themes this week – work and its entrapment, summer icumen in, itinerant yearning in lands symbolic and real.
Some easter cooking. Fish pie for a friend last Wednesday. Very difficult to get good fish pie out in restaurants so it’s a good one to do yerself, and this was exceptional A+ no further questions. No ard boiled hegg because they don’t like it.
i used to do a four song “EP” every couple of weeks or so. stuff i’d be listening to. favourite songs, themed tracks etc. called it “month’s mind”. going to do it again. a diary of sorts. going to try for once a week.
Youtube playlist here:
Mainly because I haven’t been cooking that much, or cooking particularly interesting things when I do. Still, the extensive audience for this blog expects more and so here is an update.
Sometimes phrases or sentences ring round your head for a long season, with meaning beyond that apparently contained in them.
A few years ago, the line ‘I spent that summer in the pursuit of an idea’ was like a flickering compass needle, impelling me to a way of thinking, acting and being. The line itself was from Agnès Varda’s Ulysse, and the method of Varda is exemplary. An idea may be present in the flicker of an image in a photo, or a memory, or an object, or an event, and Varda’s pursuit is neither gentle nor assured exactly, but a mixture of both; she is sure in her method, allowing each moment or object its proper place, neither forcing it nor holding it too loosely. Her simple brief descriptions of experiences and encounters show an easy ability to navigate the realm of feeling. It is as if she is holding in her hands, in her mind, a rare, delicate living thing, and treats it with deep care and interest. It is the tone of an expert, long practised at what she is doing.
An old post from an old blog
Are intellectual teenagers still into existentialism? or have we exited that age? is it all about theory now? Students downing Badiou and Laruelle to the strains of Tristan Murail? If so, they’re right to. It seems more intellectually demanding, more crazy, more of a shibboleth between the old fucks and the young guns, more of an induction to the modern age than the rudimentary post-romantic shoulder-shrugging of existentialism.
I liked Camus a lot.
And I don’t really buy that ‘not real philosophy’ thing.
It may not be real philosophy, but it’s real something, and that something’s very appealing when you’re a teenager: a post-romantic sense of the isolated individual, indifference to conventional social mores (which in return punish that indifference or contempt), misery, nausea and anxiety as necessary corollaries of a universe without epistemological and ethical certainty. Each of these provided serious explanations. it was useful. I could do with something like it now. Nobody understands me. Life’s so unfair. They were self-help manuals, shit self-help manuals admittedly, self-help manuals for people who couldn’t help themselves, but self-help manuals nevertheless, which not only explained why you were so fucking miserable, but why in fact you were some kind of hero for being so fucking miserable. I needed that!
But I picked up The Myth of Sisyphus again recently and was bored out of my mind, so that avenue’s shut. because for a teenager existentialism wasn’t so much about truth, it was about image – how to mentally position yourself in the world, how that looked. So if there’s one thing that french existentialism can be thanked for, it’s cool french films, because that was how the theory became flesh. It reversed the unglamorous polarity of the solitary teenager.
I went to see Le Samuraï when I was 16. The old Lumiere cinema in st martin’s lane, now a gym or something god-fucking-awful like that.
It was a big screen, with lots of soft grey seats ranged in arcs. There were three people in the cinema – me, a cycle courier about five rows in front of me, and a sleeping businessman, two rows behind and about five columns to the left of me.
I remember the setting and the film vividly. the film had a big impact. I got it on dvd, watched it several times.
Anyway, I watched it again the other night. i remembered it well (I said a couple of the lines before they were delivered on screen). How did it stand up?
2022 has been a bit of a dog.
Alright let me pour this little cognac and break it down for you1 I just discovered that this is in fact a 2021 joint, but you remove it from my significant 2022 listening over my dead body
My conclusion at the end of the year is that I’ve been suffering from a form of anhedonia and chronic, mild/medium, depression. Drink took up more of a role than it should have, I think to tackle the anhedonia, which led to considerable fatigue and ofc probably made the if-that’s-what-it-is anhedonia worse. My social manner was careless, sometimes borderline deplorable, and discouraging to forming new acquaintance, my already middling intellect very weak2 its natural state is C-, it can reach fairly high on occasion, but this year dragged relentlessly at a skiving, bedridden U. It was something of a relief to realise, 2/3rds of the way through that this seems to be a mode i go into from time to time, much of my teenage years for instance, which the natural intellectual ebullience of teenage years mitigated. but as i get older it feels more existential, more a symptom of decay rather than personality, emotions wan to the point of expiry, still protecting a battered and beleaguered heart by rolling up in a ball, cutting cords that should not be cut. Viva Las Vegas.Continue reading “2022 Redux”
In their exacting Germanic determination to be as faithful to the original as possible, his Berlin team were in danger of being more Miesian than Mies himself. The big surprise, for an architect renowned for his attention to detail, was quite how badly the building was made. “It was like opening the bonnet of a Mercedes and finding …” Chipperfield’s voice trails off and he gives a look of disgust. Walls that looked like solid oak were actually cobbled together from bits of plywood, the concrete under the granite slabs was shot to pieces, and when they took the ceilings down, the electrical and mechanical systems were a mess. “It was as if the surface was holding everything together.”The curse of Mies van der Rohe: Berlin’s six-year, £120m fight to fix his dysfunctional, puddle-strewn gallery, Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian
I lived in Poland in the late ’90s and I remember finding out that the Rynek Starega Miasta in Warszawa – Warsaw’s old town market square – had been entirely rebuilt in replica after its destruction in World War II by the Luftwaffe.
The desire to return it to the way it was, to rebuild the accumulation of history it contained at the frozen moment when it was destroyed, was understandable. We will rebuild what was taken from us.Continue reading ““It was as if the surface was holding everything together.””
- Destroy all cars
- Slates, Slags etc to be played every evening in all pubs
- Resurrecting the corpse of John Dickson Carr to write a few more locked room mysteries. I know he maxed out the 83 possible locked room options but we have the internet and lack of local reality now.
The following section, from Erving Goffman’s essay On Face Work, understood in political terms, is a lot more helpful than explanations provided by those who generally appeal to facts as being a trump card (‘appealing to the referee’, or ‘speaking to the manager’).Continue reading “Facts are of the schoolboy’s world”