I gave 50p to a chap in the street earlier this afternoon, who followed me into the Co-op in order to spend it, and, once there, asked me whether I was a relative of Hurricane Higgins, who is, or was, I think, a snooker player. I’ve never contemplated any possible physical resemblance between the two of us, and I’m not sure anyone else has, either.

But “who else does Chris look like?” threatens to become a new year meme. A friend sent me this image, just the other day, claiming to detect a “somewhat striking” resemblance. It’s Thomas Burke’s painting, “The Student”, and it hangs in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.

A couple of recent likenesses are below the fold, for people who want to engage in scientific comparisons.

Continue reading “Lookalikes?”

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

You are Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. You’re pretty arrogant, but that pride stems from the deep-seated knowledge that you are generally the most superior creature in any given room. The good news is that you are deeply loyal to your family, and you have a generous and charitable streak, even though most people don’t notice because you are too busy practicing a large vocabulary of stern looks.
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This might seem like a surprising result, but it’s actually quite scientific, in that Josephine did the quiz imagining herself to be me and got the same result, too.

I suppose this means I shall have to finish reading Pride and Prejudice. which happens to be one of those books that I’ve started several times, but never finished, which is curious, given that it’s not exactly a turgid read. [via]

Norm’s Game

I’m not sure this is an entirely scientific game, which is why I’ve felt free to express no preference, or, on occasion, a fourth option.

1. Beatles, Stones or Beach Boys? Beatles, though less than I used to.
2. Kant, Hegel, Marx? Hegel, in a three-way photo-finish. (I enjoy lecturing on Hegel more than on Marx, though I’ll concede that Kant was, in fact, the Greatest Philosopher Ever.)
3. Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble? Scrabble
4. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford? Jack Nicholson, for Chinatown
5. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart? Beethoven, I think, though The Magic Flute is something special.
6. Australia, Canada, New Zealand? New Zealand (filial piety).
7. Groucho, Chico, Harpo? Harpo.
8. Morning, afternoon, evening? Evening.
9. Bridge, Canasta, Poker? Bridge.
10. Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? OBWAT. Didn’t think a great deal of Fargo, and haven’t seen TBL.
11. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau? Rousseau, though Hobbes is, of course, fabulous.
12. Cricket, football, rugby? Cricket. Test Match Cricket.
13. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte? Whichever one of the B’s wrote Wuthering Heights.
14. Parker, Gillespie, Monk? No preference.
15. Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham? Arsenal, I think, because Thierry Henry is so much fun to watch when he’s on form.
16. Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld? Seinfeld (but only because I’ve seen an episode which I enjoyed, which is more than I can say for the other two)
17. Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart? Jimmy Stewart.
18. France, Germany, Italy? Italy.
19. Apple, orange, banana? Banana.
20. Statham, Tyson, Trueman? Too young, I’m afraid. Larwood.
21. Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo? Are these films?
22. Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman? No preference.
23. Chinese, Indian, Thai? Indian.
24. Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi? Handel.
25. Oasis, Radiohead, Blur? No preference.
26. Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, Yes Minister? Yes, Minister.
27. Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw? Ibsen.
28. American football, baseball, basketball? Baseball.
29. FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton? FDR.
30. Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky? Luxemburg.
31. Paris, Rome, New York? Rome.
32. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck? Raymond Chandler.
33. Blue, green, red? Red.
34. Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story? Oklahoma!
35. J.S. Mill, John Rawls, Robert Nozick? John Rawls.
36. Armstrong, Ellington, Goodman? Goodman.
37. Ireland, Scotland, Wales (at rugby)? Wales.
38. The Sopranos, 24, Six Feet Under? No knowledge.
39. Friday, Saturday, Sunday? Saturday.
40. Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear? Macbeth.
41. Fried, boiled, scrambled (eggs)? Fried.
42. Paths of Glory, Cross of Iron, Saving Private Ryan? N/A
43. England, Australia, West Indies (at cricket)? Not Australia. Otherwise, it depends. I’ve certainly cheered for the West Indies against England in my time.
44. Chabrol, Godard, Truffaut? N/A
45. Bringing It All Back Home, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks? John Wesley Harding
46. Trains, planes, automobiles? Trains.
47. North By Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo? Vertigo.
48. Third, Fourth, Fifth (Beethoven Piano Concerto)? Third (Eroica Symphony).
49. Coffee, tea, chocolate? Coffee.
50. Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin? Dublin.


I’m sitting in the Bodleian Lower Reading Room reading Hans W. Blom’s Morality and Causality in Politics: The Rise of Naturalism in Dutch Seventeenth-Century Political Thought when I see that Sarah has dug a hole for me and passed me the spade. Where better to think about books than in the LRR of the B? OK then, very quickly:

1) Total number of books I’ve owned: Thousands, I’m afraid. I don’t spend much money on anything else, and it’d take me too long to make a sensible estimate, especially if it involves books I used to own but don’t any more, for whatever reason.

2) The last book I bought: Probably a critical edition of Paradise Lost, which I’m enjoying (though haven’t got especially far yet).

3) The last book I read: Making Sense of Suicide Missions, ed. Diego Gambetta. Good book.

4) Five books that mean a lot to me (no particular order): Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue; Njal’s Saga; Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose; Arnold Lobell, Owl at Home; Franco Moretti, Atlas of the European Novel, 1800-1900.

5) People to Tag: No-one in particular. Sorry if you should have liked to have been tagged by me.