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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:52 am 
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Doh. Well it helps if I spell the bloody title correctly. It's Pied Piper of Lovers - nothing to do with piers :-)

It was published in 1935, but apparently did so poorly that his publisher, Cassell, suggested Durrell use a pseudonym for his second novel - Panic Spring, by Charles Norden.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:55 am 
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That's a shame. I love piers!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:42 am 
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The actor or the ex-editor of the Daily Mirror?

:-)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:58 am 
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To celebrate Ian's typo, this morning I walked the length of Clacton Pier. It was cold, sunny and near deserted. Simply by walking past the amusements I eerily activated some of them into sound and motion!

The only seaside pier fiction I can think of is 'The Pier' by Rayner Heppenstall. A very strange novel.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:18 pm 
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I think Marion still wins on typos for her "correcting poofs" and trenches full of squids.

:-)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:04 pm 
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I do feel that an original typo adds a certain charm to a post...as well as considerable interest. I find 'Pied Pier' rather fetching...is the Pier in harlequin garb? Or is it a pied beauty? Is it drunk out of its mind? Is it drunk on Des's reactivation of its sounds and his fanatastical imaginings?

PS Ian - you have yet to contribute to the Valentine's Day thread! All typose wecome!

Des - I am touched that you celebrate the items on these threads!
As to pier fiction, well, Brighton Rock is nearly on a pier!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:13 pm 
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Yes, that's true, at least part of 'Brighton Rock' is on a pier. A wonderful book and film. I shall now have to go there by night and cut a vinyl record in a booth.

There's some Patrick Hamilton fiction on a pier, too.

Taste of Honey?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:05 am 
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The Pier

Arthur knew about seaside piers, but he had never seen one, not even in books or TV. He had read Rayner Heppenstall's novel entitled 'The Pier' – but it had lost its dust-wrapper before Arthur obtained it and the actual text, although picturing a seaside pleasure pier in its description, was not really sufficient for him to know a pier as Heppenstall had evidently known a pier, a real pier, a pier-in-itself.

Arthur dreamed of a pier – and it was unlike any pier he had earlier imagined in waking life. On huge oaken pedestals, stretching like a length of God's jewellery dropped into the sea, with a small choo-choo train that went up and down its length like a zip-fastener – and under the metal runners was a near carpet of wooden planks meshed into each other by the under-weather from the sea, so there were no gaps to fear by those suffering vertigo.

From the end of the pier, he saw a deceptively circular area of waves – alternate confluxes and influxes of sea-drift that formed a shape and sound that seemed to express to him a ring of tides. Yet the pier itself was Arthur's own version of 'Pier', a Platonic Form of Pier, a Pier that appeared nightly, with the noise of colliding dodgems and screeching ghost-houses - and various Ferris Wheels that turned and criss-crossed through the lit darkness like windmill-clouds in the sky or merely viewed rising through such clouds.

On board the Wheels' dolly-seats were holiday-makers who masqueraded as shouting shadows of themselves, almost as if the hard-nosed workaday world was really where they still were and not now in the diverting dolly-seats.

One day, Arthur was determined to travel to the Seaside and see a real pier in the flesh: to compare it to his dreamier pier: check out the currency of the curdled tides that its oaken pedestals engendered through the weft and woof of solidifying salt maelstroms. But those words, that very ambition, disappeared with waking workaday life, and he soon forgot the dreams like all dreams forget themselves soon after the dreamer forgets them first.

In old age, Arthur did manage to visit the seaside, despite living as far inland as it was possible to live in England. It was an old age pensioners' outing. He neatly pushed his tie into the shirt’s proud wing collar, donned his best suit and waited for the coach.

"Bobbing up and down like this," the pensioners sang, and Arthur, before he got on, could see the shapes of those already on board rhythmically lifting up and down, up and down in their seats as if they were prematurely on the sea in a pleasure craft.

They were all very excited, Arthur included. Never seen the sea before, none of them. They only watched crime on their TVs. This was a trip of a lifetime, the trip at the end of a lifetime.

Arthur eventually saw the pier appear from the sea's smoky spray, as the coach climbed down towards the town nestling in its bay – and finally to the sea's edge itself.

He loosened his tie as he walked alone down the pier's boardwalk, admiring the glimpses of cold grey fire between the gaps. This was not the pier of his dreams, but of a greater, more wonderful reality than he could ever have imagined or involuntarily dreamed about.

He finally took off his tie – as he reached the end of the pier. A pleasure pier that took its pleasure seriously. He threw his tie into the waves, not as a last gesture, but a first act of rebellion and watched it join what he had dreamed many years before: his tie completing the ring of ties bobbing in their soft bed of nothingness, before the real ring of tides stalled only later to swallow themselves in white ash-clouds of clashing waves. Dust-wrapper to dust-wrapper.


Something I wrote a few years ago (unpublished). des

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:33 pm 
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curdled tides -wow!
Can you go to Brighton pier now? Didn't it burn down?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:11 pm 
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I'm pretty sure Brighton's still got a walkable pier, though I haven't been there for a few years. It used to have two.

I went to Southend last Sunday which has the longest pleasure pier in UK.

Walton on Naze (where I was born and not far from where I live now, two hours walk?) has the second longest pleasure pier.

Just one minute's walk from where I live now I can see Clacton Pier in the distance (2 miles).

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:26 pm 
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It appiers Des has a thing about piers!


Sorry!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:28 pm 
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I am currently reading a wonderful novel by A.S. BYATT entitled The Virgin in the Garden. Below is an extract from Chapter 8 entitled ODE ON A GRECIAN URN. This passage is an interesting take on this Keats poem but also is poetic prose in itself. I've posted the poem on the main poetry thread here: http://www.ttapress.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4672#4672
des


8. Ode on a Grecian Urn

Stephanie sat in a chill brown classroom, whitened over with chalkdust, and taught the Ode on a Grecian Urn to those girls who had not gone to Blesford Ride. Good teaching is a mystery and takes many forms. Stephanie's idea of good teaching was simple and limited: it was the induced, shared, contemplation of a work, an object, an artefact. It was not the encouragement of self-expression, self-analysis, or what were to be called interpersonal relations. Indeed, she saw a good reading of the Ode on a Grecian Urn as a welcome chance to avoid these activities.

She had never had trouble with discipline, although she never raised her voice. She exacted quietness, biologically and morally. Girls came in from outside, buzzing, crashing, laughing. Barbara, Gillian, Zelda, Valerie, Susan, Juliet, Grace. Valerie had a disfiguring boil and Barbara an acute curse pain. Zelda's father was dying, this month or next, and Juliet had been shocked by a strange boy who had thrust his fist up her skirt and crooked an elbow around her throat in a Blesford ginnel. Gillian was very clever and required a key, mnemonics and an analytic blueprint of the Grecian Urn for exam purposes. Susan was in love with Stephanie whom she tried to please by straining her attention. Grace wanted only to have a florist's shop, was held at school in a vice of parental ambition, biding her time.

Stephanie's mind was clear of all this information, and she required that their minds should become so. She made them keep still, by keeping unnaturally still herself, as tamers of wild birds and animals keep still, she had read in childhood, so that the creatures became either mesmerised or fearless or both, she was not sure which.

She required also that her mind at least should be clear of the curious clutter of mnemonics that represented the poem at ordinary times, when the attention was not concentrated upon it. In her case: a partial visual memory of its shape on the page, composed, in fact, of several super-imposed patterns from different editions, the gestalt clear, but shifting in size: a sense of the movement of the rhythm of the language which was biological, not verbal or visual, and not to be retrieved without calling whole strings of words to the mind's eye and ear again: some words, the very abstract ones, form, thought, eternity, beauty, truth, the very concrete ones, unheard, sweeter, green, marble, warm, cold, desolate. A run of grammatical and punctuational pointers: the lift of frozen unanswered questions in the first stanza, the apparently undisciplined rush of repeated epithets in the third. Visual images, neither seen, in the mind's eye, nor unseen. White forms of arrested movement under dark formal boughs. Trouble with how to "see" the trodden weed. John Keats on his death-bed, requesting the removal of books, even of Shakespeare. Herself at Cambridge, looking out through glass library walls into green boughs, committing to memory, what? Asking what, why?

She read the poem out quietly, as expressionless as possible, a ditty with no tone. And then again. The ideal was to come to it with a mind momentarily open and empty, as though for the first time. They must all hear the words equally, not pounce, or tear, or manipulate. She asked them chilly, "Well?" prolonging the difficult moment when they must just stare, finding speech difficult and judgment unavoidable.

She sat there, looking into inner emptiness, waiting for the thing to rise into form and saw nothing, nothing and then involuntarily flying specks and airy clumps of froth or foam on a strongly running grey sea. Foam not pure white, brown and gold-stained here and there, blowing together, centripetal, a form cocooned in crusts and swathes of adhesive matter. Not relevant, her judgment said, the other poem, damn it, the foam of perilous seas. The thing had a remembered look, not pleasant, and she grimaced, as she saw it. Venus de Milo. Venus Anadyomene. The foam-born, foam from the castrated genitals of Kronos. Not a bad image, if you wanted one, of the coming to form from shapelessness, but not what she had meant to call up.

"Well," she said to the girls, "well, what do you see?"

They began to talk about when Keats required his reader to see an urn and when a landscape, what colours he called up and what he left to choice, and moved from there to the nature of the difficulty of seeing what it formed to be "seen" by language alone, marble men and maidens, the heifer and altar, a burning forehead and a parching tongue, cold pastoral.

Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard
Are sweeter
,

said Stephanie. Clever Gillian commented that the word desolate was the centre of the poem, almost allowing one to be taken out of it, like the word forlorn in the Nightingale. They talked about beauty is truth, truth beauty. They talked, as Stephanie had meant them to, about a verbal thing, made of words so sensual and words not sensual at all, like beauuty and truth. She talked about what it could mean, that the urn should “tease us out of thought As doth eternity." It is a funeral urn, said Zelda. That is not enough to say, said Susan, staring at Stephanie.

Things moved in the classroom, amongst eight closed minds, one urn, eight urns, nine urns, half realised, unreal, white figures whose faces and limbs could be sensed but not precisely described, bright white, the dark, the words, moving, in ones, in groups, in clusters, in and out of whatever cells held their separate and communal visual, aural or intellectual memories. Stephanie talked them out of the vocabulary she was supposed to be teaching them and left them with none, darkling. Gillian, who was enjoying the process, reflected that words could be quickly enough snatched back, when the occasion required it. Stephanie reflected that this poem was the poem she most cared for, saying ambivalently that you could not do, and need not attempt, what it required you to do, see the unseen, realise the unreal, speak what was not, and that yet it did it so that unheard melodies seemed infinitely preferable to any one might ever hope to hear. Human beings, she had thought, even as a very small child faced with The Lady of Shalott, might so easily never have hit on the accidental idea of making unreal verbal forms, they might have just lived, and dreamed, and tried to tell the truth. [...] why did he write it, and the answers had been so many and so voluble and so irrelevant to the central problem, that she closed her mind to them, even whilst effortlessly committing them to memory for future use, as Gillian now must and would.

The bell rang. They came out blinking, like owls into the bright daylight. Stephanie, gathering her books, allowed herself to wonder whether the irrelevant flying foam she had seen had come from the Nightingale, or from her own intellect, making Freudian association all too tidily between marble maidens, the Venus and the subconscious knowledge she had of the nature of that foam. It was not very nice foam.

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Last edited by des2 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:01 pm 
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des2 wrote:
I am currently reading a wonderful novel by A.S. BYATT entitled The Virgin in the Garden. Below is an extract from Chapter 8 entitled ODE ON A GRECIAN URN. This passage is an interesting take on this Keats poem but also is poetic prose in itself. I've posted the poem on the main poetry thread here: http://www.ttapress.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4672#4672
des


8. Ode on a Grecian Urn

: it was the induced, shared, contemplation of a work, an object, an artefact. It was not the encouragement of self-expression, self-analysis, or what were to be called interpersonal relations. Indeed, she saw a good reading: of the Ode on a Grecian Urn as a welcome chance to avoid these activities.



....allowed herself to wonder whether the irrelevant flying foam she had seen had come from the Nightingale, or from her own intellect, making Freudian association: all too tidily between marble maidens, the Venus and the subconscious knowledge she had of the nature of that foam. It was not very nice foam.


Brilliant!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:35 pm 
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Marion Arnott wrote:
It appiers Des has a thing about piers!


I was conceived in a top floor flat overlooking Walton-on-Naze pier.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:05 pm 
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des2 wrote:
I was conceived in a top floor flat overlooking Walton-on-Naze pier.

SO it's an inherited condition? :wink:

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