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, 7 October 2011

This is not about steam trains. Repeat 'not'

If there were a label for this post it might be: Contemplation of, and The Removal of Fluff From, The Author’s Belly-Button – an overt signal to the blogging community that the engine set in motion in September 1951 with a four-line paragraph about a jumble sale at St Barnabas Church, Heaton, is tending towards entropy, that the flywheel is juddering, that there’s little coal left in the tender, and that a blow-torch awaits on a quiet stretch of track in the Trafford Park rail depot. In fact there have been earlier signs: choice of unworthy targets (Huw Edwards) and an increasingly desperate search for source material (renting a plane in a foreign country).

But not quite. Note the punctilious use of commas in the proposed label and the caressing way with verb tenses. Perhaps there’s one more chuff left so let it be over the Ribblehead Viaduct (Note to ed: an easy pic here).

While BB was in Brittany Lucy took photos of him and published them on Box Elder – trampling on his grave, as it were, chortling about breaking his rules. In fact he approved (especially since his three-quarters rear resembles Orca surfacing to shake off marine parasites). The sneakiness echoed BB’s former profession, almost a left-handed compliment.

But (and here comes the piece of fluff) why should Works Well resist full frontals of its progenitor? Vanity? Shame? Apprehensions about BB’s version of “besides the wench is dead”? Explanations have been half-hearted. The need is for what the French call an apothème and the answer came, as it usually does, at 3 am.

“I write better than I look.” Vanity of course but it’s cleverer than it looks. Try disputing it. There is a good put-down but that’s for a later post, assuming such occurs


Rouchswalwe said...

Why resist, you ask? You've already revealed more than I have (only my left eye and right foot having made an appearance). The eventual danger is that readers might decide to patch together my body parts, hopefully with a Picasso flair and not in a Frankensteinesque montage.

The Crow said...

Hmmm...a thought-provoking post, to be sure.

I write better than I look, too, BB, which may or may not be a good thing in my case. I hide behind the image of an ancient, balding, probably lice-ridden crow. I do so, in part, because of my affinity for crows, partly because the first image I used was of a smooth faced, fully-feathered yearling which was an inaccurate representation of who I am today, but mostly because I haven't come to grips with the reality of how I look now. I have changed that much in the last ten or so years that I can hardly stand to look at myself in a mirror, even in my magic mirror in the first floor powder room. I have a favored photo taken about 20 years ago, but that face, that woman, does not exist anymore; it, too, is false. Perhaps I should reconsider posting a current photo for my avatar.

Nah - I'll keep the old crow.

I grew up watching Walter Cronkite, who set the standard for newsmen for me. I couldn't stand Dan Rather and his pseudo-Hollywood star persona, his editorializing with a cocked eyebrow or half-assed smirk, and his Stallone-wannabe, death-defying adventure-hero style of reporting. I guess Uncle Walter spoiled me for any news reporter/reader who tried to follow in his footsteps. As for Huw, I did Google him (guilty conscience, perhaps?) after leaving my comment at the previous post, found a couple of YouTube clips of him.

His voice is like pablum, bland yet vaguely comforting. His body language is confusing, especially when he looks like he's having to hold the desk in place, leaning on it with one forearm while keeping it steady with the other outstretched arm, palm down. He did that for so many of the clips that I thought he must have a boil in his armpit and couldn’t keep his arm close to his torso.

If I have grossly insulted a beloved British icon, if Huw is your Walter Cronkite, then I apologize if my hasty remarks have caused you (or your fellow citizens) any anguish. My opinion remains the same, but I wouldn’t hurt any of you for all the pablum in the world.

Sir Hugh said...

Ribblehead Viaduct is set in a remote and splendid landscape in the Yorkshire Dales, and shows its face with more subtlety than one would think possible for a man made structure that would generally be considered a desecration by those who worship wilderness, and it is therefore much photographed.

If one chose to describe it as analogous to good writing one would say it has an understated simplicity belying the quality of its design, but of course it never had a say in being on public display.

Barrett Bonden said...

Both: I am in a joyous, expansive mood. At Plutarch's behest I am inserting a new scene into A Stall Recovered and it's going so well I don't how I'll bring it to an end (I should be writing it now but I can see two paras ahead and for the moment I don't care). I started playing Figaro from the computer and found two tracks out of sequence; by an act of sheer genius I solved this and am now now under the influence of the greatest opera ever written; theoretically it shouldn't be possibly to listen to vocal music and write, but at this moment I am Superman. Tonight is Friday, which means an absolutely splendiferous bottle of red in three-and-a-half hours time. And the pair of you have come in flying low, under the weekend radar, that tends to reduce blogo-traffic to a mere whisper. What better than a couple of fencing matches.

RW (zS): Your situation is starting to sound like a clip out of Seven or some such gore-fest. Kidnapped and now they're sending parts of you by mail, upping the payout figure. Ever wondered how much your acquaintances might accumulate in order to have you sent back as a complete German (with assets) rather than in the secondhand condition poor old Gwyneth was returned? Tell them to let me know if it happens. I'm a soft touch and I reckon I'd go as far as $N, where N is quite a large - though imaginary - number. In fact if it happened now, in the state I am, I'd sell the house. Oh Wolfgang Amadeus, you'll ruin me if you go on, but please go on.

The Crow: No, don't think about "I write better than I look." from within; imagine someone you know having to wrestle with it as an argumentative proposition. What's nice is if they say "Yes, you do." it's one kind of insult, whereas if they say "No, you don't." it's another. There is another response which I'm keeping secret for the moment.

As for me, I've never been handsomer, never more intellectually dominant, never wittier (though what I'm writing here may prove me wrong), never so big-hearted, never less prone to convert to catholicism. Writing is my magic mirror and my huge eagle's wings allow me to flit effortlessly (Oh, oh - It's Porgi, amor; I'm transfixed) between Flagstaff and Biarritz, tweaking a character here, investing Jana with a halo there.

I overlapped with Good Ol' Walter. Unlike Deadly Huw he was the master of the well-chosen pause during which atom bombs might fall. I fear I rather liked Dandy Dan too (Oh, Oh! Voi che sapete. You are getting me at my best.). Say what you like, he wore a good suit.

As to Huw, not just pablum but Welsh pablum. You could say he was Peter Principled way beyond his natural niche: announcing the contestants at an Eisteddfodd. And no you haven't hurt me; I erected the target and handed you the loaded Winchester.

And now I must get Jana away from serving behind the bar in Tucson which desperation has driven her to. Poor delectable child.

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: Alas, you appeared while I was writing the above monster and I am bereft of emotion and vocabulary. Until next time, then

The Crow said...

"...rather liked Dandy Dan...wore a good suit"?

Oh, you terrible/wonderful punster, you!

Plutarch said...

Having just this minute removed my own fluff, reading this post makes me feel that I am being sucked the plot of a book where the characters all have wills of their own and owe nothing to the author or even to potential readers. Not just the post but the comments. The Crow's critique of newscasters raises your account of poor Hew to a new level. Pablum, that's a darling word!