The London Review of Books personal ad of the month

Sunday 3 July 2005

is now over, thanks to last week’s Time Out magazine.

Stick a fork in ‘er, she’s done.

Pelion on Ossa

Monday 20 June 2005

Just so everyone’s clear where we stand on Nick Hornby. In case you were wondering.

Filler by Proxy XIX: That’s Stallone on the right

Thursday 9 June 2005

He’s defeated the Soviet Army, Mr T, Rutger Hauer’s credibility, Stephen Berkoff’s film career, several mountains, the Cannon Group, Rod Steiger’s Hispanic accent, and cinema releases for his movies.
Now, Sylvester Stallone challenges you… TO EAT PUDDING!!
This is not one of those only-in-Japan deals, either. Start ordering now, so he can fund his Edgar Allan Poe biopic. Love the name of the company, too: is he referring to his co-star in The Specialist?

Filler by Proxy XVIII: If you can’t say anything nice, come sit with me

Tuesday 7 June 2005

Book lovers: have some of the authors you have admired for so many years started to show unmistakeable signs that their heads have adjoured to a warm, sunny place up their own arses; have you heard muffled, lazily-constructed sentences from these exalted recesses to the effect that they like what they see and don’t care to withdraw any time in the forseeable future?
You are not alone! But wouldn’t you love to give them a piece of your mind, perhaps even – faint hope – penetrate the thick layer of self-regard that has fattened their heads, and just maybe shake them a little from their slough of complacency? Not from the comfortable redoubt of a book review or (god forbid) the sinecure of a literary column, but to their faces?
One man has done this, not once, but twice in an afternoon. You would think he had peaked when he asked Martin Amis if it’s ever occurred to him that he’s become the same dreary old fossil his father turned into, but not long after he’s quizzing Christopher Hitchens about whether he can honestly compare himself to George Orwell while simultaneously currying favour from George Bush’s moneyed cronies. Modestly, he describes both encounters as “accidental”.
Hail PolishBobStupak, making the literary world a better place, two writers at a time.
Link found via Bookslut.
BONUS: Nastiest. Review. Ever. Forget who forwarded this to me; it was some time last year. When someone begins “This is the worst thing I’ve ever read” and still has 1,339 words of elaboration left in him, you know you are in the presence of pure, burning hatred.

The London Review of Books personal ad of the month, June 2005

Tuesday 7 June 2005

Ah – to return to student days! Private Tuscan villas, carefree womanising, yachting and riding the horses on father’s orchard. Moneyed M (51), will make you aware of it at every opportunity, and then blame you for his downfall and current penury. Are you proud of dragging me down to your level? Maybe not now, but give it a month or so after you’ve replied to Box no. 10/11.
Plus, now they’re holding singles nights at their bookshop! I’m tempted to shell out 4 quid to go along and see just who writes these things.

The first London pilgrimage: Ezra Pound

Tuesday 31 May 2005

This is Christine. She lives in Ezra Pound’s house. Well, it wasn’t his house exactly but he did live there for five years, on the first floor, according to Christine. She happened to be popping down to the shops at the time I was photographing her house and asked if I was a Pound fan.
I don’t care much about biography, particularly when it comes to “understanding” or learning more about writers or composers I’m interested in. It’s always the work I want to find out more about, not how the person who made it was living at the time. The one exception I’ve made is for Ezra Pound, my favourite poet. Yes, I know he was a mad, fascist anti-Semite, but he’s also a revolutionary, beautiful and fascinating writer (although some of that fascination comes from the writing’s frequent difficulty and wildly variable quality), and just about everyone writing over the past century has been influenced by him to some extent, whether they like it or not.
I was compelled to read Pound biographies because appreciating his work becomes inextricable from understanding his political and economic opinions, bizarre and repugnant as they often are. Untangling the issues of what he did or did not do, and how and why he did them, becomes essential when arguing with people who think he’s an unintelligible Nazi loony.
I remembered from one biography that Pound spent many of his years in London at 10 Kensington Church Walk, hanging out with an esoteric bunch: T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Hilda Doolittle, Rabindranath Tagore, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Ford Madox Ford, Robert Frost, and D.H. Lawrence (the last sleeping on his floor from time to time). One sunny afternoon I went over to Kensington to find the spot. This has been made easier because just last year a blue plaque was unveiled to commemorate his residence. The lingering controversy about him can be seen in the amount of time it took to get this official recognition – English Heritage has refused previous applications.
During his life and for the 33 years since, Pound has had the additional unfortunate tendency to be a crank magnet, so I was worried the plaque may be defaced or surrounded by graffiti about social credit. But no, just a quiet courtyard off a quiet walk behind the church (whose bells Pound complained about to the vicar, in an angry letter written in Latin).
Christine very kindly postponed her shopping to invite me in for a cup of tea and to look through the photographs of the unveiling ceremony. She said she had people stopping by every now and then, and were no bother: she rather enjoyed the attention. The committee from English Heritage gave her a bouquet, in case you’re wondering what’s in it for you if your house scores a plaque. We then turned to photographs of her cat, and her family living in the USA and Sydney.
Now I’ll have to get hold of a copy of Julian Rios’ novel Poundemonium, and go on a homage to a homage.
If you want to know what I’ve been reading, Humphrey Carpenter’s A Serious Character is the most detailed and dispassionate Pound biography currently available. The other books commonly found suffer from being written while Pound was alive and the author having an axe to grind, for or against the subject. Even Carpenter’s book is badly flawed by his evident dislike for Pound, and his inability or unwillingness to explain what his life amounted to. The Wikipedia entry is a pretty good summary but I’m getting worked up again now so I’m tempted to send in corrections on some small but niggling points.

Filler by Proxy XVII: a labour-saving device we should all get behind

Monday 16 May 2005

At last, someone’s putting in the effort to piss away their intellect on obsessively dissecting Nick Hornby’s egregious failures in cultural fortitude. Of course, many have done this before, but not on a regular basis: the London News Review presents a recurring column, urgently titled Stop Lying Hornby!
This is a new feature dedicated to telling Nick Hornby that he has to stop lying. It’s possible that he’s just accidentally wrong, but it seems improbable that anyone could persist in making so many egregiously false statements in that matey, trust-me manner just by chance.

Three columns so far and counting. How wonderful: someone to hate him so I don’t have to!

The London Review of Books personal ad of the month, May 2005

Saturday 14 May 2005

Has been withheld. Perhaps because it’s now all too close to home (figuratively and literally). Perhaps because this month’s crop isn’t that great. Or perhaps I don’t want youse rootrats muscling in on all the sweet, wealthy, menopausal action to be had in this town.

Filler by Proxy XVI: I’m Enjoying the Sodomy, Though

Tuesday 12 April 2005

Random quotage to be found by the bucketload, at Overheard in New York (Note: one of these statements may in fact be something I said over the weekend):
Yo, that’s an oxymoron. That’s like saying ‘Peter picked a pail of pickles’ and he’s a vegetarian.
I want Gloria Steinem’s eyeballs in my fucking martini!
Yeah, deers aren’t that bad. You’re in trouble if you hit a cow, though. And even worse would be a moose, because if you don’t kill it it’s gonna kill you!
No, I am serious. Three is menage a trois, but after that it is just an orgy.

The London Review of Books personal ad of the month, April 2005

Tuesday 5 April 2005

Box no. 04/08. I missed my period. Box no. 06/03.

Found Writing 2: A Cautionary Tale

Saturday 2 April 2005

In case you were wondering, Talavir is an Italian trade name for a genital herpes treatment.

“If you went to the Pixies this year, you are the enemy.” Oh, and Nick Hornby’s a cunt.

Friday 1 April 2005

Above quote from Jane Dark’s Sugarhigh discussing the latest plague of reunion tours, found while digging up her thoughtful disquisiton on Nick Horby’s oeuvre linked to in the previous post:
Okay, I think we can all agree that Mr. Hornby is rather hopeless at talking about an art form with which he couldn’t keep pace, even as it toddled ahead in a rather leisurely fashion. But Hornby’s books have also always sucked (and this is no new news. Here’s a passage from a review of his second novel: “Hornby invokes the two great streams of middle-class sentimentality: the Afterschool Special and The New Yorker story.”) Moreover, they have always sucked in exactly the same way: wan, dudely homogeneity, almost fatally low on elan vital, hybrid vigor, cultural difference, self-recognition, immediacy and intensity, but high on stunted aggression, a blindered sense of superiority and convenient, flattering identification.
The books no less than the music writing race toward the endgame of the lost, melanc- and alco-holic boor, the ugly white guy whom culture has passed by, but who still manages to feel smug and lash out at everyone who fails to replicate his values. The sentiment is awful; the prose is no better than in his music writing. I’d propose that if the Hornby-bashers recognized the stakes of fiction to be as high as those of music, they wouldn’t forgive the books quite so easily.

Found Writing: The Long Dark Bundoora of the Soul

Tuesday 29 March 2005

Found at a bus stop, written on the back of a timetable for the 566 Greensborough – Lalor route. Click the pic for the whole thing.

She’s driving me to take my life. My solution is to get out of the state by air straitaway and never ever to return here on the advise that a psycologist gave me in regards to what I would find help full

Filler by Proxy XV: PostSecret

Tuesday 22 March 2005

Filler by Proxy XIV: Trenchant, Incisive

Monday 21 March 2005

The Spin Starts Here hunts for the most boring blogger in the world.
Their runner-up has been reading William Gibson, a writer whose books I thought had only recently been excavated by archaeologists digging through subsoil in search of a clear underlying stratum of Douglas Coupland for sampling and accurate carbon dating, undisturbed by eruptions of older deposits of Tama Janowitz and Brett Easton Ellis.
However, I am forced to consider Gibson’s oeuvre in a new light given the forceful analysis to which dno has subjected it. He encapsulates the reading experience in telling detail, while judiciously weighing up the merits and weaknesses of each book surveyed.
You may need to set aside an afternoon, but you’ll be richly rewarded.