Friday, April 22, 2011

The blogger who loathed me

"Who was Mark Sarvas? Well, he was a writer, of course. You could tell this because there was a portable typewriter right next to him in his photo, which was taken outside. So he was clearly dedicated to his craft. But he was also a cool writer, the kind who wore a leather jacket and shades while hanging out next to typewriters outside."

I've just realised The blogger who loathed me is 6 years old, dammit. I'm going to talk about it anyway - though I'll temper my tone to take account of the fact I am emphatically not cutting edge.

The blogger who loathed me is an article by a writer called Steve Almond. He talks about his encounter with Mark Sarvas and his blog - The Elegant Variation. A quick check of the responses under the the article is conclusive; consensus is it's an asshole-ish piece. Well it brightened my day.

I'd never heard of either of them before; I just stumbled on the piece. In fact, as I read it I assumed the characters were fictional. However stylised the piece is - they're not.

I've always been a sucker for what I call the paratextual - reading too much into biographical details, looking out for shops/products in a story that I can recognise, that sort of thing. I know that's not strictly what paratextual means. But for me it is. And in this case a click on the google machine gave me lots to keep the article alive.

By the way - if you haven't read the piece by this point, you probably should. For what it's worth, I recommend it. And looket, I'll save you scrolling up again. Click here.

What's to say though? Steve is pretty shrewd in his blogger caricaturing. If it wasn't for that, I might have just posted the link with a one-liner. That's how I roll on Facebook afterall.

His condescension of Sarvas is um... painful?
"The piece Sarvas read exuded a dismal semi-competence. As I recall, one of the characters spoke through clenched molars. Later on, he (or she or it) did something to no avail."

OK, so the piece is a bit asshole-ish. But at times it's hilarious. It made me think about my use of elipses in my writing... and wince a little.

If something is astute enough, it's often good enough. And there is some truth in this piece - paratextual or not.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thomas Moore the Greengrocer

Without followers; without original material; without clear intent. Sure I'll start a blog. With two semicolons in one sentence, this might just be me at my most vulnerable.

"My first post" is something I made a long time ago. So I'm damaged goods. Nobody read that one though, and it's since been deleted. I promise not to mention it again.

Anyway, here's a tune I've had in my head recently - The Last Rose of Summer. Did my Grandmother lilt it as she rocked my cradle back and forth? Did she f**k. That is,"no." She would appreciate it though - even if years listening to our local radio station have knocked the corners off her musical tastes. Shannonside Northern Sound does three things particularly well:
  • Obituaries
  • Dickey-dickey accordion & snare-drum trad
  • Country music about green fields in Castlepollard. And how green they are.
My Grandmother's ears, like the rest of her, are slow to move these days. They're there for the obituaries, but stay for the whole package.

But The Last Rose of Summer. I came to it through melody rather than lyrics. I imagine I heard the late Frank Patterson sing it somewhere. Somewhere on television that is. Him and his broad vowels. Youtube fails to illustrate this theory, but the song made an impression somewhere along the line. I love it - and the above version is just fine.

I like that Thomas Moore grew up in a Dublin Greengrocers. Lazily, I used to think his father's shop was where Morrissey's butchers is now - on the corner of Camden St and Protestant Row. This is only because Morrissey's looks like it's been there a while. Mr Morrissey, or one of his "and daughters and sons" still uses day-glo posters to show what cuts of meat are on special. Day-glo card and markers, that classic combo.

While I'm on Greengrocers... I learned the term "Greengrocers' Apostrophe" recently, and I laughed.

Google it!

... and 'Hello.'