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  1. Today
  2. Tennis

    Does anyone have the right to make fun of anyone, and I disagree with the right to behave badly as it is the behaving badly which calls attention to her in the first place, so in a way she is the author of her own misfortune or commentary, unless any attention is better than none. I don't like to see racism etc. but it exists.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Tennis

    The issue isn't if Serena has a right to behave badly or inappropriately. Of course she does. This issue is, are we allowed to make fun of her without being labelled racists, sexists, (and now apparently) parentists? I suspect various cartoonists are already backing away. Oh, and the coach was totally cheating (Guardian). Though apparently he was coaching a woman in the crowd or something.
  5. Poetic Wanderings

    Harry, our King in England, from London town is gone, And comen to Hamull on the Hoke in the Countie of Suthampton. For there lay the Mary of the Tower, his ship of war so strong, And he would discover, certaynely, if his shipwrights did him wrong. He told not none of his setting forth, nor yet where he would go, (But only my Lord of Arundel) and meanly did he show, In an old jerkin and patched hose that no man might him mark. With his frieze hood and cloak above, he looked like any clerk. He was at Hamull on the Hoke about the hour of the tide, And saw the Mary haled into dock, the winter to abide, With all her tackle and habilaments which are the King his own; But then ran on his false shipwrights and stripped her to the bone. They heaved the main-mast overboard, that was of a trusty tree, And they wrote down it was spent and lost by force of weather at sea. But they sawen it into planks and strakes as far as it might go, To maken beds for their own wives and little children also. There was a knave called Slingawai, he crope beneath the deck, Crying: “Good felawes, come and see! The ship is nigh a wreck! For the storm that took our tall main-mast, it blew so fierce and fell, Alack! it hath taken the kettles and pans, and this brass pott as well!” With that he set the pott on his head and hied him up the hatch, While all the shipwrights ran below to find what they might snatch; All except Bob Brygandyne and he was a yeoman good, He caught Slingawai round the waist and threw him on to the mud. “I have taken plank and rope and nail, without the King his leave, After the custom of Portesmouth, but I will not suffer a thief. Nay, never lift up thy hand at me—there’s no clean hands in the trade. Steal in measure,” quo’ Brygandyne. “There’s measure in all things made!” “Gramercy, yeoman!” said our King. “Thy council liketh me.” And he pulled a whistle out of his neck and whistled whistles three. Then came my Lord of Arundel pricking across the down, And behind him the Mayor and Burgesses of merry Suthampton town. They drew the naughty shipwrights up, with the kettles in their hands, And bound them round the forecastle to wait the King’s commands. But “Sith ye have made your beds,” said the King, “ye needs must lie thereon. For the sake of your wives and little ones—felawes, get you gone!” When they had beaten Slingawai, out of his own lips Our King appointed Brygandyne to be Clerk of all his ships. “Nay, never lift up thy hands to me—there’s no clean hands in the trade. But steal in measure,” said Harry our King. “There’s measure in all things made!” God speed the Mary of the Tower, the Sovereign, and Grace Dieu, The Sweepstakes and the Mary Fortune, and the Henry of Bristol too! All tall ships that sail on the sea, or in our harbours stand, That they may keep measure with Harry our King and peace in Engeland! Rudyard Kipling - from 'King Henry VII and the Shipwrights'
  6. A hummingbird was hovering over the red roof of the seed log feeder hanging from our awning. I haven't seen a hummingbird in many years as we don't have a feeder or luscious red blooms at the front of the house, it was simply the colour that attracted him, and I was delighted to catch a glimpse of this lovely little bird. This brought a smile to my face, such a treat to see this little guy.
  7. Word Association MkII

  8. MALCOLM We shall not spend a large expense of time Before we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen, Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland In such an honour named. What's more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time, As calling home our exiled friends abroad That fled the snares of watchful tyranny; Producing forth the cruel ministers Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen, Who, as 'tis thought, by self and violent hands Took off her life; this, and what needful else That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace, We will perform in measure, time and place: So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. Shakespeare, Macbeth V/viii
  9. Song Chain

    The Bed's too big without you - The Police
  10. Currently Reading

    Collected Short stories of W Somerset Maugham, is gradually growing on me.
  11. Last week
  12. Tennis

    Clavain, seems to me that all the examples were of male tennis players behaving badly, maybe I missed it but I didn't see any female players in that list, however, I don't say that women should be meek and not stand up for themselves but if you are playing a game then you are obliged to play by the rules. And if you don't then you get penalized.
  13. Tennis

    I thought she had a point but maybe didn't convey it right. Thought the judge handled it terribly and should have just had a word off mic. This kind of puts it in context. I got 2/11 https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/12/tennis-tantrums-quiz-meltdowns-serena-williams
  14. Tennis

    What's wrong with being civilized and courteous Hazel? There are lots of female tennis players, different nationalities, different levels of talent, I was remarking on two women from the same family, same original trainer, one gets on with playing her best without being an exhibitionist and the other doesn't. I haven't seen any of the other WTA players who behave like Serena. Being a good player doesn't entitle her to behave badly.
  15. World Cup 2018

    I told a Sheffield taxi driver that a good dark horse would be Croatia. Grunts of dismay and scorn.
  16. Am reading his Collected Short Stories and it's getting better with each tale. Am sure The Facts Of Life was acted out in a Tales of the Unexpected once?
  17. Poetic Wanderings

    From Clee to heaven the beacon burns, The shires have seen it plain, From north and south the sign returns And beacons burn again. Look left, look right, the hills are bright, The dales are light between, Because 'tis fifty years to-night That God has saved the Queen. Now, when the flame they watch not towers About the soil they trod, Lads, we'll remember friends of ours Who shared the work with God. To skies that knit their heartstrings right, To fields that bred them brave, The saviours come not home to-night: Themselves they could not save. It dawns in Asia, tombstones show And Shropshire names are read; And the Nile spills his overflow Beside the Severn's dead. We pledge in peace by farm and town The Queen they served in war, And fire the beacons up and down The land they perished for. "God save the Queen" we living sing, From height to height 'tis heard; And with the rest your voices ring, Lads of the Fifty-third. Oh, God will save her, fear you not: Be you the men you've been, Get you the sons your fathers got, And God will save the Queen. A.E. Housman - 'From Clee to heaven the beacon burns'
  18. After The Party tells the story of upper middle class English involvement in fascism through the eyes of one woman, Phyllis, who becomes involved as a way of feeling she belongs. Her sisters are involved: one organises summer camps and the other is socially part of Moseley's circle. Early in the novel, we know that Phyllis spent time in prison, but not why: the blurb hints at something but this is misleading, and in fact the latter part of the novel deals with her internment due to her involvement with the BUF. I found the first half of the novel a bit hard to get into: Phyllis's character is very wet and wimpy so the story seemed to drift. The second half was far more engaging as it was a side of WW2 about which I knew little, and the writing brought it to life. However. I have a huge problem with this novel, which is that it seems to be a justification of British fascism. According to this book (in my reading anyway), fascism was a peaceful movement, full of well brought up people who simply didn't want another war after the horrors of WW1. They go camping to keep young people occupied in the hols and have simply lovely parties. And the British government have the audacity to lock them up during the war; they don't even manage to lock up the right people, choosing clerks and wives, so it couldn't even have been all that important, darling. If Phyllis had been an unreliable narrator, you could see the writer creating some ironic distance from her creation, but I didn't get this. She was hapless and a bit boring, but there was no sense that we the readers were meant to find her views distasteful. In fact, it seemed to me that we were mean to feel they had been hard done by. Maybe the writer intended this or maybe her irony missed the mark. But this is being promoted in Waterstones: at this juncture in history, with the rise of the far right, it has left a sour taste in my mouth.
  19. Devils

    My copy is the Wordsworth Classics one, complete and unabridged, containing the banned chapter 9 and translated by Constance Garnett. It is seen by some critics (it says on the back) as Dostoevsky's masterpiece. I can't comment on that because I haven't read his other work. This book is long, almost 700 pages and the story proper doesn't start until page 600. Thus it requires a bit of stamina to get there but once there the reader is rewarded with multiple murders and much drama. The prose is marvellous and that's what kept me reading. There is a wealth of characters (around 50) and some of the main players have two different names that they are referred to e.g. the first character we are introduced to is Stepan Trofimovitch Verhovensky. Most of the time he is referred to as Stepan Trofimovitch but sometimes as Verhovensky. This can be confusing and I found the constant using of first names and second names when referring to a character distracting too e.g. even with dialogue Stepan Trofimovitch was referred to as Stepan Trofimovitch, and just when you were getting used to this he would be referred to as Verhovensky. Some characters only have one name so there's a lot to get a hold of. The story is based on a real life murder and the characters are written about extensively. Some get away and some don't. I did not guess the ending, which was good for me. I found this tough going and somewhat dense to get into but once I was there it was marvellous. Recommended but only if you are willing to make an effort.
  20. review of Happiness by Aminatta Forna Happiness is set in London and starts when American researcher into foxes Jean literally runs into Ghanaian psychiatrist Attila, in London to give a talk on PTSD with his experience in warzones . The novel than weaves between both of their lives, both present in London. They have a couple of encounters striking up a friendship and when after a false immigrant call is made to authorities about Attila's niece resulting in her son running away, Jean uses her fox research contacts in the garbageman, bin collectors etc and the doorman at the hotel of Attila's who can enlist others in similar position. I found this coming together to be really uplifting in people helping one another out for no reason but because of humanity. We see a contrast to this on the Talk Radio show that Jean goes on about her fox project where the very opposite of humanity is shown. Meanwhile, Attila's wife has recently past away and his first love, Rosie Lennox, a fellow psychiatrist is in a care facility because of her early onset Alzheimars. Jean her self has escaped the break up of her marriage in Massachusetts. I thought this was a splendid novel about people helping each other, being there for each other in the times of need. A lot of fiction can be about meanness and selfishness but none of them (ok overstatement, there are some) are part of the main thrust of the body of this work. Quite a heartening thing to read I found the writing to be quite compulsive in that I kept going back to it (maybe the cycling season on TV drawing to a near close probably helped though) in that on 3 days, I brought it home with me from work rather than leaving it at the office to pick it up again the following day. As with other books from Aminatta Forna, she hits several literary flourishes with the writing creating sentence of a lot of beauty It's not a gruelling read but really nice one. It reminds me a bit of In The Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende which one reviewer compared to as a light tragedy and there is a bit of a lightness to the reading despite some harder themes in the novel. A tale of wit and heart, decency and love. A pleasure to read. * * * * *
  21. Man Booker 2018 prize

    the shortlist Anna Burns (UK) - Milkman (Faber & Faber) Esi Edugyan (Canada) - Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail) Daisy Johnson (UK) - Everything Under (Jonathan Cape) Rachel Kushner (USA) - The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape) Richard Powers (USA) - ;The Overstory (William Heinemann) Robin Robertson (UK) - The Long Take (Picador) still have not read any, though the links goes to BGO reviews of them
  22. Review of Diary of a short sighted adolescent by Mircea Eliade, translated from the Romanian by Christopher Moncrieff with reference to original translation by Christopher Bartolomew The unnamed narrator is a student in school. The novel focuses on his life as one, reading balzac or whatever instead of doing homework, failing maths etc, not telling parents you are suspended from school so read a classic in the park, you know normal school boy stuff. The first half of it I found more interesting and more compulsive reading than the second half . It's an ok book though I do find one particularly writing trope throughout the novel to be an annoyance, this the narrating stating that "I'll Never write the book" when referring to the very book that the reader is reading. However there are some very good passages in the book . I don't really have much else to say so can't feel that it deserves more than 3. * * *
  23. April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter. [...] T.S.Eliot, The Waste Land
  24. Heads of the Colored People

    Heads of the Colored People is a witty and - at times - savage portrayal of middle class African Americans. Through many of the stories there is a thread of expectations - the expectations of the black community of their own; the expectations of the white folk; and the expectations of the individuals themselves. There is a sense that it is very hard, if not impossible, to be an individual who just happens to be black. There are roles to be played and if you don't conform to the expectations, someone is going to get hurt. The stories themselves are very varied. We have a crotchety university professor who hoped for a quieter life by working at the black university; warring mothers waving qualifications at one another when botching about one another's daughter; a social media whore; a disabled guy and his stalker. None of the stories is boring, and for the most part they work well. Some of the stories interlink or have common characters - and I might spot more links if I went back to the beginning. This builds a sense of community and shows how some of the characters resent having expectations forced upon them while they force their own expectations on others. Despite the darkness, there's a healthy dose of positivity. Many of the characters are upwardly mobile - even the victims don't have a sense of victimhood. Poverty is something that happens to other people, although the legacy if poverty is hinted at occasionally - for example, one story centres around the first time a black person tasted potato bread. The writing is clear and the narrative direction is clear. None of those opaque short stories with ambiguous endings here. It's not pretending to be arty, but is quietly effective in giving the reader both entertainment and an insight into a community that may not be well known or well represented in literature. The collection is short - always a relief with short stories as collections can feel quite choppy quite quickly - and the individual stories feel just the right length, long enough to make their point but short enough not to go stale. Really, a very good collection. ****0
  25. Book Chain

    The Man In The High Castle - Philip K Dick
  26. Song Chain

    Breakfast in Bed - Dusty Springfield
  27. A to Z Game

    Wake Up And Make Love To Me - Ian Dury
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