Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The girls in mourning for Davy Jones (no relation - nor the chap with the locker) being major Monkees fans. E. in fact now considering a 60s themed birthday to surprise all her playground chums who seem only to know last week's hits.

Thankfully, spirits lift with their first viewing of Keith Floyd (the very first series). They're immediate converts proving that good things do last. And this chimes well with a theory I'm hatching about current tendencies. You could call it the Twelfth Night scale: an increasing tendency towards the Malvolio away from the Sir Toby. (Floyd, of course, very much on the side of Sir T.) But look around you - the workplace, the wider world, see how the generosity of spirit is withering away. And what - I hear you say - may there be no more cakes and ale?

Think on't.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The seasonal hard disc crash. Shut down. Bed. & weather the aches.

Voices from the radio rise and fall in time with intermittent consciousness: Pru Leith's confessions merging with Chinese tigers and Louis de Bernieres campaigning for divorced fathers' access to their kids.

The grit of time. Sounds of an empty house. Cat flaps, car ignition, the post falling through the door.

A pervading sense of purposelessness. Why bother? Everything seems tainted. Electrical buzz behind the eyes. A jaundiced day.

Wipe.

Reboot.

Saturday, February 25, 2012




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... from the CD booklet for Tender Buttons

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... and this from Broadcast and The Focus Group
Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age

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Artwork by Julian House (who's also behind The Focus Group and the Ghost Box label with Jim Jupp). Off to the Mediatheque this morning to unearth more by these two and their affiliates.

Friday, February 24, 2012


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(Broadcast - Tender Buttons)

Gertrude Stein by way of all those lazy summer holiday mornings in the early 70s (remember Jacky's title song for White Horses?) mixed in with something much more sinister.

Most definitely worth listening to.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Down in the dumps

Peculiar places, council dumps (or recycling centres as they prefer to be called these days - part of the Big Society no doubt).

As we offload various bits and pieces I chat with the chaps manning the bins (Garden, Electrical, etc.). They explain the kinds of stuff they get through: dead cats, puppies ... and one time a chainsaw clotted with blood. "We sent that one along to the Police ... never heard back, though."

Shades of Iain Sinclair.

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Back in Brussels.

Left at 8:55 a.m.; arrived 2:54 p.m. local time. So just under the magic 5 hours again.

At 10:30 a.m. the Eurotunnel terminal was virtually empty and thus unusually in focus. A Ballardian interzone of rigged exchange rates, jaundiced lighting and human disenchantment.

In W.H. Smith the salesgirl reluctantly checks through my copy of The Independent and a KitKat - the new ploy is to have the customer use the self scan (wait until the NHS cotton on to that). I suggest it's doing her out of a job and receive a blank look in return. "It's really popular with customers at busy times" she explains. The phrase is just too pat. Training runs deep.

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"I hate coffee" confides the bloke fitting the lid on my cappuccino.

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Meanwhile ... the RBS announces losses of two billion pounds and issues bonuses of up to a billion.

That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense


Walking with L. up to the pond then up the path where I went over my handlebars (aged 8) & so on past the local cemetery. A lorry is parked near the fence & two gardeners working at the lawns and verges. The cab door is open & loud Soul music can be heard reverberating off the gravestones. They're obviously either unaware of (or indifferent to) their surroundings. I joke with L. about playing The Grateful Dead & try to remember the exact phrase from Hamlet Act V.. It's the kind of thing that in years gone by would have fueled irate letters to the parish council. Now dog walkers walk on by. & who knows? Maybe the dead enjoy the music seeping through the soil.

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Two solutions to the Greek Debt Crisis proposed by belgianwaffle:

I.

That every billionaire & multi-millionaire submits to a 10 per cent emergency tax on the premise that no one can amass such vast wealth without committing some kind of illegal or injurious practice either intentionally or unintentionally. The money is then put in circulation to refloat the world economy. In return, the ugly rich will receive not financial but 'moral' interest - a warm glow of satisfaction from contributing to the Greater Good. (A reworking of Ruskin's concepts of 'illth' and 'wealth').

II.

That Greece calls in its long term (2,000 years plus) cultural debts: i.e. upon every literary, philosophic & artistic work that the world has used, enjoyed, purloined, destroyed. Everything, in short, that has contributed to the much vaunted world 'civilization'. & to go one step further, why not impose a linguistic levy: all Greek words which are employed in other languages on a daily basis either directly or etymologically derived - 'democracy' for starters - are subject to a nominal 'fee' (let's say 99 cents for the Eurozone following the iTunes download principle). That should mount up ...

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And this from Robert Duncan:

Since the dark, bitter, impassioned days of the First World War, even the words themselves - "beauty", "lad", or "boy" - have become uneasy words, smacking of the idealistic or the sentimental before what we call the Real, the pervading triumph of mercantile utilitarianism. The "architecture" of the utilitarian city is inspired by the display aesthetic of packaging and advertising art to put over shoddy goods, where a wealth of glass or cellophane, aluminum, copper, or gold paper facing takes over the city, presented in a poverty of imagination, housing the same old shoddy operations of whiskey, cigarette, or paper companies, and back of sell, the demand for profit and increase, the exploitation of mind and spirit to keep the rackets going, the economy of wage-slavery and armed forces; over all, the threat of impending collapse or disastrous war. We, too, in a hostile environment, taking out faith and home in our exile, live in creative crisis. (The H.D. Book, p.182-3)

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Post finished, he set the keyboard to one side. Next job (appropriately) off to the local dump.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Lucien Freud flies to New York

with only a clean shirt in a plastic bag.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Channel crossing





Door to door in one minute short of 5 hours - which must be the record. Having done the journey so many times of late, the car seems to drive itself.

Packages waiting (from top to bottom):

In Praise of Shadows (the original Japanese text)
Emerson's Journals Vol. One
The Exegesis by Philip K. Dick
Threshold Songs by Peter Gizzi

I've also lugged along The H.D. Book (currently beginning Chapter Four). So there's enough to read for the time being.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012





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Valentine's Day

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Sunday, February 05, 2012


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to the beach ...





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Crazily we left Brussels at 8 a.m. yesterday (snow, - 14° on the car dashboard) to make for the French coast. We made it & enjoyed a bitterly cold but brightly sunny day & a cosy evening of fruits de mer.

This morning we woke to find the snow had hit France, too. Shakings of the head and shrugs from the women at the fish stall where we buy 3 kilos of coquilles saint jacques. & so a hair-raising departure at 50 km along roads you just had to guess at. Then, by Amiens things were thawing & it was plain sailing back to Brussels by 3 p.m.. Phew.

But then what are birthdays for other than to remind yourself you're alive and each day is there for the taking.

(& I got my ukulele!)


Friday, February 03, 2012