Monday, March 28, 2011


One day, this thing's going to be more than a simple repository for disbelief, but until then here's a thought: sometimes the only thing to do when you're over a barrel is to fall on the sword.

EDIT: Or, indeed, to issue a swift rebuttal on your website.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Pin Lady has the Pin of Tomorrow Night - a wicked pin, those who have seen it say. That great hug, when Balloon Man and Pin Lady roll down the hill together, will be frightening. The horses will run away in all directions. Ordinary people will cover their heads with shopping bags. I don't want to think about it. You blow up all them balloons yourself, Balloon Man? Or did you have help? Pin Lady, how come you're so apricklededee? Was it something in your childhood?

Balloon Man will lead off with the Balloon of Grace Under Pressure, Do Not Pierce or Incinerate.

Pin Lady will counter with the Pin of Oh My, I Forgot.

Balloon Man will produce the Balloon of Almost Wonderful.

Pin Lady will come back with the Pin of They Didn't Like Me Much. Balloon Man will sneak in there with the Balloon of the Last Exit Before the Toll Is Taken. Pin Lady will reply with the Pin of One Never Knows for Sure. Balloon Man will propose the Balloon of Better Days. Pin Lady, the Pin of Whiter Wine.

It's gonna be bad, I don't want to think about it.
Because of this bloody article, and his idiotic "Contract", Jonathan Franzen's face became pinned to the bullseye in the dartboard of my imagination. (Before then, it was Zadie Smith for this bloody thing and yes, you're right, perhaps I shouldn't be pursuing my academic research in the manner of of Wile E. Coyote packing an Acme anvil - though I've a 5-page square-up as to why prepared, if you're askin'.)

This question of "consolation" and fiction is not quite as simple as bluster, though, is it, as the copy of Donald Barthelme's "Sixty Stories" on my bedside table indicates.


Yes, Youtuber, that's pretty much what I'm getting at. And The Fall soundtracking "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" would have been a bit pat, a bit so just so. So, thanks!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


If you live a daily life and it is all yours, and you come to own everything outside your daily life besides and it is all yours, you naturally begin to explain. You naturally continue describing your daily life which is all yours, and you naturally begin to explain how you own everything else besides. You naturally begin to explain that to yourself and you naturally begin to explain it to those living your daily life who own it with you, everything outside, and you naturally explain it in a kind of way to some of those whom you own.

- "What is English Literature", Gertrude Stein

Between the set text (Ian Watt, Raymond Williams) and the seasoning (Steven Moore), ENGL1061 "Introduction to the Novel" students, I hope you've taken note.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Professor Chris Higgins, Durham University's vice-chancellor, said: "We are passionate not just about excellence – but excellence with a smile."

To reflect my vice-chancellor's tiggerish willingness to conform to the new paradigm, today I am wearing 37 pieces of flair. I raise you "exasperation with a determined grimace", Professor Chris Higgins.