Sunday, May 12, 2013

... "the nuance of vacancy in room, or landscape, the unseen presences that human use and cultivation create."

Among the books I haul back from the latest visit to the UK is this - Selected Art Writings by James Schuyler ed. Simon Pettet - & which was just too large for the letter box & thus entailed a visit to the depot at 8am on Friday morning to collect. A minor inconvenience & - in any case - with sentences like that who cares?


Also of note: the voluminous Brian Catling novel (novel?! yes, novel!) The Vorrh. Thanks to Nelly for the tip off.


Once again, I return from the land of my birth ever more bewildered & disenchanted.

Crossing a road I get blasted with a horn for no apparent reason other than I have the temerity to walk from one kerb to another. The driver grins maliciously as I turn to remonstrate. Why?

The local Post Office opens 15 minutes late & despite an obvious queue there is not a single word or sign of apology. Rather, looks of if-you-don't-like-it-mate-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it?

Buying newspapers now seems to be accompanied by the automatic request of whether you'd like some other item despite having said - very clearly - "just this, please". To take it out on the cashier would be unfair. The problem runs far deeper: the dehumanising effect of commercial training. Have they, in fact, embedded a micro chip or SIM card into employees? The crazed imaginings of Philip K. Dick are ever more prescient.

The very same newspapers are full of the rise of UKIP, an effect largely explained by their 'populist' policy on immigration. The Sports sections are given over to eulogies of Sir Alec Ferguson the retiring Man U manager. No one seems to see the irony: British football teams being largely composed of non-British players, owned by billionaire businessmen with scant interest in any local fan base. The 'national' game is now a travesty.

E. asks, in all innocence, why there aren't any bakeries near Grandma's. It's a seemingly trivial question that goes right to the heart of things. Why not indeed? (While here in Belgium we have three within walking distance).

On Thursday afternoon I count six cold calls in the space of about three hours. Apparently there is no way to filter them as they come from call centres outside the UK. It is even pointless to argue or shout at the presumed caller: the 'voice' lacks an identifiable speaker, the message is programmed. My mother says that they often ask if my father is there - that's particularly galling.

What's happening? And why is no one complaining?

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