Friday, 22 July 2016

22nd July 2016 - Dark and Stormy in Elvish Llamedos

Thought for the day:"The man who invented predictive text died today - Restaurant in piece"(Autocorrect day 5)

A literary day today - on the subject of a favourite phrase...

It was a dark and stormy night....

I never knew, however, that the phrase actually has its origin in an existing 19th century novel called Paul Clifford by Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton. Someone kindly mailed me the full opening sentence to that novel, and only then did I understand how the phrase came by its bad reputation:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents -- except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

There even exists a Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which people try to write the worst possible opening sentences for imaginary novels. The entries for the 1983 edition of the contest were compiled by Scott Rice in a book titled, what else, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. I am told that there were at least three such compilations released.

I also found a link in Terry Pratchett that once again tells me that he and my father had brains that were scrambled in a very similar fashion  - for years my father talked of Llamedos (based upon Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood Villsage)  - it was only in looking up a reference for the man down the Chip Shop that I found the following: 

"It was always raining in Llamedos." 

Llamedos is 'sod em all' backwards. This is a reference to the town of Llareggub in Dylan Thomas' short prose piece Quite Early One Morning. That story was later expanded into Under Milk Wood, a verse play scripted for radio. In that version the name of the town was changed to the slightly less explicit Llaregyb.
Apart from that, Llamedos is instantly recognisable to the British as the Discworld version of Wales. The double-l is a consonant peculiar to the Celtic language (from which Welsh is descended), hence also Buddy's habit of doubling all l's when he speaks.

"'I'd swear he's elvish.'"
This paragraph is the culmination of the Elvis running gag, but in order to appreciate it you have to know that Kirsty MacColl had a big hit a decade or so ago with a song called: "There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis".

Ho Hum -
Another day and starting to try to exercise my way out of my bad nack instead of rest my way out.. not sure it will work in 9 days ...  we shall give it a good try

Cheers : (still dry)

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