Friday, 14 January 2011

Stuff 'n nonsense

I seem to be running on empty when it comes to blogs these days. What to say? What to say?

I think it was Confucius who said (I may not get this 100% correct. So sue me) that it was better to stay silent and appear the fool than to open your mouth ... and remove all doubt.

Just as well that blogging happens at a remove. I don’t get to see your expression (you and my other two readers) while you read the folly that flows fitfully from my fingertips. (Wonder if I can find another word beginning with F to fit in that sentence?)

So I’m free-writing; going with a whatjimicallit? flow of my thoughts and we’ll see what happens. Free the consciousness – writing the first thing that pops into my head.

Someone described a las vegas bikini wax to me yesterday. Who knew these things went on? Mmmmaybe I shouldn’t go there. Not good for this old man’s heart.

I’m watching Angels and Demons as I type this and wondering who the feck wrote the screenplay. Every time Tom Hanks opens his gob it’s to give a lecture. Clunky, clunky dialogue.

...isn’t the Pantheon a church?

...the oldest Catholic church in Rome.

This is what two Romans say to each other.

Still, the scenery is wonderful. Does the Pantheon really face on to the Trevi Fountain?

Talking about Rome, I got round to watching Zen on the BBC. Based on the Michael Dibden novels it is about a modern-day Italian detective in Rome. Aurelio Zen (as names go, that’s a doozy) has split up with his wife and moved back in with mother. Not the most attractive trait in a man? The cast are mainly English and they get to swan about in Rome dressed in expensive suits. What’s not to love?

Except I found it annoying.

Picture the scene: a man wearing an Italian policeman’s uniform is standing by the River Tiber, Zen (Rufus Sewall) approaches. The policeman goes “Oy, wot you doin’ ‘ere?” in a broad English accent that was well out of place. The cast is mainly English with a smattering of Italians. The English speak English in their own accents and the Italians speak English in an Italian accent and then people in the background roar at each other in a stream of indecipherable Italian and it is really fecking annoying.

Me no likey. And you can take that in any accent you want.

I eventually removed the Christmas decorations from my living room. I usually hate doing this. It’s a signal the holidays are over and we are in for a long, dull period of hard work and short days. To circumvent these feelings of despondency I waited (the 12 of January) until I was fecking sick of the sight of them. Now I’m not feeling depressed the holidays are over, but delighted that my living space is free of clutter. Result.

Default position. When all else fails blog about books. (I tried phoning QC for a quote, but she’s not answering her phone.)

Just finished...Worth Dying For by Lee Child. I really enjoy a Jack Reacher me, but the ending? The characters did what they needed to do, but they #spoiler alert# took the law into their own hands. Made me feel uncomfortable. And not in a good way.

Just finished...The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. I’ve been meaning to read Mitchell for ages now but I tend to get put off when the critics rave about someone. However, after reading my old (and I mean that in every sense of the word) friend Bill Kirton’s comments about DM I thought I should give him a go. It also helped that Waterstone’s were selling the hardback at half-price.

Delighted that I went with Bill’s recommendation. Loved it. Great story. Strong sense of place and time. Characters to hang your heart on.

Pick a page, any page and you’ll find a phrase, a sentence or an image to savour.

“Wisteria in bloom foams over a crumbling wall.”

“There is a girl in an upper window, there are red lanterns hanging from the eaves, and she idly ticks the hollow of her throat with a goose feather. Her body cannot be ten years old, but her eyes belong to a much older woman’s.”

“Ink, thinks Jacob, you most fecund of liquids...”

How to say so much in so few words? Jealous much?

Enough for now. Hopefully the next time I come to blog I’ll have something interesting to say.




  1. The Pantheon faces out onto the Pantheon Fountain. Which rocks.

    Foaming Wisteria is the name of my next band.

  2. Three thoughts: 1) I like the word "fecund," 2) Can tell you're a poet by your selections from the book, and 3) What breed is the blonde dog in the photo?

  3. Good name, Nevets.

    Linda - 1) totally agree 2)true 3)cocker spaniel

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Apologies - the previous post came through all garbled. Anyway, this is what it was supposed to say:

    Wow, all three of your readers left a comment this time. Result.

    Glad you liked David Mitchell. I haven't read 'The Thousand Autumns ...' yet but I've loved everything of his I've ever read (and re-read). I still reckon he's our best novelist by a long way.

    Seems to me the cocker spaniel's looking at a possible breakfast.

  6. Bill, you could be right. A wee snack at least. And I heard you the first time.

  7. Your Zen comment reminded me of the mostly enjoyable Inspector Maigret television series, with Michael Gambon. English actors playing French characters spoke with broad English accents and, in the one quirk that annoyed me, would pronounce the protagonist's name in the English way -- MAY-gray -- rather than the French May-GREH.

    Aurelio Zen is an ingenious name. In addition to the overtones of Marcus Aurelius and Zen Buddhism -- handy associations for a fictional detective -- Zen is an old Venetian name, and the character is from Venice. And then there's the name's progression from A to Z, a nifty trait.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  8. Hey, Peter, thanks for stopping by. Interesting stuff on Zen. Think I'll change my name...Zen Malone. Nah, maybe not.

  9. Aurelio Malone might confer an aura of gravitas.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  10. Peter, where were you when I was deciding on my pen name for my debut crime novel?

  11. See what free-writing will do for ya? You could never write drivel, Michael. This was one I missed. That dog's expression is priceless!

  12. Cheers, Marley - as for the dog, it makes me smile every time I look at it.