Photo by Tim Nickels

The DFL website: www.nemonymous.com

<< January 2010 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 01 02
03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

rss feed

Sunday, January 31, 2010

'The Virtual Revolution' on BBC2 TV last night says World Wide Web (WWW) was invented in CERN. Seems therefore a good name for the Internet: CERN Zoo?


Posted at 06:58 pm by Weirdmonger
Make a comment  

Saturday, September 19, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 6


This final chapter of the first novel of 'Warriors of Love' begins with an Imperial ceremony for the end of the war, a ceremony that has ritual, pomp and circumstance effectively combining, for me, the atmospheres of 'Henry V' and 'Parsifal' ... but in feminine garb.


Then a gathering before the Empress 'in camera' where many of the novel's characters are present almost as suspects in a summing-up akin to an Agatha Christie novel.  Or a Jacqui Blood fiction.  Including various seemingly justified tongue-lashings from the Empress for some characters' behaviour. Beautifully done.  In fact, I could have commented continuously at the beautiful prose descriptions and dialogual unfoldings chapter by chapter. Suffice to say it here, at the novel's end.


Furthermore, as this chapter itself says:

"This book is full of paradox, on a whole variety of levels.  My narrative is essentially artificial.  The real words of conversations are, of course, lost beyond recall.  What people really said is gone forever, and yet – time after time – the essential spirit is here.  Truth sprouts from artifice."


Nicola and Jane are to have daughters ... and more rosehip tea!  Lovely 'ending' stuff. Has to be read.


Finally, I am left in two minds, a feeling that somehow is emblemised by these two separate passages from this chapter:


"As we walked, I had an increasing sense that we were in trouble, although I couldn't bring to mind our having done anything very wrong."


"As we rose, and Her Majesty departed, I tried to imagine Modesty and Lisa-Louise presented as the concubines the Empress required.  Once a clear image formed in my mind, I attempted to banish it.  My problem was not that the two women would fail to beguile.  Rather, the picture of them as submissive playthings conflicted with my perception of them as strong women, warriors of love." 


I look forward to reading the next novel in the series ('Margaret') and I will comment hopefully on it chapter by chapter but not before a month or two of percolation and me lying fallow.



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:


Posted at 10:41 am by Weirdmonger
Comments (2)  

'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 5

After a wet conclave of plotting and Lifenbud celebration preparations, in this chapter – mainly by dialogue with plumbers (Watergate ones? perhaps not) – I sense we are given a quite wide-ranging picture of much of the plot action, characters' names, language-terminology concerning slavery etc,, quasi-cannibalism, 'pollygoggery' etc, dynastic doings,  that are to thread this whole forthcoming series of novels.

I cannot divorce myself from knowing something about those machinations already. It would be interesting to get a view of 'Jane' from someone who comes to it completely afresh.


As it is said itself in this chapter: "Life, I suppose, is complicated."



A telling passage among many:

"We are all a mixture of the praiseworthy and the blameable, but these killers were essentially good women.  It was impossible not to like them all.  Their deeds of blood seemed to weigh most lightly upon Barguin.  Progressing from engaging Barguin in conversation, to speaking with the others, seemed a journey into darkness.  Yet the shadows within them attracted me, as well as repelled.  Perhaps it was a sense of this that had first drawn me to Modesty the previous summer.  At least some of my thoughts on the matter must be attributed to the influence of potent spiced elderberry wine.  Dark red liquid fermented by a general.  Not a peaceful drink."


There is also talk of 'credit crunch' with fits neatly with the literal audit-trail of this novel!


This chapter ends with a beautiful description of a  loving threesome-in-tumble (Jane, another Jane and Nicola), where Nicola's possible qualms can only be imagined!




Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 09:49 am by Weirdmonger
Comment (1)  

Thursday, September 17, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 4


More 'Mystery Story' atmosphere with the yellowing half-legible message found in a hole in the ex-schoolroom wall.  Choice of coloured folders. Questions of address – Jane's use of 'Miss' to Coral Frobisher –  as if enforced by the ex-schooloom's ambiance.


Typo: When in came to me


More war prize business as Jane's spywork continues to unfold under this business's guise – by visiting Jenna (near the Usurper's tower) and Lady Blanchet for them to choose their prizes.


This description of Palace Victoria seems to represent a mutant form of what I envisage the 'Warriors of Love' novels are going to be, mutant in the sense that the novels are not monstrous but nevertheless mazy by enticing us down its passages:-


<<"What the Palace Victoria?" Alison asked.  "Or just this bit of it?"

"The whole palace, really.  Who would have set out to create such a maze?"

"I don't suppose that anyone ever did.  The oldest parts are supposed to have been built during the Old Time.  Over the last thousand years, or two thousand, or however long it is, people have been adding to it, making changes.  It's grown more like some monstrous vegetable than a set of buildings."

"Or a fungus," Nicola added, grimacing at a growth of mould near the ceiling.>>


More slave considerations:


<<Fuquibelle showed us out, holding herself erect, and stepping like a great lady.  It occurred to me to wonder whether her enslavement had served to exaggerate her hauteur.  With her status so changed, perhaps she clung with increasing ferocity to such outward signs of aristocracy as were permitted.  While I didn't doubt that she was suffering just punishment for past crimes, I found myself on the edge of tears in contemplating her plight.>>


More Tuerqui historical references that I suspect are important to the rest of these novels.


Talk of Registered Brothel Stock ... whoredom volunteers.


Mass tumbles at Lady Blanchet's. Jane continues to 'grow'. All cleverly conveyed.  This novel seems to a a sort of massive prologue as a whole rather than a novel proper with all its plottish groundwork and ambiance being set up. The test is whether readers will also enjoy it as a separate novel.  Too early to ask this question, probably, as I have two more chapters to read.


I think this chapter has the first mention of "recreational sex" as a blatant acknowledgement of what we infer from all the 'tumbles' ... and I wonder about this.  Does this sit well with the other emotions stemming from the Goddess and love themes?  Only the whole set of novels will possibly answer this question ... eventually. There seems to be a 'Palace Victoria' map of emotion still yet to plumb.


This novel is the novel of 'rosehip tea', I've decided!  Only rivalled by Proust in the importance of tea in fiction.



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 06:39 pm by Weirdmonger
Comment (1)  

Monday, September 14, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 3


Nicola, Jane, Modesty on to the cold roofscape for private conversation – spyification about spyification!


Talk of Modesty's later 'hot date' with Lisa-Louise (the photographer).  Nicola and Jane in their new sexual-love partnership seek wisdom from wise Modesty – and seek advice about Jane's new spy mistress (Caroline Harvey).


Much is later made of Jane's spying on two 'lusty ladies' (Jenna Javelin and Lady Blanchet) and Nicola's likely jealousy. It seems to me that Nicola should have accepted Jane's duty to the State and that she is bound to have 'tumbles' as a result. This world is full of 'tumbles' by report of this novel. Nicola seems to me to not ring true as far too precious (sensitive). But some people are like that, I guess.


Talk of Hen's Foot Whiskey – and possible fraud. All tied into the machinations of auditing (divvyng up) the army's prizes that underpin Jane's party of civil service colleagues in Lundin...


Talk of the 'wood pigeon diamond':

<<"Lady Blanchet is Governess of Lundin, and Lady Jenna is Lady Protectress of Lundin."

"And in plain English?  What are their roles?  What's the difference between a governess and a lady protectress?"

"I don't know…  Protectress makes it sound as though Jenna might have more to do with the army, perhaps…"

"Perhaps…  But, essentially, the two roles are not clearly defined.  So – why do you think there are two rulers with no clear distinction between them?"

"Divide and rule?"

"You really are astute, Miss Brewster.  That is exactly the way of it.  Either lady, without the other to block her ambitions, would be too powerful for Her Majesty's liking.  With the pair of them at loggerheads, the city will be truly part of her Empire."

"So you want me to observe their rivalry over the diamond?">>



Interesting narrative treatment of priorities – e.g. duty towards Nicola or the State, as mentioned before. 

Jacqui-Bloodisms of fiction (e.g. stashing of Jane's reports in grating near a cistern etc). Secret Seven / Famous Five feel.


Typo = Do propose to attack my boundary


Incident in meeting Lisa-Louise taking photos near the tower where the Usurper is holed up.  L-L talks of Tuerqui – and although I vowed not to let my reading of 'Jane' be affected by what I already know of the plot of forthcoming novels – this section seems to summarise some of the plot of the next few novels.


Lisa-Louise also seems to indicate a 'sexual chain' to Jane's mother that is too short for comfort.  Perhaps, in this world, one is never more than two or three tumbles from anyone else at all!



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:


Posted at 12:03 pm by Weirdmonger
Comment (1)  

Friday, September 11, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 2


The sleeping arrangements in Palace Victoria entail lifelong friends Nicola and Jane (almost reluctantly) fulfilling their tumbleability with each other, leading later in the chapter to a touching scene where Jane’s past lover, Modesty Clay, gives a sort of ritualised blessing to Nicola and Jane’s now apparent union of love as well as of friendship.


Talk of communal bathhouse ... jokes concerning roofs, windmills and the signalling system ... and civil service counselling regarding writing home to their Mums from London.


A wonderful sense of place as they explore Palace Victoria – and replacing a blackboard in their temporary office with a painting.


Talk of slavery etc. Moral (as well as mural!) dilemmas.  


A telling passage:.:

<<Jennifer led us back to the gallery or balcony, and thence to three descending staircases.  At the foot of the final flight, a door took us into what must have been the overgrown garden visible from Miss Horton’s window.  Piled to one side lay a tall heap of uprooted growth, much of it hard to handle – thistles, brambles, nettles and the like.  A dark haired girl in a white dress stood negligently by, whip lightly clasped in her right hand as though it might be an evening bag.  While she smiled in their direction, chained men laboured, naked but for breech clouts and gloves.  Their hands had some protection, but their backs had none – and it was clear that they’d been lashed.

“Slaves?” I asked.  “But I thought that all the slaves had been liberated.”

“These,” Jennifer replied, “have been condemned by the summary court.”

“The Usurper’s men?” Lauren said, her intonation half way between a statement and a question.

Guilty of treason through complicity in the usurpation of the throne of Lundin was the legal phrase, if I remember correctly.  You see that one with the big nose?”>>


As a separate issue, I question the fabricated need for all these civil servants to have travelled to Lundin, to have an office and so much plot-movement as a result – simply to divvy up prizes for the army?



Typo? -- You strike as more of a City Girl. 


More spycode enunciation...




Links to all my JANE chapter comments:


Posted at 12:54 pm by Weirdmonger
Comments (3)  

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 1



Jane and the other civil servants arrive in Lundin to 'divvy up' the army's prizes ... or loot or booty?  Evocative description of arrival at the Palace Victoria where they will staying.  Two previous slaves, Fech and Carrie – now freed as fluffily dressed Susan and Florence – are in attendance.


Talk of slavery and liberated slaves and a 'gene of slavery' ...  and the now defeated Usurper (who is rumoured to be holed up in a tower) ...plus pot shots at framed portraits of tax gatherers and of the Usurper (a mugshot shy?), commingled with amusing talk of the Usurper's image on banknotes and coins!  Much of this book's genius is to work by osmosis as well as by direct communication of the written word.  Talk of plumbers.


Two typos:

Usurper"  She (i.e. no full stop)

unable gain any confidence


An ethos of retribution that the 'good guys' in this book seem to harbour, e.g.:

"It wasn't too pleasant, Miss Frobisher, but I survived.  And now I have a few scores to settle… prisoners who deserve to suffer…  You know…"


Below is a telling passage of dialogue with yet another named character Jennifer Horton (why do all the characters, even very minor, passing ones, need actual names? Perhaps that will become clearer.):

"Does that mean," Myrtle said, clearly horrified by the idea, "that you used to work for Nadine Next, Miss Horton?  You were one of the rebels?  Treason is sister to blasphemy!"

"Miss Inch, wasn't it?" Miss Horton said slowly, sounding offended.  "I am neither a traitor nor a blasphemer, and I'll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head, young lady."

"Many loyal subjects of Her Majesty," Coral added, "were once employed by her former political rivals.  There's no shame in that."

"As a matter of fact," Miss Horton said reflectively, "Nadine Next was still Her Majesty's ally when I was seized.  But for my enslavement, though, I might have found myself on the wrong side in the civil war.  Even the worst things can sometimes have their benefits…  Anyway – this is the dining room.  You take your food and drink from the counter at the far end." 


A hoot of a joke after a greasy breakfast about 'greasing the passage of money.'  The civil servants being bribed by a Full English?

Much talk of sausages.

And of now Major Modest Clay who is in the vicinity.



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 01:12 pm by Weirdmonger
Comment (1)  

Saturday, September 05, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Second Entr'acte

This tells of a journey – the office group of girls / women including Jane and Coral (a group built up for us heretofore) actually travels to where they are to sort our the prizes (loot, booty?) auditing following the Battle for Lundin. Passing "...the colossus of the Leather Mistress seemed almost to touch boiling clouds in a wind-whipped sky" in Leatherhead, awful toilets elsewhere, celebrating Lifenbud, bunny cakes, semaphore towers (reminding me of the literature of steampunk?)


An important passage I should quote in full (although there are many other equally important passages I don't quote!):

"It occurred to me that, given how closely our bodies would be pressed together, it was fortunate that my sexual relationship with Coral had fizzled out several months before.  That's a matter I've hesitated to mention, afraid that it will make me sound more calculating than I really am.  The fact is that desire for Coral died soon after the necessity to spy on her ceased.  Did having the secret service on my heels stoke my passion?  Were my feelings charged by the possibility of dreadful consequences?  Was I stimulated by the tension arising from a simultaneously obligatory and forbidden love?  To these questions, I have no answer.  But it wasn't, I swear, a case of me dumping Coral because the pressure to continue had been removed.  Perhaps, in the end, it comes down to Jenna Javelin's words:

The world is a stranger and more complicated place than you imagine.  And the human heart is about the strangest and most complicated place of all."


This journey is not told in a linear fashion as it would be if it was, say, Jane's diary. This is Jane artfully creating fiction – like the 'Jacqui Blood' books?  But it still strangely retains an element of a diary:

"My account included a great deal that I did not see fit to include in the first entr'acte of this book.  The written word allows me the advantage of second thoughts, and the ability to cross out things that might be better kept to myself.  It occurred to me to wonder why I'd held the story back from Coral during our passionate affair."


typo: "...it would treason to miss our party?"


Interesting maxim embedded in the on-going prose:

"...an experienced woman of the Empire is never more than two tumbles from Her Majesty."
And we all know, following a sweaty tennis game, Jane was earlier closer than that to the Empress!  (BTW, a 'tumble' in this novel is a sexual liaison).


We end with the group reaching the mighty sculptures / statues at "the Grand Ceremonial Gateway of the Palace Victoria in Lundin."



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 11:15 am by Weirdmonger
Comment (1)  

Thursday, September 03, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 2, Berenice, Chapter 6

The two-faced task of courting Coral...


It is difficult for me to do justice to the turnings of the plot in each chapter. I cannot even hope to attempt to cover every incident. So much is crammed into the brimming prose and dialogue, so much poetry and atmosphere, so much reality of the fiction’s truth, with various character names piling up, parallels, histories, subtleties and subterfuges. This chapter I will call the Lightbody sub-plot, where a man actually is described:

“,,,a man whose sober suit was offset by a broad brimmed hat decorated with a large scarlet feather.  The foppish headgear had rested on his head at a rakish angle, but on entering the office he doffed it with an extravagant gesture.  Miss Murphy made no move to dismiss the guards, who took their station by the door.”


Is it a sub-plot of gold and war prizes and deceit or a gradual unfolding in itself of the main plot by innuendo as well as direct description by Jane.  There is also a teaser as to the future by the use of the word ‘probably’ (in contrast to an earlier certainty of the future by Jane’s omniscience):

“The accuracy or otherwise of this suspicion is a matter I’ve never been able to verify, and probably never will.”


Love among the dusty ledgers, forbidden love with older women, much tea-drinking at every moment...


One wonders why characters try to hide evidence of love-making, since the impression in this fiction world is often given that love-making is what is going on in every corner, anyway.  It’s as if everyone turns a blind-eye and play-acts ignorance, to make all their own love-making more enticing, i.e.:

“Oh my goddess!  So have you!  How could I have not seen?  What a give-away!  What are we going to do?”


Much seems to parallel the Jacqui Blood fictions, almost as if some elements of the plot are re-enactments...




Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 11:14 am by Weirdmonger
Comments (3)  

Sunday, August 30, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 2, Berenice, Chapter 5


This tells of the theatre date of Coral and Jane, all as ever seen through the eyes of Jane.  It is scintillatingly evoked, a child-like excitement, and thrill of a theatrical visit.  But we now wander – or are thrust directly! – into more salacious territory; the behaviour in the box (from where Jane and her companions watch the play) reflects to some extent what is happening on the stage. 'Snogging' in the backrow of cinemas in Fifties and Sixties England pales by comparison into insignificance!  The art and limpid literariness (and dynastic plotting, creative auditing etc) of this book heretofore will appeal to one sort of reader, but will this type of behaviour (taken to literally striking realms of harder speculation and slave philosophy) appeal to quite a different reader? Will the two readers coincide? A rhetorical question.  There may be millions of such 'coincidal' readers, in fact.


Jane Austen never wrote about what she didn't know.  She only described women alone with other women, women with men, but never men alone with other men.  I thought for a brief second that Captain Grant (the equerry) was male, but soon realised my mistake. Men in this novel so far are background creatures in the rat runs of 'unfictionalizability' as real characters. Still, Jane and Coral worry about over-filling their bladders before the performance begins. This seems to be more a male's anxiety in our own society?


Also liked this passage:


<< "Not at all!" Captain Grant sounded offended.  "Her Majesty strongly disapproves of gambling – it is the means of weak persons finding themselves bankrupt and enslaved.  You have won a prize in the Imperial Lottery – not chance, but careful selection for the honour."

"I see," Coral said weakly.  "I've heard of…  But never thought…"

"Anyway," Captain Grant grew noticeably more businesslike, "I am here to prepare you for meeting her highness, Lady Jenna Javelin.  You will know of her?"

"Of course," said Coral, "she was a royal princess, Chieftain of the Blood Victoria."

"And legitimate ruler of Lundin," I added.>>


Talk of the strength of the word 'should', when in company in the Theatre Box with a 'highness', in the shape of Lady Jenna Javelin (perpetrator of much of the salaciousness therein).  Also a sense of Jane being even more important than Her Highness Jenna, simply because someone (of importance?) had seen fit to conspire for Jane and Coral (still meanwhile cosying up for both sexual and conspiratorial reasons) to be seated with Jenna in the Royal box?


Sense of an OCD streak in Jane:


<<During the day we'd handled Lorelei Leveller's dusty ledger files, and my feeling was that my underwear couldn't be as white as it had been in the morning.  Nonsense, I told myself, how could the dust work its way through your clothes?>>


Found this sentence difficult:


<<She must be aware, also, that Her Majesty could subject a lady who gave serious offence to torments compared with which the contrivances of the Usurper's bullies were less than the cruelties of little boys.>>



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 01:19 pm by Weirdmonger
Comments (3)  

Next Page