Friday, 6 November 2020

I fully intend to break the law this month.

My father has Alzheimers disease. I do not understand the rationale of the law prohibiting me from visiting him during lockdown. What is the point of depriving an innocent elderly gentleman of his liberty and his family during what may well be a sizeable chunk out of his remaining existence as a conscious participant in his own life? Accordingly, I absolutely will continue to visit him at least once a week, and will face any resultant legal proceedings with pride in myself for having done the right thing.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Economist Barnaby Lane perfectly captures my feelings about Brexit


Here, begging his pardon for the liberty, I quote in its entirety a Quora answer by Barnaby Lane:-

"What's the biggest irony about the whole Brexit episode?

For me, it’s the way Brexit has become a case study in the Dunning-Krueger effect. People who voted Brexit generally don’t claim knowledge of many of the issues. They don’t know how economics, international trade, international law, and so on work and they don’t pretend to. They just see a layer of government making laws that radically affect their lives, that they had no part in choosing and cannot vote out. They see something desperately wrong with that, and for them, that’s enough. It’s not a complicated position. It’s visceral, basic, and very, very real.

On the other hand, you see people — mostly educated middle classes — who think they’re a cut above. They talk as if they think they’re knowledgeable, but are not. They’re the Emily Thornberrys, the people who look down on, even despise, the working classes. Such people ponce about claiming to know stuff about international trade, claiming to know about economics, claiming to know about international law. Maybe they even read a Guardian article on the topics, once.

Such people talk in a facetious and cocky way, showing disrespect to those they don’t consider their equals. They score highly in parroting Guardian columnists, but lowly in logical reasoning, empathy and original thought. A tiny amount of real knowledge is all it takes to see that they haven’t the faintest clue what they’re talking about."

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

RIP George Craven, exemplary black cat.

Sad to relate, my cat George had to be put to sleep last night. He was an awesome feline and will be greatly missed. Sonnet 26 was written in his honour three or four years ago, and is reproduced here in his memory.

Sonnet 26
What art thou, Puss? Shining nonentity,
thou space where photons go like hope to die.
Fix not on me those heartless compound eyes,
nor compass me with swart plasticity.
‘More kibbles!’ ever was thy vacant plea,
and susurration of the beast at rest.
Betimes thou murther’d rodents, raided nests,
perchéd inscrutably in random trees.
Thy rapine’s circuit latterly contracts,
thy depredation’s lately not as bold;
wherefore, my surmise Puss: thou dost grow old
and ought most leisurely repent thy acts;
which I, for all thy roguery, dispense
despite thy manifest indifference.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Odes, Epigrams, & Further Sonnets XXIV

I thought I had better leaven my late flurry of non-literary postings with a sonnet. I wrote this one the November before last following a long weekend in Paris visiting my friends Kim & Mika and their adorable 9 month old daughter Lila.

Sonnet Concerning a Banlieu
Ivry-sur-Seine is difficult to love.
The revolution’s curdled here; St Just
has loaned his name to the tabac. Above,
the chimneys belch their Promethean dust
into the cold hard blank November sky.
The matchstick men from Mali and Algiers
trudge past the concrete cake mix, and the pie
of unfinished apartment blocks. No tears
were shed for beauty, no Lautréamont
has milked this abscess for its clotted crème.
La France Soumise spunked dry for Mélenchon’s
bijou apartment in the 10ième:
Versailles’ most elegantly velvet fist
replaced the Marquis with a communist.

I stand with Sasha White

Sasha White is a young woman who until a couple of days ago worked as a literary agent for the Tobias Literary Agency. Then she was sacked following a Twitter campaign orchestrated by gender activists purportedly "offended" by her stated refusal to acquiesce in the standard pronoun nonsense.

A completer account of this lunacy can be found here.

I stand with Sasha White, and hereby undertake never to seek representation as an author by the Tobias Literary Agency, or to buy any book written by any author represented by the said Agency.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

A Brief but Slightly Traumatic Episode of Food Poisoning, and the NHS Sincerely at its Finest.

 On Thursday evening, when I ought to have been hungry, I prepared a small meal - for decorum's sake as much as for anything - but found myself strangely repulsed by the sight of it, and could only bring myself to swallow a couple of mouthfuls.

That night, around 1am, I started throwing up. Reader, much as I would like to be able to vouchsafe that I had chundered every whar, I was in fact quite fastidious, and directed my chundering very much in the direction of the usual receptacle. This phase lasted until Saturday morning.

Even though I was beginning to get better, I still thought it would be a good idea to ring the NHS on 111. Based on my answers to a series of questions, the woman at the other end very suddenly announced that she was going to despatch an ambulance which would arrive in 18 minutes time. This was really quite surprising to me, since as far as I was concerned I was beginning to feel much better. I acquiesced, however; a consultation with some paramedics certainly wouldn't do any harm. I actually spent the intervening time in doing what I could to rectify some of the more egregiously squalid evidence of my deficiencies as a homekeeper.

When I let in Jessie and her colleague, whose name I'm ashamed to say eludes me, they remarked that they hadn't expected me to be walking so readily up the stairs. In my bedroom, they took my blood pressure which was high and hooked me up to various monitors which showed my heart to be slightly arrythmic. They said this was on the borderline of insignificance, but offered to take me to hospital for further tests anyway. They were very equable when I declined, and said it was a good thing I was keeping liquids down, and very helpfully added that the home remedy version of taking glucose tablets etc was to add sugar and a pinch of salt to the water that I was already drinking.

After that, they and I quite naturally got down to talking about philosophy, and it turned out that one of them had been friends with my old MA supervisor before I knew him.

When they left, I don't think I thanked them fulsomely enough, which I very much regret. So thank Jessie and her colleague, and thank also to the operator who despatched of you. You embodied the NHS at its finest.

The improvement in my condition accelerated after they left. I vomited no more, and was able to swallow a mouthful or two of toast now and then, and to drink quite a lot of water. Unfortunately I was prevented from sleeping on Saturday night by the older teens in the local party house shouting mindlessly in their back garden from 11.30 until 4am. 

So that by this by this morning I had not slept or had a square meal for three days. It's Sunday evening now, and I'm more or less back to normal. I even drank a half-litre bottle of beer - 250 more calories can't do any harm! But I'm left to reflect on the events of the last 72 hours, and it really was bit traumatic in some ways. I haven't weighed myself, but one or two people have remarked that I have lost weight. This is actually the first time I've been genuinely ill since my appendectomy as a 17 year old. It's been a chastening experience, however I'm a dickhead and won't learn anything from it.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

A photograph uploaded to commemorate my banning from Waterstones

 Waterstones woke millennial staff objected to my repeated reshelving of their favourite racebaiting hate book.

I fully intend to break the law this month.

My father has Alzheimers disease. I do not understand the rationale of the law prohibiting me from visiting him during lockdown. What is the...