one gifset per appearance → diamond jubilee celebrations: day 3 [4/4] - balcony appearance, buckingham palace (05/06/2012)

Six members of the immediate British Royal Family, notably missing the Duke of Edinburgh, appeared at the balcony to greet the millions of people waiting on the streets, ending the long-weekend celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.


one gifset per appearance → diamond jubilee celebrations: day 3 [¾] - carriage procession, london (05/06/2012)

Six members of the immediate British Royal Family rode back to Buckingham Palace in open-air carriages. Over one million people lined the streets, and the procession began in Parliament Square at 2.20pm, turning right along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square before entering The Mall via Admiralty Arch, reaching Buckingham Palace at 2.40pm.


one gifset per appearance → diamond jubilee celebrations: day 3 [2/4] - luncheon, westminster hall (05/06/2012)

The Royal Family joined 700 guests for a celebratory lunch at Westminster Hall. The menu included salmon, Welsh lamb, grilled Isle of Wight asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes and chocolate delice, bread and butter pudding and berry compote with apple sauce.

Are you a fiction or a nonfiction person? What’s your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?“

My guiltiest pleasure is Harry Stephen Keeler. He may have been the greatest bad writer America has ever produced. Or perhaps the worst great writer. I do not know. There are few faults you can accuse him of that he is not guilty of. But I love him.

How can you not love a man who wrote books with names like “The Riddle of the Traveling Skull”? Or “The Case of the Transposed Legs”?

I get into arguments with Otto Penzler, of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York, when I say things like that. “No, Neil!” he splutters. “He was just a bad writer!”

Otto still takes my money when I buy Keeler books like “The Skull of the Waltzing Clown” from him. But the expression on his face takes some of the fun out of it. And then I read a paragraph like:

“For it must be remembered that at the time I knew quite nothing, naturally, concerning Milo Payne, the mysterious Cockney-talking Englishman with the checkered long-beaked Sherlockholmsian cap; nor of the latter’s ‘Barr-Bag,’ which was as like my own bag as one Milwaukee wienerwurst is like another; nor of Legga, the Human Spider, with her four legs and her six arms; nor of Ichabod Chang, ex-convict, and son of Dong Chang; nor of the elusive poetess, Abigail Sprigge; nor of the Great Simon, with his 2,163 pearl buttons; nor of — in short, I then knew quite nothing about anything or anybody involved in the affair of which I had now become a part, unless perchance it were my Nemesis, Sophie Kratzenschneiderwümpel — or Suing Sophie!”

And then I do not give a fig for Otto’s expression, for as guilty pleasures go, Keeler is as strangely good as it gets.

Birth of Serpents (live in Sydney)
the Mountain Goats
Birth of Serpents (live in Sydney)

“I wrote this song when I went to Portland, Oregon at the end of 2008. Well, for me, going to Portland is sort of like if you’ve ever…you remember this old video game where you used to try and shoot ghosts? It was a very, very, very simple video game that you will still see if you go to some town that nobody else goes to. You stop there for gas, and they have one bar, and that bar has a video game that was built in 1981, and it’s running on the same chip, and then the 2-dimensional images have burned themselves into the screen, so no matter where you move your character, there’s still this one that’s just burning there at the center because it’s sat there unplayed for so long. And the game is called, like, ‘Ghost Hunt’, or something like that. And the idea is to shoot ghosts, which, I don’t think I need to tell you, is a completely ridiculous idea, because you can’t—if they’re ghosts, there’s really nothing you can say to a ghost about a gun or a knife or anything, they would say ‘Well I’ve been dead, possibly for a very long time, so shooting at me is a terrible idea.’ But the ghosts in the machine can’t talk, you just shoot them and I guess they pretend to be dead for the sake of, you know, everybody feeling good? So anyway, I went to Portland, there’s a lot of ghosts in Portland for me. I don’t try to shoot them, I try to make my peace with them—that’s maybe even dumber than trying to shoot them. And yet I do it every time I go there. I woke up about an hour or two after sleep and found a title sitting in a notebook and I said ‘That’s for me at this moment’. Birth of Serpents.” — John Darnielle, Sydney, Australia, 2012-05-06