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*4

July 23rd; Wednesday. A political painting.
July 22nd; Tuesday. Buying a can of caffeine energy drink in a supermarket I notice something odd has changed in the last few months. The caffeine content is the same, the vitamins are still in them, but now not a single brand contains taurine. Every type used to have have exactly the same amount of taurine in, now none do. Some health risk? Dreary rain makes Esoteric Veronica lend me an Erima umbrella. She tells me this brand has some historical link to fellow German sportswear firm Adidas.

July 21st; Monday. Solero the horse is very social, and - when roaming free in Robin's garden most of the day - often strolls over to see what the humans are doing. Or at least if they might give him a biscuit or an apple. Outside Lacko & Joli's kitchen yesterday I came on a complete tableau of animals seemingly grouped together for a portrait: the horse, the two shaggy white komondor sheepdogs (mother & daughter), the fox terrier Lexi, Poppy the cat and a new pale grey kitten of Poppy's. They all seem to find Joli's kitchen door a good meeting place. Today Bela & I watch the glossy chestnut Solero rolling on his back in the dust, presumably against flies, and Bela points out two small grey patches halfway up the insides of the horse's front legs. We guess these must be the location of residual digits (perhaps corresponding to our thumbs) on the front feet. More people realise the heavenly bodies influence us after all, and more comment on the sudden dearth of sunspots. By night I come back to Budapest on the train, in a carriage with all empty compartments, and with only the corridor lights on to my left and the window full down on the right, the almost-cool night air after a day of heat barrels in and out of my shadowy compartment every second. There's an intense sense of the train hurtling down the track towards the capital city, plunging through dark areas, rippling past tiny areas of lights, racing & rattling through black woods & copses along the track, the moon hidden. Looking at brown & reddish leather upholstery in the darkness, passing lamps flickering over it, feel strongly this compartment is a living fossil of the horse-drawn stagecoach, since early trains were small numbers of stagecoaches on steel wheels joined end to end. For another hundred years compartments seated 8 or 10 people only with doors straight out onto platforms on either side, and no corridor. This one with unlit compartments and a side corridor is the final version before the open carriage of one room the length of the vehicle. As we speed towards the outskirts of town, distant clumps of orange lights moving away more slowly near the horizon signal the dark land slowly filling up with people as we hammer on down the rails, rushing through stranded suburbs, more patches of farmland, villages hemmed in closer to town, increasing numbers of squat industrial buildings flit by. I sit without turning the light on, without anyone to chat to, without walking up or down the train, relishing the simple experience of travelling fast across open country by night. Strange to see how right Pascal was though: many people would rather experience electric shocks than sit and think - or feel - or just be.
July 20th; Sunday. Do a couple of English lessons with Szende, who shares the slightly grand-sounding darker Transylvanian vowels of Lacko (her godfather) and Joli. Meanwhile, one researcher thinks he understands what triggers earthquakes (the moon), and has named likely dates for future tremors.

July 19th; Saturday. Take train into the countryside. Robin, Bela, & Constantine pick me up at Lakitelek, still a sad, bleak-looking station after they chopped that old tree down. Here's a snatch of old television, with Oscar Peterson genially explaining some jazz-piano techniques.
July 18th; Friday. Finally, after many delays, our #crowdfunding launch goes live & multilingual. Spread the word, citizens!

July 17th; Thursday. The first day in almost 3 years when our sun showed not a single sunspot, announces the spaceweather website. Finish Robin's sons' copy of the oddly topical 'Looking At Pictures With Rolf Harris' (A Children's Introduction to Famous Paintings). This is surprisingly well-written with a good choice of paintings from many eras - at least the book is "oddly topical" if you think his recent conviction for child-sex offences was safe. Paintings by Georges de la Tour, Paolo Uccello, and Van Eyck sit alongside 1960s Pop Art, Picasso, and David Hockney's portrait of Ozzy Clark or a Bridget Riley Op Art piece. Harris keeps the text readable, brief, but not patronising. On each page he mentions 2 or 3 crucial details or questions that will make readers look more closely at each picture - the main point of the book after all.
Whoever needs to shift out of depressed & glum into anxious & irritable, music-producer duo Plaid is here to help you: Unbank / New Family / and of course - with the infamous 'PowerPoint' video - Itsu.
July 16th; Wednesday. A whole LP of 1960s West Coast garage from the sometimes neglected 13th Floor Elevators: note their use of a curious cooing-pigeon sound effect on several tracks. Then Finnish funkster Jimi Tenor's eerie take on the romantic ballad: The uplifting but strangely abstract Higher Planes, the ecstatically mellow yet definitely odd My Mind, and the blissed-out, self-parodic Barcelona Sunrise {"If I was not your friend, I would hesitate to tell you 'Girl, you've got stars stuck in your teeth'"}. The secret is, I think, that unlike the official code that creativity should serve the higher good of romantic love, our Jimi's romantic love seems to selfishly serve his creativity. He doesn't make music to court women, he courts women (or people) as a way to feed his music. Narcissistic perhaps, but gives his tunes their uncannily weightless, free sound.

July 15th; Tuesday. Back to Budapest with Robin & Kasper. A third striking Tarot spread, this time with reversed four of wands. Some French-flavoured studio loop music from Guts: Come Closer / Laissez Lucie Faire. Separately, a careful attack on all the guilty verdicts for Rolf Harris. Well worth reading.
July 14th; Monday. Thunder clouds over Robin's house as men come to move a telegraph pole. Join Robin for a brief drive to a neighbouring village for motor oil. At one point we are headed down a straight road right into the arc of a large symmetrical rainbow, both ends landing in the flatness of the Great Plain against the lead-grey sky of dusk. Robin is reminded of autumn in Wales, the year before last, when one end of a rainbow appeared to land right by him, literally in a field next door. This is an hour after finishing Esoteric Veronica's copy of 'Sex, Ecology, Spirituality' by American thinker Ken Wilber in the dark of a storm-ready late afternoon. Although this is an admirable grand sweep across most of the major philosophers of the last 25 centuries (Wilber admires Habermas but is by no means limited to him, reserving special praise for Plotinus and Augustine), something goes wrong on page 160. This is where Wilber describes Habermas locating the birth of fatherhood as a primeval event joining male hunting groups to female foraging and mothering groups for the first time: a faint but worryingly unreformed echo of the Hobbes/Rousseau mistake of imagining early humans as solitary, coming together at some prehistoric moment to make the original social contract forming the first society. We now know this to be a complete mistake, since humans, and primates before us, have always lived in small clans or large family groups. The seemingly milder Habermas caveman "moment" of change is another way to overlook or sidestep the very persuasive arguments of evolutionary psychology for how men & women negotiated and still negotiate their roles on the basis of genetic & material interests, not on the basis of some symbolic historic settlement. From here on in, Wilber's cunning use of a quadrant diagram of 'holons' (roughly translating as levels) to reintegrate the visions of an objective 'It' (the rational domain of natural science) a socially mediated 'We' (the domain of ethics) and the subjective 'I' (the 'inner' world of subjective experience) constantly looks promising but never quite delivers. Wilber lays out with beautiful clarity how many others devise lists giving layers of experience but confuse themselves (such as assuming that life is subsumed under thought instead of thought subsumed under life, etc). He addresses ecological and feminist thinkers on both sides of what he calls the 'Eco versus Ego' divide with wonderful clear-mindedness. Yet ultimately Wilber's scheme (to reintegrate the 'Ascending' and 'Descending' visions of cosmic harmony) looks like just another conjuring trick designed to reunite what has been so firmly cut apart - the Descending aspect of the categories is missing. Despite respectful mentions for Sheldrake and other usually marginal figures, he seems to have no conception that a subset could reach out and influence the set that contains it - that the higher could reconfigure the lower. His very reasonable heirarchies all plan their joyous reunion, but still at separate tables.

July 13th; Sunday. Another day of struggles with intractable software. Finally, computer victory! I join Robin in Lacko & Joli's kitchen for a couple of glasses of their homemade sour-cherry-based sherry, and then back in the main house for some pink wine, becoming disgracefully squiffy in time to snooze through the World Cup football final. Yesterday found Zsuzsi's horse Solero inspecting the locked main gates from the inside in hot sunshine, brown forehead resting against the bars of the gate. Sometimes he gazed with longing out into the distance and occasionally snuffled with interest around the vertical rod latch that keeps the gates closed. Hard to tell if he was missing Zsuzsanna (currently at a music festival at Lake Balaton) or wishing he could socialise with the two grey-white horses almost at the main road, both grazing in the shade of the uncompleted red-roofed barn, half-built for the last 12 years. Every couple of minutes or so a mild stamp of the front right hoof showed a sort of vague boredom.
July 12th; Saturday. Alone in house on Great Plain with young Bela Grant. Rather frustrating battle the whole day with irritating bits of software. It seems US courts think airborne drones are not intruding if they don't physically touch you or your property. Definitely some physical touching of property by these people.

July 11th; Friday. Pack my bags and get the train for the countryside. Another railway journey where another one or two pieces seem to fall into place in the mind. Robin meets me at Lakitelek just before dark falls. Good article on the told-you-so responders as self-styled state of ISIS expands inside Iraq.
July 10th; Thursday. Do 2 Tarot readings for Esoteric Veronica. In her 1st spread she picks this card as final outcome, and then in the 2nd spread picks this card as basis of the affair. Goodness.

July 9th; Wednesday. Provocative: the cost of children.
July 8th; Tuesday. Continuing the 1970s by other means.

July 7th; Monday. Preparations continue at feverish pace. Hilarious selection of books that a manly man should let a young lady find on his shelves.
July 6th; Sunday. Day off with Operatic Zita at the Csillaghegyi outdoor pool complex, bustling with swimmers, sunbathers, & cement cherubs standing guard at intervals in the bushes. Around 99 degrees F at noon. After a lunch of battered fish and pink wine + soda I fall asleep in the shade for an hour or two next to one pool, watching huge citadels of white cloud cruise past tree foliage overhead. The whole day I wear the baths' magnetic-gate-operating blue & green plastic bracelet. It's like a fake wristwatch with a blank blue disc instead of a dial, a timepiece that says time no longer moves. Not even exercise can save us. Finally realise spiritual life purpose as we chat during car drive back into town.

July 5th; Saturday. Gina's friend Aniko talks about mistreatment of Gypsies in the provinces. Gina says families of wild boar sometimes wander through the Budapest suburb where we're drinking wine after dark. Some groovy East Bloc hepcat sounds, care of Syd Dale & his orchestra.
July 4th; Friday. The military love Facebook.

July 3rd; Thursday. 1 in 200 men are The Spawn Of Genghis.
July 2nd; Wednesday. Lessons with Gabor and Boardgame Orsolya in Budapest. Interpreting political geography broadly we have an article about how fracking has done us good / Rod Liddle's cheerful thoughts on the new Islamist entity ISIS / how to bring down a country financially / how to create a balloon-style city floating over the baking-hot plains of Venus / a semi-map of all the solid planet surfaces in our solar system / and some surprising maps of IQ scores across Europe.

July 1st; Tuesday. A bright sunny morning with Robin and Zsuzsi in a nearby village reviewing big piles of sand. Robin is transfixed by a large empty warehouse/barn completely dark inside its giant open doors but for one spinning ventilator port piercing the far wall high up. 50 yards away, a bull and I eye each other warily by a stack of hay bales next to a gravel-pit lake, a lone Victorian-looking brick-kiln chimney rising above thick trees. Meanwhile not far off to our left Zsuzsi inspects an array of ten-foot-high mounds of different kinds of sand. Back to Budapest again ending up in a train compartment with The Muchly Adorned Lass from a year ago, as before tinkling with trinkets, showing off her legs, this time pretty head clamped inside luminous green headphones. Quick clip of snatches from an early-1970s movie I remember watching as a schoolboy on our black-and-white television: 'The Outside Man'. No connection to the outside man of the Jimmy Bee song. More work on website.

Recent weblog entries continued:

Who can translate the next 300 words into Korean or Hindi? Contact us and there will be revelry.

Languages dying out each week - who cares?

We do - otherlanguages.org is gradually building a reference resource for over five thousand linguistic minorities and stateless languages worldwide.

Thousands of unique language communities are becoming extinct. Out of the world's five to six thousand languages, we hardly know what we're losing, what literatures, philosophies, ways of thinking, are disappearing right now.

So?

We may soon regret the extinction of thousands of entire linguistic cultures even more than we regret the needless extinction of many animals and plants.

The planet is increasingly dominated by a handful of major-language monocultures like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Russian, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Bengali - all beautiful and fascinating languages.

But so are the 5,000 others.

These are groups of people?

Linguistic minorities are communities of ordinary people whose native tongue is not their country's main official language. Swedish speakers in Finland, French speakers in Canada, Hungarian speakers in Slovakia - and hundreds more - are linguistic minorities.

And totally stateless languages are the native languages of some of the world's most intriguing, little-known, cultures. Like the Lapps inside the Arctic Circle, the Sards in Sardinia, Ainus in Japan. Cherokee in the US, Scots Gaelic in Britain, Friesian in the Netherlands, Zulu in South Africa. There are only a couple of hundred recognised sovereign states and territories, so 5,000 languages - more depending on how you count - are the native tongues of linguistically stateless people.

How could I help?

You don't need to learn an endangered language - any more than go to live in the rainforest to help slow its destruction.

A good start is to just tell friends about websites like this.

Broader public interest makes it easier for linguists to raise funds and organise people to learn these languages while there's time.

That's right. There are people who love languages and are happy to learn them on behalf of the rest of us, but they need support, just like zoologists, botanists, or historians.

Fewer languages still sounds good to me

Depends what you think languages are for. They're not just a tool for business. We never said you should learn three or four thousand rare languages - or even one. And which ones we make children learn in school, or whether we should force children to learn languages at all, is another question.


Typical scene in a European city; Chances are, folk here speak some sort of foreign language *5

A century ago - before we understood ecology, and when we cared less about wilderness, most educated people would have laughed at the idea of worrying about plants or animals going extinct. Now we understand how important species diversity is for our own futures, we are more humble, and more worried.

In the same way, linguistic triumphalism by English-speakers who hated studying foreign grammar at school is dangerously ignorant as well as arrogant. Few of us know what we are losing, week by week. How many people realise these languages have scientific value?

Scientific value?

You can think of these languages across the planet as beautiful cathedrals or precious archeological sites we are watching being destroyed. That should be motive enough.

But these five thousand languages may also hold clues to the structure of the human mind. Subtle differences and similarities

Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
between languages are helping archeologists and anthropologists to understand what happened in the hundreds of centuries of human history before written history. And that is one of our best chances of understanding how human brains developed over the thousands of centuries leading up to that.

Study of the mind and study of language go hand in hand these days. The world's most marginal languages are actually precious jigsaw pieces from an overall picture of who we are and how our species thinks and evolves. Every tiny language adds another brightly-coloured clue to this academic detective story.

Yet researchers have hardly started sifting through this tantalising evidence, and language extinction is washing it away right in front of us.

And worst of all, most people have no idea that there is this fantastic profusion of cultures across our world, let alone that they are in danger of extinction. Even just more people learning that there are still five thousand living languages in the world today (most of us would answer five hundred or fifty) is already a huge help.

We English-speakers hardly notice English - it's like air for us. But every other language is also an atmosphere for an entire cultural world, and each of these worlds has people whose home it is. Each language encapsulates a unique way of talking and thinking about life. Just try some time in a foreign prison, being forced to cope in another language, and you'll realise how much your own language is your identity. That's true for everyone.

Minority languages are a human-rights issue?

One of the most basic.

Dozens of millions of people worldwide suffer persecution from national governments for speaking their mother tongue - in their own motherland.

Many 'ethnic' feuds puzzling to outsiders had as their basis an attempt to destroy a linguistic community. Would the Northern Ireland dispute be quite so bitter if we English had not so nearly stamped out the Irish Gaelic language, for example? Almost nowhere in the world does a language community as small as the few thousand Rheto-Romanic speakers - the fourth official language of Switzerland - get the protection of a national government. Next time you see some Swiss Francs, check both sides of the banknote.

But outside exceptional countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, speakers of non-official languages have a much less protected experience.

Speakers of minority languages are often seen as a threat by both the governments and the other residents of the countries where they were born, grew up, and try to live ordinary lives.

They experience discrimination in the job and education markets of their homelands, often having no choice but to pursue education in the major language of the host state: a deliberate government policy usually aimed at gradually absorbing them into the majority culture of that country.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, of course *7

Most governments are privately gleeful each time another small separate culture within their borders is snuffed out by a dwindling population or a deliberately centralising education system.

The United Nations is no help. It is an association of a couple of hundred sovereign states based on exclusive control of territory, almost all of them anxious to smother any distinct group or tradition that in any way might blur or smudge the hard-won borders around those pieces of territory.

The usual approach by sovereign states is to deny their linguistic minorities even exist.

::

Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

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*1 image from , with thanks
*2 "Al-Araby" in written Arabic (read more)
*3 "What?" in American Sign Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written Chinese  (read more); image from , with thanks
*5 image from , with thanks
*6 image from , with thanks
*7 image from 'B?ume', with thanks to  Bruno P. Kramer, and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag

useful:

.languages of the world
.Internet free speech
.weights & measures
.5000 English words
.2000+ Chinese char.s
.persian/english dictionary
.currency rates 1 2 3 4 5

other web diaries:

.a political refugee from the global village
.enigmatic mermaid
.languagehat
.billy
.francis
.samizdata
.patrick
.rainy day
.varangy
.diaries abroad
.hereinside
.samuel pepys
.hasanpix
.ehsan
.cora
.mychronicles
.openbrackets
.whump
.sargasso

also useful:

.country domain names
.language-learning 1 2
.find old websites
.fine HTML tutorial
.webhost
.minimalist websites

reviews: ................. books {...or films here}

1 metrologie historique
2 postmodernism & the other
3 disaster (news on sunday)
4 money unmade (russian barter in the 1990s)
5 the sleepwalkers
6 e
7 the kruschev era
8 the end of science
9 don't you want me?
10 the carpet wars
11 zelator
12 life of thomas more
13 faber book of science
14 gilgamesh
15 out of it
16 guns, germs & steel
17 words & rules
18 figure in the landscape
19 life without genes
20 bede's history of the english
21 the nothing that is
22 zoology
23 journey by moonlight
24 heavenly serbia
25 ratkay endre
26 the handmaid's tale
27 the selective eye
28 a megismerese epitokovei
29 intention
30 thirty nine steps
31 princess
32 the pyramids
33 the etruscans
34 moonchild
35 paradise news
36 culture of time & space 1880 to 1918
37 szimmetria
38 babel orokeben
39 astro-archeology
40 a history of islamic spain
41 high gothic
42 among the believers
43 the renaissance
44 augustine
45 mcvicar
46 atomised
47 tangled wing
48 da vinci code
49 nature via nurture
50 termeszet szamai
51 decline & fall of roman empire
52 practical cheesemaking
53 the sufis
54 fra angelico at san marco
55 the cryptographer
56 they have a word for it
57 szamok valosan innen & tul
58 artistic theory in italy 1450 to 1600
59 darwin's black box
60 indiai ejszaka
61 cleopatra: histories, dreams & distortions
63 what mad pursuit
64 language, the learner & the school
65 writing the romantic comedy
66 the blank slate
67 dougal & the blue cat
68 diego velasquez
69 horse nonsense
70 a certain chemistry
71 deterring democracy
72 textiles
73 thief of time
74 bloodsucking fiends
75 right ho, jeeves
76 generativ grammatika
77 1st time i got paid for it
78 galapagos
79 othello
80 understanding media
81 mysticism
82 short history of french literature
83 best on the market
84 art of seeing
85 culture & imperialism
86 food of the gods
87 arabic-islamic cities
88 the alchemist
89 verbal learning & memory
90 building a successful software business
91 don't make me think!
92 memory
93 the u.s. & the arab world
94 hard times
95 spells for teenage witches
97 the pig that wants to be eaten
98 encyclopaedia of stupidity
99 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part i
100 beach watching
101 the ancient greeks
102 brainstorms
103 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part ii
104 utopia
105 technical writing for engineers & scientists
106 alphabet versus goddess
107 writing on drugs
108 news from somewhere
109 isp survival guide
110 petrus hispanus mester logikajabol
111 art of seduction
112 stet
113 penguin by design
114 the sense of being stared at
115 the golden ratio
116 dinamikus emlekezet
117 margins of reality
118 hopjoy was here
119 bump in the night
120 box of delights
121 color atlas of immunology
122 fashionistas
123 pi in the sky
124 a new kind of fool
125 one man's meat
126 greek fire
127 the buddha in daily life
128 beginner's dutch
129 private life of the brain
130 solar ethics
131 pedant in the kitchen
132 knots
133 the planets within
134 encyclopaedia of ancient & mediaeval history
135 consilience
136 the age of scandal
137 fashion: the 20th century
138 the tipping point
139 design literacy
140 the silent partner
141 hamlet
142 1421
143 the 1890s
144 godel's proof
145 rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead
146 beyond reason
147 little book of music theory
148 q-basic
149 alone of all her sex
150 social studies
151 eternal darkness
152 drawn from memory
154 a guide to elegance
155 medea & other plays
156 the future of money
157 cheese
158 grammars of creation
159 aquarian conspiracy
160 the climate crisis
161 true fiction
162 the making of memory
163 why most things fail
164 genetikai abece
165 finding fulfilment
166 genome
167 the broken estate
168 inigo jones
169 flashman & the dragon
170 from bauhaus to our house
171 100 great paintings
172 kis spanyol nyelvtan
173 the historian
174 tomorrow's gold
175 charting made easy
176 life after life
177 spanyol igei vonzatok
178 the eclipse of art
179 fire in the mind
180 the human body
181 out of control
182 possession
183 simplified chinese characters
184 the generation of 1914
185 intellectuals
186 world of late antiquity
187 riddle & knight
188 informacio kultusza
189 napoleon of notting hill
190 secrets: palm-reading
191 meet yourself as you really are
192 cat's abc
193 intro to spanish poetry
194 rise of christian europe
195 philip's guide to electric living
196 sins for father knox
197 celtic twilight
198 myths of love
199 snobbery with violence
200 just like tomorrow
201 7 basic plots
202 experiment with time
203 vile bodies
204 icons & images: 60s
205 fisher king
206 new jerusalem
207 born on a blue day
208 surveillir & punir
209 trial of socrates
210 how to catch fairies
211 conversations on consciousness
212 mind performance hacks
213 conscience of the eye
214 beau brummell
215 evolution
216 the outsider
217 raja yoga
218 rise of political lying
219 occidentalism
220 colossus
221 secret teachings of jesus
222 blue murder
223 nostrodamus the next 50 years
224 homage to catalonia
225 charity ends at home
226 palace of dreams
227 discovering book collecting
228 beyond the outsider
229 the last barrier
230 that hideous strength
231 indian sculpture
232 small world
233 evolution & healing
234 in search of memory
235 campo santo
236 llewellyn's 2007 tarot reader
237 dream of rome
238 why buildings fall down
239 the empty space
240 england made me
241 greek science in antiquity
242 science, a l'usage des non-scientifiques
243 utmutato tarot
243 hunt for zero point
244 william wilberforce
245 viktor schauberger
246 untouchable
247 the vitamin murders
248 straw dogs
249 elizabeth's spymaster
250 the hard life
251 the god delusion
252 the intellectual
253 undercover economist
254 quirkology
255 chasing mammon
256 early mesopotamia & iran
257 the strange death of david kelly
258 the pilgrimage
259 origin of wealth
260 maxims
261 the finishing school
262 the shepherd's calendar
263 islamic patterns
264 lost world of the kalahari
265 german short stories 1
266 electricity
267 liber null & psychonaut
268 born to rebel
269 wittgenstein's poker
270 will the boat sink the water?
271 romeo & juliet
272 why beautiful people have more daughters
273 the crossing place
274 the turkish diplomat's daughter
275 missionary position
276 lust in translation
277 teaching as a subversive activity
278 how german is it
279 empires of the word
280 warped passages
281 the power of now
282 ponder on this
283 sword of no-sword
284 narcissism
285 blink
286 shock of the old
287 basque history of the world
288 truth: a guide
289 who shot jfk?
290 newtonian casino
291 power & greed
292 the world without us
293 5-minute nlp
294 concise guide to alchemy
295 evidence in camera
296 4-hour work week
297 the rosicrucian enlightenment
298 de-architecture
299 how to lie with maps
300 a book of english essays
301 a time of gifts
302 the occult philosophy in the elizabethan age
303 le pelerinage des bateleurs
304 alchemy & alchemists
305 greenmantle
306 the hero with 1000 faces
307 goethe's parable
308 rhedeyek es fraterek
309 letter to a christian nation
310 the tryst
311 7 experiments that could change the world
312 mill on the floss
313 metastases of enjoyment
314 the isles
315 between the woods and the water
316 secrets of the great pyramid
317 life in the french country house
318 the china study
319 tarot: theory & practice
320 the roger scruton reader
321 alchemy & mysticism
322 picasso's mask
323 the rule of four
324 triumph of the political class
325 arts of darkness
326 neuroscience & philosophy
327 the art of memory
328 mind wide open
329 mud, blood, & poppycock
330 society of the spectacle
331 lila
332 de imaginibus
333 electronics
334 giordano bruno & the embassy affair
335 temporary autonomous zone
336 the human touch
337 the fascination of evil
338 the king of oil
339 dowsing
340 the book of j
341 the west and the rest
342 story of my life
343 plain tales from the hills
344 under the influence
345 modern culture
346 50 mots clefs d'esoterisme
347 giordano bruno & the hermetic tradition
348 development, geography & economic theory
349 das kapital: a biography
350 strange days indeed
351 hegel: a very short introduction
352 reflections on the revolution in france
353 history of sexuality: an introduction
354 why we buy
355 origins of virtue
356 the holographic universe
357 a dead man in deptford
358 obsolete
359 137
360 in your face
361 7 spies who changed the world
362 the noetic universe
363 why beauty is truth
364 imagery in healing
365 the craftsman's handbook
366 futurism
367 in the cards
368 dmso
369 les hommes et leurs genes
370 the franchise affair
371 the decision book
372 les harmonies de la nature a l'epreuve de la biologie
373 kibernetika
374 zuleika dobson
375 l'empire de numbers
376 circus philosophicus
377 some girls
378 number
379 island
380 how to get your ideas adopted
381 drive
382 emergence
383 rfid : la police totale
384 the tempest
385 aspects of wagner
386 view over atlantis
387 world atlas of mysteries
388 art of the dogon
389 genesis machines
390 the sirius mystery
391 the cult of the fact
392 anastasia
393 ringing cedars of russia
394 a whiff of death
395 spirit level delusion
396 wavewatcher's companion
397 the kybalion
398 elegance
399 death in a scarlet coat
400 architecture without architects


films

1 k-pax
2 very annie mary
3 wasabi
4 gosford park
5 arany varos
6 minority report
7 amelie
8 bridget jones' diary
9 arccal a fo:ldnek
10 monsters' ball
11 cube
12 man with no past
13 talk to her
14 szerelemtol sujtva
15 bowling for columbine
16 matrix3
17 zoolander
18 anything else
19 farenheit 9/11
20 8 & 1/2 women
21 madagascar
22 kill bill 1
23 dude, where's my car?
24 the woman in green
25 the hunger
24 nightwatch
25 de battre son coeur s'est arrete
26 wicker man
27 v for vendetta
28 courage the cowardly dog
29 casino royale
30 power of nightmares
31 charlie's angels
32 full throttle
33 foxy brown
34 paths of glory
35 airplane
36 between iraq & a hard place
37 mutiny on the bounty
38 flashmob the opera
39 octopussy
40 bakkerman
41 kiterunner


...............................................................................................................................................................

June 30th; Monday. Dark, cloudy rain. Odd that I woke out of a dream about Asquith Saturday a.m., though can't recall anything about it.

June 29th; Sunday. Thick heat at Robin's in countryside. Does education actually help the economy? Increasingly, the evidence says no.
June 28th; Saturday. 'All My Brothers Are Clean', claims Billy Jones. The website starting to look right for the #crowdfunding launch (as they say in Tweeter Town) any day now.

June 27th; Friday. 2 cold baths today. Hot sun pours into the Budapest flat, sometimes muffled by pesky clouds, but at just a certain moment in the late afternoon the light is bright & crisp enough for the crucial tabletop photo to catch before the weekend starts. And then to the train station for the last connection to Lakitelek. In the reopened bar at Kecskemet station I meet a man drinking a beer. He is thrilled to switch out of Hungarian and demonstrate his English with me. His small boy, zooming a remote-controlled car the size of large pack of coffee this and that way across the floor, alternately banging into my chair or his father's feet, keeps reminding papa they will be late if they don't leave now. All the way down on both trains through the countryside of yellow fields and shaggy green trees I read Esoteric Veronica's Ken Wilber book. Robin meets me as dusk falls and we share a pizza at Lakitelek.
June 26th; Thursday. Esoteric Veronica back from travel. This man for health reasons decides to work, type, read, travel, and eat standing up for one month. His children mock him. Seems recent research shows the simple act of sitting down too long each day is unhealthy, even if you exercise vigorously.

June 25th; Wednesday. From around the world, some stories. Our sweetly nostalgic man in Bucharest says why he likes it there, and relates his trip to Ethiopia & Zanzibar here and also here. He even shares a lovely set of pictures about Jayne Mansfield's 1964 joke bid for the White House.
Meanwhile an earnest but important article on Chinese growth and how it's all going Pete Tong. This is followed by a heartening & inspiring tale of a man who burned his 2 passports in front of friends yet seems to be successfully walking to Africa without any papers. ["Walking out of Africa with no papers will be the hard part" I hear some of you cynics muttering.]
June 24th; Tuesday. Back at the laser cutters.

June 23rd; Monday. More preparation for the crowdfunding launch.
June 22nd; Sunday. Only second time in Duna Plaza shopping mall for many years.

June 21st; Longest day. Visit shop full of beads opposite Hungary's version of the V & A.
June 20th; Friday. Visit laser-cutting business up near Ujpest, twice. It's with a group of other firms inside what seems to be the old vicarage next to a large church. The vicarage continues to use part of the building, proudly hanging giant Hungarian and Vatican flags at the front.

June 19th; Thursday. Hot sun. More cold baths. It seems there are now regular academic conferences about TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
June 18th; Wednesday. Meet new student Gabor in the shopping plaza. Mysterious prediction from Esoteric Veronica. A central plot on the ground floor has been given over for a week now to a stand packed with hanging displays of rubber beach sandals: flip-flops. Each time I walk past I have to go through a strong plume of that plastic aroma (polyurethane? PVC?). It reminds me of beach and poolside inflateables like blow-up lilos and other floating things with "This is not a life-saving device" written on the side. Neighbouring office building still has black crosses of tape in the ground-floor glass panels and men with safety helmets scratching themselves. Another thing which would be nice for the purchasing managers and/or wholesalers serving large supermarket chains in Hungary to learn - apart from mastering stock-reorder levels - would be the following refinement. Suppose you're a large supermarket (let's say purely at random, CBA inside Corvin Plaza) and let's imagine you stock in some product in three flavours (for example, a brand of cheese that is plain, or with added paprika, or with added chives), and one flavour (for example, the plain version) runs out a week before the other two run out, and this happens every single month for five years. This is a sign! The sign is not for you to wait each month until all three flavours have run out, forcing those tiresome customers to bloody buy your other flavours before reordering the same quantities. It means that you (either the shop or the brand buying the shelfspace - one of the two of you) can r-e-s-p-o-n-d and a-d-a-p-t. You can reorder or resupply more of the flavour that runs out sooner, and less of the other flavours. Tricky concepts of course, but I'm sure all those clever Hungarians with good secondary-school maths and business-management degrees can get the hang of this sooner or later.

June 17th; Tuesday. Finished what might have been Robin's mother's copy of a 1959 novel called 'Man of Montmartre', looking handsomely booklike with its pale turquoise clothbound hard cover, sun-yellowed spine and gilt lettering. By Stephen and Ethel Longstreet, this is a novel based on the life of Maurice Utrillo. The boy, born to a Bohemian model-turned-painter called Suzanne who is accepted by the great painters of the 1880s (Degas, Renoir, the elderly Lautrec et al) as an equal, himself becomes a painter - but not before becoming dangerously addicted to alcohol in his early teens. His mother actually pushes Utrillo to become a painter as a way to deal with his rages, alcoholism, and delinquency. Indeed, Utrillo is probably a child the mother had by one of the older generation of artists like Degas or Renoir she was modelling for. Though written not quite with full characters, we do get the feeling of moving through different lives as Post-Impressionists give way to Fauvists and the poised Pablo, then Dada, the various trends and rising or falling careers pass like springs and autumns. Utrillo moves between asylums, Paris studios, and the chateau his mother's marriage and business partnership to one of his friends enables them to buy. That Utrillo is overly attached to his pretty, party-throwing mother all his life is delicately but clearly sketched in. The deprivations of the Great War are replaced by the hectic prosperity of the 1920s. The main mood is sad, but one great accomplishment is we never find ourselves being nudged about what is about to happen next. The feeling of living in France through those decades as they might have felt at the time moving forward is nicely given, not as we feel they might have been looking back. Some, but not too much, descriptive prose suggests how a painter looks at colours and the world. In one scene, Maurice looks out of one of his early windows when young in around 1900 and there is still a vineyard visible from a studio in Montmartre. An odd sense of "you had to be there at the time" hangs over this account of a wild half-century when anyone with paints, some ability, and a new idea could create themselves fame and the right to be listened to if they got themselves to the right lowlife streets in Paris to join the artistic underground. Like a long-delayed after-tremor of the 1790s, it was another period and place when anything seemed within reach. I was vaguely reminded of how some people of a certain age today talk about districts like Chelsea in London or Haight Ashbury in San Francisco for a few thrilling years in the 1960s and 70s when - for a much briefer time - the same limitless possibilities seemed there for anyone able to form a guitar and drum group. And how, as Cressida's brother once remarked, for everyone else it was a kind of taunting mirage.
June 16th; Monday. More study help in rural Hungary, with one or two interruptions. Here's a collection of mid-20th-century gothic horror book covers, featuring the illustration trope of a woman running away from a large old haunted-looking house at night. Of course stories need a shifting balance of dramatic tension, so the dark scary goings-on have to be fairly intense to offset the allure of marrying into a big chateau with accompanying estate. Astute observers will note the heroine is never fleeing from a normal-sized home in a suburb or village.

June 15th; Sunday. Day in countryside helping Zsuzsi revise.
June 14th; Saturday. Take the train out south-east to see Robin and help Zsuzsi revise. For those of us pondering the many might-have-beens of life, here's a handy summary of all that quantum weirdness business, albeit from someone arguing quite strongly for there being many worlds. All at once.

June 13th; Friday. Assemble some IKEA furniture with Attila. We are reminded just how lazy & stupid the people who design flat-pack furniture really are. Talking of which, here is some more deluded futurism. An article listing some "futuristic", "new" forms of sci-fi government, as if problems of society and the human heart are technical challenges and having a better community is akin to inventing a new kind of engine.
June 12th; Thursday. Films which a reviewer thinks must be good because they're confusing. Plus an American woman zoologist who cruelly broke the heart of her dolphin lover.

June 11th; Wednesday. More sticky warmth and cold-bath therapy in Budapest. Last week Rheumatology Kata told me the temperature in Napoleonic units was 28 degrees! Once we did a conversion for me, we found this amounts to 82 degrees Farenheit. One of those nice number coincidences, like 1.6 millimetres happening to equal 1/16th of an inch. Last night, while evangelising for the cold-bath concept, told Attila that in this kind of warmth, five minutes underwater in a chilly cold bath makes the body feel for the next hour as if made of solid silver.
An interesting alternative-history story I'm hearing more and more of: the claim that Hitler was taken by submarine to Argentina where he lived out a peaceful old age as a guest in a big house of a rich German family somewhere fairly remote near the Andes. I think last year I came across a quite convincing documentary film with testimony from several retired hotel workers in Argentina. An intriguing detail was the decision to use reputedly gullible young history don Hugh Trevor-Roper to certify the ashes in Berlin of Hitler and Braun, as a way intelligence officials could dodge putting their own name to the unconvincing death report should Adolf pop up again somewhere to retrospectively damage their careers. Now declassified FBI documents supposedly show the same thing: Germany's Fuhrer lived on, minus moustache, until 1962. As if this isn't proof enough that you can't keep a good logo down, here are some French photos of neo-Nazis in Mongolia, who seem to have a vigorous cult fusing Hitler and Genghis Khan.
June 10th; Tuesday. After a fabulous late breakfast cooked up by Zsuzsi, Robin & I drive back at speed to Budapest in very thick heat, and I arrive on time to teach English to Esoteric Veronica, a friend of Operatic Zita. Veronica had rather alarming things to say about my birth chart last week.

June 9th; Monday. Quiet & warm day just outside Tiszainoka. In the morning a mass of at least sixty small brown/orange butterflies horde around a particular wisteria (or laburnum?) bush, visibly excited about its blossoms and those of no other plant. In the afternoon a curious sense of breakthrough and release and momentum. Robin, now down to about three roll-ups a day, takes breaks outside the house for his quick ritual. In the evening I take his first night-time smoking break with him, minus a cigarette for me but plus a glass tumbler of cold black coffee instead. To get out we clamber over the wheezing Dougal-style komondor dog that insists on wedging its bigness into the whole of the front doorway to guard and snooze at the same time. I try to put thoughts about the links between marriage & art into words as we both admire the dark. An almost-full moon lurks self-consciously behind his horse-chestnut tree.
June 8th; Sunday. Whitsun or Pentecost catches me off guard again. Much of day fiddle with my camera and online .gifmakers. As the light fades in the evening, Robin and Zsuzsi arrive with tales of a day at some polo event where three cash prizes were given out by a brokerage in a tombola, and they won two of them, to be deposited in brokerage accounts. We drive back into the countryside as night falls.

June 7th; Saturday. Much of day fiddle with cut-out pieces of coloured newspaper while listening to intriguing documentary films about King Arthur and his era.
June 6th; Friday. Heat a bit sapping. Three cold baths today. Thoughtful article about digital cryptocurrencies.

June 5th; Thursday. Busy day of teaching and bustling around town. More evidence that writing by hand on boring old paper is a useful skill after all.
June 4th; Wednesday. For the true Greenie: interesting article makes major claims on plant intelligence. Worth it for the references to other reading on the topic like Goethe, Darwin, Bose, Baluska, Trewavas, McClintock.

June 3rd; Tuesday. We like people a lot like us.
June 2nd; Monday. The tasteless chequered office building on the corner has been almost finished for at least 3 weeks. It might be as long as 6 weeks. Temporary fencing is down, the ground-floor panels of glass are marked by big crosses of black tape to stop people walking into them (inadvertently reminding us how dumb modernism really is), and workmen are still wandering around. We can actually use that pavement again, and I get to wonder why there's a five or six-millimetre-wide, twenty-yard-long slot cut perfectly through all the paving slabs parallel to the frontage but twelve to fifteen feet out from the glass wall.

June 1st; Sunday. Some days chilly, some days hot. Not sure if they're "amazing" but some of these images of naked people by Dorothy Iannone are certainly striking, especially with the blocks of text and the comicbook-style/naive compositions.

May 31st; Saturday. Slightly more recent history: a good overview of prewar Louisiana politician Huey Long, known as 'Kingfish'. "Every man a king."

May 30th; Friday. Rather sad evidence that Catholic Christianity wasn't that unpopular in Tudor England after all, but was suppressed by a sustained campaign of force followed by a very successful rewriting of history.
May 29th; Thursday. Wake up on my sofa back in Budapest. Long day of work. Meanwhile in Russia, a circus crocodile is injured by a falling accountant.

May 28th; Wednesday. Woken just after dawn in Robin's studio by a bird flying around. Groggily I first think it is part of the gang of noisy creatures who live under the roof panelling and rustle around at night, scratching, snuffling, and squeaking, trying essentially to sound as large as they can. Then I think there is a birds' nest, or that birds have somehow tunnelled through from the next-door stables where every roof beam over Solero's head has a swallows' nest bustling with cheeping baby-fledgling activity plus parents flying in and out. As I slowly awaken, I realise there is just one of them. I have to get dressed and open the door to let the unhappy fowl out of the big room.
May 27th; Tuesday. Woken early in studio by an inch-and-a-half-long wasp looking a bit like this. Cajoled the poor love into a drinking glass, capped the top with a British silver hallmarks catalogue, and shook him out of the window.

May 26th; Monday. Finish reading another of Robin's books. 'Ride The Tiger' by Julius Evola near the end of his life, is an early-1960s recommendation for how people who don't fit into the current age ("aristocrats of the soul") can live their lives. The book recaps some of the themes from his book 'Revolt Against The Modern World' about the vulgarity and decadence of western civilisation since the decline of chivalric Christianity. The Italian Renaissance in the opinion of this curious early-20th-century Italian was not the end of Europe's Dark Age but the beginning of a new Dark Age. An interesting section is his attack on Nietzsche (whom he acutely reads as losing his bearings in a new form of individualistic nihilism instead of seeking to reorient himself in the Apollonian transcendence of "Tradition"), followed by his attack on existentialism. Evola credits existentialists with some insights, but over several chapters he lays out what he sees as decadent, fragmented, and anti-transcendent about Heidegger's and Sartre's discussions of the "thrown-in-ness" of life. Another interesting section is about 20th-century physics: "One of the principal exponents of modern physics, Heisenberg, has explicitly admitted this in his book: it is about formal knowledge enclosed in itself, extremely precise in its practical consequences, in which, however, one cannot speak of knowledge of the real." Evola regards both the music of jazz and the beat generation as a regression to primitive dissolution into anti-social individualism. He views the spiritual claims of modern physics as bogus, with similarly lofty disdain for popular occultism & faddish spiritualism. All forms of social disintegration, high-minded Evola insists.
May 25th; Sunday. Robin's friend Rupert from London arrives in the evening. Over dinner he tells us about his year with Nigeria's national bank.

May 24th; Saturday. Transylvanian Lacko gives Robin a handy rule of thumb while they deal with the carcass of Samu the former ram: apparently you multiply the weight of one kidney by 1,000 to get roughly the mass of the whole sheep. So just under 4oz / just over 100g scales up to just less than 250lb / just over 100kg.
May 23rd; Friday. Robin picks me up after 8pm from Lakitelek station (now sadly minus the big old tree in front) and we drive back to the village along empty lanes in the last golden sun of early evening. As green leafy trees ripple the sunset down one straight stretch of country road Robin toots the car horn cheerfully at a pretty girl in a short tight day-glow orange frock. She cheerfully wiggles her bottom and does a little dance as we whizz past. Seconds later we zoom past a girl in jeans and a green top again tooting, and she waves exuberantly at us and does her own little dance.

May 22nd; Thursday. Psychology Eszter mentions narcissistic photographers who have other people take photographs of them taking photos. And here's a chortlesome history essay assembled out of Canadian schoolboy howlers. But wait - these were written by - university students??
May 21st; Wednesday. Back in Budapest I walk through the shopping centre and again have to look at the ridiculous display hanging in the central atrium as I pass it. This is an area by the lifts where a well of space spans three floors. For at least two weeks, on vertical wires have been strung a random collection of objects like a laptop, a canoe, a garden chair, a beachball, dozens of other things - all tilted at different angles. The effect is of seeing the mid-air debris from an exploding house frozen in time. The thing I keep glancing at is the giant teddy bear strapped into a pushchair, suspended sideways in a vaguely horrific way. I suppose they want to evoke a crazy, anarchic mood of summer shopping fun.

May 20th; Tuesday. Get lift back into town. Hot sun. Deep shadows. Irritable shoppers who are hot and bothered. Bold journalist experiments with not washing.
May 19th; Monday. Zsuzsi's horse Solero arrives. A large handsome young gelding, coloured glossy chestnut with a lozenge-shaped patch of cream fur on his forehead, he seems gentle and good-natured. He lets me stroke him and ruffle the start of his black mane. He is the first horse for ten years to occupy the long-empty stables, one side of which is now stuffed to the rafters with big cubes of straw (in which, somewhere at the back Poppy, the cat with the black-and-white markings of her father Pompom has hidden her new kittens). Both Lacko and Gyuri seem to know about horses. The mother and daughter Komondor sheepdogs are both bounding around, but have not yet been introduced to Solero the horse, a day or two of non-dog calm being felt good while the steed gets used to his new surroundings. Often not easy to see which end is which except from the direction they bustle, both hounds look like dirty off-white rainclouds rendered in some solid but soft material. Or at least the way rainclouds might look if they could bark and bounce through long grass.
Meanwhile, just over the border in Ukraine, Owen Matthews' view seems increasingly plausible.

May 18th; Sunday. In countryside with crowing cockerels, snuffling sheepdogs, plus insect trilling and birdsong. Read Robin's copy of 'Mystery of the Cathedrals' by the odd prewar French writer Fulcanelli. The fact the writer vanished from public life, even his friends apparently unable to find him, after entrusting the manuscript to one of his students in 1926, of course adds to the charm. The book, with 49 monochrome photographs, purports to show how the true techniques of alchemy are hidden yet displayed within riddling, allegorical sculptures and bas-relief stone images on Notre-Dame-de-Paris, the Cathedral of Amiens, and a couple of other buildings. Fulcanelli follows the old convention that some knowledge should be transmitted in puzzles so that only the morally & intellectually worthy can acquire its power, so much is left politely unclear. The overall effect is intriguing, not least because the author seems to believe the metaphors and symbols encode genuine recipes and processes, rather than forming parts of a larger metaphor, as Jung suggested. I find myself reading much of the book in an alert frame of mind, walking or standing up outdoors, shaded from the sun.
May 17th; Saturday. Catch train into the countryside to visit Robin. Intermittent rain: April showers in May. A woman plucks up the courage to say she doesn't enjoy having women employees.
At Robin's, finish a slim 2006 book from London, perhaps from his friend Amir, called 'Contemporary Art', by Julian Stallybrass. This book is both fascinating and irritating. It's fascinating because Stallybrass knows a great deal about contemporary art, has read a lot, and mentions many artists, critics, and curators worth following up on. Irritating because he takes for granted that Marxism provides a meaningful background to today's world, drops in the phrase "neoliberalism" wherever he can as if he understands what it means, and has a glib Guardianesque style. His is the typical left-wing editorial patter rich with snide references to curators "roaming the world like multinational executives" (as if that obviously makes them bad people) or the disaster of shock capitalism affecting post-Soviet Europe (of course he fails to grasp that it was the criminality of 70 years of Soviet one-party rule that caused the economic collapse after that system broke down in 1990, not some rapacious virus-like element of free trade entering from abroad). He sweepingly assumes he and his readers can take a lot of facts for granted, so they don't have to be proven (just as well since most of them are false). Every paragraph is marinaded in this casual socioeconomic ignorance wielded with off-hand confidence. This cocky attitude both annoys any reader who actually knows a little bit about history, economics, politics, or sociology, and cramps his overall view of contemporary art. The large-scale agenda of the book is therefore borderline worthless, except insofar as it gives an excellent insight into a large milieu of other artists, critics, and curators who also live their lives and do art on the basis of similar mistaken theories. Stallybrass and many of the people he works with and quotes clearly believe that not just art but philosophy, thought, and what this era has instead of spirituality is almost entirely concerned with money. Quotes from Marxist thinkers like Adorno fill the role of theological analysis into what Stallybrass takes to be the cult of money (aside from the cult he follows: the cult of discussing the cult of money). The word "beauty" only occurs once before page 100, and there in a sarcastic sentence noting with disgust a depoliticisation of art: "So, to take one example, economic revival in the US in the mid-1990s produced a concerted attack on the political art of the previous years, and a sustained attempt to rehabilitate beauty in art, and to establish the voice of the market as the final arbiter of taste..." Note the rhetorical weight slyly loaded onto words and phrases here like "concerted", "sustained", "rehabilitate", "arbiter of taste". Of course only adherents of market economics would undertake anything as underhand as "rehabilitating" a notion as bogus as "beauty in art", this sentence says without spelling it out. Almost every paragraph has a sentence with this feel: as if referring in passing to an accepted view which has already been decisively settled somewhere else.
He's a good writer though in two senses: the deeply warped belief system flows past smoothly and convincingly, but on a more basic level he quotes people, books, and incidents clearly, crisply, and readably. Mind you, at one outrageous moment he attributes the horror of a couple of years of Lenin's rule to his retreat from revolutionary communism, marking a temporary return of some degree of free trade during the early Soviet nightmare. This is while claiming that a 1990s Russian artist is echoing a 1920s Russian artist's attack on the evils of private business: however small and limited a softening of Lenin's prison-camp police state it might have entailed, still too much private business for this armchair totalitarian. Sad to say, although "beauty" and "beautiful" finally get used several times after page 100 (though always bracketed somehow as being part of a retrogressive theory of art, or else a smokescreen behind which the sneaky conspirators of international capital can work their usual mischief), I didn't notice any of the words "ugly" or "elegant" or "pretty" being used even once in the 135-page text. There is still obviously the need to refer to some art being visually charming in some sense, so "attractive" and "appealing" are called into play as being - he and his readers imagine - less superficial and less philosophically unexamined than the hackneyed labels of mere gorgeousness in looks. Most worrying is his inability to see that his ironic and political sense of what makes art good (another word too daringly blunt for a book like this) is completely in bed with the free-market-liberal money men he sees subverting or steering the art market. This blindness to Marxism and free-market liberalism being Siamese twins joined at the materialistic hip is what will make this short book date so rapidly over the next half century, however sharp and entertainingly relevant it feels now. To give him his due he notes that many aspects of the art market are economically pre-industrial and pre-Marxist (with patrons, private collectors, protection from commoditisation), without grasping that this empowerment of some artists is precisely the effort to own the means of production (and even distribution) which Marxists claim to wish for themselves and their believers.
Curiously, Stallybrass is unaware some criminal gangs use stolen art as a value-dense, liquid, tax-declaration-proof (precisely because it's illegal to hold) version of high-denomination cash. That might have made a nice point for one of his sneering sentences insinuating that "late capitalism" co-opts all opposition.

May 16th; Friday. Delicious dinner at Attila's flat. He tells me about yesterday's long day in the operating theatre, assisting as The Bear performs hour after hour of highly skilled surgery on a cancer patient. Then we watch the film 'Her', which daringly casts the pretty actress Scarlet Johansson as only her voice, the charming and lovable voice of a sentient operating system in a near future of artificial intelligence. All about the loneliness and awkwardness of today's world, where people are more comfortable online than talking to friends in the same room, the script beautifully catches the passive-aggressive embarrassment of people talking to other people. They pretend intimacy and easy-going good cheer where actually there's distance and boredom. The operating system 'Samantha' quickly intuits cues from the central male character's voice. He starts to prefer 'her' company to that of real people. A four-way picnic with three live people and 'Samantha' piping up cheerful comments from a device in the male character's shirt pocket was eerie when I realised how credible the extraordinary premise already seemed by that point. The ending is unexpected but feels just right.
May 15th; Thursday. Trying to remember when I was standing waiting for a train at Kecskemet - perhaps last Saturday. Grey-blue clouds scudding around in sunshine. A blustery summer wind swaying the stack of concrete hoops hanging on cable inside the box-trellis metal pylons, keeping overhead wires pulled taut. A solid country wife with a basket full of colourful flowers nods at the horizon, telling me the train I asked about is coming. I squint down the track in the sun seeing nothing at all. After about another thirty seconds I make out a yellow dot the size of pinhead. Oh to have her kind of eyesight.
Some clever business cards.

May 14th; Wednesday. Still not clear where OK comes from.
May 13th; Tuesday. Finish reading a book of Robin's, 'Revolt Against The Modern World' by Julius Evola, a Sicilian aristocrat who flourished in the 1920s and 30s, was eventually crippled due to his habit of walking the wartime streets freely during air raids, and championed a return to divine kingship and occultism. The book sets out his case for history showing a long decline, ever-mounting vulgarity distancing modern man ever further from ancient values of nobility in alliance with holy values. Most interesting is that, like Nietzsche, he sees early Christianity as craven, populist, and subversive - and regards the mediaeval church, with its deeper involvement with royalty and sacred orders of knights, as having temporarily halted the downward trend. Like some more recent writers, he views the Grail myth and the accompanying Fisher King stories as about restoring the link from hereditary aristocracy to a divine & supernatural agenda.

May 12th; Monday. Quiet day on the Great Plain. Odd tale of eye specialists stockpiling old lightbulbs.
May 11th; Sunday. At the end of staying up too late reading by myself again I approach the studio building in the dark of the small hours and a chorus of cheerful barking breaks out. Both large shaggy komondor dogs and Lexi the fox terrier are waiting for me outside the studio door like a welcome committee, apparently reassured I'm finally turning in for the night. They don't attempt to enter the studio themselves, but they see me into my pen with friendly concern. I suppose to sheepdogs I might seem like a large oddly-shaped sheep in need of occasional herding.
A very frank ad for some wedding musicians.

May 10th; Saturday. At Robin's on the Great Plain, I go to sleep on the sofa in the studio late, and as I climb the stairs to get up to the gallery, an almost-full moon slices through a slot between blind and window suddenly filling the dark space with blue-grey light. During the night I hear scratching and shuffling up above the ceiling boards overhead. Often have heard something soft sliding around up there in the cramped roof cavity but this sounds twice the normal size. Perhaps a cat, perhaps a bird, perhaps one of those new mega-rats. After dawn on Sunday some large ponderous fly bounces around in the huge studio, buzzing and then going silent and then buzzing again, like a clockwork toy whose spring keeps jamming.
May 9th; Friday. Beautiful warm sunshine. Walking between Dozsa Gyorgy and Arpad hid (= 'bridge') metro stations, an unbidden wave of pure happiness washes over me. Quite a dumpy stretch of scrappy postwar industrial buildings mixed with 19th-century cottages and villas, now swallowed up by the smear of 1980s office blocks with mirrored windows at Arpad bridge. Yet clumps of almost weed-like trees, heavy with bulging foliage, pop up on corners or empty sites, looking quasi-rural with their indecently healthy greenery. Hungary's spring is a bit like an improved English summer with a few more notches on the warm-weather-pretty-girls-blue-sky volume knob. I turn down a side street to find, as kindly recommended by Balint, a branch of a chain called Speed Shop. In there I buy a replacement phone battery from a fetching lass who introduces herself to me as 'Kitty'.

May 8th; Thursday. The shop that used to sell metro tickets and the stall next to it have both closed, so that the 'Corvin negyed' metro station ticket office now has long queues once again. Of course, there being competition and service was too convenient for customers, so that obviously had to end.
May 7th; Wednesday. Man on Hawaiian island markets clunky atomic wristwatch.

May 6th; Tuesday. Short film about Constantine. Longer film about Constantine, Mithras, and Christianity's Gnostic roots.
May 5th; Monday. Long day working in Budapest. So it seems that
1/ Books on paper actually make sense after all;
2/ People's ethics changes when speaking a 2nd language;
3/ Men's preference for certain kinds of curvy women is about baby intelligence?

May 4th; Sunday. Long day working in Budapest. An ex-IRA gunman is suggesting that paratroopers who opened fire killing 14 members of a crowd in Londonderry in 1972 shouldn't be prosecuted.
May 3rd; Saturday. Long day working in Budapest. More meditation might be bad. More intelligence might be bad. More machines might be bad. We're all slobs & weaklings.

May 2nd; Friday. Fitfully sleep through much of day, catching up on lost rest. Interesting idea that the flow of time is directly driven by quantum entanglement.
May 1st; Thursday. Finish reading through 'Henry VIII / All Is True', trying to keep in mind Bloom's lovably reverant suggestion that if we still don't like this work, it might simply be that "we" (Harold Bloom meant people like him alive in the present around the year 1999) are "not yet ready" to appreciate Shakespeare's last play. Supple yet cramped in its plotting, this is thought to be a collaboration with John Fletcher. Shakespeare's last major piece for the stage, and also his most "recent" history, recounting events not even a century before the time of writing and performing. The play is about the rapid rise and fall of Cardinal Wolsey in the favours of King Henry, the Tudor king who broke with Rome. It contains lots of pageantry and a strange mood of Jacobean (the 1613 present of the performers) darkness. This only lightens when crowds at the end of the story rejoice in the 1533 birth of Princess Elizabeth, new hope for a stable kingdom. I'm not sure if I understood that underlying atmosphere, but the drama has a densely political flavour, full of courtly intrigue, thin on actual action. The sense of encroaching darkness and ebbing confidence is vaguely reminiscent of the rise of espionage fiction, growing in popularity in Britain from the 1910s to the 1960s as empire and global military power melted away, deception and diplomacy replacing (so the hope went) the country's steadily weakening capabilities for naked force. This piece's Epilogue looks forward and backward to the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st. Her restorative reign to come is in the hopeful near future of the 16th century moment portrayed on stage. Yet it is also the equally recent past wistfully looked back on by London playgoers barely a decade into the newly pessimistic era of Scots-born king James 1st, the early years of the increasingly dark-looking 17th century.

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