Miskatonic University Press

Listening to Art Volumes 3–4 in print


I’m delighted to announce that volumes three and four of Listening to Art are now collected in print in a numbered edition of 100 copies.


There’s an offer to listeners that I’ll extend to any readers here. While I have supplies, copies are available at a special price: $20 Canadian for Canadians, $20 US for Americans, and €20 for people anywhere else in the world. Send the money to me (wtd@pobox.com) through PayPal or by an email transfer, and include your full mailing address.

Listening to Art: Volumes 1–2 is still available, at the same price.

Indigenous teaching and learning librarian position at York University Libraries

code4lib libraries york

A new job posting just went up at York University Libraries for an Indigenous teaching and learning librarian (PDF), who will be in the Student Learning and Academic Success department. Applications are due by 01 February 2022.

York University Libraries (YUL) seeks a dynamic and innovative individual to collaborate on the advancements of York University Libraries’ portfolio in support of the teaching and learning community across campus and beyond with a focus on information literacy in both in-person and online teaching environments. The successful candidate will focus on incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge systems and Indigenous pedagogy into information literacy practices, instruction, and initiatives. This continuing appointment position is open to those with some critical understanding of ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

My Interviewing at York University Libraries page is a little out of date (setting aside the pandemic and that we’ve been doing interviews online), but is still good about York and the whole search process. If anyone has any questions about the interview or working at York I’m glad to help or to recommend a colleague.

Listening to Art 10.01


Volume ten of Listening to Art began yesterday, with my painting Listening to Art.

I’m pleased with the bibliography.

Screenshot of the bibliography
Screenshot of the bibliography

Denton, William. “Listening to Art.” Listening to Art. https://listeningtoart.org.

⸻. “William Denton, Listening to Art.” Listening to Art 04, no. 01 (13 November 2018). https://listeningtoart.org/04.01/.

Volumes three and four will be collected in print soon, and I’ll announce when they’re ready for sale.

Chips Channon's diaries


I’m slowly working my way through The Diaries: 1918–38 of Henry “Chips” Channon, edited by Simon Heffer, the first of three volumes of Channon’s full and unexpurgated diaries. I can’t begin to describe the scale of the book (and its footnotes); there are many reviews and this one from the Guardian gives a good sense of it.

Here are some quotes from recent reading. But really every entry is quotable.

Sunday 18 March 1928, with Tallulah Bankhead:

We went to see Tallulah Bankhead. She was asleep and looked ill, but we roused her and in obscure language she complained of an inflamed inside. She is so like a man, yet surrounds herself with the grand luxe of a seductive courtesan.

Tuesday 30 March 1928, with Montague Summers:

Tallulah Bankhead and Berners to lunch. George went home and I slipped surreptitiously down to Richmond to dine with Montague Summers for the second(?) time. That mad erudite old priest, with his tales of witchcraft, sorcery and esoteric beliefs fascinates me. After a bad dinner he whipped me with a dog-whip, which seemed to give him infinite delight, and me only momentary discomfort, so I did not protest. But I will not go there again; I think he is as dangerous as he is brilliant.

Tuesday 18 December 1934 is about the party the night before at the home of Raimund von Hoffmannsthal (who incredibly doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, though his father Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who wrote libretti for Richard Strauss, does) and his wife Alice Astor, who had previously been Princess Obolensky because she was married to Prince Sergei Platonovich Obolensky Neledinsky-Meletzky.

The party had Stimmung—at dawn the Austrian Minister, usually so dignified, was very tipsy and kissed everyone.

The “Austrian Minister” has a footnote (and a Wikipedia entry):

Georg Freiherr von und zu Franckenstein (1878–1953) was Austrian Minister to the Court of St. James’s from 1920 to 1938 when, because of his hostility to the Nazis, he was recalled. He chose to stay in London and become a British subject, and was knighted in July 1938, becoming known as Sir George Franckenstein.

From Saturday 19 January 1935:

Randolph Churchill, the knave of cads, has announced his intention of standing as an independent at Wavertree; that is an Independent Conservative against the “official” National Conservative. He has been threatening to contest Southend, and that would be highly unpleasant although I should win. He has few qualities; he speaks eloquently, he is plausible to meet—at first; then he has charm. But he is unprincipled, uneducated, unkind, untrustworthy and has a fiery temper and an arrogant manner with subordinates. He is covered with pimples; he is nearly always drunk; and he is a famous fornicator, and blabs afterwards. I really dislike him; and he is wildly jealous of me.

Randolph Churchill’s name has a footnote:

Randolph Frederick Edward Spencer-Churchill (1911–68), son of Sir Winston Churchill, spent his life in his father’s shadow, and with few of his qualities and little of his talent. He mostly earned his living by writing and spent five years—1940 to 1945—as a Member of Parliament, before being defeated in the Labour landslide. Lazy and arrogant, he dropped out of Oxford, began to drink heavily and ran up substantial debts, setting a pattern for the rest of his life.

The book is 1002 pages long and full of such detail it will take a long time to get through, but the writing—probably the only aspect of Channon’s life and personality that can be admired—is incredible.

Overheard: Joan Didion


Overheard while out walking.

“I am enjoying my Joan Didion book, though.”

Jerry Lewis Live on the Champs Elysees


Of the many, many, many excellent pieces on SCTV, “Jerry Lewis Live on the Champs Elysees” is one of the best. “Lewis is back, and France has got him!”

Inexplicably Martin Short as Jerry Lewis suddenly appears in a boy’s sailor uniform midway through a harangue:

And the point is, they’re terrified of a perfectionist! And if a Jerry Lewis ain’t gonna get a distribution deal, because of some ferkakte twelve-year-old with the pimples on his face, who’s head of the studio—this week—who doesn’t know from Hardly Working or The Errand Boy or Cinderfella, who only knows from Eva Braun with the big fahoyvens or the airplane smashing into the thing. Where are you, the public, expected to find the love, and the caring, and the feeling, and the good, and the nice? And even if you did, it wouldn’t be the good kind, because of the difference caused by the earlier thing.

Absolute genius.

(I can’t not point out it should be “Champs-Élysées,” and Martin Scorsese’s name is misspelled. Having Scorsese direct is a beautiful touch.)

Might as well be Canadian

literature quotes

From John Clute’s A portrait of the burn of the world, a review of William Gibson’s All Tomorrow’s Parties:

There are several occupants of the previous books: Rydell, a man so incapable of protagonist moves of a generic sort he might as well be Canadian; Rei Toei, the Idoru herself, the hologrammatic artifact composed of information, growing denser by the second; Chevette and Fontaine from the first book; and others.

A man so incapable of protagonist moves of a generic sort he might as well be Canadian. Damn, that’s cold.

(See also Clute’s entry on William Gibson in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.)

Stony Lake Sounds

field.recordings stony.lake

This summer I had a short piece called “Stony Lake Sounds” in The Islander, the annual publication of the Association of Ston(e)y Lake Cottagers. Many thanks to the editor, Kate Bonnycastle, for being interested!

Stony Lake Sounds has field recordings and links to accompany it. A free two-hour recording of a July 2020 dawn chorus is available for download!

First page of article
First page of article
Second page of article
Second page of article

(My apologies for the right-hand side being cut off. The pages are little wider than my scanner handles.)

Bill Arney dead


I was sorry to read on Don Herron’s site that Bill Arney has died. I mentioned him last year: he lived in Dashiell Hammett’s old apartment at 891 Post St. in San Francisco, where Hammett lived when he wrote The Maltese Falcon. In 2008 I took Don’s Hammett walking tour, and Arney let us come up so I could see the place. I was thinking about it again a couple of weeks ago when I watched John Huston’s film version again.

Overheard: The next thing


Overheard while out walking, spoken by two young women who were going the other way:

“I missed it when it was popular, and now it’s super-popular.”

“It was best ten years ago.”

“Now I don’t know what the next thing is.”

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