classes of thieves, especially those who robbed customers in brothels. The creeps first attested 1849, in Dickens.

September is Etymology Month (26)

memoir early 15c., "written record," from Anglo-Fr. memorie "note, memorandum, something written to be kept in mind" (early 15c., O.Fr. memoire), from L. memoria. Meaning "person's written account of his life" is from 1670s.

September is Etymology Month (25)

gland 1690s, from Fr. glande (O.Fr. glandre, 13c.), from L. glandula "gland of the throat, tonsil," dim. of glans (gen. glandis) "acorn, nut; acorn-shaped ball," from PIE root *gwele- "acorn" (cf. Gk. balanos, Armenian kalin, O.C.S. zelodi "acorn;" Lith. gile "oak"). Earlier English form was glandula (c.1400).

Monday, September 24, 2012

September is Etymology Month (24)

dagger late 14c., apparently from O.Fr. dague "dagger," from O.Prov. dague or It. daga, of uncertain origin; perhaps Celtic, perhaps from V.L. *daca "Dacian knife," from the Roman province in modern Romania. The ending is possibly the faintly pejorative -ard suffix. Attested earlier (1279) as a surname (Dagard, presumably "one who carried a dagger"). M.Du. dagge, Dan. daggert, Ger. Degen also are from French.

September is Etymology Month (23)

nipple 1530s, nyppell, "teat, duct-laden extremity of a mammalian breast," alteration of neble (1520s), probably dim. of neb "bill, beak, snout", hence, lit. "a small projection." In reference to an artificial device on an infant's bottle, from 1875.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September is Etymology Month (22)

family c.1400, "servants of a household," from L. familia "family servants, domestics;" also "members of a household," including relatives and servants, from famulus "servant," of unknown origin. Ancestral sense is from early 15c.; "household" sense recorded in English from 1540s; main modern sense of "those connected by blood" (whether living together or not) is first attested 1660s. Replaced O.E. hiwscipe. As an adjective meaning "suitable for a family," by 1807. Buzzword family values first recorded 1966. Phrase in a family way "pregnant" is from 1796. Family circle is 1809; family man, one devoted to wife and children, is 1856 (earlier it meant "thief," 1788, from family in a slang sense of "the fraternity of thieves").

Friday, September 21, 2012

September is Etymology Month (21)

hod 1570s, alteration of M.E. hott "pannier" (c.1300), from O.Fr. hotte "basket to carry on the back," apparently from Frankish *hotta or some other Germanic source (cf. M.H.G. hotze "cradle"). Altered by influence of cognate M.Du. hodde "basket."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Class-conscious we are...

To Dickson's surprise Dougal seemed to be in good spirits. He began to sing to a hymn tune a strange ditty.
Class-conscious we are, and class-conscious wull be
Till our fit´s on the neck o' the Boorjoyzee.
'What on earth are you singing?' Dickson inquired.
Dougal grinned. 'Wee Jaikie went to a Socialist Sunday School last winter because he heard they were for fechtin' battles. Ay, and they telled him he was to jine a thing called an International, and Jaikie thought it was a fitba' club. But when he fund out there was no magic lantern or swaree at Christmas he gie'd it the chuck. They learned him a heap o' queer songs. That's one.'
'What does the last word mean?'
'I don't ken. Jaikie thought it was some kind of a draigon.'

Mambrú se fue a la guerra

Fascinating: information here.

September is Etymology Month (20)

resign late 14c., from O.Fr. resigner, from L. resignare "to check off, cancel, give up," from re- "opposite" + signare "to make an entry in an account book," lit. "to mark". The sense is of making an entry (signum) "opposite" -- on the credit side -- balancing the former mark and thus canceling the claim it represents. The meaning of "give up a position" is first recorded late 14c. Sense of "to give (oneself) up to some emotion or situation" is from 1718.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Frederick Valk (1895-1956)

More information here.

Michael Redgrave (1908-1985)

More information here.

Mervyn Johns (1899-1992)

More information here.

Googie Withers (1917-2011)

Pseudonym of Georgette Lizette Withers. More information here.

September is Etymology Month (19)

dairy late 13c., "building for making butter and cheese; dairy farm," formed with Anglo-Fr. -erie affixed to M.E. daie (in daie maid "dairymaid"), from O.E. dæge "kneader of bread, housekeeper, female servant". The native word was dey-house.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September is Etymology Month (18)

sphinx early 15c., "monster of Gk. mythology," from L. Sphinx, from Gk. Sphinx, lit." the strangler," a back-formation from sphingein "to squeeze, bind" (see sphincter). Monster, having a lion's (winged) body and a woman's head, that waylaid travelers around Thebes and devoured those who could not answer its questions; Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx killed herself. The proper plural would be sphinges. Transf. sense of "person or thing of mysterious nature" is from c.1600. In the Egyptian sense (usually male and wingless) it is attested from 1570s; specific reference to the colossal stone one near the pyramids as Giza is attested from 1610s.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September is Etymology Month (17)

scruple "moral misgiving, pang of conscience," late 14c., from O.Fr. scrupule (14c.), from L. scrupulus "uneasiness, anxiety, pricking of conscience," lit. "small sharp stone," dim. of scrupus "sharp stone or pebble," used figuratively by Cicero for a cause of uneasiness or anxiety, probably from the notion of having a pebble in one's shoe. A more literal Latin sense of "small unit of weight or measurement" is attested in English from late 14c.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September is Etymology Month (16)

spelunk "cave, cavern," c.1300, from O.Fr. spelonque or directly from L. spelunca "a cave, cavern, grotto," from Gk. spelynx (gen. spelyngos). An adjective, speluncar "of a cave" is recorded from 1855.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September is Etymology Month (15)

lobster marine shellfish, O.E. loppestre "lobster, locust," corruption of L. locusta, lucusta "lobster, locust," by influence of O.E. loppe "spider," a variant of lobbe. The ending of O.E. loppestre is the fem. agent noun suffix, which approximated the Latin sound. Perhaps a transferred use of the Latin word; trilobite fossils in Worcestershire limestone quarries were known colloquially as locusts, which seems to be the generic word for "unidentified arthropod," as apple is for "foreign fruit." OED says the Latin word originally meant "lobster or some similar crustacean, the application to the locust being suggested by the resemblance in shape." Locusta in the sense "lobster" also appears in French (langouste now "crawfish, crayfish," but in Old French "lobster" and "locust;" a 13c. psalter has God giving over the crops of Egypt to the langoustes) and Old Cornish (legast). As slang for "a British soldier" since 1640s, originally in reference to the jointed armor of the Roundhead cuirassiers, later (1660) to the red coat.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September is Etymology Month (14)

warble c.1300, from O.N.Fr. werbler "to sing with trills and quavers," from Frank. *werbilon (cf. O.H.G. wirbil "whirlwind," Ger. Wirbel "whirl, whirlpool, tuning peg, vertebra," M.Du. wervelen "to turn, whirl"). The noun meaning "tune, melody" is recorded from c.1300.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September is Etymology Month (13)

write O.E. writan "to score, outline, draw the figure of," later "to set down in writing" (class I strong verb; past tense wrat, pp. writen), from P.Gmc. *writanan "tear, scratch" (cf. O.Fris. writa "to write," O.S. writan "to tear, scratch, write," O.N. rita "write, scratch, outline," O.H.G. rizan "to write, scratch, tear," Ger. reißen "to tear, pull, tug, sketch, draw, design"), outside connections doubtful. Words for "write" in most I.E languages originally mean "carve, scratch, cut" (cf. L. scribere, Gk. grapho, Skt. rikh-); a few originally meant "paint" (cf. Goth. meljan, O.C.S. pisati, and most of the modern Slavic cognates). To write (something) off (1680s) originally was from accounting; figurative sense is recorded from 1889. Write-in "unlisted candidate" is recorded from 1932.

September is Etymology Month (12)

callus "hardened skin," 1560s, from L. callus, variant of callum "hard skin," related to callere "be hard," and cognate with Skt. kalika "bud," O.Ir. calath "hard," O.C.S. kaliti "to cool, harden."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September is Etymology Month (11)

clan early 15c., from Gael. clann "family, stock, offspring," akin to O.Ir. cland "offspring, tribe," both from L. planta "offshoot". The Goidelic branch of Celtic (including Gaelic) had no initial p-, so it substituted k- or c- for Latin p-. The same Latin word in (non-Goidelic) Middle Welsh became plant "children."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Great Unclean One

More information, overwrought and mildly disgusting, here.

September is Etymology Month (10)

blade O.E. blæd "a leaf," but also "a leaf-like part" (of spade, oar, etc.), from P.Gmc. *bladaz (cf. O.Fris. bled "leaf," Ger. blatt, O.S., Dan., Du. blad, O.N. blað), from PIE *bhle-to-, suffixed form (p.p.) of *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom," possibly identical with *bhel- (2) "to blow, swell" (see bole). Extended in M.E. to shoulders (c.1300) and swords (early 14c.). The modern use in reference to grass may be a M.E. revival, by influence of O.Fr. bled "corn, wheat" (11c., perhaps from Germanic). The cognate in German, Blatt, is the general word for "leaf;" Laub is used collectively as "foliage." O.N. blað was used of herbs and plants, lauf in reference to trees. This might have been the original distinction in Old English, too. Of men from 1590s; in later use often a reference to 18c. gallants, but the original exact sense, and thus signification, is uncertain.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

L.S. Lowry (1887-1976)

Seascape (1960). More information here.

September is Etymology Month (9)

gamble 1726 (implied in gambling), from a dialectal survival of M.E. gammlen, variant of gamenen "to play, jest, be merry," from O.E. gamenian "to play, joke, pun," from gamen. Or possibly gamble is from a derivative of gamel "to play games" (1590s), itself likely a frequentative from game. Originally regarded as a slang word. The intrusive -b- may be from confusion with gambol.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

September is Etymology Month (8)

gate "opening, entrance," O.E. geat (pl. geatu) "gate, door, opening, passage, hinged framework barrier," from P.Gmc. *gatan (cf. O.N. gat "opening, passage," O.S. gat "eye of a needle, hole," O.Fris. gat "hole, opening," Du. gat "gap, hole, breach," Ger. Gasse "street"), of unknown origin. Meaning "money collected from selling tickets" dates from 1896 (short for gate money, 1820). Gate-crasher is from 1927. Finnish katu, Lettish gatua "street" are Germanic loan-words.

Friday, September 07, 2012

September is Etymology Month (7)

foil "thin sheet of metal," early 14c., from O.Fr. fueille "leaf," from L. folia "leaves," pl. (mistaken for fem. sing.) of folium "leaf". The sense of "one who enhances another by contrast" (1580s) is from the practice of backing a gem with metal foil to make it shine more brilliantly. The meaning "light sword used in fencing" (1590s) could be from this sense, or from foil (v.). The modern sense of "metallic food wrap" is from 1946.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

September is Etymology Month (6)

thousand O.E. þusend, from P.Gmc. *thusundi (cf. O.Fris. thusend, Du. duizend, O.H.G. dusunt, Ger. tausend, O.N. þusund, Goth. þusundi); related to words in Balto-Slavic (cf. Lith. tukstantis, O.C.S. tysashta, Pol. tysiąc, Czech tisic), and probably ultimately a compound with indefinite meaning "several hundred" or "a great multitude" (with first element perhaps related to Skt. tawas "strong, force"). Used to translate Gk. khilias, L. mille, hence the refinement into the precise modern meaning. There was no general IE word for "thousand." Slang shortening thou first recorded 1867. Thousand island dressing (1916) is presumably named for the region of New York on the St. Lawrence River.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

September is Etymology Month (5)

calamity (n.) early 15c., from M.Fr. calamite (14c.), from L. calamitatem (nom. calamitas) "damage, loss, failure; disaster, misfortune, adversity," origin obscure. Early etymologists associated it with calamus "straw," but it is perhaps from a lost root preserved in incolumis "uninjured."

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

She Was Poor But She Was Honest

The above is a 1965 reworking of the glorious original (the lyrics I remember are below): both are worth at least few minutes of your time.

She was poor but she was honest,
Victim of the squire's whim,
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she lost her honest name.

Then she ran away to London,
For to hide her grief and shame;
There she met a wealthy Captain,
And she lost her name again.

See her riding in a carriage,
In the Park and all so gay:
All the nibs and nobby persons
Come to pass the time of day.

See the little old-world village
Where her aged parents live,
Drinking the Champagne she sends them;
But they never can forgive.

In a rich man's arms she flutters,
Like a bird with broken wing:
First he loved her, then he left her,
And she hasn't got a ring.

See him in the splendid mansion,
Eating partridge with the best,
While the girl that he has ruined,
Entertains a sordid guest.

See him in the House of Commons,
Making laws to put down crime,
While the victim of his passions
Trails her way through mud and slime.

Standing on the bridge at midnight,
She says: 'Farewell, blighted Love.'
There's a scream, a splash — Good Heavens!
What is she a-doing of?

Then they dragged her from the river,
Water from her clothes they wrang,
For they thought that she was drownded;
But the corpse got up and sang:

'It's the same the whole world over;
It's the poor what gets the blame,
It's the rich what get the pleasure.
Ain't it all a blooming shame?'

September is Etymology Month (4)

cloth (n.) O.E. clað "a cloth, woven or felted material to wrap around one," hence, "garment," from P.Gmc. *kalithaz (cf. O.Fris. klath, M.Du. cleet, Du. kleed, M.H.G. kleit, Ger. Kleid "garment"), of obscure origin. The cloth "the clerical profession" is from 17c.

Monday, September 03, 2012

September is Etymology Month (3)

frangipani, type of shrub, 1864; earlier frangipane, a type of perfume (1670s), from Fr. frangipane (16c.), said to be from Frangipani, the family name of the Italian inventor. [FRANGIPANI, an illustrious and powerful Roman House, which traces its origin to the 7th c., and attained the summit of its glory in the 11th and 12th centuries. ... The origin of the name Frangipani is attributed to the family's benevolent distribution of bread in time of famine. (Chambers's Encyclopædia, 1868)]

Sunday, September 02, 2012

September is Etymology Month (2)

clap "gonorrhea," 1580s, of unknown origin, perhaps from M.E. claper, from O.Fr. clapoire, originally "rabbit burrow" but given a slang extension to "brothel" and also the name of a disease of some sort. In English originally also a verb, "to infect with clap."

September is Etymology Month (1)

All definitions this month from the Online Etymology Dictionary here.

heart O.E. heorte "heart; breast, soul, spirit, will, desire; courage; mind, intellect," from P.Gmc. *khertan- (cf. O.S. herta, O.Fris. herte, O.N. hjarta, Du. hart, O.H.G. herza, Ger. Herz, Goth. hairto), from PIE *kerd- "heart" (cf. Gk. kardia, L. cor, O.Ir. cride, Welsh craidd, Hittite kir, Lith. širdis, Rus. serdce "heart," Breton kreiz "middle," O.C.S. sreda "middle"). Spelling with -ea- is c.1500, reflecting what then was a long vowel, and remained when pronunciation shifted. Most of the figurative senses were present in O.E., including "intellect, memory," now only in by heart. Heart attack attested from 1935; heart disease is from 1864. The card game hearts is so called from 1886.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A visitor

I was on the metro home when the phonecall came. The connection was bad and I couldn't work out what Marian was saying. The word I heard was ortiga (stinging nettle). But why would having nettles in the house be such an issue? Anyway, I hurried back.

Ah, lagartija. A little lizard. The old magazine and tumbler trick worked to catch her, and I then liberated her into a vacant lot down our street. I wish her well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Auf ein Frollein

Gott Amor zieht die Pfeile aus dem Köcher.
Er schießt. Ich bleib betroffen stehn.
Und du machst so verliebte Nasenlöcher...
Da muß ich wohl zum Angriff übergehn.

»Gestatten Sie...!« Du kokettierst verständig.
Dein Auge prüft den dicken Knaben stumm.
Der ganze Kino wird in dir lebendig.
du wackelst vorn- und wackelst hinterum.

In deinem Blick sind alle Bums-Kapellen
der Sonnabend-Abende, wo was geschieht.
Ich hör dich Butterbrot zum Aal bestellen -
Gott segen deinen lieben Appetit!

Ich führ dich durch Theater und Lokale,
durch Paradiese in der Liebe Land;
du gibst im Auto mir mit einem Male
die manikürte, jleine, dicke Hand.

Aus weiten Hosen seh ich dich entblättern,
halb keusche Jungfrau noch und halb Madame.
Ich laß dich sachte auf die Walstatt klettern...
Du liebst gediegen, fest und preußisch-stramm.

Und hinterher berenden wir im Dunkeln
die kleinen Kümmernisse vom Bureau.
Durch Jalousien die Bogenlampen funkeln...
Du mußst nach Haus. Das ist nun einmal so.

Ich weiß. Ich weiß. Schon will ich wieterschieben -
Ich weiß, wie die Berliner Venus labt.
Und doch: noch einmal laß mich lieben
          Wie gehabt.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Current Favourite Sentence

Evidently he had been staring at a shadow; no one was sitting in the corner.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Unexpected Insertions

This certificate (a bit too big for my scanner, so offered here in two halves), awarded for achievement in Socialist Competition between working groups, and with a space for you to fill in your own name, was folded up into the front cover of Volume One (of thirteen) of the Complete Works of Mayakovsky. I've spent a dedicated morning unpacking the six boxes of books that arrived from Cambridge last week, and surprises keep on appearing.

Monday, August 06, 2012


She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice
She was fair, she was sweet seventeen
He was old, he was vile, and no stranger to vice
He was base, he was bad, he was mean
He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat
The wine, his cigar and the lamps

Have some madeira, m'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night
Have some madeira, m'dear
It's really much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
And port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of chacun a son gout
Have some madeira, m'dear

Unaware of the wiles of the snake-in-the-grass
And the fate of the maiden who topes
She lowered her standards by raising her glass
Her courage, her eyes and his hopes
She sipped it, she drank it, she drained it, she did
He promptly refilled it again
And he said as he secretly carved one more notch
On the butt of his gold-headed cane

Have some madeira, m'dear, I've got a small cask of it here
And once it's been opened, you know it won't keep
Do finish it up, it will help you to sleep
Have some madeira, m'dear, it's really an excellent year
Now if it were gin, you'd be wrong to say yes
The evil gin does would be hard to assess
Besides it's inclined to affect me prowess
Have some madeira, m'dear

Then there flashed through her mind what her mother had said
With her antepenultimate breath
"Oh my child, should you look on the wine that is red
Be prepared for a fate worse than death"
She let go her glass with a shrill little cry
Crash! tinkle! it fell to the floor
When he asked, "What in Heaven?" she made no reply
Up her mind, and a dash for the door

Have some madeira, m'dear, rang out down the hall loud and clear
A tremulous cry that was filled with despair
As she paused to take breath in the cool midnight air
Have some madeira, m'dear, the words seemed to ring in her ear
Until the next morning, she woke up in bed
With a smile on her lips and an ache in her head
And a voice in her ear 'ole that tickled and said
Have some madeira, m'dear

Christian Thompson (1978- )

Australian artist. More information here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Current Favourite Sentence

"I felt her [the baby] kick three or four times during the competition but I just told her to be calm, to be quiet, mummy's shooting," she said afterwards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Current Favourite Sentence

'You mean the mud and lice, the howitzers and chlorine?' Ruprecht prompted him.

George Morrow (1869-1955)

Illustrator. More information here.

Timothy Mo (1950- )

More information here.