Archive for the ‘Prizes’ Category

Riddle me, fiddle me

May 30, 2011

(There’s a contest at the end.)

A few days ago, the phrase musk and testosterone led me to the verse form the double dactyl, and I was reminded of the doubly dactylic poet Saskia Hamilton, who got attention from Ben Zimmer on Language Log a while before that (“She’s got two sibilants, no bilabial plosives”), thanks to a song; from the song’s Wikipedia entry:

Saskia Hamilton was featured in the album Lonely Avenue as the subject of the eponymous song written by Ben Folds and Nick Hornby who ‘thought she had a fantastic name for her line of work’. The liner notes indicate that the song’s narrator is a teenage poetry nerd. Ben Folds commissioned Charlie McDonnell to make a video for the song.

And then — synchronicity! — she turned up in the June 9 New York Review of Books, in Christopher Ricks’s review (“Mixing Mystery and Intrigue”) of The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (ed. by Greg Delanty and Michael Matto), a book with many translations of Anglo-Saxon riddle poems. Including Hamilton’s “It is Written in Scriptures”.


Contest winner

December 16, 2010

The Bonk prize, for best gay bar name, goes to Ian Preston, for Cockpit, as a rival to Mineshaft and Toolbox in combining a phallic symbol and an omphalic symbol in a name that also evokes a high-masculinity social context.

A contest

December 7, 2010

Offering a copy of Mary Roach’s Bonk, on science and sex (unclaimed in a previous contest because the winner already had it) to what I judge to be the most entertaining name for a gay bar, following on this posting.

Ground rules: post your candidates as comments on this post. Judgments are mine, and capricious. Entries close a week from today, 14 December. No, um, bar on names that might already have been used for a gay bar; it’s a rich field. Dyke bar names welcomed. Contestants can be of any sexual orientation; everyone can play.

My own offering, hereby ruled out of the contest, is La Baiser de la Fée, because of its double bilingual play, on baiser ‘kiss, fuck’ and fée ‘fairy’ (apologies to Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky). Yeah, I know, it’s even more learnèd than The Plumed Serpent. On the other hand, you can find gay bars where muscled guys in serious leather play pool while shooting the shit about opera (and cooking, and, for that matter, baseball). It happens. Gender and sexuality and the presentation of self are complicated.