2014 — 5 March: Wednesday

In days of yore1 I had no trouble over-sleeping. But then, I also had no trouble waking up just in time to hear the tiny click from the radio bedside alarm clock before it did its cruel early morning thing, too.


... I wake up when I wake up and, regardless of the time, that then generally seems to be "it" for further sleep. So an early cuppa tea it is for me, this morning. Of course, it could be argued that it ain't "morning" until the sun appears, and that's not due to happen for just shy of two hours, yet. Which will be when the frost starts to disappear, I hope.

Only the Grauniad...

... would have an article on Helvetica that began with a photo of one of the New York subway signs that is still using Helvetica's predecessor.

And, yes, I still recommend the film :-)

Bred in the bone?

Gordon R Dickson's 1966 short story "In the bone" has stayed with me, and came to mind when reading this piece about the origin of ideology. Source and snippet:

... compared with liberals, conservatives have a greater focus on negative stimuli or a "negativity bias": they pay more attention to the alarming, the threatening, and the disgusting in life... Hibbing and his colleagues showed liberals and conservatives a series of collages, each comprised of a mixture of positive images (cute bunnies, smiling children) and negative ones (wounds, a person eating worms)... The results were stark: conservatives fixed their eyes on the negative images much more rapidly, and dwelled on them much longer, than did the liberals.
Liberals and conservatives, conclude Hibbing et al., "experience and process different worlds." No wonder, then, that they often cannot agree. These experiments suggest that conservatives actually do live in a world that is more scary and threatening, at least as they perceive it. Trying to argue them out of it is pointless and naive. It's like trying to argue them out of their skin.

Chris Mooney, reviewing two books in Washington Monthly

Does this explain our current guvmint Foreign Secretary's posturing wrt the Ukraine?

An epiphany? Really?

Oh, good grief!

His own first novel was read by Winterson, said Haig, "and she gave me advice that still helps me today. She told me to change 'epiphanic moment' to 'moment of epiphany', for instance, which is advice of infinite wisdom".

Alison Flood in Grauniad

I have not a single "creative writing" bone in my body, in case you wondered. [Pause] That nice Uncle ERNIE hasn't emailed me yet, but the online checker says he's going to slide £50 into my account at some point this month. Ev'ry little helps.

So, there I am...

... casually corralling some of what Boopsie calls the "dust bunnies" to be found among books on the landing when I discover a previously-unregistered factoid about a 1928 novel of some infamy2 buried in a tiny side-illustration in Bevis Hillier's The Style of the Century. Namely, that Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" had actually inspired a contemporary parody:

Dutch DVD

As it happens, I've not read either, but I was quite taken by Beresford Egan's drawing.

Back safely...

... after lunch at "The Boot Inn" in Houghton, Stockbridge — a last-minute change of venue made necessary by the fact that "The Crown Inn" in King's Sombourne was closed because of flooding. There was an irritating 10-minute delay on my way there, too, caused by 4-way lights at the roundabout that's taking its sweet time being constructed just past Hillier's. Of course, had I known in advance of the closure, I could have taken the rather faster Winchester-skirting route that I used for the return journey. And thus also avoided the long stretch of single track with what were laughingly called "passing places" north of Braishfield.

Hark at me, sounding like an experienced local navigator. I wasn't even using Madame Dominatrix-in-a-box with her endless bitching about "Recalculating". [Pause] Definitely time for my next cuppa.

When upper-management...

... idiots at the BBC (I help pay for them — I describe them as I see fit) attempted to shut down 6Music, I got very cross. When they (now) talk about making the inane BBC3 TV channel online only via iPlayer (as if merely changing the distribution mechanism will save much money) I just shrug my shoulders and stifle a yawn.

I've been...

... reminding myself of what Alan Travis had to say about Radclyffe Hall's novel in the 30-page chapter he devoted to its ridiculous persecution by the Sunday Express and its fragrant editor, one James Douglas. After quoting from the nasty leader Douglas wrote... The task of cleansing itself from the leprosy of these lepers and making the air clean and wholesome once more... should give you the flavour, Travis goes on:

This bigoted outburst from James Douglas was the most extreme but not untypical example of the kind of moral indignation that the Sunday Express was to make its trademark over the next 50 years.

Date: 2000 in "Bound and Gagged: a secret history of obscenity in Britain"

My parents took the Sunday Express3 throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, though Dad switched over to the Torygraph after we moved down from Alderley Edge to Harpenden. That was more in keeping, I strongly suspect, with his position as a company director in Moorgate.



1  "Yore" being arbitrarily defined as an integer number of years ago, say 10 (in my case).
2  The open-minded editor of one of our national newspapers wrote of it: "I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel."
3  I chiefly remember it for the wonderful cartoons by Carl Giles.