Monday, October 23, 2006

Fifty Things

sound of rain at night upon the Velux window

taking the first strokes in the swimming pool before anyone else has disturbed the surface

glass. newly-opened bottle of chilled white wine. six o’clock.

Emma running to greet me at 4.30 pm

feeling of having shaved standing in the shower

buying new notebooks & the new notebooks themselves packages waiting in the post room

being up before everyone else – the quiet. the emptiness. stillness

coffee cup. coffee. a small square of chocolate

discovering a new writer and realizing a whole series of books which now await

starting to cook dinner and the sizzling aromas of onions and garlic

pens which sit well in the hand and flow well on the page (yet still resist)

good uncles and older men who could be uncles

women’s lips of a certain kind

moments of awkwardness and shyness from L and E

the ‘craic’ over lunch

a sudden sharp chill perfume to the air in autumn mornings

imaginative socks

understatement and irony

weekend naps

(good) hotel breakfasts

watching someone absorbed in something

funny and colourful children’s books

baby fingers and toes and smiles

clean sheets and pillow cases on the bed on Monday nights

the Lightness of Being of a good shit

the table laid: knives, forks, spoons, plates, glasses, napkins, a candle

driving. the car moving well. window open. music. sunlight. quiet roads. an avenue of trees

being called Daddy or Papa and knowing one is (now) someone called Daddy and – more strangely - Papa

memories of London in the late 70s. The Thames. The Tate Gallery. Hours out of school. Bookshops on Charing Cross Road. Upstairs on buses.

moments when you feel – deeply – despite a million other possibilities this, now, is how you want it to be

the timbre or frequency of certain voices

Chinese tea bowls. Cycladic heads.

writer’s notebooks, marginalia, drafts, compositional fragments, artist’s sketchbooks

Stan Laurel’s face and gesture of helplessness

being near the sea: walking, sitting, waking up, going to bed, the smell and sound of. wailing gulls. Cornwall. especially Cornwall

valley Welsh inflections and lilt

newly-trimmed fingernails

vigorous hair-brushing or fingers going through my hair

an impending sneeze staring into the sun

chopping onions, dicing carrots, preparing vegetables ... making soup – especially on Sunday mornings

walking through the woods, raining, just rained, leaves underfoot, damp earth smell, leaf rot, bonfires

sun on wooden floors mid-afternoon window ajar. faint breeze lifting the curtains

deft gestures of cafe staff: tug, wrist twist, bang, flick, gush of hot water and steam. bitter aromas.

lightness and poise of the dancer’s everyday movements. a way of sitting

voices on the radio at low volume while dozing

day trips (alone) to unfamiliar towns with the prospect of wandering, browsing, lunch ...

the jumble of dolls, hairgrips, shoes, Lego bricks, paper, crayons, boxes, marbles, girl things in the house

little chivalries

stars overhead on clear nights. Orion though the landing window coming downstairs in the morning

(acknowledgments to Lisa Jarnot & Larry Fagin)

Belgianwaffle invites any of its readers to supply their 'Fifty Things'

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The recipe for today

Take two handfuls of onions. Peel and slice into rings. Tip into a large thick-based saucepan and fry in a little olive oil - aiming to brown the onions but not burn them. Add a crushed clove of garlic and a peeled, diced potato.

When the onions have browned, add a tablespoon of brown sugar plus a litre (or more) of chicken stock. Sprinkle with thyme and season to taste.

Cover and allow to simmer for the best part of an hour.

While it is cooking, go upstairs and sort through your winter wardrobe - discovering which trousers now fit, sweaters and jackets you forgot you had, and throwing out any items of clothing which - admit it - you won't wear again.

The aromas from the kitchen will tell you when to descend. Cut the heat and let the pot stand while you go out for a relaxing coffee with the wife & kids.

Once more at the stove, lift out several ladles of the onions and set aside. Blitz what remains in the pot. Return the set aside onions. Light the gas and bring up to heat.

Serve with chunks of hearty brown bread.

It is a Sunday full of October sunlight. A chill is in the air.

It is a day for onion soup.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Down in France

Meaux (France). Sunday.

Early morning standing next to a river flowing down past the mill. Eight o'clock or so. Mist coming off the surface of the water. Sunlight swirling in the eddies of the current as it flowed over the rocks in the river bed. Thinking about the full moon last night low above the trees. Thinking about the Shamanistic practice of projecting the mind into the contact between elements.

Suddenly four young deer run out from behind the trees on the opposite bank.


Get home mid-afternoon eager to hear yesterday's Radio Four 'special' on Frank Zappa using the 'Listen Again' facility. Dreary & predictable. A scissors & glue effort from the archives with Germaine Greer making it all seem rather respectable (now there's an irony).

"A Smooth Operations Production" is credited with the programme. There you have it - there was nothing 'smooth' about Zappa. Lumpy gravy gets it about right.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

And again

Sat on the (still unfinished) terrace in the October afternoon sun reading - again - 'Periplum and other poems' by Peter Gizzi (the Salt reissue).

Why do I keep opening up this volume again & again? Well ...

. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...