Friday, May 09, 2008

Verse about face

Poets as a species aren't particularly known for their modesty, but they can occasionally be creatively self-deprecating, albeit in a distinctly "aren't I bloody great?" sort of manner. WH Auden famously described his own face as being "like a wedding cake left out in the rain", a line that Jimmy Webb subsequently adapted for inclusion (= stole) in the neo-psychedelic MOR epic 'Macarthur Park'. (Incidentally, David Hockney rather topped Auden by surveying the old poet's battered, furrowed countenance and wondering aloud "If that's his face, what must his scrotum look like?")

And now the famously unlovely (in more ways than several) Philip Larkin has come up with a posthumous cracker, having described a less than flattering photograph of himself as "CS Lewis on a drugs charge", which sounds as if it could be the original of that tiresome construction, "X is like Y on acid", but probably wasn't. It does however throw down a challenge. I've long identified myself as Andy Partridge with gout, but I'm sure my lovely readers can skewer themselves with far more élan than that. Are you Hyacinth Bucket eating Space Dust? Richard Dawkins not sure where he left his keys? Or Mao Zedong desperate for a pee? Over to you.

PS: More Larkin about, from themanwhofellasleep.

PPS: Anyone know where Wyndham's disappeared to?

21 comments:

Miss Schlegel said...

Me, I'm Shirley MacLaine with a library card.

Or Kate Moss, but Tasmanian.

Murph said...

Auden's Scrotum after a swim

patroclus said...

Paul Daniels attending a fancy-dress party as Jilly Goolden.

Daisy said...

to be honest i write a lot and it just depends on my mood...most times when i am writing true feelings i feel so relieved i don't know that it is like any feeling i could describe accurately...however there are times where i feel like i am writing like a bitter old woman (but that is usually only once a month) and it doesn't really feel like me afterwards...

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Judi Dench in a wig and wet lycra.

(Now there's an image to make you spit your coffee.

Tim Footman said...

Ooh, Miss Schlegel... Shirley in Sweet Charity? (feels a little faint)

Murph: Does it wrinkle even more, or does it swell up?

Daniels + Goolden = Fay Presto, surely, Patroclus?

Yes, Daisy, but I'm just banal and superficial - I want to know what what you look like.

Depends on the wig, CB. Comedy Afro?

Geoff said...

Buddy Holly at 60.

Billy said...

Sean Hughes pretending not to be bemused.

Annie said...

Ooh, you do look like Andy Partridge.

Miriam Margolyes in a bad mood, wearing heels.

Oh, Wyndham. He'll be back. (Or we'll hunt him down and make him sorry.)

Pisces Iscariot said...

In the morning mirror: like bugspray on a dog's arse.

Daisy said...

i look like an italian in need of wine...or a beach...

Chris said...

'The miser, a lean old man, whose flesh seemed salted cod-fish, dry as combustibles; head, like one whittled by an idiot out of a knot...'

(From Herman Melville's 'The Confidence Man'.)

Rather more prosaically, I look like a Harry Potter who has magiced himself a few extra feet in height.

Spinsterella said...

Sarah Jessica Parker with an appetite.

PS Wyndham's writing a book y'know, he's kinda busy. Yes I know you wrote a book AND blogged, but I think Wyndham's is like a proper story book.

chatterbox said...

A neurotic Monica from Friends, in 'The One Where... She Eats Too Much Chocolate and Cake and Develops an Essex Accent'

Tim Footman said...

These are all very good. Auden and Larkin must be quaking in their brogues. Except that they're dead, of course. And I suspect Auden wore loafers. Or velveteen slippers.

Geoff, we've already decided that Buddy Holly at 60 = that nice Rodney Bickerstaffe.

Billy, if Sean Hughes didn't look bemused, he'd cease to exist.

Not Margolyes, Annie. A young and foxy Miriam Karlin, maybe.

Thank you, Pisces. No, really, thank you.

Or both, Daisy.

Herman Melville writing Harry Potter, Chris... sounds like a game on a poncy Radio 4 panel show.

And Spinny, don't be fooled by the mystique of 'proper story books'. I had to do proper research, some of it involving techniques other than Google and Wikipedia. Wyndham just makes stuff up.

Chatterbox: Monica's greatest moment was dancing like a German au pair with Springsteen. It was downhill all the way from there.

pleite said...

A potato with limbs.

Annie doesn't look a thing like Miriam Margolyes. But hope she's right that Wyndham will reappear somewhere or other, some time or other.

patroclus said...

I've seen Wyndham in my stats. He's clearly taken up [ominous voice] lurking. Perhaps he's gathering material, or gathering momentum for an almighty comeback. I hope it's the latter, because the blogosphere isn't right without Wyndham in it. Or Spinny, for that matter.

Daisy said...

tim...right now both would be good...that or both hands filled with wine...either or

Rimshot said...

Not only am I not historically noteworthy, but I don't even look like anyone of note.

:-(

But I'm going to go with:

A Hari Krishna James Spader who hasn't slept in 48 hours and dresses himself from the dumpster behind the Salvation Army resale shop.

Tim Footman said...

Pleite = Jimmy Somerville?

Patroclus: Maybe his novel's about lurksomeness.

Both hands filled with wine, Daisy? What, no glass?

Rimshot: James Spader with no eyebrows. Not a good look.

Rosie said...

Snow White with a hangover (swingy skirt, yellow alice band, pasty skin, rosy cheeks, distracted manner, merry band of dwarves)