(A) The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov), alternatively The Dice Man
(Rhinehart), or how about a slice of Evelyn Waugh or Nabokov? Is
there perhaps some reason you'd expect me to add The Catcher In The
Rye here? Just wondered. (Bonus points available.) (B) Kind Hearts
and Coronets or maybe something by Powell and Pressburger eg I Know
Where I'm Going although there's much to be said for Jean de
Florette and Manon des Sources and Cinema Paradiso and many things
involving Cary Grant or Greta Garbo. And how about Fred Astaire?
Well, of course! (C) Classical music, for instance the Goldberg
Variations of JS Bach or the late Beethoven piano sonatas*, while a
spot of instrumental jazz or fusion doesn't necessarily go amiss,
such as John McLaughlin or Acoustic Alchemy. Some rock or pop is
ok. (D) A perfectly ripe Doyenne du Comice pear - very juicy, so
best eaten in a big bath with plenty of bubbles
*Meaning the piano sonatas Beethoven composed late in life, not
piano sonatas composed by the late Beethoven, though I suppose
that's true too.
Contrary to popular belief, the best of classical music tends not
to feature in television adverts, nor as corporate
nor yet in Classic FM's "Most Relaxing Greatest Relaxing Cool
Classic Relaxing Hits"
Further Useful Information
The Da Vinci Code is what is technically known as fiction. This
means it is Stuff That Someone Made Up.
A couple of quotes, approved by me, for luck:
"Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself... she is the
proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear
from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her
natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be
dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them." - A Bill
for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia, drafted by Thomas
Jefferson in 1777
"Our particular principles of religion are a subject of
accountability to our god alone. I enquire after no man's and
trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know
whether yours or mine, our friend's or our foe's, are exactly the
right." - Thomas Jefferson to Miles King, 26 September 1814
"Cela est bien dit, repondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre
jardin." [roughly: "That is all very well," answered Candide, "but
let us cultivate our garden."] - Voltaire, "Candide" (1759)
I think this (for example) is funny:
Homer: Marge? Since I'm not talking to Lisa, would you please ask
her to pass me the syrup?
Marge: Dear, please pass your father the syrup, Lisa.
Lisa: Bart, tell Dad I will only pass the syrup if it won't be used
on any meat product.
Bart: You dunkin' your sausages in that syrup homeboy?
Homer: Marge, tell Bart I just want to drink a nice glass of syrup
like I do every morning.
Marge: Tell him yourself, you're ignoring Lisa, not Bart.
Homer: Bart, thank your mother for pointing that out.
Marge: Homer, you're not not-talking to me and secondly I heard
what you said.
Homer: Lisa, tell your mother to get off my case.
Bart: Uhhh, dad, Lisa's the one you're not talking to.
Homer: Bart, go to your room.
And surely so is this:
The scene is a theatrical producer's office
Peter: Miss Rigby! Stella, my love! Would you please send in the
next auditioner, please. Mr. Spigott, I believe it is.
Enter Dudley, hopping energetically on one leg
Peter: Mr. Spigott, I believe?
Dudley: Yes, Spigott by name, Spigott by nature. (keeps
Peter: Yes... if you'd like to remain motionless for a moment, Mr.
Spigott. Please be stood. Now Mr. Spigott, you are I believe
auditioning for the part of Tarzan?
Peter: Now Mr. Spigott, I couldn't help noticing almost at once
that you are a one-legged person.
Dudley: You noticed that?
Peter: I noticed that, Mr. Spigott. When you have been in the
business as long as I have you come to notice these things almost
instinctively. Now Mr. Spigott, you, a one-legged man, are applying
for the role of Tarzan a role which, traditionally, involves the
use of a two-legged actor.
Peter: And yet you, a unidexter, are applying for the role.
Peter: A role for which two legs would seem to be the minimum
Dudley: Very true.
Peter: Well Mr. Spigott, need I point out to you where your
deficiency lies as regards landing the role?
Dudley: Yes, I think you ought to.
Peter: Need I say with overmuch emphasis that it is in the leg
division that you are deficient.
Dudley: The leg division?
Peter: Yes, the leg division, Mr. Spigott. You are deficient in it
to the tune of one. Your right leg I like. I like your right leg. A
lovely leg for the role. That's what I said when I saw you come in.
I said 'A lovely leg for the role.' I've got nothing against your
right leg. The trouble is, neither have you. You fall down on your
Dudley: You mean it's inadequate?
Peter: Yes, it's inadequate, Mr. Spigott. And, to my mind, the
British public is not ready for the sight of a one-legged ape-man
swinging through the jungly tendrils.
Dudley: I see.
Peter: However, don't despair. After all, you score over a man with
no legs at all. Should a legless man come in here demanding the
role, I should have no hesitation in saying 'Get out. Run
Dudley: So there's still a chance?
Peter: There is still a very good chance. If we get no two-legged
actors in here within the next two months, there is still a very
good chance that you'll land this vital role. Failing two-legged
actors, you, a unidexter, are just the sort of person we shall be
attempting to contact telephonically.
Dudley: Well... thank you very much!
Peter: So my advice is: hop on a bus, go home, and sit by your
telephone in the hope that we will be getting in touch with you.
Good morning, Mr. Spigott.
He shows Dudley out
That was not only Peter Cook but also Dudley Moore. And there is
much to be said for Paul Merton. And there is something to be said
for Sacha Baron Cohen aka Bruno or Borat or Ali G. Some other stuff
for possible search purposes: things which are FREE! failing which
CHEAP! though regrettably this is rarely true of a decent piano...
patterns - improvisation - making things work - dogs - cats -
parrots - sloths - bears - anteaters - natural history -
(unnatural?) history - not least the Enlightenment and the
Napoleonic period - David Hume - Thomas Paine - free speech -
civility - science - Karl Popper - Richard Feynman - Carl Sagan -
Martin Gardner - David Deutsch also Patrick Leigh Fermor - true
heroism (very rare) - debunking - myths - archaeology - gardens -
characterful trees including eucalyptus - rock pools - grainy stone
and grainy wood - wine - cheese then more wine - fungi - cooking...
painting - stained glass - architecture - astronomy as opposed to
astrology - Shakespeare - The Spectator - Private Eye - sea -
islands - lakes - mountains - "hello clouds hello sky" chiz chiz -
cycling - golf - tennis - cricket - rugby - football - fireworks -
magic as in illusion - Houdini - evanescent bubbles... by contrast
the eternal or at least timeless - and skepticism of whatever is
currently fashionable to think... which I also selflessly recommend