6th june 2005
. . . the old publican, with his glass on the table before him and a cigar gone cold at his lips, looking out of his shrewd little pig's eyes at the intolerable wastes of desolation in front of him. A fat woman lounges, her arm on a cheap yellow chest of drawers, behind him. It is all over with them, one feels. The accumulated weariness of innumerable days has discharged its burden on them.
- Virginia Woolf
You rotten misanthrope Virginia, reading far too much and far too nastily. Can one not be even slightly fat? To me this Sickert is a perfect example of Berryman's 'life, friends, is boring.' And why not say so? Why create a silly narrative instead of enjoying a fine portrayal of the human condition?
7th june 2005
Total number of books I've owned: How should I know? Do people go round counting their books? It stands at about 3-4 bookcases just now, but I was brought up by librarians and so believe you shouldn't even buy books at all. I did have a rule once which went: If you keep it that means you have to read it again sometime, but now I've lapsed into the usual Well it looks good on the shelf doesn't it, I may even read it later on.
Last book I bought: (ahem) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. Well, I work for a small publisher; but I haven't made much of an inroad into it - other people's jargon invented for their books is fairly excruciating. Enhancers? Connectors? It's a bit like reading Carl Sagan.
Last book I read: The London Companion by Jo Swinnerton. It's a little hardback in the rip-off-of-Schott's-Miscellany vein; and it's full of mistakes. I'm saving 'em up to email to the author.
Last book I finished: The Book of Shadows by Don Paterson. Didn't buy it, borrowed it from embleton. A book of aphorisms by a Scottish musician-poet who's only slightly younger than I am. Recommended. Must read his poems some time.
Five books that mean a lot to me, oh blimey:
Five people I want to see do this: I wouldn't wilfully put anyone through this. Forget it. Either you volunteer it or nothing.
8th june 2005
the edible city
Having been cranky with Mrs Woolf a couple of days ago, I was reproved by finding London today at its most Mrs Dalloway-ish: warm, sunny, charming and odorous. The lemon-washed squares invited one to take a bite out of their white icing stucco porches, the air was carrying soft vanilla-pastry scents from shaded shop doorways; as Bloomsbury gave way to Euston spice aromas blossomed on Drummond Street. A lunch-hour for lounging in Regent's Park with a raspberry mivvi.
11th june 2005
Flowers for Albert
From Hell's Kitchen to my kitchen: the little boy's just begun on the clarinet and is picking it up pretty fast, reading music and so on, so I wrote out Albert Ayler's Holy Ghost on a bit of manuscript paper and gave it to him. Seconds later, how exciting was this, live Ayler resounding through the house. Makes me feel like scouring ebay for double basses.
14th june 2005
Bimbo Limburger Spam
Inside the great big dusty bag of cassettes in the attic, there are a few jewels to be extracted onto disc before the thing goes to the dump.
16th june 2005
high grade ha
23rd june 2005
Over at geegaw there was mention of Geoffrey Hill, and it reminded me that a long time ago I'd noticed something (so much of the stuff on this site was thought of a long time ago, forgotten and re-remembered); that both he and Ted Hughes once related salmon to pigs:
And where the streams were salt and full
The tough pig-headed salmon strove,
Ramming the ebb, in the tide's pull,
To reach the steady hills above.
- Geoffrey Hill, Genesis
. . . she is rich. She is viewing her lands.
A hoard of king-cups spills from her folds, it blazes, it cannot be hidden.
A salmon, a sow of solid silver,
Bulges to glimpse it.
- Ted Hughes, The River in March
and I wondered if that connection had been made elsewhere.
27th june 2005
brother, you and me both
I sometimes think of this during business meetings - usually at the crucial part, where it would actually help to listen:
He tried to mingle with the people, but it was difficult to go for more than a few minutes without letting out a loud squeal, or rolling on the ground.
paraphrased from Alison Uttley, Sam Pig at the Fair