173In this blogposting...
Now read on, Macduff...
I love the wayward unpredictability of the internet. Once you start surfing, you never know what you’re going to find. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve wasted whole months on some highly esoteric voyages of internet discovery which have led me up some weird and wonderful garden paths. As evidence, I offer the following extract from a list of what some anonymous blogger considers to be the ‘nicest’ words in the English language. Note that ‘niceness’ here is not a measure of what the words actually mean (like mother or love) but of the words themselves, pure and simple.
Chatoyant - like a cat's eye
Plethora - a large quantity
Susurrous - whispering, hissing
Halcyon - happy, sunny, carefree
Desuetude - disuse
Inglenook - a cosy nook by the hearth
Lithe - slender and flexible
Mellifluous - sweet sounding
Mondegreen - a slip of the ear.
Offing - the sea between the horizon and the offshore
Evanescent - vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time
Desultory - slow, sluggish
Woebegone - sorrowful, downcast
Comely - attractive
Panoply - a complete set.
Erstwhile - at one time, for a time.
...and lots more.
You may not agree with all of them, but what a smashing list, taken together! Stephen Fry’s favourite words are said to be moist and twinkly, to which I would add ubiquitous, kumquat, twerp and catastrophe.
Feel free to add your own words to the list.
Nominations are still welcome for dates and venues for AGM IX. My own suggestion is that it should take place wcm November 2. But on which day? And where? The Biscuit Factory in Shieldfield seems to be the hot favourite at the minute, though I’m not too sure how accessible it is by public transport. So put your head above the parapet and air your views. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
We truckshunters make it our business to mark the passing of people whose names, though once perhaps familiar to us in years gone by, have fallen into desuetude (see above) as time has passed. Like f'rinstance...
..who died a few days ago, aged 72. She was the Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary - part of the folk-revival of the 60s and, perhaps predictably, a very big influence on my teenage musical tastes. While my two brothers were quietly going berserk listening to Deep Crimson (or whatever), I was lost in the admittedly bowdlerised soul-searching of Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, Leavin’ On A Jet Plane, Blowin’ In The Wind and Puff The Magic Dragon (no comments, please).
I still have all their albums and listen to them regularly, invariably saying quietly to myself that ‘they don’t write them like that anymore’, as you do. Tracks like The House Song, Old Coat and Hymn still blow me away.
Who? I hear you ask. In response to your not unreasonable query, I can do no better than quote from her obituary in The Guardian.
‘In 18 years of professional wrestling throughout the US, Gladys "Killem" Gillem, who has died aged 89, was never allowed to beat Mildred Burke. She later claimed one small victory when, aged 85, she disclosed in a film that she had slept with Burke's husband, the promoter Billy Wolfe, to get a pay rise.
Always something of a tomboy, Gillem was expelled from her Catholic school for putting minnows in the holy water. After seeing Mildred Burke wrestle, she asked if she could join her. She was trained by another of Wolfe's stable, Wilma "Babe" Gordon and then for nearly 20 years became one of Burke's principal opponents.
Unfortunately she never learned to fall properly and the back of her head was said to be as soft as a cauliflower. Her bouts with Burke were often ferocious and on one occasion, wrestling for the world title, she bit deep into Burke's thigh, refusing to let go until Burke broke her nose. Although women could earn up to $100 a night wrestling, Wolfe kept most of it, deducting not only 50% but also expenses and overheads so that Gillem and the other girls often ended up with just $3 a night.
After nearly 20 years in the ring she decided to become a lion tamer – "I pity the lions," said Burke – working with Captain Ernest Enger's act, which she eventually took over. She also tried to become an equestrienne, but at 5ft 2in she had difficulty in leaping on the horses and so took up the trapeze. Her career as a lion tamer ended in central America when the promoter absconded with the takings.
She and her husband John Aloysius Wall opened a tourist attraction in Florida where she wrestled alligators. The secret, she said, was to tickle their stomachs, something alligators apparently love. After Wall was killed in a Broadway theatre accident, she once again took to the road with her alligators. She finally retired after injuring her back in Calgary.
Always a good cook, she then bought a run-down motel in Pensacola, Florida, naming it the Birmingham Motel, which she advertised as "welcoming lovers". A room cost $10 for two hours and on one occasion she chased down the street after a customer who had made off with the sheets.
She is survived by her three children and a number of grandchildren, one of whom, Shawn McCoy, named his rock band Killem Gillem in her honour.’
So now you know.
...who played Fred Quilley the jockey in Hi De Hi, has died aged 87.
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