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That book I bought.

This I suppose is the usual “Real Books v E-Books” thing, which tends to send even Mrs Trellis back to her “Heat” magazine with the vapours.

We went to a second-hand book sale in a church hall a couple of weeks ago. Clearly having “No Books At All”  in the house made this an important mission.

I picked up this book, identifying it as possibly interesting, unlikely to exist on Amazon and a nice book to hold. It’s call “Men Women And Books” by Leigh Hunt. (There’s a big piece on him in Wikipedia). It’s a collection of essays, journalism and short fiction and was first published in 1847.


A Selection Of







My edition came out in 1943 and was published by “Live Books Resurrected” about whom I know nothing. A scanned reprint  of Volume One only is available for silly money from Amazon.co.uk. My copy has both volumes.

It was printed in the War to strict economy standards.


What this means is that it is printed on inexpensive paper and follows quite complex rules about words per page, margins etc. In practice what I have is a hardback book which is certainly more utilitarian in appearance than we’re used to today, but there’s this: the standard of proofreading & editing is miles beyond that of many modern books. I’m about half-way through and there’s not a single typesetting or spelling error, and I suspect the publishers & printers would have been very embarrassed if any were to be found, wartime or not.

It was originally given as a gift to one Mary Barnes by her Grandfather:

Hand-written dedication

Some handwriting!

I hope Mary Barnes enjoyed it. (I don’t suppose there’s the slightest chance that it was this Mary Barnes? No, I doubt it. The dates are OK but I’ve got nothing else).

How much less fun than this would have been a Kindle edition.

Thanks to the person who donated it at the Church Hall, who perhaps was a child or grandchild of Mary Barnes. I’ll look after it!

250 words. ish

“Nevertheless, my life is over”.

The best bit about quiz night was choosing the team name. “The AS Byatt Rocketry Club For Men” had been deemed de trop: worryingly for the team’s prospects it had been demanded of him “who was this Byatt anyhow when he was at home?”. So it actually turned out that thinking of a good team name before you got to the pub was the good bit, the golden pie-crust,  but that the reality more resembled the gristled disaster within.

He therefore felt difficulty heart-and-souling it as a representative of “Barbara’s Big Beauties”, – inevitably spelt “beauty’s” – , and strove vainly against such areas of vital human endeavour as TV personalities’ activities in a jungle scenario, the novels of Dan Brown, when Crystal Palace had last won the FA Cup*, or France’s record in the Triple Crown**.

They came third, which they agreed Wasn’t Too Bad, Considering. He had got the one about interest rates, insisting on his correctness in the face of dubiety, and was thus more pleased than otherwise, and walked the wet fag-butted street home with, not a song, a hum in his heart.

The wineglass on its side, his wife gone gone gone from life, her book fallen face down with the pages curled and squashed underneath, his life face-downwards his future curled and curdled and squashed too, no more reading no more life.

“I am tempted to laugh; I hold myself within the limit of a smile”.

* hoot

** v. funny, this.

(Quotes at top and tail from George Gissing’s “The Private Papers Of Henry Ryecroft”)

Action Jackson

“What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?”A question that comes up, or rather, it doesn’t, but bear with me while I fantasise about having any sort of conversation with anyone at all about anything but the football.We have all seen many bad films and it’s a hard question for me to answer, assuming that I’m ever asked it, which I’m not.
I think the worst films are not those that are objectively bad but those that are cynical cash-ins. Star Wars Episode 1 by these lights is a much worse film than say  “Plan 9 from Outer Space” which routinely and dully gets that plaudit. Plan 9 is a dreadful film but it was honestly made.

Contrariwise, the category “The worst film ever recommended to me” has an easy winner: Action Jackson.

The man who recommended it to us is still a) alive and b) a friend on Facebook, so let me tread lightly here. “If you’re looking for a good film” he told Wife A, “try Action Jackson. It’s got Carl Weathers out of Rocky in it”. Insufficient as this recommendation seemed, off we went to the video shop (younger readers should open a new tab here and get Wikipedia up), provided 2 forms of ID, a credit card and a recent utility bill,  and took the item home, as well as the obligatory pizza.

A greater recommendation should have been the presence of That Sharon Stone, but she was no help, being unable to rescue this poorly-made recycled turd of turd material. She was nearly 30 and old enough to know better than to waste our evening.

What did this say about the friend who recommended it? Wife A was prepared to write it off as a momentary aberration but I was more inclined to the “HE’S YOUR FRIEND ANYWAY NOT MINE” school of unforgiving.

Many years have passed. The Movie Recommender is still recommending & reviewing films on Facebook. I’m sure he usually has good taste in films, though it is true he has no taste in music or football teams. Once in a while he says film X is great and that we should all go and see it. Just as I’m thinking of impulsively grabbing my coat, and saying, “come, New Wife, the movies guru has spoken unto me”, I think back to Action Jackson, and pause.
Carl Weathers, yesterday. Thanks to dwaynetherockjohnsonhairstyle.blogspot.com who had no choice.

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The Earth, and everything in it, were created 10 minutes ago by this bloke called Keith. Your memories and experiences were created by him, which accounts for your vague feeling of dispiritedness (admit it).  All this rubbish about who did what to whom 10000, 6000 or 200,000,000 years ago just makes Keith LAUGH.Two minutes ago Keith invented “The Pommeller’s Rest”, a pub near Tower Bridge, London, where he will be giving an illustrated talk on the subject at about 2:30 pm today. Keith will be destroying all matter on Monday night after the playoffs. After that, who knows? All times GMT.

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