A few doors from my humble abode there is a business known as ‘Golden’. I don’t want to know what they do, because I’m sure the reality will disappoint the expectations inspired by their tag-line: ‘Proudly Servicing Melbourne For Forty Years’.
Whatever it is they get up to, my interest in them reaches near-feverish levels when they have garage sales. Mostly because (can you guess?) they sell books. For the sum of ten dollars, you are presented with a plastic bag which you may stuff to splitting with the tomes spread out on the dusty concrete floor. Continue reading
Posted in Bibliophilia
Tagged AFL Geelong Football Club, Amsterdam, Christos Tsiolkas, Dudley Moore, Goodbye Again, Ian McEwan, Jack Marx, Jane Austen, John Cash, John Masters, Josephine Hart, Joy Damousi, Julie Rugg, Lynda Murphy, Nightrunners of Bengal, P G Wodehouse, Persuasion, Peter Cook, Piccadilly Jim, Steig Larsson, Stephanie Meyer, Stephen Fry, Stephen Fry in America, The Slap
In a state of sobriety, or near sobriety, I would never consider drinking green chartreuse. Never. It’s a vile liqueur – syrupy, offensively sweet and the effect it has upon me is far more devastating than its stated alcohol content might suggest. It is a green-eyed monster, and most cruelly does it mock the meat it feeds on.
But when I get a wee bit tiddly, there are occasions when a snifter of green chartreuse sounds like the very thing to take away cares and send me skipping down the road strewing flowers from my hat and whistling a merry tune, pausing only to bestow kind words and kisses on every maiden I meet.
Last night, in the company of the Yartz crew – the finest, most fearless, talented, attractive and intrepid community television makers on the planet – at The Union Hotel, I got a wee bit tiddly. And then I decided that un petit liqueur fabriquée à Tarragone par les Pères Chartreux was called for. Continue reading
Nothing is less amusing than a humourless sod trying to be funny. Norman McGreevy is a humourless sod who has put together a divine collection of howlers (Mr McGreevy’s Absolute Howlers), but then he got a rush of blood to the head and decided that it would be a good idea to write a light-hearted introduction to kick it off.
A ‘howler’, by the way, is an unintentional mistake in writing or speech (usually made by a child) which turns out to be hilarious. Collecting them is, for a teacher, a lifetime’s work – they are exceedingly rare. In five years of private English tutoring I’ve come across only one. A student presented to me a draft of an essay on refugee camps. Searching for ever greater depths of pathos, he described ‘depraved men and women queuing for water’. He meant ‘deprived’, of course, but the image of a long line of people waiting to refresh themselves after an epic orgy is rather sweet, don’t you think? Continue reading
Who wrote this?
“We notice things that don’t work. We don’t notice things that do. We notice computers, we don’t notice pennies. We notice e-book readers, we don’t notice books.”
It could almost be George Orwell. It’s just about tight and sharp enough and it’s got something of the Orwell sense of balance and lissomness… but Orwell didn’t live to encounter computers, let alone e-book readers, and I can’t quite see him scribbling down ‘pennies’.
It was Douglas Adams.
“In the old Soviet Union they used to say that anything that wasn’t forbidden was compulsory; the trick was to remember which was which.”
Now that could have been Clive James. It’s politically astute, aphoristic and it all turns on the final clause: a neat colloquial noun and the fine consonant resonance of the final three words. It contains at least two little turns that James learned from Orwell (and improved upon) – and I think James would be the first to admit it.
But it was Douglas Adams. Continue reading
Posted in Great Books
Tagged Clive James, Dirk Gently, Douglas Adams, Eoin Colfer, George Orwell, Giovanni Guareschi, J S Bach, John Keats, P G Wodehouse, Stephen Fry, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The Salmon of Doubt