DAY 85

March 30th, 2014 § 0 comments

For your diary…

I haven’t encouraged you people to go down Kensington High Street and hassle the Israeli Embassy lately. But you can do it on Sunday afternoon (another Prawer Plan protest). And down St James’s Piccadilly, you can debate the rights and wrongs of World War I, on Thursday.

If you’d rather stay home and watch al-Jazeera – why not? here‘s the show to see.

Cookery: Dagga (Salata Gazawiyya or Gazan Salad)

If you have friends coming whom you want to impress/overwhelm, and (like me) have too much dill and chilis lying around, here, again thieved from The Gaza Kitchen, is your answer. Clearly, they live well in Gaza, even if they do have to wade through sewage to get to school.

1/2 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic

2 hot green chilis (to taste)

2 very ripe tomatoes

1/4 cup finely minced fresh dill

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

daggaUsing a mortar and pestle, grind salt and garlic to a paste. Add chopped chilis and continue to crush. Add roughly chopped tomatoes and mash until salad reaches a thick salsa-like consistency. Stir in minced dill and top generously with extra virgin olive oil. Serve the dagga with flatbread on the side for dipping. (The authors suggest adding lemon juice, which gives it that sharpness – let us know what you think.)

Added in proof. Tried it last night, timidly using only one chili, and it didn’t blow me away. So maybe 2 is right.

Samaritans continued

Or more on urban life… The blog had a great evening last Tuesday at Dalston’s premier venue, Passing Clouds,

1544975_373423986135613_1585830449_n watching (inevitably) a Palestinian movie. I go, really, for the seating, a mixture of sofas and armchairs which look as if they have been rescued from skips but are dead comfortable. And they sell – I discovered it, and can recommend it, a new non-alcoholic drink, ‘Dalston Cola‘ which ”…will probably make you scientifically more beautiful” according to a gay network called Jake TM. However, leaving too early (before the discussion) it (the blog, that is) emerged from Highbury and Islington station to face about 100 police, 1000 Arsenal supporters, and no working bus stops. Worse, Arsenal had given away an own goal to Swansea in the last minute. Poor conditions for a pensioner with a history of falls, as you will agree; and inevitably there was another (fall, that is), more curses, more good Samaritans. Jesus fell three times on the Via Dolorosa and I must be approaching that number, if not on a single bad Friday afternoon. Plus, Jesus was carrying a cross until Simon of Cyrene – a Libyan, I suppose – offered to take it over; while Veronica gave him a useful handkerchief, as one of the Arsenal supporters gave me. veronica

which he then impregnated with a selfie, a trick which is beyond me. But this identification is getting a bit out of hand.

The uses of postmodernism

Like most of my readers, I have always taken the easy step of dismissing postmodernism, poohpoohing it as an intellectual fad, suitable for Hampstead or the Rive Gauche, and with no practical value. However, here is an example of a use which I’d like to pass on to readers.

Suppose you are – as you might be – a student of music (or plumbing,engineer or tourism) these days, and want, for whatever reason, to get a degree. A job is too much to hope for, but that’s another story. You might think that each module required you simply to produce a well-crafted MP3 file, or plumb in a kitchen, or prepare a brochure for a cruise. But no – you will find that a hefty percentage of your marks (say 40%) is taken up by a ‘critical evaluation’ of what you’ve done, submitted on Turnitin, with a Harvard-style

Foto-Marzo-2013-055-683x1024Chomsky at Harvard: ‘Where next for Palestine?’

bibliography. And those mofos don’t mean any old bibliography such as you or I might construct it, with the references all taken from Wikipedia or Gearslutz – such as them they hate and they’ll give you zero for sure.

Do you panic? No. You find that, for example, you’ve mentioned ‘Muzak’ at some point, and googling Muzak is completely useless. Try ‘Muzak postmodernism’.

c8aRIPostmodern music

Behold! You find an arcane review by a dude called Pedro Groppo in the LA Review of Books (2013) which is just the kind of ‘respectable’ reference you can put in your biblio.

I claim no particular merit for this discovery; it could form part of a forthcoming handbook on ‘Being Clever with Google’. Another thing you can do, of course, is to know the name of a hugely prestigious journal such as Theory Culture and Society (see earlier post) and do a search on their page. You’ll find that – for example – the word ‘mp3′, which you might want to reference, gets a handy 8 hits; very scholarly articles referring to ‘solipsistic cell- phones, environment-screening Bose headsets, mobile microsized PDAs or removeable MP3 players, and VR gaming

17zrqtalt47zcjpgTrailer for VR version of Resident Evil (?)

 systems’ and suchlike. Yes, you want to use more than one journal (Wired is semi-respectable, surely), but you can find them. Go for it.

By the way, I expect that you’ve already found numerous pages with advice on how to cheat on Turnitin. I don’t know on how good the advice is – it’s there. I would try to earn a crust by offering my services preparing your bibliography, but I think that would make my life more complicated than it is already, with a bad knee and another stomach bug in the family.


In a striking technical achievement I’ve managed to pirate a tiny fragment of the huge Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, together with a translation in the original metre – obviously plagiarized by Longfellow for Hiawatha.

Vaka vanha Väinämöinen
itse tuon sanoiksi virkki:
“Näistäpä toki tulisi
kalanluinen kanteloinen,
kun oisi osoajata,
soiton luisen laatijata.”
Kun ei toista tullutkana,
ei ollut osoajata,
soiton luisen laatijata,
vaka vanha Väinämöinen
itse loihe laatijaksi,
tekijäksi teentelihe.
Väinämöinen, old and steadfast,
Answered in the words which follow:
“Yet a harp might be constructed
Even of the bones of fishes,
If there were a skilful workman,
Who could from the bones construct it.”
As no craftsman there was present,
And there was no skilful workman
Who could make a harp of fishbones,
Väinämöinen, old and steadfast,
Then began the harp to fashion,
And himself the work accomplished.
The Finnish language seems more concise, perhaps it simply has shorter words. (No, you fool – longer words, which make for fewer spaces! Do the sums.)  As for a harp of fishbones, I’m glad to say that, as you might expect, someone has made it and posted it on Youtube. Eat your heart out, Väinämöinen. But that’s not the music I want to play. Let’s return, rather, to Passing Clouds for their featured ‘Gnawa Griot‘. If you can take it.

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