Monday, June 29, 2015

First day of the summer holiday. & a picture of a snail on the window sill of the garden shed.

A totem animal in its convolutions.
You are walking along the street & see someone lying in a doorway, clearly incapable of looking after themselves & in desperate need of medical attention.

Do you:

A. See what you can do to help, ring for an ambulance, get them treated as soon as possible & find out ways to help them build a life again?

B. Thrust a 50 euro note into their pocket with a slip of paper saying you'll be back tomorrow to take 10 euros back & - if they are still in no better shape - you'll give them another 25 euros but expect 20 euros back the next day ... & so on for the foreseeable future (despite seeing that they will only be getting worse) ... but knowing that this is a game you & a few friends have devised certain in the knowledge that if things get really bad you can always offset that 50 euros in another way (in fact, you've already made plans ...).

Seem familiar?

Obviously I understand very little about Economics. However, could someone please explain what is the point in debating whether to pour more billions of euros into Greece when a) it clearly has little capacity to generate any income of its own & b) austerity measures are guaranteed to stifle what feeble attempts at recovery there might be?

Would it not be more appropriate - indeed urgent - to discuss what could be done to regenerate the economy (& not simply rely on tourism)? Construction projects. Agricultural initiatives. Fishing. Shipping. Cultural & intellectual developments ...

Or is there a more sinister agenda in place - hands already being rubbed in anticipation of assets which will be going for a song as & when the country's infrastructure collapses.

Who'd like an island?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

So you see, one thing really does lead to another ...

Had there not been the Battle of Waterloo, there would not have been the re-enactment. Had there not been the re-enactment, the school would not have been requisitioned & I would not have had the day off. Had I not had the day off, I would not have arranged with A. to meet for lunch & afterwards go to buy papers to make a book. Had I not decided to cycle (the day being fine, myself feeling hearty, etc.) I would not have searched for a street sign to chain my bike to. Had I not been in the act of chaining my bike, then the man from the new gallery would not have emerged & asked whether I would be leaving it there all day because he had an opening night with drinks later on & he intended putting tables & chairs outside on the pavement. Had etc. etc. then I - we - would not have stepped inside said gallery & looked at the work going up on the walls & ... lo & behold! ... discovered works on paper & canvas by ... Ania Lemin (marvellous book creator & wielder of a most imaginative pencil stub - I have posted about her before).

Here are two small canvases by Ania which now grace the walls of the hall. Each time I reach for my keys in the morning I'll be able to steal a glance at them.

How to make a day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An unexpected day off tomorrow due to the disruption surrounding the Battle of Waterloo reenactment. Apparently there's no point going down there on the off chance of being admitted - strictly tickets only. Something of an irony, surely, warfare as spectator sport.

Tant pis. I will head into town & go & buy papers for a new little volume.


The Big News: Chris Evans is to be the new presenter of Top Gear at a modest salary of £5 million. So two further reasons not to watch the programme.


Last minute exam revision with the older Brussel Sprout going on in the room above my head. A battle in itself ...


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Listening to the √Čtudes pour piano (Premier livre, 1985) by Ligeti - the Sony edition, vol. 3 played by Pierre-Laurent Almard.

This is special indeed.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quickly read a Guardian headline as 'Frances de la Tour' thinking that it must be an interview or a new role she's taken & wasn't she good in Rising Damp.

On closer scrutiny, the headline read: Tour de France.

Not sure what this misreading suggests ...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fascinating BBC Radio 3 programme on Ligeti just now ... rebroadcast from a year ago. His assistant explained his love of the Marx brothers films & their role in a composition.

Marvellous the way that a reputation for frosty esotericism is suddenly exploded by such an anecdote.

(Much as Zappa talked of Boulez's predilection for pigs' trotters & other such delicacies).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

What a pleasure! Just back from the second day of the school's 50th Anniversary weekend with Alumni returning from their many different walks of life.

I catch up with Oscar, Marcus, Alexes D & S, Ben, Matihilde, Andrea, Dapo, Dominique, Metodi, Taya, Pia Maria, Axel ... the list goes on. Everyone seems to have some key text or moment that has lodged in their memory - 'that' scene from Gatsby, that bloody albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 'Waterloo Sunset' ... one ex-student tells me that every time she sees Nigella cooking on television she thinks of me (apparently I gave them a recipe to analyse as a text type). I'd completely forgotten that one.

Talk these days in education is infested with Learning Outcomes, percentages of added value & other such expressions of the managerial mindset.

That after five, ten, fifteen - eighteen, even - years a person wishes to shake my hand & say how much they enjoyed the hours we spent together is the best 'outcome' I could hope for. Calculate that.

Thanks to every one of you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

... follow up to the previous post.

Mrs Waffle: He played ... trumpet, right? ... I knew it was something he put in his mouth.
Just read that Ornette Coleman has died.

While I can't honestly say I have either heard or 'got' everything he released, the key early records as well as the later Virgin Beauty are special to me - in their very different ways.

Out in space tonight.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Reading the papers - by which I mean browsing their online screen pages - I notice a new & particularly insidious form of euphemism: "life changing injuries".

By using this phrase the headline writer manages to avoid specifying the medically precise (& therefore presumably unpalatable) facts while simultaneously provoking the imagination into devising all sorts of horrors.

This kind of fusion of squeamish recoil & prurient relish seems especially apt (& revealing) for our times.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

A Topical Limerick

The was an old rascal called Blatter
Whose wallet got fatter and fatter
When asked if he was a thief or
The Chairman of FIFA
He grinned and asked “why does it matter?”

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