Saturday, June 29, 2002

I'm thinking about Blogging again. A posting subject bete noire for some, but what the hell!

Often I have no idea what I'm going to write about, until I start. Not normally an auspicious method if one aims to produce a piece of writing worth reading I admit, but it seems to be an effective writing style for blogs and appears to be used on most good sites: (eyes left). The Blogger as cyber-conversationalist rather than as studious researcher seeking to prove a theory or test a hypothesis.

As with talking, the same with blogging - topics crop up as if clutched from the humming brew of any social congregation. Ideas are disinterred from remote parts of the memory in the process, prompted by recent experiences or observations. Items of news, culture, events and personal experiences are expressed with the full repertoire of emotions: sighs, groans, growls, laughs, which punctuate: likes, dislikes, annoyances, obsessions. The currency of a community, united by the need to share - in written form, words in all their glory.

Through blogs - thoughts. Some serious, some trivial, but all worth sharing and very often, illuminating. Items of interest, gossip, wisdom; exchanged at the village pump or sailor's scuttlebutt of the cyber-interconnectedness of weblogs, which in turn invite multiple opinions spawning yet further ideas. The opinions held and communicated aren't necessarily forged in the furnace of scholarly rigour - God forbid that they were - but are more the outpourings of ideas hatched and despatched in the moment. They aren't meant to stand up to scrutiny, though many could (switch those eyes left one more time), they are more the spontaneous outflow of creative people. Precise and exact only in their dedication to reveal parts of themselves which makes them, them.

It's no coincidence that words such as outpourings, ramblings, musings, ponderings, sluicings, overflowings are so often used by bloggers. All help to describe the kind of spilled stream of consciousness method which is used to such great effect in blogs. What is written is written for the moment to be read for the moment. Tomorrow may be different, but this is the deal today.

I'm with Gordon on this one:

"This journal is a relief. When I am tired ... out comes this, and down goes every thing. But I can’t read it over—and God knows what contradictions it may contain. If I am sincere with myself (but I fear one lies more to one’s self than to any one else) every page should confute, refute, and utterly abjure its predecessor." Lord Byron (1788–1824),

Friday, June 28, 2002

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make."
Truman Capote.

And reading Truman, don't forget reading. Sod what it's all about, just luxuriate in the words! Ponder on what it's all about later if you have any spare time.

I had no intention of returning to the subject of handshaking so soon, but having fallen victim of a particularly cruel and unsporting variant: 'The Finger Squeeze', recently, I think there's a little mileage in it yet.

Received wisdom has it that a firm handshake connotes strength of character, and that the limp weak offerings of some, condemn their personalities as weak and ineffectual, like their grip. But there are other variations, styles and nuances between and either side of these examples all of which, apparently, have something to say about us.

My finger squeezer apparently "likes to keep someone at a comfortable distance." He is an "insecure type of person who equates brute strength with personal power." He uses his hands as "weapons to dominate and overpower people." And finger squeezers probably ripped the wings off flies for entertainment value when they were kids it might have added, but didn't; so I just did.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

If ever I'm asked whether I'm tempted to give up blogging, I'd like to think I would be able to come up with an answer like this:

"No doubt I shall go on writing, stumbling across tundras of unmeaning, planting words like bloody flags in my wake. Loose ends, things unrelated, shifts, nightmare journeys, cities arrived at and left, meetings, desertions, betrayals, all manner of unions, adulteries, triumphs, defeats ... these are the facts..."
Alexander Trocchi (1925–1983)

But I would be sure to add: ..."And it feels good to share them."

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

For a while I lived on a Mediterranean Island and like most people have spent time travelling around Europe. One conclusion I've been forced to draw during these peregrinations is that the British are an awkward bunch when it comes to greetings. Take the convention of the handshake for example. Although the most un British of social demonstrations the perfunctory chaste kiss has become increasingly popular and is now on the fringes of commonplace, (though still providing etiquette problems of area: left cheek, right cheek, the worrying and scandal-filled lips or the fresh-air, eyes-closed, pouters; and of quantity: One? Two? Three? Four!? The acceptable conventions of the handshake have yet to be properly resolved.

For the British the handshake is generally accepted practice during initial meetings as in "how do you do" before a launch into so many my name is's and basic first base descriptions of the self; but it is a far less natural performance when encountering those already known. The French, Germans, Italians, Greeks, Spanish are all completely unambiguous about when a hand should be offered to be shaken. It's simple. It's whenever they meet someone, whether known, or not. Always, hands are speared towards torsos, flesh is pressed and comradeship and affection sealed. A contrast to the rather stilted 'introductions-only style' more commonly used by we Brits.

It often seems immaterial to greeters from other nations as to whether they saw each other yesterday, hours or even minutes before, the handshake is invariably offered, and by each other, expected and accepted. The British however, prefer to verbalize their meetings, at a distance; physical contact deemed inappropriate or out of place.

But like with the continental kiss, things are changing; though as with the nouveau cheek peck hellos, problems can be expected. Half a lifetime of non-introductory handshaking is not given up easily. Typically you can bump into someone you know and a strange clumsy ritual begins involving twitching arms and curious glances: Should I? Do I? Ought I? Then - I will... I won't. He, (mainly he), hasn't. Twitch, twitch. Then before long, it's too late, and the time for spontaneous hand clasping is over. The moment lost forever.

It's another part of the old British reserve I suppose. And most of us I would imagine are happy that it's breaking down. Public displays of grief as demonstrated over the last few years, from Gazza's famous blubbing to Seaman's infamous whimpering (blast him). From the runnel filled faces during Diana's funeral to the cheating lachrymose Nasty Nick from BB1. "It's good to cry," said the sinisterly Scottish corporal to the "recruit" in 'Lad's Army' when he harsh whispered into the lad's cheek muscle dancing, lip-vibrating face. "I would take yee t' war do ya hear, I would take ye cos you wouldnee run away." before giving him a hearty, back hugging handshake. Handshakes. Let's get 'em done.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Recently I made the switch from 56k modem to cable. On installation day a batch of polo shirt wearing, denim clad chaps arrived at my house armed with reels of cable, sufficient it seemed to rewire the whole street, and a sex-deviant's workbox of tape, splicers, cutters and clips. The first two workers took care of the wiring side of things, an industrious couple of honest Joe's, happy to slurp their tea and talk about the footy whilst getting on with their drillings and feedings. " I want the cable there and the box there. Umm, tea, cof...?" "Please. But we'll get cracking...running late you see."

I did see, and was thankful. Time-pressed tradesmen are often a bonus, (unless they're tempted to cut corners), it stops them standing around and chatting casually and chuckling agreeably before starting their work, tut-tutting about the state of whatever it is that is broken or the location of whatever needs installing; not caring that all the while the call out tariff is spinning in their favour like an amphetamine-fuelled dervish . "Another cup of tea?" You ask. "Don't mind if I do." They say. And in no time you're cursing your good manners and wishing you said: "That's the pipe, washing machine, boiler, TV; it's not working, fix it. And fix it quick, I don't want to talk about it, I don't even want to know what's wrong with it. Just fix it, and quickly, this is costing me money.

The third chap, younger, slightly more dynamic, a little less deferential, took care of the technical end. As I watched him sitting in front of my computer screen, tapping away on my keys, scrutinising my monitor I had the strangest feeling of being...examined, graded against some computer whizz-kid's taxonomy, the details of which shared later with others - points awarded for the inclusion of this, or deducted for the exclusion of that. How funny was this, how odd, that. It was a strangely intrusive affair as the new set-up seemed to require him to make a kind of "round the world tour" of the machine - laying bare and exposed the contents of my personalised desk-top, my, eclectic favorites cache, my, bizarre short-cut selections and off beat colour choices. I had the distinct feeling that he was prodding and poking around part of my personal lebensraum with the kind of faux-professional detachment expected of a doctor or surgeon - a cyber-gynecologist - "U..huh, this is interesting, ('but I have to be careful as to what I let on what's actually interesting me')", or the disinterested window cleaner: "I only care about what's going on, on the outside, so to speak: I look, and I see things, but I don't look, know what I mean? I mean, you'd be surprised at what you do see!"

It was awful. I swore it was only a short step before he started to open my emails ( he'd get bored with that quick enough, most of my correspondents send messages with business addresses and click here to see if you've won links.) And, as I walked out of the room with the sound of his tappy tapping and 1980s style yuppie-chatting filling my ears (phone clamped between cheek and shoulder in voice several decibels louder than necessary), my mind was filled with irrational thoughts. I started to think that the next time I walked back in, he'd be sat with a sparked up ciggy, in a fug-haze of blue smoke and smirks, a Devilish aura; feet on my desk, dissecting my favourites, ridiculing my layout and in mocking tones...reading my blog out aloud to his mate on the other end of the phone.

Strange - I have nothing to hide, but I felt somehow uncomfortable about this unplanned public-airing - not of the blog, that, after all is public, but the thinking which goes on behind it, the fruits of the private time I spend, is not.

(Completely unrelated aside.) I am very pissed off about "The Match," and if there's anyone, anywhere on the planet with a more punchable face than Ronaldinho, I haven't seen him yet.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Neil Mcormick of the Telegraph has a decent theory on why it is people tend to believe that music is never as good as it once was; best encapsulated in the phrase: "it's all shit these days."

"I think the answer lies in the way we listen to music and in particular the level of intensity and concentration we bring to something that, I would guess, most adults consider a pleasurable diversion rather than the core of their very being. Pop is neophyte by instinct. It occupies such a central place in modern youth culture that it is almost compelled to keep changing, embracing ever more sonic, rhythmic and lyrical extremes so that each successive generation can claim a badge of musical identity that is their own. Given its relative importance in their social and cultural life, young people (like music critics) tend to be willing to put in the time and summon the genuine effort sometimes required to crack musical codes and find the key that unlocks each new genre. And, of course, you have to be prepared to sift through a great deal of dross to get to the gold. It was ever thus, but as people get older and, by choice or necessity, dedicate less energy to the listening process, the inevitable tendency is to stick to what you know and respond to things that sound familiar."

This may seem somewhat redundant given that God is presumably on everyone's side.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Any recent obsessions I might have had for the Channel 4 Big Brother productions have been easily cured. I thought I would get hooked all over again with 3 as I did with the original and 2. I thought I would again feel that inexplicable compulsion to tune in regularly and watch a clutch of shallow half-witted fame-wishers inanely chattering their way to undeserved though mercifully transient fame.

All the requisites are in place: unfunny tomfoolery, sexually frustrated attractions, total ignorance among the chosen players of anything outside the limited scope of their own existence as they mug, bug, and hug their way through their torture. Our, or at least my torture.

I don't want to watch it this time. Is it their fault? I doubt that - they're ideal for the format. Together this "cast," this "troupe,"this carefully chosen dramatis personae are all the previous participants writ large. As loud, daft, and smutty as any who have gone before them. Perhaps I've finally grown up, I don't know. Time - any amount of time spent in the "company" of this lot bores me. I don't even feel that sting of vicarious embarrassment I used to feel when watching.

Those faithfully reproduced examples of conversation posted elsewhere are no better or worse than what's been heard previously. Funny, I suppose, but no longer surprising. All the head shaking incredulity that could be done, has been done. I have incredulity fatigue.

Perhaps there are no more surprises to be had from this kind of experiment. A bit of swearing and mucky talk here, a little cabin-fevered antagonism there. A few monologues of outrageous factual inaccuracy here, a little cod-psychology there. Throw in some half hearted nakedness, crap jokes and a bit of clumsy rumpy pumpy and that's about it.

What I can't deny however is that the contents of my stats have been enlivened by the existence of BB3 and through my weird need to write about it even when I refuse to watch it. Just about everyone who visits this site through a search engine want's to see Kate either naked or in a thong. Jade's recently exposed oral skills - the kind where the utterance of fully formed words isn't a requirement, seems to have someone in a panting tizzy.

And as if to demonstrate the wonders of diversity, somebody out there got all excited about the idea of the now absent giantess Alison in a thong. Which might be stretching a point rather, not to mention what she might have done to the minimalist properties of that style of underwear.

I might stray from this self imposed denial and return to BB3. It depends on how I manage without it.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

This rather damp and dismal start to the summer has made the idea of escaping to sunnier climes very appealing. If I break a recent habit and visit a Mediterranean country, ( I've visited all the usual places - a continuous cycle from which I broke off when I self-diagnosed myself as suffering package holiday fatigue), I will at least feel as if there was a summer to this year. I shall have to go abroad if I'm to be able to look back on this summer with any pleasant sunny-day type memories. This is the only way I'll be able to break the virtually permanent, year-long season of grimly damp, cool, chilly-breezy days which now seem to characterise the British weather right-through-the-calendar.

Make no plans around a British summer's day, you should know, you've lived here long enough to know, all outdoor social plans will send you headlong into the wedding scene in that film with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck.Outdoor pursuits are bound to make you feel like the drenched, galloping-away to a better (drier?) life Heathcliff ,sooner or later.

On too many day trips, UK holidays and mini breaks I have had to round the family up, and in a soaking, breathless panic, chivvy them through the doors of gloomy caffs like a parachutist trainer with a bunch of recruits: go.go,go; following yet another wet outbreak. Then, to sit damply around tables, huddles of coats, stinking of rain, encircling cups of tea (the medicine of the weather oppressed) looking like a resentful card school or attendees at a Russian seance. Me gazing out of steamy windows wishing I felt more alive - the rest of the family looking at me balefully, wishing I were dead. Or, if not dead, sensible enough not to drag them all to - wherever we happen to be.

Recently I found myself in one of those situations. And the subject of foreign holidays came up. Cured of too much Med fever through the passage of time (and rancid summers at home), I am now searching for something to release me (us) from the disappointed-guaranteed British summer. But during my research I probably shouldn't have visited " Holidays Uncovered"

I thought this site would provide for me insightful, truthful, (all the sales pitch crap cut out) comments about various countries, resorts and hotels. It does. Or rather, it does if you search hard enough. Generally, the whole website seems to resemble one big letter of complaint.The worlds longest screed, a litany of bug bears, grumbles, and bright,shiny tears.

A brief trip around the section covering the Neapolitan Riviera prepares the hopeful traveller with descriptions of "bland food, rude locals, roaming dogs, unhelpful hotel staff and thieves everywhere," all cited as being pretty typical experiences. A switch to (any) Greek island and you can expect that:" it stunk"(sic), the perennial favourites "mossies and cockroaches" are ubiquitous... ( though that word doesn't appear, well it wouldn't, would it?)... everywhere, open sewers, crap reps (only interested in having a good time themselves - hmm some truth in that one) "cracked pavements, dirty pavements, no pavements too,too expensive; too,too hot, too Greek, too Spanish, too foreign.

And suddenly, I don't won't to bother, because there are grains of truth in all this. I need the summer to get better.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

I believe this:
Optimism doesn't wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time.
Norman Cousins.
But I worry about this: England have been installed as second favourites to win the World Cup following their impressive 3-0 win over Denmark.

What we don't need are the encumbrances of too much expectation crushing the players, or the misapprehension that as near favourites, going all the way is a mere formality. Better to feel quietly and cautiously optimistic, and for the England players and fans to be mindful of Robert Frost's words as the team progresses steadily through the tournament:

I’m a poor underdog,
But tonight I will bark
With the great Overdog
That romps through the dark
Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Perhaps the answer to the (in some quarters) interminable question of the reviled "Why Do We Blog?"- school of navel-gazing, can be found here:
The need to express oneself in writing springs from a maladjustment to life, or from an inner conflict which the adolescent (or the grown man) cannot resolve in action. Those to whom action comes as easily as breathing rarely feel the need to break loose from the real, to rise above, and describe it.... I do not mean that it is enough to be maladjusted to become a great writer, but writing is, for some, a method of resolving a conflict, provided they have the necessary talent.
Andre Maurois (1885–1967)

I suppose there's some truth in that, but it seems to ignore that for some, writing is action and as such is as legitimate an example of living as any other activity. I think there's scope for a lot more analysis here - but time constraints compel me to heft my maladjusted body into another batch of activities - so I shall dash my 'pen' down with a theatrical flourish and go resolve.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

A little technical fiddling with my new skin's template has finally revealed to the world my "Daily Reads." This "list" has sat unseen (along with other efforts at improvement, some successful others disastrous) in a less fashionable, darker corner of Blogger - a kind of prison, torture chamber and laboratory where replica templates reside. Exact facsimiles, unloved clones bred for experiment. The Paupers to their Princes. The blog whipping-boys destined to be treated as crudely as laboratory rats: stretched, prodded, to have strange things poured into and onto them. An existence of feeding and purging, a test bed, a sounding board sometimes being damaged beyond repair. The purpose of the simulacrum: not to edify, to illuminate or to humour, but to sacrifice its existence for the benefit of a higher form.

Monday, June 10, 2002

I finally got round to watching an episode of "The Osbournes" last night - Episode 3 I think it was. A strange experience but like most distasteful ideas that find their way on to our television screens, strangely watchable. The fly on the wall format still has the sucker power of its namesake's feet, the natural strength of its hair-thin legs, and the all-seeing appraising eye of the edgy voyeur.

Whoever identified the insatiable curiosity we humans have in the everyday/workaday minutiae of each other's lives and the congenital need for this fulfillment once we're exposed to an unfolding sequence of mundane events, must have found the television equivalent of the Holy Grail. They must also have been blessed with the psychological perception of a Freud combined with the kind of entrepreneurial acumen that could turn a cockney barrow-boy into a millionaire.

Each time reality-based TV programmes show signs of losing pre-eminence to a newer obsession it returns stronger than ever. Pretenders to the popularity crown are destined to always be just that. The clever (the host as star) chat shows, the quiz-show with the rude presenter, the "on location celebrity." Even the confrontational confessionals - choreographed itineraries of pulled-punch ups, crocodile tears, and slaughtered grammar, takes a lesser billing in the public preference to the " here we are living our lives, fancy a peek?" television programme.

Years before the "Airports", the "Driving Schools", the "Hotels." Long before the "Survivors" and "Big Brothers." Ages before these programmes spawned all those low grade improbable celebrities such as Airport's camp Jeremy Spake, Driving school's ghastly Maureen, the callous Eileen from Hotel and the uncouth Helen from BB; the ground-breaking: "The Family," which created a celebrity out of no-one except the format, was filmed back in the 1970's.

Over a number of months this working class family's life - which I believe was all but destroyed, such as it could be made worse, in the process - was filmed in intimate and prurient detail. The "life" as depicted, resembled little more than a peek at a group of people living more or less on top of each other, in a Council house in Reading. They were lives of penurious desperation. More no-s than a Japanese theatre group characterized the individuals: no work, no money, no brains, no morals, a kitchen-sink drama of rows, petulance, dirty talk and idleness. The scenery consisted of a complement of cheap beer, smoldering ciggies, tatty sofas, chirping budgies, and outside lavs. Viewers were tacitly invited to condemn the poverty- stricken, morality-free horror of this "typical" working class family unit. It made grim viewing. But it was also compulsive viewing. A factualised hybrid of "Cathy Come Home"'Til Death Do Us Part" and "The Royale Family." And as real as the editors allowed it to be.

"The Osbournes" - particularly when it hits mainstream television will also be compulsive viewing. "The Osbournes" is essentially the Wilkins family but with the liberating resource of money. And a famous though shambolic, constantly befuddled, hard-life-ravaged, foul-mouthed but still somehow charming, male lead.

Old rocker Ozzy Osbourne with the glamour of his youthful excess long behind him - the dark poetry of his Black Sabbath days fighting for the tenancy rights of his mouth with the heads of doves and bats. Provocatively strutting the worlds gig stages part Jagger, part devil - the real deal to Alice Cooper's Prince of Darkness manque. Now reduced to an oddball, bumbling figure of fun, fifty something (he can never remember), raddled, shaky, and nearly deaf. "So would you be if you'd shared a stage for thirty years with millions of decibels," he mumbles brummily to his fun-poking daughter, his enunciation the proof that half a lifetime of drunkenness induces a second half permanent hangover.

Just as with the Wilkin's we marvel at the very awfulness of it all. We hate most of the cast of the star-struck wannabes, camera-mugging their way to tabloid-style fame, real or imagined - the trainee vets, soldiers, cruise ship entertainers, and God help us traffic wardens. And we hate all the shrill Big Brother contestants and crude exhibitionist "Uncovered" wastrels. But our appetite to drop in and out of other people's otherwise private affairs is still strong. A glimpse at the living creation of other people's lives enables us to form opinions as to what our lives are all about. To recognize similarities or dissimilarities helps in the effort to try to understand something more about the meanings of our own lives. This is probably why we have the desire for a casual squinny at something we should not really see, or to eavesdrop on something we should not really hear.

Who of us would not rather penetrate those roped off areas of the stately homes open to the public, and break off from the organised route and into the areas marked "Private." And who amongst us can say that they haven't felt a frisson of excitement when stumbling into a private conversation on a telephone line and felt compelled to continue holding the receiver to your ear long after the error has been realised.

Whatever it is that drives me to watching these TV programmes, whatever it is that makes me so curious, it's a real force to reckon with and I shall be watching (or taping) "The Osbournes" every Sunday night from now on.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

The Scotish football fans can be a pretty mean-spirited bunch sometimes. I still remember the frenzied purchasing of Argentine football shirts and flags during France 98 by our friends in the north to enable them to visibly demonstrate their support for a national football team for which they would otherwise have little affection. The fact that they were playing England was cause enough to turn Scottish football fans into honory South Americans/Germans/Spanish...*Martians* should they ever announce their presence in time for a little international/interplanetary sport instead of torturing us with now-you-see-us-now-you-don't sky-flits. As regards other nations no amount of historical atrocity or geographical obscurity for which they are known, will ever be enough, it seems, to ensure a little well-wishing from our Caledonian cousins when the English play sport against - well - any of them. True there's been a few battle-field fisty-cuffs between Eng/Scot over the centuries and a bit of royal palaver; but they're over, move on.

Back in 1978 I was still daft enough to regard the Scottish team as pretty much England except for the prevalence of red hair and a tendency to wear skirts on formal occasions. I was depressed when they were dumped from the competition by Peru - as sad as if the fate had been England's. And I rejoiced at their too late but brilliant win against an inspired Dutch team. No-one ever taught me not to support the Scots - it just seemed natural. And I still, despite everything, like to see them do well.

So when I read this from Vicki Woods notebook column in yesterday's Telegraph I can't help but feel fed up with them because I know it's not an isolated case: "My...[Scottish but living in England] husband... said he'd been in all the sports shops in Newbury looking for a Sweden shirt, and was a)baffled and b)annoyed when he couldn't find one. He had to sit in the snug in his old Glasgow Rangers shirt and spat bricks for the entire first half, until Our Heroes cheered him up by making a pig's ear of the England defence."

The question has to be: why does Mr Woods live in England if his feelings of enmity - towards the national team and therefore England as a nation - are so strong? And how fortunate it is for him that he can sit in an English pub, dressed to provoke, and diss the natives with impunity.

"Writing about an idea frees me of it. Thinking about it is a circle of repetitions". Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S.aphorist.

I could almost add the word discuss at the end of that quotation, though that would probably send a cold chill down the backs of most. But perhaps this aphorism explains something about the desire to write. I would prefer, however, to think that before being freed of the idea, the process of writing about it would help give clarity of understanding first. The "circle of repetitions" swirling disjointedly and untethered around the head, made secure, ordered and valid.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

"Do you have a weblog?
If you do, please email us about it. We want to know if a large number of our readers keep a weblog - and if we can improve our service by linking to the best of them, or the best parts of them. That email address again:"

In fact a visit alone seems to do the trick. I have already received a hit from the esteemed Guardian Weblog, and I didn't send them an email. Whether they will want to cull anything from my modest offerings remains to be seen. I suspect they are looking for those heavily into current affairs - though they haven't said so much.

Monday, June 03, 2002

On the 14th of this month I will have upgraded my internet connection to Broadband. This will break the tripartite of Blogger/Blogspot/Freeserve who together seem to work a kind of devilish shift cycle in an effort to turn the blogging process for me into a a heart-attack high risk zone. I shall pick the scoundrels off one by one in deference to my good health. Unless the cable provides in itself the zip I need.

If only I could get a cable style high speed enabler fitted into my mind as well. All the same circumstances seem to apply: slow loading (memory); connection breaks, (concentration); no connection available, ( creative block); bad connection, (frustrated thinking); crashing, (loss of consciousness).

It seems I'm climbing out of a black hole. A Blogger black hole nightmare of lost posts, lost connections and lost tempers. I am now writing with hardly a care - though in fairness I have just scored an unexpected technological success in the shape of an indulgent bathetic piece placed just below this one. The use of quotations as the basis for posts it seems to me is far from cheating. If one is lacking a little in the inspiration department with only thoughts that seem too mundane to share, what better way to enliven one's writing than to present the resonating ideas of greater figures.

There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write. -William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist (1811-1863).

I can see it now. That quotation resounding through his or her head. The machine, the new pen, its hum/whine providing background sound. Keyboards primed, fingers freshly cracked - poised, eyes closed, mind in meditative focus. The posture, the attitude, the technology - a three way harmony. A scene set to tease and seduce the unplumbed inspirations to the surface of the consciousness. Then it comes, made suddenly clear in an epiphanic moment of creative urging - with fingers trembling, fearful lest the moment is lost, the distilled essence of an idea is born: "gallery free animal fuck directory." Another Google hit from someone whose mind has settled in an altogether darker place.

I refuse to give the quote italics purposefully; what an insult to the great WMT it would be if the scuzzo who typed those words in search of those hideous interests were to be given the same grammatical weight as him. On the same page!