Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happiness is discovering the incredibly rare & absurdly expensive edition of Agnes Martin's writings is available as a pdf here:



Saturday, January 28, 2012


January's notebook


"so much depends


sit in the morning

brush your teeth

eat mindfully

wash your bowl

drink tea

walk slowly

read in silence

look at someone gratefully

work with focus

(thanks to the zenhabits website



decision to radically (actually, not radical at all) change certain habits, i.e. to not instinctively check e-mail or Blogs first thing, to not log on at work until a set time, to not fritter throughout the day on absent-minded searches, to not read news updates when all they do is reiterate the same depressing reports ...

... & instead ... do other (more rewarding) stuff ...


"The proletarianisation of the lower salaried bourgeoisie is matched at the opposite extreme by the irrationally high remuneration of top managers and bankers (irrational since, as investigations have demonstrated in the US, it tends to be inversely proportional to a company's success). Rather than submit these trends to moralising criticism, we should read them as signs that the capitalist system is no longer capable of self-regulated stability - it threatens, in other words, to run out of control." (Slavoj Zizek, The LRB 26 January 2012)



"Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea...

S e n c h a I r i M a t c h a


"from the foot of Mount Fuji"




Wallace Stevens The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words



& this arrives during the week ...


Day is a type when visible

objects change then put



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012


What benefits new books bring us! I would like a basket full of books telling the youth of images which fall from heaven for me every day. This desire is natural. This prodigy is easy. For, up there, in heaven, isn’t paradise an immense library?

But it is not sufficient to receive; one must welcome. One must, say the pedagogue and the dietician in the same voice, “assimilate.” In order to do that, we are advised not to read too fast and to be careful not to swallow too large a bite. We are told to divide each difficulty into as many parts as possible, the better to solve them. Yes, chew well, drink a little at a time, savour poems line by line. All these precepts are well and good. But one precept orders them. One first needs a good desire to eat, drink and read. One must want to read a lot, read more, always read.

Thus, in the morning, before the books piled high on my table, to the god of reading, I say my prayer of the devouring reader: “Give us this day our daily hunger ...”

(Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Ronald Searle R.I.P.


think back if you will (proust) to a litle chap aged 7 thumbing through his pater's old copies of Punch (c. 1950) and larffing uncontrolably. Litle did he kno but this was his first encounter with the grate cartoonist ronald searle who hav just died (chiz chiz).

THREE CHEERS SKOOL for ronald searle who was a WIZZ at drawing.

Peason sa who cares I prefer Damien Hirst. fotherington-tomas blub for he is a girlie and wet and weedy. I diskard them.

o for the touch of the vanished hand hem-hem (tennyson)


Six questions for the time being ...

1. Which style of architecture do you feel an affinity with? Why? Describe.

2. Which room in a house do you feel is the most important? Why? Describe.

3. When have you felt particularly ‘at home’ in a place or building? Why? Describe.

4. Select one object or invention that typifies your culture. What is it. Describe and explain.

5. Which modern technology do you dislike the most? Why? Describe and explain.

6. How did you first learn to write? Try to describe your earliest memories of writing.

A Poetics of Space (i)


Awake at 2:10 a.m. (checked the clock radio), listen to podcasts until 3:30 a.m. then fitful sleep through to the so-called dawn. However, by 7:30 a.m. I'm ready to sleep on. Pull back the curtains on a benighted street, rain lashing the windows, pools of water extending down the road - who'd want to get up on a day like this? The quandary: torn between insomnia and the urge to hibernate.


Two days of greedy reading. Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space (inexhaustible), Barthes' Empire of Signs and other Japanese-related materials. Begin Murakami's Norwegian Wood and find myself at Chapter 5 with little effort (is he that good?).


Deplorable absence of making so far into the New Year. So much for resolutions (rather, intentions). Click back through Kate Greenstreet's (sadly now defunct) blog for inspiration. Wish she'd revive it.


More sad news from the U.K. meaning another trip over, another funeral. Why doesn't something cheerful happen for a change?


4:00 p.m. fed up with myself and the world in general I make tea and go upstairs to at least do something before the holidays evaporate. Start leafing through some volumes, noting images, ideas start to form. And little by little ...

Why don't I remember this from previous times? The best tonic there is - work.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I think I ought to investigate the sudden rise of Scandinavian crime fiction - or the 'Inspector Norse syndrome' as I've seen it called. In Blackwells last week I felt a sudden attack of dyslexia seeing myself doubled down spines in the Crime section: Jo Nesbo ...

If anyone out there is an aficionado, please let me know of any key authors or titles.

And, in terms of television, is The Killing really so good?

And what if we were to ask what is the shadow cast by a word?

Or even

what is the poem's shadow?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Listening to Gavin Bryars' After the Requiem - the first two tracks at least - looking up through the skylight as the clouds pass at a terrific rate. (There's been uninterrupted rain and high winds since about midday.)

Beautiful music.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Just wiped an entire post which had taken ten minutes to type up including a lengthy quotation about the origins of drawing from Tanya Kovats' The Drawing Book, a couple of sentences from In Praise of Shadows and was to conclude with - this is when I must have inadvertently hit a key as I got up to find the volume - a few lines from Stevens' 'The Snow Man' ("And, nothing himself, beholds/ Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is") .

This white screen that - unlike a page or Freud's mystic writing pad - preserves no trace of the writing that preceded. Those effaced words will just have to speak in their absence.

Oddly appropriate, I suppose.

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