Day 90

James Joyce as a cat

Social Distancing into eternity …

Fried liver for breakfast today, obviously, with a dab of relish. I think I’ll go for Branston Pickle as that is my favourite relish this week. My usual favourite, HP brown sauce, does not go that well with liver. I am aware, Query Boy, that that is not what Jimmy Joyce meant in the relevant quotation from the book celebrating this date in 1904 when Jimbo had a date with his Galway girl, but I prefer to interpret it that way. [You had better give them the quotation; they expect to be spoon-fed by now – Ed.] (spoon fed liver?)

“Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.”

James Joyce, Ulysses

See what I mean? Jamsie does not specify the type of relish preferred by Bloom, choosing instead to leave it up to the interpretation of the reader. “But the whole ‘with relish’ thing is not a noun phrase,” interrupts Query Boy, “it is acting as an adverb qualifying the verb ‘ate’. Can’t you see that?”

And there, oh my foes and oh my friends, you have the whole delight and conundrum of Ulysses in a nutshell. And maybe in a gizzard nutshell at that. Like that other Bible, it is open to interpretation, a source of endless argumentation and almost nobody reads it. But they should, because it is a good laugh. The resident genius in the hacienda, the Female Teenager, has read a good portion of the tome. My fault, I admit: I had deposited a copy in the downstairs toilet [in the actual toilet? – Ed.] for my own purposes as accompaniment when working out some knotty, fundamental issues, but had failed to stick a label on the front of it precluding other end users of the facilities from also reading it. There is a barring order on the front of the toilet itself (not the actual toilet, BracketsHead), but that would not have prevented Female Teenager’s access to the book, as you see.

Executive exclusive washroom in the East Wing

Female Teenager was not even a teenager at the time of the incident; she would have been about nine or ten (and that use of the conditional perfect is deliberate, and, I suspect, peculiar to Hiberno-English) when she emerged from the toilet (faut-il?) one day and announced, “I think that Mister Bloom man is a bit of a creep.” I put it to you, your Honour, that a more succinct summary-analysis of Joyce’s novel has yet to be produced, and I have always maintained myself that there should be some sort of an erection on the south Dublin seafront to commemorate Bloom’s wank there, and to serve as a warning to female bathers that there may well be other creeps in the vicinity still. As for what age she was when she went into the toilet, I have no idea.

If youse are in search of any Bloomsday activities, you could do worse than having a gander at this page in The Irish Times. Of course, on-line Blooming will not be the same as strolling around the Big Schmoke, dropping in for a pint in Davy Byrne’s and laughing at the wannabes all-dressed up in their early 20th century finery, but it’s the best I can do.

Should the Jamser himself be reading this, I feel duty bound to supply him with the answers to two of his most famous questions. Yes, James, there is one who understands you, and yes, you were walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand. What’s that? Speak up, you say, it’s quite noisy here in Dante’s Purgatorio. YES, I said YES!


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