Archive for May 5th, 2006

Some Neck on Ye

On a recent trip to Spain we bought an ostrich feather duster. I don’t know why, but I thought that ‘ostrich feather’ described the style of the duster, rather than the, ah, substance.

Then I read the label and it says: ‘MIRKO has selected for you in this duster the highest quality of ostrich feathers, to treat delicately any surface or object.’

Now I’m not particularly opposed to the plucking of ostriches so that people can maintain their houses spick and span, and I’m quite happy with the effectiveness of the duster in shifting dust.
But they could have removed the smell of ostrich from it before putting it on sale.

Hanging Out With The BNP

I got the Heathrow Express into central London the other day, and as I looked to the right on the way in, I noticed quite a few English flags hanging from council flat balconies. I thought that it was a bit early yet to be getting excited and patriotic about the World Cup, but now I’m wondering if it was related to this? At the time of Euro ’96 there was a huge promotion of the St George’s Flag, and lots of gushing in the media about how wonderful it was to have a sense of pride in being English, but this seems to have faded a bit since, and now you have the BNP flogging the flag on their website.

Ooh Patron

You know, I didn’t think Charles Clarke was all that bad as a British Home Secretary, but he was probably undermined to a large extent by Blair in the aftermath of the July bombings last year. Also, he probably came across as too amiable, too reticent, to mete out ‘justice’ when it was required. Not so former communist John Reid, once described famously as a ‘patronising bastard‘, a description which, based on his media appearances during his time as Northern Ireland Secretary, seems accurate enough to my mind. Say! Now that I think of it, ‘patronising bastard’ could be used as a euphemism for ‘ex-communist’, or vice-versa, whichever you prefer.

Labyrinthine Text Messages

Colm Tóibín’s review of a new biography of Jorge Luis Borges is well worth the read, if you like that sort of thing.

I liked this bit: (emphasis mine)

Six months before his father’s death, Williamson points out, Borges wrote a
book review for an Argentine magazine which is much more likely to have offered
the inspiration for ‘Pierre Menard’ than his father’s vain request. The book was
Paul Valéry’s Introduction à la poétique. Williamson writes: ‘The same text,
according to Borges, could mean different things to different readers in
different periods, and he quoted a line from a poem by Cervantes to show that a
reader in the 20th century would derive a different sense from the very same
Borges wrote: ‘Time – a friend to Cervantes – has corrected the proofs
for him.’

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May 2006