Post of the Week #4

Bloody hell, Monday mornings. This is another Breakfast Time Special post, written at precisely that time in the week when my mental processes are at their foggiest. (It’s that 6:25 am start what does it. Not natural, I’m telling you.) Still, there’s work to be done, so let’s crack on with this week’s results.

In this absence of an obvious show-stopper this week, it has been more difficult to predict which way the votes would fall. Consequently, we’ve had the widest spread of opinion so far, with most posts picking up votes along the way, and only two posts receiving votes from all three of us (myself, JonnyB and Zinnia Cyclamen).

In this week’s batch of nominees, we’ve sampled the cuisine of East Dulwich, feasted ourselves upon The Gayest Cake Imaginable (with pictures!), and investigated the properties of albino ketchup (not a euphemism, but a Soho burger joint reality).

In our international section, we have photographed morgues in Kyiv (eww!), and gone for wee-wees in rural Zambia whilst being covered in termites (double eww!).

We’ve examined our priorities in life, had a damned good rant about NaNoWriMo, and have surveyed the visual evidence of what too much love can do to a neon-coloured bear.

At this point, it’s worth giving a special mention to an entry which, realistically, was never going to qualify – as it’s actually a series of fourteen consecutive posts in which Pete Ashton attends fourteen consecutive gigs by small bands in his home town of Birmingham. The resulting “Going Deaf For A Fortnight” project is a wonder to behold, and I commend it to anyone with a bit of time to spare.

This leaves just two posts, separated by just one vote. In the runner-up position, we find Mimi in New York, “dodging the slap” in the strip joint. As one judge said:

This is a beautifully written post. It writes of important issues and writes of them well, brings them to life. It’s also a fascinating glimpse into an alien (to me) lifestyle.

But nudging ahead by a whisker, we have this week’s winner:

The Marvelous Garden: THE ART OF SEDUCTION: A Short True Story.

As one judge commented:

This does something I think blogs do best: it documents a few minutes of someone’s life from an unusual angle in an entertaining, thought-provoking way.

Speaking for myself, I’m pleased to see something lighter and more amusing/observational sitting at the top of the pile this week, after two winners from the heavier end of the spectrum. I’m also pleased that, for the third week running, the winning post comes from a blog which I wasn’t reading before.

Here we go again, then. Please place your nominations for Week Four in the comments box below. Rules of engagement are here.

Our judges for this week are Anna out of, and Green Fairy out of Green Fairy.

1. Rafael Behr: Nation to Tony: ok mate, I think you’ve had enough.
(nominated by JonnyB)

But after a few more drinks he’s crossed the line. Instead of being funny, he’s just being rude. He’s bumping into people and spilling drinks. People start to peel away from the group. “It’s getting a bit late”; “Gotta be at work tomorrow.” But Tony hasn’t noticed, he still thinks the party is in full swing.

2. This Is My Body, This Is My Blood: Reefer Madness.
(nominated by daisy)

I’ve decided it’s not worth the trouble to score a little weed. Besides, the adrenalin rush ought to last for at least another week.

3. Making Light: The story’s in the NYPost.
(nominated by patita; mike suggests that you read this bit first)

How I found out it was murder: One of the detectives asked me whether I’d heard anything that sounded like someone playing with a cap gun. I looked at him for a moment in polite disbelief, then said, “You mean, someone popping off with a .22.”

He ducked his head and mumbled that yes, that was what he’d meant. “We recovered a fragment,” he said—that’d be the bullet lodged in the tongue—then added, “We still haven’t ruled out suicide.”

4. Real E Fun: Sophie – Part Three.
(nominated by Clare; mike also recommends Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.)

Marianne said we would never live apart after we left London, and we’d tell everyone we were sisters. I said that would never wash because we looked so different. No problem, she said, we’ll say I take after father and you take after mother. She always had an answer for everything.

5. meanwhile, here in france…: peace.

(nominated by Clare)

When will I stop marking out my territory like a cat on heat?
When will I be able to share a breakfast table without clenching my teeth?

6. Musings from Middle England: Football Memories.

(posted by asta)

It so happened that the Captain was a family friend so always greeted me by name. If the term ‘street cred‘ had existed in the early sixties, mine would have shot off the graph every time this happened. Despite the fact that I could have got his autograph whenever he visited my parents, I still made him sign my book at the Players’ Entrance every Saturday afternoon. It was as rigid and meaningless a ritual as going to church on Sunday.

7. GUYANA: How the piano got into the jungle.

(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)

They play it for a while, but in the end, the piano sit silent in the wooden church at the top o’ the hill. Some folks in Guyana now call it a white elephant, a big useless thing, sitting silent and deaf, can’t sing, can’t hear, can’t do nothing.

8. Reluctant Nomad: Mad Dogs and Englishwomen…
(nominated by mike)

In 1932, she was crowned Miss England and was the toast of London’s high society when she came out at that year’s annual debutante’s ball. Two years later she’d married a South African doctor, my grandfather, and was living in Livingstone, Zambia, a colonial backwater. What a grande old bitch she was – I loved her unreservedly!

9. Mimi In New York: The Rage.
(nominated by guyana-gyal)

I flame-thrower those I care about like kebabs, caught in the electric frazzle of this fury. All f**ked up, screwed, twisted beyond redemption – you’re losin’ ’em, but you can’t explain this suicidal hell-bent mission of destruction. It’s not personal, you gotta understand. Not about you anymore.

10. Baghdad Burning: Conventional Terror.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)

Few Iraqis ever doubted the American use of chemical weapons in Falloojeh. We’ve been hearing the terrifying stories of people burnt to the bone for well over a year now. I just didn’t want it confirmed.

11. petite anglaise: waking.

(nominated by mike)

Familiar knots tighten in my stomach as my mind predictably turns to the office. Will it be a neutral day, or a stormy one? Weather map symbols swim before my eyes. Where once every day was dry with light cloud and sunny intervals, nowadays there are, at best, ominous grey clouds gathering; at worst, a violent storm.

12. Sneeze at your peril.

(nominated by Pam)

Should I just carry around the contents of my under-sink cupboard so I can clean the living hell out of anyone who has the audacity to cough in my vicinity?

(Sorry: Anna’s a judge this week, so I’ve had to disqualify this one.)

13. Paula’s House of Toast: Through The Looking Glass.

(nominated by asta)

Today, back at work, I was buried by an onslaught of tasks and demands. Late afternoon, sitting at my desk and writing, I suddenly came to. There I was, sitting there, looking at my hands as they wrote. What were they ? Who was I ? It was one of those awful, disorienting moments of Sartrean nausea, keener than usual. I felt poised and teetering on an abyss; a small panic fluttered inside. The Big Lens — the wild, wide, all-seeing, goitrous eye of the Beast — had turned inward.

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