[...] for the roses

Had the look of flowers that are looked at.

Sara just sent me an article in the Guardian arts blog that has links to Gormley and Goldsworthy. I will put it in the side bar eventually, when I have time to work out how to do it. And I will work out how to create links between words inside the blog.

When I posted "the ties that bind" I searched long and hard for a Philip Larkin poem I remembered about a bow tie walking down the street. I couldn’t find it, but found this be the verse.

Strange I never noticed him in Stevie Smith before:-

Not waving but drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

I'm off on holiday on Saturday, two weeks in a boat, two weeks in the great outdoors, far from blinking screens. I'll miss you.



I got stuck at a passage in Hegel that speaks of lordship and bondage. First of all, I couldn’t accept that the master was just as oppressed by the relationship as the slave, or that the slave got something out of it. Then I couldn’t accept that it was good for both of them that the master be killed – this seems contradictory – why would I want to spare the master if I exclusively identified with the slave?

In any case, I read the following passage over and over but for years I could not assimilate it:

“They must enter into this struggle, for they must bring their certainty of themselves to the level of objective truth, and make this a fact both in the case of the other and in their own case as well. And it is solely by risking life that freedom is obtained; only thus is it tried and proved that the essential nature of self-consciousness is not bare existence, is not the merely immediate form in which it at first makes its appearance, is not its mere absorption in the expanse of life.”

Recently there was a scandal about phone-in competitions on British television being a con.

A spokesman said “If someone has been encouraged to call in and take part in a competition that there is no possibility of them winning then that, in my view, is fraud and the police should be brought in."

The big con, the big fraud. We are all forced to take part in a competition that there is no possibility of winning.

Richard Dawkins: “Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators."



Francoise Guerlin singing Boris Vian

If on a rainy morning

Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the writers whose work I find awe-inspiring.

For the second time, I am reading “An Artist of the Floating World”. Here is the first sentence:

“If on a sunny day you climb the steep path leading up from the little wooden bridge still referred to around here as ‘the Bridge of Hesitation’, you will not have to walk far before the roof of my house becomes visible between the tops of two gingko trees”.

This reminded me of: “If on a winter’s night…” A quick Google search reveals that ‘the first chapter and every odd numbered chapter are in the second person’. Coincidence? I remember not wanting to read Calvino’s book because he had stolen the title from Shakespeare. I can’t find anything to bear that out, now. Maybe I even tried to read it, but, like A Hundred Years of Solitude among other ‘classics’, I couldn’t get into it. This reminds me of people other people keep insisting I should like, but that I feel indifferent towards. The spark of friendship cannot be commanded anymore than the love of a book, or enthusiasm for a film.

Like so many times when I have had very strong reactions, this one may well have been based on a misapprehension. This is an interesting aspect of psychoanalysis. It brings to light the irrational or subjective nature of strong likes and dislikes. In other words, the world is not at war with me. Why, then, am I at war with the world? However, in a way, the world is at war with me, because the world is at war, and I am on it.

Here is a picture I painted last summer. I photographed it because I will probably re-use the canvas this summer, when the light is right. I don’t particularly like it, which is why I feel tempted to paint over it, but I did it and I accept it and it is somehow a statement that is important to me.


Firths and Fourths

Star wars message from Charmaine the other day - “May the fourth be with you”.

Weblog. We blog. Web lock. Backlog. I have come up against resistance. The urge to write here no longer blithely bulldozes through self-consciousness and the fear of ridicule. Everything that comes into my mind under the “I could post this” heading is immediately crushed and nipped in the bud.

I cannot write the truth because someone might read it… I think I may well start an anonymous blog and a blog in French, or some combination of both, to beat at least some of my censors, or follow my original impulse which was to sprout forth freely in one or tother.

In the meantime, what am I actually free to write? That the first thing our new President elect did was fly off in the private jet of a multibillionaire friend and spend three days in said friend’s yacht with a Jacuzzi on the upper deck and a crew of 17 in waiting? Sending the silent message to disinherited urban youth that if they want to enjoy the same privileges, they only have to rise earlier and work harder.

In the picture, the gold structure reminds me of the ominous presence of bridges such as the ones over the Firth of Forth. The
Forth’s Bridges. The original Forth Bridge is a railway bridge which was used as a metaphor for a job that can never be completed – a metal bridge, the paint had to be kept in a decent state of repair to protect it from the salt, and the bridge was so long that as soon as they reached one end it was time to start again at the other end.

Like a kind of giant palimpsest which you don’t have to physically erase, because the signs painted on it disappear gradually over time, through the action of the elements, but that requires regular reinscription just to stay in existence.