Saturday, May 27, 2006


"To continue Olson's work, as distinct from merely reproducing it, we must set aside the tendency, in reading Olson, to become ourselves "Olsonian." Mimicking his stylistic habits or taking up his particular interests or attitudes or concepts is not the best of even a proper sign of homage. Whatever we take from him must be examined carefully and reconsidered, made fit to serve our own location, historically, on earth, and in language."

(thx AV)

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brief account of Nanaimo Chinatowns & film of the fire which destroyed the last one on September 30, 1960. (Confirmed May 31 that witnessing this fire is the earliest memory of Five Acres/Vinegar Hill poet Kevin Davies)

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Friday, May 26, 2006

rare glimpse of rara avis Kathleen Byron (with David Farrar) in (sadly the cut version) of Powell & Pressburger's The Small Back Room (1949) the other night. Her performance as Sister Ruth in "Black Narcissus" a great example of how a performance can deepen a filmmaker's conception to the point of overthrow--you can tell P&P didn't know what they'd unleashed, but were smart enough to go with it.

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Looking up the 1953 Van Heflin movie "Battleground" (on later today in TCM's all-war Memorial Day weekend) in my 1981 blue Bantam paperback "Movies on TV: conceived and edited by Steven H. Scheur" I remembered why older editions of that series (at some point in the 80's it was completely redone, badly) are worth looking out for--I only re-found it recently. It's terse, opaquely auterist critical language greatly appealed to (and undoubtedly influenced) my younger self. Here's a sentence of the "Battleground" entry: "Retains interest for Wellman's gritty, abstract schematicism, but he fails to reach the pinnacle set by his "Story of G.I. Joe"." What could! Almost something of the great Donald Phelps (that Lover of Dorn & Dwan!) about that. But here's my all-time favorite--which I urge young poseur types to memorize--from the entry for Preminger's 1952 "Angel Face"--"It's so well measured in minute calibrations of lighting and framing that the essential shallowness of the sexual premise is never overcome by the intensity of the implacable style." Works for anything!

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here's the video--excuse me while I rocksteady...
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farewell Desmond Dekker whose "Israelites" was a lot of people's first reggae single, certainly mine! Though in those days (Ayr,Scotland 1970)
we called it "blubeat", which until Dekker came along was considered strictly the domain of the scary skinheads hanging out in front of the Bobby Jones dancehall looking for fights...

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

in the Village Voice, Joshua Clover on Harewood poet Kevin Davies
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Canada out of Afghanistan

"This is the "mission" that Stephen Harper, Yankee sycophant and budding warmonger, has "extended." The mission is not intended to ever end because its purpose was and is to ensure the US permanent access to Mideast oil and Afghani land for pipelines. But end it will -- just as every other colonial occupation of Afghanistan has ended -- when the occupiers tire of bleeding. Too bad dozens of Canadian soldiers, who should be peacemakers, will have to die to teach us an old lesson."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The history behind (and recipe for) Eccles. Cakes

The word 'Eccles' means church and is derived from the Greek word 'Ecclesia' which means an assembly. In the middle ages an annual service 'Eccles Wakes' took place at the church in Eccles and afterwards there was a fair at which food and drink were sold, including of course, Eccles cakes.

In 1650, when the Puritans gained power, they banned the Eccles Wakes and subsequently the Eccles cakes which they considered to have pagan significance due to their juicy and exotic richness.

More recently the question of Eccles cakes has been raised in Parliament. A question was tabled regarding the future of cakes made outside Eccles to the same ingredients. Could non-Eccles made cakes still be referred to (and sold) as Eccles cakes?"

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from Thomas Browne's Vulgar Errors--

"That 'tis good to be drunk once a month, is a common flattery of sensuality, supporting it self upon Physick, and the healthful effects of inebriation. This indeed seems plainly affirmed by Avicenna, a Physitian of great authority, and whose religion prohibiting Wine, could less extenuate ebriety. But Averroes a man of his own faith was of another belief; restraining his ebriety unto hilarity, and in effect making no more thereof than Seneca commendeth, and was allowable in Cato; that is, a sober incalescence and regulated �stuation from wine; or what may be conceived between Joseph and his brethren, when the text expresseth they were merry, or drank largely, and whereby indeed the commodities set down by Avicenna, that is, alleviation of spirits, resolution of superfluities, provocation of sweat and urine may also ensue. But as for dementation, sopition of reason, and the diviner particle from drink; though American religion approve, and Pagan piety of old hath practised it, even at their sacrifices; Christian morality and the doctrine of Christ will not allow. And surely that religion which excuseth the fact of Noah, in the aged surprisal of six hundred years, and unexpected inebriation from the unknown effects of wine, will neither acquit ebriosity nor ebriety, in their known and intended perversions."

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