Thursday, May 2, 2013

'Our revels now are ended'

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.


William Shakespeare

From The Tempest, Act 4 Scene 1
What an epitaph for all his work...and ours.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


   I came across this metaphor while looking for a copy of Burnside's, essay, A Winter Mind.

"Slut's Hair"  A woman, in a Dundee tenement, is stuck in a relationship where her husband's
aggressive interrogations about her happiness are a form of torture. When she reveals she has toothache, and they can't afford a dentist, he resorts to whisky and a pair of electrician's pliers (a typically sharp-eyed detail). He then goes off to the pub, leaving her alone: the classic miserabilist Scottish short story would end there. But in Burnside's version, it segues into her finding a creature – "at first she thought it looked like a tiny, malnourished cat, only it was blue and too small even for a kitten; then, as her eyes adjusted, she saw that it was a fox, or something like a fox, with that keen clever face a fox has in children's books". Just as her husband returns home drunk, she realises it has escaped her grasp – if it ever was there – leaving behind what some call dust bunnies and what is sometimes called in Scotland slut's hair. The very next story – a far more "realistic" affair – uses the phrase "slut's hair" in describing the contents of a schoolboy's desk. That hazy, horrid uncertainty of connections makes the individual stories chime and resonate with each other in a re‑readable way.