Banished – Banned – Begone!

Sick of the ‘C’ word yet? Silly question, right? You were sick of it a hundred days ago.

It’s been one rough stretch of highway for we humans of late and so I know you’ll understand what’s led to the following decision. A meeting held in my living room two nights ago attended by the entire editorial board of SWS has unanimously agreed this post, the one you’re now reading, will mark the final time any mention of Coronavirus will appear on these pages until… until… a vaccine is discovered.

It’s not a policy you’ll see The New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC or any of the other major news outlets of the world rolling out anytime soon. In that sense, SWS is leading the way with a pledge I’m fully willing to be held to account on.

We’ve been starving this agent of chaos – Covid 19 – of hosts to infect through social-distancing practices that, by this time, have forced some of us to question whether the cure might be actually worse than the disease. Now it’s time to starve this microscopic ogre of attention. On these pages anyway.

In the meantime there’s this…

Those GOAT (greatest of all time) 1970’s glam rockers with a sense of humor, and, let’s face it, my favourite band, KISS have released a new t-shirt design to join their already ca-razy-large merchandise range.

It’s set my heart into car alarm mode not least for the fact I know I’ll never be able to own it – for obvious reasons of maintaining standards of good taste as set out by my extreme hardcore version of a girlfriend, known as my wife. Here’s a picture anyway…

Not only do the guys (I get to call them that ’cause, you know … life long fan supporter) show a sense of humor but a sense of charity as well…

Yep, live-performance artists the world over have been thrown to the canvas big time in all this virus-flavored malarkey. Authors, on the other hand, god bless ’em, keep on churning out their stories…

THE GUEST LIST by London author Lucy Foley was released at the end of February just as Cornonavirus was beginning to make a name for itself around the planet. Have a listen to the story synopsis for this novel then ask yourself at the end could the killer actually be COVID 19?

“On a windswept island off the the Irish coast, 13 guests gather for the wedding of the year. The cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead., then a storm breaks and everyone is trapped with a killer in their midst.”

Well, not too seriously, yes, the ‘killer in their midst’ could actually be our current microscopic public enemy number one – except for one little snag. Under present rules, weddings aren’t allowed to have that many people attend. Ta da! Sherlock Holmes at your service.

Being quarantined can definitely do funny things to your mind. Like what for instance? Like, I don’t know… maybe finally getting around to reading all 1225 pages of WAR AND PEACE ?

Last time I set down that path to somehow elevate myself by imbibing one of the so-called ‘classics’ of literature, it took the endurance of an ultra-marathon runner to wade through it. That book was DRACULA, written by Bram Stoker 123 years ago. (Go HERE if you want the low-down on a novel that outsold DRACULA 6:1 back in the original day).

By comparison it’s ‘prequel’ called DRACUL, penned by Stoker’s great grand nephew Dacre and written only two years ago, motors along like a Mclaren GT3 racecar and left me breathless right up until it’s dramatic, atom-smashing multi-conclusions. An adrenaline read if ever there was one. So much for the classics!

So what to do with overrated literature from a bygone era you might love the idea of but can’t stomach the turtle-slow verbose reality of? Try getting a hold of American author Lisa Brown’s new book LONG STORY SHORT for a start.

Not only will it alleviate the guilt associated with snubbing your nose at such immortal ‘classics’ as Dicken’s A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1859), Charlotte Brontë’s JANE EYRE (1847) or Hemmingway’s monumentally overblown and over-written FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1950) – a book some readers judged should have been retitled FOR WHOM THE BOOK BORES – but it will shorten the length of each novel to just three comic panels.

Faukner’s Southern Gothic story AS I LAY DYING (1930), American poet Sylvia Plath’s only novel THE BELL JAR (1963) and Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY (1948) are among the 100 monuments to classic literature that get the three panel treatment –

Yessirree, for modern readers some of the so-called ‘classics’ are not all they’re cracked up to be. And now there’s another book that positively stinks as well.

To be clear, that’s not a critical judgment of American fiction author Adam Levin’s (not to be confused with Adam Levine – lead singer of American pop rock band MAROON FIVE ) new novel. Rather, it’s a simple statement of fact.

The bright pink jacket cover of BUBBLEGUM smells like bubblegum. It’s the first scratch-n-sniff adult book I’ve seen. . . or, uh, smelled. This is a dysotopian novel set in an alternate present-day world in which the Internet does not exist, and has never existed. 

The story goes that as soon as Levin’s editor, Rob Bloom, read the manuscript, he asked publishing company Doubleday’s art director “to go crazy” on the jacket design. He started from scratch, literally, by sniffing through samples of bubblegum scented children’s books.

When the final design was presented to the publicity team, everybody gasped. And loved it. Of course, it’s a bitter shame that, with bookstores closed, prospective readers won’t be drawn to BUBBLEGUM by its odoriferous jacket. But editor Rob Bloom is philosophical about that: “The people who order it off Amazon or whatever, they’ll get a nice little surprise when they get it home.”

Ps. If you’ve been finding social distancing rules gratuitously inconvenient, spare a thought HERE for the tortured souls with multiple personality disorder.

Pss. A fan of movies but not social isolation? Better click HERE

Psss. Social distancing rules for animals? Seriously?

Pssss. New design for China’s national flag anyone?

And that’s it everyone! No more mention of the ‘C’ word on this blog until the whole bad dream is over. That’s a promise.

12 thoughts on “Banished – Banned – Begone!

  1. Oh my god, the three panels….so good! Especially The Lottery.
    I had no idea Mr. Stoker’s novel of perhaps the first victim of the “C” word ever–Dracula–was such a complete snore-fest.
    The one I’ve tried to get through numerous times and failed–not from boredom, but it’s one of the most difficult books to read due to language–is Last of the Mohicans. I. Will. Finish. It. One. Day!

    On the other hand, for some reason, I’ve read Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie at least twice. It was fascinating to imagine a girl living her life the way she wanted instead of the way everyone would expect her to during the 1900s. I would never have been that brave. Too worried about upsetting the folks!!.

    Bubblegum sounds interesting, tho. A world without internet? Yeah. GOOD IDEA.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your comments are always so brilliant and refreshing to read Stacey.
    Thank you for this one which brightened my ‘cabin-feverish’ day.

    My interest was sufficiently piqued to find out a little bit more about SISTER CARRIE.
    I see it has been more than occasionally referred to as “the greatest of all American urban novels”.
    Still, coming in at 557 pages, for me that would be classified as a ‘formidable read’.
    There was a film version of the novel made in 1952 too, starring Laurence Olivier, called CARRIE.
    I think we’re both more likely to think of the 1976 horror movie (or it’s 2013 remake) when hearing that name.

    This scene – where the words are not synced with the lip movement – shows how upsetting an iron burn mark left on your clothes can be. Or possibly Larry has something else playing on his mind as well…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, I did that exact same thing to my husband’s shirt several years ago, a favorite of his. Set the iron down, there was a sizzling sound, jerked it up and a black imprint of the iron’s shape was sitting there on the white of his shirt. Used the iron a hundred times and no idea why that happened then.

    I’ll have to look this movie up ’cause I don’t understand what’s going on. Carrie never was pregnant. They really changed the story here. She also acts like his wife, not his mistress, but he DOES call her Carrie several times, right? So weird! Thanks for the clip, though, and bringing back my PTSD from ruining hubby’s shirt, lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You will be pleased to know that you’re more than likely to never have to say the C word again. They never got a vaccine for sars-cov-1 yet!!…….. so will sars-cov-2 be any different?

    No wedding guests you say?? I might of missed a trick here! Been engaged for 25 plus years. You telling me I could do a Beyonce (put a ring on it) and not have to spend any money (much). No guests, no photographer, no catering, no cheesy DJ! oh my days I’ve missed a trick here! Maccy D’s drive through might be open back up! “Hey put your best outfit on love we’re going for a drive.”……….. I awake 10 minutes later with a ringing in my ears and a palm and five fingers imprinted on the side of my face.

    Death destruction and chaos aside, this has been a lovely 6 weeks off. Never a second bored. Time has flown by. Though the black cloud has started to descend towards my head as I am called back to work next week. Boo. Big fat boo.

    Adult book smells nice! Funny! My teenage ones had to be incinerated! Hope they didn’t start a chain reaction! 2020 is all my fault! Please no! Nooooooooooooooooooo

    PS please excuse my usual random ramblings.
    Glen another top article.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Since the December holidays last year, I’ve read two Ernest Heminway books. I started with ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ which I found rather boring to be honest. I know this might be a bit controversial because it won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, but each to their own. Then I read ‘The Torrents of Spring’ which seemed to be rather disjointed, and the ending left me confused and frustrated. However, I have watched a documentary on Heminway himself and his life to me seemed far more interesting and action packed than any of his writing that I have read. So I wont be worrying about reading ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ even though I have a copy……..Do you want to borrow it, Glen?? lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m retired so quarantine has not been a problem except for not seeing my grands. My daughter is a nurse and with a compromised immune system I can’t take the chance if I want to see them into adulthood. I wish I could wiggle my nose and ban it to the far reaches of the universe. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good lord. I was talking to my son, last night, about a goat that was on Andy Griffith. I commented on what a great goat it was and he replied, “Greatest of all time?”. I said, “I don’t know” and continued talking about it to which he replied, “Greatest of all time?”.

    Finally, he had to patiently explain it to me…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some people use acronyms I reckon – not bothering to clarify what they mean – like a secret code that only those in the know can decipher!

    In fact I learned of these acronyms the other day for… can you believe it… the word acronym –

    Alphabetical Code for Remembering Odd Names You Make up

    A Coded Rendition Of Names Yielding Meaning

    A Contrived Reduction Of Nouns, Yielding Mnemonics

    Another Cryptic Rendition Of Nomenclature You Memorize

    A Clever Re-Organization Nudges Your Memory

    Liked by 1 person

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