Words, words, glorious words

Words that come up in the course of my work or reading, words that call out to me either because I’ve never seen them before, or because I have taken them for granted and never taken the trouble to look up what they mean.

Pipistrelles are bats. Pulchritude means physical comeliness. Molten seems to always go with rocks. Unbridgeable gaps. Led by their desire to know.


One day last week General Motors declared bankrupt. An abortion doctor was shot dead in an American church by an anti-abortionist. In France, the RMI became the RSA, to encourage people to work by making sure they earn more when employed than when unemployed. This incentive is being implemented against a background of rising unemployment, which is expected to reach 10% next year. I don’t know if anyone will benefit from it.

I believe that if wealth was redistributed, each member of the human race could live decently, have food and clean drinking water, be given a living wage.

The mayor of London is going to put 31 pianos around the capital for three weeks from the end of June, “with only a couple of metal chains and a laminated songbook for protection against the wiles of vandals and metropolitan musicophobes.”

An Air France plane from Brazil to Paris disappeared off the radar. No trace of it was found for fully a week.

For what it’s worth, I realised that there is “frique” in “Afrique”.

Going back slightly further, Anna Gavalda’s book Je l’aimais was released as a film starring Daniel Auteuil. I watched incredulously as he was interviewed and the film summarised as an account of the experiences of the character he played. That is not how I perceived the book at all. To me, the “Je l’aimais” clearly meant that she was saying that she had really loved him, and not the other way round, where the ambiguity would be about which woman - wife or mistress – he was finally admitting to loving. Or, rather, having loved.

I couldn’t believe that the interview was not with the leading lady rather than the leading man, whose role, to my mind, was secondary. The real love in the book is his mistress’, for she loves him exclusively, even moving to Paris to be near him. But he didn't let her "in".

I fondly remember reading Bertrand Russel’s In Praise of Idleness when I was an avid reader in my youth.

“Naipaul is Conrad's heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in the memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished.”


Fishing for a good time

PerhapsL&F -

Starts with throwing in your line. So sang Tom Waits.

So it’s a question of throwing in a fishing line and waiting for the bite

The tug

The pull

It is not cheating to throw in the line. You won’t catch any fish by throwing yourself in the water and threshing about.

You have to wait. You have to give them something they want.

And some of the fish will steal your worm and make off with it and remain free

but one fish will bite and be hooked

and for many an afternoon you will swing on the gate listening to the empty desolation of the wind

wondering about the brightness of the sun

the silence and the absence

yes for many a summer’s afternoon you will swing on the gate alone, looking at the ground, looking at the empty bottom of the street, looking



being alone

many many afternoons alone

and then the mornings which you never notice, and the evenings, which come later, much later. It took so long to break through to evening loneliness and you haven’t ever really done it… not perfectly. It is never perfect. It was at one time and yet

whatever phase you are in you are not aware of it and waiting for some parameter to change …

you did not know you were free

and so you were not free

you were a prisoner

trapped in your routine

you used to believe in Brownian movement

you used to believe in chance meetings

you don’t anymore

how did this happen