Tuesday, July 13, 2010


And so, my little coddled eggs, we are off to India! It’s all very exciting, especially when certain delicate matters have prevented one leaving the island for longer than one cares to remember. I have taken the liberty of providing you all with a packed lunch, as it’s going to be an interminably long journey. My Fanny has filled the thermos and I believe we are ready to go.

Of course, at the moment one could fly to the barefaced moon and still find someone talking about the football, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that the first post I read on the blog of today’s little chum concerned the World Cup. Bit of a tender topic for an Englishman at the moment. Not that I was particularly invested – more of a petanque man myself – but Fanny was near suicidal. I had to stop her doing herself a mischief with her crocheted Bobby Robson. There’s a lot a cricket talk on this blog as well. I would like to suggest that Rohan just go ahead and marry Sachin Tendulkar. I have always suspected cricket to be a physical version of Mornington Crescent; they make it up as they go along and everybody apart from me is in on the joke. But we’ll ignore the sport and press on.

I would imagine that the first thing most people will think when they click over to Rohan’s blog is, ‘bugger me, these posts are long’. It would be appalling hypocritical of me to criticise verbosity - I have written postscripts that would put Proust to shame – but to the casual reader, Rohan’s vast scads of text might be a trifle off-putting. I would wager that, if polled, eight out of ten cats would as like as not advise Rohan to at least halve the length of his posts.

As I read on, though, I found myself growing increasingly fond of Rohan. I first had a feeling I was in good company when I read this. That tickled me, especially the bit about Grand Guignol violence and torrents of hot blood. It tickled me even further that he sympathises with Salieri and manages to reference Brian de Palma, Kimi Raikkonen and P.G. Wodehouse in the same post. I knew for certain that he was a good egg when I read his description of things he likes in films,

Noir. Mood pieces. Vivid colours and grand camera movements. Humour. Decadence. Amorality. Snappy dialogue. Candles flickering in old mansions. Sex and violence.

And realised it tallied pretty much exactly with what I want in life.

This raises an interesting question. Do we really give two hoots for the casual reader? Should we cut ourselves off mid-flow to satisfy those with such short attention spans that they find anything longer than 200 words intimidating? Do we want to appeal to those who do not find us appealing in our honest, natural state? Admittedly, the last person who saw me in my honest, natural state is still on some serious medication, but it’s only Fanny and so you can’t really tell the difference.

For every clowder of kitties sashaying away from Rohan’s writings with their tails in the air and their little bottoms pursed like disapproving mouths, there will be two throbbing felines eeling round his legs in appreciation. I think I will have to stop this cat metaphor right now. Cats make me uneasy. They have lizard eyes and would kill you in your sleep as soon as look at you.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is should we really give a tinker’s cuss how long his posts are, if he is an interesting man with a wide and eclectic frame of reference who can turn a phrase and likes to have a good old think about things? I have paddled in a lot of pap while wearing my reviewer’s cap (it’s a little feathered number – simply cunning) and I have to say that I would rather read 2,000 words of something that’s at least trying to be thoughtful and entertaining and chunkily nourishing than 200 words of some self-promoting mooncalf mooing about her tits (and I have read enough of that to be referring to nobody specific).

But Rohan has been through all this before. He knows who he is but the ether-flesh is weak and it bothers him that he doesn’t have more readers. Perhaps, Rohan old stick, you should try and vary things a little. I understand that sometimes nothing but a dissertation will do, but the elegant ramble is a tricky thing to pull off and can sometimes err towards the tedious, as I well know. People don’t always want to sit down to a twelve course meal. Sometimes we are equally as satisfied by a small yet perfect mouthful. Actually, that’s a terrible analogy, because if Fanny served me with a mere twelve courses I would send her back to the kitchen with a flea in her ear, or something considerably more uncomfortable, but you get the general idea. Maybe it would be more appropriate, given your love of films, to remind you that a short can be just as powerful as a feature.

You might also consider varying your style a little. You have an amusing, self-deprecating voice, but it can become a little monotonous over extended periods of time – it might be interesting if you stepped back a little, cut down on the gags and really showed me something. Remember, editing is your friend. It is my Moriarty, but it is your friend.

So, now that I have finished clarifying the colour of the kettle, I will leave this place of hot dust and head back to my cool and clammy native climes. If I must be forced to a conclusion, it would be that variety is the spice and conclusions are for the unimaginative.

Three stars, Rohan, and a firm handshake.


  1. Guess it's Indian week at Ask. Mighty fine review ForceMeat.

  2. It's almost always Indian week, it seems.

  3. Forcemeat, you're fucking killer.

  4. Englishmen have long been used to losing at sports they invented. The former colonies seem rather desperate for revenge on the field, yes?

    Guess the lad has some interesting opinions, he might have found a new lurker.

  5. I enjoyed this, but would have preferred the Readers Digest condensed version, large print edition.

  6. You didn't ask for it, but you shall receive, all the same.

  7. An Indian blog which isn't emo 'feelings-such-deep-feelings' poetry, didn't suck, talks an unhealthy amount about movies and received a good rating (must be the second one after Mr. Crowley. Speaking of whom, what dark space has he crawled into?). Hell yeah! Congrats, Rohan. And thanks for redeeming a smidgeon of honour for a sixth of humanity.

  8. Are we up to a sixth now? Last I checked, I was under the impression that it was a seventh.

    Anyway... I had no idea so much was hanging on my review! Let me go find my tricolour display pic.

  9. Arjun - at least somebody remembers ;) Which dark hole have I crawled into? In more polite society, this hole is also called a law firm in Bombay. I swear, even light don't escape this place.

    ForceMeat - Fine review, mate.

  10. There really is a grossly massive disproportional amount of Indian poetry blogs. At least there is regarding bloggers who submit to this site.

  11. [Rohan] Yes, apparently we're a sixth. We've been procreating furiously this past decade. I remember this because, after we conducted those nuclear tests, someone said "It's one-sixth of humanity seeking its rightful place in the calculus of great powers." At the time, it sounded nice.

    [Mister Crowley] I empathise in your general direction. I'm also thankful you haven't taken to writing poetry yet.

    And after this little patriotic reunion, we now return you to your scheduled programming.


Grow a pair.