Hayjax is in Nottingham

This is what happens when you drop a Canadian into the East Midlands.

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Good writers, bad sex

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The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award, bestowed annually on the author who writes the squeam-inducingest literary description of sex, has been won this year by Jonathan Littell.  The winning description of what is known in this country as “how’s-your-father” or, if you prefer, “rumpy-pumpy,” can be found in Littell’s latest novel, “The Kindly Ones.”

Before we go any further, you should know that the passage in question involves the use of soft-boiled egg as cranio-orgasmic metaphor.  You should also know that this passage, quoted in full below, beat out raunchy efforts by Philip “Hotpants” Roth and the cadaverous and terrifying Nick Cave.  Consider yourselves warned.

Here goes:

“Una had stretched out on the bed of the guillotine; I lifted the lunette, made her put her head through it, and closed it on her long neck, after carefully lifting her heavy hair. She was panting. I tied her hands behind her back with my belt, then raised her skirt. I didn’t even bother to lower her panties, just pushed the lace to one side and spread her buttocks with both hands: in the slit, nestling in hair, her anus gently contracted. I spit on it. ‘No,’ she protested. I took out my penis, lay on top of her, and thrust it in. She gave a long stifled cry. I was crushing her with all my weight; because of the awkward position – my trousers were hindering my legs – I could only move in little jerks. Leaning over the lunette, my own neck beneath the blade, I whispered to her: ‘I’m going to pull the lever, I’m going to let the blade drop.’ She begged me: ‘Please, fuck my pussy.’ – ‘No.’ I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”

At  least he didn’t ruin firm, throbbing toast soldiers for us, too.

You can read extracts from the short list, including passages from Roth’s “The Humbling,” and Cave’s “The Death of Bunny Munro,” at The Guardian online.

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Written by Hayden

December 4, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Posted in All posts, Random

iPhone grief counsellor

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Yesterday, between 10:14 and 11 a.m., my iPhone lost consciousness.

At first, I reacted with weak denial. “Maybe I forgot to recharge it,” I said to myself.  “Maybe it’s the cold weather.  Maybe somebody set off one of those electromagnetic bombs they’re always using in the movies.” Since everyone around me continued yakking into their devices or absorbedly performing virtuosic thumb ballets on them, the electromagnetic bomb scenario seemed unlikely, unless it was one of those super-smart electromagnetic bombs that only targeted the devices of people (i.e., me) with the superior intelligence, the resourcefulness and the red-blooded courage to save the world from the invading menace. This was the first phase of grief: egocentric straw-clutching.

Recharging my iPhone did nothing. Whaling on the power button did nothing.  Lighting a votive candle in front of a photo of Steve Jobs did nothing.  Finally, I brought the lifeless corpse of my beloved buddy to the O2 store and tenderly laid it on the counter.  The 02 people took it into a back room where I imagine they tried to jolt my tiny companion back to life with defibrillators no bigger than Chiclets, but when they came out, I saw the news written on their sombre faces.

I can’t tell you how deeply forlorn I felt.  My iPhone goes with me everywhere.  If I had to convey the substance of our relationship to you with one of those best-friends movie montages, it would go like this: 1) iPhone saving me from getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of Nottingham, 2) iPhone surreptitiously feeding me bits of esoteric knowledge so I can impress people at a cocktail party, 3) iPhone and me laughing as we take photos of Nottingham boys’ gonchy asses hanging out of their dumb gangsta pants, 4) me trying on funny hats while iPhone tries on funny phone socks.

We’re really close, is what I’m saying.  So when they took my iPhone away and gave me some suckbo loaner flip phone, I had a lump in my throat.  I felt real grief.  I love my iPhone.  And they just took it from me and made me sign some forms and laid this cheap, nasty impostor phone on me and then stood looking at me like, why are you still here, weird Canadian person?

I’m still here because I’m working through some serious emotions, you callow shopkeeps.  Where’s my iPhone grief counsellor?  Apple, you can’t make a product this deeply loved without building in a safety net for us incautious, full-throttle lovers. When somebody’s iPhone goes gently into that good night, you need to have someone there to help them through the pain. Just letting them walk out of the store is irresponsible, possibly criminally so.  We could hurt ourselves.  We could hurt others.  That’s not a threat, exactly, just an observation.  And while I’m on this topic,  I also want a 24-hour line where I can call in to see how my iPhone is doing while it’s in the ICU.  And tell me when visiting hours are so I can drop by with a helium balloon bouquet and a bunch of organic grapes.

Written by Hayden

December 3, 2009 at 10:18 am

Posted in All posts, Random

This pen for hire

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I’m on several email lists for freelance writing opportunities, and one of them delivers job postings so bizarre and random, they’ve become my daily treat.  Here’s today’s offering:

“I need a Eulogy written as if it were to my best friend (female). It needs to be generalized so that I can taylor it [sic] to different people, personalizing it to each individual.”

I’m not making this up, check it out.

I don’t usually work for free, but sometimes the muse bitch-slaps me into it, as she did today.  This is my gift to you, mysterious serial eulogizer.

“Friends,

We are gathered here today to celebrate [insert female name here]’s untimely passing.

As her best friend, I was as shocked as the rest of you that this [insert first adjective], [insert second adjective] woman was taken from us so abruptly, after falling on an entire set of Ginzu knives in her kitchen, but thankfully avoiding the Slap Chop, free with purchase, thereby making an open-casket funeral possible.

It is to be hoped that we all find some comfort and solace in the dear memory of [insert female name here], and it is succour that I, in particular, am very much in need of, having lost so many of my female best friends in recent months, to an assortment of kitchen-gadget-related mishaps.  Although in each case, I was named the sole beneficiary of their various and considerable estates, I can assure you that the mountains of cash do little to assuage the pain.

Anyway, and in conclusion, we know that if [insert female name here] is as [insert adjective here] in heaven as she was here on earth, well, Saint Peter is [select one: a very lucky angel indeed/going to have his work cut out for him]!

Thank you all for coming; please help yourselves to soft drinks and cold cuts out front.”

Written by Hayden

December 2, 2009 at 11:57 am

Posted in All posts, Random

They bring me books and booze

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In England, when my front doorbell buzzes, making a sound like Funny-bone Frank when you unsuccessfully perform an operation on him (English electricians are jokers and charlatans), I do not hide in the closet until the last sizzling peals die away.   I leap to answer it.  What could make a hard-core introvert like me overcome decades of conditioning?

Here’s what: every time I open the door, I am richly rewarded with deliveries of books and booze.  Yesterday, a lady came to my door and dropped off a lumpy parcel that turned out to be the complete 10-volume Martin Beck crime series (Sweden’s favourite detective).  I had totally forgotten I bought it because it only cost 12 pounds, delivered.  It’s outrageously cheap.  There’s more money under my sofa cushions. It’s like robbing a bank, except you call up the teller and say, “Can you bring the sack of money to my house? I don’t want to get out of my jammies.” And they do.

Then today, a nice man dropped off six of the European Union’s finest bottles of plonk and gave me a 10-pound coupon because he was an hour late with the delivery.  They actually tell you what exact hour they’re going to show up, and then shower you with money if they don’t make it on time.

I’ve said a lot of cruel things about Nottingham, but sitting here in my wine-stained pajamas, luxuriating in the finest Swedish police procedural, I admit that there is much to like.

Written by Hayden

November 28, 2009 at 12:40 am

Posted in All posts, Random

Food fight

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Are Time Out London and UKTV’s Good Food Channel having a fight?

Because first I see Time Out London’s “Cheap Eats” magazine cover, and they’ve done this very clever thing where they recreate the London skyline in food (the “Gherkin” is made out of a real gherkin! Get it?) and then the Food Channel does the exact same thing, only they employed a staff of four hundred award-winning miniaturists, model-makers and Hobbits, all popping Wake ‘ems and slaving away around the clock for a full month to create an exact replica of the city, right down to a flock of tiny Trafalgar Square pigeons painstakingly carved out of apple pips.  I made that last bit up, but the point is, they whupped the Time Out London cover’s ass and made it look about as classy as a cheese-in-a-can sandwich.

Check it:

 

Time Out London's mumsy craft project

And then:

 

Good Food Channel's masterpiece, coproduced by Pixar and directed by Peter Jackson

You can click on the photos for the respective “making of” videos for each shoot.  Time Out’s basically involved clearing out the office refrigerator and popping down to Staples for a gluestick.

 

 

Written by Hayden

November 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

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Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog

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chaucer

Chaucer, about to press the "Publish to Blog" button.

What does it look like when Kanye West texts in Middle English?  Thanks to the kaleidoscopic randomity of the interwebs, this oft-asked question, and much else, is made manifest at Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.

You can also buy Middle English t-shirts (how about one that says, “Swynke / Drynke / Swyve / & aftir, make retraccioun”) guaranteed to get you some laced-bodice-wearing tail at any Ye Olde Englishe Faire you choose to attend.  For Jewish types fond of medieval modalities, there’s the “What am Ich, Liver y-chopped?” shirt.

You can also find out what is “Playing on Chaucer’s Ipod,” which… wow, really? Lily Allen?  Chaucer, you slye dogge.

Written by Hayden

November 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

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Wizard smokes a muggle

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Big news in the U.K.: Daniel Radcliffe may possibly have been seen in the vicinity of Puff the Magic Dragon at a recent party. Here’s the front cover of the Daily Mirror:

Harry Pothead

And here’s my theory.  The Daily Mirror has been sitting on the funnest pun ever, to wit, “Harry Pothead,” and they have been itching to see it in type ever since they thought of it.  As soon as Daniel Radcliffe so much as picked up a stubby pencil within range of their zoom lenses, he was hooped.

I’m just astonished they didn’t take it further. I’m not a fan of the franchise and even I am tickled by the thought of “Harry Pothead and the Sorcerer’s Spliff,” or “Harry Pothead and the Half-Baked Prince.”  They need to fire their headline writer and give me some love.

P.S.: Muggle is a well-know code word for the Hempen Menace.  Now you know.

Written by Hayden

November 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Posted in All posts, Random