Thursday, January 29, 2015


I found a newish mp3 file of Miles C chatting with Charles B on Close Listening. Reassuring, in many ways, to hear that the latest volume dates back a good ten years. (So I'm not the only one who works at glacial speeds.)

Amusing, too, to find that on Googling 'Miles Champion' how many running sites spring up. I told you jogging & poetry went hand in hand. (Or should that be feet?).

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Odd peeks out of the window to see if it is snowing ... nothing yet.

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another no show
by the snow

Tuesday, January 27, 2015





This arrives today - a volume I have been waiting for ... several years. It was rumoured & then postponed & then seemed to have disappeared. So finally ...

& what better timing! On a day when I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. Decisions made which leave you aghast & yet circumstances dictate. Take it or leave it. Compromise dressed up as choice.

I am a big fan of Miles' work - all the way back to the first book: Compositional Bonbons Placate. My own Morse Solids was a declared homage to his Sore Models (which, in turn, was a reply to Kit Robinson - if I remember correctly).

Only a quick flip through as yet but I notice that the Amazon image is not, in fact, the actual cover but a drawing within by Trevor Winkfield (a key Miles collaborator).

Anyway ... after a day of dreary pedagogic talk this is the perfect antidote.

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Jog Update ... during the meetings I noticed out of the window the sky clearing & thought ... shoes on ...

4:30 ... Home ... changed ... a brisk walk up the road & into the woods. Having done my circuit (3 km) I check the clock - 20 mins. That's pretty good for me.

Monday, January 26, 2015







Crisis, what crisis?

Walking around the Brussels Art Fair yesterday this thought kept turning around in my mind. Looking at the well-heeled punters as they browsed the stalls it was hard to believe that money was in short supply.

We stopped by a gallery run by a friend of K's exhibiting this particular Tintin cover drawing. The owner asked what I'd estimate as a going price. I paused, weighed up the factors (drawing, not coloured, unsigned, but up for sale in Belgium ...) & hazarded 50,000 euros. The owner smiled indulgently - 2.5 million.

You see?

She admitted that at that this price you'd be unwise to put it on the wall at home. Rather, make a copy & keep the original in the bank vault.

Which is probably why Syriza reckon that they have at least the moral argument on their side.

Sunday, January 25, 2015





Pluck Henry Green's Blindness off the shelf which - I am ashamed to say - I have never actually read (despite finding an old letter from O. sent from Kuwait dated just after the Falklands War & a strip of The Times Newspaper acting as bookmarks in amongst the pages - the Picador 3-to-a-volume edition which I never liked).

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Morning jog: the planned two laps of the Hippodrome are abandoned once I realise it's like a skating rink. Instead, I head off on the usual circuit of the woods & but for a few patches it is safe enough. 22 mins for 3km which, in the circumstances, seems OK.

Rumour has it the pool will open on the 1st April (not, I take it, a joke). So plenty of time to refine the running technique (apparently I have a rather deliberate stride - intellectual, even - that's according to Mme. Waffle who was walking behind me).

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In this icy weather what else but Sibelius' Symphony no.4 (Karajan)? My father loved Sibelius - Morton Feldman & Glenn Gould, too. So I periodically make the effort. Maybe this time I begin to hear something ...

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Saturday, January 24, 2015






And the sun condense
to starves of snow
in the air light
crust to the edge
of the born mind.





(At Winter, Solution Passage, Clark Coolidge)






8:25 ... we awake to a white world ... & it is still snowing.

Unexpected.

& no particular need to go out.

Perfection.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I don't care what anyone says about Punch (the humorous magazine) & consigned it to the dentist's waiting room. I cut my laughing teeth on it - my father's copies kept from the 1950s (already early Quentin Blake & Larry) through the 70s and into the 80s (Hunter Davies, Alan Coren, George Melly ...). Christmas for many years was defined by the Punch Christmas Special - satisfyingly thicker and with a mock Christmas Gifts section. Admittedly Private Eye comes close but Punch had another - gentler - tone.

Why mention Punch? Well, because Martin Honeysett has died. His cartoons were fabulous - the scratchy, crinkly quality of his denture bereft pensioners. Nothing better than a two-page spread of his work. One in particular sticks in the memory: a limbless dog lying on the rug in the front of the fire. One old bag says to another: "He was getting too big for the flat so we had his legs amputated". Devastating & daring - so easy to misattribute the cruelty to the cartoonist rather than those he depicted. And what joy on finding he had illustrated that volume of Ivor Cutler stories - the fictional autobiographical sketches. Wonderful.




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yep ... more or less correct: a drug contained within the smoke triggered by foot pads which acted on subconscious fears. Neat. As was the H.O.U.N.D. acronym and Maggie password. The political allegiances are evident.

Increasingly you get a sense of how the scriptwriter(s) are thinking while writing via Sherlock's scroll through of possibilities. And there's a kind of connoisseur's pleasure in second guessing how the original is going to be played off or reimagined.

Maybe not quite as atmospheric being outside London and we're starting to get dangerously self-reflexive/self-regarding dialogue (Watson criticising Holmes for turning up his collar or is it Martin criticising Benedict etc.). Too much of that and it will disappear up its own fan club.

Never mind. On to the next.

And a new catch phrase to deploy:

Holmes: Not good?
Watson: Not good.

Plenty of occasions to use that spring to mind.