Given a choice between writing about not writing and forcing a Bleat from thick unwilling fingers it’s probably wise to do neither, and shout “Ta!” You know, the way people who affect British mannerisms say. “Ta! According to my shedjle, I must take the lift downstairs to put aluminium in the boot of my car, what what.” At the college paper we had a fellow who was the very model of a modern British expat – crisp diction, wry reserve, a certain jaunty attitude towards the glories of old colonialism, tales of boarding school days that featured beak-nosed deans lashing the students and demanding to know how they could possibly have any pudding when they hadn’t eaten their meat, and so on. He had a brother who perished in the Falklands, too. Smart? Mind like a whippet. He never said "boot" or "bonnet" or "aluminium." Sniffed at those with English affectations. Total fraud, too; he was from South Dakota. When we found out he was making it all up everyone dropped him cold, and he erased himself from the paper’s staff.
We found out his ruse when his sister came to town looking for him; when someone noted that she didn’t sound English, she rolled her eyes: oh, is he doing that again? It was a pity, because we liked the fellow, and he really hadn’t traded on his faux persona too much. He didn’t sit in the bar after the paper was put to bed and spin tales of Albion – his reticence to discuss the particulars of Blighty was one of the things that made his lie more convincing, actually. I wonder where he is today.
Yes, we went to a bar after we put the paper to bed. Such things were done in those days, although we only did it once a week. Thursday Night Club, it was called. Since the paper didn’t publish on weekends, Thursday night was the end of the week. When I first joined the Daily the TNC locale was an old “theater bar” called Jimmy Hegg’s, named after its proprietor. I think he was still around, wandering through the place like a deposed member of Middle-European royalty, happy for any clientele he could still draw. It was one of those bars with an excess of drapery, plush red banquettes, pictures of performers in the foyers - heavy ornate frames, tilted at an angle. It was the last of the theater bars, I think; the Casablanca had closed and reopened and gone gay, and Curly’s had been razed and reborn as Zoogie’s, a new-wave bar where the safety-pin / ripped-shirt set was first introduced to Elvis Costello, whose authenticity as a modern person was demostrated by a prominent facial blemish. Hegg’s was the last civilized outpost. It was flattened for two office towers –
Gah. Googling “Jimmy Hegg’s,” I see that a previous Bleat recollection comes up on the first page of results. Well, it’s January 2000. So I’m reduced to repeating myself every seven years. I’ll take that.
No one would notice, were it not for google. <shaking fist>
Anyway. I spent the day on the buzz.mn video, which must now be uploaded; it’ll be a late night herding that code into place. I spent the evening listening to the radio and working on the new site – did two Hew Hughitt segments, which were great fun – and held to my unofficial resolution to do less. This could be longer today, but: we had homework, and piano, and spelling practice; we had choir tonight; I just had a nice long conversation with my wife; I taught (G)Nat how to play a chord on her new guitar. All of that matters more than this, and I doubt anyone would argue the point.
Heard an interview with Jonah Goldberg from NRO today re: his new book, “Liberal Fascism.” I called it up to see what the Amazon reviews were like, since many people seem to be reviewing it on the strength of its provocative title, not its substance.
See anything familiar?
See you at buzz.mn, with a new video: now 37% less crappy-looking than before. Back tomorrow with more. Or less; we’ll see. I’m saving my fire for next Monday, when the new site rolls out. I am very much besotted with the new site so far, and will continue to build it up so the eventual release is utterly underwhelming. I am also enjoying this work-less-enjoy-life business, but it can't last. I certainly hope not.