Christmas Is A Time to Read-Joyce: Counterparts

Joyce's Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.
Joyce’s Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.

[Note: We’re reading one of James Joyce’s Dubliners stories each day until we get to “The Dead” on Christmas Eve. You can read more about the project on the first day’s installment. If you’re arriving late, fear not: it’s not too late to join us!]

COUNTERPARTS

THE bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker went to the tube, a furious voice called out in a piercing North of Ireland accent:

“Send Farrington here!”

Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying to a man who was writing at a desk:

“Mr. Alleyne wants you upstairs.”

The man muttered “Blast him!” under his breath and pushed back his chair to stand up. When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk. He had a hanging face, dark wine-coloured, with fair eyebrows and moustache: his eyes bulged forward slightly and the whites of them were dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by the clients, went out of the office with a heavy step.

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Saul Bellow and Austin Powers: Together At Last!

Wonderful reader arabpikachuwp4 responds to my post about Saul Bellow’s indie-author spirit:

I can imagine Austin Powers saying “I too like to live dangerously” to Saul Bellow, lol.

Lol indeed! I don’t think my own mind would have made that jump in a million years. But I’m glad someone’s did, because I’ve been laughing about it for days. When does Mike Myers next host Saturday Night Live, and what are the chances of us getting a sketch of Austin Powers meeting Saul Bellow? (I know, I know. The chances are zero. Not slim. Not remote. Not anything-is-possible. Zero. But one can dream!)

Don’t they have the same suit? And the same zest for…ah…whatever the hell Saul is doing with this photo?

SaulBellow Mike-Myers-Austin-Powers-1-
You can read the original post here:

A James Joyce Christmas: A Little Cloud

Joyce's Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.
Joyce’s Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.

[Note: We’re reading one of James Joyce’s Dubliners stories each day until we get to “The Dead” on Christmas Eve. You can read more about the project on the first day’s installment. If you’re arriving late, fear not: it’s not too late to join us!]

A LITTLE CLOUD

EIGHT years before he had seen his friend off at the North Wall and wished him godspeed. Gallaher had got on. You could tell that at once by his travelled air, his well-cut tweed suit, and fearless accent. Few fellows had talents like his and fewer still could remain unspoiled by such success. Gallaher’s heart was in the right place and he had deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.

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It’s The Jacke Wilson Show! Episode 5 – The Gift

jackewilsonshowimage

ONE…ONE ONE…ONE ONE… IT’S THE JACKE WILSON SHOW!!!!!

Hmm, Episode 5 is shorter than usual. Maybe because I had TWO embarrassing vacuum cleaner stories and I only told ONE of them. I’ll have to save it for the Director’s Cut edition. It’s one of the cardinal rules of professional podcasting: do not tell two embarrassing household-appliance stories in the same episode of a podcast. You could look it up.

What we DO have is a quick look at the Dubliners series, some thoughts about Not Knowing What To Say, and a proto-Object “The Gift.” And some (hopefully) improved sound quality, as I figure out exactly what the hell I’m doing. If you’re like me, you shrink from the overly packaged. You like things a little RAW. Well, that’s what you’re going to get. Not sleek. Not clean. Not gleaming. Raw. Ragged. Broken.

Hope you enjoy the show!

You can stream the show here:

Or directly download the mp3 file: The Jacke Wilson Show 1.5 – The Gift

You can also find previous episodes at our Podcast page.

And subscribe to the whole series at iTunes by following this link:

SUBSCRIBE TO THE JACKE WILSON SHOW ON ITUNES

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Christmas Is A Time to Read-Joyce: The Boarding House

Joyce's Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.
Joyce’s Dublin. Image Courtesy of echelon.lk.

[Note: We’re reading one of James Joyce’s Dubliners stories each day until we get to “The Dead” on Christmas Eve. You can read more about the project on the first day’s installment. If you’re arriving late, fear not: it’s not too late to join us!]

THE BOARDING HOUSE

MRS. MOONEY was a butcher’s daughter. She was a woman who was quite able to keep things to herself: a determined woman. She had married her father’s foreman and opened a butcher’s shop near Spring Gardens. But as soon as his father-in-law was dead Mr. Mooney began to go to the devil. He drank, plundered the till, ran headlong into debt. It was no use making him take the pledge: he was sure to break out again a few days after. By fighting his wife in the presence of customers and by buying bad meat he ruined his business. One night he went for his wife with the cleaver and she had to sleep in a neighbour’s house.

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The Bing/Bowie Christmas Mystery – The Will Ferrell Angle

Okay, we’ve been having fun with this one. The slightly famous (let’s say “underground famous”) clip of David Bowie dropping in on Bing Crosby on an old Bing Crosby Christmas special. They eventually deliver a beautiful, soaring version of “Little Drummer Boy.” If somehow you’ve never heard this, don’t miss the song. Bing’s down-low crooner’s rhythm and Bowie’s pristine melody truly make the song soar. (Was the melody written just for this show? It makes the song so much better!)

Before the song begins there is some awkward patter – well, to call it awkward doesn’t really do it justice. It should be awkward – it’s Ziggy Stardust meeting Bing Crosby, for crying out loud – but somehow it is less awkward than you might think. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. It reminds me of the times when I dropped by a friend’s house only to find his grandparents there.

And you make some small talk, and it’s excruciating because all you want to do is get to the basement and play video games, and the grandparents are telling you about life in the Depression or something. Except then they say something funny, and you have a kind of loyalty toward them as your friend’s grandpa, and you wind up getting through the conversation and giving each other a dose of cross-generational respect. Right? There’s some of that going on in this too. Along with all the awkward.

So anyway, one of the mysteries we’ve been tackling in the comment section is just what David Bowie jokes about at the 1:27 mark. He says [somethings] are coming down the chimney. It sounded to me like “agents,” which didn’t make sense to me. What kind of agents come down the chimney? How is that a joke? And worse, it was close enough to “Asians” to make me worried. (No, Ziggy! Don’t tell me this is some kind of jingoistic humor! Stay in space!)

Here comes Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, who – dammit – live life better than I do. I wish I had talent, and friends who would make videos like this! Well, all I can do is appreciate these two for making my life a little better. Because I’m convinced that videos like this help me to live longer. Will Ferrell! That look in his eye when he’s fully immersed in his character…good lord, this is a delicious video.

And – did you hear it? – he says “agents.” I’m going to use that as confirmation that it’s not Asians. He’d get it right, I’m sure. He may have had a script to work from. At the very least, someone at Funny or Die must have watched this video over and over in order to get it right.

One mystery solved.

Onto the next one!

What kind of agents could these be?

We’ve had three guesses so far.

  • Government agents.  I guess this would be some tie-in to the government pursuing Ziggy Stardust. For drugs? Immigration violations? Protests? Obscenity? Maybe he’d had some legal trouble, and agents were arresting him… something like that. It’s clearly some kind of in-joke, though I don’t know if it’s an in-joke historically or an in-joke based on something that happened earlier in the special. I thought it might be a post-Watergate thing, or a James Bond thing. The “I just got arrested for drugs, it’s in all the papers” seems more likely. But that too is just a guess on my part.
  • Show biz agents. Maybe the joke here is that Bowie’s career is on the rise? And Bing has trouble getting an agent? Maybe Bing complained about it earlier in the episode?
  • Christmas agents. This was a reader’s idea, which I love. Maybe it’s his way of describing elves, or reindeer, or some other tool of Santa. This seems a little strange, but then again, it’s a strange comment. Maybe Bowie is giving us a little tongue-in-cheek slant on Christmas?

Hmmm. I might need to raise the stakes on this….

Okay, let’s do it.! A free copy of one of my books will go to anyone who can figure this out! And good ideas will be in the running, too, no matter how wild. Let’s get the creativity flowing here!

A Joycean Christmas: Two Gallants

[Note: We’re reading one of James Joyce’s Dubliners stories each day until we get to The Dead on Christmas Eve. You can read more about the project on the first day’s installment. If you’re arriving late, fear not: it’s not too late to catch up and join us!]

TWO GALLANTS

THE grey warm evening of August had descended upon the city and a mild warm air, a memory of summer, circulated in the streets. The streets, shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed with a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps shone from the summits of their tall poles upon the living texture below which, changing shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the warm grey evening air an unchanging unceasing murmur.

Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square. One of them was just bringing a long monologue to a close. The other, who walked on the verge of the path and was at times obliged to step on to the road, owing to his companion’s rudeness, wore an amused listening face. He was squat and ruddy. A yachting cap was shoved far back from his forehead and the narrative to which he listened made constant waves of expression break forth over his face from the corners of his nose and eyes and mouth. Little jets of wheezing laughter followed one another out of his convulsed body. His eyes, twinkling with cunning enjoyment, glanced at every moment towards his companion’s face. Once or twice he rearranged the light waterproof which he had slung over one shoulder in toreador fashion. His breeches, his white rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a ravaged look.

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