Page 52. " Did Columbus feel like this "

Christopher Columbus was an explorer who sailed to the Americas in 1492.

Page 52. " to our House of Fame "

The House of Fame is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer.


God turne us every dreem to gode!

For hit is wonder, be the rode,

To my wit, what causeth swevens

Either on morwes, or on evens...

The full poem

Page 55. " The Zoo decapitated them alive "

Some years ago newspapers reported that London Zoo was performing experiments on some of its 'spare' wallabies, decapitating them whilst conscious, in the interests of scientific research.

Page 58. " a penny slot-machine called 'What the Butler Saw' "
Mutoscope - What the Butler Saw
Creative Commons AttributionMutoscope - What the Butler Saw - Credit: Linda Spashett Storye_book

 What the Butler Saw was a film reel used in a mutoscope - a coin-operated motion-picture device, patented in 1894 and a popular feature of pleasure piers and amusement arcades in the UK.


Page 60. " an arthouse showing of Chabrol or Renoir "

Claude Chabrol is a French film director and a member of the New Wave group of film makers. Jean Renoir (son of the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir) was a film director and actor, and made more than forty films during his lifetime.

Page 60. " Jules et Jim is an action movie "

Jules et Jim is a 1962 French film directed by Francois Truffaut and filmed in black and white.


Page 60. " like Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes "

The detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr Watson are fictional characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887.

It is interesting that the narrator compares his/her happy relationship with Catherine to the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Watson and Holmes did live together for a while, but they were never lovers, only ever friends.



Page 60. " Do you know why Henry Miller said I write with my prick? "

Henry Miller was an American novelist and painter.

The narrator is revisiting the story of Renoir painting with his penis, and telling us another tall tale of replaced genitalia.

Page 61. " All right Christopher Robin? "

 Christopher Robin is a character created by the writer A. A. Milne in his Winnie-the-Pooh books. He is a small boy, sometimes shown wearing a yellow raincoat or mackintosh. He enjoys going on adventures and especially loves the zoo.

Louise refers to the narrator as 'Christopher Robin' because s/he is wet from the rain. However it is interesting to note that s/he is being addressed by a boy's name.



Page 61. " with or without a blue hood "

Presumably this refers to a rain hood (although Christopher Robin's raincoat was yellow), but it could also refer to male or female genitalia (particularly if blue with cold!).

Page 67. " She was not a D. H. Lawrence type "

D.H. Lawrence was an early 20th century English writer. The most famous of his works is Lady Chatterley's Lover, a novel which was banned in the UK until 1960, because of its explicit sexual descriptions and crude language. Lawrence's women tend to be easily overwhelmed by sexual urges and the men who stimulate them.


Page 70. " I went and peed in the coffee pot "

Another gender-tease. A man wouldn't need a toilet seat in order to pee, but a woman might have trouble peeing in a coffee pot!

Page 75. " Is that why Kinsey found that so many prefer sex in the afternoon? "

Alfred Charles Kinsey was an American professor and researcher of human sexuality and sexual practices.



Page 75. " Anna Karenina "

Anna Karenina is a novel by Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Vronsky, a dashing cavalry officer, is Anna's lover.


Page 75. " She sat amongst the rubber plants reading Heart of Darkness "
Collecting Rubber in Forest of Lusambo (Lualaba-Kassai) (c. 1905)
Public DomainCollecting Rubber in Forest of Lusambo (Lualaba-Kassai) (c. 1905) - Credit: Henry Wellington Wack

Heart of Darkness is a novel by Joseph Conrad.

The story recounts an expedition into the Congolese jungle in search of a company agent who has let the Tropics get the better of him, hence the humour of someone reading it whilst surrounded by rubber plants.  Rubber trees come from the Amazon, but large commercial plantations were established in King Leopold's Congo Free State. 

Heart of Darkness on Book Drum

Download the Book Drum enhanced edition

Page 75. " 'Mistah Kurtz - he dead.' "

This a quote from Heart of Darkness.