The wankery of poetry

Boswell: Sir, what is poetry?

Johnson: Why Sir, it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is but it is not easy to tell what it is. [April 12th, 1776]

To that I would add Adrian Mitchell in 1964, in Poems:

Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.

There’s an episode of the Maury Chaykin Nero Wolfe where Archie goes to a ‘poetry’ reading by the most geeky member of the ensemble. The room was in garish colours and the ‘poet’ was in a basket chair, the young people sitting crosslegged on cushions round about, listening to his guff.

In the background was ‘shock of the new’ type atonal sound and the ‘poet’ was holding forth about lickspittle something or other – discordant, angular. Archie Goodwin, no poet or thespian, was putting up with it for the sake of a female he had his eye on for a bit of nooky later.

The primary reason I’m no ‘intellectual’ is that I flatly rejected all of it very early on, ditto with the Philosophers, not as a Marquess of Queensberry with Wilde but as a rebel against all falsehood and postulating … and there is nothing more false nor postulating than ‘the arts’.

Nigel Planer did a series of Masterclasses and the joke was that he was serving it up to the very people who had given him the platform:

A different world

Sackerson sends this:

Maurice Baring in Moscow, Christmas 1903:

“There were one or more other pupils living in Marie Karlovna’s house besides the English Consul, who used to board there. We used to have dinner at two o’clock in the afternoon, and a late supper, ending in tea, which used to go on till far into the night.

It was there I made my first acquaintance with the peculiar comfortless comfort of Russian life among the intelligentsia. Nothing could seemingly and theoretically be more uncomfortable ; the hours irregular ; no door to any room ever being shut ; no fireplaces, only a stove lit once every twenty-four hours ; visitors drifting in, and sitting and talking for hours ; but nothing in practice was more comfortable.

There was an indescribable ease about the life, a complete absence of fuss, a fluid intimacy without any of the formalities, any of the small conventions and minute ritual that distinguish German bourgeois life and, indeed, are a part of its charm.


Ways to do potatoes – Dijon potatoes:

2 pounds small red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

I like roasties too but prefer chip shape with garlic and rosemary:

There are so many things you can do with potatoes, including getting some over to those Irish in 1845-9.  Warning, press Mute on the sound for this, it drives you batty:

How do you like to prepare them?

Fake restaurant queues

There’s fakery everywhere today, including with this restaurant app [shades of the crisis actors hired for Charlottesville]:

Pretend for a moment that you’re walking through your neighborhood and notice a line of people wrapped around the block outside a newly opened restaurant.

Local food bloggers haven’t written about the venue, so you assume the trendy-looking crowd must be the result of contagious, word-of-mouth buzz.

There was a time when that may have been undoubtedly true — when you could trust that a crowd of people was, in fact, a naturally occurring mass of individuals.

But that time may be passing thanks to Surkus, an emerging app that allowed the restaurant to quickly manufacture its ideal crowd and pay the people to stand in place like extras on a movie set.

Interesting to me is that the piece appeared in WaPo, the rag of lies, so the whole thing could be a lie.

We just don’t know any more.

[H/T Chuckles]

Building a bridge

Again, about Twitter:

It’s like electricity, having a car, it’s about anything in life – it’s how you use it that’s critical, that which you allow through and that which you don’t – it’s all in your own hands whether Twitter is to be a learning vehicle or an echo chamber.

Statements like ‘Twitter is for the chattering classes’ may well be true for the latter but just as with the net itself – there’s a world of learning out there, you just have to painstakingly gather it and shut out the dross.

If we’re adults.