This is your time for fulgour. No need to think it vulgar; it’s fine to shine flagrantly. Raise your rays and enubilate yourself. Let those prone to heliotaxis hail a taxi or hop on the omnibus towards your nimbus. All will hallow your halo; all will be effusive about your effulgence.

This word, fulgour, comes from Latin fulgor, but as you can see, now are in it. (In fact, the slipped into it in Old French and was retained by English – though the Americans have left out cold, as they do.) The Latin word means ‘brilliance, radiance, splendor, glory’, and so on and so on, and so does the English; it can also name a dazzling beam of light or similar manifestation. Related words include fulgurant, fulgencyfulgorid, and a full group of others.

Does the sound of this word seem to lack the crisp éclat of coruscation or sparkle, the air-slicing sheen of shine, or the bursting swirl of brilliance? We may be conditioned to find /f/ too soft or goofy, and to think dimly of the lurking and gulping /ʌlg/ (with its “dark l” making it more like /ʌɰg/), and not to esteem the brutish growl of the final /ɹ/. We are more the fools, perhaps, because the Latin original was more like “fool gore,” with a high rounded vowel and a full tongue-tip liquid.

But you need neither fool nor gore to be full of glory. This is your time to gleam across our gulf. It’s always perihelion when you’re the sun. All others will climb hills to be closer to you, or will lie out on the shingled strand to receive your gleaming pearls. Instead of saying “Who?” when they see your ray, they will say “Hooray!” as you burst forth on the world and illuminate them all with your flare and your flair. Your followers will carry your flag and be engulfed in your fulgour. So rise and shine!


The opening words of Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem, breathing in as a barely felt but well-needed touch in a quiet moment, are “Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden.” In English, we know that line from Matthew 5:4 as “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Those who need solace shall have it. Continue reading


Some days lately it’s almost impossible not, by the end of the day, to be stunkard. However bright and chirpy you may arise in the donzerly light, by the gathering of the gloaming you are gloomy and ready for a cup or two or seven and a half of analgesic, anaesthetic, or liquor of lethe. Continue reading


A fenester is a fenster in the fenestration allowing a finesse from the sinister finster infinity to the fine and friendly finite interior. Continue reading

artophagous, creatophagous, euryphagous, lotophagous

And so at last the weekend for the weakened trundles towards us as a languid juggernaut. I will take my small cool folding computer and I will do a little work in the galleria of the art gallery, and then my eyes will dine on artistic creations: paintings, sculptures, architecture, and spectating humans. The latest exhibition in the gallery is by a noted European painter, famed for depictions of luxuriant corpulence. And then I will head home to rest, and in the morning we will load up a car and drive to visit family and have an almighty long-weekend feast consisting of… well, many people like to have “turkey and all the trimmings” but we’re going to be having “Chinese takeout” and “lots and lots of it” because it’s “easier.” And there will be wine, and after breaking bread and sharing meat I am very likely to lapse into syncope on a sofa for a time while nearby pre-teens plot the demolition of the universe.

I am, tl;dr, looking forward to an artophagous, creatophagous, euryphagous, lotophagous weekend. Continue reading

nuit blanche

Nuit blanche. French. Two words, one syllable each: /nɥi blɑ̃ʃ/. When spoken aloud, soothing. When whispered, like an invitation to something secret. It means, literally, ‘white night’.

How can a night be white? What if the night is never black? Is it a night in white satin, never reaching the end? If a night is white, it can’t end because it can’t become light. When dawn comes, how will you know it’s dawn? Is there any special art to it? Does a white knight appear? Is the knight in white satin? Continue reading


I overheard a guy going on to his friend about how long Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson was. “I get it!” he said with exasperation. “It’s about numbers.”

Schmetterlingsaufspiesser. Continue reading