Church of England converts sinner!

Huge empty East End church by a Wren assistant, burnt in 1850 but apparently un-Blitzed. Nice index from 19th century clock and other curiosities. Can’t spell Betjeman. Sunday evening service: a short dozen adults & half a dozen bored infants seating under the crossing facing south (Mandela, the new Jesus Christ?) with rector & PA…

John Florio and Charles Cotton’s translations of Montaigne

Wading through a Francophone African legal swamp, where jurisprudence grows out of the barrel of a gun, one is reminded of early translators’ struggles with Montaigne: John Florio (beware of noisome loons who think he’s Shakespeare), 1603: In summe, if any thinke he could do better, let him trie; then will he better thinke of…


May resonate with residents of London, whose boom is transforming it into a macro-Brussels-style shithole – lots on top, lots down below, not much in between.

EU working languages & linguistic discrimination

Why pleb-speakers (I’d have thought of Greeks, Bulgarians, Turks(!) before Italians, not to mention the Cataloonies, who a few years ago thought the world was tilting their way…) from outside the EU core will never get a job there. What an immense mess, and how immensely profitable for some.

Yet another advantage of Hackney life

Children can observe that, unlike owner-following cartoon speed lines, blood lost by fleeing real-life stabbing victims forward-propagates: drops land and then spatter quite powerfully in the direction of travel. Hipsters can repeat the experiment with particularly viscous brews.

Borrowed glory

Tim Parks slags some prominent Italian-English literary translators and praises some lesser-known ones in the New York Review of Books: The problem is that it is hard for the wider public or even the critics really to know whether they have been given a good translation, and not easy even for the editors who have…