Thursday, 20 November 2008


Big Cat Week
2x04 (6/1/05 edition)

Little Dorrit
Part 8 (of 14)
The story finally gets going! Hurrah! Now there are actually characters to genuinely care about and others to genuinely dislike -- I already can't wait for the Dorrit family to get their comeuppance (they bloody better...)

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
22x08 (20/11/08 edition)


The Cable Guy (1996)
[#79 in 100 Films in a Year 2008]


Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy by Chuck Klosterman
(from A.V. Club)
Don't worry: despite the title, I don't think you're actually expected to know who Chuck Klosterman is; certainly, the article begins by explaining who he is. Sort of. And then the article is primarily worthy of note for pushing your B.S. monitor to the max. "Chinese Democracy is (pretty much) the last Old Media album we'll ever contemplate in this context—it's the last album that will be marketed as a collection of autonomous-but-connected songs, the last album that will be absorbed as a static manifestation of who the band supposedly is, and the last album that will matter more as a physical object than as an Internet sound file. This is the end of that." What a load of self-important claptrap.

Poem of the Day: The Avenging Angel

by William Wilfred Campbell

Another World War I poem, but I came across this one quite by chance. It's dedicated "To Flight- Lieutenant Robinson and all the heroic aviators of the Royal Flying Corps", which might lead you to assume Campbell was a British airman, just as his death in 1918 might lead you to assume he was killed in the War. Neither is the case, however: Campbell was a Canadian poet, an ex-priest (he had a crisis of faith and resigned in 1891), and died of pneumonia on New Years Day 1918.

Don't let the length put you off, it's a surprisingly quick and rewarding read. More at the other end...

When the last faint red of the day is dead,
     And the dim, far heaven is lit
With the silvern cars
Of the orient stars,
     And the winged winds whimper and flit;

Then I rise through the dome of my aerodrome,
     Like a giant eagle in flight;
And I take my place
In the vengeful race
     With the sinister fleets of night.

As I rise and rise in the cloudy skies,
     No sound in the silence is heard,
Save the lonesome whirr
Of my engine's purr,
     Like the wings of a monster bird.

And naught is seen save the vault, serene,
     Of the vasty realms of night,
That vanish, aloof,
To eternity's roof,
     As I mount in my ominous flight.

And I float and pause in the fleecy gauze,
     Like a bird in a nest of down;
While 'neath me in deeps
Of blackness, sleeps
     The far, vast London town.

But I am not here, like a silvern sphere,
     To glory the deeps of space,
But a sentinel, I,
In this tower of the sky,
     Scanning the dim deep's face.

For, sudden, afar, like a luminous star,
     Or a golden horn of the moon,
Or a yellow leaf
Of the forest's grief,
     When the autumn winds are atune;

There is borne on my sight, down the spaces of night,
     By the engines of evilment sped,
That wonderful, rare,
Vast ship of the air,
     Beautiful, ominous, dread.

One instant she floats, most magic of boats,
     Illusive, implacable, there;
Throned angel of ill,
On her crystal-built hill,
     O'er a people's defenceless despair.

Then sudden, I rise, like a bolt through the skies,
     To the very dim roofs of the world;
Till down in the grey,
I see my grim prey,
     Like a pallid gold leaf, uncurled.

And I hover and swing, until swiftly I spring,
     And drop like a falling star;
And again and again,
My death-dealing rain,
     Hurl to the deeps afar.

Then I hover and listen, till I see the far glisten
     Of a flame-flash blanching the night;
And I know that my hate,
That has lain in wait,
     Has won in the grim air-fight.

Then I curve and slant, while my engines pant,
     And the wings of my great bird tame;
While the sinister Hun,
In his ill, undone,
     Goes out in a blinding flame.

(Other sources have pointed this out, so, in case you're unaware, "the Hun" was a slang name for the Germans in World War I.)

The Avenging Angel was written and first published in 1917. I've chosen it for the clear, easy-to-follow language, considerably aided by an equally clear and consistent use of rhyme. The rhythm makes it very readable also. For all these reasons, as well as the interesting subject matter (for one, it seems rather pro-war (or, at least, pro-RAF), making it a distinct counterpoint to the Owen I posted), it makes a worthy addition to the list.