Things I Like About Blogging. Pt 3.

Posted by Robin.
(Start with Part 1 here. If you wish.)


I got hooked when young. I suppose it must have started with the article I wrote for Punch when I was nineteen. It was a hilarious account of a recent cycling trip to France titled ‘One man went to Meaux’. It explored among other things the nature and depth of the misunderstandings made possible by not speaking very good French in France. I submitted it regularly for five months but they never published it.

Blogging has finally given me the chance to prove them wrong.


Issue and Progeny

posted by Lyle (still haven’t forgotten that bit)
Updated and edited 10/10/03

As Mike pointed out in his introduction, I’m the only one of this week’s guest bloggers who’s childless. I’ve been thinking about this kind of appelation all week now, and trying to write this on and off all day – I think we’re on revision 4.2 5.3 now.

So yes, as yet I haven’t scared the world by putting forward offspring. I haven’t found anyone who’d be psychotic enough to want kids with me either. That’s fine – and completely understandable. I’ve helped bring up the brats children of friends etc., although obviously that’s no real comparison with the real thing.

Do I want children? Yeah, at some point. I know it’d turn my life upside-down, and I don’t know completely how well I’d cope with that – but I’d want to do it. Would I have done it ten years ago (as a random figure)? Probably not. I might have wanted to, but I’m 99% sure it would never have worked out properly. I’m too bloody independent – well, I always way, and to some degree I still am. I just laughingly think I handle it in a slightly more mature way now.

All the people who know me out in reality tend to agree that I’d be a good parent – personally, I suspect that’s because my mental age isn’t much different to a childs anyway, and that always helps in the grand scheme of things. Oscar Wilde said “Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” – and there’s more truth in that than most people care to admit. We all have our own idiosyncracies, and when children are involved too, then those idiosyncracies can be passed on. Phillip Larkin’s observation, “They f**k you up, your mum and dad” was also spot-on, but there should’ve been the proviso there – “they do it with the best intentions“. I spent a long time disagreeing with my own parents about their ways of dragging me up – yet more and more I find it harder to pick fault, because (without wanting to sound like a big-headed twerd) I think that in general I’ve turned out OK. Seeing some of the denizens of things like C4’s “Wife Swap“, they definitely could’ve done a lot worse than the way I ended up.

Of course, as Jann observed in his “joys of parenthood” everyone knows “their child will be perfect” while it’s all a theoretical exercise. It’s only when they become reality that the chuff-ups are there, and legion.

When it comes to the joys of sproglets, I’m kind of stuck for an answer – maybe one day I’ll find one. In the meantime, I’m going to post this up, and probably come back to it and edit it in the morning, because I know I’m gibbering like a gibbon. Joy. But there’ll be at least one corollary post to this tomorrow. Something else that needs to be said – or at least deserves to be said. I just need to think of the way to word it.

Au revoirs and Slaters (as they say in EastFrienders)

Posted by Mr.D.

Well, my shift here is almost at an end, so I’d like to thank the TD for the opportunity of reaching a wider audience, and to my fellow guestees for being so inspirational. They have been damn good, haven’t they? “Popeyedol” – that’s brilliant, Robin.

Good luck to the incoming crew. Sorry about the unwashed cups and dirty plates, but none of us would put on the French Maid’s outfit that Mike left out. That was from your Ac-tor’s wardrobe, wasn’t it Mike? Wasn’t it?

And now that I no longer have to suck up to our host, for fear of redundancy, I’d like to state publicly that Lyle has for some time been my favourite Blogranter.

So as my Tag-chess challenge failed to fly, a final gauntlet is thrown down and I hope that D4D (and maybe you) will accept.

I first piloted this over at BW’s and was promptly told to get a blog of my own. Nonetheless, as a quasi-post, she may consider some of your entries for a sub-chapter in “The Blogger’s Dictionary:

Rantwords e.g.

Restaurant – an eaterie where you complain endlessly about the poor service (after you’ve left)
Colourant – a whinge peppered with salacious adjectives
Vagrant – a moan which meanders aimlessly
Expectorant – a very vocal grumble where the topic eventually coughs up at the end
Tolerant – a tirade which is nonetheless considerate of its subject’s sensitivities
Immigrant – a foreign diatribe

There must be others? Go on, watch the CommentsMeter ratchet up …

So my work here is done and I’m off to U-Bar-Ka for a bevy. If you’ve never been there before, just follow the sign, don’t jump the queue and order your drink politely. The landlady loves to see new faces among the regulars, but she’s been running the shop single-handedly this week, so a “please” and a smile would not go amiss.

Perhaps if I manage to get 5 virgin punters to visit (that’s people who have not drunk there before, not people who have never, you know…) they might have a Guest Ale ready for this week’s fillers-in? Maybe a pint of mead, made from The Coven’s honey?

Oh, and a word of warning – don’t touch the pies, They’re not actually for sale. Trust me on this.

Mahalo for reading this week.

Another shameless attempt to pick up the evening comments rush.

Posted by Robin. (Remembered it first time this time.)

I was fascinated by Mike’s researches into the history of pop music and gratified to read his conclusion that the 70’s ranked top for classic singles. That somehow confirmed my gut feelings on the subject.

So what it is that is so unsatisfying about modern pop records then? I’ve given it a lot of thought and it’s the most difficult question I’ve had to answer since, while living as a student in a house devoid of anyone named Neville, the phone rang and someone asked “Neville wouldn’t be there, would he?”

I think I may have found a piece of the puzzle today, fished out from under the sofa cushions of my mind. It’s that records have simply ceased to be real time, real world events. Everything can now be revised or replaced or virtually generated. Anything is possible so nothing is interesting. In all, modern records are like cartoons – flat, unreal, worked over in such detail that nothing natural or spontaneous survives. If records were made to sound like Roobarb and Custard looked that might not be so bad but they aren’t.

So, if records get to be cartoons then which cartoon characters do you think should get to make records?

Ecchoes (they reverberate)

(cross-posted by qB whose cold is now flu and is not up to much today)

Today is National Poetry Day

The Ecchoing Green

The Sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around,
To the bells chearful sound.
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing Green.

Old John with white hair
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk,

They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say.
Such shuch were the joys.
When we all girls & boys,
In our youth-time were seen,
On the Ecchoing Green.

Till the little ones weary
No more can be merry
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end:
Round the laps of their mothers,
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
are ready for rest;
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening Green.

William Blake,
Songs of Innocence and Experience

egIf you click on the leafy shape at the top left of this page you can listen to Allen Ginsburg singing the poem. As well as three other people of whom I have never heard. It’s quite a surreal experience.

The theme Britain. I chose this because it’s been with me most of my life, probably from not long after I finally learnt how to read at a very late age. It was in an old illustrated anthology of poems for children which was handed down to me by my mother. Of course it’s not specifically about Britain, but I thought I could sneak it in because Blake never left the country and was passionate about his homeland.

I have always loved the deceptive simplicity of the rhythms and imagery of The Ecchoing Green. I also looked at the illustration of the children being embraced by their mothers with a fair amount of longing. Together they capture those long-lit days of summer when we roistered round the village. I could feel the grass, the trees, the stones, with that whole-body physical abandon with which children experience the world.

Not far from our house in inner-suburban-London there is a small park. We pass it every day on the way to school. At this time and in this place we have just such an ecchoing green. No matter that the mothers are in lycra with mobiles. No matter that the children play games based on pokemon or teenage mutant ninja turtles. Or barbie or the powerpuff girls. It is the fundamental continuity that is reassuring in a world which often seems so full of uncertainties, difficult choices, information overload, cynicism and despair. All that has changed in the dynamics of the picture are the ephemera. My children gain comfort and reassurance from me (and I from them) in exactly that tableau.

When I was a child I was a child in the poem. Now I am a mother I can be both. And now too I can look forward with hope in this continuum to the consolations of old age.

The anthology was called The Dragon Book of Verse – not the edition from the OUP but an older collection, published in 1939. It’s been lost, of course, in all the wanderings and dissolutions, which is sad. The smell of it was slightly sharp, acidic almost, the paper yellowed. The hardback covers were red. I remember so many of the poems: Tartary by Walter de la Mare for the lines And in my pools great fishes slant Their fins athwart the sun; Cargoes by John Masefield; The Fairies by William Allingham; Up-Hill by Christina Rossetti; The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning – I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I memorised many of them, learning them like incantations, caressing the multicoloured jewel-words, sounding the sonority, riding the rhythm. It must be where words and I met and our love affair began. So I have my mother to thank for that.