Monday, September 19, 2005

7 things

Tagged by Kat - I'll have to find a better hiding place. OK:
7 things I plan to do before I die:

1) Live a lot longer
2) Get fitter
3) Visit New Zealand
4) Experience Il Carnevale in Venice
5) Write a novel
6) Dance
7) Discover how to sleep comfortably with two cats on the bed

7 things I can do:

1) Cook a decent veggie meal (Current signature dish: tagliatelle in gorgonzola sauce - bit of a cholesterol bomb, actually)
2) Look over my glasses in a withering fashion
3) Form an opinion on a book without having read it (and, in the case of A level Literature circa 1981, teach a book without having read it...)
4) Throw sticks for dogs much further than you'd think
5) Remember obscure details of records from 1971.
6) Read newspapers for hours
7) Eat burnt toast

7 things I cannot do:

1) Text messages. Sorry, I meant txt msgs
2) Pass a cat without attempting to stroke it
3) Wait in stationary traffic
4) Allow meaningless mumbo-jumbo to pass unchallenged.
5) Play a musical instrument
6) Use the verb "deliver" to mean "teach"
7) Speak in tongues

7 things that attract me to another person:

I can't actually think of seven things - how do you know what it is? That's the mystery isn't it?

7 things that I say most often:

1) Ludicrous!
2) Howzat? (at least, I've been saying that a lot during the Ashes)
3) onward and upward
4) Boris!
5) What's for tea?
6) You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment
7) Yays (a la Ray McCooney in Little Britain)

7 celebrity crushes:
This touches a nerve. I'm not allowed to say any woman on TV/film is good looking, or 'er indoors will thereafter refer to said woman as "your girlfriend". Those who have filled this role range from Julie Andrews (I know...) to Courtney Cox to Cherie Lunghi...

I found this a rather unsettling exercise - and I don't know why, it's just a bit of fun, eh?- so I won't tag anyone else.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wayside shrines

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | In memory of solipsismThis article by the combative Muriel Gray caused something of a backlash in the letters pages this week, but, aside from her somewhat gratuitously offensive conclusion, I'm with her. I live a fair distance from my place of work, about 30 miles, but, depending on my route, I will pass seven or eight makeshift memorials in that journey. If that is true throughout the country, then every five miles or so one is likely to encounter a windblown cellophane-wrapped bunch of faded flowers wrapped round a lampost. I know of one memorial which is actually on a motorway, so presumably the family of the dead person are driving there, stopping illegally and dangerously on the hard shoulder and tying their bunch of flowers to the base of a sign.
I suppose people will say it makes them feel better, and that it's harmless. Actually, it could be harmful, if the related practice of building cairns is allowed to continue, as this letter by Ron Graves shows - and the previous letter gives the opposing view, but misses the point, I feel.
This all seems to have gathered speed following Diana's death. The transformation in the British psyche now seems complete. We must emote, and we must do it publicly. There are times when the stiff upper lip would be welcome. Grieve, yes - but why make it a public spectacle? And aren't graves rather than traffic lights at busy road junctions the best places for floral tributes?

Michael Bywater

Bee Docs' Timeline - Featured Users I came across this interview via a link on John Naughton's blog. MB is one of the few reasons why a paid up liberal softie like moi would desert the Grauniad for the Indy, and this is a fascinating account of someone who straddles academia and journalism successfully. Not many do - John Sutherland is the only other in the field of Literature who springs to mind. Bywater makes a point that has occurred to me - that classicists have made much more of the web than modern literature folk. I'm not sure why that should be, but I do think there's a lot of possibilities yet to be exploited by those of us in the field of modern and contemporary literature.