i had some occasion recently to mention this to Terry. I thought it good to quote. On wiping one’s arse, from Rabelais in the 16th century:
But to conclude, I say and maintain that of all arse-wisps, bum-fodders, tail-napkins, bung-hole-cleansers and wipe-breeches, there is none in this world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs: and believe me therein upon mine honour; for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down, and of the temperate heat of the goose; which is easily communicated to the bumgut and the rest of the intestines, insofar as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods, in the Elysian fields, consisteth either in their Ambrosia or Nectar, but in this, that they wipe their tails with the necks of geese.
Gore Vidal, 82, is in the UK on a mini-tour. last night he was interviewed on “The South Bank Show” by Melvyn Bragg. Tomorrow, again with Bragg, he’s in conversation on stage in London. At he weekend he’s in Hay-on-Wye. I have tickets for Saturday. Here’s hoping he makes it alive, he’s not in the beast of health and the journey to Hay can take it out of anyone. Melvyn Bragg, incidentally, is the first person on record ever to use the word “prat” to mean “fool” in his 1969 novel “Without a city wall.”
I just watched the TV show and, as you’d expect, Gpre was good value. he talked about christianity in robust terms enticing Bragg to defend it’s (or its adherents’) good works. Gore replied that he’d not seen any and asked if Bragg remembered the “Gibbon line”. a shake of the head. well, at the time of the Sparticus rebellion, whomever was controlling the empire of the time rounded up a bunch of christians and strung them up on the Apian way and set light to them . . . and Gibbon says “it was the only illumination they ever gave”.
Gore goes on to berate america for its political and cultural stupidity, and the show ends with him reading somberly from “The Golden Age”:
As for the human case, generations of man come and go and, in eternity, are no more than bacteria upon a lumious slide; and the fall of the republic, or the rise of an empire, so significant to those involved, is not detectable upon the slide, even were there an interested eye to behold that steadily proliferating species, which would either end in time or, with luck, become something else. Since change is the nature of life, [pause] and its hope.
Vidal nods to camera and the picture freezes. The credits rise. Count one, two, three. A northern voice sparks up over the face of the great man:
Sarah Ferguson is on a mission to help a family of overweight smokers in a two-part documentary, later. Next up - Hitler in Colour!
Clay Shirkey’s book “Here Comes Everybody” is worth a read. In the video, below, he’s also worth listening to. He tells a nice storey three-quarters of the way through a four year old kid watching a dvd with her dad. Half-way through the movie she goes searching behind the TV. When asked what she’s looking for, she says “a mouse”. As Shirkey says, four year olds know that a screen that ships without a mouse is broken. It reminds me of how Zoe, 8, consumes TV. She’d far rather do it on a computer. She’ll watch “I’d do anything“, her favourite programme, live, but she’ll go on youtube afterwards to watch the best songs again, and again, and again. Within a day she knows all the words and all the dance moves. I read something the other day about how kids that had memorised three nursery rhymes by the time they were five go on to be better readers. I don’t know how many complete lyrics Zoe knows, but way more than me.
The best thing about all this is that kids pick it up without the aid of their parents. I came downstairs yesterday to find Zac playing World of Warcraft. He’d heard about it, found the site, saw that there was a free 10 day trial, downloaded it, installed it, and had encouraged his friends to do the same. When I found him he was busy chatting to his mates in-game about what they were going to do together next. Next to all this, TV is dull.
i feel bad that i can’t get zac GTA4. i know it’s as good as it gets right now, but he’s only 10. the law says he can’t buy it and, more importantly, ita says he can’t have it. i probably agree. but, from what i’ve read, i think it would be good to play it. i have an ambivalence to video games. i like them when i play with my kids, but i rarely play them on my own. i don’t think they give enough back, the rewards are pretty small, they appeal to our competitive nature, even if we’re only competing against ourselves. but GTA4 appears to have delivered a new dimension. a background that is good enough that people willingly suspend disbelief. i read, recently, of some guys first few days playing. he tripped over a hobo, causing him to fall into the road, almost getting hit by a truck. he found himself apologising out loud after the hobo remonstrated with him. i read another today, also good.
I like to stalk people in Grand Theft Auto 4.
Follow them everywhere they go. They get in a cab or car, I’ll follow behind them slowly at pace equal to theirs, always 2 cars length behind them. They get a hot dog, I get a hot dog, etc.
While doing this one day I came across a couple. A dark haired man with medium length hair, and this girl who had gorgeous long blond hair.
I followed this couple for miles, from Alderney City to the bright neon lights of Star Junction, they were seemingly happy, joyful, in love with one another. The man cared for his girlfriend, and the girlfriend cared for her boyfriend.
They ate happily together, eating hot dogs, taking in the city. Always staring into each others eyes with deep glee and happiness. I had never seen so much love between two people. I cared for these two as much as they cared for each other. I would do as much as I can to make sure nothing would ever happen too them.
johann hari, recipient of the orwell prize for journalism, wrote an interesting article in todays boris-fest of an evening standard. in the tradition of aldous huxley he tried out Provigil, an treatment for narcolepsy that appears to enhance brain function by inhibiting tiredness / laziness. It is said to enhance attention, clarity of thinking, IQ, and even weight loss. Hari took away some pretty positive results, though said he would only use two or three times a month in future. This is the stuff of the future. I can see students of all ages reaching for a packet. Gone are the days of caffeine pills and stimulents. The MoD is even buying it in bulk. Welcome to our chemical future.
lunch at 12.30. fine restaurant, fine wines. after several bottles we retire to a london hostelry for several beers. home on the train busting for a pee. picked up at the station, peace, family. a neighbour pops round with a small child. thence off to vote. a short walk in the sunshine after a day of rain. a small church hall, several different coloured pieces of paper, crosses entered. the lady at the box tells me to turn my papers over before posting them because “it wouldn’t do to see which way you’ve voted”. walk back in the sunshine. a virgin airline plane exits a cloud. all is well.
i’ve said before that my favourite drink is a licorice whiskey sour. well, after seeing laurie anderson last night at the barbican i suggested a trip to charlotte street to get one. it went down well, and after one we exited for a cigarette and ordered two sicilian whiskey sours to follow, also delicious. we returned, drank them, ordered two more licoroce whisky sours and exited for another fag. rinse and repeat until there is no way home except for a black cab.