Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 17 April 2009

Hamlet was such a comfort

THE GOLDEN AGE IS NOW When we were very poor I took a part-time evening job behind a bar in a Tottenham pub. After three nights I resigned. Incompetence was the main reason but, also, for the first time I had to remain clear-eyed while others lapsed into crapulousness. Oh what a (badly put-together) piece of work is man.

These were pre-decimal days. To price “a brown and mild” I had to halve a pint of mild beer (at 1s 11d) and add it to a bottle of brown ale (1s. 3½d) – in my head. And there would be equal gymnastics concerning a gin and tonic or a port and lemon. When I resigned the landlord’s wife told me I wasn’t cut out for this work. In the words of Paul Simon “I took some comfort there”.

Nowadays bar-tending is a doddle. The cash register works it out and for the innumerate touch-key icons augment mere figures. If I were wiped out financially I could present myself for duty at The Dog and Duck, confident that technology would be my crutch. But being able to watch bright-eyed, shouty young men wheedling drinks out of the local second-hand car dealer (a roll of tenners in his back pocket) would be another matter.

WRITING: CRAFT NOT ART
Eclogue 46: English is a plum pudding of different words.
Example: Cyrano: So, insult me. Intellectually inadequate aristocrat: You have… a big nose. Cyrano: Ah, what could you have said? When it bleeds… a river (steps over imaginary river). When it’s blown, a hurricane. Etc, etc.
Caution: Go out there and delight in “jejune” and “mellifluous” while simultaneously exploring the one short step into pretentiousness.

6 comments:

The Crow said...
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The Crow said...
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The Crow said...

Well, I was as cranking as I've ever been yesterday! I'd like to start over.

One of the things I enjoy about reading your blog, Friend BB, is that I always learn (or start down the road to learning) something new each time I visit.

When I go to google an unknown word or unfamiliar expression I find here, I end up taking numerous delightful side-trips.

:)

Barrett Bonden said...

I see you removed what you regard as self-accusatory footsteps in the snow. I'm often tempted to do the same but in your case it was unnecessary. I recall you were brought up short by "eclogue" but it was a word picked out of the sky and used incorrectly. Apologies for its misuse appeared in other episodes of "Writing: Art not craft" until Lucy finally - sort of - granted me absolution for this act of literary vandalism.

The Crow said...

Sometimes - too frequently, to be honest - I speak/write the first thing that comes to mind: sometimes, that's okay; other times, I could use a filter to edit out the half-formed thoughts that, upon re-reading, make me think, "What the heck?!?"

Yesterday was one of those days.

About eclogue: I didn't know what it meant, but that's the fun of visiting here - a bit of a treasure hunt each time.

I'd love to write poetry, because I enjoy reading it so much, but I accept that I'm not very good at it. However, I have learned/been exposed to more on the craft of writing poetry than was taught in school by visiting you here.

Some of the best teachers I've ever had, and whom I treasure most, have been those who weren't trying to teach, but were explorers themselves.

There - now that's what I intended to write yesterday, but it didn't come out that way.

And that's supposed to be "cranky," not "cranking." Fingers couldn't keep up with the brain. Hey, it happens.

The Crow said...

PS: reading this bit, "being able to watch bright-eyed, shouty young men wheedling drinks out of the local second-hand car dealer (a roll of tenners in his back pocket)," put me smack-dab in the middle of the scene. I love when that happens!

:)