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.
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!