It’s now been several years since I started this blog, and like all bloggers, journalists and media outlets I seize upon the end of the year as a great excuse to do a minimal amount of work by recycling a bunch of old crap. I already marked the 100th post at my art blog with a look back at the most popular posts, in the sense of them being the most read and/or linked to. Here I thought I’d just pick my favourites, which includes some that also happen to be very popular and some that I’m just fond of for one reason or another.
It would be somewhat futile doing a top ten recap here based on page views anyway, because by far the most visited page on this blog is (and has been ever since I posted it) the page dedicated to James Joyce’s letters about his fat pink mickey and what he’d like to do with it. I’m proud to be one of the whole damn internet’s primary providers of the full, uncensored texts that evidently give so much… er, let’s say pleasure for lack of a better word… to so many people. But regardless of whether you’re visiting to have a quick one off the wrist while thinking about the eyepatch-wearing author of Ulysses, or if you’re here because you’re interested in disco, squid, Nazis, semantics, gay flying squirrels, Victorian memes or seances, this is where I salute every one of you sick, weird little swines and say thanks a lot for visiting and reading. Check out my books (on the right sidebar) if you like what you read here.
My selections are in no particular order, actually. I told you this was a lazy post.
Quantum Chekhov’s guns that do(n’t) go off: Last Year at Marienbad: “To those who love it, it’s an endlessly enigmatic, crystalline puzzle that almost exists outside of time even though it’s also very much of its time. To those who hate it, the film is infuriatingly pretentious, maddeningly French, an interminable screen saver, a bore, celluloid laced with Tramadol.”
Adventures from history: “Formerly, though, Bonfire Nights really were much loved and vivid events in which the whole community came together to enjoy baked potatoes, hypothermia, the risk of losing an eye, medicinal drunkenness, and burning Catholics in effigy.”
No Figment of the Thing That Dazzled, yesterday: Emily Dickinson vs. the Blob! In which I manage to discuss the poetry of Emily Dickinson, cosmic horror, Superman, Morrissey and Steve McQueen without exerting myself unduly.
The New Mother: Some dreadful automata.
The Adolf Hitler artist playset we’ve all been waiting for: “Unfortunately I must report that action figures of Hitler and other leading Nazis are definitely things that really exist. The subtly and charmingly named 3Reich offers such a wide selection of evil warmongers and architects of genocide that there’s sure to be somebody who takes your fancy: choose from Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, Heydrich, Dönitz, Himmler or even Japanese luminaries like Ito Hirobumi because, hey, there were loads of brilliant atrocities perpetrated in Manchuria, Korea and China too you know!”
Diane, let me tell you how not to tell a story: Twin Peaks and the good, the bad and the ugly of refusing the audience’s expectations.
A wonderful holiday in Moscow and Leningrad: “I think it’s a safe assumption that both then and now, relatively few children have a burning ambition to go on holiday in Russia. The only person who immediately comes to mind as voluntarily having a holiday in the USSR in the early 1960s is Lee Harvey Oswald, and we all know how that turned out.”
Killed by a tiger in Wiltshire (Surprised!): “IN MEMORY OF HANNAH TWYNNOY Who died October 23rd 1703 Aged 33 Years In bloom of Life She’s snatched from hence She had no room To make defence For Tyger fierce Took Life away And here she lies in a bed of Clay Until the Resurrection Day.”
Totally awesome: “Awesome is one of those words that’s become so stretched out, abused and misapplied that it’s become almost useless. The features of a new smart phone are not awesome. It’s not awesome that somebody remembered how you like your coffee.”
Spring-heeled Jack and spring-heel ‘Jacks’: “People nowadays complain a lot about health and safety regulations, but really… would you want your child or anyone who was near to your child taking “larger-than-life” steps in these? Nothing could be further from the space age and from being “like an astronaut on the moon” than two industrial springs welded to the bottom of crude (and probably razor-sharp) metal plates, held on with what look very like cat collars if the illustration is at all accurate.”