Posts Tagged ‘David Bowie’
November 20, 2015 | by The Paris Review
Two days ago I gathered up a big stack of submissions to read over lunch … but I also took our brand-new office copy of Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. Just in case I ran out of stuff to read, was my ridiculous thinking. The next time I looked up, an hour later, I was late for a meeting and deep in the heart of the Catiline conspiracy, and hadn’t even asked for the check, or looked at a single short story. I’ve promised myself I won’t open the book again until Thanksgiving. —Lorin Stein
In 1917, a Yale professor of public speaking named Grenville Kleiser published Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases: A Practical Handbook of Pertinent Expressions, Striking Similes, Literary, Commercial, Conversational, and Oratorical Terms, for the Embellishment of Speech and Literature, and the Improvement of the Vocabulary of Those Persons Who Read, Write, and Speak English. I’m about two thousand useful phrases in, and let me tell you, this thing moves. It reads like an epic poem written in concert at the stuffiest dinner party in New Haven history. Of especial utility is section seven, on “Literary Expressions,” full of well-wrought piffle fit for the impending holiday-party season. You’ll want to commit “A campaign of unbridled ferocity” to memory. And “The nameless and inexpressible fascination of midnight music.” And “She bandies adjectives with the best.” And “A shadow of melancholy touched her lithe fancies, as a cloud dims the waving of golden grain”—plenty of occasions to put that one to good use. And (last one, I promise, though I’m going to have to devote a whole post to these some day) “The multiplicity of odors competing for your attention.” With these and roughly 14,995 other phrases at your disposal, you’ll be able to aggravate and annoy even your closest friends. —Dan Piepenbring Read More »
February 19, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- More of Mavis Gallant’s diaries.
- “That sovereign of insufferables, Oscar Wilde, has ensued with his opulence of twaddle and his penury of sense. He has mounted his hind legs and blown crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck.” No one spews contumely like Ambrose Bierce spews contumely.
- Bret Easton Ellis has written a script for Kanye West. Guess which one said of the other, “I really like him as a person”?
- So many movies, novels, and TV shows are set in prison—but do they depict it accurately?
- Meet the man who designed David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust outfits. “His interest in Central Asian fabrics led to a coat that can cause car accidents.”
- Fuck it—let’s go skiing.
January 30, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- “My masters discovered something abnormal with my mechanical control system … I might not survive this lunar night … I am not fearful … Goodnight, Earth … Goodnight, humanity.” In the heartrending tradition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” a Chinese lunar rover has live-blogged its own death.
- Meanwhile, in Russia, a man was stabbed to death for having declared, to a very fervid admirer of verse, that “the only real literature is prose.”
- There now exists a digital version of the Gough map, “one of the earliest maps to show Britain in a geographically recognizable form.” It dates between 1355 and 1366, when roads were a novelty. (Not that they aren’t today.)
- If you’d planned on watching the Super Bowl “just for the ads,” you might be able to skip the game entirely: you can watch many of the ads ahead of time, because Capitalism Cares™. Now get out there and shop!
- Under the cobblestones, the beach. Under Versailles, some magnificent subterranean reservoirs.
October 2, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
- There are so many wooden legs in the works of Dickens.
- David Bowie’s one hundred favorite books include The Trial of Henry Kissinger, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
- “You’ve published a novel, and half a dozen short stories, and you’ve found clever ways to fluff up your bio. You think of your writing resume as one of the most creative pieces of fiction you’ve written.” Justin Kramon on being a fiction-writing professor.
- “Fleming was essentially a bureaucrat during the war. But, being an imaginative man, he could not help thinking about a more active role as a secret agent.” The real story behind the birth of James Bond.
- Yup: the Library of Congress is closed, too.
December 21, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
“He is at once too cynical, too sincere, and too weird for schmaltz”: Paris Review special Mad Men correspondent Adam Wilson turns his gaze on Louie over at the L.A. Review of Books. —Lorin Stein
This hallucinatory Christmas duet between David Bowie and Bing Crosby has become, thank God, an improbable standard, but the story behind it deserves some extracurricular reading. Peruse to deepen your experience of this seasonal wormhole as it collapses the distance between genres and generations and renders our edgy Ziggy saccharine as a candy cane. That snow-white tan is just snow, and the only things that look especially well hung are the stockings. —Samuel Fox
July 20, 2011 | by Sadie Stein
A cultural news roundup.