Not tonight, Josephine


Can yer come back next week?

Tired and busy and just got rid of guest. Had some gradely snap, though but. At the Kitchin.


Bristol Blues


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Bristol is hilly;
I’m rather silly;
Want a wine tasting visit?
That’s not enough, is it?
I got quite wired
Now my legs are dead tired
Climbed Park Street to the gallery
Burning many a calorie
Saw a ton of tea
By Ai Wei Wei

Sketched a quick van de Velde
(That’s ‘the Younger’, not ‘Elder’)

Then to kill the next hour
Back down via Cabot Tower

Met some very nice folks
Bored them stiff with bad jokes
But a fun afternoon
About which (maybe) more soon

So then hit the town
Get some tapas, and down
To the Old Duke for jazz
Without razmatazz
Still a great place to go
But the staff didn’t know
There’s a lifetime ban
That applies to this man
(We were kicked out the door
Way back in ’94
For doing a dance
In bold def-i-ance
Of their licence’s rules
So they said “Piss off, fools!”)

Then an uncomfy night
Feeling rather like shite
Then stroll once again
While I wait for my plane

Down by the dockside
And the oceans wide

I look a right prat
In a stovepipe hat
But yer man was no fool
On him it looks cool
Just as well, ‘cos his face
Is all over the place


What’s his claim to fame,
And what is his name?
Built a bridge and a steamship and built them well —
He was Isambard Kingdom [altogether now…]

Stress Patterns


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In Syracuse did Damocles
The ruler of his court displease
By his obsequious flattering
The great good fortune of his king.

Great Dionysius, his lord,
By all this ‘praise’ was getting bored
And so devised a demonstration
Of a king’s true situation:

He said, ‘Come — sit upon my throne
Above the court, all on your own;
Over a feast of state preside,
With all your wants and needs supplied

The table groaned with food so rich
And wines so sweet but — here’s the bitch —
A huge sword hung above his chair
Suspended by a single hair,

To show the stress great power brings
To the uneasy heads of kings,
So he could not enjoy the feast
But begged his lord to be released.

Poor Damocles! I think I know
Just how you felt, so long ago.
My life now makes me realise
Just what such stories symbolise

It’s hard to stay serene, Confucian,
While all these things need resolution
And I just cannot concentrate
With all these swords above my pate

The taxman tells me I’m to blame
For leaving it too late to claim
The fifty pence that he owes me
One hundred pounds the penalty,

Although my records seem to show
I sent it in a year ago
I’ve spent another sixty pence
To post some words in my defence

But will they let me off the fine
Or just insist the fault is mine?
I watch the letter box all day
In fear of being told to pay.

Then there’s the power company —
My gas and electricity.
Two years of problems with no bill:
They say it’s sorted now — but still

When I look at my web account,
My balance shows a null amount,
But reading my last bill, it sounds
As if I owe five hundred pounds;

And looking at my meter — strange —
The counters never seem to change.
I’m terrified of costly mail —
Or even being thrown in jail!

Less scary, but still stressful is
The fact I’m lined up for a quiz.
The top prize in this t v game:
Ten thousand pounds and (not much) fame

They’d said they’d ring and let me know
Almost two whole weeks ago —
Instead of doing anything
I sit and wait for phones to ring

And that gives me another way
My dental visit to delay
At least one molar has to go
But I don’t want a space, and so

A false replacement would be nice —
Three thousand pounds should just suffice
So wait and see if I, perhaps,
Can win the cash to fill the gaps

Those aren’t the only things, for sure,
That have me feeling insecure
Losses greater and more dear
I don’t feel I can mention here

But, like with quiz show, power and tax,
I wish that I could just relax,
As, like the other swords so bright,
They’ll come down — when the time is right



[Stop Press: the taxperson has waived the penalty, so that’s one sword fewer]

Plus ça Change


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Just been listening to a new radio station, both the most and least diverse in the history of broadcasting.

Same fm plays every kind of music every day. Light classical in the early morning, Rock around the clock, for fifteen minutes every other hour on the hour, a symphony in the afternoon … even a poem every other hour on the other hour. And jazz in the wee small hours. But the reason for its name and its USP — well, its Point which is certainly Unique, but, many would say, not exactly Selling, is that it plays exactly the same pieces, in the same recordings, at the same time each day.

At least the announcers, the DJs, the continuity people, are ‘live’ — even though they say exactly the same words at the same times each day. And the adverts are equally unchanging, which will make things interesting if one of the sponsors ever wants to change or goes out of business.

But this isn’t as gimmicky or even downright nuts as it sounds, insists the station’s founder, Nerys Weems.

“People want a station that’s familiar, that they can return to like an old sofa”, she says. “It’s not as if there aren’t a hundred stations out there where things change every day.”

So, if you are particularly fond of Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic’s 1975 recording of Anton Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, you always know where you can find it at three in the afternoon. And perhaps insomniacs will enjoy knowing that they can hear the same selection of easy listening hits in the wee small hours every sleepless night, even if shift workers might go elsewhere in search of a little less predictability.

Weems also points out that many well-known cable channels on television now show same stuff over and over, but in unpredictable ways. Looking closely at the schedules for movie, crime and comedy channels shows that they can only really afford the rights to a certain number of programmes at any given time.

“You might have to keep scanning the schedules of Gold to find that episode of The Good Life that you love, but if you’re a particular fan of Philip Larkin reading This Be The Verse, with Same fm, you know you can hear it at 11pm — every night, should you wish to.”

It remains to be seen if this channel will catch on, perhaps spawning many imitators with their own line-up — or whether the gimmick will rapidly wear thin. But your reviewer must be off now, as he notices (without even having to check their website) it’s time for Led Zeppelin.

It’s not been a long time since Rock and Roll. Twenty-three hours and fifty-six minutes to be precise. Well, as the station’s publicity says, “The more things change, the more you need Same fm”.

Muggin’s Joyce


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sentence. So let us cut quickly to the chase on these newly-restored Widows and before the pc crashes again.

It quickly became apparent that the Wake didn’t merely mash words together randomly into sonorous portmanteau (as those like Lennon who would emulate it tend to do); it scrunched up all histories, ‘all identities that have existed or may exist’ (Here Comes Everybody, Mr Whitman) and most important for this young ignoramus, all literature. This will or perhaps won’t be discussed further in a blog which is or indeed isn’t yet to come. For now and for then the first point to consider was the idea that reading this book would be a richer or at least slightly less confusing experience if some of the many ‘call-backs’ made more sense — ie if the reader first had an experience of the rest of Joyce’s oeuvre, which, if nowt else, would prepare one  gently for the complexity of punnery in this final tome.

So your humble correspondent’s student self went out and splashed some more of the old grant money on a nice hardback copy of Ulysses and Tindall’s more general Reader’s Guide to James Joyce.

Which made it plain that he’d need to read Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to get the full back story of some of the characters, most important of which was  perhaps Dublin’s fair city (or as Jim might have put it, ‘far shitty’) itself.

For good measure, copies of Pomes Penyeach, Chamber Music, his only play, Exiles, and even the posthumously published Giacomo Joyce were added to the pile, along with Stuart Gilbert’s guide to Ulysses and the excessively titled Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress of 1929, a collection of essays and musings by such as Sam Beckett, on the as yet unnamed Wake.

I really should get round to reading some of these one day.

Only kidding! I’ve read them all, some more than once.

No! I’m not a ‘glutton for punishment’, whoever said that. And if you’re still reading this blog, you’re a fine one to talk. I do actually do it for fun. Crazy I may be, but masochistic, no. Books is for entertainment, and some of us just gets us kicks that way. Only rock and roll, but I like it. Great craic (even if you have to be cracked to think so).

So, getting back to the Joycean texts themselves, from the start I’ve discovered a great wordsmith, an amazing economist (Tindall rightly points to the opening sentence of Grace: Two gentlemen who were in the lavatory at the time tried to lift him up:), a deeply moving writer (the final passages of The Dead, itself possibly the greatest ever short story, are often held up as a paradigm of great prose, and their elegiac power is echoed at the end of Ulysses and, yes, the Wake) — but also an enigmatic fella. His key technique is that of the ‘epiphany’ — that moment of revelation, borrowed from his Catholic upbringing where it refers to the showing of Christ, the divine made human, to the Magi. But Joyce’s epiphanies are often mysterious and elliptical; a character has a life-changing experience of realisation, but the reader can’t always be certain what it or its significance is, exactly. Now at first this baffled the younger version of your current bloggist, at the same time as being intriguing. With the passage of years, some make more sense (others maybe less), but the air of mystery actually increases their numinous (I love that word, me) effect, a sort of mystical and moving effect, no doubt akin to that felt by religious folk, when they think on the mysteries of their Gods or whatever.

Intrigues and ambiguities become more delicious in themselves.

And all that was well before, half way though Ulysses (and so not on page one), yer man starts friggin’ about with the English language itself.

So, since the only real difficulty the early stuff can really present is the simple case of being Not my kind o’ thing, bejaysus (as I still sadly say about George Eliot), we can get into the nitty-gritty of why Ulysses is great craic in the next episode of this jocoserious Joyce-series. Whenever that happens.

Pasta la Vesta, muchachos.

Outage Outrage (with strong language)


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I blog on Wednesdays. Without fail. Two days ago I was to blog about Joyce. Without fail.

The only allowed exceptions are my death or nearly so, my having been kidnapped by a Russian countess and tied up in the baggage car of the Trans Siberian Railway, or something like that.


when my fucking computer won’t reboot after a fucking Windows update and a fucking power surge on a fucking USB port and I have to buy a fucking hdd docking station to get all the fucking data safe before I try to reinstal fucking Windows and get the fucking desktop going again.

Then the blog might get delayed by a day or so.

Maybe next week, Jimmy boy…

Whatever It Is — I’m Against It!


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The Imp of the Perverse is strong in this one.

Not just because skipping the planned Joyce blog (yet again) and leaving readers hanging in mid sentence, but also because not joining in the celebrations of the upcoming 180th anniversary of the lassies getting voting rights.

And there we go again. Now you’m be thinking what’s the twat on about now?  Where’d those extra 80 years come from — and why’s he not celebrating, him being a snowflakey libtard and all that?

Well …

To begin with, there is a world outside these islands. The soi disant Mother of Parliaments was quite slow off the mark in extending that franchise. So many accounts saying how the  Great War not only decimated the male population but gave the lie to the idea of weak and dependent women, paving the way for the dears to be ‘given’ their suffrage (like it was ain the all-powerful male gift). So few referring to the fact that, sans guerres, other European nations like Denmark (1915), Norway (1913) and the Duchy of Finland (1905)  had already got there and the Finns had women MPs by 1907, ffs.

And ironically our colonial cousins had also beaten us to it by even more. When there were women voting and standing for election in New Zealand from 1893 and Australia a year later — when, damn it — at least property owning women over 40 on the Isle of Man had voting rights, one can’t help wondering why those heroic suffragettes had to resort to chaining themselves to horses and throwing themselves under railings [shurely shome mishtake? Ed] before the British Establishment would take any action.

New Zealand is proud of its status as first country (as in “a sovereign state that’s [now] a full member of the UN in its own right”) to grant votes to the monstrous regiment. But this annoys Pitcairn Islanders who actually beat them by a whopping 55 years, granting all their women of European or Tahitian descent (yes, all six of them) full voting rights from 1838, when the Island’s new constitution not only granted universal suffrage but also decreed compulsory education for all Pitcairn children.

Here we go again. He’s going to insert a totally unnecessary waffle about gay marriage now.

Yeah, too right.  Everybody assumes I’m bound to be in favour of gay marriage or any LGBTQPRZ marriage.

No no no. Similar reason to my opposition to votes for women, so there is a connection, see title above and shut up.

Digressing (or are we?) still further, a Fringe acquaintance of mine, talented performer and all that, is on telly tonight (BBC2 Scotland) in a programme about the awfully named trend for ‘polyamory’ (I nearly said ‘or sleeping around’ as we used to call it, but that’s far from accurate and thus less funny than it should be).  She’s getting loads of abuse for it on antisocial media, and I posted this comment on her Basefook thread …

I do find this all fascinating, as ‘a child of the sixties’ who lived through the Summer of Love and all them sorts of things we, in our less label-obsessed way, called ‘free love’, if we called it anything. Personally I never understood the idea of mono-amory, nor indeed monosexuality, though this may reflect the very justified feeling that I could hardly afford to be that fussy.

Maybe being restricted to the role of observer gives me some level of objectivity (or else bitterness, but I like to think not), but it’s a topic I’ve always found fascinating. At uni I was aware that some folk who were monogamously inclined (by social norms or upbringing maybe, maybe not just that) feared appearing ‘uncool’, just as at other times, those who wish to be more open, both with their bits and with their feelings, might feel pressure to conform (long before the interweb provided other cunts a way to give them shit about what they did with their own).

What I’ve never liked (though I can think of various reasons for it) is the way that some can’t handle the idea of folks doing what works best for them at any given time in their lives. Especially the inadequates who can talk bollocks from the safety of an antisocial media pseudonym.

Maybe the only pre-60s attitude I have is that people can do what they want as long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses. Though I do agree with Joe Orton that if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing in public (or better still, on telly).

Decide for yourselves what’s relevant there. More will no doubt follow one day but not this one.

Pedalling back, the point is I’m against gay marriage for the same reason I’m against straight marriage: I’m against marriage. And I’m against votes for women because I’m against votes. You can plough through past blogs to see more discussion of my attitude to ‘democracy’ or you can settle for a couple of quotes: Proudhon’s If monarchy is the hammer that crushes a people, democracy is the axe that divides them, and Bakhunin’s Universal suffrage is the counter-revolution.

So there.

But it’s mixed feelings. Given the relative oppression that gaining the right to vote usually replaces, given an opposition to any prejudice or deprecation of women, races, gingers, short people etc etc etc, one can only celebrate a move in the right direction, even while worrying about, even deploring that it’s a move to the imaginary and narcotic illusion of control afforded by ‘representative democracy’, which, as I have said before, is neither representative nor democratic (and I can’t  blame anyone else for that  quote) — given all that I will raise a glass to those plucky descendant of mutineers on Pitcairn, despite their recent sex assault scandals, and the liberal attitudes that gave a say to all those lovely ladies.

[That’s parody patronising, by the way, a satire, not real – for any thin-skinned libtards looking in and yes I know there were more than six women on Pitcairn back then, there were probably about 30 old enough in the population of 100+ — twice what it is now. But numbers aren’t everything]


Back to Jimmy Joyce next week. Probably.



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As far as yer man Joyce is concerned, if in no other ways, I am a jammy bastard.

As a sci-fi and Sherlock geek (as described two weeks ago), I stopped doing Eng. Lit. as a subject at the age of 16, having been exposed mainly to Shakey, Shaw and Wordsworth, with mixed results. Novels, I have little recollection of; there was the brief encounter with Austen, which my teenage self threw aside because I didn’t realise she was taking the piss, but who is now a much-loved and hilarious companion. We must have read more prose, but apart from the compulsory Copperfield, Cider with Rosie and Tarka the Bloody Otter, little has stayed with me. I certainly didn’t get to do English for ‘A’ level, so I never came across Mr Joyce, nor the idea that he was in some way ‘difficult’.

If I had a pound for everyone I’ve heard  say, “I tried reading Ulysses, but I couldn’t get past the first page,” I’d have £17.37 and be wondering where the 37p came from. Given the (relative) clarity of the first chapter, I somehow doubt if any of them have opened the book at all, but if they did it was no doubt in a state of trepidation, defeated before they began. If you approach something convinced you won’t understand it, even ready to affect an inverted pride that you can’t, you is on a hiding to nothing, sunbeam.

The late Sixties and early 70s were a golden time for folks of my vintage and pseudo-intellectual leanings. Not only was University tuition free, but we got a grant to help us support it by excessive drinking (my kid sister and I say that had I been born five years sooner or she five years later, it’s unlikely either of us working class kids would have gone into higher edderkashun). And not only was Radio 3 still reasonably free from dumbing down, but the new tv channel BBC2 showed Bergperson, Kurosawa, Ray and Marx Siblings films, ‘serious’ music and jazz, and stupendously pretentious late night arts programmes. On these things, the ideal distraction from doing homework assignments (thank heaven for that little white dot that the screen was reduced to some time around midnight; without it, no work would ever have got handed in), mini playlets, deep discussions and  avant garde excerpts were presented by men and women in black roll-neck jumpers.

One night a metafictional playlet included a line saying, “that’s what drama is: people meeting and interacting,” which spurred the awkward sod in me to write a play in which none of the three characters ever met, being in an array of boxes, apparently a maze opening onto the stage front. It even got performed by UMIST drama soc and, I was told, taken to Americaland as part of a tour.

But I digress.

I resume: one night a discussion of Irish writing spurred me to ask a housemate, a librarianship strudel from Armagh, who the hell this Joyce chappie might be when he’s at home. An outburst ensued:

“He writes a load of gibberish, totally obscene and blasphemous. His last book even ends in the middle of a focking sentence!”

Well, that meant I had to read the guy. So I started in the middle of that sentence with Finnegans Wake. If you think Ulysses is difficult …

But, I assume, I had the advantage of having no fixed idea of what a book should do or be. To this day story is of little interest, the washing line on which the shirts of ideas, subtext and crap jokes can be hung out. I’d been a fan of Lewis Carroll since childhood, when Alice was the star of one of the two books permanently in the house (the other was my fellow Nottinghamian, Lemuel Gulliver, but the local library kept the volume level topped up). I’d loved the wordplay of Jabberwocky, and later, though never a fan of the Beatles (the imp of the perverse probably prevents me liking the overpopular on principle), I had read Lennon’s sub-Joycean Spaniard in the Works and In His Own Write. and even tried my own teenage hand at wordplayery (yes, among other things; ha ha).

Immediately I loved the music and the humour of the Wake, but was also a wee bit baffled about whether it did ‘mean’ anything. And I realised the fortnight or so I was allowed to keep it from Stretford library was not going to be sufficient to do it justice. To do page one justice, to be fair.

So I went out and bought the Faber hardback (I do prefer my bukks in well-bound hardback form; and William York Tindall’s excellently lucid A Reader’s Guide to Finnegans Wake.

What a way to begin one’s love affair with great literature.

And what a way to break in an overlong blog. With the reassurance of ‘to be continued …’, I shall end this one appropriately in the middle of a focking



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The simple things in life are often the most complicated.

I was supposed to be writing worms of wisdom about yer man Joyce and Ulysses and the Wake today. I just had a few easy tasks to get out of the way first. A couple of days earlier I’d booked flights out to Seville on the new service, for to meet up with a friend and her sister in the early autumn, when said sister will be celebrating a multiple of decades of life in sunny Seville.

Flights are on Thursdays only, so I got myself a week. Stay in Seville until the lassies set sail on the Sunday, hop on a train to Cádiz and meet their Fred Olsen there on the Sunday, then have four days reacquainting myself with my little city by the bay, as featured in my famous journal of a year in Cádiz. As the flight back is in the evening, get the train back from Cai to Santa Justa station and get straight on the airport bus.

Easy. And plenty of time to book rooms nearer the date, I thought.


Well, I made things harder for myself by a decision to spend the Friday revisiting the lovely little town of Ronda, with its gorge and historic bridge which every artist has to paint. I’m no exception. They don’t let you leave until it’s done.

Two hour bus journey, a night in my chums’  hotel, the exquisite Alavera de los Baños, and an early afternoon bus back to Sevilla the next day.

And eight months to do it in.

But but but …

A quick glance to check the hotel is still there and still run by the lovely Christian and Inma showed it was also fully booked for September. My own fault. People like me, among their firstest customers at the turn of the minnellium, enthused so much to our general acquaintance, that word of mouth alone made them a firm fave of many visitors. But an idle enquiry on Trivookingtels dot com suggested that there wasn’t that much room at any inn that week. A suspicion sneaked into my brane. Once before around that time of year, la Frizada and I found ourselves in the town in the middle of the Goyescas, a colourful event where the squares are full of bars and dancing and everyone dresses like a character from a Goya tapestry. It’s part of the week-long Feria de Pedro Romero, a celebration of tauromachia, named for the famous bullfighter who codified the laws of the modern corrida.

At the main fight of the week, the King acts as president and awards ears and other trofeos to the  successful matadors.

Sure enough, I was aiming to be there at the end of that very festival.

¡Mierda con garbanzos!

But this was all the more reason to revisit, not go to fights; even if I wanted to, I couldn’t afford it and they’re probably all sold out. But deffo to have a dance in the square with frilly-dressed señoritas and neck a beer or six with a plate of rabo de toro.   Maybe revisit my favourite tapas bar, if la Giralda is still there. So I wasted a few hours this morning but managed to find a small pension on the hill going down to los baños, in the old town.

Phew! After this, it gets easier.


I needed two nights, nonconsecutive, in Sevilla, preferably handy for the bus and train stations. Quite quickly I found an Airbnb room with a doble bed at the south end of la Macarena (near where I’d stayed with mis hermanos last year). Booked for the Wednesday, got confirmation, booked for the Friday, got a mail from the host saying it wasn’t really available at all. Both nights? Yes, both nights.

‘José’ (name changed in case I’m accidentally slandering the innocent) duly cancelled the Wednesday booking; I found another room, slightly cheaper, nearer to the station, booked both nights, got confirmations and nice mail back from ‘Consuela’.
Then Airbnb tells me I’m booked for two places on the one, Friday, night. José says he can’t get at it to cancel, ¿would I do it? I find I’ll lose a £4 admin fee if I do.  No, say I (in Spanish, ie ‘No’).
I write to Airbnb, get friendly reply saying tell José to cancel and, if he can’t, to contact customer support.
Well, between my bad Spanglish and Google Translate’s variable efforts, things go on for ages, get very confusing, and he seems to be saying the £23 quoted on the site was wrong. I can’t be sure, but he may have been saying I can cancel it and he’ll send me the admin charge; or I could have the room after all for the ‘correct’ price of £35.
Fuck that. T’other place is under £20 a night and both it and Consuela look charming.

So it’s now the evening, I have spaghetti to cook and  still I await some sort of resolution. At least I have one room. Or to put it another way, I have at least one room.

Joyce can wait a week.

A Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Dork


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I was a bit of a geek at school, me.

Probably hovered around the more colourful parts of what we now call the spectrum. Leaned towards science and maths and all things logical. Not that I was ever likely to wish life was more ordered than it is, but I was less fond than I am now of the pure and beautiful chaos of ‘reality’.

So, as is typical of the young, awkward, male science geek, I read mainly science fiction and a bit of fantasy from my teens through to my university days.

Not that I was impervious to the other stuff. Though the traditional English education is geared to making kids resistant, rather than receptive, to the greatness of Dickens or Wordsworth, and makes yer man Shakespeare, as George Bernard Shaw put it, ‘an instrument of torture for the young’, I could already see something in it. Indeed, I was a keen participant in the school and house plays every year. My Venturewell (in The Knight of the Burning Pestle) is still spoken of in therapy sessions up and down the land, and as for the embarrassment of my performance in The Lady’s Not for Burning, we shall draw a veil over that here. And I was miffed that they never did a Shakespeare while I was there (and all my lines as Spintho in Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion were cut, chiz chiz).

And always drawn to doing a spot of writing (and written to doing a spot of drawing, for that matter). The creative urge was strong in this one, if not the inborn talent or the tenacious nature.  Even in primary school I wrote a play, a spoof crime drama, set in the skool and parodying members of staff and fellow pupils wot were partiklaly wet and soppy and slept with dolies.

In secondary school, I adapted a Sherlock Holmes story for the stage and briefly became the teacher’s pet of a naïve teaching assistant, causing hilarity and teasing (of me and her) in equal measure. So come to think of it,  it wasn’t all scifi, fantasy and horror; in the time when ‘young adult fiction’ was about adults we could aspire to be, rather than our own pathetic, self-regarding angst, there must have been a bit of Biggles and a shedload of Sherlock. Although the rôle  model whose lifestyle I aspired to most was not Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, certainly not Roy of the Rovers and not even the inscrutable detective of Baker Street, but A J Raffles, the ‘gentleman thief’, who stole for the sheer joy of outwitting the forces of law and order. Sadly for me (but fortunately for society, I like to tell myself), I never had the guts to pursue that ambition, though colleagues would perhaps say I spent  over a decade robbing banks, by taking their wages under false pretences of actually doing any work. I was fond of quoting Aristotle in saying that the man of genius is doing most when he appears to be doing least; the usual reply was that I must be the smartest and most productive genius ever, as I always appeared to do fuck all.

So all this is now by way of a prelude to next week’s blog about reading James Joyce for sheer fun and entertainment, like what I often do now I am of more mature years (ha and, in a very real sense, ha). The inclination to write on this subject was stimulated by Anjelica Huston’s prog about yer man Jim on BBC two nights ago. Having planned to set my musings down this week, I digressed, as so often I do, and gave more background than could possibly be necessary. So come back or don’t next week to see some enlightening views on Ulysses for the common reader and (maybe the week after) Finnegans Wake for the complete fruitcake.