1st May 2003

Curious Appearance of a Photographer

Seconds into Fellini's Ginger and Fred, the viewer is electrified by the name 'Jacques Henri Lartigue' on one of the very first opening credit screens. Lartigue, known for his pictures of his family in various precarious machines and Ladies of Fashion, pretty much covered the 20th century from the French angle. And here he is, in what seems to be his only cinematic role, as a levitating priest on a dire Italian variety show (another of the 'guests' is a woman who has been paid by the network to give up her television for a month - how she has suffered: she berates the presenter on air for exploiting the poor) - obviously enjoying his time on the other side of the lens. The sad thing is that he died in 1986, the same year that the film was released, so who knows what his career plans were?


2nd May 2003

rogue male

In a city, those who belong in another time can hide. The man on the corner of Berkeley Square (itself a dated location), for instance. He was short, fiftyish, balding: he wore a three piece pinstriped suit (was there a watch chain?), a boldly striped shirt, a burgundy bow tie, gold rimmed spectacles. He postdated wing collars, it seemed, but surely he came from beyond 30 years ago. I leaned towards him as I passed, and he said to his companion,
'. . . areas of opportunity, like manufacturing for example . . .'
Definitely a time fugitive, dodging mortality, holing up in 2003 for a few weeks in an anonymous metropolis. His wardrobe was eccentric though just passable, and he'd not worn the thing that would certainly have got him brought in for questioning:  a hat.


7th May 2003

shanty  shanty  shanty

"I was before the mast in one of Bates' ships, the Herat, and when the order came at dawn to man the windlass I raised this shanty and my shipmates sang the chorus as I never heard it sung before or since - sometimes, even now, I can in fancy hear its mellow notes reverberating amid the fantastic buildings of the palace and see the great flocks of pigeons rising and falling as the strange sounds disturbed them."


8th May 2003

what do we know

eeksypeeksy points out not only that today is Gary Snyder's birthday, but also that he was born in the year Pluto was discovered, 1930. Separate events, yes, but then I thought about the time I went to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff: high among pinewoods, ferns by the trail, white shiplap timbers, the silence of this planet and of all the others. A Snyderish place.


10th May 2003


On the tennis court today - for the first time in 7, 8 years? - it was certainly dramatic. The forehand was a farce, the backhand a tragedy.


12th May 2003

holiday of a lifetime

From the brochure:

. . . the hotel lies among poplars in the watermeadows, and can be accessed on foot along the dykes. Local dishes include pyranomos, a stew made from lamb and squash flavoured with mint, lemon and chilis. A small airstrip alongside the gardens welcomes guests who arrive by aerial means.
Accommodations:   each room is equipped with a kingsize bed, a ceiling fan, and overlooks the cypress terrace.
In-room entertainment:  the hotel subscribes to many satellite services including The Rotifer Channel (see picture), Tardigrada Global, and Protozoon Toons (younger viewers). As part payment of the final bill, guests may take a turn in the kitchens and produce the menu of the day.


13th May 2003

You'd think that one of the more dangerous items you could have on a spacecraft in Earth orbit would be a sawn-off shotgun. Well, it would mean you wouldn't have to listen to that 'Daisy, daisy' nonsense when you offed the computer . . .


15th May 2003

The old mistress was ill, and sent my dismissal
By one even more wrappered and lean and dark
Than that wrapped concierge and imperturbable vassal
Who had bid me begone from her master's Gothic park.

from John Crowe Ransom, Old Mansion


19th May 2003

subway map of the month

Disconcerting stations at which to alight #17: Dermatologico.


23rd May 2003


A calligrapher's recipe for a capital B:

Journey's end.1
A rising mist.2
Rising moon.3

1. The writer makes a line from top to bottom, and upon completion, pauses.
2. The writer moves the pen to the top of the line, and thinking of mist filling the evening valley, makes the first bow of the B.
3. Surprised by the blooming of a full moon over the hills, the writer completes the B with its second and final bow.


29rd May 2003

billions of blue blistering barnacles

Steinbeck says somewhere that every thing on land seems to have its analogue in the sea. For instance:

sea apple
sea biscuit
sea cucumber
sea dragon
sea elephant
sea fan
sea grape
sea hare
sea island
sea jersey
sea kale
sea lemon
sea monkey
sea nettle
sea otter
sea potato
sea quill
sea robin
sea scorpion
sea thistle
sea urchin
sea view
sea wolf
sea x...
sea y...
sea z...

As usual, there are problems compiling an alphalist. 'I' is feeble ('An offshore mooring station where oil tankers can discharge their cargo and from which the oil can be pumped ashore.'), 'J' isn't very good, 'V' is atrocious, and the last three are inevitably not there at all. Suggestions welcome!



. . . her mouth is as an ungrazed meadow,
whose herbage the rain has guaranteed,
in which there is but little dung;
and which is not marked with the feet of animals.
- Antar, Bedouin poet

What is life without jam?
- James Elroy Flecker

A Motto for Life
Set to work, but keep your rifle at hand
Vladimir Lebedev, 1921

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