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.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Boxing clever

Astronomy's not really my bag.The distances are unimaginable, the universe resembles a bomb-site, theories tend to be over-speculative, and myth-lovers got in first on the names. But I couldn't, in all conscience, ignore today's solar eclipse.

For one one thing it was so damn convenient: five minutes before I was due to leave for French. Also VR loves the heavens.

So I made us a pinhole viewing camera (above) and we pointed it at the sun from our front driveway. Our neighbours across the street were using sunglasses and smart-phones.

Gradually the bite-shaped slice moved in and VR's delight was my just reward. Yet, there was more. One of the girls opposite, dissatisfied with modern technology, ran across for a look via our viewer, saw the slice and said (Bless her!): "That's cool."

I asked for no other encomium.

ACHES in my back demanded the services of a masseur. The nearest guy turned out to be blind, had fingers classed as weapons, and was built, to quote our friends, "like a brick shithouse." As a novice his chest measurement was in the forties, now the fifties. "For every action," says Sir Isaac, "there must be a reaction."

He shifted my back muscles around as if they were topsoil; the pain was extreme but cleansing. Then he moved down a little and from being merely extreme the pain became grunt-worthy. Astonishingly it also made itself felt on my front, at the bottom of my ribcage - the attachment point for the inter-costals, I believe.

"Now I know what tarmac feels like," I said. He laughed. "Did you expect a pretty girl with a feather?" he asked. No-groan-oh. I didn't.


  1. A masseur with a sense of humour! I think I would benefit from such a going over.

    Did you feel better for it?

  2. I agree that the pinhole camera is cool. Once in Japan I was given an amazing Shiatsu massage. Ah, what I would do to experience that again!

  3. Avus: We all would, Avus, we all would. And at £35/hr it's dead cheap. Think of what you'd pay for roughly the same experience in a Soho club or (I daren't even imagine) for one in Mayfair. (Previous member: Lord Lucan).

    RW (zS): Isn't Shiatsu massage for dogs? Very small dogs? Perhaps not, I believe there's a z in there somehow.

  4. You're thinking of Shit Tzu. A martial art adapted as a massage technique, usually to improve bowel function.

  5. Embarrassing. Shouldn't post anything 'til coffee kicks in.

  6. MikeM: You should never be scared of rendering yourself vulnerable from time to time. It adds to your charm. I for one would enjoy reading an honest account (Why restrict you? Dishonest would do just as well.) of your state of mind, pre-coffee.

  7. Wish I'd been there, I've never in fact see a pinhole camera in action and can never quite believe they work.

    Also wanted Mike to know how much I am laughing about his shit tzu massage.

  8. I wake up feisty and imaginative, I suppose, but incautious - proofing/editing functions still in rem sleep mode. I had looked up Shih-Tzu to see how it was spelled, but could not move it accurately to my post. I've got a half cup down at the moment, and as you can see things are much butter.

  9. MikeM; For me there are huge differences in creative ability between 6.30 am and, say, 4 pm. Late afternoon and the images are all dead. Even editing proceeds laboriously. Probably because I get up so early but then if I didn't I'd be wasting time lying awake in bed, distant from a keyboard.

    You'd think I'd make the best of this creative bounce and apply it to the novel. But no. Fatally I check my inbox and then other blogs, then start responding. I've wondered about this and have concluded a live exchange is just as important to me as extending an inanimate MS. The former is a more positive confirmation that I'm part of the human race.

    Besides which my novel writing has changed over these last few years. I'm now much more aware of "risk" and "relevance" than I used to be; both words are personal and somewhat distant from their original meanings but, if they don't click, I tend to stay my hand. Fiction writers are given to finding excuses for not writing but I'm moderately content with the situation. About two months ago the flood-gates opened and I've written about 18,000 words since.

    I like your choice of "incautious", perhaps because I see it as a very English vice. Convinced that if most Americans were asked to write that sentence they'd come up with something more like "reckless". Word nuances make my day and I tend to hang huge and probably unjustifiable extrapolations from them. Have you ever considered that you read too much, that you may be more the product of what you read than what you do? Since I do very little this is certainly the case with me.

    On the other hand since I know very little about what you do (and am not inclined to pry) perhaps I've got this completely wrong. If so, the hypothesis is not wasted for me at least. It could crop up somewhere else in a more refined form.

    "Feisty" is one of the USA's greatest contributions to the wordwide English vocabulary. Perhaps because it is almost onomatopeiac. I have to actively restrain my over-use of this word.

  10. Very hard to say what I'm a product of. The "job" puts food on the table and keeps me warm, provides transportation and a home replete with internet service. The web is where I do most of my reading - 2 to 3 hours on an average day. Books? Your latest is sitting beside me, unopened now for about 6 weeks I'd say. I read the first chapter when I ordered it (via some Amazon viewer)and have, off and on, considered making an "opening" video of the type now so popular on YouTube. I thought that might amuse you (if I could make it amusing), but I've concluded that it would be mostly a waste of time. I rarely read books, but I did just plow through "Metaphor and Meaning in Psychotherapy"....I picked it up on a whim and got hooked by a brilliantly written introduction, which led to a fairly esoteric text.Quite a few moving points about dreams, the unconscious, and poetry though. How fortunate we are to have you spilling your most creative time into Tone Deaf and comments!

  11. MikeM: If I'm deliberately selective I might point out that you are a person who was drawn to read "Metaphor and meaning in psychotherapy". That fact doesn't describe you completely, but its rarity carries a disproprortionate significance; it is far from quotidian and therefore more fascinating than being kept warm and having wheels. It's not a normal act. Your route from wherever you were born to choosing that book must, by inference, have passed through a whole load of bifurcations where there were more likely (ie, easier) options, all probably ignored.

    Since I'm assuming you're not a psychotherapist I further assume that you have the capacity (quite a special capacity, as it happens) to respond to books with such unyielding, academic-style titles which often say very little. You are a cold, stern man Mr Winterbottom, keen to set yourself apart from the herd (this is evident too in your often wildly elliptical posts) and that is enough. Your motives don't matter. However you should acknowledge this point: to absorb difficult material is meritorious, but to prove you've profited from the experience could put you among the angels. You should write more often; you are guaranteed at least one attentive reader.

    As to OoA, you may never open it and that's OK. Buying it is the far greater intellectual gift. However, if you do, here's a crib. You need read no more than one chapter - Chapter Two, Flight to Montauban. In it are all the impulses that set me in motion and if none of them resonate, then that's proof positive you need read no more.

    Yesterday VR said to me: MikeM did a joke in his comment. I said I'd noticed and that it was a good one. So there you go.

  12. Thanks RR. I'd no doubt that you picked up the butter. Not much detective work involved to determine that you were probably in pain when you stroked the comment above, making it seem almost doubly complimentary. Now that you mention it, I think I also read Chapter 2 on Amazon. I recall enjoying the reading, but the wait for the book killed the momentum I'd (you'd) gained. I like the process of turning paper pages (it's so fast?) as opposed to scrolling past long blank spots in text or "clicking", then waiting for the next page. Most of my online reading is short, news and scrap (TD falls into neither category), seldom more than a few pages per article (Truthdig, The New Yorker), and I suffer in the page turning process even then.