Thoughts for a Tuesday #6

ITEM: Increasingly it seems to me that I need glasses, not just for reading but for pretty much everything else as well.

Last week in Norwich I was shocked to see a sign outside St Peter Mancroft’s church advertising their ‘Rectal Series’.

Fortunately on getting closer it resolved itself into a ‘Recital Series’.

ITEM: In Sturgeon’s novel Venus Plus X there’s a moment when the human protagonist shocks the citizens of utopian Ledom by using the phrase ‘unwanted children’.

I felt similarly traumatised when I read the opening phrase of this article on the BBC website.

But kudos to the guy for transforming books into ‘different art’, an area in which I have some form myself, though nothing quite as creative as this.

ITEM: Last week I was woken in the early hours of the morning by what sounded like the mournful dirge of Martian war machines (Jeff Wayne version), and briefly considered springing out of bed and hurling myself into the fight for Earth, but then realised that if I left it till round about lunchtime before taking up arms the obliging Martians might get rid of the ConDems and their supporters, and so I went back to sleep.

In the event the Martian invasion turned out to be the bin men. Orson Welles has a lot to answer for.

ITEM: I told a friend that I often thought about suicide, and then followed up with a punch line that involved being strapped to an explosive device and smuggled into a cabinet meeting as the method of choice.

The concerned look on her face between moments A and B has made me wonder if possibly I’m sending out the wrong messages.

ITEM: When you stand accused of allowing a neighbour’s plants to die through neglecting to water them while they were away on holiday, saying I thought they were supposed to go that pretty orange/brown colour is probably not the best line of defence.

ITEM: Staying with the subject of gardening, I did some hoeing at the weekend.

Does anybody know if there are any scientific studies investigating a possible link between gardening and masochism?

I feel there definitely should be, as the same pleasure through pain principle seems to come into play.

I experienced no pleasure, only pain.

ITEM: Things you think about at five o’clock in the morning – the English language allows us to refer to ‘a pair of pants’ and ‘a pair of trousers’, presumably as each has two legs/holes, but we can’t have ‘a pair of shirts’, even though the same applies in the case of sleeves.

Lower body bias/prejudice.

ITEM: Sometimes you read something that leaves you just speechless at what human beings are capable of, as with this from A Natural History of Ghosts by Roger Clarke:-

‘the Australian apport medium Charles Bailey secreted live jungle sparrows in his anus for a Grenoble seance in 1916’

It reminded me of a story I had in Nasty Piece of Work many years ago touching on the whole ‘pet shop boy’ thing, but contrary to first impressions this is a family blog and so we needn’t discuss that.

ITEM: At the weekend watched Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park from 1982 and thoroughly enjoyed it, but…

They did two encores, and for the second reprised a number they’d performed in the main set, something I can’t recall ever seeing a performer do before. Anyone else?

Possibly they didn’t expect to do a second encore and had nothing fresh prepared.

ITEM: On reading his Wikipedia entry, I was delighted to discover that ‘Garfunkel is an avid reader and bibliophile; his website contains a year-by-year listing of every book he has read since 1968′.

Truly a man after my own heart. (I’ve been listing books read since 1973 or thereabouts.)

Then I went to his website and discovered that in 44 years the guy has only read 1,181 books.

What a lightweight!

157 of those books made his list of ‘Favourites’ (something I also used to do), and the latest addition to the chosen few, from June 2012, was Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James, which is so naff as to be cool.

I wonder if I should list all the books I’ve read on this blog. Perhaps when I have a month or two going spare.

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9 Responses to Thoughts for a Tuesday #6

  1. You should definitely list all the books you’ve read on the blog. Find a month!

    I understand (probably from QI) that they are called trousers because each leg used to be a separate piece of clothing, like gloves.

    I wonder if Charles Bailey ever got peckish?

    • petertennant says:

      You only want me to list all the books so that you can them come along and tell me that you’ve read more than me.

      But actually, thinking about it, listing one year per month might be entertaining and not too strenuous.

      Yes, I just checked and found that explanation for pair of trousers, but still doesn’t explain why a pair of pants/shorts/briefs etc.

      Re Charles Bailey, I’d be more concerned if he got pecked. And I’m now imagining a story about an animal that comes back to haunt the place in which it died, but there’s a part of me that sooooooooo doesn’t want to go there.

      • Ray Cluley says:

        Oh, do go there – it would be a great story. 🙂 The Twitcher…

        As for pairs, I had a similar though only this week about tweezers, and then scissors. Scissors I can see having the same explanation as trousers, but tweezers? And what about glasses? Pair of monocles becomes pair of glasses? Language is wonderfully weird.

      • I don’t think I read anywhere near as many as you, Pete, even allowing into my tally all the comics I read. I did work out a week or two ago that I’ve read on average a new book every five and a half days since I was born, and a new Doctor Who book every eighty-three days.

      • petertennant says:

        I never bothered to list comics or magazines read, though that would probably boost the figures by a few thousand.

        I’m impressed by your averages, but how did you arrive at those figures? Presumably you haven’t always listed what you read, and have to extrapolate back from more current data?

        Looking at my own lists, I think one problem with reproducing them here is that I never bothered to list the author’s name, trusting that my memory would always be as good as it was then, but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case. Complications with books that have the same title – was “The Outsider” by Camus or Colin Wilson, or somebody else I’ve entirely forgotten about?

        This exercise could be fun, or just another form of masochism 🙂

      • I started keeping a list in my teens and tried to list everything I’d read up to that point, kept it going till I left university and my mum took her computer back, then started again on Goodreads in February 2008, and went through my whole book collection and logged everything. So I think it’s pretty complete. Every so often I remember something I’ve missed (I added a load of Ladybird books last year!) but I think it’s fairly complete.

      • petertennant says:

        Ah, I just started listing stuff as I read it – no forensic archaeology in among my book piles 😉

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