a writer's journal - politics, music, american culture, esoteric aspects of life, and stories

Wednesday

Famous first words: I have started a blog

The title of this here new site derives from a Robt Service poem which illustrates how the technique of apostrophe - addressing something that isn't present - doesn't have to be obviously signalled. Usually apostrophics begin with that lovely word "O". O Wild West Wind, blow / Typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes. . . SMOG! etc.

The Service poem, "My Masterpiece", speaks to a book he never wrote, which appeals to my sense of murky irony. If you like, you can think about the small paradox in that gesture: a poem exists to apologise for the nonexistence of a book. There isn't much to say about any small paradox, though.

Service is famously lowbrow, a "people's poet", whose almost bitter obituary scathingly refers to those "Fancy-Dan dilettantes" who would disparage his conservative style. "Fancy-Dan dillettante" was my second choice for this site, I should say. Anyway I was huddled over this maudlin remonstrance "don't haunt me now" a few years ago once again, here, as sung or maybe congealed by a scottish pop group very dear to me (Service was half Scot you know). They call themselves - abashedly - the Trash Can Sinatras, very middlebrow, very abashed, and when I met them, I mentioned to one of them over two pear ciders that someone such as I should write a book about such as they, and the being of a heartbreakingly unknown group - just famous enough not to break up, to be able to pay for their liquor, but not famous enough to eat - and the small paradox of heartbreakingly being a group whose songs are coincinotdently mostly heartbreakers. But there isn't much to say about books that never get written.
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