Friday, April 11, 2014

Re-read the first volume of Fielding's Tom Jones - after a gap of ... oh, thirty years? I kept chuckling (I don't remember finding it so funny).

This time through I have an eraser to hand to remove the cringe-making pencil annotations by my younger self. How could I have missed what really mattered?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


A: You know what?
B: No.
A: Write what you know.
B: Now?
A: Right.
B: What you know?
A: What you know now.
B: Right.
A: What do you know, now?
B: Right now?
A: Right. Write it.
B: Write now?
A: So it is written.
B: What is written?
A: What is written will be.
B: (cautiously) Right …
A: That which is written.
B: (sarcastically) What do you know…
A: (pedantically) No.What you know you know now.
B: Now know?
A: Know now.
B: (brightly) As against before?
A: Right. Before.
B: Right before now?
A: After.
B: (carefully) After now…
A: No. Write after now.
B: (losing interest) Afterwards.
A: (impatiently) No. Now.
B: (irritated) Now what?
A: About now?
B: No.
A: Right about now.
B: Too right.
A: (school mistress) To be right.
B: Right around.
A: Right around about what?
B: (mock astonishment) What about that!
A: What?
B: Writing!
A: Writing about what that is.
B: (puzzled) That is …
A: Writing about you know what.
B: (embarrassed) That?
A: That you know.
B: (defensively) No!
A: No – you know.
B: (gloomily) No one knows.
A: No. No. No.
B: Then what?
A: No…
B: Then why?
A: No …
B: Then which?
A: Then no.
B: Then why write?
A: It is written.
B: So you say.
A: (losing heart) So it says.
B: You say so.
A: (hopelessly) Who knows?
B: (uncertainly) So no it is then...
A: So it is.
B: (smugly) So will it be.


A: (giving in) Right then.
B: Maybe …

(from an old notebook April-July '05 & fiddled with today - making a virtue out of treading water)  

Monday, April 07, 2014

it happens like this sometimes ...


"... did Nature meet up to your expectations?" (e-mail from


Digging out an old copy of The Wire for The Primer on Xenakis, I find Broadcast feature in The Invisible Jukebox. And one of the tracks? A song off Parallelograms. Thus, a fascinating constellation of Trish Keenan - Linda Perhacs - Julia Holter.


In the post: Michael Pisaro's Tombstones. I'm listening to it now as I type against the ambient noise of the street: tiles being sawn opposite, thumps & bangs from the work next door, sporadic air traffic, cars rounding the corner. I'm not sure whether to be irritated or accept that such sonic parasites are part of the point.


Oh, & I found my Minidisc player in a box covered in dust from when we knocked the houses together. Quite a few discs, too. & the microphone. I wipe everything down & put in a new battery. Astonishingly it works - I rig it through the hi-fi & there's a 15 year old recording of Humphrey Lyttleton chairing I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

It occurs to me that I could feed it into the iMac & - with Audacity - I could experiment with some sound files.

Off now with E. to do some field recordings in the woods.

This is what holidays are for.


Friday, April 04, 2014

I notice that in the list of candidates to replace Bruce Forsyth as presenter of Strictly Come Dancing there is no option: Who Cares?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A sentence I thought I would never write: I washed my car this afternoon. What better proof of turning 50 & total submission to suburban weekend conformity? Who'd have thought it?

OK, I can hear the sniggers. By way of explanation, I did (on occasions) take the previous car to the car wash. & I would (on occasions) do the interior. However, during the past couple of months we've had the combined effects of building work next door, the railway line development, new water pipes being laid in the road parallel plus unusually high air pollution (smog warnings on the Ring etc). I'd started to notice a thick layer of silt each morning for the past week or so & deduced this was probably not very good for the paintwork. According to the Renault dealer, the auto car wash isn't the best solution & therefore ...

How many times had I seen my Dad do it but not paid attention? Anyway, I worked it out on my own : a general hose down first; a soaping on top with another hosing; the sides, bonnet & back & another hosing; then the wheels etc.. Windows. Then a quick polish. Easy peasy, really, can't think why I didn't do it before - another of those 'male myths' that vanish with the slightest breeze. OK I didn't do a wax polish (or Brazilian) there are limits but the result looks pretty spiffy. In a weird way it was ... almost enjoyable.

What next? Put up a shelf?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plenty of reactions today to the 'new look' & all favourable (more or less). The general consensus is that they are "really quite trendy" & make me look younger. No one used to say that back in the seventies as I recall.

A couple were a bit strange - one colleague asked whether I'd worn contacts before (me?!) while the other said I looked like 'Where's Waldo?' (or Wally or Charlie depending on your edition). Or maybe that was an effect of the shirt.

Driving is fine & most of the essential day-to-day stuff (stairs, walking in & out of rooms). Reading & writing are still a bit of an experiment - distances, angles, etc..

Still seeing how it goes ...

Saturday, March 22, 2014


For any Viv Stanshall fans out there there's still time to catch Radio 4 Extra's 3 hour special. It went out at 9am this morning but it will be broadcast again at 7pm (& there's always iPlayer). 

Have an unusual day ...


The new specs have arrived & so here's a photo so my Mum can see what they're like. (& no, I've not suddenly embraced the 'selfie'). 

The first impressions were good: as if miraculously the world had acquired a new-found clarity & precision. Car number plates! Individual blades of grass! A new tint of blue to the sky! Then, ten minutes later, sitting trying to read a poem by Devin Johnston over a coffee I found I couldn't focus on the words. The penny dropped that this was the famous polyfocal effect - where before I would tip my head & look through my grubby old lenses at a distance from my nose, now I am supposed to keep my head straight & look down through the lower third. Panic! - I simply don't & can't read that way, I need the whole page

I return to the optician. He's most understanding & tells me it's perfectly normal & that my eyes & brain will start to adjust. I explain that I feel as though my existence has suddenly shrunk to about 5 per cent. It'll be like living in a corridor. No, he explains, the gradient will become more tolerable, just give it a few days. 

In the most literal sense, I'll have to see. Typing this I'm lifting & dropping my head to experiment with focus. Already I've discovered that I can read books at arm's length which is perhaps a good way to start acclimatising if a little comical. 

As for the 'new look' the irony is that they're pretty much the same frames I had back in the 70s. The thin metal styles are - I'm told - 'out' & these are terribly "tendance". It seems they also make me look younger than the owl-eyes circular style (cf Huxley & Walter Benjamin) I'd picked out initially. Then again, who am I to judge? K & the girls have given them the thumbs up which, I suppose, is all that matters. 

& I've been given strict instructions to clean the lenses only with water & a little soap. The wipes I've been buying damage the coatings. So that's a saving of sorts.