Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cartoon from the Economist

Cartoon by KAL

This guy may be barking, but he's definitely barking up the wrong tree

And very occasionally I read something educational (invariably unintentionally so) at BNI. They have a Muslim commenter called Iftikhar Ahmad from the "London School of Islamics" who turns up quite often. He posted the following quotation, of which more anon:

“I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much
needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.” [G.B. Shaw, THE GENUINE ISLAM, Vol. 1, No. 81936.]

Someone else responded:

There is no such book as “The Genuine Islam” by George Bernard Shaw. The quote (or perhaps more fitting, the misquote) was likely the fabrication of some islamist in the 1930′s trying to curry political or social favor.

Well, that interested me. Of course from the reference it sounds as though "The Genuine Islam" is a periodical rather than one of Shaw's books, not that I'd expect the semi-literate cultists at BNI to realise that. A little Googling brought me to this article, which is actually rather interesting. The Shaw article exists (the periodical can be found in the New York Public Library) and is basically an interview with Shaw. However, the status of the much-quoted extract is far more complex, and in general not what the gung-ho Muslims who bandy it about would wish to hear, methinks.

Sometimes the Muslims at BNI can be as odd - and sometimes as offensive - as the cultist regulars.

It was the Best of Times, it was the End of Times

Sometimes there are commenters at Bare Naked Islam who are so far out there on the fringes of some End Times cult that it's impossible to take them seriously for a second.

In the same comment stream where BNI her/itself was spewing hatred at "ragheads", someone called QV posted a number of comments.

QV says:
July 19, 2010 at 5:29 PM


you must understand reader dear that the brits love muslims better than their own.
brits hate and loathe their british heritage, their judeo-christianity, their culture. That’s why brits are so accepting the muslims — they simply love being muslims arselickers and they make a showcase of it.
and that’s why the Bible calls it the ‘silly, witless dove” and we get to see what happens to the land of silly witless dove. Wait till every Jew they hate and loathe leave the isles. Then the world will see the reward of His Storm of Calamity on the land of ‘silly, witless dove’


Asked if he is referring to Hosea 7, he responds:

QV says:
July 20, 2010 at 2:55 AM


Dis, yes. Hosea 7 describes Ephraim. What a comedown for Ephraim – the biblical name for Britain — that once ruled 3/4 of the globe .Britain is the world’s oldest surviving democracy. Since 1215, when the Magna Carta was established.
And today, Churchill is thrown aside and media reports 20 British indigenous babies are named Hitler. Most of Brit’s schoolchildren think that Hitler liberated them in WWII.
This is what happens when a nation, favoured by God — discards Him and embrace atheism and homosexuality — it gets flooded with ishmaelites. With evil. Brits are still too stupid to realise it — which is why they demonstrate to the world — perfect muslim arselickers and craven cowards.


Not sure which is funniest:

-- the idea of the Book of Hosea referring to Britain
-- most British schoolchildren thinking that Hitler liberated them in WW2
-- twenty indigenous British babies named Hitler
-- the thought that Magna Carta in 1215 miraculously made "Britain" a "democracy"

No, I think I'll go with the idea of someone who believes all these things calling the British stupid.
He goes on. Asked how he works out that Hosea's "Ephraim" refers to Britain, he responds:

QV says:
July 20, 2010 at 5:12 PM


Dis, Joseph brought his two sons to Jacob, that he might bless them before he died. One was to become a great nation while the other would become an Even greater nation of many peoples. These belong to the Lost 10 Tribes.
In passing on the birthright promise the dying Jacob (Israel) said of Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph, “… let my name be named on them” (Genesis 48:16). Hence it is THEY—the descendants of Ephraim (the British) and Manasseh (Americans)—not the Jews, who are referred to in prophecy under the names of Jacob or Israel. Continuing, Jacob added, “… and let them grow into a multitude.”
Jacob said prophetically: “… he also shall become a people [nation], and he also shall be GREAT: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a MULTITUDE [a company, or COMMONWEALTH] of NATIONS” (verse 19).

Britain is THE only country in the world to have a long, continuing dynasty of kings and queens. It is in London, England, that the very throne of King David still exists. The present royal family can trace their genealogy (from England through Scotland and Ireland) right back to Kings David and Solomon, who were of the tribe of Judah. This is a fact beyond all refutation!
The throne was overturned from Jerusalem to Ireland, then from Ireland to Scotland, and then from Scotland to England.
King Zedekiah of Judah was the last descendant of David to sit upon that throne in Judah. Eventually he and all the nobles and his own princely sons were slain or died in Babylon (Jeremiah 39:1-7).
“To this very day, ‘Jeremiah’s tomb’ is believed to exist in Northern Ireland, near Enniskillen, on Devenish Isle in Loch Erne

“Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment” (Hosea 5:9-11). When God plunges Britain into the Tribulation, the nation will be made desolate. This disaster will be far worse than what happened to Britain in World War II. It will catch the nation completely off guard.

Verse 11 shows that England’s oppression is coming because the people “willingly walked after the commandment.” This phrase refers to following the commandment of Jeroboam, who led the nation into great idolatry. It was Jeroboam who accepted pagan religious holidays and rejected God’s holy days.

And just look at Britain’s Church of Engalnd and its muslim arselicking ArchDhimmi of Canterbury and you understand why Britain is DOOMED.
On top of that, Britain today is the Isles of Rabid Anti Semitism, both among people governed by escaped inmates from the British National Lunatic Asylum with Psychopaths squatting in Whitehall and in the MoD.
In 2007, Britain succumbed to a group of lawyers working for the genocidal, useless, condemned (by YHWH) palis and Blocked Arms Deals With Israel.

Britain’s rapid decline into the abyss of satan began with the betrayal of Jews and His Land — Israel. He has an everlasting Covenant with Israel, and only Israel.

So the rot set in when we stopped circumcising our baby boys. Only problem there is that we never started, or at least the Christians didn't. Do you think QV knows that?

Not racist, much

Remember Bare Naked Islam, Uncle Jimmy's favourite bunch of white supremacists? (Funny, they haven't posted anything about President Obama releasing his long form birth certificate, and are still insisting he is a Muslim. LOL.)

In the comments under this post we read the following gem from BNI her/itself (my bolding):

Icky, Muslims are garbage, every last one of them. We hate Muslims and one day you will see how much. YOu should be deported, you POS Muslim scumbag. You’re a Paki, right, the lowest of the low.

And one of the other commenters writes:

greg_o says: April 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Ya know, I have long heard that books were like kryptonite to black people. If you want to be away from blacks, go into a Barnes and Noble.

Elsewhere, barenakedislam says:
July 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM


BW, I refuse to get in a taxi in NYC with a Muslim raghead. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to get a cab that way. I’d rather walk

Wow, do you think she asks the "raghead" for his religion affiliation eacgh time before refusing to get in the cab, or does she just see "brown guy = filth"?

But they're not racist at BNI, not much.... definitely not. They say so:

Infidel And Apostates United says:
April 23, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Who are you calling racist here? We aren’t racist. None of us.

Ri-i-i-i-ght...... Not self-deluding either, evidently.

I generally feel as though I want to have a shower after I've been browsing in there for a while: wading through such filth makes me feel unclean.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Corporate Killers and the Politicians who Let Them Get Away With It

A propos my post yesterday on Workers' Memorial Day, here is an excellent piece from Wednesday's Independent by Johann Hari on the evisceration of Britain's Health & Safety inspectorate, begun by Blair and enthusiastically continued by Brown and Cameron.

It has become a cliche to lay the blame for dead British soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq at the feet of Tony Blair, and he deserves it, or much of it. But once we finally remove our troops from those unnecessary entanglements, the deaths will end. Blair's gutting of the HSE is the gift that keeps on giving: every time a British worker is killed, disfigured or maimed in an industrial accident that could have been prevented had the law been enforced, the grieving family can console themselves with the knowledge that Tony Blair not only reduced the burden on British industry of having to comply with the law so as to stop negligent homicide by corrupt employers, he made it cool to do so and encouraged his acolytes such as Cameron to follow suit.


The highest-profile industrial accident during the Blair years was probably (in Scotland undoubtedly) the Stockline explosion. (As the somewhat outdated Wikipedia entry points out, the name is misleading: while Stockline's name was on the signage - and still is - they didn't run the factory that was destroyed.) Here is a report from the Times. Sadly the lady at the end with the 18-month-old granddaughter was to be unlucky: her daughter Tracy McErlane was among those killed. (Her memorial is the one at the far right in my first photograph below.)

Here is a report from the Scotsman in which the "soft touch" approach to inspections by the Health and Safety Executive was criticised by the Gill inquiry into the accident. While it is clear that the root cause of the accident lay many years earlier, the fact remains that under Blair the HSE's ability to do its job was severely restricted. This report by the Universities of Strathclyde and Stirling into working conditions at the ICL Plastics factory makes sobering reading. In March 2010 Yvette Cooper announced that there would be a new safety drive. Sadly, in May 2010 we got a new government instead, which brings us back to Cameron's promise of further cuts.

Here are some photographs I took about a year ago at the memorial garden for the victims. It's easy to overlook: had I not been returning to my car after a discussion on industrial accidents, and had the present Stockline office not had such prominent signage, I might never have realised what I was walking past. It's a peaceful place: while it's right next to a few streets there's never much traffic.



Finger on the Pulse

Another post about Uncle Jimmy, though this time just a wry smile rather than a full-on point-and-giggle.

Given Jimmy's normal obsessions with the four Is (Islam, Israel, Iraq and Immigration) it amuses me that in a week where the news has included

- the arrest of two Palestinians for the Itamar murders
- the Wikileaks revelations about Guantanamo
- Israeli settlers being shot by Palestinian police in Nablus
- David Cameron suggesting that imams might one day sit in a reformed House of Lords alongside bishops

he has homed in unerringly on the really important news story, offering us a poll on
William's Wedding (sic): should Blair and Brown have been invited?

(In case Jimmy reads this, I'm the one who ticked the "Other" box and entered "Who cares?")

UPDATE: Since he posted the poll, Jimmy has added several more posts on why it's a disgrace that Blair (and occasionally he remembers about Brown) wasn't invited. After listing all his reasons why they should have been, giving us a brief run-down on why Tony Blair is the most perfect human being ever to have been born outwith a Bethlehem stable*, and listing all the foreign dignitaries he thinks ought NOT to have been invited, Jimmy then manages to disappoint even my low expectations by stooping to the lowest kind of tabloid smear tactic and publishing the most unflattering pictures he could find (from the Daily Mail, of course) of one of Kate Middleton's uncles, or as he puts it "the black sheep of Catherine Middleton’s family who, nonetheless – he’s family y’know – deserved a place at her wedding far more than either of the country’s previous two prime ministers".

Well, you know what, Jimmy? Most normal people would invite their close family (and uncles are pretty close) to their weddings. Even family members they didn't particularly like. And most normal people would feel that it was a more important obligation than one to "people who used to work with my grandparents".


*From BBC's The News Quiz on Radio 4 this week, re Blair's absence from the wedding: "Does a church wedding count if God's representative on Earth isn't there?"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If Blair had taken an interest in this kind of WMD I might have voted for him

WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY 2011




Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A reminder that Zionism's love affair with the Nazi methodology of indiscriminate chemical slaughter is older than Israel itself

Synchronicity. A few weeks ago I became embroiled in a flame war with a couple of Zionutters over on Peter Reynolds' blog, arising from a post in which Peter had (accurately in my opinion) compared some of the policies of the present Israeli government to the very similar ones of the Third Reich. (It looks as though the post has now been taken down, though it's mostly still available via Google's cache. Shame on whoever took it off.)

I had forgotten all about this post of mine which shows that at the very beginning of the Israeli state its government-to-be was happy to sanction the use of chemical weapons to murder over a thousand prisoners of war (and not even Israel's prisoners) in cold blood. I'm sure my Zionist interlocutors would be able to come up with a distinction between that batch of mass chemical murder and the far more famous ones carried out in Auschwitz and elsewhere: but for the life of me, I can't, other than that the Germans did it more often. Morally, Kovner and Weizmann are as culpable as Eichmann and Mengele.

As I said, I had forgotten: but this comment not only reminded me of the way in which Israeli policy mirrored that of the Nazis, but brought home the sad truth that there is no atrocity so vile that it won't attract a fan club.

1000 Books

A meme from the Guardian (a couple of years ago I think). Basically it's their list of 1000 significant books: the idea of course is to highlight the ones you've read.

Following the lead of some earlier completers, I have bolded the ones I've read, italicized the ones I have a firm intention of reading, asterisked ones I have partly read, and struck out ones I would never bother reading.

Comedy

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Money by Martin Amis
The Information by Martin Amis
The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge
According to Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge

Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes
Augustus Carp, Esq. by Himself: Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man by Henry Howarth Bashford
Molloy by Samuel Beckett
Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Queen Lucia by EF Benson
The Ascent of Rum Doodle by WE Bowman
A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd
The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury
No Bed for Bacon by Caryl Brahms and SJ Simon
Illywhacker by Peter Carey
A Season in Sinji by JL Carr
The Harpole Report by JL Carr
The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington
Mister Johnson by Joyce Cary
The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
Just William by Richmal Crompton
The Provincial Lady by EM Delafield
Slouching Towards Kalamazoo by Peter De Vries
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Jacques the Fatalist and his Master by Denis Diderot
A Fairy Tale of New York by JP Donleavy
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
Ennui by Maria Edgeworth
Cheese by Willem Elsschot
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Caprice by Ronald Firbank
Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert
Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn
The Polygots by William Gerhardie
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Brewster's Millions by Richard Greaves (George Barr McCutcheon)
Squire Haggard's Journal by Michael Green
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodgkins
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal
The Lecturer's Tale by James Hynes
Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
The Mighty Walzer Howard by Jacobson
Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
The Castle by Franz Kafka
Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester
L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (Gil Blas) Alain-René Lesage
Changing Places by David Lodge
Nice Work by David Lodge

The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
England, Their England by AG Macdonell
Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie
Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf by David Madsen
Cakes and Ale - Or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard by W Somerset Maugham
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
Puckoon by Spike Milligan
The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills
Charade by John Mortimer
Titmuss Regained by John Mortimer
Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Fireflies by Shiva Naipaul
The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin
La Disparition by Georges Perec
Les Revenentes by Georges Perec
La Vie Mode d'Emploi by Georges Perec
My Search for Warren Harding by Robert Plunkett
A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell (oddly, three of the individual books – those set during WW2 - appear later on so are counted twice)
A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym
Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym
Zazie in the Metro by Raymond Queneau
Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler
Alms for Oblivion by Simon Raven
Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
The Westminster Alice by Saki
The Unbearable Bassington by Saki
Hurrah for St Trinian's by Ronald Searle
Great Apes by Will Self
Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe
Blott on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe
Office Politics by Wilfrid Sheed
Belles Lettres Papers: A Novel by Charles Simmons
Moo by Jane Smiley
Topper Takes a Trip by Thorne Smith
The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom by Tobias Smollett
The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett
The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by Tobias Smollett
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark
Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark
A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
White Man Falling by Mike Stocks
Handley Cross by RS Surtees
A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift
Penrod by Booth Tarkington
The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray
Before Lunch by Angela Thirkell
Tropic of Ruislip by Leslie Thomas
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Venus on the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout
The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon
Tono Bungay by HG Wells
Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
The Wimbledon Poisoner by Nigel Williams
Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson
Something Fresh by PG Wodehouse
Piccadilly Jim by PG Wodehouse
Thank You Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
Heavy Weather by PG Wodehouse
The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse
Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse

Crime

The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
Fantomas by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre
The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler
Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Trent's Last Case by EC Bentley
The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley
The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary E Braddon
The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
Greenmantle by John Buchan
The Asphalt Jungle by WR Burnett
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
Double Indemnity by James M Cain
True History of the Ned Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Poetic Justice by Amanda Cross
The Ipcress File by Len Deighton
Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter
The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter
Ratking by Michael Dibdin
Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin
Dirty Tricks by Michael Dibdin
A Rich Full Death by Michael Dibdin
Vendetta by Michael Dibdin
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt
The Crime of Father Amado by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
LA Confidential by James Ellroy
The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene
The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene
The Third Man by Graham Greene
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
The King of Torts by John Grisham
Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Fatherland by Robert Harris
Black Sunday by Thomas Harris
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen
The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V Higgins
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill
A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles
Silence of the Grave by Arnadur Indridason
Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes
Cover Her Face by PD James
A Taste for Death by PD James
Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
Misery by Stephen King
Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
52 Pick-up by Elmore Leonard
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Cop Hater by Ed McBain
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
Sidetracked by Henning Mankell
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
The Great Impersonation by E Phillips Oppenheim
The Strange Borders of Palace Crescent by E Phillips Oppenheim
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
Toxic Shock by Sara Paretsky
Blacklist by Sara Paretsky

Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace
Nineteen Seventy Seven by David Peace
The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos
Hard Revolution by George Pelecanos
Lush Life by Richard Price
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
V by Thomas Pynchon
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin
The Hanging Gardens by Ian Rankin
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell
Live Flesh by Ruth Rendell
Dissolution by CJ Sansom
Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Le Sayers
The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon
The Blue Room by Georges Simenon
The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout
Perfume by Patrick Suskind
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Getaway by Jim Thompson
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine
A Fatal inversion by Barbara Vine
King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine
The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Native Son by Richard Wright
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Family and self

The Face of Another by Kobo Abe
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
Epileptic by David B
Room Temperature by Nicholson Baker
Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac
The Crow Road by Iain Banks
The L Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett
A Legacy by Sybille Bedford
Herzog by Saul Bellow
Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow
The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett
G by John Berger
Extinction by Thomas Bernhard
Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch
Evelina by Fanny Burney
The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
The Sound of my Voice by Ron Butlin
The Outsider by Albert Camus
Wise Children by Angela Carter
The Professor's House by Willa Cather
The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Les Enfants Terrible by Jean Cocteau
The Vagabond by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Manservant and Maidservant by Ivy Compton-Burnett
Being Dead by Jim Crace
Quarantine by Jim Crace
The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir
Roxana by Daniel Defoe
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
My New York Diary by Julie Doucet
The Millstone by Margaret Drabble
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Silence by Shusaku Endo
The Gathering by Anne Enright
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
Howards End by EM Forster
Spies by Michael Frayn
Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Immoralist by Andre Gide
The Vatican Cellars by Andre Gide
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
The Shrimp and the Anemone by LP Hartley
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
Narziss and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse
The Three Paradoxes by Paul Hornschemeier
Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Ambassadors by Henry James
Washington Square by Henry James
The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins
The Unfortunates by BS Johnson
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Ulysses by James Joyce
Good Behaviour by Molly Keane
Memet my Hawk by Yasar Kemal
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
How Green was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
Martin Eden by Jack London
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
The Chateau by William Maxwell
The Rector's Daughter by FM Mayor
The Ordeal of Richard Feverek by George Meredith
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
Sour Sweet by Timothy Mo
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro
The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil
A House for Mr Biswas by VS Naipaul
At-Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien
Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness by Kezaburo Oe
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
The Good Companions by JB Priestley
The Shipping News by E Annie Proulx
Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
A Married Man by Piers Paul Read
Pointed Roofs by Dorothy Richardson
The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney by Henry Handel Richardson
Call it Sleep by Henry Roth
Julie, ou la Nouvelle Heloise by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Alberta and Jacob by Cora Sandel
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
Unless by Carol Shields
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The Three Sisters by May Sinclair
The Family Moskat or The Manor or The Estate by Isaac Bashevis Singer
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
Death in Summer by William Trevor
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Peace in War by Miguel de Unamuno
*The Rabbit Omnibus by John Updike (I give this an asterisk because I've read Rabbit Run)
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Jimmy Corrigan, The Smarest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Morvern Callar by Alan Warner
The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells
The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
Frost in May by Antonia White
The Tree of Man by Patrick White
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
I'll Go to Bed at Noon by Gerard Woodward
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Love

Le Grand Meaulnes by Henri Alain-Fournier
Dom Casmurro Joaquim by Maria Machado de Assis
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
The Garden of the Finzi-Cortinis by Giorgio Bassani
Love for Lydia by HE Bates
More Die of Heartbreak by Saul Bellow
Lorna Doone by RD Blackmore
The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Vilette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Look At Me by Anita Brookner
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown
Possession by AS Byatt
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
A Month in the Country by JL Carr
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
Claudine a l'ecole by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Cheri by Sidonie-Gabrielle Collette
Victory: An Island Tale by Joseph Conrad
The Princess of Cleves by Madame de Lafayette
The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
A Room with a View by EM Forster
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico
Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
Strait is the Gate by Andre Gide
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Living by Henry Green
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
The Go-Between by LP Hartley
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer
Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer
The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst
Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest by WH Hudson
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek
Beauty and Saddness by Yasunari Kawabata
The Far Pavillions by Mary Margaret Kaye
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Moon over Africa by Pamela Kent
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre-Ambroise-Francois Choderlos de Laclos
Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
The Rainbow by DH Lawrence
Women in Love by DH Lawrence
The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann
The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
Zami by Audre Lorde
Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
Samarkand by Amin Maalouf
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
The Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini
A Heart So White by Javier Marias
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
So Long, See you Tomorrow by William Maxwell
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Egoist by George Meredith
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Arturo's Island by Elsa Morante
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Lolita, or the Confessions of a White Widowed Male by Vladimir Nabokov
The Painter of Signs by RK Narayan
Delta of Venus by Anais Nin
All Souls Day by Cees Nooteboom
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Manon Lescaut by Abbe Prevost
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Maurice Guest by Henry Handel Richardson
Pamela by Samuel Richardson
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
Ali and Nino by Kurban Said
Light Years by James Salter
A Sport and a Passtime by James Salter
The Reader by Benhardq Schlink
The Reluctant Orphan by Aara Seale
Love Story by Eric Segal
Enemies, a Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer
At Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
Waterland by Graham Swift
Diary of a Mad Old Man by Junichiro Tanizaki
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
First Love by Ivan Turgenev
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
East Lynne by Ellen Wood
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Science fiction and fantasy

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Non-Stop by Brian W Aldiss
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
The Drowned World by JG Ballard
Crash by JG Ballard
Millennium People by JG Ballard
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Darkmans by Nicola Barker
The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
Vathek by William Beckford
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite
Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown
Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Coming Race by EGEL Bulwer-Lytton
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The End of the World News by Anthony Burgess
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
The Influence by Ramsey Campbell
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Man who was Thursday by GK Chesterton
Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Hello Summer, Goodbye by Michael G Coney
Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq
The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R Delaney
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick
Camp Concentration by Thomas M Disch
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Under the Skin by Michel Faber
The Magus by John Fowles
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Red Shift by Alan Garner
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Light by M John Harrison
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein
Dune by Frank L Herbert
The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
Atomised by Michel Houellebecq
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Children of Men by PD James
After London; or, Wild England by Richard Jefferies
Bold as Love by Gwyneth Jones
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Shining by Stephen King
The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
Uncle Silas by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The Earthsea Series by Ursula Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Memoirs of a Survivor by Doris Lessing
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
The Night Sessions by Ken Macleod
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin
The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Ascent by Jed Mercurio
The Scar by China Mieville
Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Mother London by Michael Moorcock
News from Nowhere by William Morris
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Ada or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Vurt by Jeff Noon
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and CM Kornbluth
A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys
*The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett (well, quite a few of them)
The Prestige by Christopher Priest
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Air by Geoff Ryman
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Blindness by Jose Saramago
How the Dead Live by Will Self
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Insult by Rupert Thomson
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Institute Benjamenta by Robert Walser
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Affinity by Sarah Waters
The Time Machine by HG Wells
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
The Sword in the Stone by TH White
The Old Men at the Zoo by Angus Wilson
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

State of the nation

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
London Fields by Martin Amis
Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand
Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
La Comedie Humaine by Honore de Balzac
They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy
A Kind of Loving by Stan Barstow
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave by Aphra Behn
Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
Room at the Top by John Braine
A Dry White Season by Andre Brink
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
The Virgin in the Garden by AS Byatt
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
The Plague by Albert Camus
The Kingdom of this World by Alejo Carpentier
What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
Disgrace by JM Coetzee
Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coeztee
Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Underworld by Don DeLillo
White Noise by Don DeLillo
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
Sybil or The Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
The Book of Daniel by EL Doctorow
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
USA by John Dos Passos
Sister Carrie by Theodor Dreiser
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Silas Marner by George Eliot
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
Effi Briest by Theodore Fontane
Independence Day by Richard Ford
A Passage to India by EM Forster
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Recognitions by William Gaddis
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide
The Odd Women by George Gissing
New Grub Street by George Gissing
July's People by Nadine Gordimer
Mother by Maxim Gorky
Lanark by Alastair Gray
Love on the Dole by Walter Greenwood
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
South Riding by Winifred Holtby
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
Chronicle in Stone by Ismael Kadare
How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman
The Leopard by Giuseppi di Lampedusa
A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin
Passing by Nella Larsen
The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Amongst Women by John McGahern
The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Of Love & Hunger by Julian Maclaren-Ross
Remembering Babylon by David Malouf
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Time of Indifference by Alberto Moravia
A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
McTeague by Frank Norris
Personality by Andrew O'Hagan
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Ragazzi Pier by Paolo Pasolini
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The Moon and the Bonfire by Cesare Pavese
GB84 by David Peace
Headlong Hall by Thomas Love Peacock
Afternoon Men by Anthony Powell
Vineland by Thomas Pynchon
The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
The Human Stain by Philip Roth
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Shame by Salman Rushdie
To Each his Own by Leonardo Sciascia
Staying On by Paul Scott
Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr
The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon
God's Bit of Wood by Ousmane Sembene
The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge
Richshaw Boy by Lao She
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (Absolutely ghastly, I recommend it to no one)
Novel on Yellow Paper by Stevie Smith
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovtich by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
This Sporting Life by David Storey
The Red Room by August Strindberg
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Couples by John Updike
Z by Vassilis Vassilikos
Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
Germinal by Emile Zola
La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola

War and travel

Silver Stallion by Junghyo Ahn
Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington
Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge
Darkness Falls from the Air by Nigel Balchin
Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard
Regeneration by Pat Barker
A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
Fair Stood the Wind for France by HE Bates
Carrie's War by Nina Bawden
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
An Ice-Cream War by William Boyd
When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Auto-da-Fe by Elias Canetti
One of Ours by Willa Cather
Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Celine
Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (Joseph Conrad, how I loathe you)
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
Sharpe's Eagle by Bernard Cornwell
The History of Pompey the Little by Francis Coventry
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Bomber by Len Deighton
Deliverance by James Dickey
Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos
South Wind by Norman Douglas
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Justine by Lawrence Durrell
The Bamboo Bed by William Eastlake
The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
The African Queen by CS Forester
The Ship by CS Forester
Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Beach by Alex Garland
To The Ends of the Earth trilogy by William Golding
Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
Count Belisarius by Robert Graves
Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman
De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage
King Solomon's Mines by H Rider Haggard
She: A History of Adventure by H Rider Haggard
The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton
Covenant with Death by John Harris
Enigma by Robert Harris
The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Confederates by Thomas Keneally
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
Day by AL Kennedy
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
La Condition Humaine by Andre Malraux
Fortunes of War by Olivia Manning
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat
Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville
Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
History by Elsa Morante
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Burmese Days by George Orwell
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
The Valley of Bones by Anthony Powell
The Soldier's Art by Anthony Powell
The Military Philosophers by Anthony Powell
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolp Erich Raspe
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Crab with the Golden Claws by Georges Remi Herge
Tintin in Tibet by Georges Remi Herge
The Castafiore Emerald by Georges Remi Herge
The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer
The Hunters by James Salter
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald
Austerlitz by WG Sebald
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
A Sentimental Journey by Lawrence Sterne
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
A Flag for Sunrise by Robert Stone
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
Williwaw by Gore Vidal
Candide by Voltaire
Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh
Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh
The Island of Dr Moreau by HG Wells
The Machine-Gunners by Robert Westall
Voss by Patrick White
The Virginian by Owen Wister
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
The Debacle by Emile Zola

That comes to 193 I've read.

How about you?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As a very famous man once said: "My vessel is magnificent and fierce and huge-ish. And gone.Why is it gone?"

In the comments box for my Dylan Lyric challenge (still open for business, folks!) Phil mentioned Norman Geras's poll of his readers' favourite Dylan songs.

While most of my favourites are in there, a glaring omission struck me immediately. NOBODY voted for When The Ship Comes In? Oh come ON, people....

Springtime for Hitler (not)

I was listening to my CD of Matthias Loibner, hurdy-gurdy player extraordinaire, in the car this afternoon on my way to the supermarket. At a traffic light I grabbed up the CD case to see which track I was listening to, and it turned out to be his impressions of spring on the North Sea island of Fohr, entitled "Föhrer Frühling". In my haste I misread the title as "Führer Frühling". Which would truly be Springtime For Hitler...

Please Pass the Biscuits

Not sure what brought this rather strange oldie to mind. I remember being confused for a while by the American usage of "biscuits" (which to a Brit mean those things Americans call "cookies"). It must have been on the radio a few times for it to have stuck in my mind though

A fake Muslim "atrocity" - but where has it come from?

And now a story which isn't a spoof but a deliberate lie. Indeed, it wouldn't be overstating the case to call it a blood libel. While I found it first on the Bare Naked Islam white supremacist site, it clearly didn't originate there: BNI provide a link to Le Figaro which however goes to a completely different story, and their text is credited to someone called Paulo.

Just their luck that (a) I hate broken or misdirecting links (b) though I say it myself, I wield a mean Google search argument (c) my French is good enough that I'm not frightened of either search terms or results in French.

Because when I went looking for this story, EVERY hit was for the same (English) text, credited "H/T Paulo", with the story supposedly sourced from Le Figaro. When I searched Le Figaro's own site, using either their own internal search or a site-specific Google search, I drew a total blank. I tried searching for each of the proper names in the article. The last entry in Le Figaro relating to Lampedusa is a refugee boat bound there which sank on 5 April (though that report was unrelated to Paulo's story).

It would seem that "Paulo" is trying to foist a latter-day Protocols on us all. But who or what is "Paulo"? And what (at the risk of sounding like a method actor) is his motivation?

Alternatively, can any reader come up with a reputable (non-blogger) source for the story of Muslim refugees deliberately throwing women overboard, in either English or French?

Spoofs - the final frontier.....

The late great Frank Zappa used to claim to be an equal opportunity giver of offence. I like to think that I'm equally even-handed when it comes to pointing and laughing.

You may remember this splendid spoof. Much copied and reposted around the web, mostly by folk who got the joke. Some sites, though, appear to have taken it at face value: one assumes they didn't get it linked directly from the Huffpost Comedy site!

The Frontier Post, Pakistan's only national English-language daily newspaper, seems not only to have swallowed the story but to have got on its editorial high horse about it. The webpage is now unavailable, suggesting that at long last they have got the joke. However, courtesy of Google's cache, here is the original report:

Quran & the story of Cora-Ann

Alya Alvi, Rawalpindi

Look at how the society in USA, Europe and west has been psychologically hijacked against the Muslims all over the world and the Holy Quran, the Book of Allah. The story of an American Christian-Catholic nun, Sister Cora-Ann (sounds and resembles with Quran), from the Ohio state on April 4, speaks it all. Ms Cora-Ann got the surprise of her life when she was asked to leave the plane she had just boarded at the Omaha International Airport. Seeing her wearing the nun-hijab (resembling with Islamic burqa) and reciting prayer in Latin, one of the passengers sitting next to her called the flight attendant telling that she seemed very suspicious. “She was dressed in Muslim garb and just before we were about to take off, she started mumbling something in an Arabian or Talibani-sounding language. There was something sinister about her.” The flight attendant asked Sister Cora-Ann for her name, boarding pass and a photo ID. Blanche Dubois, another passenger sitting close to Sister Cora-Ann said: “Once I heard that her name sounded like Quran, I got worried. I just did not want to die. I was so scared, that I just yelled out her name to all passengers.” Another passenger stated: “Once we all heard that the passenger’s name was Quran, things started falling apart.” She was also put to a test when she was asked to eat beef just to prove that if she were a Muslim, she won’t eat the beef. Frodo Baggins, a frequent traveller, said he had heard that Muslims do not eat beef. But Sister Cora-Ann politely refused the beef jerky and reminded the passengers that it was the time of Lent, during which Catholics often abstain from eating meat. The unrest in the plane kept growing, because most passengers were now convinced that Sister Cora-Ann was indeed Muslim and they demanded that Sister Cora-Ann leave the plane. So she was forced to leave the plane.


What is the moral of the story then? (a) That the original teachings of Quran and Bible about wearing Hijab are the same yet ignored and hated. (b) That pork beef is haram first in the Bible, then in Quran, yet not accepted by even the Bible-believers. (c) That the propaganda against Muslims, Islam and Quran is so sinister and effective, it has plagued the western society, without knowing its logic or origin. (d) That the fear, scare, dread, terror has been spread by design; besides the denial to truth, negative exploitation of others’ beliefs, desecrating the Holy Book, ridiculing the Prophets of God further sicken the minds. Fear from death is the resultant outcome, for which they are not ready to spare even their own fellow-believers. Question is: Can such a society justify its “high moral standards of a great civilization” while being such a sinister prejudiced? Whether it has the capacity to accommodate and absorb other societies if the other nations are subjected to live under their roof, hegemony and intimidation, if their right of being self-reliant is denied? Where truth is mutilated just to blackmail others? How pity are that people, society and civilization!

I wouldn't necessarily expect even a fairly literate Pakistani necessarily to get all the subtleties in the spoof(see below) but I'm surprised Frodo Baggins didn't trip an alarm somewhere before they went to print.. Or Abdullah Abdullah for that matter.

Elizabeth Bennet, who said "It's not that we were prejudiced" is of course from "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.

Damien Thorn is the son of the devil in "The Omen".

Mr Okonkwo (“Once we all heard that the passenger’s name was Koran, things started falling apart.”) is the main character in "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.

Blanche Dubois is from "A Streetcar named Desire" by Tennessee Williams.

Abdullah Abdullah is the leader of the main opposition party in Afghanistan and its former Foreign Minister.

Frodo Baggins is a hobbit.

Oh, and Omaha doesn't have an International Airport.

Of course, taken in the context of true stories like this and this, it's easy to see why - how should I put it? - less careful readers might miss that it was a spoof.

There's also this recent story, though in that case I have to say that (like the Jewish blogger in the link) I can see Alaska Airlines' point.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bare Naked Cretins

Islamophobia Watch recently carried this report.

White supremacist site Bare Naked Islam had its own take in the story here. A few choice morsels from the comments. (I have added my own BNI-style interpolations in red.)

Kim says:
April 17, 2011 at 10:40 PM

and people wonder how bed bugs spread? Dirty, dirty muslims laying on new mattresses in stores? OMG. that freaks me out!

And these morons continue to claim that they're not racist because "Islam isn't a race, it's a religion". Uh-huh. Of course if any Muslim posts a comment about her/his religion, then it miraculously ceases to be a religion and is simply an evil cult or whatever.

Doug K. says:
April 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM

“Mohammad, a pathology resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital”.

What’s funny about this article to me is, I had surgery there, “Barnes-Jewish hospital”, a few years ago. How ironic is it to have a muzzie working for any Jew?

Yes, how ironic. Apparently 14.5% of the Palestinian workforce is employed in the illegal Israeli settlements, hence working for Jews. The Israelis seem to think this - and how much they earn there - is a matter for celebration. Doug K clearly hasn't been reading his Hasbara circulars, and is in danger of a visit from the antisemitism police.

In any case, why isn't Doug K tearing himself open to check whether a wicked muzzie put a bomb inside his body while he was unconscious in the hospital?

barenakedislam says:
April 17, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Doug, I went to college in St. Louis affiliated with that hospital. (BNI WENT TO COLLEGE?????) There are way too many Jewish liberals there for my taste. FYI:I’m not an antisemite, I am a Jewish conservative. (SAME THING)

barenakedislam says:
April 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM

JO, a bigger problem is you never know what’s lurking under the black garbage bag – woman, man, bomb? I wouldn’t let one into my store if I had one, for security reasons, same reason you don’t allow a KKK member dressed in his sheet into a store with civilized people. (WHAT HAVE CIVILISED PEOPLE TO DO WITH BNI?)

dawning says:
April 18, 2011 at 1:12 AM

“For the most part, Muslims live side-by-side with their neighbors without incident.” Like hell(their homeland) they do. There is not ONE muzzelem living in ANY western nation who are there for ANY other reason than to subvert that society. They do NOT come to live peacebly “side by side” that is a LIE, LIE, LIE….Which is approved and expected by their “prophet” and is given the name taqiyya. (If dawning ever had surgery at Barnes-Jewish she will definitely have been tearing her insides out looking for bombs.)

Josiah Heng says:
April 18, 2011 at 2:24 AM

Shaving of beards isn’t just aesthetic. It helps maintain overall hygiene and makes men feel like men! I really don’t get what’s with muslim men who want to keep beards. I shave all the time. I love shaving. I love aftershave. It makes me feel good, like a human being. If I don’t shave I feel grimy and like some dirty animal. I got into the habit of being well-shaven and having short, high haircuts during my time in the army. Women like well groomed men, young or old. :)

OMG - now it's barbophobia! Watch out, orthodox Jews, they're coming to get you......







Ret. Marine says:
April 18, 2011 at 7:11 AM

JO, what I found very offensive in this write up was that filthy bitch with my flag wrapped around her satan afflicted head. Damn that pissed me off big time.

And because EKN loves nothing more than pissing off racist oafs big time, here is the picture of the Muslim woman wrapped in the Stars and Stripes:





And just to show that what's good enough for the USA is good enough for the UK, here's someone with MY flag "wrapped round her satan afflicted head":



Among other things, an exegetical tsunami

Aric Clark, son of my dear friends Chip and Eddie Clark, gave his Easter Day sermon this year as a beat poem, with double-bass accompaniment. I would have loved to see that, but the next best thing is the text. (Aric's church website is here. The sermon is from his Facebook page, but I'm guessing a link to that might not work as well for you as for me, being one of Aric's FB friends.)


The Road to Emmaus

Isaiah 25:6-9
Luke 24:13-32

A crumb plummets.

It does not drop, or fall, or tumble,

Because when the crumb lands the universe crumbles.

A universe of laws and chains broken open and changed,

Irrevocably.

So that every division ever devised is permanently revised

To represent a memorial, nothing more,

Of the way the world was before.

Before we knew that stones can be rolled away.

And regardless of what power,

Of kings and soldiers,

Or the sharpness of the nails, or spears, or swords,

Or the harshness of the hates, or fears, or words

That are used to tear the life out of love

Death is never the last word that is heard,

Because stones can be rolled away

And God still has another Word to say.

Are you listening?

We listened, as we walked that afternoon,

To a stranger who stripped the scriptures

Like an aging lover who knows every wrinkle and crease.

Increasing our holy confusion by a profusion of sayings

Which inverted the wisdom of the sages,

And dashed our former understanding against the rock of ages.

He began with liberty.

He showed us that Moses is not the scribe of laws to pen us in,

But the finder of paths.

New roads in the wilderness for a people lost,

And beginning to count the cost of saying yes to freedom.

Because leaving behind the security of slavery,

Where you know your place beneath the heel of Pharoah,

Means never placing your heel on another person’s face.

These roads Moses laid do not run over the backs of the poor.

But they do lead to rocks that quench your thirst,

And dew that satisfies hunger.

To walk them means walking beside people you’d rather deride,

As fools and monsters.

But Israel cannot arrive at her destination

Unless she somehow brings along the nations

And they all learn to live in jubilation

Which destroys wealth and builds up justice instead.

Moses, like the stranger we were walking with, was a chain-breaker,

Who knew that liberty can only be had if you give it away.

So he wrote that the obligation of the saved,

Is to go out and save.

The Torah is not a book of laws to keep the chosen in chains.

The Torah is testimony to the Holy One,

Whose will to save the nations cannot be undone.

Whose goodness blazes,

So even the reflection of that light on human faces,

Must be veiled for eyes unaccustomed to love.

“But,” we interject against the exegetical tsunami falling upon us,

“Don’t the prophets proclaim God’s violence against the world?”

Our question isn’t misdirection,

But arises from the intersection of our former faith

In the prophet Jesus and his failed insurrection.

“Are we to understand that a Roman cross

Is what God had planned?”

“That compassion can bring the nations into tow,

Behind us on the road that Moses shows?”

“Doesn’t it make a joke of God’s Shalom

If the cruelties of empire are given a home there?”

We stop for air, and to prepare for the stranger’s sharp rebuttal.

“Yes!” was not the answer we anticipated.

Yes, Shalom would be shattered if shared with empire.

And, Yes, peace that is built upon bloodshed is no peace at all.

And, Yes, salvation means judgment on the peoples of this world.

Which is why, if you understand the prophets you will see,

They point to the same reality,

Of a God who is too gracious to give in.

Too powerful to just win.

Too righteous to do us in.

Too merciful to allow us to live in sin.

God has judged our methods and will not use them,

To conquer a world which is already his.

Hence Empire is defeated, but not with a sword,

Unless that sword is already plow-shaped.

The message of the prophets is that violence fails

To beget anything but violence, and the mournful wails

Of widows and orphans.

Whose cries God promises to turn to alleluias,

When every tear is wiped away and all sorrow past,

When the last are made first and the first are made last.

And the road that we walk to get to that end

Is to love every enemy into a friend.

So yes, compassion, which you earlier disdained

Is the power which will break the last chain –

The chain of causality.

Compassion will bring light out of darkness,

And life out of death.

Because God wills it.

Because God IS it.

That includes death on a Roman Cross.

The road stopped, or we stopped on it, but the stranger carried on.

“Wait,” we called, begging him to stay the night with us.

Which he did.

As we prepared the evening meal

We could feel the beginning of our minds turning,

Our hearts burning, as the stranger’s teaching dug its hooks in.

We sat at table with him, ready to ask him again,

To explain the scriptures,

When he took the bread and broke it…

A crumb plummets.

It does not drop, or fall, or tumble,

Because when the crumb lands the universe crumbles.

A universe of laws and chains broken open and changed,

Irrevocably.

So that every division ever devised is permanently revised

To represent a memorial, nothing more,

Of the way the world was before.

Before we knew that stones can be rolled away.

And regardless of what power,

Of kings and soldiers,

Or the sharpness of the nails, or spears, or swords,

Or the harshness of the hates, or fears, or words

That are used to tear the life out of love

Death is never the last word that is heard,

Because the stone has been rolled away

And today the Lord of life is risen.

Which is not a way to say that something mysterious

Happened a long time ago and really far away.

It is proof that eternal life can be lived today,

Not tomorrow.

Because there is no punishment to be feared,

No pain which is lasting,

No enemy which is capable of taking you out of God’s grace,

Or who you cannot find the strength to embrace.

You can walk out of every tomb the world digs for you,

And resist every temptation to grasp

For power and security like the others do,

Because you have been given the means to forgive,

To make what is broken whole,

What is ugly beautiful,

What is discordant harmonious,

What is dying to make it live.

So let every action be Alleluia.

Let every word be Alleluia.

Let every breath be Alleluia.

Alleluia. Amen.

Asking for it

The new video from Rape Crisis Scotland:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sad News

Elisabeth Sladen, best known as The Doctor's companion Sarah-Jane in Dr Who, has died.

I must admit I took a holiday from Dr Who between Tom Baker and David Tennant, so the Sarah-Jane era seems like only yesterday. When I was a student my friemds all used to pile into the TV room of whichver college we were in at Suturday teatime to watch Tom Baker. I think he's still my favourite Doctor, though Tennant runs him very close (and I'm liking Matt Smith).

RIP Elisabeth.

What a difference a hyphen makes.....

The comments boxes over at BareNakedIslam are full of references to AR Rahman. Which puzzled me at first. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the numskulls who post there are trying in their illiterate way to use one of the alternative titles of Allah, to wit Ar-Rahman ("The All-Compassionate"). Presumably they imagine that this will give offence, unlikely though that seems.

Actually of course, any Muslim reading the comments will be too busy laughing to take offence at anything much. AR Rahman, you say? What, this guy? Better rename your site Bare Naked Bollywood, love.

A good excuse to post one of my favourite Bollywood clips, with music by AR Rahman, naturally. The lead actor is Shahrukh Khan, who is of course a Muslim. I doubt whether BNI and all her/its fellow-travellers have added as much to human happiness as the mighty SRK. Hell, if their whole worthless lives were weighed against the cultural value of just this one clip I guess we'd still be good to watch Chaiyya Chaiyya. One of the most astonishing Bollywood dance sequences ever filmed.



(If English subtitles don't come up, click the "cc" button.)

Actually, there is an especially delicious irony in that the film Dil Se from which the clip is taken is all about a female suicide bomber.

The railway line, incidentally, is the Nilgiris Mountain Railway which runs up to Ooty. But don't bother making a trip to see the Chaiyya Chayya choo-choo: the line uses diesels now.

Dylan Lyric Challenge

When I ran this quiz based on phrases clipped from Abba songs, I mentioned that I might do more, for example one with Dylan lyrics. Phil reckoned he'd have more of a chance with that one: well, now's his chance.

Here are snatches of the lyrics to fifteen Bob Dylan songs. Not first or last lines or even whole lines necessarily, and a mix (I think) of the not too difficult and the fairly challenging. Each appears only in a siongle song as far as I know. Of course, using Google to find the answers would be cheating: so don't.

And can you find the link between the songs?


1. My very last piece of gum

2. Can I come home with you?

3. The hunchback of Notre Dame
Desolation Row (guessed by Lisa)

4. Leave your stepping-stones behind

5. The sidewalk and the sign

6. It was raining from the first
Just Like A Woman (guessed by Persephone)

7. Her skirt it swayed

8. A walking antique

9. Your steam drill

10. You’re invisible
Like A Rolling Stone (guessed by Phil)

11. On the D Train
Visions Of Johanna (guessed by Phil)

12. Like a mattress

13. The haunted, frightened trees
Mr Tambourine Man (guessed by Phil)

14. Go watch the geek

15. If you’re lookin' to get silly

Answers in the comments box. As I get correct answers I will annotate the list.

Veiled racism?

This is an alarming story from Glasgow of a woman and her family attacked because she was wearing a hijab (headscarf).

The article also mentions the (sadly predictable) racist abuse of a woman wearing a niqab (veil), an incident covered in more detail here. This report also tells us that Samina Ansari, from the first story, runs a helpline for Scotland's Muslim women, and that around half of her callers have suffered some kind of hate crime.

While hijabs are common in Edinburgh it's unusual to see women in the full veil. However, while shopping last Sunday I saw three in the same shopping mall. One was wearing a cream hijab with a detachable veil; the other two had more traditional wraparound niqabs but in funky colours (if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear a niqab on your hair....)

And why not?

The past Is a foreign country. And so, of course, is Sweden.

The internet is a wonderful thing. I was typing up the programme for my orchestra for the coming season, which includes the Serenade For Strings Op. 11 by Dag Wiren. This has a marvellously earworm-ish finale, which I'm looking forward to playing:



Anyway, I was reading Dag Wiren's Wikipedia entry and discovered to my amazement that he had composed Sweden's entry for the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest:



The commentator expresses surprise that the song is in English, and indeed the song provoked a change in the rules the following year to require countries to enter songs in one of their official languages.

1965 was the year that the Eurovision Song Contest was hauled roughly into the pop era by Luxembourg's winning entry (Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son, written by Serge Gainsbourg and sung by France Gall) so probably the last year in which a song like this could have been a credible entry. It came 10th out of 18, with 6 points.

Of course, nine years later, Sweden would win the contest with a very different song.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Statuary On His Knees

Back in December 2008 I linked to a video of a splendid deliberate Mondegreen (misheard lyric) fitted to the O Fortuna from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. When folk try to make up Mondegreens they usually fall into the trap of creating things they think sound witty instead of things that sound like the original (which is after all the whole point). You need only Google "Salsa Cookies! Windmill Cookies!" to find a video of an epic O Fortuna Mondegreen fail. The one I found wasn't perfect but it was pretty good.

Anyway, the video I linked to has gone (Schott's the music publisher complained). So we'll have to do this the hard way. Read these lyrics (thanks to this site)

OH, FOUR TUNA
BRING MORE TUNA
STATUARY ON HIS KNEES


Some Men Like Cheese
Hot Temperate Cheese
Vimto Can Taste Of Kidneys

Lukewarm Two Rat
Bet Too Cool Rat
You Don't Get Cheese Or Chicken

Bend Chips All Day
Hot And Salty
Dip Sore Feet, Good Hot Chili

Saucy Codpiece
Get Me Cod, Please
Brought Up Too Full Food In Me

Suck Juice From Moose
Fun With Some Goose
Second These So Rude Big Knees

Open Bra Top
Get Them Loved Up
Leaking Foot When Near Cherries

Look There Look Good
Dogs Sure Look Cute
Farewell To Knees And Berries

SALSA COOKIES!!
WINDMILL COOKIES!!
THEY'LL GIVE YOU GONORRHEA!

THIS OCTOPUS
LET'S GIVE HIM BOOTS
SEND HIM A CAR OR PIZZA

LOVELY TORAH
SEND ME MORE OF
POTATO SOUP & CHICKEN

HOT MESS ALL DAY
SING IT UGLY
BE GOOD FOOOOooooOOOOOR PEACE MONKEY'S SAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!

while listening to this: