Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Larry the narwhal

Liz Climo is an animator who works on The Simpsons. But she also posts these adorable comic strips on her tumblr account. This one is my favourite. I love narwhals. Check out more here.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Neal Cassidy and his Great Sex Letter

Neal Cassady was the real person behind Dean Moriarty in Kerouac's masterpiece On The Road. I just Google image searched him and found the above... a bit of a hotty if you ask me.

I find Dean's wilfulness in On The Road weirdly attractive. Even though he is clearly a terribly selfish person whom, in real life, I would avoid like the plague.

Anyway, I came across a letter (on Letters of Note, one of my favourite websites). It was written by Neal to Kerouac back in the days of 1947, and it describes two sexual encounters. Apparently Kerouac latter dubbed it "The Great Sex Letter".

Neal is really callous, but I'm a sucker for a Byronic hero. And I love the idea of falling in love with somebody for just an afternoon. It's painfully romantic, and wholly ridiculous all at the same time.

Dear Jack:

I am sitting in a bar on Market St. I am drunk, well, not quite, but I soon will be. I am here for 2 reasons; I must wait 5 hours for the bus to Denver & lastly but, most importantly, I'm here (drinking) because, of course, because of a woman, & what a woman! To be chronological about it:

I was sitting on the bus when it took on more passengers at Indianapolis, Indiana - a perfectly proportioned, beautiful, intellectual, passionate, personification of Venus De Milo asked me if the seat beside me was taken!!! I gulped, (I'm drunk) gargled & stammered NO! (Paradox of expression, after all, how can one stammer NO!!?) She sat - I sweated - She started to speak, I knew it would be generalities, so to tempt her I remained silent.

She (her name Patricia) got on the bus at 8 PM (Dark!) I didn't speak until 10 PM - in the intervening 2 hours I not only of course, determined to make her, but, how to DO IT. I naturally can't quote the conversation verbally, however, I shall attempt to give you the gist of it from 10 PM to 2 AM.

Without the slightest preliminaries of objective remarks (what's your name? where are you going? etc.) I plunged into a completely knowing, completely subjective, personal & so to speak "penetrating her core" way of speech; to be shorter (since I'm getting unable to write) by 2 AM I had her swearing eternal love, complete subjectivity to me & immediate satisfaction. I, anticipating even more pleasure, wouldn't allow her to blow me on the bus, instead we played, as they say, with each other.

Knowing her supremely perfect being was completely mine (when I'm more coherent, I'll tell you her complete story & psychological reason for loving me) I could conceive of no obstacle to my satisfaction, well, "the best laid plans of mice & men go astray" and my nemesis was her sister, the bitch.

Pat had told me her reason for going to St. Louis was to see her sister; she had wired her to meet her at the depot. So, to get rid of the sister, we peeked around the depot when we arrived at St. Louis at 4 AM to see if she (her sister) was present. If not, Pat would claim her suitcase, change clothes in the rest room & she and I proceed to a hotel room for a night (years?) of perfect bliss. The sister was not in sight, so She (note the capital) claimed her bag & retired to the toilet to change --- long dash ---

This next paragraph must, of necessity, be written completely objectively --

Edith (her sister) & Patricia (my love) walked out of the pisshouse hand in hand (I shan't describe my emotions). It seems Edith (bah) arrived at the bus depot early & while waiting for Patricia, feeling sleepy, retired to the head to sleep on a sofa. That's why Pat & I didn't see her.

My desperate efforts to free Pat from Edith failed, even Pat's terror and slave-like feeling toward her rebelled enough to state she must see "someone" & would meet Edith later, all failed. Edith was wise; she saw what was happening between Pat & I.

Well, to summarize: Pat; I stood in the depot (in plain sight of the sister) & pushing up to one another, vowed never to love again & then I took the bus to Kansas City & Pat went home, meekly, with her dominating sister. Alas, alas ---

In complete (try & share my feeling) dejection, I sat, as the bus progressed toward Kansas City. At Columbia, Mo. a young (19) completely passive (my meat) virgin got on & shared my seat ... In my dejection over losing Pat, the perfect, I decided to sit on the bus (behind the driver) in broad daylight & seduce her, from 10.30 AM to 2.30 PM I talked. When I was done, she (confused, her entire life upset, metaphysically amazed at me, passionate in her immaturity) called her folks in Kansas City & went with me to a park (it was just getting dark) & I banged her, I screwed her as never before; all my pent up emotion finding release in this young virgin (& she was) who is, by the way, a school teacher! Imagine, she's had 2 years of Mo. St. Teacher's College & now teaches Jr. High School. (I'm beyond thinking straightly).

I'm going to stop writing. Oh, yes, to free myself for a moment from my emotions, you must read "Dead Souls" parts of it (in which Gogol shows his insight) are quite like you.

I'll elaborate further later (probably?) but at the moment I'm drunk and happy (after all, I'm free of Patricia already, due to the young virgin. I have no name for her. At the happy not of Les Young's "jumping at Mesners" (which I'm hearing) I close til later.

To my Brother Carry On! N.L. Cassady.

P.S. I forgot to mention Patricia's parents live in Ozone Park & of course, Lague being her last name, she's French Canadian just as you.

I'll write soon, Neal.

P.P.S. Please read this illegible letter as a continuous chain of undisciplined thought, thank you. N.

P.P.P.S. Postponed, postponed, postponed script, keep working hard, finish your novel & find, thru knowledge, strength in solitude instead of despair. Incidentally I'm starting on a novel also, "believe it or not". Goodbye.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Despicable, squalid,

Sprawled across the weary table

With its worm-holes and buboes,

Bruised by moment and battered by measure.
You lie there, accusing me of everything.
Oozing, dripping, reeking,
Seeking scrutiny.
I spy on you through my microscope.
Self-importance dribbles out your
Putrid pores. It grows to a bubble,
Then slows to a pop.
I know that it takes a real man to whistle in the rain;
You were right when you told me that.
But I cannot trust you.
Sometimes it is sunny when it is cold,
Sometimes tension gets rolled,
Rolled up and balled
Like wool.
The others giggle or flinch,

But I just blink bewildered.
I understand you, frog,
But not them.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Finnegan's Wake Spell-Checked

People are always surprised when I tell them that I'm really useless at spelling and grammar.

-- OHBUTYOUDIDENGLISH they frown and jeer when I get something wrong.

Yeah, I did. But I'm pretty sure that every Mathematician at oxford was a better speller than I. They are perfectionists. Thorough and thoughtful. when they break the maths rules they get the answers wrong.  We're muchmore slapdash.

Pernickety obsession is not the trait of your average English student. Maybe language students. Historians. Or classicists. It has never been a trait of mine, anyway. I like language at its most creative. And if that means throwing spelling and grammar to the wind- then so be it

Yeah- I bet that missing full stop is really bothering you

And that one two. Alot.

I've flung some grammatical inaccuracies into this post so that you can judge weather your a grammar nazi or not.

This is what happens when you put the first page of Finnegan's Wake into Microsoft Word:

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of ALL TIME (probably) - part 4

JOINT NUMBER 2. (with Spellbound... see previous post)

Those who have bothered to read the other 8 entries in this list instead of skipping to the top two will recall my sage aphorism: "Everyone loves a tiny French man." This is proved true yet again, in the inspiring documentary that is Man On Wire. Honestly, the protagonist's name is quite literally Phillipe Petit.

When you mention this documentary to people they'll go oh yes that one that won the Oscars and stuff. Yes indeed my pretties. A documentary wins an Oscar every year but for some reason this is the one that people remember. Man On Wire also won lots of other prizes elsewhere and is quite simply marvellous.

It's essentially Ocean's Eleven for day-dreamers (because day-dreamers don't get Ocean's Eleven... everything happens really fast and then you're like, wait, what happened, it's happened already? that happened? where was I when that happened......??? And it's just all pretty baffling). Well this almost-heist is simultaneously much more ridiculous and much more straight-forward in narrative than Oceans Eleven. It's also real life. What more could you want?

And obviously, Philippe's tightrope-walking feat itself is hugely awe-inspiring. All in all, very much worthy of my second-from-the-top spot.

1. Exit Through The Gift Shop

Ok, ok. I actually genuinely only just realised that three of my top 10 documentaries feature tiny French men. Clearly my obsession must run deeper than I'd realised. This one has another in it. I'd say this guy is the best French man of all time, perhaps. Except Poirot. OH.WAIT.NO.HE.WAS.BELGIAN.

I don't wan't to spoil this doc by talking lots of gibberish about it and ruining the story. I'm just going to tell you that it has BANKSY in it. But it's not even about Banksy. THAT right there, is proof of just how cool this film is. That's right, this documentary is the epitome of cool. Thierry Guetta (aka. Mr. Brainwash) is the most amazing creature ever created by our absurd culture and his story makes amazingly entertaining viewing. Trust me: watch it. You'll enjoy. I guarantee.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of ALL TIME (probably) - part 3

2. Spellbound

I, of all people especially, love a good nerd. When I was growing up my dad used to call me Gretchen (she's the one with the epic glasses and freckles and teeth from Recess who speaks through her nose). I feel that on the whole I've been lucky enough to mainly grow out of my nerdiness. No, maybe I've grown into it. But either way, I will always feel a great affinity with all diminutive bespectacled creatures.

But Spellbound is more than your average lolz-they-have-no-social-skills flick (for this see: Deborah 13: Servant of God or anything featuring Mormons). Spellbound shows how, for these gawky kids, many of whom are the children of immigrants, exceptional command of the English language offers a sense of belonging, and in some strange way, affirms their Americanness.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of ALL TIME (probably) - Part 2

I know you've been waiting for this with baited breath. So here it bloody well is:

5. The Imposter 

Ok so this gets points from me for being produced kinda like it's a feature film. Because documentary IS an equally valuable art form. And the story is absolutely fantastically fascinating- a tiny French man pretends to be a Texan child and gets away with it... possibly because the family have a secret to hide... possibly because they are crazy too... simply fabulous. Everyone loves a tiny French man. Although this one looks a little too much like Gavin (a la Gavin & Stacy) for my liking...

Do you see it too....???

4. Paradise Lost

So this is really long and depressing and involves a court-case and intrigue and child-murder. Right up my street. It's about the notorious Robin Hood murders and tells the story of the three young boys accused of the murder and sexual mutilation of some kids even younger than them. Horrific as the subject matter is, it is incredibly engrossing. And it is sort of hideously fun to try and work out whether the accused boys are guilty or innocent. Made me want to be a lawyer for about ten minutes.

(For something similar (I don't know why but I find child criminals really interesting...) there was recently a very excellent documentary on Channel 4 called 'Twelve Year Old Lifer' about a twelve and a fifteen year old boy who shot dead the fifteen year old's step-dad. It raised lots of issues about the American justice system and about whether or not children should really be tried as adults. And significantly, I think, pointed out how tragic the situation was for absolutely everyone involved- teenage killers included. Highly recommended (not only because I did some transcribing work on it whilst I interned at NERD tv...))

3. Thin Blue Line

Are you in the mood to feel outraged? Do you want to feel ANGRY and APPALLED and for there to be ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about it? Watch this film. (Then Wikipedia check what happened in its aftermath and glory in the catharsis of vindication). It's about a man who is serving in prison for a murder he quite blatantly did not commit- and tells the infuriating narrative of how and why he ended up there. It makes one glad that one does not live in stinking America. Vastly better entertainment than your average episode of CSI Miami. Next time its on tv and you're tempted, think twice, watch this instead. Honestly this one is just brilliant.


These three will keep you busy 'til then.
Toodles x

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of ALL TIME (probably) - Part 1

I am a big watcher of documentaries. And I am not, like some, a documentary snob. I am open-minded, and always hopeful that I may be pleasantly surprised by the excellent quality of the many late 90s documentaries still available on 4od, or even, dare I say it, Channel 5. Of course I also enjoy the weighty insightful political stuff that wins awards at obscure French festivals too.

So this is my top 10 list. In reverse order.

10. Grizzly Man

Tells the story of the life and death of the lunatic "bear enthusiast" Timothy Treadwell. Treadwell is a captivating topic, whom, it seems, would have been happier as a bear than a human. In all fairness to him, the fact that he survived so long in such close proximity to the bears is pretty damn impressive. Werner Herzog's German accent is soothing, but I can't decide if it makes the story of Treadwell's death feel more or less shocking- but it is definitely a good thing. For those who have seen the film already, I recommend this fun Sporcle quiz that gets you to identify Treadwell's bear friends by name: http://www.sporcle.com/games/MistahSchwartz/GrizzlyMan. The only one I could remember was Mr. Chocolate.

9. My Penis & I

Oh BBC Three you wonderful, wonderful beast. This is about a man and his quest to come to terms with his smaller than average... well, penis. Despite the initial hilarity caused by the majority of the content of this documentary, poor Lawrence's self-confidence issues are actually quite touching. Essentially, his emotional journey is an thinly veiled excuse for BBC3 to allow viewers to gawp and gasp at lots and lots and lots of images of our favourite male organ. I'd recommend watching this with a group of squeamish girls and lots of wine.

8. Bowling For Columbine

Probably my favourite Michael Moore documentary. Watching as a Brit rather than an American means that most of Moore's arguments in favour of gun-control seem outrageously obvious, but Moore is absolutely the best at wittily handling very serious subjects, and Bowling For Columbine gives a fascinating insight into the history of the town that has seen such horrific violence.

7. Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is a classic, and should probably be much closer to #1 on this list. It captures the lives of two highly eccentric reclusive women, a mother and a daughter called Big Edie and Little Edie. Their garden is wild and overgrown, they live without running water and their large mansion is infested with racoons, cats and fleas. They muse about the past, and rarely admit any outsiders in. Little Edie is basically Blanche Du Bois in real life; and as such, utterly mesmerising to watch.

6. King of Kong

King of Kong transports us to a bizarre American microcosm where Video Games rule the world and where the baddies make hot sauce and have really stupid hair. The amount of time and energy that the extraordinary characters in this film put into playing Donkey Kong is just incredible; if you wrote this as a fiction it would be dismissed as far too ridiculous to be believed. Trust me, YOU HAVE GOT TO WATCH THIS ONE. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

One Man And His Cat

Oh, alas, alas, alas. The Morning. How did it creep up on me so fast? A whole night without a moment's peace and yet, there it was already. The sun through the curtains. Like a beacon of war shining into the dusty bedroom, hailing forth the dreadful new day. I awoke, (if you can call it that when you've not been asleep at all), at almost seven o'clock. That was the first time that I'd roused the courage to look at the clock. It was getting up time. As ever, I breathed in deeply and stretched my toes to the ceiling until I felt that satisfying pop. It would be good to be rid of these arthritic feet, I thought. I breathed out and shuffled to the bathroom. Shaved, brushed my teeth and splashed just a touch of cologne on my cuffs- it was a special day after all.

For breakfast I had a bowl of Scottish Oats with a banana chopped into it for some extra texture, just as my mother used to make it. I have always found that a whole banana is too much; so I only used half, and set aside the rest still in its skin for a snack later.

“Urma!” I croaked, “Urrrma!”

In she plodded. All whiskers and tail curling between my ankles.
“Good morning darling.” I said, affectionately. “I got something special for you today.”

I fetched her a tin of John West's Tuna and presented it to her in a bowl on the floor. She settled with her head in the fishy goodness, munching away until it was entirely gone.

“What an admirable appetite you do have. I've another tin for dinner.” I told her. She purred in reply.

I took my notebook down from the shelf and we decided to relocate to the sofa. I sink into it too far these days; should probably get a new one, but it is comfortable enough and I am rather fond of the floral pattern. Urma jumped up into the cat-shaped dip beside me. Together we watched the video-tape that I had made of last night's Eastenders. Important to keep up with the gossip, you see.

When the drum beat started going at the end of the episode I felt suddenly this terrible wave of ghastly sorrow. It was today. Today had actually come. I tried to clear my throat and spluttered into my fist with determination. Trying to force out that perilous emotion. Eventually the coughing stopped and I began to feel better. Somehow purged of all the sadness. Resigned. I wiped my saliva-bespattered hand on the cat, who uttered a meow of reluctance and tried to wriggle away.
Having overcome this spasm of woe I was able to focus on the task at hand. I opened my book. 11th November 2011. 'To Do List,' the list was entitled. The only thing it said was 'Tracy.' It was a big day. I coughed.

“Shall I have a banana? Yes, I think I will. And then I shall set off.” I said to Urma. “I'm going to tell her today.”

So I munched on the half-banana that had not made it into my porridge before setting out with my great rain mac and furry hat on. My favourite one- with the flaps to keep your ears warm.

As I left the house the cold air hit me like a bulldozer in the face. Wham. I sucked in the cold and let it fill my whole body, it flowed through me, made me feel fresh. I wanted to take nice memories with me so I picked a scenic route. I walked across the green. Unfortunately, it turned out to have been a bad decision; it was foggy out and I couldn't make out the mud in order to avoid it. Nevertheless, the scenery was quite imposing enough to stop me thinking about too much else. Still, as soon as I was back on the pavement those great green eyes burned their way back into my head.

Cisburry Ring South. There it was. The white house. I rang the doorbell. Heart hammering.

“Phillip!” she frowned slightly, “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, well, I just thought I would come and say hello.” I stammered.

“Oh, ok.” her lips pursed, “Come in then?”

I walked into the kitchen and sat myself down on a chair. I could hear the children stomping about upstairs.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Oh you know. Busy. But fine really. Jason has just had chicken-pox.” She said matter-of-factly.

“Right, right.” I murmured, becoming increasingly nervous. Her green eyes were looking at me. I felt myself welling up.

“Look Tracy, I have something I have to tell you.”

“Oh?” she murmured, nonchalant.

“Today. It is today!”

“What are you talking about Philip? What is today?”

“It is November 11th 2011 Tracy. It is November 11th 2011. Today the world is going to end. It is the end of the world! I know it and I just had to let you know because I don't want you to be taken by surprise Tracy.”

She was looking at me in disbelief. Her eyebrows were raised. There was mocking. Mocking beneath those gorgeous lashes. It made her less beautiful. I had to stop her. I got up off my chair and stepped towards her. I noticed that she took a little step back as I did so. I reached out, I just wanted to touch her hair; my eyes were wide with horror. I had to save her.

“Tracy tonight the world is going to end and I cannot let you not know about it. I had to tell one person and it had to be you because I think you're wonderful! You have such beautiful eyes, Tracy. I had to save you!”

She blinked at me. For a while, neither of us said anything. I tried to take hold of her hand but she jumped back in horror.
“Philip. You cannot talk to me like this. This is nonsense.” Her hand was over her mouth, muffling her words.

“But Tracy, the world. The world is ending.”

“Get that rubbish out of your head Philip. You have to leave.”
I tried to hug her. She screamed.

“Leave! Now!”

So I left. There was nothing I could do. I had warned her and surely that was enough. I went home and sat staring at the television with Urma. I felt somehow calmer. I had told her. I had warned her. When it happened she would know I was right. I had tried to help. She would be grateful then. Perhaps she would think of me at the end. I ate another banana. I had done all that I could do. I sat there all the rest of the day wondering about what was going to happen when everything was gone. As the clock ticked 11 thirty it was time to begin. I had decided in advance what had to be done. I went to the drawer in the kitchen. I took two tins of tuna out of the cupboard. Urma slunk in, her ears twitching with pleasure at the thought of food. I mixed one of the tins with some sweetcorn and mayonnaise to make a sandwich for myself. The other I emptied into a bowl which I gave to Urma. We ate together. When I had finished washing up, I reached into a drawer. A gun. The tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of the good times.

“Urma. I love you.” I said, a lump bulging in my throat. “I love you even more than her.”

And I took the gun in my hand. And I shot Urma all over the wall.
I returned to the sofa and wept. At least she would not suffer now. I stared at the clock as it counted down the hours. Tick tick tick tick tick. Midnight had come.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Why Johnny Depp holding a puppy almost made me cry.

As a girl, I try not to be the type who transforms into a blathering dimwit when confronted with images of aesthetically pleasing male specimens- and pride myself on this fact. Unfortunately, this photo caused me to let myself down. As it appeared on my Facebook feed (posted by Poking Smot - http://pokingsmot.net/ - they post truly excellent photos daily, well worth a follow), I froze mid-thought and stared. I clicked. Yes, IT WAS REAL. The stunningly beautiful Mr. Depp was indeed tenderly and contentedly holding a small Spaniel puppy, as though it were a new born babe. With one eye-brow somewhat raised, his lips stretched into an almost-smile; he asserts his paternal prowess and he confirms his emotional depth with a gaze full of candid sentiment. Yes, it is true, he is wearing a fabulous striped polo-neck sweater, similar to one that I myself own. Of course, he smoulders. Of course, he is wearing not one watch, but two.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Best Surreal Headline Fails

Drunk Get Nine Months in Violin Case

Stolen Painting Found By Tree

Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Axe

Monday, 18 February 2013

Father Philanthropy

This is a short video about one of the most prolific art forgers in American history, Mark Landis. What is amazing is that he didn't sell his paintings, just donated them to over 50 museums... 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The worst things about involuntary holidays

I'm now two weeks into my four week break between internships. It is not going well. I am definitely one of those people who would prefer to be stressed out of my mind with multiple lengthy and looming lists of things to do-- than bored. These are the worst things about involuntary holidays:

1) Excruciating Boredom - I'm on level 2002 of Unblock Car. No word of a lie.

2) Having too little to do makes it hard to do anything. (Except play Unblock Car).

3) Loss of social skills - it is now normal not to speak to anybody other than family members for anything up to six days at a time.

3) Replacing friends with food. Because I'm always sitting in the kitchen.

5) Pent up creativity leads to really bad poetry-

Does anything rhyme with poem?
I'm sure somebody knows,
But I don't know'em.
I'll think of something myself,
And that will show them.
Or not.

... I joined a temp agency this morning.....