How true, Mr Gibbons, how true

The silver swan, who living had no note,
When death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast upon the reedy shore,
Thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
“Farewell, all joys! O death, come close mine eyes!
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.”


I keep getting these emails,

… from unknown persons, very kindly offering a solution to my problems with short pinis.

What do they know about my pinny? And would it be churlish to point out their spelling mistake?

I am literally pinned down by a washing machine!

Don’t you love it when people say ‘literally’ when they literally mean ‘metaphorically’ or even ‘figuratively’? One of  my all time faves is ‘They’ve literally got us over a barrel’. I’m literally imagining old-fashioned hoisting equipment, complete with clanking chains and huge oily cogs, and our hapless victim dangling from a large hook.

Anyway, this is literally me, today, between the hours of 9.15 and 1.15. And if there is any problem, Dixons will feel the full force of my wrath, because I’ve been prevented from seeing some someones I very much want to see! Grrrr.

Of course, once it arrives (see what a ‘washing machine half full’ kind of person I literally am), I’ll be able to have washing machine parties, and I’ll invite all my many positively vetted friends. Figuratively speaking. 

My thoughts on ‘The Duchess’

The film, I mean. Not the person. Not that I really know any Duchesses. Except that one I made scrambled eggs for that time in the south of France. So there wouldn’t be any point me sharing my thoughts on them. Or her. Really. Would there?

Just before I get on with this, I’ve reached an interesting conclusion. My talents as a film critic seem to me to be about on a par with those of Patroclus (who has been much in my mind lately). But she doesn’t seem to reckon she’s any good, whereas I think both I and she are excellent. A paradox, surely? You can be the judge.

Anyway, here are my thoughts:

1) I always thought you pronounced it George-ee-ah-na, whereas is the film they pronounce it George-ay-na.

2) Kiera Knightly doesn’t do that thing she does with her teeth. Hardly at all. Which is just as well, cos it drove me mad in both in Pride and Prejudice and in Atonement. She didn’t do it much in Pirates, though, did she?

3) Despite the crashingly obvious parallel with the farce marriage of the late Princess of W and Prince Charles, she didn’t seem to be channelling said late princess too much. Ralph Fiennes, however, was very Prince Charles-ish. A girl I once knew snogged Ralph Fiennes. In fact, she might have gone the whole nine yards. I can’t really remember. It was before he was famous anyway so I wasn’t paying much attention.

4) It was much easier to get tickets than for Mama Mia – which was booked out by loud, dirty, boozy women days in advance. There were a few men in the audience too. Surprisingly. I didn’t think men really liked KK because of her total lack of tits. On the other hand, the woman playing Camilla Lady Bess has a magnificent rack. She’s called Hayley Atwell. God bless Google.

5) You couldn’t see any of Keira Knightley’s shoes, because of the long dresses and all, but I bet they were fab and gorgey. They sounded nice, anyhow, as she stamped long those corridors (in high dudgeon, a lot of the time).

6) Ralph Feinnes has quite thin legs.

7) Rainbow drops, at my local cinema, are more expensive, ounce for ounce, than smoked salmon. They are awfully nice, though.

8) My sister, who actually read the book – albeit some time ago – said that it covered a much longer period of George-ay-na’s life than the film does. She also thought that the author, Amanda Foreman, had kind of washed her hands of the film. I seem to remember reading that she’d sold the rights for a decent amount, but not shed-loads. Still, the book is ranked 55 on Amazon now, so she probably wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

9) If someone wanted to make a film of one of my books, I’d let them get on with it.

10) Overall, it was very good. Better than Mama Mia, but not as good as Vanity Fair (the film, I mean, not the book – which I also haven’t read). Which was fab. (Incidentally, the girl who snogged Ralph Feinnes also snogged the bloke that played Rawdon Crawley in that. She took her work seriously).

Oh! I put an 8 and a ), and look what happened!

(Bear with me, Coffee Boy. Not long now.)