Sunday, February 24, 2013

. . .as easily forgotten as an umbrella

The title of  Will Self's new  novel Umbrella 
Umbrella”  the title  of Will Self's  new novel  comes
 from a  simile in Jame    Joyce’s Ulys­ses: “A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella.” 
 As  for  the role  of  those titular umbrellas in Self's novel  they characterize  the  fate  of its  characters in this  epic  dramatic overview of  modernBritish  life.   For Self's  many  fans  the novel  will NOT  be as easily forgotten as  an  umbrella.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simile of the day: Flow into like batter flowing into the grooves of a waffle iron

In “The Measure of Manhattan” (W.W. Norton, $26.95), Marguerite Holloway offers up a  biography of  John Randel Jr.,  the man y who codified Manhattan’s street grid early in the 19th century,   As  Professor Holloway explains the  response to that  new  street organization as follows:
New York City flowed into that form, like batter flowing into the grooves of a waffle iron.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Limelight is to theater critics as sunlight is to vampires.

 In  a  February  7th  by New York Times theater  piece,  "Theater Talkback: Stepping Into the Spotlight,  the paper's theater critic Ben Brantley started   his experience  as  an  audience member recruited to  join  the actors  on stage in  this metaphoric vein. . .

Limelight is to theater critics as sunlight is to vampires. We reviewers feel safest crouched in the shadows while we feast on the lifeblood and talent (or lack thereof) of the performers on the bright stage before us. Legend has it that if you drag a critic into the glare of the other side of the proscenium, he will hiss, shrivel and disintegrate like Dracula at dawn.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Guess who can be "as exciting as a flounder?"

Actor Richard Burton   was  a life-long   diarist   though    he  probably  never set  out to have his  diaries published as they  have been as ‘The Richard Burton Diaries,’ Edited by Chris Williams.

While Burton loved being famous but loathed acting  he  was a passionate reader  and  himself  an entertaining  writer.   Far from being just  gossipy  references to  famous people  his   diary entries  about them    bubdled   with apt descripons.   Not surpisingly, that includes  similes--  for example:

 Mia Farrow   is said to have“eyes as round as her fist” and   “a laugh as false as a dentist’s assurance.”    Maureen Stapleton  according  to  Burton " photographed  like a sack of potato.

Burton's  metaphoric  description of  himself    includes this  tidbit:  “My eyes are slits that only a locksmith could open”    Famous  actors generally  he  saw as :   “gods in their own mirrors. Distorted mirrors”   

Even Elizabeth  who he loved passionately  didn't keep him during rehearsals of their unsuccessful  rehearsal for a Broadway revival of Private  Lives  as  "Exciting as a flounder."