Commonplace: Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim

“Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.”

–Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim, and perhaps the best description of a hangover in English literature. Unless Laurence Sterne or Henry Fielding has one I’ve missed.


Commonplace, Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Crossing the Bar”

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

–Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Crossing the Bar,” 1889

Design*Sponge Makes Latte Hearts

In honor of the symbolism of Valentine’s Day, here’s a video from Grace Bonney, blogger extraordinaire and creative head of Design’Sponge, on how to make latte hearts. It’s like she knew I always wanted to know how to do this.

I mean knowing how will not prevent me from going to Oddfellows in Dallas, where they’ve raised coffee art to a science. But I can now muck about in my kitchen, messing it up.

Doctor Who: The First Question

A fantastic montage of the eleven Doctors in honor of Doctor Who‘s 50 anniversary this November. It began airing November 23, 1963, the day after JFK’s assassination. I just finished an excellent essay on Stephen Moffat’s use of the uncanny in the show, which makes the ending lines about the first question being a question hidden in plain sight all the more profound and creepy.

Song of the Day: Laura Marling, “Don’t Ask Me Why/Salinas”

While this isn’t a Take Away Show, it’s still the same concept: a singer, maybe an instrument, and an urban space.  It’s being done by a group called Sideshow Alley, which films artists in around Melbourne, Australia. In this instance, the artist is British folk singer Laura Marling and the location is a graffitied Melbourne alley with chirruping birds. It’s definitely worth spending some time on their website. (And I might be pulling songs of the day from here for the week.)

Sony Photography Awards

My grandmother keeps old Life Magazine books in her spare bedroom. When I would stay over as a teenager, I would pull these books out of the lawyer style bookcases they lived in and slowly turn the pages. I loved the way photography captured moments in time and space. I’m a poor photographer at best; it’s a skill set I never acquired somehow. Yet, I love the way a photograph can bring you into an intimate moment. Talking Points Memo published a slideshow of the best pictures from the Sony Photography Awards. The images are stunning, but alas I can’t save them to upload them here. Go look.