A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Champs-Elysées|
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|Sunday, May 3rd, 2015|
If you thought it was impossible to write fix-it fic for Brideshead Revisited
, that's because you haven't read cesperanza
. Shimmering, perceptive, inspired, perfect. And the writing, my god, the writing.
ETA: AND THERE'S A SECOND ONE! Sebastian Revisited
. Simpler, just as lovely. GO READ.
|Wednesday, April 15th, 2015|
|Fausta the BBC star
It had to happen: Fausta walked into my BBC World Skype interview and stole the show. Jamie Robertson, the lovely presenter of Business Edition, was very good about it.
(No, haven't got YouTube footage. Yet.)
..."Moi?" asks Fausta, all innocence:
|Wednesday, April 8th, 2015|
|Monday, February 2nd, 2015|
|DAMN YOU RL. Have not really been here...
...and I now realise I'll not be able to catch up with the last two months' posts, but I promise to make an effort to post more here. So, WHAT DID I MISS? Interesting memes? Massive wank? New fandoms? Tell me!
...and here are pictures of the cats enjoying the arrival of stuff in BOXES to make it semi-worthwhile. Metrobius feels ALL MY BOXES ARE BELONG TO HIM. Fausta disagrees.
"YUM! MY box. Mine, miiine, MIIIINE!"
"OOOHHH NO YOU DON'T."
"SO NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR SILLY BOX."
*MY FORTRESS SHALL BE DEFENDED AT ALL TIMES.*
|Saturday, January 17th, 2015|
|Thursday, January 15th, 2015|
|In other words: Shut. Up.
Too many people have been spectacularly missing the point of Charlie-Hebdo, in effect aiding and abetting the Islamists by ignorantly branding it racist. Because they know nothing about Charlie's brand of humour and about our French culture in which it is steeped, they lazily slap ready-made insults from the vastly different, low-context* American culture. This cartoon of France's anti-Colonialist, Socialist Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, was brandished as proof:
The point missed, of course, is that this caricature, mashing up a Front National slogan and logo with genuinely racist earlier cartoons, was making the exact opposite point. No-one here saw it in any other light.
This afternoon, Christiane Taubira herself attended the funeral of one of the cartoonists, not as an official, but as a bereaved friend:
*Look it up.
|Tuesday, January 13th, 2015|
|Thursday, January 8th, 2015|
|The bastards killed two friends of mine.
And the author of this terrific cover:
(caption: "It's a drag being loved by assholes.")
And more brilliant, lovely, wonderful people. With rifles, machine guns, a rocket propeller. Calling out the victims by their names.
|Wednesday, January 7th, 2015|
|Thursday, January 1st, 2015|
|Forgotten Sherlock fic!
...the entire, superb fic is constructed on the Goldberg variations; and Sherlock identifies with Variation 25. Anyone? I am DESOLATE since I lost the link!
|Strange holiday traditions
So, you, my German flist friends, may have watched this again over the holiday period, perhaps thinking that it is also part of the British Christmas tradition.
In fact, it isn't. I once spent a Christmas week-end in Normandy with a bunch of English friends, one of whom had married into a very nice German family, who came bearing this DVD. We duly played it, and I shall NEVER forget the looks of uncomprehending embarrassment of the Brits. It was much, much worse than showing the Fawlty Towers "The Germans" episode to German viewers. (Yes, I once tried. Shut up.) "Unfunny" doesn't begin to cover it. I understand that the whole skit started as live semi-panto in Blackpool, and it was explained to me that These Thngs Do Not Travel. We never, never, never mentioned it again.
(We spent the following day walking on the D-Day beaches. No embarrassment whatsoever from any quarter, even though our respective parents had slugged it out there in 1944.)
|BAH, HUMBUG. (What do they teach them in these schools, etc.)
Yuletide is as usual marvellous, with absolute gems in the unlikeliest fandoms — classical Greece is unusually well-represented this year — but why, why, WHY is it that the most seemingly literate authors don't seem to have any idea of how to use tenses in a narrative, and jump from past to present sometimes in the same sentence, let alone the same paragraph? Is pluperfect a notion entirely foreign to whoever passes for English teachers these days? And if I see again "may" used in a past tense sentence where the form "might" is required, I shall start breaking things at random.
Returning you to your scheduled, etc.
|Wednesday, December 31st, 2014|
|Thursday, December 25th, 2014|
|Wednesday, November 26th, 2014|
|Saturday, November 15th, 2014|
|Monday, September 22nd, 2014|
|More Lord Ed. Cecil. He may not always be very palatable on foreigners, but he's PURE GOLD on women.
"...Mrs. Delaporte Stokes, who is preparing at this moment to put her partner into the first bunker, talks only to the best official set, if possible about the Peerage. She naturally passes much of her time alone.
When young Bloggs of the Public Instruction, who is a frank and refreshing bounder, got fever at Assiout in the midsummer, ' Mother Delstock,' as we profanely call her, packed up her bag without a word, and went and nursed him like a mother till she pulled him through. She even discovered a peerage connection for Bloggs, to that worthy's huge amusement, which has made social intercourse on a limited scale between him and Mrs. Delaporte Stokes possible.
Mrs. Bollinger, whose propriety is as pure, cold, and disagreeable as driven snow, and who cuts any one as ' fast ' on the slightest provocation, took that little idiot of a Mrs. Dewar, when she got into a real mess, into her house, and kept her there under the aegis of her driven-snow reputation until the storm had blown over, and Dewar could be induced to believe a benevolent and highly improbable explanation of the whole affair.
Of course, with brilliant exceptions, no doubt the women are to a certain extent second-rate ; their conversation is not brilliant, and they are inclined to keep up appearances at the cost of comfort. Their personal appearance is rarely pleasing — climate and anxiety have seen to that; and their clothes, well, all that can usually be said of them is that in the daytime, at all events, they are amply sufficient for the requirements of decency.
Their qualities that matter are on a different plane. For genuine kindness, real warmth of heart, noble uncomplaining devotion to their husbands and children, they are as a rule above criticism. Poor things, many of them, military and civil, have never had a home of their own since they married ; the climate, which is unpleasant for the man, means sickness and pain to them. They must leave the delicate child they love at home, and too often must watch those they love with them wither because they are too poor to send them away. Their very bread depends on the often frayed and slender thread of their husband's life, and their daily existence is one long struggle to make the two ends meet. And yet they face it all bravely with a smile, keep Jack or Joe going, hearten him up for the long ladder climb, and are as cheerful and fond of amusement as their sisters anywhere else[....]
No, I admit you 're not much to look at. Ladies, and you don't shine at Home, but I take my hat off with my deepest bow to you all the same. And, all things considered, if your conversation is dull, it is rarely empty. You don't talk clever to talk clever. You have had far too much experience of the real pain, trouble, and sorrow of life to play at it. You have often seen a good deal of the world with its good and bad. You have lived real lives, not sham ones, and your views and thoughts are the result of actual experience, and not made up in a hothouse by electric light..."
|The English Imperialist in all his glory, bless his soul
Am re-reading (I had entirely forgotten it, save that I liked it very much the first time, when I bought it in a tourist shop in Luxor in happier days) Lord Edward Cecil's "The Leisure of an Egyptian Official"
. It is utterly magnificent. Short extract:
An Official Correspondence: 1916
January 1st. F.O. to Cairo
101. Greek Prime Minister wishes to import grain. Can you do this?
January 4th. Cairo to F.O.
416. Your 101 not understood. Where does he want to import? Is it into Egypt?
January 8th. F.O. to Cairo
103. Greek Prime Minister wishes to import grain into Greece. Can you do this?
January 11th. Cairo to F.O.
420. Your 103. We have done it several times.
January 12th. F.O. to Cairo
108. Regret copy mislaid. What is gist of my 103? If possible, repeat.
January 14th. Cairo to F.O.
Regret copy to your 103 mislaid here. Believe it concerned Greek Prime Minister.
January 16th. F.O. to Cairo
108. Greek Prime Minister wishes to import grain into Greece. Can you do this?
January 19th. Cairo to F.O.
428. Your 108. We have imported grain into Greece several times. It was believed to go to the German Army.
January 22nd. F.O. to Cairo
112. Your 428. If you import grain to Greek Prime Minister, can you suggest measures to prevent its reaching the German Army? Would Prime Minister's personal guarantee be sufficient?
January 24th. Cairo to F.O.
430. Your 112. Which Prime Minister's guarantee do you suggest? Prefer M. Briand, if still in office.
January 27th. F.O. to Cairo
114. Your 430. We alluded to Greek Prime Minister. Please let me have your views as soon as possible, as matter is urgent and delay to be avoided.
February 8th. Cairo to F.O.
435. Your 114. To avoid delay, suggest the personal guarantee in writing of Greek Prime Minister countersigned by British Consul at Piraeus, with documentary assent of British Government and approval of Director General Customs Administration, Alexandria.
February 10th. F.O. to Cairo
118. Your 435. Have agreed to accept joint and several guarantee of King of Greece, Archimandrite and Greek Prime Minister, countersigned by leading British merchant at Piraeus, Mr Carl Sonnenschein. How much can you send?
February 13th. Cairo to F.O.
440. Your 118. Will reply as soon as possible, but some delay inevitable, as uncertain what Department of the Egyptian Government deals with these questions. Have so far unsuccessfully inquired of Main Drainage, Public Instruction, War Office, Agriculture, Public Works and Wakf. Will wire again later.
March 23rd. Cairo to F.O.
150. Regret delay answering your 118. Matter very complicated. Your 487. Naval authorities object export of seed, as many seeds contain oil suitable for submarines. Can you arrange with Admiralty.
March 26th. F.O. to Cairo
495. Your 150. Have arranged with Admiralty. Seed will be escorted by two destroyers.
March 28th. F.O. to Cairo
499. My 495. Have ascertained seed question less important than at first considered. Greek Prime Minister has written explaining seed is needed for his favourite parrot, who is of great age and delicate. Two pounds of selected will be sufficient. Please obtain and send. Admiralty consider escort unnecessary under circumstances.
March 31st. Cairo to F.O.
161. Your 499. Am obtaining seed at once. Can you inform me of approximate size of parrot, as understand from inquiries that there is a direct relation between size of birds and size of food seeds.
April 7th. F.O. to Cairo
506. Your 161. Stop seed.
April 8th. Cairo to F.O.
165. Your 506. Seed stopped
April 12th. F.O. to Cairo
510. Your 165. As information has reached me that the Greek Prime Minister's parrot died last week of indigestion, no further action in matter is necessary.
|Sunday, September 21st, 2014|