Dec 30, 2011

Following Yonder Star . . .

Tess's Christmas prompt is Bert Stern's iconic portrait of a Hollywood icon.  (The idea of putting new words to a seasonal tune comes from Magpie No.20. Thank you, Frances)

Monroe Doctoring

J.F.K from Capitol Hill,
heads down town in search of a thrill.
Finds blonde tottie
sumptuous bottie!
Certainly fills his bill.

Ooo-err!  Star of "Misfits"
sixties best,
star of the Gynormous Chest
self supporting, gets him snorting,
(Bet she thinks "He's a pest.")

All she wears at night is Chanel.
drives her suitors wild with the smell
really flighty
minus nightie
(Wishes they'd go to H***)

Ooo-err!  etc

Finds tonight his backache is bad
(Want to bet that makes her feel glad?)
Pretends she's willing
but pain's killing
daydreams of Jack the Lad

Ooo-err!  etc

Two cupfuls of Panadol
still his interest seems to loll.
Says with sorrow
"Back tomorrow"
She thinks that's very droll.

Ooo-err!  etc

Poor lost lass, she'd never a chance.
Men brought lust disguised as romance.
Flesh inspectors
film directors
led her a dreadful dance.

Ooo-err!  etc

Notes.  President Kennedy suffered much from backache, probably because he found it difficult to get into a comfortable position.  "Monroe Doctoring" is a play on words and on the prompt which our friends across The Pond will surely understand.

Dec 24, 2011

A Word With Laurie

Over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Laurie Kolp asks for 5-minutes worth of "Ecstasy" 

Be Warned

There was a young raver called Peck
who sampled ocassional ec-
stasy tablets,
which soon became habit
and now he's a quivering wreck.


Dec 20, 2011

Smile For the Camera!

Tess's Magpie prompt this week is a photograph by Lee Friedlander which seems to break some of the conventional rules . . .

Somebody needs Cartier-Bresson
to give him a snap-shooting lesson.
Her face is obscure -
and that shadow! For sure,
adds up to cheesy expression.


 . . but then, as Marshall McLuhan sagely remarked, "Art is anything you can get away with."

Many worthier Magpies can be read HERE.
or read about the French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Dec 15, 2011

Wednesday Challenge, December 14th.

Kerry's Wednesday challenge at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads" invites us to write a letter from a literary character/author to another author or character, etc.  This response is hardly a poetic "epistola" but I hope it fills the bill.

The letter that follows was discovered in the personal papers of the late Malcolm Bradbury, author of the sardonic "campus" novel "The History Man." (1975, Secker and Warburg). It is of interest because at least one of the minor acts of vandalsim referred to actually happened subsequent to the novel's publication.

Dear Mr. Bradbury,

    I enclose a single sheet of toilet paper (unused) from a roll in the toilets on the fourth floor (Sociology and Economics) in the Library of Strathkelvin University.  You will see that some mischievous person has printed a sticky label and stuck it to the paper and the label says "Degrees in Sociology. Please Take One."  I soon discovered that every cubicle in every toilet, both Mens' and Womens' had been similarly defaced with similar stickers and in some cases, every hanging-down sheet of paper bore a similar sticker. And further, some toilet rolls had been annotated with the legend "Economics is a Viola," and some of the cubicles had the same legend in yellow graffiti.  It took me a little while to work that one out, whereas the sociology degree allusion is hard to miss.  

    Since Dr. Kirk got me sent down from the University I have found employment in the City and now command a salary which would no doubt confirm Dr. Kirk's view of me, did he but know.

   Please give my best regards to Ms.Carpenter. I hope things did not go too badly for her.  I was dreadfully sorry to hear that Dr. Kirk's wife had made an attempt on her own life, but what would one expect, married to a self-regarding Marxist like Howard Kirk. The whole business was a perfect exemplar of Henry Kissinger's famous quote  - "academic politics is so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."

Yours very sincerely,

George Carmody.

Dramatis Personae. 

Malcolm Bradbury (1932-2000). Prolific author. Head of the Creative Writing Course in the University of East Anglia, UK;   Best known graduate -  Iain McEwen.

Howard Kirk   Antihero of "The History Man."  Resolute Marxist.  Impossible to thumbnail. Yer gotta read the book!

George Carmody.  Right of centre, middle class student. The only student in the University who owned (and used) a trouser press! A natural victim for Kirk. 

Ann Carpenter.    Another Kirk victim but not before he . . what's the expression . . . has his evil way of her.

Barbara Kirk.     Howard's wife. One wonders how such a nice lady etc etc etc . . .

The novel is set in the University of "Watermouth", U.K, but if Bradbury didn't intend the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK - at the time one of the UK's newer campuses, I'll eat a roll of toilet paper!

The printed stickers stuck on toilet rolls were real enough. The incident found it's way into "Radio Times" reviews when the novel was adapted for TV with Anthony Sher brilliantly malign as Howard Kirk.

"Economics is a Viola"?  Think string instruments.  A viola is like . . er . .  er . .  a big fiddle,  geddit?

Strathkelvin.  A university town in the Scottish central belt. Its University, and indeed the town itself  are no more or less fictional than those of it's august neighbours - Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Dec 11, 2011

Don't Panic!

Tess Kincaid's picture-prompt this week shows us one of life's Unfortunates stuck between a rock and a hard place . . .

Thinks: "Now if the tide is going out, the boat will be carried out with it, so unless she gets back with the choc ices pretty damn quick, we'll be stuck with no boat on the perishin' beach all night. And I left my cell-phone in the rowboat. And my swim shorts. When I dived out the perishin' boat I never expected to end up here! Alright for her. She waded ashore and asked me to let her bury me for a bit of fun. Why didn't I bury her? Why is it always me? How did I end up with three University degrees and still end up buried by my wife tit deep in sand? Why don't I think before I travel about in bloody rowboats? Why don't I think before I let people bury me? Why doesn't someone invent a voice-controlled rowboat so I could call out "Here Boat! Jaunty Jane or whatever your name is. Come and get me out!" Where's she got to?  Bet she's eatin' my choc-ice as well as her own."

Thinks: "But on the other hand, if the tide is coming in, that will bring the boat closer and pretty soon I'll be able to grab it by the rowlocks and haul myself . . .  Oh F**K! No I won't! 'Cos I'm stuck in this sand and no one to dig me out till she gets back.  The tide will. And I'll be. Where is the bloody cow?"
Yells:  "Au secours!  Mayday!  Anybody there?  HELP!"  etc.

Dec 6, 2011

Magpie Tales#94

The inspiration for this Magpie comes as usual from the always inventive Tess Kincaid at Willow Manor who invites us to lunch with this George Tooker picture.

Boss, Smiddy and The Rookie took their lunchbreak on an old red settee that had followed them to the station-house in a previous blog.  The settee sat on the station-house roof and Boss, Smiddy and The Rookie sat on the settee to eat their sandwiches.  It was a good place for lunch. It was six floors up so the Captain could not see them.  They had hauled the settee up there themselves. They were a great team.
"Boss - what's the fillin' in yo' sandwiches?"
Boss lifted a corner of bread and peered. "Cheese slices, Smiddy. Again!"
"Mine too," said Smiddy.
The Rookie said, "And me. Same as every day." 
All three glared at their limp sandwiches. Then at each other.
"I'm pissed off with cheese slice sandwiches every day" Boss said.
"Me too, come to think of it."
"And me" said The Rookie.
"Then this is what we'll do. We're six floors up, right?"
"So we each tell our womenfolk - look, if you make up cheese slice sandwiches one more time I'm gonna throw myself off the station-house roof. Six floors. Splat. End of salary. End of pension rights."
"Great idea!"
"That'll get some action!"
They hauled themselves out of the settee. They made high-fives. They punched air. They were a like-minded, co-operative team.
Next day lunchbreak they settled into the settee. Boss bit into his sandwiches and delight spread over his face. "Now ain't that something! Spicy chicken and bacon with some goddam piccalilli. That's what I call a sandwich. How 'bout you guys?"
The Rookie bit, and rolled his eyes.  "Man oh man! That's gotta be parma ham sliced wafer thin with cottage cheese, shallots and hint of garlic. Wholegrain bread, too. I'll sleep all afternoon!"
Smiddy bit down on his sandwich, said "Oh f**k, not cheese slices again!" and got out of the settee and vaulted the roof parapet and vanished from view.  The team would never let each other down.
Boss said, "Must of forgot his wife's away visitin' her Ma. So he's been makin' up his sandwiches hisself."
"You  reckon?  Poor old Smiddy. Splat - just like that, eh?"
They carried on munching, then Boss said, "Might as well finish his cheese slices?"
"Might as well," said The Rookie. "Waste not, want not. Can I drive the black-and-white now, Boss?"