Posts from September 2005
Science meddling in matters it cannot comprehend, the concept of ‘needs a refill’ is a terribly flexible one, and much better managed by the trained eye observing the ‘cheeky line’ than this robot nonsense.
From fap.com‘s review of the Montague Arms in SE15: “If it’s just a drink you want, though, there are decent pubs much nearer the New Cross stations”.
Yeah dudes, I wish that was the bloody case… I mean if you want just the one and you don’t care about your beer and will get out of there sharpish, then sure, but COME ON… surely we can do better?!
I’m sorry but just having moved to NX, I’m really disappointed at the pubs on offer. We usually end up meeting people at the Hobgoblin simply for it’s proximity across the road from NXG stn, and it’s a HOLE. Their beer is awful, service surly, prices expensive and atmosphere downright uncomfortable. Last time apparently friends of mine had chips thrown at their heads there, I mean WTF? The pub closest to my new house was ALSO pretty empty (Saturday afternoon so the atmosphere could have been a bit off due to that), but still – they have NO BEER AT ALL! The closest they have is a bottle of Newcy Brown. Sheeyah whatever. The Goldsmith’s Tavern gets recommended by fancyapint.com – I’ve not been in yet, but the garish exterior and banner exhortations to “BOOK THIS VENUE FOR YR GRADUATION DINNER” don’t really endear me to Try It. And the Marquis of Granby… well that’s just a generic Oirish boozer on the corner which was alright the one time we went in there but I wouldn’t like to pop in by myself, if you know what I mean. I honestly don’t get it; the student population in NX is huge so you’d at least expect SOMEWHERE to have some kind of atmosphere wouldn’t you, but at the moment it’s just not happening. The best best that way remains either the Montague Arms which has such erratic opening hours it puts you off trying it, or the Sam Smiths up Lewisham Way – it’s still a bit Royston Vasey up there, but I am likely to forgive Sam Smiths a lot after a pint of their lovely OB.
courtesy the FOREST OF RHETORIC site
I don’t know why I put my RIP Helen Cresswell notice on NYLPM but it allows me to go into more detail here about the BAGTHORPE SAGA. This series of books doesn’t rate much as a ‘cult’ children’s book, there seem to be no websites dedicated to it, and not surprisingly as I think it probably only works if you ARE a kid. Cursory research though revealed TEN of the things, I certainly don’t remember there being ten.
The books are basically a sit-com based around the antics of a middle-class family replete with ‘gifted children’. It is always somewhat of a moot point whether or not the children ARE gifted, or at least whether their gifts (playing the violin, good at languages etc.) have any connection at all to intelligence, as they behave much more ridiculously than the non-gifted Jack, who is the ‘normal one’ in the family and as such the protagonist. For the first few books in the series the humour derives from this, though you get the feeling Cresswell finds other characters – particularly the enormously bitter minor-league TV writer dad – much more entertaining to write.
So, those Bagthorpe books in full.
1. Ordinary Jack – Jack tries out various hobbies to try and become ‘gifted’ and get his parents attention. Standalone satire on hothousing and the notion of the gifted child. Not that funny. The short-lived TV series adapted this one.
2. Absolute Zero – Feckless Uncle Parker wins a Caribbean cruise from a cereal packet competition, envious family enter loads of competitions and somehow win ‘Happiest Family’ prize. Pretence, hijinks ensue. Pretty funny if a thin plot.
3. Bagthorpes v The World – Huge tax bill leads family to try ‘Good Life’ style self-sufficiency, much funnier than it sounds.
4. Bagthorpes Unlimited – Awful cousins arrive to stay, o noes. Plot largely incidental to comic setpieces involving lead characters by this stage, which are all funny.
(I think these may be the wrong way round in my memory)
5. Bagthorpes Abroad – family goes on holiday.
6. Bagthorpes Haunted – family goes on holiday, part 2. These were the last two I actually read, I was disappointed but also probably too old for them (I would have been 12, 13 maybe, whereas I devoured the first four at 9 or 10). I fear the ghost is not actually real.
And the ones I haven’t read:
7. Bagthorpes Liberated – alarm bells ringing here as Mrs B discovers women’s lib.
8. The Bagthorpe Triangle – ??? the first summary I can find makes mention of a disappearing tramp.
9. Bagthorpes Besieged – media shenanigans as Mr B suspected of murder.
10. Bagthorpes Battered – housekeeper becomes have-a-go-hero tabloid cause celebre for thwarting a terrorist bomber. Satirical, I’m guessing. Published in 2001, and that’s yer lot.
In two weeks time (October 14th), we have another POPTIMISM night – hurrah! This is the good news.
The bad news is, it’s our last at the Polar Bear, as they don’t need us any more. We don’t know whether this is just us, or a wider shift in policy for the downstairs club, or if they’re closing, or WHAT (though we don’t THINK it’s personal, we’ve always got on fine with them).
But never mind the why, que sera sera – it’s a great shame as it was in many ways an ideal venue, but POPTIMISM MUST LIVE ON. We have, as they say, so much love to give.
If you know of any venues which might fancy Poptimism then please let us know. And if you are a Poptimism regular with a blog and have helped build up our good word of mouth in the past, then feel free to mention it too in case anyone else knows.
And just to remind you – OCTOBER 14TH, POPTIMISM, farewell to the Poley Bear, it’s going to be very very good.
I judge that the above headline will be used many times over the winter, with said employee/owner pictured/photoshopped here. also it’s not exactly somerset house is it? a scabby carpark on the edge of manchester…
RIP Helen Cresswell, author of The Bagthorpe Saga, which made me larff so much as an 11-year old that I’ve never dared go back and try reading it again.
For those who are getting worried that the book is just a tease vis a vis moon builders, note there are 14 Chapters in Who Built The Moon, the tease is part of the game. Chapter 6: entitled The Living Earth continues the tease. Apropos to nothing this chapter is about plate tectonics, how Earth is the only planet we know that has plate tectonics, and why.
Remember the Big Whack? Well for the moon to be made of Earth ejecta, that had to come from somewhere. Our authors take two unrelated theories (Big Whack and Plate Tectonics) and smush them together – even though the book does not believe in the big whack. This is confusing. Nevertheless, their argument goes:
- Big Whack needed to remove mass from earth
- Plate Tectonics need the plates to be separate and have gaps in between.
Thus the Moon came from the bits in between the plates. Not only is this theory a bit silly, it seems to have little basis on any scientific theory and THEY DON’T EVEN BELIEVE IN THE BIG WHACK. No suggestion on who built the moon and why the added plate tectonics – except to suggest that without PT the Earth would be dull and therefore a lousy place to evolve in.
scorsese wz a good choice of dylan doc-director for any number of reasons of course, but one might just be the way BE MY BABY kicks off mean streets – seeing as MS has a clear gift for making you rehear songs
not much to say abt the portrait of zimmy hisself (except that he came across more personable than i ever recall before), but one genuinely astonishing little bit of TV clippage = of ODETTA
who i had – unheard and based i guess on something i read years back – filed in my head as “worthy political folkie”: well in the song in question., odetta (beyond rhyme or easy reason ) was punctuating her song with this chilling human dogbark, and it instantly made me think of that phrase g.marcus uses in his basement tapes book, “the old weird america”
similarly the utterly eery wail of john jacob niles:
dylan’s complicated break with acoustic guthrie-land is one of those turns in history which calls down the huge condescension of posterity on the pore catcalling purists — ie it’s reconfigured as a kind of rockism-avant-le-lettre — but since BD’s hung around, ornery and unplaceable as ever, for another 40 years, bobby d gets to re-redefine his “commercial” move as a bid to recover the sheer unbiddable oddness of some of his forebears from the polite gentrification and de-weirdification of folk that he (maybe)* intuited was going on in the mid-60s…
*(forty years is plenty of time to work out a good line in hindsight) (and while i feel sorry for the folkie pol-purists who got left behind, i have to say dear GOD joan baez is a dreadful dreadful singer)
Okay, not ALL people, but flight attendants. Or as well like to call ’em, trolley dollies aka air stewardesses. Apparently the Jodie Foster “The Lady Vanishes” rip-off Flightplan portrays some air stewards as being rude, insensitive and unable to cope with the machinations of a hugely unlikely plot. Boo-hoo.
What next? Criminals boycotting films because it shows them in a bad light? Pah.