General Index

Aesthetics is  –  Barnett Newman on how much birds need ornithology
Africa, slowly from the sky – An American photographer’s pictures taken from a motorised paraglider.
Aguaxima – The best encyclopaedia definition ever.
Airport security in 2041 – Poem about the way airport security will be in the future
Aloud – John Skelton – To Mistress Margaret Hussey – A poem with beautiful rhythms read aloud
An alternative Napoleon – What if Genoa had never transferred Corsica to France?
Angelic Landings – I don’t think anyone else has organised a gymnastics competition for angels. See some of the top contenders in action. Don’t forget to enlarge the pictures so as to be able to give your own scores.
Approximating Breakfast – The need for audio-guides to hotel breakfast layouts and to people as well.
Arise! An Imaginary Film Scene – A good scene to put into a film
Around and up and almost down – How to get to know places you weren’t looking for
The Art of Conversation – Poem about the fact that conversation is not a competitor sport.
The Art of Toys and PIanos  – Masterworks performed on a toy piano.
An artesian reform of the French numbering system – including trois-trente trente-trois (123) and other new exciting numbers.
Austin Kleon’s Blackout Poetry – Making poetry by crossing out words in newspaper articles.
Baristi d’Italia – My hymn to the skills of all the people who make espresso in Italian coffee bars.
Being led up the juice can path – Elation and disappointment in a Saharan oasis
Billy Collins reading three poems brought to completion – What it says it is. A clip of Billy Collins reading three poems of his.
Blue Lemons – In search of a new short poetry form
Boris Kovac, a Piper from out of the Ruins – About a musician who deserves to be more famous.
The Businessman’s Kit – An Indian hotel’s idea of what a businessman needs.
But I have no. 5 – A small mistake in English can make a wonderful sentence.
But soundly sailing – A poem about sounds heard and remembered mixing in a state of almost sleep
The Cats will know – My translation of Cesare Pavese’s poem
Chiflador – A poem about a Mexican bus driver and the way he whistled.
Children Brand Children – Picture of Macao advertisement for “Children Brand” Fireworks.
Coming to your neighbourhood soon. Complaineries! – I am not complaining about anyone, I just think they would be a good idea.
The Compleat Shoe Shiner – A poem about shining everything.
The Da Vinci Scope – Looking at paintings closer than you have ever been before.
A definition of Naples – A picture which is a portrait of Neapolitan life
Disparitions mystérieuses des civilisations méso-americaines – Where have all the Bixtecs gone? (poem in French)
Duck and Crystal – Two very different ways of producing an outstanding performance. Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and John Cage.
The duck with the golden leg – No bathing sign for ducks ? Dog on duck patrol ? Why ducks sleep on one leg.
Earliest documented pizza delivery – A surprising find in a Berlin museum
Eastern wisdom vs Tennis – Getting servants to play your tennis and the horse-action saddle
Engineered Food – About Manifold Destiny, a guide to cooking on your car engine, with a few sample recipes.
Etceteras for the next 25 kilometers – Good Road Signs – Some road signs you might not have seen yet.
Evening (Der Abend) – My translation of this beautiful poem by Rainer Maria Rilke
Events – A poem about the many different ways events announce themselves.
The Exterminating Angel – The most sedative insecticide ever.
Eyes in the City – Kurt Tucholsky – A beautiful poem by Tucholsky, also set to music.
The favourite sloth – The Favorite Poem Project and an outstanding reading of Theodore Roethke’s “The Sloth”.
Flann O’Brien’s Book-Handling Enterprise – How to make near-illiterate people appear to be excellent readers
The flight of sails, the flow of wood and time unswung – Paintings by Vladimir Kuch
The Frog – A poem which begins “What a wonderful bird the frog is” and assorted frog calls.
The future as it was  – The way the world was going to look like in the 21st century according to people a hundred years ago.
Giant Steps, Step by Step – An animated transcription of a John Coltrane which makes you feel that you yourself are playing
Go-back-to-sleep road– About imaginary cities and better street names.
Haikus for explaneedfuls – How to expand definitions to the verge of satori.
Handkerstuff – A concept which we really need and which could spawn a hundred new words.
Handelitis and the The-sun-is-shining-road – Wonderful Handel arias and why we don’t care to recall who sung them.
Hanging from a Melting Ice-Cap – Inventive early 20th Century advertisement for a shipping line.
Head Swivelling and the Art of Sleeping – Two short films by Chris Marker (one cat, several owls).
The Heart of Chinese Poetry – About the way Chinese poems work. About the best introduction to Chinese poetry.
Hey, History! – Poem about History’s bad reading habits.
How to open and close a door quietly – The way that butlers do it.
How our bodies were in the 1950’s – An interesting old diagram of a human body as a factory.
How to say “extinction” in Chumyl – About “The Linguists” a film on people documenting endangered languages.
Ho Xuan Huong – about an amazing 19th century Vietnamese poet and her erotic poems
A Hundred Steps – Poem about the fact that an unusual angle of vision can make your brain start working again.
If Beethoven had been Mozart – What would we be missing?
If vegetables be the food of music – Clips of people playing music on vegetables.
The Igs (Ig Nobel Prizes) – All the best awards at the Ig Nobels
Ilhan Berk – Jet Black – Poem by Ilhan Berk –
Improvisation on improvisation in desperation – Jazz pianist Henry Hey tries to reproduce the wheel-skidding and tail-spinning rhythms of Sarah Palin’s speech.
The Indian Boy outside the Temple – poem about moonlight and hair
Instructions on How to Climb a Staircase– Julio Cortazar’s guide to how to climb stairs which I painstakingly copied out to fit around the photograph of a spiral staircase.
Interjected intervals – Songs to help you to remember musical intervals.
Is it a duck? Is it a monkey? Is it a dog? No, it’s @ – All the names which @ goes by
Istanbul – Above the Ring – A poem about travelling on Istanbul’s ferries.
“I’ve shot hares.” Patrick Leigh Fermor – A short extract from A Time of Gifts
Juliet’s Wall – Just a picture of the wall outside Juliet’s house in Verona.
Kafka’s Somebug – Mostly about Vladimir Nabokov’s analysis of what kind of insect Gregor Samsa was.
Kora, Griot, Diabate, Sissoko, Kairaba Jabi – the beautiful Kora and a beautiful song
La Luna – A poem by Jaime Sabines about all the ways you can use the moon.
Leopardi’s Infinity – A translation of one of the greatest poems ever written.
Looking at the water – Photographing reflections takes you into an unexpected liquid world
Lu Xun – Hope – A wonderful quote from the great writer Lu Xun on hope.
maggie and milly and molly and may – Lovely poem by e.e. cummings. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
The many ways a minaret might be – How to built a typically local minaret.
Masters in Conversation: The Hitchcock-Truffaut tapes: Where to listen to conversations between two of the greatest film-makers.
The Meaning of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in one Sentence – Not at all about Tolstoy, but about the searches which have brought people to my blog, the best one being Is something wrong with my dog’s head if its sideways.
Memories of Pyongyang – A week in Pyongyang in the 1990’s.
Mexican Bus Ride – Things to see in Cuautla, Mexico and an encounter with an interesting person.
A Minor Key – A poem about the wonderful things you can see if you remember to look.
Missions to the Moon – Ariosto and Calvino – The wheel of fortune and the cheese expeditions
The Monster in Ness – Poem about the fact that even when you try to be nessless you end up pursuing nesslessnes.
Montaigne berates his member – One of the most stylish and funny sentences ever written
Montezuma’s Revenge – A very short poem about something, though I can’t say what.
More bitter still – The same song made unrecognisable with a substitution
More often not – Poem about being (and not being) there
More Ko Un – More poems from the Korean poet who decided to write one poem about every person he had ever met.
The Most Beautiful Thing – I once spent a period asking everyone I knew what the most beautiful thing they had ever seen was.
Mozart’s Starling Sang G Sharp – An Invasive Story – Discovering that starlings do much more than just shit on you
Music for eating peaches to – About Huong Thanh, an outstanding Vietnamese singer.
My Accidental Greek Wedding – The mysteries and dangers of phrase books.
My life is the gardener of my body – Yehuda Amichai – Never has a body been so intensely described
New Rome bus routes – Do buses run down North African borders?
Ninety Train Rides – About train sequences in films.
No Natural – A poem about disagreeing and unconsciously agreeing. And about two musicians I saw playing in Puebla, Mexico.
Now anyone can write rap – Microsoft Werd, a program you won’t find in shops
The Observation Car – My best poem, in my opinion, about a train ride from Colombo to Kandy.
Old Shanghai and Three Places in New England – About He Youzhi’s interesting illustrations of the old crafts of Shanghai, jinghus and erhus, overlapping sounds at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and in Charles Ives music.
On airports – A poem about how airports should really be named
One short, one long – A poem about the expression “as appropriate”.
Orhan Veli – Istanbul’u dinliyorum – I am listening to Istanbul – Lovely poem about the sounds of Istanbul by a great poet.
Ounce Dice Trice – About a lovely children’s book by Alastair Reid and Ben Shahn.
Paloma, Astronomically – A poem. Some girls are so cool they make every boy look like an idiot.
Pablo Neruda – Ode to the Artichoke – My translation of this poem.
A Party of One – A poem with postcards written on the air, moustachioed waiters, high-wattage cats’ eyes and silverishly swimming fish.
Patrick O’Brian – I do love a blow – A passage on sailing in the South Atlantic which is so effective in making you feel you were there that you will have to wring your clothes out afterwards.
People who believe in the death penalty – Not evil but …
The Pharmacy on Reforma. Puebla, Mexico – A poem about a sale gone flat.
Pi in the Sky with Diamonds – When Pi day should really be
The Poemarium – About my other website, the Poemarium.
The Poemarium (2) – About Issa, Basho, Jia Dao, Emily DIckinson, Pessoa
The Poetry of Google Translate – Google Translate can’t always translate but it can make new poetry
Pop-tarts and Gutisk – The Linguistic Productivity Index and the rarest languages on Wikipedia
Put a Sheep in your Pocket – Proverbs in Istanbul – Includes a number of mystifying  proverbs and an interesting picture showing how to put a sheep in your pocket.
Le Quatorze Laurel – Better names for months
Random Walk – How to get to somewhere you weren’t expecting to get to and other random activities. Includes interesting picture of monkey typing the complete works of Shakespeare.
Recipe no. 1 – Sweet and Sour Rememboree – Cooking memories of various kinds.
Recipe no. 2 – Sumida River Empty Cake– A poem about Zen cookery.
Reciprocating Soup – The Tantalising Cusine of Google Translate – To accompany your Pumpkin Avalanche would you rather have Baked New Button, Nervous Leaf Rolls or Pan Arab?
Retrodictions 2008 –Indian astrology is not for the faint-hearted. Or for the chapattiless.
Rhyme’s Reason – The repetions build the villanelle – About the villanelle form in poetry. About a book which teaches you about poetic form through poems. And two famous villanelles by Auden and Elizabeth Bishop.
riverrun – A poem about word diseases.
Rome’s New Traffic Plan? -The cats, the dogs, the pigeons and the seagulls would stop to watch as well.
Rossini’s Little Train – How Rossini’s crescendos chug by according to Alberto Savinio
ROW, the ratio we all need – Halfpenny thought on a vital performance indicator.
Salamshaloms – The unexpected effects of merging religions in my novel Vinylia
Sans Serrife Day – About a famous April Fool’s Day invention and other hoaxes.
Santa Cochinilla, I think – A poem about thinking too much.
Say it in Terpreting – A plea for the invention of a sign language for simultaneous interpreters.
Sei Shonagon’s Things – Lists from the Pillow Book (1) – Elegant things, Things that should be large, Things that should be short.
Settetto Buffo di Sette Gatti – Cats being played by a pianist and Rossini’s famous cat duet.
Shipshape in Shangri-la – Poem about pigeons on statues
Shoppers – Window-shopping with a butterfly
The Shortnesses of Longevity – Can you live too long? What about other people, can they live too long?
Sideways Anti-Aging Formula. Free! – This works – for a while – (I actually received a message from a company saying they thought it was a very useful concept).
Sideways to Le Havre – Ride a 1930’s steam engine into Le Havre with Jean Gabin.
Signs for Pause – Signs which made me stop in my tracks
Sillygism – Silly syllogism
Smiles in my pockets – Kobayashi Issa will make you burst out laughing
Softly her Tower Crumbled – A wonderful passage from Nabokov’s Ada.
Somewhere in Sichuan – A poem about how to spread panic.
The S’s of Mexico – Poem about people selling small things in Mexico
Stalin’s socks and Goethe’s thistles – Artichokes, Onions, Thistles. How close Neruda came to writing a poem about Stalin’s socks. Amazing statistics about potatoes.
Stock Markets – Half-penny thought on why money vanishes but doesn’t magically appear.
Stop beating around the mulberry bush and do the needful – Selected Indian consumer complaints.
Stovepipe with a quick legover – Bill Bryson re-words cricket
A Surprise Intruder at my Door -A science-fiction story almost comes true.
The Sting in Heine’s Tail – The sudden turnarounds in Heinrich Heine’s poems
The tall, the short and the more than many – How to begin to understand how big big numbers really are.
Ten Thousand Lives – About Ko Un, a Korean poet who decided to write one poem about every person he had ever met.
Thirty-seven ways of looking at a Dervish– All the things you can do with a Turkish verb.
Three Dogs in Cholula – Poem about the micro-events of Cholula, Mexico.
Too lazy to paint eyebrows – Pipa virtuoso Wu Man.
Tossing Salt Peanuts into the Air for Free– About Steve Coleman,  a great jazz musician, who also gives his music away.
Tough Questions – A short passage from Bill Bryson’s book “Notes from a Big Country” which makes me laugh every time I think about it.
Two glimpses of Icarus – William Carlos Williams and Auden’s takes on a painting by Brueghel.
Two moods of darkness – A poem about darkness and sleep
Two Richards – A Hard Day’s Discontent– Olivier doing Richard III and Peter Sellers doing Olivier doing Richard.
2012, stay in bed and save the planet – International Year of the Frog, Potato statistics, a proposal to make 2012 International Sleep Year
Ulysses and the long road home – Thought about the strange name of Alitalia’s in-flight magazine
The Umbrellas of Colombo – A poem about the mysterious movements of umbrellas in Sri Lanka’s capital city.
Undiscovered Amazon Tribes – If you pick a strange book on Amazon, it’s very likely that you will find that “People who bought this book also bought…” will come up with some surprising suggestions.
Uruku Tumi Gushiku – A song for getting up and doing things. Blues meets Okinawan.
Vinylia – The Artificial Language of Dervish – About the creation of a language with fascinating verb forms
Vinylia First Three Chapters – Where you can read the beginning of my novel, Vinylia
Volcanic Money – Indonesia’s bold 100 Rupiah note.
Walking near the Roman Forum – The past below the future falling on our heads (poem)
Wee Klinks 2 – arabmusique, lyrikline, Hugh Laurie’s Dylan impression, Bibliodyssey
Wee Klinks 3 – Decorative umbrellas, Django Bates, Oriental Architecture, Post-Modernist Generator
What does the Queen sing in the shower? – Halfpenny thought about an anthem for everyman.
The Whole Country Dances – About the North Korean music scene. Unforgettable songs like Nightingales Sing in Our Factory Compound, Song of Automation Full of Happiness, Coming to Remove Weeds from the Sky and many other of your favourites.
The Winter Starlings – Beauty and raining shit (poem)
Woollen Attitudes – Picture of an old advertisement for socks
Wordle Quiz – Can you re-assemble famous texts which have been jumbled?
Words Enacted – A lovely video about words
Wislawa Szymborska – A word on statistics – If you have never read Wislawa Szymborska read this. This is the kind of poem you could stand up and read on the underground and everyone would listen.
The World is Big – Our minds should be so too (poem)
Yaute-no-pec – A poem about buses and place names both falling to pieces.
Zagreb, the Balkan Bangkok – Discover Ivan Gundulic, the man behind Croatia’s main contribution to world civilisation: the necktie. All the ways to tie it. How to put one round an amphitheatre. And a surprising connection with a South-East Asian country.
Zeitoun, an iron fist descending – About “Zeitoun”, an outstanding book by Dave Eggers.
Zen and the Art of Taxation – How meditating on the US Tax Code can lead to enlightenment