I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

An ode to paracetemol

Even the Appassionata lacks passion

No choirs in force, no bows at venture drawn,
No fugal lines well wove, no trills sustained,
No brass afire, the tympani long gone,
The woods like trees, the podium disdained.

With him as guest all music is de trop,
What once beguiled is now mere memory,
He nags within from doh to doh to doh
Reducing sounds to physiology

But not to silence, he’s well-fuelled with bile,
My airways creak and strive to pass my breath,
My nostrils bubble, custardwise, awhile
I murmur requiems and think on death.

Death at least marked by dignified bass clef,
But, no, the thief that racks me is tone deaf.

NOTE 1. Shakespearean sonnet. Having tried the
Miltonian format once I don't do the funny ones.
NOTE 2. The version that drew the first four comments
(for which much thanks) was a draft written in
feverishness. This version has been significantly
edited - though custard stays.


  1. So your nostrils bubble custard wise. Now put a tune to that. Let trumpets sound and tabors thunder! As we used to sing Sneeze up, sneeze Lorenzo d'.

  2. Poor sausage! Custardwise is rather a stroke of, erm, genius...?

    Get well soon.

  3. The sonnet has made me smile even as I feel some pity. Be well quick.

  4. We I was a kid, we used to taunt each other on the playground with a variety of juvenile insults, although we thought them clever at the time. What can one expect from 9-year-olds, anyway.

    One that I remember well, that was supposed to rell the tauntee that he or she was just not all that, went like this: "Yeah, well you think you're hot snot, but you aint nothing but a cold booger!"

    Obviously, you are of the hot snot category.

    Hope you are doing better soon.

  5. Plutarch: Tune: Eternal Father Strong to Save.

    My nostrils bubble custard-wise
    By throat’s a rasp, filth blears my eyes,
    Each twenty minutes I am called
    To china, where I stand appalled.
    How long can I withstand this flow
    Before I go where it must go?

    Lucy: At 3 am I woke, coughed, sensed something odd, stood up and realised the internal diameter of my bronchia had shrunk from 9 mm to 1 mm. I was surrounded by air yet lacked the means to draw it into my lungs. The desire to panic was very strong, and it combined effortlessly with an equally strong conviction that this was rotten way to go. For three or four minutes I inhaled ineffectively (making a noise like a kazoo) as I told myself that life can be sustained by an air supply that is perhaps only one-fifth of that which the lungs expect. Slowly the gap in my bronchia widened and I became aware of another sensation (which I will avoid describing) which helped trigger the custard simile. As I stood, eyes streaming, Mrs LdP stroking my shoulder I started pondering how I could convert this experience into a post which took in music. I saw your sonnet and you read my spavined response. This taught me a lesson. When I have something that matters I should in future eschew verse; facetiousness is always round the corner, it is not my metier. To tell the truth I enjoyed doing this comment more than doing the sonnet and I'm going back to see how many adjectives I can cut out. PS: I can't bring myself to delete "spavined".

    M-L: Nothing's too solemn to withstand laughter, though spectators usually identify it as hysteria (ie, laughter inappropriately employed).

    The Crow: I am a great enthusiast for custard doughnuts which may not be available in the US. I am hoping this contretemps will leave my enthusiasm untouched.

  6. Heal well LdeP. A good malt could help.

  7. LdP, we hve custard and cream (soft, fluffy white stuff) filled doughnuts here, as well as jelly-filled and all kinds of gooey-filled doughnuts -- none of which I will be able to even look at now, thanks to the image your response has provoked. Thank you so much!

    (My favorite custard doughnut is iced with glazing chocolate and is called a Boston Cream, after the famous Boston Cream Pie, which isn't a pie at all but a cake. Go figure.)

  8. HHB: Am just coming to the end of a bottle of Knockando.

    The Crow: I knew there were variants in the US (I could never get on with jam being jelly, BTW) but I was always a traditionalist while living there. The British custard doughnut is a half-split cylinder rather than a knobbly sphere and I couldn't remember seeing such a thing in Pennsylvania. Fact is I didn't look hard. I love the Brit thing because from first to last it's out and out junk: from the bready bun to the utterly synthetic custard.

    It's asking a lot, I know, but I hope the second version of the sonnet is rather better than the first. Somebody was busy sand-papering my eyeballs when I did the draft.

    To be safe, stay away from all things yellow.

  9. I empathise, LdP. There are some very nasty germs around this winter. I started a chest cold 3 days after Christmas and still have a "bubbly" chest now which needs clearing at times , although, happily,your custard simile (inspired)has not applied for a couple of weeks.

  10. Oh ick. Wishing you passageways of fresh, sparkling air very soon. May you escape from this like John Carter of Mars escapes from the Baddies on Barsoom!

  11. Occasional speeder11 February 2012 at 13:44

    Completely changing the subject, driving to Ledders today, I thought of something. I know all these people you say you like where classical musician concerned. Mozart - man on chocolates from Austria, Beethoven - so well known they named a film about a massive dog after him - so are you more 'Take That' than 'Cancer Bats'?? Do you listen to Classic FM in the sly? I only ask as one of my 'crew' who shall remain nameless said they enjoyed some sings by 'The Wanted' (Google them...)- we had merriment at their expense, then of course I downloaded one as I am so uncool about music,my iPod knows no shame, and I was happy they had been that 'brave' to admit it. Do you have any need to be credible where your kind of music is concerned, I wondered.
    Oh and a tune we listened (Zac and I) to today was by the Manic Street Preschers 'If you tolerate this, then your children will be next'. Listen to it. Obviously it's there most successful sing and a true fan probably hates it, that's why I like it. And it isn't going to lift your heart and celebrate our modern world as the title suggests. But maybe you can help me to answer Zac's question 'what are you tolerating mummy?' without scaring the bejesus out of him...

  12. Avus: It seems to be a feature of increasing age. All ailments from a scratched hand to a massive infarction take longer to clear up. And, despite HHB's kind suggestion about applying single malt to the affected area, the pleasure potential for such treatment also seems to diminish. I take minor comfort from the fact that when I was born, average life expectancy for males living in Bradford was probably in the fifties. Perhaps some of my school-mates who opted to remain in the Venice of the North, are already dead. One must take one's pleasures where one finds them.

    RW (zS): I take it that's a TV series made in Britain. Alas I never watch home-made TV series, much preferring the imports from Denmark: The Killing I and II, and - just finished - Borgen. Also, alas, I prefer sparkling wine to sparkling air.

    OS: There's just a wee bit of incoherence here. Did you thumb this comment en route to Ledders while driving? What you appear to be asking is whether I have any guilty musical preferences. Custard doughnuts probably qualifty (See several comments back) on the food front. As to pop music, I don't think my database is big enough to have to have any guilty (new) preferences. One of the disappointments about the pop field is that much of what I've heard lacks energy. I expected to be bombarded, instead my big toe is languidly tickled.

    Mind you I'm shocked beyond measure that my piece on David Bowie scored zero comments. Any ideas why? Did I just state the bleeding obvious?

  13. Occasional speeder11 February 2012 at 17:39

    What I wanted to know is this - is liking Mozart/Beethoven etc an easy option - like me popping a bit of frothy 80s pop on? Do you think you have radical taste in classical music - or, is it just the stuff most people like? Not that there's anything wrong with that.. Many teenage girls like the Wanted - and now someone I didn't expect to has had the guts to say they do too. Maybe that's the thing about Bowie - people SAY they like him but when it comes to the crunch....,

  14. OS: My apologies, this is a more complex, more wide-ranging question than I realised. It would be fair to say that the most significant difference between pop-enthusiasts and posh-enthusiasts is that the former are always looking forward whereas the majority of the latter tend to cling to the status quo.

    However, each of these statements, is subject to modification. I suspect that the assumption of a mortgage and parental responsibilities tends to slow down forward-looking poppers, eventually to the point where they're entirely satisfied with the past. As to the poshers a love of the past can be forgiven since pre-twentieth century music has a huge lot to go at and nobody has heard it all.

    You ask if I have a radical taste in posh music and the answer's probably no. I am not perpetually searching for the latest John Adams or Pierre Boulez. But for one reason or another I've persuaded myself to listen to certain far-out works, seen them as music and added them to the list of works I'm prepared to hear a second time. An opera called The Death of Klinghoffer is one example; others include the clarinet concerto by Peter Maxwell Davies and a vocal work Notturno by Othmar Schoeck. The previous person who organised the choice of concerts we used to see in Birmingham and Cardiff often picked programmes with at least one lesser known work (the Samuel Barber piano concerto comes to mind) and both of us appreciated this. The present organiser tends to default to Old Faithfuls.

    But music doesn't have to be new to be difficult. Two works - Bach's chaconne for solo violin, and LvB's Grosse Fuge quartet - which I've recently written about recently would come as a great shock to those whose knowledge of those composers was limited to Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring and the final movement of the ninth symphony. But, you may ask, however difficult they are aren't they the softer options since the passage of time has proved they are masterpieces. And you would have a point.

    I think my mind is open, if only partially. An earlier post dealt with works and composers where I've changed my mind towards favourability. I even included Twelve O'Clock Rock and (in a qualified way) The Beatles.

    There are other factors. Different music for different times. Mum and I were greatly impressed last night by Wagner's opera Götterdämmerung but once a year may be enough. One masterpiece that could be played at any time - whether you've just won the lottery or just heard terminal news from the doctor - is Mozart's clarinet concerto. Significantly it was written very late in his life.