"I’m ten years younger, two stone heavier, and I haven’t had my nuts taken off by academia"

A list of great literary feuds would be a long one. They’re all at it aren’t they?

Who can forget Salman “somewhere in Las Vegas there’s probably a male prostitute called ‘John Updike'” Rushdie? The effervescing Barnes vs Amis relationship or how about Tibor Fischer vs Amis or in fact just about anyone vs Amis? Then of course there’s Germaine Greer vs anyone Amis hasn’t got around to having a go at yet and – an all-time personal favourite this – the greatest living Bristolian Julie Burchill-Camille Paglia fax war of 1993, ending with those immortal words:

Dear Professor Paglia,
Fuck off you crazy old dyke.
Always,
Julie Burchill

But now Bristol can at last lay claim to its first literary feud of the online age as the The Bristol Blogger and Bristol Traffic size each other for a heavyweight bout over the exact words used in George Orwell’s 1941 essay on patriotism The Lion and the Unicorn.

Orwell had no room for cyclists in his vision of Britain says Bristol Traffic. They say the most famous line in the essay went:

old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning

Before telling us:

No mention of bicycles. They are a foreign invention. Possibly even Scottish. No, what Orwell celebrated included “the to-and-fro of the lorries on the Great North Road”, windy country roads, and the motor car.

Bollocks says the Blogger. Orwell’s line is:

old maids biking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning

Comments and emails have been exchanged and alas the two titans of the local blogosphere are still at loggerheads.

So there’s nothing for it but a duel …

And to give it not only a certain Jules Vernesque literary quality but a proper Bristolian feel, we propose a hot air balloon duel with blunderbusses. We’ll settle this at 1,000 feet above the city.

So come on Bristol Traffic, let’s us know when you’ve got the hot air balloon and blunderbuss and we’ll meet you at Ashton Court at dawn.

The Blogger’s already getting serious sponsorship enquiries from Parking Services and the Association of British Drivers!

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5 Responses to "I’m ten years younger, two stone heavier, and I haven’t had my nuts taken off by academia"

  1. We are a team, and outnumber you. It would not be fair. And we reserve the right to be wrong. Chris H corrected our Oceania has always been at war with eastasia/eurasia quote last time, and your printed copy is probably more valid than the online one used as a resource.

    Maybe the US reprint of the essay was edited to remove the bicycle reference as being unamerican, or the person typing it in misread it. There aren’t enough copies of either phrase up online to rely on majority votes.

    A proper bristolian duel would be a race across the city. Whoever gets that WessexConnect 587 bus seen in the post this week will win.

  2. Eugene Byrne says:

    You should settle it like gentlemen on the Downs at dawn.
    Both parties mounted on fine thoroughbred English war-bicycles. Jousting with brooms, size and and weight to be agreed by both parties’ seconds.
    The field of honour goes to whoever unseats his opponent, defined as three limbs and/or arse touching the ground.
    You should of course wear helmets and cricket boxes, and pad your clothes with back-issues of Venue.
    Do it for a local good cause via http://www.justgiving.com and I’m in for a tenner as long as it’s not an animal charity.
    Side-bets would also be encouraged.
    Should draw quite a crowd. So much the better if the police try to ban it.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    A bicycle joust? We can probably get a grant off cycling city for that too.

  4. On the downs! not on bicycle!

  5. Trost says:

    Cyclepath’s the place for cycle jousting – extra points for skewering those annoying kids and dogs that get in the way

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