Saturday, 28 August 2010

Keats and Chapman

Keats and Chapman were once obliged to make a journey across the city by public transport. They boarded a bus and it set off. The vehicle was quite ancient and close to obsolescence, and its progress was erratic. This was made worse by the fact that it was a very windy day, and every time the bus passed a side-street or a gap in the buildings, it was struck by violent side-winds and caused to lurch terribly, as if about to capsize. Also the window-catches were defective, the windows would not close, and great draughts of air made it impossible for Chapman to continue to hold his copy of The Thunderer before himself to read. Chapman, being able to stand no more, paradoxically stood. He seized the conductor and began to make loud protestations about the fitness-for-purpose of the bus. The conductor took him on, arguing strongly that no one but Chapman was complaining. The exchanges between them became (in best cliché fashion) heated, and Chapman was within moments of being put off at the next stop. Keats, however, rose and put a placatory hand on the shoulder of each one of them.

“Gentlemen,” he said. “De gusty bus non disputandum est.”


Keats and Chapman were at home, each at peace reading a newspaper. Chapman looked up from the cartoon page, and remarked on the genius of the American artist Charles M Schultz in the way that he made the little bird Woodstock talk to his pal Snoopy in a series of minuscule, vertical penstrokes.

“Talk is cheep,” observed Keats.


Keats was trying to listen to the Test Match on the radio one day, but was disturbed by Chapman, who was roaming from room to room in their shared apartment, overturning stuff, opening drawers, and cursing loudly. It became too much to bear when Chapman burst into the lounge where Keats was sitting and started to ransack the place. Keats sighed, switched off the radio, and asked Chapman what the divvil he thought he was playing at.

Chapman said, "I've been looking for my copy of Homer. It's nowhere to be found. A mystery! In my opinion it's been stolen!"

"I'll look into it," said Keats.

(With apologies to the memory of the late Flann O’Brien)


  1. Wonderful stuff, let the adventures of Keats and Chapman continue for evermore!

  2. I'm sure they will - that's half the trouble!

  3. Murphy beaucoup

    (Jings, THERE's one for later!)

  4. Dear Marie

    I enjoyed your Keats and Chapman anecdotes. I have written about the phenomenon and collected most of my stories on my web site, the URL for which I have great trouble remembering (Google my surname, Keats, Chapman, and you'll find me; I am in my 70s and had a stroke six years ago, is my excuse for not remembering things). I first started writing K&C stories in 1969, not long after reading Flann O'Brien/Myles na gCopaleen. May I send you my latest story, "Chapman's Nephews", as a matter of interest? It's in its fourth and probably final draft.

    John Bangsund

  5. John, I hope you have read my other Keats-and-Chapman tales further on in the blog. I would love to read your "Chapman's Nephews". I am sure I have already visited your site (mainly to make sure we weren't duplicating effort!).