Antihowl

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and Sir W. Pen and I had a word or two, where by opposing him in not being willing to excuse a mulct put upon the purser of the James, absent from duty, he says, by his business and order, he was mighty angry, and went out of the office like an asse discontented: At which I am never a whit sorry; I would not have [him] think that I dare not oppose him, where I see reason and cause for it.
Home to dinner, and then by coach abroad about several businesses to several places, among others to Westminster Hall, where, seeing Howlett’s daughter going out of the other end of the Hall, I followed her if I would to have offered talk to her and dallied with her a little, but I could not overtake her.
Then calling at Unthank’s for something of my wife’s not done, a pretty little gentlewoman, a lodger there, came out to tell me that it was not yet done, which though it vexed me yet I took opportunity of taking her by the hand with the boot, and so found matter to talk a little the longer to her, but I was ready to laugh at myself to see how my anger would not operate, my disappointment coming to me by such a messenger. Thence to Doctors’ Commons and there consulted Dr. Turner about some differences we have with the officers of the East India ships about goods brought by them without paying freight, which we demand of them.
So home to my office, and there late writing letters, and so home to supper and to bed, having got a scurvy cold by lying cold in my head the last night.
This day Captain Taylor brought me a piece of plate, a little small state dish, he expecting that I should get him some allowance for demorage of his ship “William,” kept long at Tangier, which I shall and may justly do.

the pen and I had a word or two
not willing to use ink for a howl

anger would appoint me a messenger
if I brought it to my writing

cold as a captain
expecting demurrage


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 7 November 1663, written under the influence of Meshuggah.

Rumination

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall

(Lord’s day). And was mightily pleased to see my house clean and in good condition, but something coming into my wife’s head, and mine, to be done more about bringing the green bed into our chamber, which is handsomer than the red one, though not of the colour of our hangings, my wife forebore to make herself clean to-day, but continued in a sluttish condition till to-morrow. I after the old passe, all the day within doors, I finding myself neither to fart nor go to stool after one stool in the morning, the effect of my electuary last night. And the greatest of my pain I find to come by my straining to get something out backwards, which strains my yard and cods, so as to put me to a great and long pain after it, and my pain and frequent desire to make water; what I must therefore forbear.
For all this I eat with a very good stomach, and as much as I use to do, and so I did this noon, and staid at home discoursing and doing things in my chamber, altering chairs in my chamber, and set them above in the red room, they being Turkey work, and so put their green covers upon those that were above, not so handsome.
At night fell to reading in the Church History of Fuller’s, and particularly Cranmer’s letter to Queen Elizabeth, which pleases me mightily for his zeal, obedience, and boldness in a cause of religion.
After supper to bed as I use to be, in pain, without breaking wind and shitting.

after a day within doors
I get a great desire to eat a stomach
green and full
as an old religion


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 11 October 1663, erased while listening to Brain Tentacles.

Issue

Up, after much pleasant talke with my wife and a little that vexes me, for I see that she is confirmed in it that all that I do is by design, and that my very keeping of the house in dirt, and the doing of this and any thing else in the house, is but to find her employment to keep her within and from minding of her pleasure, in which, though I am sorry to see she minds it, is true enough in a great degree.
To my office, and there we sat and despatched much business. Home and dined with my wife well, and then up and made clean my closet of books, and had my chamber a third time made very clean, so that it is now in a very fine condition.
Thence down to see some good plank in the river with Sir W. Batten and back again, it being a very cold day and a cold wind. Home again, and after seeing Sir W. Pen, to my office, and there till late doing of business, being mightily encouraged by every body that I meet withal upon the ‘Change and every where else, that I am taken notice of for a man that do the King’s business wholly and well. For which the Lord be praised, for I know no honour I desire more.
Home to supper, where I find my house very clean from top to bottom again to my great content. I found a feacho (as he calls it) of fine sugar and a case of orange-flower water come from Mr. Cocke, of Lisbon, the fruits of my last year’s service to him, which I did in great justice to the man, a perfect stranger. He sends it me desiring that I would not let Sir J. Minnes know it, from whom he expected to have found the service done that he had from me, from whom he could expect nothing, and the other failed him, and would have done I am sure to this day had not I brought it to some end.
After supper to bed.

from the river
a cold body

from each flower a fruit
a perfect stranger

from me no one


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 27 August 1663, written while listening to Entheos.

Industrial revolution

Up very early and removed the things out of my chamber into the dining room, it being to be new floored this day. So the workmen being come and falling to work there, I to the office, and thence down to Lymehouse to Phin. Pett’s about masts, and so back to the office, where we sat; and being rose, and Mr. Coventry being gone, taking his leave, for that he is to go to the Bath with the Duke to-morrow, I to the ‘Change and there spoke with several persons, and lastly with Sir W. Warren, and with him to a Coffee House, and there sat two hours talking of office business and Mr. Wood’s knavery, which I verily believe, and lastly he tells me that he hears that Captain Cocke is like to become a principal officer, either a Controller or a Surveyor, at which I am not sorry so either of the other may be gone, and I think it probable enough that it may be so.
So home at 2 o’clock, and there I found Ashwell gone, and her wages come to 50s., and my wife, by a mistake from me, did give her 20s. more; but I am glad that she is gone and the charge saved.
After dinner among my joyners, and with them till dark night, and this night they made an end of all; and so having paid them 40s. for their six days’ work, I am glad they have ended and are gone, for I am weary and my wife too of this dirt.
My wife growing peevish at night, being weary, and I a little vexed to see that she do not retain things in her memory that belong to the house as she ought and I myself do, I went out in a little seeming discontent to the office, and after being there a while, home to supper and to bed.
To-morrow they say the King and the Duke set out for the Bath.
This noon going to the Exchange, I met a fine fellow with trumpets before him in Leadenhall-street, and upon enquiry I find that he is the clerk of the City Market; and three or four men carried each of them an arrow of a pound weight in their hands. It seems this Lord Mayor begins again an old custome, that upon the three first days of Bartholomew Fayre, the first, there is a match of wrestling, which was done, and the Lord Mayor there and Aldermen in Moorefields yesterday: to-day, shooting: and to-morrow, hunting. And this officer of course is to perform this ceremony of riding through the city, I think to proclaim or challenge any to shoot. It seems that the people of the fayre cry out upon it as a great hindrance to them.

I spoke with coffee
like a dark ear of night

and went out
into the leaden street

men carried the weight of the fields
yesterday today and tomorrow
through the city


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 25 August 1663, written while listening to Godflesh’s classic album Streetcleaner.

Arsonist (videopoem)

Here’s a new videopoem I’ve been working on this week, incorporating text from two recent Pepys erasures. Both were written under the influence of heavy metal, so it seemed necessary to find a metal-ish soundtrack. Fortunately, there are some good bands still using Soundcloud and releasing content under permissive Creative Commons licences, and the Dublin-based industrial metal band Voxillary is one of them. For the images, I used a combination of some recent, off-the-cuff videos of my own and clips from a marvelous old home movie in the Prelinger Archives, brought to my attention by a link several weeks ago on Twitter from author and Twitter humorist Steve Huff.

I thought about recording a reading to combine with the music, but in the end went with text-on-screen, which has been my choice more and more of late, I’m not sure why. But if you want to hear a version of the song with lyrics, it already exists. And good lyrics they are.

Looking back

(Lord’s day). Lay, being weary and not very well last night, long asleep. Anon, about 7 a-clock, the maid calls me, telling me that my Lady Batten had sent twice to invite me to go with them to Walthamstow to-day, Mrs. Martha being married already this morning to Mr. Castle, at this parish church. I could not rise soon enough to go with them, but got myself ready, and so to Games’s, where I got a horse and rode thither very pleasantly, only coming to make water I found a stopping, which makes me fearful of my old pain.
Being come thither, I was well received, and had two pair of gloves, as the rest, and walked up and down with my Lady in the garden, she mighty kind to me, and I have the way to please her.
A good dinner and merry, but methinks none of the kindness nor bridall respect between the bridegroom and bride, that was between my wife and I, but as persons that marry purely for convenience.
After dinner to church by coach, and there my Lady, Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Lemon, and I only, we, in spite to one another, kept one another awake; and sometimes I read in my book of Latin plays, which I took in my pocket, thinking to have walked it.
An old doting parson preached. So home again, and by and by up and homewards, calling in our way (Sir J. Minnes and I only) at Mr. Batten’s (who with his lady and child went in another coach by us), which is a very pretty house, and himself in all things within and without very ingenious, and I find a very fine study and good books.
So set out, Sir J. Minnes and I in his coach together, talking all the way of chymistry, wherein he do know something, at least, seems so to me, that cannot correct him, Mr. Batten’s man riding my horse, and so home and to my office a while to read my vows, then home to prayers and to bed.

night calls me to myself
an earful of old pain

two loves have I
and only one pocket

arson is a pretty house
with ingenious chemistry


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 5 July 1663, written while listening to Thrawsunblat’s new album, Metachthonia.

Sweet nothing

Up, but cannot get up so early as I was wont, nor my mind to business as it should be and used to be before this dancing. However, to my office, where most of the morning talking of Captain Cox of Chatham about his and the whole yard’s difference against Mr. Barrow the storekeeper, wherein I told him my mind clearly, that he would be upheld against the design of any to ruin him, he being we all believed, but Sir W. Batten his mortal enemy, as good a servant as any the King has in the yard.
After much good advice and other talk I home and danced with Pembleton, and then the barber trimmed me, and so to dinner, my wife and I having high words about her dancing to that degree that I did enter and make a vow to myself not to oppose her or say anything to dispraise or correct her therein as long as her month lasts, in pain of 2s. 6d. for every time, which, if God pleases, I will observe, for this roguish business has brought us more disquiett than anything has happened a great while.
After dinner to my office, where late, and then home; and Pembleton being there again, we fell to dance a country dance or two, and so to supper and bed. But being at supper my wife did say something that caused me to oppose her in, she used the word devil, which vexed me, and among other things I said I would not have her to use that word, upon which she took me up most scornfully, which, before Ashwell and the rest of the world, I know not now-a-days how to check, as I would heretofore, for less than that would have made me strike her. So that I fear without great discretion I shall go near to lose too my command over her, and nothing do it more than giving her this occasion of dancing and other pleasures, whereby her mind is taken up from her business and finds other sweets besides pleasing of me, and so makes her that she begins not at all to take pleasure in me or study to please me as heretofore. But if this month of her dancing were but out (as my first was this night, and I paid off Pembleton for myself) I shall hope with a little pains to bring her to her old wont. This day Susan that lived with me lately being out of service, and I doubt a simple wench, my wife do take her for a little time to try her at least till she goes into the country, which I am yet doubtful whether it will be best for me to send her or no, for fear of her running off in her liberty before I have brought her to her right temper again.

this morning is a clear ruin
a mortal barb

words make anything
to raise disquiet

but the word devil
that word full of world

is a nothing as sweet
as my first little doubt


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 21 May 1663, written while listening to Myrkur’s album
M.

Tarantism

Up and to my office, and anon home and to see my wife dancing with Pembleton about noon, and I to the Trinity House to dinner and after dinner home, and there met Pembleton, who I perceive has dined with my wife, which she takes no notice of, but whether that proceeds out of design, or fear to displease me I know not, but it put me into a great disorder again, that I could mind nothing but vexing, but however I continued my resolution of going down by water to Woolwich, took my wife and Ashwell; and going out met Mr. Howe come to see me, whose horse we caused to be set up, and took him with us. The tide against us, so I went ashore at Greenwich before, and did my business at the yard about putting things in order as to their proceeding to build the new yacht ordered to be built by Christopher Pett, and so to Woolwich town, where at an alehouse I found them ready to attend my coming, and so took boat again, it being cold, and I sweating, with my walk, which was very pleasant along the green corne and pease, and most of the way sang, he and I, and eat some cold meat we had, and with great pleasure home, and so he took horse again, and Pembleton coming, we danced a country dance or two and so broke up and to bed, my mind restless and like to be so while she learns to dance. God forgive my folly.

dancing out of fear
is a great disorder

water going out with the tide
green and cold as old meat

we danced and broke
to be less like God


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 20 May 1663, and written under the influence of Agorophobic Nosebleed’s album
Arc.

Immortal bird

Up and after taking leave of Sir W. Batten, who is gone this day towards Portsmouth (to little purpose, God knows) upon his survey, I home and spent the morning at dancing; at noon Creed dined with us and Mr. Deane of Woolwich, and so after dinner came Mr. Howe, who however had enough for his dinner, and so, having done, by coach to Westminster, she to Mrs. Clerke and I to St. James’s, where the Duke being gone down by water to-day with the King I went thence to my Lord Sandwich’s lodgings, where Mr. Howe and I walked a while, and going towards Whitehall through the garden Dr. Clerk and Creed called me across the bowling green, and so I went thither and after a stay went up to Mrs. Clerke who was dressing herself to go abroad with my wife. But, Lord! in what a poor condition her best chamber is, and things about her, for all the outside and show that she makes, but I found her just such a one as Mrs. Pierce, contrary to my expectation, so much that I am sick and sorry to see it.
Thence for an hour Creed and I walked to White Hall, and into the Park, seeing the Queen and Maids of Honour passing through the house going to the Park. But above all, Mrs. Stuart is a fine woman, and they say now a common mistress to the King, as my Lady Castlemaine is; which is a great pity. Thence taking a coach to Mrs. Clerke’s, took her, and my wife, and Ashwell, and a Frenchman, a kinsman of hers, to the Park, where we saw many fine faces, and one exceeding handsome, in a white dress over her head, with many others very beautiful. Staying there till past eight at night, I carried Mrs. Clerke and her Frenchman, who sings well, home, and thence home ourselves, talking much of what we had observed to-day of the poor household stuff of Mrs. Clerke and mere show and flutter that she makes in the world; and pleasing myself in my own house and manner of living more than ever I did by seeing how much better and more substantially I live than others do.
So to supper and bed.

mouth gone down
towards the owl

she makes us see our passing
is common as ash

fine hands over the night
sing of what we serve

the stuff and flutter of living
more than others


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 18 May 1663, made while listening to the band Immortal Bird.

Besieged

Up betimes and put up some things to send to Brampton. Then abroad to the Temple, and up and down about business, and met Mr. Moore; and with him to an alehouse in Holborn; where in discourse he told me that he fears the King will be tempted to endeavour the setting the Crown upon the little Duke, which may cause troubles; which God forbid, unless it be his due! He told me my Lord do begin to settle to business again, which I am glad of, for he must not sit out, now he has done his own business by getting his estate settled, and that the King did send for him the other day to my Lady Castlemaine’s, to play at cards, where he lost 50l.; for which I am sorry, though he says my Lord was pleased at it, and said he would be glad at any time to lose 50l. for the King to send for him to play, which I do not so well like.
Thence home, and after dinner to the office, where we sat till night, and then made up my papers and letters by the post, and so home to dance with Pembleton.
This day we received a baskett from my sister Pall, made by her of paper, which hath a great deal of labour in it for country innocent work.
After supper to bed, and going to bed received a letter from Mr. Coventry desiring my coming to him to-morrow morning, which troubled me to think what the business should be, fearing it must be some bad news in Tom Hater’s business.

time and fear devour us

which God is glad now
to play at cards

like a night made of paper
I bled ink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 14 May 1663. (Erased while listening to the Gorguts EP
Pleiades’ Dust, about the Mongol destruction of the House of Wisdom during the 1258 Siege of Baghdad).