Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Distracted By Quotations

This was going to be a post on Shakespeare and the lost-and-not-quite-but-sort-of-if-you-think-about-it-found play Cardenio, thought to have been co-quilled by the Swan of Avon and John Fletcher.

It was going to start with the marvellous observation that ‘The only evidence we have of Shakespeare’s existence, other than the poems and plays, is the portrait of a man who was clearly an idiot.’  As you can already see (because you’re not only mind-bendingly attractive but also unusually clever) the programme has changed somewhat. Continue reading


Accidental Art

Some months ago I was posting a link online, and encountered one of those charming security checks which demands that you type out two words in order to prove that you’re a human being capable of transcribing nonsense rather than a computer program that isn’t.

Imagine my shock and excitement, therefore, when I was asked to type out ‘exhibitions wanton’.

This, I thought to myself, was no mere security check.  This was poetry. Continue reading

Savage in Love

Past posts on poetry have been naked cheating on my part.  In all cases, they have been poems I know well, and have known for years.  Now, I have a slightly new system, and challenge for myself.  From time to time, I’m going to open an anthology of poetry at random, find a poem I haven’t read before (and which is short enough to quote in its entirety) and write on it.

The first contender is by Walter Savage Landor, and takes its name from the first line: Continue reading

A Bookish Nation

Determining the literary vitality of a country like Australia is a difficult task.  This difficulty, it seems to me, is closely linked to the impossibility of defining ‘Australian Culture’, or ‘Australian Values’.  Inevitably such discussions get bogged down in witless abstractions like mateship, and from there it’s not a long time before meat pies, Steve Irwin, Crocodile Dundee and beer work their way into the conversation.  We’re a nation on the make, and we still don’t know quite what we’re making.

In 2002, Clive James delivered the inaugural David Scott Mitchell Memorial Lecture.  The lecture is well worth reading, and well worth listening to, as are nearly all the things that James has written and said in his long and bewilderingly varied career.  Clive James is important to my point.  James is the Kid from Kogarah – he’s one of ours: an Australian product. Continue reading

Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow

If you read Martin Amis without a pencil handy, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

The kind of trouble that involves searching, later, for the really great bits.  Which is the more troublesome because you’ll get distracted by all the bits that are merely very, very good.  Which means that when you’re looking for the perfect little Amis passage on the English novel, or fellatio, say, or even on beauty, you’re going to have to read the whole book again.

Not that re-reading Martin Amis is ever a chore: but you’ll be impatient to get to a real, world-stopping zinger. Continue reading

Shrinklit Results

Welcome, ladies and gents, to the easiest post I’ll ever have to write.

About a month ago, I inaugurated a Shrinklits competition on this blog.

While the response of the general public has been underwhelming to say the least (i.e.: nobody entered), I did manage to con two members of my immediate family into coming up with the goods.

Handily, in avoiding accusations of nepotism, I can avoid giving them any prizes, but I’m putting up their (very fine) efforts here to make the rest of you green with envy.  I think I’ll keep the competition going on a monthly basis, just to see if anyone else bites.

So: read the basics about what a shrinklit is, write one, and email it to me at the address you’ll find in my about section, being sure to include a postal address. Continue reading

If I Profane With My Unworthiest Blog…

I despise bad language, but I love bad language.

But do let me rephrase that – I realise it wasn’t exactly clear.

I abhor bad grammar and the employment of the English language in such ways as render it ugly or even plain, but I love swearing. Continue reading