2. Big Brother is our equivalent of the Roman amphitheatre; we sit back in our comfy chairs and watch people being destroyed. I don't normally follow it, but channel-surfing the other day, I caught a replay of the bit where Leo Sayer breaks out of durance vile going "fuck, fuck, fuck", followed by clips of Jade Goody and her posse being snide about Shilpa Shetty. Ugly, ugly, ugly. It would have considerably raised the tone of the proceedings if they'd have brought on a couple of gladiators.
3. Most Haunted is back. And we were in Beaumaris gaol, talking to a Victorian prison governer called Watkins who liked to watch men in the shower- or whatever the 19th century equivalent was. I love this show. Yvette and her gang are like family to me. And now that Derek Acorah is out of the picture I'm a believer again. I believe each and every word.....
4. Yvette asked the creepy, dead governor if he was homosexual- as if she needed further confirmation- but would he have recognised that word? I've been dipping into Wilde recently and I don't think he ever used it. Nineteenth century gays went on about Greek love and Uranian love and high-falutin stuff like that. And, the Marquis of Queensbury- coming at things from a different angle- accused Wilde of being a "somdomite". I understand- I haven't bothered to look it up- that the word "homosexual" was coined by the late-Victorian sexologist Havelock Ellis and that before then- before people got classified like moths or beetles- sexual acts were just acts (approved or not approved in the Bible) and had little to do with the politics of identity. I'd like to think we're moving back to the old position because (I can't think how else to put this) the division of people into sexual tribes is divisive.
5. The young Oscar Wilde met the elderly Walt Whitman in January 1882. Whitman found Wilde, "so frank and outspoken and manly". Many years later Wilde told a friend, "the kiss of Walt Whitman is still on my lips".*
4. The boom, boom, booming continues next door but one. The workmen filled the skip too high and the driver who came to collect it leaned out of his cab, called them dick-heads and roared off again, leaving the skip behind. Yesterday they had a second skip delivered and they've been redistributing the load.
5. ITV News is sending us daily reports from Antarctica. Dig down far enough, through the miles of impacted ice, and you find lumps of coal. Which means there were trees there once. And if there were trees there were also- presumably- critters- a whole lost world. And now the ice is melting again...
*Richard Ellman: Oscar Wilde, 1987. p. 163-4.