Thursday, 16 June 2005

Elasticated Bloomers

"The muchtreasured and intricately embroidered ancient Irish facecloth attributed to Solomon of Droma and Manus Tomaltach og MacDonogh, authors of the Book of Ballymote, was then carefully produced and called forth prolonged admiration. No need to dwell on the legendary beauty of the cornerpieces, the acme of art, wherein one can distinctly discern each of the four evangelists in turn presenting to each of the four masters his evangelical symbol, a bogoak sceptre, a North American puma (a far nobler king of beasts than the British article, be it said in passing), a Kerry calf and a golden eagle from Carrantuohill. The scenes depicted on the emunctory field, showing our ancient duns and raths and cromlechs and grianauns and seats of learning and maledictive stones, are as wonderfully beautiful and the pigments as delicate as when the Sligo illuminators gave free rein to their artistic fantasy long long ago in the time of the Barmecides. Glendalough, the lovely lakes of Killarney, the ruins of Clonmacnois, Cong Abbey, Glen Inagh and the Twelve Pins, Ireland's Eye, the Green Hills of Tallaght, Croagh Patrick, the brewery of Messrs Arthur Guinness, Son and Company (Limited), Lough Neagh's banks, the vale of Ovoca, Isolde's tower, the Mapas obelisk, Sir Patrick Dun's hospital, Cape Clear, the glen of Aherlow, Lynch's castle, the Scotch house, Rathdown Union Workhouse at Loughlinstown, Tullamore jail, Castleconnel rapids, Kilballymacshonakill, the cross at Monasterboice, Jury's Hotel, S. Patrick's Purgatory, the Salmon Leap, Maynooth college refectory, Curley's hole, the three birthplaces of the first duke of Wellington, the rock of Cashel, the bog of Allen, the Henry Street Warehouse, Fingal's Cave - all these moving scenes are still there for us today rendered more beautiful still by the waters of sorrow which have passed over them and by the rich incrustations of time."

It'd be nice if all days of the year had their own Book, but one is better than none, and today's is worth celebrating. Have a splendid Bloomsday.


Mel said...

It's St Patrick's Day for academics!

R H said...

Oh yes? What a load of pap! There's more lyricism on a soup can label.

Fyodor said...

Agre with R.H. Ulysses = Most. Over-rated. Novel. Ever.

Lucy Tartan said...

Who said anything about lyrical? Only if you think Father Ted is lyrical.

I googled "most overrated novel ever", and Jeff Somebody on Amazon sides with you, F, but I'm with whoever nominated the da vinci code, copies of which, I recently worked out, now outnumber living human beings.

R H said...

Constipated prose, that's what it is.
And yes, the Da Vinci Code, that too. I tried to read it, and was snoring my heart out by page four. There's nothing better for getting a good night's sleep.

Fee...Fy...Fyodor said...

OK, you got me there, Laura. Well, nearly: I enjoyed parts of DVC, god help me. In contrast, Ulysses was a labour of pure unmitigated hatred. Onanistic verbiage. Give me Homer's version anyday.

And I'll have you know Father Ted is very feckin' lyrical.

Lucy Tartan said...

My Lovely Horse,
running through the fields -
where are you going
with your fetlocks blowing in the wind?

I want to shower you with sugar lumps,
And ride you over fences;
Polish your hooves every single day,
And bring you to the horse dentist.

My lovely horse,
you're a pony no more,
runnin' around, with a man on your back, like a train in the night, like a train in the night.

Fyodor said...

D'you see?!! Someone should make that into a song. It's a Eurovision winner for sure. All we need now is some scantily clad Transdniestrian singer named Agafya and we are home & hosed.

trashglam said...

shite and onions: i can't believe i missed bloomsday. i'll blame first year essays for this major oversight, having just submitted a phd partially dealing with said Great Book. shocked and appalled am I to find the DVC compared, even fleetingly with Ulysses. An unabashed fan I am of a book which IS IS IS lyrical, hilarious, wise, dirty, compassionate and wonderful. it is a book degraded by its many imitators - but oh! the larks. a teal green and grecian blue post bloomsday to y'all. ulysses and the dvc... saints help us all.

Lucy Tartan said...

Trashglam, it's still yesterday in the Northern Hemisphere, if you still feel like doing some partying. For eg, Amardeep Singh posted an essay on fat in ulysses here - it's a draft, so reading and commenting do actually have a useful purpose in this instance.

For what it's worth I agree with everything that's been said so far in this comment thread.

Fyodor, do I get brownie points for knowing the words to My Lovely Horse off by heart?

Fyodor said...


I'm so fucking impressed I'm prepared to pay for your cloning to ensure we never lose you.

Drink! Girls! Feck!

Lucy Tartan said...

you forgot "arse!" (although I better not say that, because RH might not like it. ooh, I'm scared.)

Without Joyce = no Father Ted, I don't think. Just U2 and Riverdance, bah.

Lucy Tartan said...

I fecked up the link to Amardeep's essay. If keen, it can be reached via the Valve in the sidebar links.

Fyodor said...

Jeez, you're good, Laura, very good indeed.

Yeah, that's right: without Joyce, Ireland would have no literature whatsoever.

R H said...

James Joyce ran a cinema and went broke. No wonder. He probably put on Last Year at Marienbad.

Welcome to the James Joyce Club, very exclusive: hocus pocus and twaddle. Nonsense. But a nice alternative to Buddhism. -If you want to be different, that is.

Is Ulysses a fraud, a hoax? Who says it's good? -Professors and their adoring students, that's who. Plus finance experts running fake Irish pubs.
G.B.S. was a good writer, so was Oscar Wilde. Clever, and everyone can understand them. If Joyce wrote for the 'elite' fair enough. But don't get snobby about it, because the best writers reach everyone.

R H said...

You can swear, so can I. My first word in the cradle was fuck. We heard it every day of our lives, us lower-class babies. But some of us grew up; we found other ways to complain. Meanwhile, the better classes are very impressed. They consider fuck a smart word. But they have to stoop to say it.

Fucking Fyodor said...

* retains correct posture *

Fuckety fuckety fuck. I'm gonna fuck you with my fucker you fuck.

* checks posture *

Nope. There goes that theory.

R H said...

Quite so. Smart chap. Blogs are full of hunchbacks.


R H said...

I'm about as literate as a pimp during a police raid. But strangely, I have my fans: women, on another blog, who are in love with me. I look like George Hamilton, that's what they're saying now.
Well there's no end to a woman's imagination. So determined! So romantic.

Fyodor said...

Are they really? Do tell. I'm all agog at your discovery.

Fyodor said...

Your hunchback discovery, that is. Your appeal to the gentler sex is so obvious it requires no elucidation.

R H said...

A gentleman never tells.

But if you're agog, stay that way. No one ever got locked up for being agog.

Lucy Tartan said...

Isn't it a beautiful thing to watch two visitors making friends with each other? Gladdens my heart, really it does.

RH, I don't really believe in the existence of clubs like what i take you to be meaning. The book is there, it is cheap to buy, anyone who wants to can read it. Or not. That's all. No biggie. Ulysses would never be taught at my university, and the students there are not the adoring kind. I've tried and tried to get mine to leap on the desks & shout out "my captain, o my captain", but they just go on text messaging each other. Please, also, notice I didn't say JJ is a "best" writer or anything like that. I don't think there's much point in those sorts of contests.
Fyodor, I didn't say there would be no Irish literature without Joyce, just that Father Ted owes a lot to Ulysses in a general way. Spike Milligan is another one. I may have said it in a facetious way but whatever, I stand by it.

Please, feel free to go back to calling each other hunchbacks and manbags, it's a joy to behold.

Lucy Tartan said...

BTW, I am legally Irish, and Bram Stoker & Maria Edgeworth are my favourite Irish writers, next to Heaney.

R H said...

Thank you Miss Laura.

When you said "I am legally Irish" I read it as "I am legally rich" That's funny.

I didn't set out to offend Fydor, I was never aiming at him at all.

Fyodor said...

Bram Stoker? Curious choice. Why?

Lucy Tartan said...

Because he's c00000l d000000d!

a) wrote extremely well
b) was madder than a cut snake
c) wrote extremely badly
d) tried really hard
e) never quite made the team
f) had his finger smack bang on the pulse
g) had no inkling at all of (f)
h) IRL, a very good person.

Fyodor said...

Can't argue with that. He sounds a bit like Harry...

Ben.H said...

I forgot about Bloomsday, which is probably just as well or I'd've been annoyed by various sad bastards pretending to be Irish or poets (or - brrr! - both) getting pissed over the burnt-kidney-and-Guinness breakfast at Outdoor Jake's Bloomsbury Beerbarn and middleaged Mollies flashing their bloomers after onetoomany brightgreen Bacardi Breezers.

I did just read The Dalkey Archive, which more than makes up for it.