Skull bowls.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2011 by victoriaisherwood

Washing the dishes after reading an article on the newly discovered Cheddar skull bowl, I noticed that all the various bowls we have are the size and shape of  the top of a human skull.  Can it be coincidence that a vessel the shape of a human skull sits so comfortably in the human hand (alas, poor Yorick), and holds exactly the right amount of food for a satisfying meal? Hmm. An article in today’s Guardian discusses the ‘spiritual’ and ‘medicinal’ reasons humans ate human body parts in Britain, but doesn’t discuss what to me seems the most obvious – in an era before metal or pots, the thick-boned, bowl-shaped top of a human skull was a perfect food vessel. Archaeologists theorise that it was the discovery of cooking that altered our skull-shape, in that we no longer needed to devote the skull to muscle to support the huge jaw needed to grind raw food, and could use it for brain instead, but maybe there’s another happy outcome, too – the round, bowled skulls of the dead gave early humans the ideal utensil to eat cooked food and carry water to their lips?


Thanks for that!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 10, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

You see, there I was lumbering under the impression that the aristocracy lived off the labour of the working-class. Now, thanks to ITV’s glossy new Sunday night TV series ‘Downton Abbey’, I’ve been enlightened! The aristocracy exist to give the working-classes something to do! Yes, without them, those poor proles would be out of work. See the frightening scene in which a visiting new generation of toff (with a ‘middle class’ job) sends shivers through the household by putting on his own clothes! Good lord, if aristocrats start putting on their own clothes, emptying their own chamber-pots, etc. that poor man will be out of a job! Yes, three cheers for the aristocrats, kindly employers of lame war veterans and country girls! If it wasn’t for them and their enormous mansions, the working classes would be destitute, and have to have a revolution, or something.

Crows and Pears

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

The crows have noticed the pears are ripe, and are vociferously occupying the upper branches of our pear tree (and the neighbours’), and pecking the fruit. Last year I saw one detach a large pair (ooo er missus), and, holding it by the stalk, fly off with it in its beak. Reminded me of the Monty Python sketch about the swallow and the coconut.

Lost at sea.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

I’m watching Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest. Watch is the operative term here: visually, it’s one of the most impressive films ever made. Bill Nighy’s tentacles are amazing, the costumes and production design generally just gorgeous. How could I not love something so deeply indebted to Howard Pyle and – possibly – Mervyn Peake (I haven’t heard it acknowledged, but there’s something very Captain Slaughterboard/Ancient Mariner about the sea-changed crew)? It’s clear that thousands of hours have been put into it. What a pity they weren’t put into the script!

A few years ago, when this came out, I emailed Mark Kermode on Radio 5 to retrospectively defend the first film. I said it wasn’t that bad – most pirate films have a bitty plot and patchy characterisation (can you remember the plot of The Crimson Pirate? Captain Blood? Blackbeard? Apart from Treasure Island, almost all pirate films have been a jumble of action sequences and arring). I still think Kermode was unfair about Pirates 1 – but Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End are an incoherent jumble. You get the feeling the ‘scriptwriter’ just sat down with a load of DVDs and pirate books and wrote down anything that caught his eye, then shoved a bunch of notes at the cgi dept and said, can we do this? What’s worse, it doesn’t seem to matter – a generation reared on computer games rather than plotlines don’t expect coherent stories or characterisation – just a series of action set pieces as beautifully-dressed characters run around after a maguffin (get the coin/key/compass/heart and proceed to the next level!).

I heard that they actually set about filming Pirates 3 without even having a finished ‘script’. Maybe that explains weird dissonance whereby Orlando Bloom can spend the entire franchise angsting about his father, but Johnny Depp’s mother’s fate is dismissed in a two-second gag about a shrunken head (his father’s killed her and stuffed her? Oh, ha ha! Misogynist or what?), and the ludicrous ending, where we’re supposed to believe that a ruthless businessman, who has spent the last two films knocking about in a world in which skeletal pirates, krakens, octopus-headed captains and giant sea goddesses are the norm, whilst carrying a still-beating dismbodied heart in a bag, would be so discombobulated to see a ship he knows to be supernatural bob up out of a whirlpool he freezes and allows a similarly-bafflingly-frozen entire fleet to be destroyed? My arse!

“There’s one good thing about Tesco – it keeps the riff-raff out of Waitrose”*

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

Waitrose advert on the telly, with a voiceover by Roger McGough – only, Waitrose is so posh it doesn’t actually have a branch in poor old Liverpool!

*I’ve often heard this line attributed to Stephen Fry, but it was originally Alan Coren, who presumably did his shopping in Finchley Road – if you were rich, you turned right out of the tube, to Waitrose. If you were poor, left, to Tesco’s. The blessed and the damned. I once saw a little girl by the cash machine in the station foyer: “Daddy! Daddy! I can’t reach the numbers!”.

Dreams from my father…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

“He thinks the sun shines out of his Dad’s arse, then he goes to look for him and finds that it doesn’t”

My Mum’s summary of Barack Obama’s autobiography.

When posts collide…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 by victoriaisherwood

The Big Cat is now asleep on top of the seed tray.