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

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Oh oh, it's second childhood time again

Sensual or sensuous? My dictionary distinguishes. The more common sensual carries “overtones of sexual desire and pleasure”, the more neutral sensuous covers an appeal “to the senses but without the feeling of self-indulgence and sexiness”. My personal mnemonic will now be a Guardian reader and a Daily Mail reader.

So let’s have examples. Sensual taste (boiled bacon with parsley sauce), smell (Wright’s Coal Tar Soap), sound (Kirsty Young saying anything), touch (my fake silk – but uncrushable – shirt from Exact Tailoring Services), sight (Port Underwood, NZ South Island, at dawn).

We’re missing one sense: movement, not seen but experienced. Alas it’s not available to all, regarded as too terrifying, too vulgar, too laddish. But motorbike riding is right up there. For those who have only driven cars there is a comparative metaphor which, I fear, hinges on birth control methods.

Steering a car is banal: turn the wheel left and you go left, fumble that stick thing and the gearbox responds – in its own good time. With a bike, steering is closer to thinking: in both meanings of the word (ie, leaning and tending to) you incline yourself towards passage through a corner. The foot flicks, the gears change. More speed? You’ve got it. You’re part of cold, real nature. There’s risk and perhaps foolishness; but have you never willingly made a fool of yourself? Definitely sensual.

PUZZLE On November 5 I mentioned a TV programme in which a beautiful woman analysed self-portraits by famous artists. The woman’s beauty proved integral to the programme and I explored this, clumsily, badly. The title of the post was obscure and there were five comments, one of them mine. Stats reveal this has since attracted 43 pageviews. What’s going on out there?


marja-leena said...

Thinking about the thrill in the rush of movement, and I've only had a ride as a passenger on a motorbike once, I think for me it's been the experience of skiing, downhill and cross-country both - that slight fear of falling in all those cases. Also there was something about running when it felt light and good and fast when the body is fit and strong (that's a long time ago now). That sense of power coming from one's own body moving at its strongest and working well can't be matched by any machine for me. I guess I like my feet on the ground.

The Crow said...

Re: your puzzle - might be second-semester English lit students googling the line and coming across your post. I just googled the phrase, in quotes, and your post was listed about halfway down the page

Rouchswalwe said...

Exactly what I needed to read this morning, BB. Yes, I have made a fool of myself (rather recently as it turns out). A motorcycle ride might be just the thing to shake out the fuzziness and reconnect with the wind.

Plutarch said...

A sensual person glugs a glass of wine without looking at it. A sensuous one swirls the wine round the glass, sniffs it, sips it, rolls it round his mouth and reluctantly swallows it. Or spits it out.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: I ski-ed downhill fom 1978 to 2006 (and on one occasion I hired some cross-country skis just to see what that was like). I never ran. The problem with all these activities is you need to be fit to enjoy them properly and I've only been fit once in my life and that was in the early fifties after a month at mountain school. I certainly enjoyed ski-ing but never as much as I might and my legs were always the limiting factor. A motorbike can be enjoyed by an unfit fattie with a moderately developed sense of balance. The key to your comment is "can't be matched by any machine for me". I take this to mean you probably aren't aren't drawn to bikes when they are static. For me that's how the attraction began - a purely visual attraction. After which a dynamic attraction. And throughout the technical attraction of the machine itself.

The Crow: Salutary that anyone, however badly educated, would turn to something I've written for instruction. I'm in the entertainment business. Which phrase was it you Googled?

RW (zS): I make a fool of myself regularly here on WW. As you well know I've gone back and edited posts, others I have discreetly deleted in their entirety. I wouldn't recommend a bike ride at this time of year unless you've terrifically good circulation and a talent for bouncing when you fall.

Plutarch: I was with you all the way, until the final sentence. I think there's some mechanism in my mouth or throat that prevents me getting rid of a taste I like. So gourmand rather than gourmet. Does the S vs. S distinction work between George Eliot and the Blessed Jane? I fear the latter took a terrible knock following the re-reading of the Lyttelton/Hart-Davis letters.

Plutarch said...

They don't like Jane do they? I have often wondered why, as they don't, either of the give a good reason for their disapproval, as far as I can remember. Perhaps she is too sure of herself, too clever by half for these oh so clever men!

The Crow said...

I googled "dying of bitches?" from your November post referencing DT's Lament, adding the question mark to the query search.

No doubt, the word Poop in the title might have caught their eyes, too.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: I re-read the letters in an entirely different frame of mind. First time round I was struck by the width of their reading; second time by the fact that Lyttelton at least had a preference for what usually gets labelled as "lapidary style" (eg, Walter Pater) and this had frozen him in time. To give him credit he was trying contemporary stuff like "Look back in anger" and "Lucky Jim" but found them both appalling. More significantly he couldn't get on with Eliot or Auden. Second time round the Latin tags (for quite humdrum English phrases) became infuriating and it was clear I needed a different approach: I discovered it helped if I regarded the exchanges as a comic turn.

The Crow: As you say, "Poop" took me straight there but your reference to the other quote was what interested me. And there I was, among all the college professors.

Stats continue to puzzle me. As I said, some days ago this post had drawn 43 pageviews. Now this figure is down to 32. I assume these figures relate to hits during a rolling month.

Julia said...

Are you using Google Analytics for your stats? If yes, you can check the keywords people use to find that post (or if they are referral links etc.). Fun stuff really.

By the way - you're most likely right about the month report log and why the numbers dropped. Most stats programs run rolling 30 day reports.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: You don't think this comes perilously close to spying on your nearest and dearest (blogwise)? I've signed on for Google Analytics but am put off by the fact that one apparently has to attach that piece of code to every post you want to analyse. To check whether it works I need to do a new post but I'm rather taken up with having Yana fly the Cessna from Bayonne/Anglet/Biarritz to Montauban, revealing parts of her past life as she does. You might say too I'm spending much of my time in Flagstaff, Az, where the biggest supermarket is Safeway (actually there are two of them).

Julia said...

Most people who come to our blogs through odd keyword searches are people we wouldn't know, so it doesn't worry me a bit. Of course now you will know that I routinely google "Works Well" because it is the quickest way to your site and I like checking just how well your blog is doing on the Google charts!

Here's how to add Analytics in 3 easy steps : 1. sign in to blogger & click the Design tab, 2. Select Edit HTML. 3. Paste your Analytics script right above the final /body tag at the bottom of the page and save.

DuchessOmnium said...

If I think about your mnemonic too hard I begin to imagine that I might prefer to kiss a Daily Mail reader than a Guardian one. I admit I have never even begun to test this proposition, as I am pretty sure my lips are wholly unacquainted with those who subscribe to the newspaper which now stands for sensual.

Have I been missing something all these years?

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: I've done the first two bits; I now need to identify the bit I attach the code to. But I have every confidence. Will report back. But first I need to envisage the facade of Flagstaff High School.

DO: I think nothing in life should hinge on kissing (Before, during or after). Kissing is both transient and, if popular fiction is to be believed, a stepping stone to other activities. It is not an end in itself. Even after the most torrid, long distance kiss, repeated et seq., the mind finally looks for other diversions and most frequently (this time contrary to popular fiction) one ends up talking. Thus the price of twenty minutes' lubriciousness turns out to be a series of arid and dying exchanges with someone who is elderly (in body and in mind), ideologically attached to the British middle-classes, willing to be scared witless by predictions about the future, committed to the destruction of the BBC and prone to be aroused by details of pension schemes. The Guardianista's kiss may have been inferior, too philosophical, too technically ambitious but the aftermath will be more tolerable.

For the record mnemonics tend to be individual rather than universal, although I'm prepared to accept partial blame for casting you into this quandary. When it comes to kissing I have a mnemonic about Eyes closed?/Eyes open? but something tells me you've already sorted that one out quite some time ago.

Avus said...

Motorcycling: The closest a body can get to flying without growing wings.