Codfish to Mr Banville, please

Nov. 22nd, 2014 12:45 pm
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin
At the very core of the English national character, the secret worm of despair gnaws constantly. This heartsickness may be disguised by rosy cheeks and well-cut tweeds, by displays of joviality and truculent common sense, but it will not be gainsaid. Some of the best of England's writers have chosen, with much profit, to explore this anguish at the center: Blake, and Keats and Hardy, and in our time Philip Larkin and Graham Greene. Yet it is perhaps the so-called comic writers who best capture the anomie that haunts the English soul: Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Chesterbelloc, John Betjeman and, especially, Evelyn Waugh.

What do we note about this vision of Englishness, my dearios?

Why, dr rdrz, 'the English national character' seems to be that of the male of a certain class, does it not? (Okay, we note that he does include Blake, Keats and Hardy, who I think did not undergo the soul-destroying effects of the public school system/Oxbridge.)

This is not a vision of the English national character that I would be able to discern in any except maybe a very few of the very numerous women writers of a similar era, even those who had a very much harder life than most of these sons of privilege.

Mr Banville, we may note, has significant form on gender plonkery, and a previous recommendation for a visit from Mr Codfish.

(no subject)

Nov. 22nd, 2014 12:30 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gwyneira!

The Let's Talk About Boyz Boogie Bop

Nov. 21st, 2014 09:34 pm
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

As suggested by The Shirelles )

And am trying to think about girl groups singing about blokes who are not lying, cheating, deserting love-rats, or stalkers who pursue a young lady down the street until her heart starts bumping, blood pressure jumping )

While we are pleased to learn that My Boyfriend's Back )

and that he doesn't believe all those lies and is going to save her reputation, the song is actually addressed to Creepy Stalker Troll Guy telling him what the bf is going to do to him.

We are given to understand that there is family resistance to the relationship with The Boy From Crosstown )

and we do wonder about the long-term potential of this romance.

We get the impression that the Boy from New York City )

is a bit of a yuppie, and that while she fancies him rotten, it's not yet An Affair.

Okay, we have the guys who are So Fine )

and A Walking Miracle )

But we very seldom get anything in the raunchily female-gazey class of Etta James indicating that You Can Leave Your Hat On )

Elementary 3.04

Nov. 21st, 2014 06:26 pm
selenak: (Holmes and Watson by Emme86)
[personal profile] selenak
Um, unexpected two parter is unexpected?

that's from Terminator! )

(no subject)

Nov. 21st, 2014 08:14 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] booksandtea!

Waaaaaawaaaaawaaaa!!! Woowoo alert!

Nov. 20th, 2014 01:18 pm
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

Not only do we find in the letters column of today's Guardian a passionate defence of Reich's orgone accummulator:

the accumulator is a genuine scientific and medical device and... Reich’s discoveries can benefit us all today. Serious researchers have confirmed and extended many of his discoveries and claims.

We also have an extended article about HRH Still Not King, and his plans for when the old girl finally shuffles off the mortal -

Which, is not the NHS in a parlous enough state already?

In 2005 his charity, the Foundation for Integrated Health, began receiving £1.1m in Department of Health grants to advise on the regulation of massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and other complementary therapies.

(Perhaps they could keep him busy doing Thaumaturgic Royal Touch?)

Apparently he has been 'fashioning a parallel intellectual life, immersing himself in the world of ideas and spirituality' (there are words there which do not, I think, mean what you think they mean), and coming to the following conclusion: 'we were growing numb to the sacred presence that traditional societies feel very deeply..

I feel that there are traditions of sacred kingship we might invoke that would involve His eventual Maj in ritual combat, which, if he lost, would then have him being hunted by the mob, sacrificed, and ploughed into the ground to impart his essence to the crops.

Live on television, d'you think?

However, although at one point he did, in fact, marry a Spring Queen, I am pretty much not convinced that he is the Once and Future Corn King to save the realm.

Once upon a time 4.07 - 4.09

Nov. 20th, 2014 11:14 am
selenak: (Regina by etherealnetwork)
[personal profile] selenak
Or, the great Once Upon a Time catching up post.

Choices, Choices )
oursin: A C19th illustration of a hedgehood, with a somewhat worried expression (mopey/worried hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Yesterday was one of those days which just went on and on, which was largely about having agreed to something mildly inconvenient (giving a presentation to colleagues at work, which for obvious reasons has to be scheduled before we actually open to the public, and therefore involves my getting up rather earlier than usual), having occluded from my mind the fact that it was council meeting of learned body on which I have the honour to represent our own noble institution (which was, for what I concede were mostly viable reasons, more prolonged than has been wont) in the early p.m, and then being invited to an exhibition private view (which started at the not altogether convenient hour of 7 pm) which for REASONS I was pretty much obliged to attend (and would have wanted to anyway), plus an invite to the select post-view private buffet supper.

These are all things that one would rather have a little more separated in time.

Especially as tonight I am strutting my scholarly stuff in a public conversation-type event.

I also have a follow-up hospital appointment relating to minor in the scale of things but annoying problem I was having last year, mid-morning.

This is close enough to where I work that I could have gone in first and just popped out, but in view of all these other pressures:


Hello Wednesday my old friend

Nov. 19th, 2014 05:37 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Some Luck which is lovely - a family saga told as a few vignettes centring on different characters for each year, from shortly after WWI to a few years after WWII. Some bits are more interesting than others, and one or two passages seem chosen to be molto tipico for period, but overall, it was an amazing read and I am definitely up for the sequel.

I am also so up for the sequels (we can haz NAO??) to Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith's Stranger (2014), which does those things which I think we can expect from these authors, great worldbuilding, subverting genre conventions, diverse characters and relationships, PTSD, awesome women, etc etc, in a plot which (okay, have read rather too much YA dystopia for not entirely voluntary reasons) is not about Overthrowing the Evil Dystopia but about preserving a community which is benign and civilised, and, yes, it really is, this is not the candy-coloured coating over sinister ends. And there is not the really annoying teen love triangle trope, or at least, the nearest we get to it has a very creative solution.

I then moved on to the latest Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer (2014), which doesn't really address the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of the last but builds the suspense (without ever getting to a resolution) while Peter Grant deals with an entirely different case out in the rural sticks.

Josephine Pullein-Thompson, Gin and Murder (1959, just reissued by Greyladies). Around the age of 12 or so I loved her pony stories, in fact I think she may have been my favourite of the three P-T sisters writing in the genre (her mother, Joanna Cannan, also worked in this and is, I think, credited with founding it). This was an okay murder mystery of its period, which is that hiatus between the Golden Age and the revival of the murder mystery as srs bznz by Rendell etc, and at least it doesn't go down the 'look at me being humorously meta' route which Crispin, Innes, Brand etc sometimes get away with but mostly goes floppp. I thought, however, it would be horsier than it is - although tensions within the local hunt are in the mix for who got dun and who dunnit, this is all pretty much background (i.e. not Dick Francis levels of equinity).

On the Go

Josephine Pullein-Thompson, Murder Strikes Pink (1963, also Greyladies), which, on internal evidence and also looking at the list of her other books in the front, was not the actual sequel to Gin and Murder, but the one after that (no idea why they are not doing the series in order). This is possibly going to be a bit more pony-book meets murder as it is set in the world of show-jumping, but who knows - not far enough in yet.

For the [ profile] trennels Forest re-read, I've started The Ready Made Family (1967).

Yet moar Sekkrit Projekt reading though this got a bit bogged down.

Up next


Bears! And also other distractions

Nov. 19th, 2014 03:02 pm
selenak: (Linda by Beatlemaniac90)
[personal profile] selenak
Yesterday's hotel was sans internet (yes, that still happens), today's has internet but only in the lobby, which is why you get last week's photos that I've been meaning to share for a while. For verily, in between working I had to chance to walk through the Bavarian Forest near the Czech border (on the other side of the border, it's called the Bohemian Forest), and in this national park era we actually have - well, see for yourselves:

 photo 2014_1113BayerischerWald0008_zps94ae241d.jpg
 photo 2014_1113BayerischerWald0026_zps32e9d8bf.jpg

More below )


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