Thursday, 29 October 2009

I tre nani

Kinosaki is famous for its hot springs. The food here is excellent, the local speciality being crab. Otoh you will also be given eggs cooked in the springs; they prove that water at 80 degrees is insufficient to boil an egg. Avoid. A further "plus" is being accommodated in traditional Japanese inns, which includes the traditional cramming of 3 adults into a room fit for one. A crone comes in the evening to arrange the mattresses in an orderly row, like something out of an economy version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. However, there is no Snow White. I've discussed this with the other dwarves and we've agreed to advertise the position. Ladies, feel free to apply. And when I say position I mean positions of course, there's no need to stop at one. Why not seven? "But 3 into 7 doesn't go" you reply.

Maybe, but we'll have fun trying.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Mellow fruitfulness

More interesting things happen to me in, or in relation to, Bristol than I have any right to expect. On Wednesday I met Lulu Labonne for lunch (very good smoked salmon, very, er, experimental fruit salad, my responsibility). In the East Village she would be unremarked, in Bristol her black on black was deeply ironic, as is she. Her shopping included a green anti-personnel device that she claimed was a vegetable, but there are more edible-looking things in the Horrible Mediaeval Weapons section at the V&A.

The next evening Mrs Pouncer ("Clarissa darling") met me in the Isambard, the Paddington station pub. Frankly, the place wasn't good enough.

"Vodka and vermouth please".

"Sorry, we don't do mixed drinks".

"But this is a pub isn't it?"

"Yes, but we don't do mixed drinks, they're separate franchises."

Trust me, nothing on this blog is invented, it's all true. (Well, not quite, I invented Carla Bruni, but Sarkozy is real, he's a horrible little psychopath.)

So we moved on to dinner.

"It's got to be kosher."

"OK, there's a Chinese restaurant, Chinese food is kosher isn't it?"

I've long chosen to believe this, maybe I got it from Calvin Trillin, and have taught it to my daughter. Even sweet barbecued pork buns are kosher in a Chinese restaurant, there's a Talmudic dispensation or something.

"For god's sake Inky, they used rectified lard."

So we went Indian ("they're kosher").

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Classical education

In a recent New York Review of Books (no link, it's a paysite) Glen Bowersock reviews two books on classical Greek sex between men and boys. He starts by explaining the words erastes as lover and eromenos as beloved. These are the usual euphemisms, but eros connotes physical love, i.e. sex. So in fact erastes = fucker and eromenos = (male) fucked, but the NYRB doesn't like the f-word. Most of the article is taken up with a detailed discussion of the evidence for exactly what happened (intercrural rather than anal apparently, and it goes on from there). Thank you Professor, it's your job to know this sort of thing. I must admit, I like grown women but this stuff functioned well as a form of higher porn. Oh, and the Romans were no better than the Greeks; google coitum plenum et optabilem to see what I mean.

So why on earth did Thomas Arnold choose classical Greek and Latin as the basis of an English boys' boarding school education? Lytton Strachey is hilarious on this subject in his Eminent Victorians, explaining that classics was what Arnold knew, so he would, wouldn't he? But Strachey was himself as gay as a Bristol pub, so why didn't he comment on the fact of Arnold institutionalizing a system where boys, of the same age as the eromenoi, were closeted, as it were, with teachers of the same age as the erastes? It is surprising that responsibility for a correct analysis should be left to this blog, but Precision Handling does not shirk its obligations.