Tuesday, 31 March 2009

the chances of anything coming from Mars

Spencer fans will know I have recently been reading (in the loosest possible sense) The Martian by George du Maurier, grandfather of Daphne. There's a persuasively scientific bit on the physiology of Martians: 'Man in Mars is, it appears, a very different being from what he is here. He is amphibious, and descends from no monkey, but from a small animal that seems to be something between our seal and our sea-lion.'

There is a character called Martia (odd spelling. I don't understand why) and her story was given in letters to some guy who presented it to our narrator:
If her story is true—and I never read a piece of documentary evidence more convincing—these letters constitute the most astonishing revelation ever yet vouchsafed to this earth.

But her story cannot be true! ... Roughly epitomized, Martia's story was this:

For an immense time she had gone through countless incarnations, from the lowest form to the highest, in the cold and dreary planet we call Mars, the outermost of the four inhabited worlds of our system, where the sun seems no bigger than an orange, and which but for its moist, thin, rich atmosphere and peculiar magnetic conditions that differ from ours would be too cold above ground for human or animal or vegetable life. As it is, it is only inhabited now in the neighborhood of its equator, and even there during its long winter it is colder and more desolate than Cape Horn or Spitzbergen—except that the shallow, fresh-water sea does not freeze except for a few months at either pole.

All these incarnations were forgotten by her but the last; nothing remained of them all but a vague consciousness that they had once been, until their culmination in what would be in Mars the equivalent of a woman on our earth.

Monday, 30 March 2009

encore de block

'You are so romantic.'
'You are so beautiful.'
'Oh, Bear-naard...'
And there, if you don't mind, I'm going to be old fashioned enough to draw a curtain. We embraced and disrobed and went to bed, but you'll have to imagine the details for yourself. We didn't do anything you couldn't see on television, anyway, if you've got cable and stay up late enough.

'Bear-naard? Sometimes I smoke after I make love.'
'I can believe it,' I said. 'Oh. You mean a cigarette.'

(From The Burglar Who Thought He was Bogart.)

(Crikey - that's the edition I have, and it seems that used copies are starting to pick up in value. Mine is a really used copy, though, and I'm pretty sure condition is everything to collectors. But that guy trying to sell it for £148 is going to do well to beat his competitors.)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

helter skeletons

You cannot tell me this is not a good pun. The About Us page explains the company's raison d'etre: 'Helter Skeletons Limited began when a few ocean adventurers decided to "See What's Inside" the marine life they had hunted off the shores of southern Florida. We discovered what lies beneath the surface where few others have dared to explore. What we found was exciting, enticing, and dynamic. What we found were skeletons.'

It doesn't say, but I am pretty sure I read in Classic Angling that the skeletons are made by letting beetles and various others eat away everything else.

The Blue-Spotted Cornet is weird; the Dolphinfish is scary; the Pompano (pictured) is my favourite, for sentimental reasons (I once had a girlfriend called Pompano).

Friday, 27 March 2009

'met sorry for rapist blunders' ...

... was the headline in yesterday's thelondonpaper. My immediate-but-never-seriously-considered misreading had me responding mentally that it is not up to the Met to apologise for blunders made by a rapist. Then I read this jaw-opening post about how common sexual assault is (my response to it was mostly as predicted, though I have had a couple of similar conversations in my life) and wondered whether I should still make my joke about the headline. I decided that I should, as you have already worked out.

In other headline news from yesterday, this was on the BBC sport page. It makes total sense in context, but if I were choosing headlines to inspire a creative writing class to write short stories, it would be one: 'Insect bite sidelines Rhino Smith.'

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

fish, fish, fish, fish, fish

There was a BBC 4 programme about the Japanese and fish. Almost everyone I have ever met has emailed me or texted me about this. The reason is that my friends are great, lest any one of them reading this think I was not grateful for every one of the messages. Also, crucially, it reminds me of a line in the epilogue to Battling Sea Monsters: 'I am surrounded by a conspiracy shrieking "Fish!" from every direction.'

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

nuts to david blaine; nuts to michael phelps

Bet you don't know enough about Captain Matthew Webb who, smothered in porpoise oil, was the first man to swim the English Channel. Describing his post-swim tiredness, he said, 'The sensation in my limbs is similar to that after the first day of the Cricket season,' which I mention because I once went out with someone who said cricket didn't look like exercise.

Webb made money swimming. He lost a lot doing one thing and another (I am shady on the details because I don't know enough about Captain Webb either, though I know more about him than you). He did races in the Atlantic off America and earned $1,000 by floating for 128 hours in a tank of water at the Boston Agricultural Show.

On July 24, 1883, he went swimming under Niagara (hoping to make $12,000). According to a friend quoted in Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero, by Charles Sprawson:
We discussed Niagara. "Don't go," I said. "From what I hear, you will never come out alive." "Don't care," was the reply. "I want money and I must have it." As we stood face to face, I compared the fine handsome sailor, who first spoke to me about swimming, with the broken-spirited and terribly altered appearance of the man who courted death in the whirlpool rapids. His object was not suicide, but money and imperishable fame.

Webb looked around, said 'If I die, they will do something for my wife,' jumped in and died.

Monday, 23 March 2009

long spoon lane

I know nothing about this book, or the writer, but I have read the description on Abebooks (which I pronounce A-B-Books, pronunciation fans):
Anne Perry's bestselling Victorian novels offer readers an elixir as addictively rich as Devonshire cream or English ale-enticing millions into a literary world almost as real as the original. While flower sellers, costermongers, shopkeepers, and hansom drivers ply their trades, the London police watch over all. Or so people believe. Early one morning, Thomas Pitt, dauntless mainstay of the Special Branch, is summoned to Long Spoon Lane, where anarchists are plotting an attack. Bombs explode, destroying the homes of many poor people. After a chase, two of the culprits are captured and the leader is shot but by whom? As Pitt delves into the case, he finds that there is more to the terrorism than the destructive gestures of misguided idealists. The police are running a lucrative protection racket, and clues suggest that Inspector Wetron of Bow Street is the mastermind. As the shadowy leader of the Inner Circle, Wetron is using his influence with the press to whip up fears of more attacks-and to rush a bill through Parliament that would severely curtail civil liberties. This would make him the most powerful man in the country. To defeat Wetron, Pitt finds that he must run in harness with his old enemy, Sir Charles Voisey, and the unlikely allies are joined by Pitt's clever wife, Charlotte, and her great aunt, Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould. Can they prevail? As they strive to prevent future destruction, nothing less than the fate of the British Empire hangs in precarious balance. From the first sentence to the last, Long Spoon Lane is a miracle of suspense, of plot and counterplot, bluff and counterbluff, in a take-no-prisoners battle between good and evil. It is possibly the very best of all the wonderful Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

beware the ides of march

'Shakespeare said beware the Ides of March, and it's certainly been the Ides of March for Manchester United, losing two games in a row.'

'The only penalty I've ever seen Gerrard miss was for England against Portugal.'
'Don't mention it.'
'I won't.'

(Approximate quotations from 5live commentary on Liverpool vs Aston Villa.)

nature notes

Richard Mabey's Nature Cure taught me these words:

An ecolect, which Mabey says was a word coined by surrealist communist poet critic Hugh Sykes Davies, describes the distinctive set of language and customs that small groups develop and use together to cement their special social bond, 'and reassure themselves that things are as they have always been.'

An isophene, along the pattern of a isotherm or isobar, 'is a line connecting the sites where the average first flowering of a species occurs on the same day. So the primrose isophene for 21 March [wish I had typed this yesterday] might join the Pembrokeshire cliffs and north Devon lanes and wild gardens in central Norwich.'

Here is Mabey on plums:
Domesticated plums originated with the humble European sloe, crossed with myrobylans (cherry-plums) from the Middle East. Hence Damascenes, Damasks, damsons. Seventeenth-century plum varieties are like fruits from the Song of Solomon: the Great Damask Violet, the Fotheringham, the Perdigron, the Cloth of Gold. I hoped ours might be John Evelyn's favourite, the Dark Primordial. Its frost-at-dawn bloom and pristine eggishness made me want to put one in an egg-cup and eat it with a spoon.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

book formats and sex

Everyone I know (EVERYONE) loves paperbacks in A Format (old, smaller paperbacks now only used for detective stories, as far as I can tell). Why are all books in B Format; which started off being for posher literary books; so is that it? Is it because when B Formats started getting the literary big dogs, any author who was A Formatted complained about not being taken seriously?

Also: they fit in pockets better.

No Exit Press has had various great cover designs (in A Format) for the brilliant Lawrence Block. I don't really like the current ones, but life is like that. Here is a site with a collection of covers for The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian. The one from my favourite set is much disliked by the site-owner, but life is like that too. (It is the one with the black and white photo and a pink base. I also like the similar Spanish one with a yellow base.)

Here is a bit of fun Block from The Burglar in the Library - Bernie Rhodenbarr is a sort of meta-Marlowe, especially in this book, which is about a valuable Marlowe book dedicated personally to Dashiell Hammett, and when I first read a Rhodenbarr I worried his sort-of-tough-guy voice in the body of a non-tough-guy was just the wrong side of arch, but now I think it is the right side. I don't really know what changed my mind:
'I'd best be off. I don't suppose you've seen my panties, have you?'
'Not since you took them off. At that point I lost interest in them.'
She hopped out of bed and looked for them, and I looked at her. This was an agreeable task, because she looked absolutely splendid. She was about five-six or -seven, and quite slender, but by no means angular. Curves everywhere, but they were all gentle curves with no hairpin turns; if she's been a road, you wouldn't have to downshift or, God forbid, hit the brake pedal. Her hair was the color of tupelo honey, and her skin was the color of cream and her eyes were the color of an Alpine Lake. The first time I laid eyes on her I'd been struck by her beauty, and she looked a hundred times better now. Because she'd had clothes on then, and now she didn't, and I'll tell you, it makes a difference.'

I love how he writes about sex. And almost anything else.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

blog round up

Very short round-up:
1. Lord Likely comes via Big Mouth (if you read it, you will get how appropriately I am punning, but it's an accident) and I am enjoying him. Not for fainthearts.
2. This is up there with the blog posts under discussions for all time best blog post I have read. Not for fainthearts. (This is another one previously mentioned. It's very different. I am well rounded.)
3. I know there were three things.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

to call him a pike fanatic would be a foolish understatement

The Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike is Fred Buller's most famous book. Fred is great. The book's forward, by controversial-in-fishing-circles Hugh Falkus, is worth the price of admission on it's own. It starts:
To call him a pike fanatic would be a foolish understatement. No Arthurian knight faced by the Holy Grail would have felt an excitement half as great as Buller’s at his discovery of a huge crumbling pike skull, forgotten for half a century in some dark attic.

Falkus then describes how Fred has corralled him into joining him on wild pike chases to lonely cottages in the haunted dusk of Irish bogs; how they have sat late at night debating the merits of some new piker’s tale. Falkus frankly admits that he and his friends thought Buller would never succeed, that Moby Pike would be forever out of range.
And yet, now the unbelievable has happened. After all these years the quest is done; the final ghost is laid; the last great fish has found its allotted place. And lo! – here is The Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike.

One reads it with incredulity. It blows the mind. The author, one feels, must be mad. What normal person would have embarked upon such a project? But is not such madness akin to genius?

That you must decide for yourself. First, sit down and read this book. It is the most remarkable piece of research in the history of angling. Like me, you may think that no man born of woman could have done it. But Fred Buller has done it. And it is wonderful.

if i make a film as good as gran torino...

...when I am in my late seventies, I'll also sing the theme song at the end. That's a promise, people.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Donnacha O'Callaghan hit the high notes beautifully

Christy Moore playing for and being accompanied by the Ireland rugby team (not enough is made of how weird it is that all through the troubles, Ireland had a rugby team, and people somehow didn't find that mental) is a gig I'd like to have been at.

Donccha O'Callaghan has the most Irish name on earth (what is it about rugby that produces such pure national-stereotype names - 6 of the Welsh are called Jones, and the French have a splendid collection from Harinordoquy to Tillous-Borde to Trinh-Duc to Jauzion).

Ronan O'Gara also sang.

my favourite vegetarian recipes...

...are beef noodle soup and pea and ham soup.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

handsome, romantic - the look of a poet, the courage of a giant

This is the copy underneath the picture of Richard Baseheart (never tire of that name) as Ishmael in this Moby Dick Poster:

This was the main poster - it's super, no?

Polish posters can't have photos and the like (same with various other places, which you probably know), so:

The other one I like is Cuba's:

Friday, 13 March 2009

by the by

Today's today in Pravda is one of my all-time favourites, so I'm putting it here in a post in case people miss it: 'North Korea does not know a thing about the current economic crisis'

And in case people don't click on everything that ever appears on the blogroll to the right, this is something you really should read / watch.

ksc cover

The book cover (or the cover of the proof, which is very like the final cover) is now on Amazon. I really like it. Am I biased? I can't see how I would be.

At time of writing, only 498,284 books in the UK are more popular than it.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

barbel, barbel and more barbel

In issue 56 of Classic Angling there is a review of Memories and Milestones, by Graham Elliott. The review is headlined, 'A man who is better with barbel than words'.

The reviewer continues: 'My next book will be called Barbel, Barbel and More Barbel. Never mind that I haven't caught one for a year: with a title like that it's bound to be a good seller.' This is an insight into the fish book market the like of which you wont get unless you read this blog or buy Classic Angling (which I recommend).

As CA says, 'Barbel is the fish of the moment in the UK.' You heard it there first, but here second.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

these explorers are crazy

Courtesy of the Raymond Howgego, whose amazing and monumental encyclopaedia of exploration I was flicking through today, I have been alerted to twenties explorer, Walter E. Traprock. His big book was The Cruise of the Kawa, which was published in 1921 and which took its protagonist to the otherwise unknown Filbert Islands ('I cannot give you the Filberts' latitude or longitude ... But I will say their pulchritude is 100').
Here is the description that runs alongside this photograph: 'This is without question the most extraordinary picture which has ever been taken of any natural history subject. It corroborates in most convincing manner the author's claim to the discovery of the wonderful fatu-liva bird with its unique gift of laying square eggs. Here we see the eggs themselves in all the beauty of their cubical form and quaint marking; here we see the nest itself, made of delicately woven haro and brought carefully from the tree's summit by its discoverer, Babai-Alova-Babai. An extremely interesting feature of the picture is the presence in the nest of lapa or signal-feather. By close observation, Mr. Whinney, the scientist of the expedition, discovered that whenever the mother-bird left the nest in search of food she always decorated her home with one of her wing feathers which served as a signal to her mate that she would return shortly, which she invariably did. Skeptics have said that it would be impossible to lay a square egg. To which the author is justly entitled to say: "The camera never lies."'

It's a great spoof. It's very similar in flavour to The Ascent of Rum Doodle, a post-Everest mountaineering adventure.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


I am still, in luxurious bathtime moments (be still your beating heart, etc.), reading Philip Hoare's Leviathan, and I'm still loving it. Here he is a few yards from a right whale: 'It also smelled, a deep, insupportable smell, somewhere between a cow's fart and a fishy wharf, a pungent reminder of its function as a processing plant for plankton.'

A few pages earlier, he quotes this from Henry Beston's The Outermost House, which I am sure I have read quoted somewhere else. I wish I knew where.*
We need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals... We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animals shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

*Happy day, an answer almost immediately via a review on Google: the passage is also quoted in Tuna, A Love Story, by Richard Ellis.

keep your money, fred

This great column on Fred Goodwin was sent to me yesterday. Viva the law.

(Fred didn't have to take the pension, of course. And he can presumably be de-knighted for having had the brass neck to do so. I'd rather have the money than the knighthood, myself.)

Monday, 9 March 2009

not much news is mutrix news

Be still your beating heart right at the outset: all I have for Mutrix Road is that there are various Mutrixes (Mutrices?) in Kent, where I assume they are near Quex Park (as below). There's a Mutrix Road, and a Mutrix Cottages, both near Margate.

Mutrix is a name. There was a whole family of them in Louisiana in the 1920s according to some census website. This is not as satisfying as the Quex news, nor the Mazenod news. 'The Mazenod news?!' you cry. Yes, because I have saved a good bit for the end, and the good bit is that there is Mazenod News. 'Mazenod news?' you cry again. 'That's where this whole thing started! It's brilliant you've got Mazenod news! Can it really be true that you have Mazenod news?' I say again: yes.

The news is that it must surely be named after Saint Eugene de Mazenod, son of a French aristocrat who was dragged out of France aged 8 in 1790. He went home in 1802 to try to reclaim the family lands, but he failed. He tried to reunite his separated parents, but they divorced. Buoyed by this record of success, he began teaching prisoners, became a priest and, because of his birth, was offered a posh job. He said he'd rather be a parish priest.

Then he founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who were a band of missionaries. He founded parishes, helped aged priests, organised, disciplined and taught. In 1841 he sent his first missionaries to Canada. Now there are 5000 Oblate missionaries in 68 countries.

A bit of his heart (like, gross) is venerated at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Oblate-owned Lourdes Grotto of the Southwest in San Antonio, Texas. He's patron saint of dysfunctional families. A good St Eugene quotation is: 'Leave nothing undared for the Kingdom of God.'

Just off Mazenod Road is the St Eugene de Mazenod Catholic Primary School. I don't know where the link is, precisely - most of the naming was done by the Powell-Cottons, and maybe they were catholic, or maybe there was already a mission in the area. Diana Powell-Cotton, one of the Quex Park family, did nurse at a Catholic Mission hospital in Uganda. She and her younger sister Tony filmed tribal sexual initiations, which sounds like a story in and of its own.

Other names common to Kent and Kilburn: Acol, Birchington. For a start.

and besides...

A broad West Indian voice outside my house, complaining loudly. I look. He is flanked by police officers. He shouts, 'No, man, you can check my criminal record, I never hit her in this country.'

Sunday, 8 March 2009

michael lewis is writing his book again

And, again, it looks like it is going to be brilliant. He's written Liar's Poker, about the wide boys and mathematicians who worked out that the biggest pool of unexploited borrowing in America was mortgages, and who packaged it into bundles and so on. It's riveting because it's all about the credit crunch, but it is actually written about the seventies and a littler crash.

He's written Moneyball, in which stattos and mathematicians propel the Oakland As baseball team to unlikely success, given their resources, by understanding numbers better than anyone else and so spotting players whose skills were undervalued. And The Blind Side, about the recognition, via a reunderstanding of statistics etc., that the Left Tackle, a hitherto unglamorous position in American Football, was actually of vital importance and how this has led Left Tackles to become vastly better paid.

On one level, then, these books are about the same thing - find an angle, use it to see the world differently, exploit it - and I am sure they over-clarify for storytelling purposes, but I am also sure they are fundamentally right and revealing. Further, they are beautifully written, humane and based on exquisitely-drawn characters. I think they all started with long magazine articles which set out his stall. And now he's doing it for basketball. His protagonist is Shane Battier, whose statistics, measured by the usual things such as baskets, assists and rebounds, are useless, but whose teams win all the same. This feature, sent to me by a friend the other day and which I read for a page before realising it had to be by Lewis, is all about trying to find out what's going on. The result: I can't wait for the book and I love Shane Battier, basketball's Obama.

quex road - origins

Ok. Spurred on by Thomas, below, I have done the easiest first bit of this. Quex comes from Quex Park in Kent. Loads of Kilburn was owned by the Powell-Cottons, and names come from there. And here is the origin of Quex:
There has been a house at Quex since the early 1400s, home to several different families over the centuries. It has been called 'Quex' since its ownership in the 1500s by the Quekes family, who prospered from the extensive wool industry in Kent. Major Powell-Cotton's ancestor, John Powell (1721-1783), bought the house and adjacent farm as an investment in 1777. His nephew, John Powell Powell (1769-1849) demolished the mansion, replacing it with an elegant Regency home.

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Mazenod Social Club

What a brilliant name for anything, and the name of a real thing, in Kilburn, which given the title of the book I find very pleasing. It's on one of a collection of roads including Quex and Mutrix. I have said I want to know the origins of these road names. Easy to say.

perfect lyrics, old jokes

I got so bored I wrote a personal ad,
It said go out with me, you'll have the worst time that you've ever had,
Sat by my mailbox as the weeks came and went,
I got my own reply,
I must have answered it by accident.

This is from Young and Stupid, by Parasites, and it has been about my favourite lyric for a decade, which is good work, Parasites. Lots of other lyrics are also about my favourite lyric, but they don't tend to stay that way for so long. 'You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you,' is perfect.

Ancient lyric joke: on hearing the Tom McRae line, 'Is there a difference between a shark and the ghost of a shark?' my first thought was that Tom McRae would not be my desert island lifeguard.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Gleaned from the University College School Magazine, 1896-7

Feb 1896: 'On Friday, December 6th, Professor Ramsey delivered a most interesting lecture on Argon in the Botanical Theatre.'

Same issue: part one of a story, anonymously written, called 'When Shall We Three Meet Again'. I didn't have time to read it, but the last line was, 'With this comforting remark he left me alone in a dark corner of the cave.'

April 1897: 'Dr H R Catellote (UCS '80-'87), according to the Sunday Times, has successfully filled the post of Chief Surgeon of the Niger Company's expedition against the Foulahs.'

December 1897: in recollections of life at UCS 50 years ago, the writer described alternatives to corporal punishment (banned at the secular, utilitarian school, as were - and are - bells). A liar was made to wear his jacket inside out. A thief was strapped to the staircase for play hour.

Same issue: 'Baron Hiyashi, who has taken so kindly an interest in our playing-fields, represented Japan as a Peace Delegate, and his portrait appeared in one of the illustrated papers quite recently.'

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

more about wombats

Will Cuppy gets to the end of How to Attract the Wombat without having dealt with wombats much. He says, 'to spare you the details, I found that I do have a slight tendency to write books purporting to teach how to do thus and so, and that I am too likely to stray from the main point, or omit it altogether, leaving the reader in what has been called for some reason I have never quite understood, the lurch.'

Then he explains more about wombats, and then:
I shall have to omit the bulk of my material on Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Wombat, the very thing I was leading up to. Christina tells us that when she lived at Tudor House with Gabriel, he had a Wombat, an Owl named Bobby, a Woodchuck, and a Deer ... The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson used to call and there is a possibility that he turned the drowsy creature in the Dormouse of the Mad Tea Party, though I should think that if he wanted a model for a Dormouse he might have used a Dormouse. Christina put a Wombat into her poem 'Goblin Market,' probably the same one.

small, but perfectly formed

Paddy Power, the biggest and nearest of the many betting shops near my house, often has quirky, attention-seeking bets in its windows. Frequently these relate to who will score first in any given game. Today's, related to Liverpool vs Sunderland, was, 'Your money back if DJIBRIL CISSE scores AT ANY TIME!'

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Peddler cuts his throat and two women see him bleed to death

A well-known peddler, John Clark of North Grafton, who hired a room from Mrs Heron of 6 Ellsworth Street, walked into the kitchen where she was preparing dinner and said, 'I shall take no more dinners with you, Mrs Heron. I am going away.' He left the room.

A moment later he reappeared having cut his throat. Mrs Heron and her daughter watched him die. He was about 60, and was survived by a wife and son.

Some years previously, he had left home for so long that he was given up for dead. But then 'he walked in unexpectedly' and since then 'he had led a fairly steady domestic life. No one is able to divine what led him to end his own existence.'

(This story from the Worcester Sunday Spy, 23/8/1891 - Worcester, Mass., on checking. It was on the same page as something else I was looking at.)

Monday, 2 March 2009

not exactly a hiatus

No, wait, exactly a hiatus. It is being caused by me playing hockey all the time I am not going out on the razzle.

Wait. I was right. Not exactly a hiatus.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

department of terrible rhetoric

Clicking through channels on Sky yesterday, I really enjoyed this description of a programme on Channel 4 (could it have been five? I think not, but maybe, and it's not as if I even remember the name of the programme): 'In the first weeks of February, travellers were stranded and thousands of schools closed as Britain suffered its worst snowfalls in 18 years. This film documents that extraordinary week.'

Yes, 'that extraordinary week'. Can it only have been three weeks ago? It feels like five.