Tag: Gravity’s Rainbow

Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

This week: Two Poems and: Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

I apologise for the belated post this week; Amazon managed to revert all my book descriptions to old versions so that I have had to spend the last three days rewriting them. Like a fool, I trusted Amazon to keep them current so I didn’t keep copies myself. I have also had Infinite Blue Heaven – A Kind and A Queen banned. I don’t know the reason why but it might be something to do with the word ‘incest’, which has been in the project description on Amazon since 2009 and on Lulu since 2006. If Nabokov, in Ada, and Thomas Pynchon, in Gravity’s Rainbow, can mention incest, why can’t I? I have emailed them to ask what the problem is and to ask for it to be reinstated so I will keep you posted.

Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?
Okay, so I have your attention! In fact the question is slightly tongue-in-cheek but there is a point to it, as we shall see.

It is often said by wiser men than I that the beauty of a woman is profound. Some would say that nothing in the Universe can be more beautiful.

In the Hollywood movie Malèna, starring Monica Bellucci, we see a beautiful woman through the eyes of a teenage boy.

She is the object of our desire and we do see her naked. I suspect every man who watched it, already knowing that Monica is famous and intelligent Italian model with outspoken ideas, identified with the boy’s vague feelings of lust for this beautiful woman.

Extend this to a photograph of the naked Monica and that man, myself included, will still feel the same lust.

And yet, if her place is taken by an unknown model, the feeling disappears. We do not lust after an unknown woman to the extent we desire a woman we admire. In fact, what we feel for the unknown model is banal; a simple urge for sex devoid of any deeper emotions.

So what is this feeling we have for Monica? In what way is it different from that for the model?

Well, there language fails us! Man has yet to find the words, or the grammar, to describe that feeling.

So there is space for our language to grow, and with it, we will grow too. I am sure you will agree with me that human society on Earth is far from ideal at the moment and so we need to grow.

However, if language is one of our learning ‘tools’, there is a problem. We simply are not trying hard enough. I heard you ask; why?

Well, let me explain. I was reading my daily dose of Edgar Allan Poe this morning. He often made a few bob from work criticising the work of other writers. Here he is talking about a story of James Fenimore Cooper (author of The Last of the Mohicans): Wyandotte.

Regarding Cooper’s sentence on the opening page of Wyandotte – ‘One of the misfortunes of a nation is to hear nothing besides its own praises.’

[This sentence] is by no means lucid. Here it will be seen, that to convey the intended idea [that compared with other nations Americans only see America’s virtues], we have been forced to make a distinction between the nation and its individual members; for it is evident that a nation is considered as such only in reference to other nations; and thus as a nation, it hears very much ‘besides its own praises;’ that is to say it hears the detractions of other rival nations. In endeavoring to compel his meaning within a brief sentence, Mr Cooper has completely sacrificed its intelligibility.

What a wonderfully analytical brain Poe had! He is basically saying that Cooper has communicated the following message: Americans can hear no sound other than praises of the good ‘ol USA!

He doesn’t go on to offer an alternative, as he does for other errors by Cooper, but nevertheless it is a withering criticism. Even in the 1840s, some writers of Cooper’s calibre were seen as ‘dumbing down’ grammar, either deliberately or by error.

Now, you and I can tell perfectly well what Cooper was trying to say and yet it is true that the sentence is ambiguous. So Poe was keen to point out that we need to be precise, and further more, it is quite clear that we are a lot less clear these days than writers of the 1840s. We have failed to pick up the challenge laid down by the likes of Poe, Dickens and even Shakespeare. Compare this chorus from the song Stupid Hoe by Nicki Minaj:

You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe you a you a stupid hoe
You stupid stupid, you a stupid hoe

Okay, so it’s an extreme example! But not only is it dumber than a hamster would tolerate of itself if it could pick up a pen, it is so ambiguous as to be completely meaningless. We don’t know if she is referring to herself, somebody in the song (she seems only to refer to herself in the rest of the song) or even the poor listener.

So what’s my point?

My point is that we are slowly losing the ability to communicate. Indeed, we are slowly losing the will to communicate.

What seems to have replaced it is the will to be entertained. I would suggest that Cooper had half a mind on entertaining the masses. During his lifetime, he was more popular than Poe; probably because he knew how to provide entertainment rather than enlightenment.

But if we carry on like this, overloading our senses with simple gratuitous pleasures like youtube videos, we will be sleepwalking into big trouble. Sooner or later, a clever malcontent like Hitler, or perhaps simple corporate greed, will shape our society in a way we want and guide our feet over the edge of the precipice, into disaster.

Oh, and my original question; Is Monica Bellucci, Naked, Profound or Banal?

Well, I think it depends on whether you know exactly who Monica is. What’s your opinion?

Two Poems

I read Poe’s critique of Rodman’s Culprit Fay this week. While Poe is scathing, I don’t think the poem is that bad by today’s standards. Judge for yourself:

Extract from: Culprit Fay – Joseph Rodman Drake

He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of silk of the thistle down:
The corslet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee’s golden vest;
His cloak of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies

My own efforts are pathetic by comparison. However, I have always believed that if you don’t get your own efforts ‘out there’ for others to judge, you can never improve. So here goes. Here are two poems of mine. The first, I began composing while on holiday in Spain. I was walking through a nature reserve, full of beautiful wild flowers, when a few rhyming words popped into my head. Over the next three months, I persevered with getting the thing into some kind of shape. The second, I can barely remember writing. I think it was written in ten minutes flat, after seeing an exhibition at the Tate Modern and meeting somebody new. I think you will agree that both are very poor, but please let me have your opinion.

To Play in Beds of Riotous Ray – Lazlo Ferran

Don’t you know you are the first, the utmost,
Figure-head of my dreams,
Like a sea-drunk fool, return’ed, who knowest,
Words, shaped to frame the tender feeling,
Art s’easy to snare as a unicorn,
I offer, in hope, ten stanzas,
– Ten prayers to the Holy God of Poem,
That in perfect word circumscribe,
The beauty of the lady from Kansas.

Succulent red pillows of a dew-ed rose,
Penanted breez-ed sunflower.
Precious golden corn flower posie,
Cascading sweet ellyssum bower.
The petals of a flower they only form,
A ring-ed shape that doth surround,
The central essence of your beauty’s stem
Which I first saw from afar, thence,
You seemed to withhold, mysteriously
and thus t’was, came to be bound.

I do not seek to invade, as some trou-
badour jesting in myth antique.
Chivalry, have imagin’d their false woo-
ing, but seek to befriend¬ – no tricks,
To encompass your waist, to hold your hand,
Because you, a woman, most fair,
Have power to give, th’ love that’s least detained,
From God’s deep infinite fountain,
You are the Lady to the Lord
That I do feel in your presence my dear.

Or with hold at your mercy, that which I,
Believe you to hold most precious.
I know that were I to take from you this prize,
Not cherishing its worth to us.
T’would be a sin, I could not do penance,
Adequate to pay the price to,
Absolve my soul from the evil cursed chance.
My loss too great, for I sought to take,
And took to turn and burn, our
Lady Jennifer’s heart and made it to dance.

The domicile of men is most suited,
To those who are of brutish strength.
Where words are of force, ne’er entreated,
But I entreat ‘y, must needs attempt.
To clumsy try with pen to reach you t’tell,
You how it is that to be close,
To you, would be to want to be closer still,
Let me say my dear that my most,
Delicate desire is to hold your waist,
And to let your breath my ears to fill.

Whether your breath is that quickened,
Or t’s the slow breath of sleep.
Its sweet music doth me empassion-ed,
– Smiled upon as I pass straight,
Through those gates to the garden of your heart.
To play in beds of riot ‘ous ray,
To walk hand in hand, yet we both be fast,
‘Sleep may be still ’tis we are one,
T’is just as a Night must needs have the Moon
And a Day must needs have the Sun.

Lady of the Lord that I feel I am,
When I am touch’d by your presence.
Your parapet I do walk alone,
Cautious, yet happy, I thence,
O’er see the foes advance ‘yon the walls.
I command all inside, grey stone,
Sky above, buttressed firm and resolv’d,
To protect you, to protect us,
I have built this castle, built this keep
For to keep us safe until we grow old.

I must, sure, seem to you like a dull blade,
On the battlefield of honour.
Your will so sharp to see all rank display’d,
Below you in clashing clamour,
If you had not e’en noticed your humble knight,
I would hardly have dared to try,
T’win your honour, but my aim you ignite,
And I need, on this field of conflict,
To loose the arrow, afore
I burn in the flames that burn so bright

You to me are of noblest blood,
Your features and deportment fine.
You glide like silk that marble dance-floor floods.
And glide and turn in sweetest line,
And if our twisting circles should entwine.
The Minstrel’s tune become too much,
Your eyes so close, to drink like mulled wine.
I would risk to press my case again,
And leaning close I see’st you smile
And in that while our fingers touch.

Now we have seen the form of my flower,
Radiant echo of your beauty.
See that I do not say if your bower,
Be a rose, sun-flower, lily,
Or the lilac, for it is in worship.
Of that flower called beauty,
Whose bud is true desire I fashion’d it,
In the hope that this fair missive,
May after a time, all the more
Beautifully say what my words can not.

This – the eleventh verse, is the bud,
Of my rhyme’s mimicking flower.
The mysterious creature called love,
At the centre of desire.
I say – We men are cordless without love,
Were you hence to remember me,
I’d be happy, e’en in that misty world above.
Were you to love me I would be,
Happiest of all – Were I a Saxon king,
Afire on my leafy bed,
On the lake, t’would be the last part burn’d
– The sweet mem’ry of you, in my sleepy head.

The Lighthouse – Lazlo Ferran

So dark the night.
Owls pussyfooting around my cloak muffed soul,
My destiny, three-masted, white, serene,
Glides deep, deeper into Hades sea.

Ghoul-Captained, sailors a’dippin’,
their plumbs and tinkly bone-dry fingers,
Into the still real lapping waves
As the old, oak-bound hulk shivers.

On the edge of night it is.
And yet isn’t quite extinguished
The souls of the crew,
Cry out for some Lode-Star light to distinguish.

“There!” cries a loose-socketed soul,
“I see it!” as the Dervish sweep – ,
Faery Light to guide them in,
Comes the Light House with their embrace to keep.

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Blog: Witchfinder General – Lazlo Ferran

This week: Sneak Preview, Gravity’s Rainbow review, the End of Formula 1?

Sneak Preview

This week’s is from a a project provisionally entitled December Radio. Hard to say what it’s about at this point without giving it all away but you can be sure there will plenty of tension with a huge climax and even some philosophy for those that have the time. This excerpt holds the reason for this week’s blog title.

December Radio

Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran

All Rights Reserved

Sarah barked at the crows, “Shut yer mouths. I ain’t got no food for you and you int a ‘having my body. Not even when I’m dead. They’s ‘ll probably burn me and if not, I will get a Chist’an burial. She spat into the puddle swilling around her filthy skirt- hem but missed and it splatted against piece of rock. She even found this funny; Sarah had a bright soul. Her long, brown and unwashed hair had fallen loose over her left eye while she had been working at the crosses and she pushed the strands back into place while humming a tune. She had made it up to go with the spell her mother had taught her so long ago:

Firft, third and fourth finger,
From a dying fold’r,
To tickle the Debil
– he’ll hold back the sickle
But afore he’ll do It –
‘E must dance on the ‘eather,
In black temper weather,
Naked as t’wer in cradle.
T’sharpen hif piffle.

How she had wondered when she was a little-un what piffle was! It hadn’t been long afore she found out! She laughed as she sang.

Eh! It’s grand to be a healer – a wise woman – aye a witch! Dancing under the stars in summer, walking the lanes for herbs and not a man to hold her down. She could take a man whenever she wanted! Eh, it was grand until the likes of Matthew ‘opkins came a’hunting. And drowning. But now Merry Charlie was on the throne things were better. It was almost back to the old life. She was stopped in the middle of a laugh when she reached the top of the short hill. Serious for a moment, she turned to look back at the crossroads one last time. Shielding her eyes with her palm against the lowering sun in the blood red sky, she stared sadly at the three corpses hanging like fleshy rags from the crosses made by the townsfolk.

Review of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

I am about 70 pages from the end of this epic novel. The middle section about Slothrop’s adventures really had me hooked. But they came after page 400 which is leaving it very late; I might well have given up before then if it hadn’t been for a friend’s encouragement. I also love Byron the (eternal) Bulb’s story. It’s very witty and just the sort of thing I love. For instance, my favourite bit of Life of Brian is the alien spaceship bit. I love frivolity which throws the  main story into focus. There is no doubt Pynchon has a keen wit.

I must admit I struggled a lot until half-way through. At 900 pages it is way longer than anything of its kind that I have read before. It has very little chronological structure – indeed very little structure of any kind. The author attempts to make words the fabric of a reality without the meaning that we apply to the one around us but one in which everything is inter-connected. He is reducing reality to a serendipitous flux. I know Pynchon flirted with the beat writers but did he finally settle for the existential school of Camus et al? I haven’t finished yet but that seems so at this point; it’s a kind of American existentialism.

There are a few errors; Luftwaffe pilots did not get ‘furlough’s or holidays for instance. They had to fly until they dropped. There are a few references to things that didn’t come until after the War. So unless this is a time-travel story they are out of place. But fair dos – the book is very complex and Pynchon was writing before the world wide web so its a masterful piece of period depiction (and research), even with the mistakes (if you meant them Thomas, forgive me).

As I understand it, Mr Pynchon is shy of public intention so he’s unlikely to correct me. What are your views?

The End of Formula 1?

Brazil: the last race of the season and you would think it would be happy affair. Brazil is known for its parties – Valentino Rossi used to make a week-long affair or it. But it was like a funeral. Mark Webber retiring, Massa moving down a few teams from Ferrarri and Ross Braun apparently moving on made it it a very sad occasion.

I was not surprised when, somehow, Webber’s tyre went wrong, AGAIN! It even looked staged when Vettel has a similar problem. Perhaps the Red Bull feelers detected a certain sang froid from their fans and decided to stage Vettel’s problem to molify them? It didn’t work for me if that was the case. Mark’s time with Red Bull (not when it was Jaguar, mind) has been a story of mechanical and strategic failures whereas the Golden Boy, Vettel has had all the ‘luck’. Massa seems to have always come out worse when he has gone up against Hamilton and this week was no exception. Crossing the ‘hatched lines’ on pit entry has never been punished before. Why now? And especially why on his last race with Ferrari. It just seems cruel as well as unjust.

It just seems to me there is an element of choreography going on behind the scenes in F1. Some drivers (so called ‘crowd pleasers’) like Vettel and Hamilton are singled out and pushed into the limelight. They more than often than not win in any ruling situation with the stewards. Meanwhile drivers who are probably considered saps by the some cynics behind the scenes – Massa and Webber come to mind – are treated cruelly at times. I think it’s very sad to see a talented driver’s career being curtailed like this. Those responsible – if they are – should be ashamed.

Braun leaving Mercedes? It seems that Mercedes, having bought Braun racing from him, have decided he is no longer so useful to them. This is not just typical of F1 but of most industries. Buy up a successful business – reassuring the owner of their l;ong-term security of course – and then summarily sack them after a few years. The trouble with that is that the business usually fails soon after. Indeed a good example is Jaguar racing which was Stewart before that. Mercedes had better take note.

I won’t be sad if I never see another F1 race.