Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Mine is the fury of rivers unbounded
Mine is the grace of the deep red dawn
I am the rage, and I am the rapture
Of the whitest tiger and the blackest swan

I am the death of joyous laughter,
I am the lord of the end of despair
I am the reason the sun and the moon
Do not vanish without a thought or a care

I am the mover, and I am the moved
I am the One who is the All
Within me the worlds survive their turning
Without me the universe into nothing would fall

Now and forever, I am the master
Aeons before me like seconds pass
Mountains of stone are anthills to me
Diamonds as frail as shattered glass

The brightness of stars will perish before me
Leo and Taurus with them shall die
I will be left with dust and oblivion
Then, perhaps, my end will be nigh


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

I like rhyming

I like rhyming words with words,
It’s fun and entertaining too,
It’s not just for lit’rary nerds
Or just people feeling blue

I like making words say things
They would not never, ever say
Give them fingers and not wings,
Show them work, and not play

I like grammar that’s strangely twisted,
Not killed or mugged but Doctor Who-ed
Phrases only slightly misted
Not mangled by an insane prude

I like phrases that make me think
‘Your author is a genius cool’
They wrap 'round me like fur of mink
And inspire a feckless ugly drool

I like poems that seem crazy,
Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash
Are my heroes, though I’m lazy
And so my poems read like trash.

I like rhyming words with words,
It’s fun and entertaining too
If you don’t like it, I think you’re turds
You belong back in the loo.

Monday, 22 March 2010

time for a change, methinks

i have decided i shall try and write more nonsense poetry. less of this stuff about how my life sucks, or why i think that couch is
and doesn't really seem to
have a character.
character, that bane
of inspiration.
where is it,
I wonder.

no, none of that weird line-break stuff anymore. i am going to try to enjoy this. hopefully you will too. like:

Who are you, reading my blog?
I want you know you slightly better
If to my face you don't want to talk,
Perhaps you could write me a letter?

See? More fun already!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

blehitty blehitty bleh

Inspiration's a bitch. I'm sure you know this already, but still. Inspiration's a bitch. I've said this many times already, but still. Inspiration's a bitch.

I've been reading a bit over the last couple weeks. Trying to get my mind off all the revision I'm meant to be doing. It hasn't worked too well, but I have had fun reading, nonetheless. There's been a load of fiction, and a load of graphic novels, and a bit of non-fiction, mainly my compulsory polit-theory reading but also some general econ stuff.

Firstly, the fiction:

In the middle of my third or fourth attempt at Catch-22. 'Tis hilarious, but still doesn't grip me. I like it's cynicism, and the characters are quirky and weir,d which is never a bad thing. But it just seems like a joke book, with one gag after another. Maybe I'll like it more once I've actually finished it. Maybe they'll figure out what to do with the dead man in Yossarian's tent.

First time in a while I picked up a random book because I thought it looked nice and bought it. I don't tend to do that, mostly because I don't trust new authors. But C J Sansom's Sovereign was terrific. It's the third of a series, set in Tudor England, round the time of Cromwell and people. He makes the world very, very believable, and makes the mystery mysterious without you having to have an in-depth knowledge of British history. Though some knowledge would probably not be a bad thing. It follows Matthew Shardlake, someone I was drawn to simply because I really like his name, who is a hunchback lawyer. Much loved it.

Then there was this rather short book; The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid. It started off well enough, the way he writes the book is quite interesting. But it soon devolved into what can only be called a bleh of a novel. The main story grows dull, the lead character never really develops into someone we can relate to. Bleh, I say. Bleh bleh bleh bleh bleh. Bleh.

Also read The Immortals, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It's the tenth book in the Edge Chronicles, a series that's a) fantastically imagined, b) fantastically illustrated, and c) never ever gets old. Amma gave me the first book when i was ten or something, and I've never quite grown out of it. There's als a version of Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book that's illustrated by Chris Riddell which is also rather well drawn, but the fantastic creatures of The Edge can't really be compared to anything else.

Secondly, the graphic novels:

I bought volume four of Planetary. Wow. The previous three volumes are really random, one issue is very rarely connected to the next, and the weirdness of the whole script is what keeps you wondering. In the concluding volume, however, the script is tight and focused, and there is no mistaking the fact that this is the end. We're not about to see any more adventures of the people who keep the world strange. The one thing I regret about the series is that it's so damn short. But it's better to go out when you're on top, nein?

There's also Fables, by Bill Willingham. Sure, the artwork isn't anything to write home about, but by the hammer of Thor, the story is the most gripping I've read in a very long time. It's a rather simple premise. What if fairy tale characters actually existed? But with that one supposition, Willingham creates an entire mythology of folk, from the Big Bad Wolf to Little Jack Horner, from Sinbad the Sailor to Prince Charming.'Tis a must read. If you're into graphic novels, anyway. Which I suspect you aren't.

And lastly, there's a little series by a man called Garth Ennis, called Preacher. You shouldn't let small children near it, you shouldn't let teenagers near it, you should probably not read it. It contains some of the most graphic, most offensive, most vulgar text and pictures you will ever read. But boy, is it good.

I find I'm a very irritating reviewer. I've just gone on about these things without telling you what they're about. But if you wanted to find out, you could very easily google them. This is just me recommending that you google them (In the case of Preacher, do so in some sort of sneaky way so that no one can recognise it's you doing it. Possibly in the same you way searched for other unsavoury items on the internet).

Thursday, 18 March 2010

i hate you, GeoIP

as you may or may not know, there are some very small things that i find very irritating. things like bad spelling, or unfunny attempts at being politically incorrect, or the fact that my laptop only ever seems to act up when in my room in halls. today, i shall be ranting about one of these rather inconsequential things.

ok, look, you may think that sidebar on your website is exciting. woo fucking hoo, you get visitors from all over the world, you have friends both sides of the suez canal. how bloody exciting. but let me tell you this, you little fuck, there is a reason that i don't comment on your blog, there is a reason i don't tell you who i am, or where i come from, or what i do with my life. there is a reason all of this information is kept from you. it is not so that you can install some fancy GeoIP gadget thing to figure out where i am. colour me paranoid, but i like being anonymous. london is a big place, you say? there is no way of telling who i actually am, you say? well, i don't care! half the bloody point of the internet is being anonymous (the other half is, of course, porn). i like my privacy, or what little is left of it, anyway. if i wanted to talk to you and leave comments, i would.

you like comments, you say. comments are good things, you say. i don't disagree. i find that comments brighten up my day considerably. but that does not mean i stalk you in the hopes of getting a comment, now does it?

i suppose this has more to do with how i think people should think about their blogs. why would you have a sidebar thing unless you wanted people to go 'how exciting is this blog, people from all over the world visit it'. um, HELLO! blogs are exciting because of what's written in them! not because of who visits them! it is designed for people who stumble onto the blog, because why would people who already read the blog care about who else reads the blog? so if this anonymous person stumbles onto your blog and goes 'hey look, he gets visits from new york!', that should be the first of many, many signs that this person is probably not worth it. using simply the fact that someone is from a particular place to make assumptions about them is terrifically stupid. i'm going to be mean here, and say if you're like that, you should've left round about five sentences ago. i'm not saying i'm not shallow. i'm incredibly shallow. i'll judge you based on name, age, race, sexuality, creed, gender, political views, theological views, general appearance, taste in music, and even *gasp* whether you seem to have taken a shower that morning or not.

but with that one little sidebar, you have given my extremely shallow side a very good excuse to hate you. when you're trying to attract anonymous people to come see your blog, it is probably not a good idea to alienate them. content over form, substance over style, and that little sidebar has just made sure that i will remember your URL so that i can make fun of you. you probably will not know, but that only makes it funnier.

so, either you want shallow people on your blog, or you don't. if you do, you're an idiot, and i will probably laugh at you. if you don't, why do you have that stupid sidebar?

PS, if i know you and you have a sidebar, don't worry, i will still read you. probably. erm. i will make an effort, i promise. and if i know you and someone you know really well has a sidebar, you should make them get rid of it. and apologise for ever having cared so much about the opinions of people they don't know. and while i'm at it, i'd like a pony.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I'm currently reading morbid poetry. I quite like morbid poetry. Morbidity is the emotion I feel now. I like morbidity. But then I saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (a must-watch. Very beautiful, not to mention stellar performances by Stephen Fry and Johnny Depp. If you went to see Avatar just for the visuals, watch this, and you'll be delighted both visually and intellectually. The only gripe I have is the slightly unoriginal action movie ending, but that I can very easily forgive.) and having watched it, I reread the Jabberwocky. The actual novel I shall save for another time, but the poetry is brilliant. There are a huge number of words that just don't make sense, but one reads them as if they do.

So this week I've been reading the Jabberwocky and the rather longer Hunting of the Snark. They're meant to be read aloud, even if the words don't make any sense at all. You should do it.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Have you heard about the reservations? Here is what an elitist, spoilt, upper middle-class Indian boy who is now in England thinks about the bill, which is undoubtedly a paragon of virtue, passed by people who have the milk of human kindness poring from every vein.

I suspect the reservations will make little to no difference to the actual political makeup of the system, but they will change our democracy for the worse.

The status quo is that politicians can only run for power if they are approved by the party, and once they are actually in power, they tend not to act for the good of their people. If in the very unlikely scenario the politician is actually purely altruistic, he has no credibility with the rest of the politicians, meaning that he has no real power. Power is given to those who are willing to compromise, and compromising effectively means you are no longer altruistic, and then you just become another politician.

What is the change here? That one in three seats will be filled by a woman, and not a man. That doesn't change the nature of politics, because whether you're male or female, getting to Parliament means that you become a politician. So more women will get power, certainly, but the entry requirements to get to power effectively mean that they will be just like the women MP's that already exist.

The proposition does not effect an actual change in the system, it merely makes it look different.

The women in this country who are marginalised, who are in need of help, are very unlikely to be the ones who want to run for parliament. By running for parliament, that woman is exhibiting a level of empowerment that we want all women to get to, but we're not enabling those women, are we?

But what are the negative effects of the proposition?

Never mind that this kind of legislation is unprecedented in our democracy. Never mind that reservations for women makes them seem unable to run for parliament otherwise. Never mind the administrative costs and the decisions we will have to make about which districts are to be represented in this way. That can be chalked down to the thinking of a well-off boy from Hyderabad who doesn't know the ground reality of how India actually works.

But the fact of the matter is that after today, when someone says nothing is going on in India, people will point to this bill and say 'Look, India is changing!', when in reality it is not. Passing this bill will appease those of us who want to believe that things are getting better, but won't actually help the women who need it. It will give a lot of political capital to all the parties in the Lok Sabha, but will not actually make, say, female foeticide ratios any better. Explaining to women that their lot is getting better because one is now guaranteed more women in parliament will not be easy (By the logic that this will help women, UP by now should have become the land of milk and honey for OBC's. But all Mayawati does is build statues of herself, (and also pass bills to create a special police force for defending them)).

This bill gives the government a stamp of legitimacy it has done nothing to deserve. Itgives the Congress, the BJP, the SP, the BSP, the DMK, the AIADMK, and any number of other political acronyms the right to say 'We are changing', when they aren't. We are giving them the license to lie.

Which would explain why I, personally, am not a fan.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mediocrity is depressing

Mediocrity is depressing
There are no voices in my head
There are no women in my bed
No words on these lacklustre pages
No wisdom from no sanguine sages
No colors of the rainbow’s hues
Just the taxman and his dues
Despite the flowers of spring so gay
I do not know what I’m meant to say.
Black and white and endless gray
Are all I see though try I may.

Mediocrity is depressing,
No hope for my spendthrift hands
No joy for my liar’s tongue
No rain on my infertile lands
I stand on the world’s midmost rung.
And though I hear the ‘Yes we can’s
They sting me like a bee has stung
They have their best-laid mousey plans
About which nothing can be done.

Mediocrity is depressing,
My muses flee like moths from rain
They look at me like a man insane
I write my verses but in vain
Still better than curses dripping with disdain.

Monday, 1 March 2010

this weeks poetrical (is that even a word?) discovery is John Betjeman. Having awoken at nine in the morning in the living room of a house i'd never been to before, i naturally did the first thing that came to mind and found myself something to read. At first, it was a book by orhan pamuk about istanbul, but really not being in the mood for stories, i picked up the collected works of john betjeman.

Five o clock shadow

This is the time of day when we in the Mens's ward
Think "one more surge of the pain and I give up the fight."
When he who struggles for breath can struggle less strongly
This is the time of day which is worse than night.

A haze of thunder hangs on the hospital rose-beds,
A doctors' foursome out on the links is played,
Safe in her sitting-room Sister is putting her feet up:
This is the time of day when we feel betrayed.

Below the windows, loads of loving relations
Rev in the car park, changing gear at the bend,
Making for home and a nice big tea and the telly:
"Well, we've done what we can. It can't be long till the end."

This is the time of day when the weight of bedclothes
Is harder to bear than a sharp incision of steel.
The endless anonymous croak of a cheap transistor
Intensifies the lonely terror I feel.

- John Betjeman