Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let's continue on the topic of weather

We've had a bit of snow today, and it's forecast to continue. This suits me very well otherwise, but I'd like it to be a bit colder so I could rely on it - it's only around minus three. The best weather is when snow falls in tiny needles, wind-driven, horizontal, wild.

Winter weather, that is. It will piss me off no end if we get it in June.

This seems as good a moment as any to embed my favourite Tom Waits song. It's one I have even been known to sing, on occasion - and even in public, not just in the shower.

Hope you enjoy.


Navas said...

Tom Waits is wonderful and that is one of his great songs. I still have a huge soft spot for Time, which has little to do with the weather, but does mention rain. Rain is the stuff we get around here when the rest of the country has snow.

tpe said...

Rain is the stuff we get around here when the rest of the world has sun. Count yourself lucky.

Anna MR - hello. Unfortunately, I was merely reminded of those stereotypical old drunk Glaswegian men, clanking bottles in a plastic bag, making their way home from the pub. They howl at the moon, they mutter and moan and cajole the elements darkly. They also sing a little bit like this. And by a little, of course, I mean a lot.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, just that it distracted me somewhat as I sought to listen to what I imagine must be a terrific song.

Don't shoot.

Kind regards etc....


(I'd pay to hear your version, however.)

Anna MR said...

Hei Navas - yes, Time. Let me see - I'm quoting from memory (just to see) -
"...and it's East of East St Louis,
and the wind is making speeches,
and the rain sounds like a round of applause
Well she said she'd stick around
till the bandages came off,
but these mama's boys just don't know
when to quit
And the band is going home,
it's raining hammers it's raining nails

and something something something something something,

and it's time, time, time
that you love
and it's time, time, time

Hmm, I don't think I'd win the "International Memorising Tom Waits' Lyrics Bonanza" with that performance. But yes, it's a lovely song, and one that I taught myself on the piano but could never learn off by heart (Strange Weather I used to know, but most likely don't anymore - it's been several years since I played anything at all. I was never much good, so the loss to mankind isn't great. Should pick it up again, though, for the loss for me is tangible).

Anna MR said...

Beloved TPE - hello right back and may I say it's divine to see you here. But shoot? Fear not. I know Tom Waits is a bit of an acquired taste and I love you too deeply to worry about you (maybe) not necessarily liking him. So no, not murderous - just maybe a wee bit saddened, perhaps, that I couldn't bring you pleasure with the embedment.

Loving regards etc...

Anna MR

(Paying won't be necessary.)

tpe said...

Oh. Nicely turned. Now I just feel awful, of course, for failing to appreciate your gift properly. (I don't really feel awful, don't worry, I'm just saying that to appear humane.)

Well yes, Anna of Wonder, I've heard a lot of people mention Tom Waits in reverential tones, but have never really personally felt the force of his attraction. I don't actively dislike his music, though, preferring to remain neutral and, as yet, unconvinced.

Even kinder regards etc....


(I know.)

Anna MR said...

Oh - nicely turned, for now I just feel awful, of course, for making you feel awful (but wait - you're only pretending to, to appear more humane. Phew. I was spiralling down an abyss of guilt and awful there).

But yes, TPE of Miracle and Wonder - these are mere matters of taste and personal likings, on which there can be no rights and wrongs, surely (although you tend to be always right and I do heave a sigh of relief to hear you don't actively dislike Tom Waits. I'd be in a quandary if you did. Mind you, I generally heave a sigh to hear from you full stop, so, well, yes). His sound - which very likely is reminiscent of those old, drunk, moon-howling, mutter-moaning, darkly-cajoling Glaswegian men with the clanky bottles in plastic bags, and I'll take this from you for I haven't actually heard these said men, but by your description they certainly seem to bear a likeness - anyway, yes, his sound, probably for the very same drunken life-broken element-cajoling moon-howling reasons just somehow speaks to me about life and love and loss and other things. (He can be very funny, too, although I must admit I'm not always one for "funny" songs.)

Come to think of it, I would probably like the sound of the Darkly-Cajoling Glaswegians, too. Have you any cds? Would love to hear.

Even more loving regards etc....

Anna MR


Navas said...

Actually Anna, that's a very simple matter. Apart from Tom Waits, the other musician who fits that bill perfectly (darkly-cajoling-drunk Glaswegian) is John Martyn. You will find more of him in his younger days on Youtube, when he was a tiny bit more coherent. Check out Solid Air for a classic of his.

Anna MR said...

Ah - but Navas, I already know John Martyn - in fact, I saw him live, playing a pub gig in London in about 1989, 1990. I remember it being a packed and good night - in fact, I also now remember they weren't allowing anyone to nip out and come back in again, and we'd left something important in the car, and my friend went and got it anyway and we couldn't work out how he'd managed it, and he revealed his secret - he'd said he'd left his asthma inhaler in the car. Always works, he said, they don't want you dying in their pub. But yes, that all aside, I remember it being a good night, and I used to listen to a John Martyn tape at home, too (Jesus, tapes. Used to have loads of them, too). Funny, his Glaswegianism had somehow totally failed to register. And, shame to say, I had more or less forgotten about him, to be truthful.

Thank you for reminding me, Navas.

Reading the Signs said...

I love this! It is straight of of some Brecht play or other. Not really, but has exactly that kind of Mac the Knife feel about it.

tpe said...

Anna of Splendour and Varying Degrees of Sensibleness- hello.

Well, you seem to have been supplied with (someone who fits the description of) a darkly cajoling drunk Glaswegian already – which saves me the bother of making someone up. (I thought I might have to go back home to Glasgow, quickly get drunk, dress up like a jakey, ask someone to film me warbling with a shambolic melancholic incandescence on the street, get back to Ireland, log on, upload the video to Youtube, come back here, supply you with a link and go “look! I told you there were guys like that in Glasgow” and then proceed to make my case from there. That would have been some day, for sure.) But when I listened to that song, Solid Air, I realised that it was probably John Martyn himself singing outside my frigging windows at half past crazy for all those Glasgow years. Uncanny.

But Tom Waits. Yes, I take your point and it’s a fair one. The very nature of his style and delivery may increase the depth of his resonance. He would need to resonate in the first place, I suppose, but that, as you say, falls down to the utterly random nature of personal taste.

From the very little I have just this minute finished reading about him, though – and always bear in mind that I’m very weak on this sort of music and these sort of performers and know next to nothing about them - it does seem as if he may be a competitively catastrophic and blissfully dissolute kind of a guy, which helps alleviate the fears that all of this is nothing more than mawkish affectation by some rich guy playing at tramp.

Forgive the length of this clip, please, but it touches (occasionally) on a few of the things that have been said here and may offer some independent proof that Glaswegians like - need - to howl at the moon.

The very kindest regards to date etc.....


Reading the Signs said...

Oh heavenly, I love Billy! In fact I seem to love everything right now, don't I? Including exclamation marks!

I know all about Glaswegians TPE, I was married to one. Can speak pure Conollyese if pushed. He's married to a sex therapist, though. Kind of takes the edge of things a bit, don't know why that should be.

tpe said...

Nobody wants their sex-moves analysed, Signs. Nobody. These things don't bear scrutiny. Better to simply fetch the rope from The Cupboard and let your deeper motivations pass unremarked.

You do seem to love everything right now, yes. This may be connected to your recent adoption of a wholly negative attitude (which I read all about on your blog). Expect the very worst and all manner of good things are accentuated and made agonisingly beautiful. Never fails. (Except, perhaps, in the case of exclamation marks. Don't be doing that again, Signs. That's taking things too far.)

The thought of you speaking in a Glaswegian accent is a happily crazy one. Some things are just too wrong. Do it! Do it! Do it! (Bloody hell, exclamation marks are contagious!!!!)

Anna MR - plus, I've just been discovering that Tom Waits is an actor, too. This may change things. Learning stuff is GREAT!!!!!!!

Muted regards (I feel things are getting out of hand with the exclamation marks),


Reading the Signs said...

Oh!! It sounds as though I'm saying that it's my ex-husband who is married to a sex therapist. He isn't (at least I don't think so), but Billy is.

Ye waant me tae sing for ye?

Oh ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty storey flat,
Seven hundred hungry weans'll testify to that.
If it's butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is pan or plain,
The odds against it reaching earth are ninety-nine tae wan.

Right, I'm off to get the rope from the cupboard now, TPE.

tpe said...

You do that, Signs, you do that.

But lo! You are surely an actual Glaswegian? For a moment there, you know, I felt I was sitting right beside a real live Glasgower. An astonishing development, Signs, and by no means wholly welcome. But still, hats off to you and everything, that was a performance. (No, I insist.)

Yes, don't worry, I knew about Billy and Pam. I have it on reasonably good authority that the book she wrote about him is very nearly bearable. I can never decide whether I want to read it or not - I really used to love Mr Billy. Would it significantly improve my enjoyment of his comedy? Should it, even? I just don't know. I'm enjoying becoming an (astonishing) expert on Tom Waits, right enough, so maybe background detail is the way to go.

Tom Waits, John Martyn, Billy Connolly and you, Signs - Glaswegians, the lot of you. Incredible.

Anna MR - Tom Waits, John Martyn, Billy Connolly and Signs are all Glaswegian, the lot of them. I find this incredible. I was just saying as much to Signs, actually.

Anna MR said...

Celestially-Wonderful McTPE of Glesga and Everywhere, Glesgaing the Signs - hello. What a fabulous delight to find you here - a true, real, heart-warming thing of wonder. Sorry to have been off away for a wee while there, but I had something to do which managed to be simultaneously important, mind-numbingly tedious, and stomach-churningly anxiety-inducing. Or well, it at least managed to feel that way, but I'm swiftly leaving all that behind me, and, in keeping with the spirit of things here, I am now enjoying a thoroughly enjoyable crystal thimbleful of Auchentoshan, and very nice it is too, and it's giving me the courage to try and join in with the Glaswegian singing, ahem -

Nae ye cannae shove yer grannae aff a bus,
nae ye cannae shove yer grannae aff a bus,
nae ye cannae shove yer grannae,
cos she's yer mammae's mammae,
nae ye cannae shove yer grannae aff a bus.

Hem, hem. I must apologise for the fact that a certain amount of foreignness has crept into the accent there, and you'll just have tae believe me that once upon a time I could fool any Londoner with that. Ish. I am super impressed with Signs, though, and am no competition to her in the Scottish Singing Stakes (or anything else, for that matter, but we're not the competitive types around here anyhoo, so yes, shut yer face, Anna. Yes).

So yes, where the hell are we? Thank you for the Billy, TPE, and absolutely no need to apologise for the length of it. I have watched it several times now, and even given the hardships I have encountered tonight, it makes me fairly weep with laughter. For some reason, I love the bit best where he himself kind of corpses a bit and says "Och, God help us all". Brilliant. Brilliant. I am delighted that you are now a PhD in TomWaitsiology, but it doesn't really surprise me. If you get to listening to any of his songs, please keep an ear out for Cemetery Polka, Tango Till They're Sore, Watch Her Disappear, and Alice - these are all ones which I very much favour - actually I've a feeling that I've burdened your ear with the latter two already. Ah well, still, off the top of my head, they are ones I've always liked a lot.

And yes, Signs, it does have the Brecht/Weil sound to it, does it not? As I think has become apparent by now, I go for the aesthetics of ugliness in a big way - Tom Waits, butoh dancing, Tom Waits, butoh dancing, Tom Waits, and that sort of thing. Yes indeedly.

I am going to publish this comment now because I would like to catch you two this side of today.

Plentiful love all over and around the pair of ye

xxx xxx

Reading the Signs said...

I am only a bit of a one (or wan), TPE. What I am mostly is a Spanish diaspora Jew who happens to live in Sussex. I therefore am at home nowhere and everywhere, so yes, I suppose I'm a Glaswegian.

Carry on, (word ver is derest) people.

and btw Anna? TPE was just talking about how Tom Waits, John Martyn, Billy Connolly and I are all Glaswegians.

tpe said...

Pah! Who isn't a Spanish diaspora Jew who happens to live in Sussex? We're all Spanish diaspora Jews who happen to live in Sussex now, Signs. (This may not be entirely verifiable, of course, but do try to take my word for it.)

Anna MR - it is very funny, isn't it? I was surprised at how much it could still make me laugh. That's very pleasing that you enjoyed it.

I'll certainly look out for those songs you mention, although I'm concentrating on biographical details and various interviews first. We have a couple of CD's, in fact, and so, when I'm ready, I'll wade into them.

Your terrifying task sounds terribly terrifying. You seem to have come through it unscathed, however, for which fact we must all be slightly grateful.

And your Glaswegian is recognisably Glaswegian, okay, but you may need further instruction. (Could you follow everything in the clip, by the way? Is that easy enough for you?)

The aesthetics of ugliness can be beautiful. That happens to be a fact.

Bye then.

Perfectly benign regards, nothing flash, just lovely etc.....


Anna MR said...

Yes, Signs of Glasge, the fact that you, Tom Waits, John Martyn, and Billy Connolly are all Glaswegians has been brought to my attention, and the fact is duly noted and appreciated by me. I feel a mite left out, it has to be said, and the air of Arctic exotica I have wafting around me seems to rather pale by comparison. But not tae worry.

Perfectly Benign and Just Lovely TPE, hello. Yes I could understand that clip - mostly. I had some difficulty with the song lyrics, but then I think he mentioned he had that, too, so I don't feel too bad about that. No, I can understand him okay, and I have spent a fair while of tonight weeping through his stuff on youtube. Enclosing here for your mutual enjoyment (this means you too, Signs) one that I liked in particular (also in conceptual continuity of the song I just limped through there).

Did I ever tell you of my one visit to Glasgow? Either one of you? Well, we drove through Glasgow in 1990, on our Scottish van-camping holiday, the ex and I (and I must stress here that it was easily the nicest time I ever had with the man - must have been the surroundings. Location is everything, or a lot, at any rate. Anyway), and somehow we got lost and landed up in a roundabout on a Glasgow housing estate. It was a tiny roundabout and there were no cars and no people, just tower blocks, as I recall (I may be wrong, though, but still), and we went round and round that roundabout, over and over, because we were lost well and proper. I must add here that I am a very good map reader - I really am, and I have very well developed sense of direction and have only ever gone lost thrice in my entire life, this being one of the occasions, the other two having been Copenhagen (on foot) and Hilo, Hawai'i (driving, first days there, all streets are called Kalanianiole or Kelakaua or Kino'ole Street, you get the picture). Anyway, we were so very lost because the map just failed us, the roundabout was so tiny it barely registered on the map and we went round and round it and on our twenty-fifth round (and please know my Londoner then-husband did not take to this sort of thing lightly, he was fucking fuming by now) a real live policeman, complete with the tit-hat and everything, had materialised from nowhere on the side of the roundabout, and so we pull over and I roll my window open and say oh excuse me please, we are terribly lost, could you help us please, waving my map, and the copper is terribly lovely and smiling and helpful and he gives me instructions in fully-blown Glaswegian and I say thankyou, thankyou very much, and we pull out again and my then-husband says well, what did he say, and I say I haven't a fucking clue what he said, and I didn't. We must have found our way out there somehow, though, for I'm not there anymore and haven't been there for a fair while either.

Well anyway, yes, I need to go back at some point, obviously. Very, very pleased that my Glaswegian was recognisable, but looking forward to my further instruction.

The best of everything the world has to offer to you both, and a very good night from the blizzardy here...

xxx xxx

Navas said...

And here I am still lurking and listening in the corner. Good morning all :-)
Reading The Signs, we have a bit in common. Spanish Diaspora Jews? My lot missed the boat and I happen to live in Cambridgeshire rather than Sussex. The other half of my family landed here from Poland, so I am truly from everywhere and from nowhere, and I have always felt that way. So if I could be an honorary Glaswegian, that would be fine, although my accent might need a bit of work. I was once mistaken for having come from upnorth (asked, "How long have you been down south?"), so maybe this is something that can be developed. I've only been there once - this make take a while!

Coincidentally, on the tele right now, they are cutting into a rather large haggis and singing. As it will shortly be Burns Night, I think this is not a bad time for us all to claim to have Scottish connections.

Reading the Signs said...

omg Navas, how exciting is this - another one of us, but living in Cambridgeshire. Will you please tell TPE that we do not all live in Sussex, thank you. And you, I take it, are the real thing, as I am. Not to say that TPE and Our Hostess are not real, and I take the point that we are all, at some manifestly obscure level, diaspora Jews now, but still. Some are more real than others - am I making sense, Navas? My Spanish connections do, it has to be said, go a very long way back, and my more recent lot came from Germany. But when in Cadaques I looked right at home.

Anna, if you want to become a real Glaswegian without marrying one, you couldn't do better than to watch and listen to wall-to-wall Billy for a few months - do a crash course. And then you would understand anyone in Glasgow who gave you directions when next you have the occasion to ask. It's become very posh since I used to spend time there, though I believe they still do the fabulous deep fried Mars Bars in batter.

Goes off singing

Ma maw's a millionaire (have a banana),
Blue eyes an' curly hair (twofor a tanner),
Down among the eskimos, havin a game o' dominoes,
Ma maw's a millionaire.

Reading the Signs said...

that should be doon rather than down, obviously.

And you are on track, Anna, because "right enough" is a Glaswegianism. Just saying.

Navas said...

Signs - I am indeed real, or I was the last time I pinched myself ;-) As I said, mine missed the boat in 1492 (probably because they were peasants and couldn't afford to leave) and were of the crypto sort. My mother is Spanish, so my ties there are very recent.
I'd be interested in comparing notes, if you'd like, but without hijacking Anna's blog. A small amount of detective work has found you on Flickr and I have added you as a contact. Flickr mail will find me, or my own email address will magically appear before you on my profile page :-)

Reading the Signs said...

Navas, it's very gracious indeed of you to add me as a Flickr contact, especially as I do not have one single photograph to my name there and just old Squareface looking a bit neglected and bored. I have an email address on my blog (and I saw yours on Flickr).

tpe said...

Signs - you're the worst Flickr guy ever and certainly don't deserve such kindnesses from Navas. I'm shocked.

You couldn't even put up a picture of a shoe or something? Anything, really, to let us know that you actually exist? (Anna MR says that she never actually saw you when she came to stay and that you communicated everything from behind a big curtain, nothing more than a spooky-sounding voice, which could, let's face it, have been the multi-tasking Mr Signs having a laugh at Anna MR's expense. Stands to (convoluted) reason, innit.)

Anna MR – good news that you generally understand Billy Connolly, less good that you didn’t understand the Glaswegian policeman.

One thing, though: “the roundabout was so tiny it barely registered on the map”. Barely registered? But it did, in fact, to all intents and purposes and so to speak, kind of, you know, register? I don’t want to resort to the cliché of a bad workwoman always blaming her tools, okay, but you make it hard not to do so.

(Professor Waits wouldn’t hide behind his mistakes like this. No, he would front up and moo a baffled smokey ballad outlining the extent of his crimes and culpability. Bear it in mind.)

Hello. What are you up to? Why? And, of course, prove it. As a Helsinkian-Glaswegian and Finn-Scot, of course, you will surely be making haggis in preparation for the big day?

Anyway, it’s a bit Waitsy here at the moment, the wind is growling with an eloquent unease and the trees are swayingly befuddled. Some of them are lying face down in the field, you know, wounded and dying, unable to take any more, but the wind just says “gwan, gwan, have another drink and let me ruffle your hair”. No, seriously, this is actually happening – live! – outside my windows and home. I thought Barack Obama was going to sort out shit like this? Guy’s a letdown.

Can you tell I'm at a loose end? Just waiting (or waitsying, I suppose) for something astonishing to cook in the kitchen - no, not me, I mean the actual food itself. Oh yes, and your "conceptual continuity" was duly noted and admired. Not bad, Anna MR, not bad. You're terribly smart for a foreigner. Terrific. Well done.

With moderate to hot regards and tomwaitsily yours,


Anna MR said...

Och, Signs, the idea of marrying a Glaswegian is not without allure, right enough, but you must understand once and for all that I'm twice bitten and thrice shy and come with A Past and A History, innit. Mind you, the marital trend in my case has had a strictly northerly direction: London - Yorkshire - no no no. No more. I'll have to trust the sweet McTPE when he assures me - as he surely just has (hello, thou first and fairest) - that I just am a Glaswegian-Helsinkian and a Finn-Scot, sort of bestowedly-birthrightily, and if he says so, it is so, surely. (I don't, however, know anywhere near as many Glaswegian songs as you do, McSigns, and that is just not fair at all.) Which leads me on to gently admonish you for your belittling words regarding the Judaism of both myself and the esteemed Mr Shlomo McTPE - dammit, girl, you know full well you yourself fed me (from behind the blanket which concealed your identity at all times, as TPE points out) from a bowl which read, "feed the Jew in you".

I rest my case. I believe my daughter-of-David-hood is as proven as can be, and as for TPE, the proof is in the pudding.

And Navas, hello. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Navas sailed not the ocean blue, then? But listen, while it is a total delight to provide an arena for people such as you and the esteemed McSigns to exchange phone numbers and fond kisses, we here at Future of My Past consider conversation between visitors no such thing as "hijacking Anna's blog". It's strictly Comment is Free over here, and the only time when I will put my foot down is if someone is being horrible to another guest. As you two seemed rather to discover each other as long-lost seventh cousins, I'm just looking on all benignly like. So, you know, feel free to talk to Signs or to me or to anyone you may find here, should the mood grab you. It's the law around these parts (feeling free, that is).

Professor McTPE of the Glaswegian University of Waitsiology, hei. Yes, yes I am - or, well, more accurately, was - making haggis, complete with tatties and neeps (and cabbage), at the very moment your letter arrived. How uncanny is that, and how well you read me and my mind. It would be spooky if I didn't love you so, and consequently rather fondly allow you free passage to the convoluted corridors of my mind. By now, however, the whole shebang is all over and behind me - the cooking, the eating, the listening to Burns on youtube (I was planning on listening to every song available but got rather stuck on one, as so easily happens to me - I have, as you have probably read from my mind on earlier occasions, a very strong tendency to fixate on a piece of music and can listen to that single piece (whichever it is on a given day, at a given moment, in a given mood), over and over again, in a way which would probably drive many a saner person quite mad), the whisky, and the unfortunate but necessary doing-the-dishes afterwards. Being, as I am, an Arctic Scottish Jewish diaspora Glaswegian, I have to go for the celebrations on the Eve of the big Night. I can't help it, it's in my blood. But yes, as I said, haggis (albeit the vegetarian pretendy version, alas) it was (and haggis it, in fact, still is, for there's a fair bit left over, and tomorrow I shall top the tatties and neeps with some grated Cheddar and pop it in the oven and allow it to be reborn as Orkney clapshot), and the proof is under my name, for I know you well enough now to ensure I come bearing Evidence. Yes.

And yes, you're right again - no surprise there, either, given your expertise on the life and times and works and everything, of the man himself - but Professor Waits would never have hidden behind slagging the map book in the despicable manner I just did. Mea maxima culpa, Lord McWaits-Horse, for I have just recalled that smoky ballad-growl of his, Three Sheets to the Wind, or Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night in a Glasgow Housing Estate Roundabout. Man, how embarrassed I was when I realised the error of my ways. I've been punishingly humming it to myself here, but have finally managed to banish it with the repeated exposure to the Burns song I mentioned earlier.

It sounds like true waitsery-weather round your way. I feel sorry for your trees, I really do, although I find the "gwan, gwan" behaviour of your wind rather, um, psychosexually appealing. Deary, deary me. But what is this you say - Barack Obama hasn't started his presidential career with tackling the real problems we face in the world today (yes we can), like your trees being raped left right and centre under your horrified (yet beautiful) eyes (yes we can)? I am saddened by the fact that I was right in not falling in love, a little bit, with him, for it would, for once, have been nice to have been wrong about a public figure talking the talk but not walking the walk (yes we can). So he's all mouth and no trousers, the new president? Oh dear, but it figures. You'll just have to sort it out yourself, yet again, along with hunger in Africa and the Palestinian issue and "The Cr*dit Cr*nch" and everything.

And finally, no, I couldn't tell you were at a loose end, but I'm never surprised at astonishing things in your kitchen (or in your general vicinity, in fact). I was a little wounded, truth to tell, by your usage of the word "foreigner" there, so soon after you declared my Finnish-Scottish Helsinkian-Glaswegianism to the whole world. But, yes, I suppose, I'm not of pure blood and must remember this at all times.

Sigh. Still, I'm clinging onto those moderate to hot regards and the way you're waitsily mine, which is no small consolation, I can tell you that. Hoping you're just as wonderfully well as can be on this most Burnsiest of nights, sweet you.

With hotly moderated regards and burnsingly yours,

Anna MR

Reading the Signs said...

Blimey, Ms McMr, I am fair reeling after the lyricism of your address to Schlomo McTPE, and if this is the effect is has on me then what, bethink you madam, will it be doing to him? And as though in sympathy with all this, the windows have been rattling all night long and the wind going from Waitsian pre-orgasmic groan to Bohemian Rhapsody. I blame you both. And thank you also for the seasonal cold that has returned.

Cat of Signs will you please stop caterwauling and go and be a dog for a bit, thank you. Sorry, where was I? Just had to take time out to give her a second breakfast.

Speaking of which, what is this pudding that you speak of in connection with McTpe? For while I have to (grudgingly) admit to your daughter-of-Davidhood credentials on the grounds of your having taken sustenance chez Signs from that very bowl (damnation Sees but you have a good memory), I have not yet spied the pudding that would give Schlomo the Jewish credentials he claims. I'm sorry, McTPE, but we want proof. And I'm not even going to go where you think I'm going, so don't start, I'm sure you can come up with something if you really want to be One Of Us.

Happy Burnsday tae y'all. Le chaim, next year in Jerusalem.

Anna MR said...

Second breakfast? At what must have been seven twenty-eight AM West European Time? Second? At that hour? Cat of Signs, you are a demanding wee woman, and you should count yourself lucky with the family you've adopted.

But yes, hello, McSigns of the House of David, and by "lyricism" I think you mean "length". But oh, ye of little faith, asking for proof of Shlomo McTPEsenstein's Judaism. For has it not been written (and thus very well documented in writing - in various worthy tomes - James Joyce's Ulysses, for instance, being one just off the top of my head), yea, has it not been written (wait for this) that Jesus Christ was a Jew?

I think you'll find it has, Signs of the House of Doubting Thomas, and I believe you'll be fair kicking yourself now. Unless you're actually angling for the opportunity to stick your fingies in his wounds? Deary me.

Mazel Tov and Happy Birthday Rabbie, and yes, Happy Burns Day one and all.

Reading the Signs said...

Nice one, McMr of the House of Abraham and Isaac, oh very nice, my finger went right in there, and at this time in the morning too, after such a wild night. And I am clean out of Golden Virginia and have to make do with Nicorette again now. But yes already, you have a point there. Not to mention all those apocryphal tales about Jesus cavorting off to other lands and getting up to all kinds of things while everyone thought he was safely dead and resurrected, I can't remember if Clonakilty was mentioned in the Apocrypha but perhaps so. So that's the pudding, is it? I bet TPE is breathing a sigh of relief that you came up with this. I can hear him breathing, actually, it sounds quite Waitsian.

Going back to bed to read the papers now, hoping for some Mazel Tov.

Navas said...

You are a most gracious hostess, Anna, as whispering in the corner might seem a bit rude to some and I'm not sure I would want to bore everyone here with long and involved accounts of family history. I hope I haven't bored Signs with it! If we should ever find out that we really are seventh cousins, you will be the first to know.
That said, it has been, as it always is, exciting to meet someone with a connection. I'm convinced the world is shrinking.

Blogger gives me 'conetere' which is spookily like connettere - connect.

More than weird...

tpe said...

Good God.


First up: a second breakfast? During a Cr*dit Cr*nch? That’s just plain spiteful, Cat of Signs. (Signs - your cat is mocking the poor.)

Anna MR - I never once challenged or doubted your Scottishness, don’t worry. You’re just dribbling a big mistake-shape all over the floor, that’s all.

I said: “you’re terribly smart for a foreigner.” This much is not in dispute.

But in this instance, obviously, I was using the word “foreigner” as an acronym: Finnish Outcast Reliving Escapades Involving Glasgow’s Never-Ending Roundabout.

So the sentence becomes: you’re terribly smart for a Finnish outcast reliving escapades involving Glasgow’s never-ending roundabout.

And in my experience, Anna MR, Finnish outcasts reliving their escapades involving Glasgow’s never-ending roundabout are usually too tired or traumatised to be smart.

I was surprised and impressed, then, that you managed to be smart on the back of reliving such a harrowing tale and so, in my infinite kindness, I chose to compliment you on this fact.

You would turn this against me and grumble? Astonishing.

But hello and good evening, magnificent Finny, how are you doing today? I saw the pictures and proof of your splendid homemade haggis, by the way. Magic magic magic. Burns Night Eve is the new Burns Night - which was always the new black to begin with (after brown). You’re not only Scottish, it seems, but hip. (An impossible combination, surely?)

And fixating on a particular piece of music and listening to it over and over again makes perfect sense to me. I think it’s possible (with earphones, especially) to achieve a kind of terrible high in this manner. It can be unsettling and painful, true, but it can also feel liberating and beautiful. Not entirely dissimilar to a form of madness, in fact. You do need to set aside a day, though, to properly clamber through this musical window and into the rooms on the other side. I’m forbidden from doing this anymore by well-meaning doctors, of course, but I do it all the same because sometimes I have to. (Keep it to yourself, obv.)

Signs - the matter of my steadfast Judaism is in hand (fneek! fnarr fnarr!), so let’s just put this to bed (snurble! gasp! stop, you’re killing me – as Jesus may or may not have once said).

Actually, talking of Jesus and Jewishness etc, there was a terrific programme on TV the week before last, apparently, in which Howard Jacobson….”pointed out that Christians owed Jews not merely an apology, and possibly flowers, for 2,000 years of persecution, ghettos, pogroms and laying the foundations for the Holocaust, but the admission that when they pray, they pray to a Jew – and a very Jewish Jew at that. Jesus was never a Christian. He also pointed out that Jews need to get over their fear and distrust of the cross and to reclaim Jesus as the greatest of their prophets. As an agnostic himself, he put this with a forceful humanity that was shaming….” (AA Gill, Sunday Times, 18/01/09)

You’re a Christian, Signs. You don’t think it’s time you apologised (and sent flowers) to yourself and put an end to this self-persecution? I’m just saying. (And anyone who knows how I might now see the programme mentioned – please let me in on the secret.)

Anna MR - I may just have healed Signs.

(Although I forget to mention to her that all sensible atheists and agnostics accept and revere the Jewishness of Jeepers. In fact, it makes us pray to him that little bit harder. Pass it on if you see her again.)

Now look here, I feel sure I'm missing plenty, okay - for which I can only apologise - but then you exploded all over the place last time and I'm still trying to gather your pieces. Did you swallow a dictionary, Anna of Words and Light?

Love-confetti sprinkled all over your floor etc...


Reading the Signs said...

TPE I would also like to know how I could see this programme. I love Howard Jacobson - not as much as Jeepers, but he could have been one of the band of twelve, I reckon. I am taking up your idea of buying myself a bunch of flowers - will do this very thing today, once I have discharged Shrink duty (it's killing me, Schlomo, I must be some kind of martyr) and I may even give myself an apology. But look, just stop with whatever you were doing before you do yourself an injury, I have decided to accept you as a fully paid-up member of the four-be-twos. Now all you have to do is displace yourself and come and live in Sussex. Can't say fairer than that. Bring Howard with you, yes. And Icemaiden? You can be in the diaspora too.

(Navas, hi - more etheric diaspora stuff coming your way again anon)

Reading the Signs said...

The word ver is now diashexp. Someone is having a laugh.

Navas said...

tpe and Signs, Detective Navas has been chasing Howard Jacobson round half the Internet and finally tracked down this programme for you... (sound effect of drum roll)'s here. It's the January 11th episode.

My gift to you this grey Monday. Today's word is winona.

Navas said...

Now it's aemickin which sounds a bit Glaswegian to me!

Reading the Signs said...

Navas, you absolute star! Now all I have to do is work out how to get it to play on my computer and try and get the Winona image out of my mind, for she doesn't really belong with all this (don't know what the Word Ver Leprechauns are thinking of sometimes). Mwah! and thanks.

tpe said...

Legendary work, Navas Poirot-Holmes, thank you. I had absolutely no idea that Channel 4 provided such a service, so that's a very happy discovery, too. It seems to say that the programme(s) will stop broadcasting (online) after 65 days. This shouldn't be a problem, though, as I'd be prepared to bet I'll have the thing watched before early evening tomorrow. Result.

I now just hope, of course, that the review in The Sunday Times was an accurate reflection of the programme's worth. Like Signs, however, I'm a fan of Howard Jacobson and so imagine I'll be delighted either way. I've always wanted him to hug me. No, really. Thanks again.

Signs - you see the results when us Jewish-Glaswegian-Cambridgeshire-Sussex-Spanish-Helsinkian guys stick together? Amazing. Nothing can stop us, nothing.

No need for me to uproot myself and come to your Sussex, however. I'll just call here "Sussex" and that's everything taken care of. I'm surprised more people don't do this, actually. Can you think of how many wars this would stop? Feel like a bit of Poland? Just call your garden or kitchen Zachodniopomorskie. What could be simpler?

I think Howard Jacobson has a column in The Independent, doesn't he (amongst other things)? I like the feeling I get from him, anyway - always have. Some people feel right.

You are having difficulties with your shrink? Well, just to prove that I'm not a completely insensitive freak, I'll simply offer a hug and a very knowing kind of sympathy, poor soul.

Anna MR - Navas saved the day and Signs is falling apart. You would sit back and watch these triumphs and tragedies unfold in your Sussex home without so much as a murmur and without obviously missing a beat? You have read Kipling, perhaps, and have taken his message too much to heart. I'm impressed, obviously, but heavily scandalised, too.

Fiercely attractive and friendly regards etc....


Anna MR said...

Fiercely attractive TPE of love-confetti - that was some acronym you came up with. I am winded with impressedness - not an unusual state for me to be, in your presence, but still a little out of the ordinary for a reaction to an acronym. But Kipling? Well I have read him, actually, although very little, and have absolutely no idea what Kipling thing you might be referring to (and I sort of thought it wouldn't be the East is East and West is West thing, although I can't say why I thought that). I have resorted to The Internet, and while there is a fine collection of quotes, I am left puzzling which one of these could be the one you allude to...

A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.

Hmmm. Not any of those? Oh, maybe it's the one about keeping your head while others are rolling in the hay blaming you for losing theirs, and being a man, my son.

Losing oneself in music with headphones would clearly be the way forward (for as you, I think, know, I really value losing myself), but I must confess headphones are a real problem for me. I seem unable to lose awareness of the headphones themselves - or at least it's very difficult for me. Even as a young person - decades ago - when they first brought out the Walkman stereos, I could never really get into them. There's something about the way the headphones sit around my head that doesn't feel good (and the new-fangled buttony ones either fall out or hurt after a while). Still, I'm glad of the knowledge you understand my obsessive-repetitive musical behaviours. I'll not breathe a word to your well-meaning but not-very-supportive doctors, obviously. Incidentally, I'd give a lot for a glimpse of your rooms beyond.

Signs, thank you most warmly for admitting yours truly in the diaspora (although still wounded that I had to go through the entire process of providing evidence. Are not my toes webbed? They are - and "webbed toes" is one of my most common search engine hits. Do you know where these toe searches most commonly come from? Can you guess? No, not Sussex, or Cambridge, or even Spain. They come from Israel. Need I say more? And I haven't made this up - it's too obscure to be made up, anyway).

And Navas, hello and well done for digging out this Howard Jacobson thing. I love it when people go through the trouble and come up with presents like that. Now all I need to worry about are two things - these online players invariably discriminate, nay, pogrom against Mac users, and I have absolutely no idea who Howard Jacobson is. I've a feeling the latter problem is easier to rectify, which I intend to get on with doing soon enough. In the meantime, may I suggest that either you or Signs play the thing on your computers, video it, post the resulting video either on your blogs or on youtube or both, and let me know where to find it. Obliged.

Videos and youtube remind me of the fact that while I was very, very delighted to receive both the John Martyn and the Billy Connolly links, the world is a poorer place for the lack of videos featuring your warbling with a shambolic melancholic incandescence on the street, McShlomo of Glasge. Just saying. No need to get drunk, though, an impersonation is enough. Thank you. Love you.

In closing, I'd like to send you my tribal siblings my love and greetings, as well as an apology for taking a couple of days to get back to you here. The last couple of days have been a bit you know. It's been bliss spying upon you, though. Be seeing you soon, I hope and pray.

xxx xxx xxx

Reading the Signs said...

I am gobsmacked by that delicious insight into webbed toe searches from Israel. Our conjoinedness, of course, what can I have been thinking of?

And just to say that I am finding it accursedly difficult to actually watch Howard on that link. I seem to have to do complicated things first, and before I can do that I get timed out and something else comes at me. Will of course let you know if I succeed in infiltrating. But meanwhile there are other Howard links on youtube you could investigate if you wanted to get to know him.

Hopes and prayers from the Edge for your wellbeing, Sees.

Navas said...

Taking us almost round full circle, I just heard that John Martyn has died today. I first started going to his gigs in 1974 and last saw him in November. The end of an era :-(

Anna MR said...

Och, Navas, that is sad news indeed. Thank you for bringing it to my attention though - and how uncanny he should die now when we've just been talking about him, and me not even remembering him for some two decades or so. Do you think he would have, if we hadn't have? Deary me.

(Signs sees, thank you for the hopes and prayers and the Howard tips and everything. Back to you and your toe-grippedness and all the other stuff soon. Stuck with writing your tag post - so it's all your fault - and now I feel I ought to put up a memorial clip for John Martyn, whom I feel I took part in killing, somehow.)

Navas said...

I've just done that myself Anna, after all it was me who mentioned him first. Am I a murderer?

Anna MR said...

Well, Navas, I wish I could say "of course not" without hesitation. Maybe not murder, though. You might be let off with a verdict of unlawful killing.

Reading the Signs said...

I don't know how to tell you both this, but I actually sang "May You Never" at my Burns Night gathering the other evening. I intended no harm, but now I ask myself if it might have been me wot dunnit.

Navas said...

I most certainly hope that Tom Waits doesn't also pop his clogs in the next little while, or I think we might be in trouble.
Who should(n't) we talk about next?

Anna MR said...

Well Signs - you already did (tell me what you sang at the Burns supper). It is the reason why I felt that judges and juries everywhere would most likely find clemency in their hearts for Navas. It's clear that while she was instrumental in the sad passing of a well-liked Glasgow cajoler, it is you, Signs, who are guilty of first-degree murder. Excuse me while I don my black cap.

(And Navas - oh God, and here I was only worrying about B*lly C*nnolly's fate. I'd quite forgotten we'd been talking about T*m W*its as well. Silly, given that he is in the post up there, under which we're talking, and everything, but not entirely unusual, as the threads tend to rather take the story and run with it, which really is as it should be. Okay, I strongly recommend disguising the names of anyone we talk about - see my example a few lines up - and under no circumstances, sing.)

Reading the Signs said...

It's no good putting those ***s and thinking to escape the wrath of the almighty Jinxer that way. He no fule, ye know. If I were T*m W***ts I'd be fairly crapping myself right now. At least I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I haven't actually sung any of his songs, so whatever happens I'm innocent, which is more than can be said of some people around here.

And John's really cool about what happened, so you can both just chill about that, ok?

Wonder how Sir Paul McC is doing these days ...

Navas said...

Now that's just asking for trouble, Signs! You have clearly signposted PM by giving his title! Now there's no way he could be mistaken for a different person by the same name!

Oh no, three sentences ending with exclamation marks. Is it catching?

Anna MR said...

No, Navas! It's not! I can't bear exclamation marks! They'll never catch on to me! Never!

So yes, now that that problem is out of the way, I can concentrate on keeping T*m W alive. And may I just point out, Signs, that you just mentioned the almighty J*nxer by name. If we wake up tomorrow morning and read in our papers or, I dont' know, our philosophy books or something that "God Is Dead", we'll know who to blame, won't we? Deary me. And should something happen to P McC, OBE, you will be in trouble, because it's quite clear you brought him here for no other reason than to cause him misery, misfortune, and eventually, death.

So you know, we need to continue to be vigilant and mindful.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh!!! wtf?!! hang on, I seem to be coming out in a rash of !!!!s - Navas?. It's this thread, that's what it is! Ji*xed!!

The first one to say anything else is a mashed potato!

(I dare you - double dare you!)

Reading the Signs said...

No-one take the dare? Har! What lilly-livered landlubbers ye be!!

Reading the Signs said...



Reading the Signs said...

There are worse things than being a mashed potato. I can now speak from the depth of experience.

Uplifting thoughts to you from the Edge, Icemaiden.


Anna MR said...

You are, as usual, being over-modest, sweetest Signs. I went googling for "mashed potato" and this really rather snazzy image of you came at me straightaway. You look amazing. As always.

(Nota bene no ! was harmed during the writing of this comment.)

Reading the Signs said...

I'm sorry my dear, but I look ridiculous! I mean anyone could just gulp me down in one mouthful. Well that's what comes of being neat and petite, I suppose. Yes, and snazzy.

Anna MR said...

Anyone trying to do that would surely choke on your ornately-twirling spiky bits, though, wouldn't they? Well, that's what comes from trying to gulp neat petite snazzy poet mashed potatoes in one gulp, I suppose, so they've only themselves to blame.