Friday, March 31, 2006

Machu Picchu...Bless You!

Like any "good" school, Yale University bows and scrapes to the spirit of the multi-cultural gods. That is, dedicated and bowing until someone wants their Machu Picchu back...

Inca row reaches the White House...

Goodbye to All That...

The death of a regiment..."Gone were the Royal Scots - almost 400 years old - the Black Watch, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Highlanders. In their place, to a flurry of pipes and drums, was the new Royal Regiment of Scotland..."

From The Scotsman

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Doctor will see you now...

After luncheon at the club I was in the library browsing the Times and napping (not necessarily in that order) and came upon the Doctor:

"THE SIGHT OF MILLIONS of Frenchmen, predominantly young, demonstrating in deep sympathy and solidarity with themselves, is one that will cause amusement and satisfaction on the English side of the Channel. Everyone enjoys the troubles of his neighbours. And at least our public service strikers just stay away from work, and spend the day peacefully performing the rites of their religion, DIY, and not making a terrible nuisance of themselves. In fact, many of them are probably less of a public nuisance if they stay at home than if they go to work..."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Novel Idea

The producers of the Bond films have decided that with the upcoming 21st film Casino Royale (this book portrays Bond at his coldest and most ruthless) they will endeavor to return to the spirit of the actual Ian Fleming books. This is an entirely new take on the matter, since the films, after the first few, slid quickly into camp (after Connery) and as far away from the original source as one could get.

The literary Bond is nothing like the film version. Fleming's Bond was entirely humourless and ran through the novels kicking arse and taking names whilst smoking 70 custom cigarettes and drinking several quarts of liquor per day. He does this with a bare minimum of quirky devices and there was no one in the books named "Q". There was, of course, the numerous women that Bond met each day, with subtle names like "Pussy Galore". Well, that was certainly back in the day...

I understand that the final torture scene from the novel Casino Royale will be used in the new film. For you gentlemen out there, be aware that this scene, if true to the book, will cause you to cringe for about a week. Better read it first in order to be better prepared. Actually, it was so outlandish when published in 1953, that even Simon Raven thought it a bit much.

Note: The American first edition of Casino Royale was entitled You Asked For It. This was due to the fear that most Americans would not know how to pronounce "royale". Fleming himself pronounced it "royal", as in royal family.

Actors who have played Bond: the first Casino Royale film does not count...

Sir Sean Connery (Scotland) 6 films (1 "other" JB film)
George Lazenby (Australia) 1 film
Sir Roger Moore (England) 7 films
Timothy Dalton (Wales) 2 films
Pierce Brosnan (Ireland) 4 films
Daniel Craig (England) 1 film

In the books Bond's father was a Scot and his mother Swiss.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The suit maketh the man

Putting on your first suit is a rite of passage. AA Gill gets all misty-eyed as he remembers leaving boyhood behind

"...All men remember their first suit. A suit is the uniform of adulthood, the promise of achievement, ambition, respectability and trust. It is measured and thoughtful. A suit doesn’t muck about at bus stops or push its mates into hedges. A suit says something about a boy. It says: “I’m not a boy for much longer.”..."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Letter from Mr. Gosport

Mr. Seal,

Since polite society has almost always divided itself into two, it is not a surprise to learn that the blogosphere ( My word, the trangressions the modern world has visited upon the English language are reprehensible) has divided into two :

"The TON misses, as they are called, are in two divisions, the SUPERCILIOUS, like Miss Leeson, are silent, scornful, languid, and affected, and disdain all converse but with those of their own set : the VOLUBLE, like Miss Larolles, are flirting, communicative, restless, and familiar, and attack without smallest ceremony, every one they think worthy their notice, But this they have in common, that at home they think of nothing but dress, abroad, of nothing but admiration, and that every where they hold in supreme contempt all but themselves."

Now the task for a modern man like yourself is to steer yourself carefully around the two parties without falling prey to that third group, the most notorious of all; the Insensibilists :

"Do pray now," cried Miss Larolles, "observe Mr. Meadows! only just see wher he has fixed himself!* in the very best place in the room, and keeping the fire from everybody! I do assure you that's always his way, and it's monstrously provoking, for if one's ever so cold, he lollops so, that one's quite starved.* But you must know there's another thing he does that is quite bad, for if he gets a seat, he never offers to move, if he sees one sinking with fatigue. And besides, if one is waiting for one's carriage two hours together, he makes it a rule never to stir a step to see for it. Only think how monstrous!" "These are heavy complaints, indeed," said Cecilia, looking at him attentively; "I should have expected from his appearance a very different account of his gallantry, for he seems dressed with more studied elegance than anybody here." "O yes," cried Miss Larolles, "he is the sweetest dresser in the world; he has the most delightful taste you can conceive, nobody has half so good a fancy. I assure you it's a great thing to be spoke to by him: we are all of us quite angry when he won't take notice of us." "Is your anger," said Cecilia, laughing, "in honour of him or his coat?" "Why , Lord, don't you know all this time that he is an ennuye?" "I know, at least," answered Cecilia, "that he would soon make one of me." "O but one is never affronted with an ennuye, if he is ever so provoking, because one always knows what it means." "Is he agreeable?" "Why to tell you the truth,- but pray now don't mention it, - I think him most excessive disagreeable! He yawns in one's face every time one looks at him. I assure you sometimes I expect to see him fall asleep while I am talking to him, for he is so immensely absent he don't hear one half that one says; only conceive how horrid!" "But why, then, do you encourage him? why do you take any notice of him?" "O, every body does, I assure you, else I would not for the world; but he is so courted you have no idea. However, of all the things let me advise you never to dance with him; I did once myself, and I declare I was quite distressed to death the whole time, for he was taken with such a fit of absence he knew nothing he was about, sometimes skipping and jumping with all the violence in the world, just as if he only danced for exercise, and sometimes standing quite still, or lolling against the wainscoat and gaping,* and taking no more notice of me than if he had never seen me in his life!"

Now go forth into the blogosphere with the confident stride of a young man heading towards the City.

Your faithful servant,

Mr. Gosport

Thank you so very much, Mr. Gosport...I plan to heed your advice this season, because the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. -Basil

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The name's...

Speaking of politics and sex...Who is that chap? I do know that his flat is in Chelsea, not Mayfair...

Note: Casino Royale was the first book in the series published in 1953.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Make gloves, not war...

Once one begins messing about with blogs, it takes approximately thirty seconds to discover the only two topics anyone is interested in, politics and sex. (Sadly in that order) This I do not understand, I mean heaving bosoms are enticing and granted there is some biological evidence for this, but politics...And the worst part is that most of those that spew (around 99.9%) have not one intelligent thing to say on the matter. Why argue about politics? I mean, my old Gram still tries to argue with me about the Abdication Crisis, but I will have none of it. I do not care that Mrs. Simpson was a tart. There are other things with which one can take up their day (such as heaving bosoms). It is not as if anything you say will matter in the least...It is wasted effort and what's worse, you might spoil a trowser crease in the process. And unless you are unfortunate enough to have been elected to public office (and dumb enough to have accepted) are a member of a royal family, or, are being paid to talk, then why? Oh yes, 'I want to share my asinine political opinions with all and sundry and then conduct a nasty commentkrieg with those who disagree', and they all will. Not only will they smite your opinions hip and thigh, they will also go after your spelling, grammar, syntax, clothing, haircut, dog, cat, etc. etc. Unless someone is paying you to invite this abuse, then I fear you have some unresolved issues. So why do you do it? Please write and tell me about it in a short (very short) note. Please write "sex", or, "politics" in the subject line, those with the "politics" heading will be ignored in the order they are received.

Sound Advice

"I should take some cleft sticks with you. I remember Hitchcock - Sir Jocelyn Hitchcock, a man who used to work for me; smart enough fellow in his own way, but limited, very little historical backing - I remember him saying that in Africa he always sent his dispatches in a cleft stick. It struck me as a very useful tip. Take plenty."

Evelyn Waugh - Scoop (1936)

At the Diogenes Club - 1928

"...There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother (Mycroft) was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere."

--Sherlock Holmes's description of The Diogenes Club in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Asparagus Season

"...Basil lay back on the divan and watched her with fascination. This was how he liked to see women behave in moments of alarm. He rejoiced, always, in the spectacle of women at a disadvantage: thus he would watch, in the asparagus season, a dribble of melted butter on a woman's chin, marring her beauty and making her ridiculous, while she would talk and smile and turn her head, not knowing how she appeared to him..."

Evelyn Waugh - Put Out More Flags (1942)

From James Bond...

"...Mrs Havelock put down her teacup and took a Patum Peperium sandwich. She said: 'They really are the most dreadful show-offs.'...

-"For Your Eyes Only" by Ian Fleming 1960

(Mrs. P is oh so quick on her dainty little feet...)

In Hill Steet, Mayfair...

Basil Seal rides again...Of course he does you sod...

Looking forward to speaking to all you chaps.