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The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, brother.

Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and recording artist whose syncopated spoken style and mordant critiques of politics, racism and mass media in pieces like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” made him a notable voice of black protest culture in the 1970s and an important early influence on hip-hop, died on Friday at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 62 and had been a longtime resident of Harlem.

R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron, poet, musician and author, born 1 April 1949; died 27 May 2011

Helena Bonham Carter’s great-grandfather was H.H. Asquith. She has some kind of domestic arrangement with film director Tim Burton.

Helena Bonham Carter is 45.

From my complete collection of Good Housekeeping cookery cards, here’s another revolting recipe from the 1970s.

Ingredients

2 best ends of neck (12 cutlets)

For the stuffing:
2 oz. minced or finely chopped onion
2 oz. minced or finely chopped celery
8 oz. fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch of garlic powder
8 oz. cooked rice
1 oz. butter
2 level teaspoonfuls curry powder
salt and pepper

Method

Mix together all the ingredients for the stuffing. Remove the chine bone from each joint.

With a sharp knife, cut across bone ends of meat, about 1 in. from bone tips. Remove the fatty ends and scrape the bone ends free of flesh.

Using fine string and a trussing needle, sew joints together, back to back, with bones curving outwards to form the crown shape.

Stand crown in roasting tin and brush with melted fat. Insert stuffing.

Cover tips of bones with foil to prevent burning. Cover stuffing with foil to keep moist. Roast in the oven at 350° F, allowing 25-30 minutes per lb.

To serve, remove crown from oven and place on a serving dish. Remove foil. Decorate bone tips with cutlet frills. Garnish with potato baskets filled with minted peas.

Ming Ming, the world’s oldest panda, has died aged 34, Chinese state media say.

The Global Times reported Ming Ming died from old age and had kidney failure. She had been living at a zoo in Guangdong province.

The China Panda Protection Centre in Sichuan province said in a statement she died on 7 May, but it was reported only on Tuesday in local media.

The newspaper said wild pandas live 15 years on average, with captive ones typically living around 22 years.

Giant pandas are among the world’s most endangered species, with about 1,600 in the wild. More than 300 are in captivity in China, most in a breeding programme aimed at boosting the population.

The country also loans pandas to zoos worldwide.

December 1956-January 1957, the novelist Patrick Hamilton writes a fifty-page letter to his brother, Bruce. It is not only the longest letter he ever wrote, but also a moving and revealing description of depression, as this extract shows:

What I should, though, have mentioned, was the hopelessness which went with it all. In almost any ordinary illness one hopes either to get better or die. With this one had neither of these consolations, and that, really, was what made it so terrible.

You know how one reads in the papers about suicides who have been “depressed for a long while”. I now wonder whether this famous “depression” in any way resembles mine. I contemplated suicide incessantly, but discovered how bloody difficult, and doubtful a business the attempt is. I stood at countless high windows but knew that, in spite of all my agony, I simply physically funked it! And then suppose one miraculously survived the jump! I similarly funked trains. I had what should be a safe Medinal dose (100 tablets) but I didn’t have any confidence in its safety, and where and how do you take it?

So one was reduced to the ridiculous hope that one might be run over accidentally in the street (but of course it was no use being purposely careless, because it might not be fatal, and simply being horribly damaged would, if such a thing were possible, only makes matters worse).

Of course, nobody who has not been through this illness can possibly understand it fully. Nor can anybody who has been through it possibly explain it fully. To talk of “depression” or “hideous depression” or “unspeakable depression” all sound so tame! People can only think of the most ghastly depression they themselves have ever been through, and imagine that this sort of thing is going on all the time in the case of a sufferer from this illness. But to think this is not really to touch even the fringe of the real horror which, although indescribable, I must nevertheless attempt, feebly, to describe to you. Imagine, then, that you have read in the papers about a small boy who has been made by his parents to stand in the corner of a locked and empty room all day and all night for a year – the only relief he gets being in the few hours of sleep which he takes on his feet (still conscious, in the moments of his waking from this coma, of the torture which awaits him next day). You have, of course, to imagine that this is physically possible.

Now imagine that you are yourself this small boy. Go, if you like, into the corner of a deserted room now! And stand up in it for only twenty minutes! Or two minutes! Try it now! And, having endured the twenty minutes, think of the next twenty minutes after that, and then all the hours after hours after that, before you get your next coma! And then the days after that, and the months, and the years!

Think of the counting of every minute, and the watching of every hour, while waiting for the brief coma, which is so brief and useless!

Is this not a fair description of hell? One might say eternal hell!

But this, really, is not all. If you or I were put in such a corner we might work out some scheme for coping with it – let’s say writing a novel in one’s mind and, as a daily task, memorising what one has written.

But such pleasures are denied one – for one simply can’t take the faintest interest in anything to do with the mind …

(Source: Through a Glass Darkly: The Life of Patrick Hamilton, by Nigel Jones)

If you have heard of Patrick Hamilton’s novel Hangover Square, I recommend that you read it … don’t see the film, it’s shit.

Related:

Patrick Hamilton gets blue plaque
Unhappy hour: Patrick Hamilton’s novel The Midnight Bell

The following letter has been sent to every apartment in my block. How can one be depressed when there are people like this in the world?

Dear Resident

Re: Plastic Pots

It has been noticed that some tenants are using common areas for plants, etc. It is acceptable provided the pots are not plastic. Please note, plastic pots in communal areas are fire hazard and safety risk in case of fire. I must ask the individual responsible to please remove the plastic pots from the communal areas or change them with ceramic pots, etc., if necessary. This is limited to live plants only as no plastic plants are allowed to be kept in the communal areas as directed by the fire marshals.

Thanking you in advance for your co-operation.

Yours sincerely

Khurram Butt
Caretaking Services Supervisor

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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