Sunday, September 30, 2012

... while it probably sounds utterly hypocritical, you just have to read this article from The New York Times: ...

... how can he be Blogging & accessing newspapers online one minute & telling everyone to read an exposé on Internet pollution the next? I hear you say.

Well, quite.

& that's the dilemma.

Or one ... among many.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blocked nose ... vague shivers ... a general sense of one or two below par. Still, L. needed to return her books to the local library & so we walk down, pausing only to collect pocketfuls of conkers. I go in with her & mooch around the children's section when suddenly my attention is caught by a book by Stephane Ebner, published by - who else? - esperleute editions. As L. is checking out her new books, I casually enquire whether they have any other esperleute volumes? I'm told to go upstairs to the adult library & look through the Artist's Books. Artist's Books? They have some?

Upstairs we find ourselves in a modern-looking space with - for a local branch - an impressive selection in all the usual categories. And yes, there in an Ikea glass cabinet, are a few Artist's Books on display. The kind that declare look but don't touch. I ask whether it is at all possible to take them out & am pleasantly surprised when the librarian says 'certainement' and then adds that I'm welcome to go into a further room around the corner. Imagine my astonishment as I walk into a room about the size of the average dining room filled with Artist's Books from ceiling to floor.

Incredible. More than incredible. Miraculous. To think that this has been on my doorstep and I never knew ... To mangle Bogart's famous lines: of all the libraries of all the towns ...

Turns out, this is a collection assembled from other libraries and archives. The librarian on duty this morning insists I come back when the manager of the collection is working - we can talk & I can tell her about my books. Meanwhile, I can join the library (a mere 8 euros for the year) and borrow up to ten books at a time - anything & everything is available for loan.

L. sat down with her books & a *sigh*, she's learnt to recognise the warning signs. Half an hour later (pretty good going, I thought) we leave with an initial haul - some of which I've pictured above (Catherine Wilkins' book on Kafka's Metamorphosis; a volume by Henri Meunier for the wonderfully named L'atelier du poisson soluble; a fat tome of pencil drawings by ARPAIS du bois; Souffle by the aforementioned Stephane Ebner). But there are more. & I'll be going back, that's for sure. It's the kind of place to take a thermos & your notebook & while away the whole day.

& of course, as we are walking back I talk to L. about how, once again, libraries are the business. She's excited at the prospect of diving into her new novel; I'm still dazed from the treasure trove I've just stumbled upon. We're a happy pair on such a bright September morning. And to think that such a resource exists, supported & actively financed by the Commune (there were three piles of new acquisitions waiting to be coded & shelved) when - across the Channel - local libraries are being forced to close ... Well, you can draw your own conclusions.

Friday, September 28, 2012

... altocumulus sky this morning lit from below, 7:35 a.m., just as I'm dropping E. at school. We both gasp: the underside of each cloud a bright salmon pink. Fabulous.

Heading down towards the Ring I try to take a photo with my phone but it's pointless - no way a picture can do justice to such serene expansive grandeur. In any case, I nearly swerve off the road.

By 9 a.m. an utterly different sky.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

... revisiting my old copy of Lacan's The Four Fundamentals of Psycho-Analysis (with embarrassing pencilled annotations & underlinings - such devotion to significance!). On page viii this:

"A certificate tells me that I was born. I repudiate this certificate: I am not a poet, but a poem. A poem that is being written, even if it looks like a subject."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


... thinking (after a day of rudeness) ...



... reading ...



... pedestrian Zappa ...


... on the way to the dentist ...



... empathy ... 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What is known as a red letter day: a day when things come together in ways unforeseen & pleasurable. Thus - a trip into town & the excitement of daily goings-on; that minty whiff in the air of impending autumn; museums & exhibitions; a croque monsieur; chat with colleagues outside of the constraints of tedious meetings; a cup of sencha at 4:30 & ... on leaving the bookshop ... the discovery of a new book by Ania Lemin.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

a day spent reading an introduction to the philosophy of Jacques Ranciere - timely, in a way, given the mounting hysteria over the topless Kate pics.

The whole saga is fascinating and grotesque by turns as I try to untangle the strands.

One. Why should nudity be an issue in a truly civilised, human society?

Two. How can language be so debased such as 'public interest' justifies sheer prurience?

Three. If she is just like millions of women on beaches across the world, why devote an issue to this one person?

Four. Would the editor(s) sit back and allow similar intrusions into their own privacy (or call their lawyers pronto?).

Five. Is this yet another example of what George S. Trow would define as the erosion of the middle space? i.e. we see the jamming together of intimacy and global exposure in an especially stark example.

Six. And yet, this is precisely what the British Royal Family have been complicit in for - well, how long? If you stage a wedding to the world, don't be surprised if the hungry public crave more.

Seven. And what else is Royalty now but a staged affair (hence the relevance of The King's Speech a film which simultaneously delivers the reassuring glow of British nostalgia for an international market while simultaneously implying the utterly bogus nature of the entire institution).

Eight. The Royals become yet further fodder for the Celebrity-obsessed media who feed a compliant public whose impoverished lives crave tits and titillation.

Nine. Meanwhile true obscenities are conducted in camera (military strategy, political decisions, financial scams, agreed press cover-ups) which - if splurged across double pages - would bring so many careers crashing down. (Am I alone in watching The Thick of It as documentary realism?).

So that's the issue: what if the real holders of Power made a clean breast of it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


There was an old postman of Fife
Who feared he had squandered his life
He took to his bed
Which stood in the shed
And sent postcards all day to his wife.

... not LinkedIn but inked in ... join the dots ...

... not Facebook but face-to-face or: why not simply ... a book? ... or: look me in the face ... (friend or foe/ faux) ...

... & tweeting is for the birds ... what happened to a considered opinion? ... weigh your words ...

... 3 G ... 4G ? Do I want (need) my data to move faster? ... why the hurry? ...

... OneNote ... why have the meeting if you already want to predict the outcome? Thinking as grid lock ... Consensus as hidden agenda ...

... online questionnaires ... tick box evaluation ... extremely ... very ... not very ... quite ... not at all ... nuance as was the hotel minibar to your satisfaction? ...

... a sentence early on in Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment: "Yet the fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant" ...

... pixel resolution ... as I try to explain to my students, the shift from black and white television to colour in the early 70s was a miracle. Who can - really & truly - tell the difference in screen resolutions? (A 50 euro bottle of wine tastes amazing ... & one at a 100 euro? Is your palate so finely tuned?). At what point will we all say enough is enough? ...

... surf or serf ... ?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just made the shift (with considerable reluctance) to the new Blogger interface. What was wrong with the old one, I wonder? It worked and was simple to use.

Poking around I discover my current 'stats' & that - believe it or not - the last post was number one thousand five hundred. This is one thousand five hundred and one.


Not that it means anything.

But still.

If you have been in from the beginning, thanks for reading.
... reading ... John Cage ... Salome Voeglin ... Jacques Ranciere ...

& listening to ... Bjork ... (she, too, would like to live in a lighthouse!)

& buying ... what I thought was a new Sigur Ros CD (only to discover it wasn't & I that I had it already) ...

& teaching ... nursery rhymes, limericks, riddles, the shipping forecast & Beatles lyrics in an attempt to wake up dulled ears ...

& sitting in the garden when the kids several doors down are not screaming like piglets in an abattoir ... (spell check suggests 'abba tour') ... & enjoying the last hours of summer ...

& trying to remain positive in the face of ever increasing irritations (such as setting the DVD recorder for The Thick Of It correctly except for the channel & finding 30 minutes of black screen)

& writing at least some words ...

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