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

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

And now for something unseasonal

Betrayal is a handy domestic concept and I delight in its nuances.

CAR MANUFACTURER I favoured German cars: several VWs, an Audi coupé, a BMW 3-series. When I retired I bought a VW Passat diesel station wagon, believing it would be economical and would last for ever. A rust bubble developed on the A-pillar within the warranty and I took it in. Had I replaced the windscreen (US: windshield)? I was asked. Yes. Then that invalidated the bodywork warranty. Even though VW do not install windscreens and might well have used the same specialist I did. My next four cars were Japanese. Finally I returned to VW but not those arrogant swine in Wolfsburg, rather to a foreign subsidiary.

JOURNALISTIC ACQUAINTANCE Invited to dinner he arrived saying he hadn’t brought wine because he hadn’t passed an off-licence. He’d passed three. The excuse entered the family pantheon of character-defining phrases. He invited us to a vegetarian dinner and gave us sprout somosas, suggesting Mrs BB cook her famous Beef Wellington for his return. But the camel’s back-breaker occurred after a few moments’ reflection: he never initiated conversation, only reacted tiredly. I made it known, through a third-party, I’d had enough of him. He pleaded to be rehabilitated for several years. In vain.

MY DAUGHTERS A judgement both were capable of: “Dad I saw a super film/heard a pop tune/etc, last night. It was really good.” BB: “How good was it?” Daughter: “Really good.” BB (with increasing sternness): “How good?” To describe an enjoyable experience casually is to betray its value. Both daughters still use “really” but preceded with the faintest of pauses.
Note for Plutarch. I was given Carol Duffy's poems, Rapture, for Christmas, the first time I have ever warranted poetry as a gift. How can this be?

Novel progress 2/1/10. Ch. 10: 1285 words. Chs. 1 - 9: 41,171 words. Comments: Hatch now more fun again.


occasional speeder said...

was that really necessary?!

The Crow said...

Your novel writing not going as well as you'd like today?


Plutarch said...

I have come to see "really" as a prelude to understatment unless qualified by at least one more "really", preferably two

Barrett Bonden said...

OS: Necessary? I had a space to fill.

The Crow: I write as I breathe: intermittently.

Plutarch: Every added "really" (always pronounced reeli) diminishes the subsequent adjective's effect by half.

Rouchswalwe said...

Other than Mustangs, I favour Canadian cars. They are ____ comfy ... very comfy.

Lucy said...

Sprout samosas?????

What a git!

Professional Bleeder said...

It may have been necessary, but was it true and kind?

herhimnbryn said...

I echo Lucy's comment. Oh my, with friends like that....

Now what did you think of the Duffy?

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (sZ): The present car is comfy enough to get us (four adults and Zach) from Hereford to near Montpellier in two days, including Eurotunnel. Automatic six-speed gearbox, with manual option, ensures irritation-free travel in traffic and safe descents of zig-zag mountain passes.

Lucy: It appears I have done some elliding regarding this vegetarian feast. Somosas were served but they were OK. What wasn't OK was a sprout and lentil shepherds pie. But the larger matter concerns me: this was a relationship that had endured several years. Abruptly I decided it must end. Subsequently I have applied these stern measures to other relationships and our social circle (never large) has diminished yet improved in quality. I am interested to know whether anyone else has taken similiar decisive action with a so-called friend. Given the warm charitableness of my commenters I suspect not.

PB: Ah, the mystery is revealed. You are referring to Mrs BB's rule of social engagement: Is it necessary? Is it kind? Is it true? The first question certainly applies. From my blog some commenters have concluded I am the greatest father that ever trod the earth. You would agree that this is a belief that needs squashing, surely?

HHB: There's a comment on the back of the book by the novelist, Rose Tremain, (who signed a copy of her novel The Colour for me at the Hay Festival and who explained her working methods briefly) that refers to CAD as "humane and accessible". This summarises her poems admirably. The initial poems in Rapture I would rate as "cleanly erotic". These describe the start of a love affair and I am strangely reluctant to read the ones that follow that describe the decay of the affair. Simply because she makes me feel too much.

Occasional Speeder said...

does the greatest father that ever lived pay for his daughter to drink Corton-Bessandres, Grand Cru 2005, Dom: Edmund Cornu and Vosnes-Romanée, Les Chaumes 2006 while at home eating fried egg sandwich and sipping Mount Gay? Maybe a contender? But then I remmeber the whole "Turn it down or I'll take the plug off your stereo"... Compensation for such trauma was due! :)

The Crow said...

BB, this is for you and Plutarch, but especially for you since you seem to have some ambivalence towards your abilities as a poet, where Joe seems right at home with his:
Poetry is not luxury.
Audre Lorde, Chosen Poems, Old and New; 1982

(found at a blog-friend's site - http://taoistharlequin.blogspot.com)

Oh, this is too funny - re: your comment at Plutarch's blog about hardening the 'ing,' the WV for my response is 'ingstale.' How about that?!

Avus said...

The worst car I ever owned was German. The most expensive to buy (and service), unhelpful and slack main agents, the most uncomfortable (3 breaks necessary in 150 miles, such was the torture to my back). It was a Mercedes Benz "E" series station wagon. I kept it for only 5 months.
SAABs aside, the most comfortable and reliable was a 7 year old Vauxhall Carlton station wagon I bought for £2000 to tide me over between company cars. I kept it for 2 years such was my affection for it.
"Quality" brand names do not necessarily equal quality or value for money.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Plutarch's been at it for years and years and has read copiously. He was even able to tell me that one of my rhyming couplets reminded him of Pope (That's the poet not the retired Father Christmas in the Vatican). My entry into verbal pipe-bending started only a few months ago and I was surprised to find that these tentative exercises qualified me, in other people's eyes (Mrs BB, to be exact), as someone who might enjoy a book of someone else's poetry. Even more surprising still, I did. As I said to HHB, CAD's Rapture is hot stuff but doesn't tend to corrupt.

Avus: So, all that history, Moss and the Mille Miglia, now Schumacher and F1, has gone and is going for nowt. Re-reading your comment I recalled what can only be described as a threnody that ran through the car reviews in Motor and Autocar in the days when I read those dullish magazines. Constant complaints about the over-firm seats in Mercedes. Shining youth brushes such matters aside; now, the slippered pantaloon sympathises and I bid you a cossetted 2010.

The Crow said...

"My entry into verbal pipe-bending started only a few months ago..."

I know...and you have made a few self-deprecating remarks about your skills and the value of your poetry writing. I wanted to support you as a poet, which I thought I was doing by pointing out that poetry - reading it, writing it - are essential aspects of our humanity. In other words, that your efforts are very much appreciated, and worthy of your continuation.

"...and I was surprised to find that these tentative exercises qualified me, in other people's eyes (Mrs BB, to be exact), as someone who might enjoy a book of someone else's poetry."

Mrs. BB knows you better than any of us ever will. She complimented your inner poet with her gift.

I will paraphrase Audre Lorde: "Your poetry is not a luxury." It might have to take a back seat to other creative activities, but it is worth developing, I think.

I'm just saying...


WV is another 'ing' word: ingualli

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: I have now written 316 posts. I can recall one that was brilliant: choice of a difficult subject, points raised, execution. It was an early effort and drew one (much appreciated) comment. There are probably two or three more but I can’t recall them. That’s the sort of ratio I would expect following a life devoted to writing that began when I was about ten.

Other than the posted verse about technology, in which Julia was a stern but understanding influence, the first sonnet (my preferred form) appeared on your blog when I adopted a self-imposed challenge to write about watching paint dry. It probably took a couple of days. I started out only dimly aware of what verse can deliver and even less about its potential. Unlike prose, verse appeared to be a series of tricks hemmed in by the restrictions of the form. Like solving a puzzle. The sonnet was finished when I judged the result to be plausible. No more.

I wrote more sonnets (as well as other formats) some on subjects I cared about, others which encouraged me to be sardonic – a judgement of Plutarch which I cherish. Various people (yourself among them) made appreciative noises for which I am grateful. But I remain sceptical about the achievement and this has led people to chide me for self-deprecation. I’m sceptical because whereas I can by now make a reasonably precise judgement about my prose – see above – I find it difficult to see true worth in a knack so quickly acquired.

I have read very little poetry but often what I have read has seemed defective. And I’m talking about big names. Again, I’m struck by the unlikeliness of all this. The instant poet and the perceptive critic – just add water. I am conscious that this self-deprecation may be seen as digging a hole which I am inviting acquaintances to fill in. “No, you’re not half as bad as you say.” But if I ever do become any good at verse it will be the result of being endlessly self-critical. I am truly grateful for your support which, I felt, deserved this over-long explanation.

The Crow said...

Dear BB:

I understand.


Plutarch said...

Now the blathering is over, there's more time for poetry or verse if you must. But you have demonstrated that you are better at it than you think you are, and that you have probably been scribbling away at sonnets and even odes in your sub-conscious for years. And there's the novel to look forward to. A chipper New Year! And to quote what your WV has just driven me to type, "imentym" to all at Chez Bonden