Heaven: I feel I ought to like this but I DON'T

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  • Whether we like his writing or not, couldn't we try to get Tolkien's surname right?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    If it makes you feel better you may be a supertaster - how are you on brassicas, especially sprouts?

    This is interesting Karl. I read Pure Sunshine's post about not understanding 'good' and 'bad' coffee. I don't pay for 'proper' coffee at work because I can't tell the difference between the ground stuff from the canteen and the free instant stuff in little packets that we pour hot water onto.

    But I cannot abide sprouts or broccoli. They are bitter, vile things.

    What is the connection?

    Anyway, with that tangent started I feel I ought to post something related to the thread.

    Ricky Gervais - National treasure or unfunny git. Unfunny git of course. I know millions love him but whether he is being interviewed, on a panel show, acting in a sit-com or doing stand up I find him to be as funny as a constricted testicle.

    There aren't many comedians who I hate as much as him. If a comedian who I don't find funny (Milton Jones for example) is on 9 Out Of 10 Cats, I don't change to a different channel, because I know that there will be others on there who I do like and I can put up with him in order to watch the rest.

    But if Gervais is on anything I have to change it over. Just looking at the grinning, gurning buffoon makes me angry.

    Ricky Gervais is to humour what sprouts are to my taste buds. Vile and unwanted.
  • Ed Sheeran. Wildly popular, but about as appealing to me as filling my inner ear with liquid gold. And probably not as good a way to spend money either.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    The link between greens and coffee is sensitivity to bitter tastes. If the bitterness of coffee is the overwhelming taste to you, then you will not notice the differences between them in other parts of the flavour profile.

    FWIW, cabbages and their ilk don't taste noticeably bitter to me.
  • As a Canadian, I always felt guilty that I didn't find much of Canlit appealing. I like Margaret Atwood and some of Timothy Findley's earlier novels, but Margaret Laurence and Carol Shields both dulled me and I can barely scratched the page of any of Mordecai Richler's novels.

    I find reading Shakespeare boring, but I love seeing Shakespeare's plays performed.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    The link between greens and coffee is sensitivity to bitter tastes. If the bitterness of coffee is the overwhelming taste to you, then you will not notice the differences between them in other parts of the flavour profile.

    FWIW, cabbages and their ilk don't taste noticeably bitter to me.

    Bitter tastes have nowt to do with dislike of cruciform vegetables. There is a single chemical identified that occurs in veg of the cabbage family that some people are able to taste, and some are not.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    It is late and dark and an onshore gale is flinging seaspray against the snapping plastic sheeting which is the only thing stopping the entire taverna being blown into the Peloponnesian hinterland. It is in these circumstances, and these only, that I can stand to drink a shot of ouzo.
  • Absolutely.

    I'm with Karl on beer and cheese though.

    If I had some kind of medical condition that meant that I couldn't drink proper cask ale I'd be well upset ...

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    It’s called gout. Though the fact that I have to give up Marmite weighs heavier than the beer deprivation.
  • I’m also with Karl on beer & cheese!

    I don’t like Ricky Gervais. He makes me feel uncomfortable & not in a way that prompts me to do good things. He’s just a bit smarmy. I appreciate he has contributed to some good comedy in the past but it doesn’t seem enough to make up for the rest. Maybe he’s a kind bloke with poor comedic talent but he’s yet to really convince me.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    The Office was excellent. Everything else he's touched has been, well, more or less shite.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host

    I find reading Shakespeare boring, but I love seeing Shakespeare's plays performed.

    He wrote his plays to be seen, not read. It's a pity that schools have students read the plays. It turns many of them off completely.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I am another person who just cannot get anything out of Turner's paintings.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I clearly ought to prefer watching Shakespeare to reading Shakespeare; but with only a few exceptions, mostly comic, I prefer reading him.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    With reading you have time to understand the significance of the words. I find I can't always process Shakespeare at stage speed.
  • KarlLB wrote: »

    And as long as professional sports exist, no-one is in a position to complain about what geeks perpetuate to entertain themselves.

    And the choir said "Amen!"

    AFF
  • As a Canadian, I always felt guilty that I didn't find much of Canlit appealing. I like Margaret Atwood and some of Timothy Findley's earlier novels, but Margaret Laurence and Carol Shields both dulled me and I can barely scratched the page of any of Mordecai Richler's novels.

    I find reading Shakespeare boring, but I love seeing Shakespeare's plays performed.

    I've only read three Margaret Atwood novels, the last being A Handmaids Tale and that was enough for me.

    I adored What's Bred in the Bone but can't find any redeeming or entertaining quality in anything else Robertson Davies has written, though I have really tried. The Deptford Trilogy just a big snore, couldn't even tell you what it was about.

    The only reason why I keep my copy of The Cunning Man is that I bought it at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, and when George Whitman rang my purchase and stamped the inner cover he looked up at me and said "Would you like to join us for tea on Sunday?" Apparently, my taste in literature passed some kind of sniff test, and of course I went, and for a glorious hour I was part of a salon that hardly exists anymore.

    I think I got half way through the book and have never gone the other half.

    AFF

  • Moo wrote: »

    I find reading Shakespeare boring, but I love seeing Shakespeare's plays performed.

    He wrote his plays to be seen, not read. It's a pity that schools have students read the plays. It turns many of them off completely.

    Exactly! I was lucky in school that they'd take us to a professional production once a year.

    I'm now passionate about Shakespeare and travel all over to see his plays. I also watch them on DVD. But read them? Never.


  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I am another person who just cannot get anything out of Turner's paintings.

    You want to see the watercolours; magic in a few square inches.

    (After I saw the major exhibition at the Tate, all I wanted was a T-shirt with WWJMWTD?)
  • I love Turner too, stand in front of even the studies admiring them. Van Gogh is interesting, I had to let sunflowers die to get the same effects photographing them.
  • Surely Ricky Gervais is only loved by his agent, his bank manager and his Mum, and I'll put Michael McIntyre in the same dark room and throw away the key. Gosh, he's an embarrassment. I really want to slap his stupid, fishy face very hard. Milton Jones was good but he's simply run out of material. OTOH I'd like to see more of Andy Parsons and hope Lee Hurst can make a return.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    With reading you have time to understand the significance of the words. I find I can't always process Shakespeare at stage speed.

    Yeah, I don't think I've ever been able to understand Shakespeare performed on stage, without having read the play first.

    And even then, it can be a challenge. I have studied A Midsummer Night's Dream formally at least three times(one at arts camps in junior high, another in high school, and again in university), and I STILL have a hard time keeping the lovers apart. (Though there is the theory that the play is deliberately confusing on that score.)

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    With reading you have time to understand the significance of the words. I find I can't always process Shakespeare at stage speed.
    That's a small part of it. But mostly it's that actors don't usually speak the verse as verse.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    With reading you have time to understand the significance of the words. I find I can't always process Shakespeare at stage speed.
    That's a small part of it. But mostly it's that actors don't usually speak the verse as verse.

    No, it's actually the versification which causes me the biggest problems. Poetry often makes more sense to me if I forget it's poetry; meter gets in the way of comprehension.
  • Metre gets in the way of comprehension?

    Really?

    Blank verse should be delivered at a walking pace. They reckon it's almost perfectly attuned to our metabolic rate.

    Something like that.

    I wouldn't have thought the rhythm and metre would get in the way of comprehension. The vocabulary perhaps.

    Besides, a lot of Shakespeare's plays contain prose passages. He reserves the iambic pentameter for the best bits and he does 'rough it up a bit' as Seamus Heaney said we should.

    A Shakespeare play without blank verse would be like a pint of cask-conditioned ale siphoned off and put into a tin can in a fridge and then pumped full of carbon dioxide ...
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Metre gets in the way of comprehension?

    Really?

    Blank verse should be delivered at a walking pace. They reckon it's almost perfectly attuned to our metabolic rate.

    Something like that.

    I wouldn't have thought the rhythm and metre would get in the way of comprehension. The vocabulary perhaps.

    Besides, a lot of Shakespeare's plays contain prose passages. He reserves the iambic pentameter for the best bits and he does 'rough it up a bit' as Seamus Heaney said we should.

    A Shakespeare play without blank verse would be like a pint of cask-conditioned ale siphoned off and put into a tin can in a fridge and then pumped full of carbon dioxide ...

    Just saying how it is for me. Same with a lot of song lyrics.

    I don't expect everyone has my wiring.
  • Yeah, I get that. I still find it odd though. I can understand people finding Shakespeare difficult in terms of vocabulary and the various allusions that we may find unfamiliar.

    I find it hard to see how the metre can add to the incomprehensibility.

    On song lyrics, well, a lot of Prog lyrics and rock and pop lyrics in general can be pretty incomprehensible. There are notable exceptions, of course.

    I've won a few prizes and had poems published in various journals so I suppose I can describe myself as a poet, if that doesn't sound pretentious.

    I do find a lot of poetry incomprehensible, though.

    That said, I agree with T S Eliot that you don't necessarily need to understand a poem to 'get' it.

    I could list poets whose work I don't 'get' though.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Metre causes changes in word order and more recourse to obscure phraseology and vocabulary. Do you have a copy of the original language Canterbury tales to hand? Do you not find the verse very obscure whilst the prose tale (I think there is just one but my copy isn't to hand) is mostly just a matter of spelling compared to modern English?

    Moreover I find my ears are more likely to miss words in verse than prose, perhaps because semantic emphasis has to vie with metrical stress.

    I don't contest that blank verse is essential to Shakespeare. But I do assert it makes it a bit harder to follow.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Do you have a copy of the original language Canterbury tales to hand? Do you not find the verse very obscure whilst the prose tale (I think there is just one but my copy isn't to hand) is mostly just a matter of spelling compared to modern English?
    Quite the reverse. The tales in verse vary but more are fun than not and many are brilliant. There are two prose tales: they are both unreadably dull.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Metre causes changes in word order and more recourse to obscure phraseology and vocabulary.
    Not in the best poets.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    I struggle with poetry too. I would love to be able to read Dante, for example, but I cannot cope with it. Short pieces are OK, but longer sustained pieces I cannot manage.

    Having said that, really good song lyrics I love. Kate Tempest - when she puts her poetic skills to music - I find entrancing. But reading poetry, and even having it read mostly, I don't appreciate.

    I think this means I am right on the edge of being able to appreciate it. Rather than being a complete Philistine.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Tony Blackburn.

    I can watch him, I can’t listen to him, never have been able to - I find him creepy and have no explanation at all for that feeling.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Do you have a copy of the original language Canterbury tales to hand? Do you not find the verse very obscure whilst the prose tale (I think there is just one but my copy isn't to hand) is mostly just a matter of spelling compared to modern English?
    Quite the reverse. The tales in verse vary but more are fun than not and many are brilliant. There are two prose tales: they are both unreadably dull.

    Yeah, but I can understand them a lot more easily.

    If nothing else this thread is showing how different people are.
  • Amen. I'm always rather fascinated with people (none here) who think you should like something because they do. And it's because you don't understand how great it is that they tell you in painful detail what you already know and can't understand why you're not converted. We are different.

    Summer. Can't stand the blasted season. Give me a cold, wet, windy winter's day like today any day.

    Most modern music. I'm sorry; I'm just not wired to listen to it. On a 7 hour road trip give me 9 episodes of Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time podcast. I don't want 'driving songs' or somesuch. I think it may be sensory overload for poor me: music and words -- I can only concentrate on one at a time! :help:
  • stetson wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    With reading you have time to understand the significance of the words. I find I can't always process Shakespeare at stage speed.

    Yeah, I don't think I've ever been able to understand Shakespeare performed on stage, without having read the play first.

    And even then, it can be a challenge. I have studied A Midsummer Night's Dream formally at least three times(one at arts camps in junior high, another in high school, and again in university), and I STILL have a hard time keeping the lovers apart. (Though there is the theory that the play is deliberately confusing on that score.)

    I studied A Midsummer Night's Dream at an all-boys high school back in the 60's. The teacher's preferred learning aid was the Caedmon recording on LPs. We listened to one side per lesson. You can imagine how well that went down with most of a room-full of teenage boys.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »

    Summer. Can't stand the blasted season. Give me a cold, wet, windy winter's day like today any day.

    Especially grating is the majoritarian bias of weather-reportage. For me, the most godawful phrases in the English language are "Looking like another beautiful day out there, folks!" and "Not a cloud in the sky!"

    And just to add some local flavour to this, Korea is currently "enjoying" its hottest summer on record.

  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Metre causes changes in word order and more recourse to obscure phraseology and vocabulary. Do you have a copy of the original language Canterbury tales to hand? Do you not find the verse very obscure whilst the prose tale (I think there is just one but my copy isn't to hand) is mostly just a matter of spelling compared to modern English?

    Moreover I find my ears are more likely to miss words in verse than prose, perhaps because semantic emphasis has to vie with metrical stress.

    I don't contest that blank verse is essential to Shakespeare. But I do assert it makes it a bit harder to follow.

    Inversions of word order tends to happen more in rhyming verse rather than blank verse, it's often necessary to get a rhymning word to the end of a line. It jolts, even in the best rhyming poetry. It's hard to sustain rhyme for any length of time without lapsing into inversion. There are some howlers and teeth-grinding stretches in 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,' for instance, which is one of my favourite rhyming pieces of all time notwithstanding.

    If you're talking about Chaucer, then you are talking about Middle English rather than Early Modern English, which is what we are dealing with in Shakespeare's case.

    So, any Middle English or late medieval English, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or even Mallory, is going to be less comprehensible than Shakespearean English, whether it's in verse or prose.

    I don't think Chaucer's prose is any easier to get to grips with than his verse. His verse is a lot more fun. Besides, it's not just spelling but pronunciation too, although I'll grant that this wouldn't be so apparent in prose as it is in rhyme where one encounters what look like odd rhymes at the line ends. 'Surely he can't be intending that to rhyme with that?'

    I'm not totally convinced by some of the attempts to argue that the pronunciation necessitated full rhymes in each case. That stretches credulity. English has always been a difficult language to rhyme in compared with Spanish and Italian.

    There are inversions and odd effects at times to maintain the regularity of the iambic beat in blank verse, but not in the hands of a skilled practitioner.

    It's worth getting under the bonnet with some of this stuff. Under the hood, for US readers, that is.

    I confess, I'm not great on poetic form when it comes to my own writing - I tend to go for free verse or a loose form of blank verse. But I admire those who can do it.

    I once attended a workshop with the poet Glyn Maxwell where he gave us some lines in terza-rima and blank verse from poems we were unfamiliar with some of the lines obscured. We had to try to work out what they might be. A fascinating exercise and quite striking how many people came up with something very close to what the poets had actually written.

    Don't knock blank verse and metre. It's there for a reason. It's part of the effect.

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    If you want a man who could knock out rhymes and perfect - nay, inevitable-sounding word order, I give you Pope. I should like him more than I do. Otoh, he’s a fave rave in comparison to my feelings about Milton. Which are warmer than those towards Byron. Which nevertheless are scalding set against those for Ezra Pound.
  • aethelstanaethelstan Shipmate Posts: 25
    Boogie wrote: »
    Tony Blackburn.

    I can watch him, I can’t listen to him, never have been able to - I find him creepy and have no explanation at all for that feeling.

    Nasal delivery, weirdly wandering pitch, cheesey phrases - he's a charicature of a sixties dj. You think he's long gone, but then someone dredges him up again from the deeps, like a broadcasting Coelocanth.

    Not sure why you feel you ought to like him though.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Climacus wrote: »
    Summer. Can't stand the blasted season. Give me a cold, wet, windy winter's day like today any day.
    Me too! Well, except for the “today” part. It should be close to 100° here today.

    But best of all to me is a cool autumn day. Heaven!

  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But best of all to me is a cool autumn day. Heaven!

    Equally good is a day in spring. I like 'sweater weather', where you need a sweater outdoors, but nothing warmer. The ideal is a high about 65F °.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But best of all to me is a cool autumn day. Heaven!

    Equally good is a day in spring. I like 'sweater weather', where you need a sweater outdoors, but nothing warmer. The ideal is a high about 65F °.

    Sweater weather would be below 10C for me.
  • I don't get on with Pound either. Nor Ashbery.

    I struggle with a lot of Wallace Stephens but some of his stuff does hit the spot.

    Pope's a great rhymester but I can't warm to him.

    Milton's wonderful at times but can be awful to wade through. A bottle of whisky helps.

  • Moo wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But best of all to me is a cool autumn day. Heaven!

    Equally good is a day in spring. I like 'sweater weather', where you need a sweater outdoors, but nothing warmer. The ideal is a high about 65F °.
    A spring day is good, but not equally good to me. There's a crispness in the air in the fall that can't be beat. And the colors of the leaves. By far the best time of year, IMHO.

  • BeatmenaceBeatmenace Shipmate Posts: 10
    mousethief wrote: »
    The most unremittingly tragically sad book ever written IMO is The Silmarillion. I love it, I read it at least once a year and bawl my eyes out.
    I forced myself to read it through once. I have tried again numerous times and can never finish. It's the most unremittingly dull book ever written. It makes Ulysses look like an exciting page-turner.

    The Silmarillion is Wagner's Ring cycle of literature. Same tone, same sturm und drang same interplay of gods and monsters, same high tragedy and inescapable doom.

    Perhaps it is best consumed on the first go like one should first experience The Ring: In four parts, spaced a year apart. Not over a four day weekend at Bayreuth.

    AFF



    No question that the early part of the Silmarillion is hard work , but it gets far more enjoyable the further you get into it.
    I have now read it all a number of times.

    Can't be said of any of the Tolkien works re-assembled by Christopher Tolkien - I have tried but just cant get further than 100 pages.

    Has anyone EVER finished Children of Hurin?

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    Beatmenace wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    The most unremittingly tragically sad book ever written IMO is The Silmarillion. I love it, I read it at least once a year and bawl my eyes out.
    I forced myself to read it through once. I have tried again numerous times and can never finish. It's the most unremittingly dull book ever written. It makes Ulysses look like an exciting page-turner.

    The Silmarillion is Wagner's Ring cycle of literature. Same tone, same sturm und drang same interplay of gods and monsters, same high tragedy and inescapable doom.

    Perhaps it is best consumed on the first go like one should first experience The Ring: In four parts, spaced a year apart. Not over a four day weekend at Bayreuth.

    AFF



    No question that the early part of the Silmarillion is hard work , but it gets far more enjoyable the further you get into it.
    I have now read it all a number of times.

    Can't be said of any of the Tolkien works re-assembled by Christopher Tolkien - I have tried but just cant get further than 100 pages.

    Has anyone EVER finished Children of Hurin?

    Yup. Me. Boy #1 read it when he was about 10. Why? It's a cracking story, lots of death, betrayal, malice, deception and despair, not to mention incest, suicide and dragons. What more could you want?
  • Beatmenace wrote: »

    No question that the early part of the Silmarillion is hard work , but it gets far more enjoyable the further you get into it.
    I have now read it all a number of times.

    Can't be said of any of the Tolkien works re-assembled by Christopher Tolkien - I have tried but just cant get further than 100 pages.

    Has anyone EVER finished Children of Hurin?

    I have and I liked it though it was apparent in places that the story was only partly fleshed out. I agree with KarlLB - a woeful tale of beauty and high intentions marred by the character flaws of the participants.

    Real tragedy.

    AFF

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited August 2018
    I struggle with a lot of Wallace Stephens but some of his stuff does hit the spot.

    The thing you have to remember about Stevens is that his poems aren't really about the things they describe, but rather about the mind creating its own reality using those things as the raw material.

    The first stanza of this poem kind of sums it up.

  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Beatmenace wrote: »

    Has anyone EVER finished Children of Hurin?

    :disappointed:
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    I struggle with a lot of Wallace Stephens but some of his stuff does hit the spot.

    The thing you have to remember about Stevens is that his poems aren't really about the things they describe, but rather about the mind creating its own reality using those things as the raw material.

    The first stanza of this poem kind of sums it up.

    I'm sure it does to those who can make head or tail of it.
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