WAS my Blog (Hey! I’m not really a blog I’m a magazine - but not your usual sort of) Magazine. BLOGZINE. It's stopped being anything now, as of April 9, 2008.
But what is online stays online, and what's here is what happened while it was happening. The Chinese above, in Pinyin, is huānyíng, and it means “Welcome” and it’s meant. The girl (pictured) is my television lawyer, just in case. E&D is (or was) a mix of poetry & reviews and sometimes charmingly gentle rhubarb (sometimes with hot custard); it has a heart of rolled gold & the word ‘acerbic’ (is that related to ‘cynical’?) doesn't come into it. There are music reviews too, of gigs at the local music halls. This bit was on hold for a while because I was in China for two years, but now I'm not, though I'm going back soon. Anyway, everything here is all a kind of mysterious (I’d like to say it’s sensuous but it isn’t) zone of gentle & benign happiness (whatever the hell 'happiness' is), where headaches disappear & people are friends, & your shoes never need cleaning, & I hope you enjoy it.
This is a re-designed site, launched in October 2006. You can view the original website, and all the stuff published there, by clicking here.
Oh, & if you want to find out about my poetry, please go to my Home-From-Home which is a site almost as heavenly as this one.
Henry David Thoreau had just one shirt.
It was made of horse-hair and he’d wear it out in thunderstorms.
Proust, however, had to have a different shirt each day,
except Thursdays, when he’d wear two shirts simultaneously.
Larkin’s shirts were immaculate, he’d often chide
other writers for sweat- and egg-stains. Shakespeare
wore only wool shirts but spent his life wishing
someone would invent corduroy. Auden’s shirts were pin-holed
with cigarette burns; if you held them up to the light
they’d show maps of as yet undiscovered constellations. James Joyce
bought his shirts from catalogues, but because he moved house
so often he rarely received them. Consequently
he was frequently to be found in his brother’s shirts, or Ezra Pound’s,
or Italo Svevo’s cast-offs. Longfellow favoured buckskin
but settled for flannel. Cervantes wore shirts with diamond buttons
and had them laundered by a team of jewellers.
T. S. Eliot was famous for always carrying a spare collar-stud.
The Epic of Gilgamesh was written by someone who never wore shirts,
and I think it shows. Similarly, Great Expectations,
Bleak House and The Mystery of Edwin Drood were all written
when Dickens was being measured for new shirts, which is why the writing
has that special stop-start-stop quality. Edward Lear’s shirts
were too tight around the cuffs and Lewis Carroll’s itched.
Dostoyevsky would refer to his shirts as ‘gloves of time’,
whereas Gogol believed in calling a shirt a shirt,
but in private gave them all names and their own back-stories.
Emily Dickinson experimented with shirts
then quickly gave up when friends started calling her ‘sonny’.
Henry James knew more about shirts than anyone alive.
He wrote a long shirt-novel which he called The Placket,
but his editor told him it was unpublishable and, thankfully, he was right.
There are several websites devoted to Rilke’s shirts
although no-one ever visits them. Thomas Mann
unsuccessfully marketed Magic Mountain cufflinks,
and Bertolt Brecht regarded button-downs as a form of oppression.
Jane Austen, on the other hand, viewed shirts more coolly and drew
sketches of them in the margins of her manuscripts.
Kafka believed his shirts were made from moths’ wings
stitched together with silver thread, although some say
this was just a rumour started by Max Brod.
Shirts and writing have always been mystically connected.
Tolstoy knew this. Flaubert wrote to George Sand
that he had purchased some shirts in Morocco that were exceptionally conducive
to the composition of great literature. Unusually
for the time, it seems they had a pocket in precisely the place
we imagine to be the seat of the human heart.