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2009
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January 31st; More work on book. Party at Martin's new flat, with Jeff, Mystery Friend 2, some rather pretty girls & some superb cooking. Maie, from Lithuania & Leeds, tells me about copywriting in Istanbul & Prague and a few of us stay far too late, only half-watching Fellini's '81/2' projected onto Martin's wall set to various unlikely bits of music.
January 30th; Rumours grow of unrest in Russia.

January 29th; Haunting Air tune set by someone to an old piece of film taken in San Francisco traffic around 1905. Though the film is clearly running slowly, can it be slower than 3/4 real time? See how everything moves at around walking speed, and pedestrians can calmly pause in the centre of the road to greet each other.
January 28th; A cheerful message for us all.

January 27th; Alluring smart-drug testimonial.
January 26th; Chris from college gives me some helpful advice about printers. He is now working in pre-print. He kindly says this weblog partly inspired him to start his own blog. A 'journeyman' is a craft rank in printing. Haven't heard if he ever served as a father of the chapel. Over to Regina's office to talk about the book layout.

January 25th; Editing, and worrying a bit.
January 24th; Marc-Henry texts me to say Cristina has had the baby. More editing. After dark, join Mystery Friend 2 for a quiet drink in the local bondage cellar. Amos, the owner, and his giant mastiff dog Fidel, take us upstairs to the office so Mystery Friend can book a spiritual retreat in the Negev Desert.

January 23rd; Printer, printer, out to lunch, who is the fairest of the bunch?
January 22nd; More screenplay, fidgety editing, waiting for printers in Britain to give me quotes.

January 21st; If you're curious what it feels like to be a plate of sushi, it feels like this.
January 20th; Tuesday. Of all people, George Monbiot breaks years of silence by Britain's press on currencies with demurrage. Late better than never. Meanwhile, rumours of wobbling inside euroland. Both stories via the orange people, of course. Publication thing continues.

January 19th; Monday. Look for old books in Russian. In case you wondered, this is how to say Nicolas Sarkozy in French Sign Language.
January 18th; Sunday. Slightly worrying high-gloss video of shiny women with headlamp eyes, the Sonitus remix giving the sound more edge and shape at the top & bottom.

January 17th; Saturday. More work on book publication, and on screenplay with Marc-Henry. A few days ago I found, in low-resolution .jpg form, some of Giotto's murals from Assisi of the life of Francis. This, this, and this one, are particularly lovely.
January 16th; Friday. I look for new printers. The pyramid team still cannot manage to send me a quote.

January 15th; Thursday. Last night's chat at Magdolna's was fun. We looked at a book of Tartar recipes and I urged her to consider Timothy Ferriss. Today, my IP lady surprises me with a naughty bill.
January 14th; Some extreme horn playing on this old record. A less musically showy, more recent, ditty.

January 13th; More work on screenplay. Talk to 2nd printer, based appropriately enough in Nottingham.
January 12th; Wake out of very vivid dream about underwater trams. Am on tram by day, and we know it will descend over the shoreline into blue ocean, the tracks continuing across the seabed of a huge bay, dark blue water pressing in on the airtight windows. We emerge unharmed, the tracks slowly rising out of the water up another coast about 15 minutes later. 3 or 4 nights in a row now my mother has taken a major role in the dream, irritatingly sure of herself - from some point in her healthy late 60s, early 70s. Meet Mystery Friend 2 in the evening.

January 11th; Online, I encounter a maker of films about peace who has decided to call himself, yes, Velcrow Ripper. But I couldn't possibly make fun of a candle in the darkness. That would be horrid.
Sometimes try on rollerblades, and though awkwardly, am slowly progressing towards wheeliness. I glide around my flat like a drinks trolley on a cross-channel ferry. Last night got an atmospheric phone text from Robin describing how he, his children, and one of his dogs were skating on a nearby lake after dark, doubtless all chilled by mysterious mist drifting in from the Eurasian steppes. Perhaps I too shall someday skate.

January 10th; Small hours start off with some vigorous soul, the first with quite a neat conceit to the lyrics, the second lots of energy & discipline.
January 9th; After handsome doses of zinc and fish oil, the annoying cold cuts on my fingertips are starting to heal at last. They were open for over a week: strange. Crisp, chilly weather continues. Another chat on Skype with Marc-Henry, working on a romantic-comedy screenplay together. Carry on poking around YouTube. One group of musicians, so funky they couldn't make up their mind what to call themselves, in just a few years move from this sweet Northern Soul love song, to this slightly rowdier dance track. Then, 2 years later, to this shambling party sound [notice the oddly Tyrolean singers in the centre of the set, doing a kind of square dance in waistcoats & hats with ribbons]. Transition into the 70s complete, they get tighter, snider, and twangier as they transcend into blissed-out funkdom. Carefully catalogued by this enthusiast.

January 8th; Three old party numbers from Betty Davis: 1 2 3.
January 7th; A quiet day in until lesson with Akos, followed by tea & chicken delicacy with Magdolna, one-time landlady of Heikki. She introduces me to her two cats, Rozi & Mistake, and her children. We chat about Moscow, dreadful English cuisine, Hungarian girls, and typography. She has kept the copy of Smeijers' 'Counterpunch' I lent Heikki safe and sound. Articulate Yank, articulate Sheila. Online, Wanda warns me that perhaps only every tenth American bought a book last year.

January 6th; Your two videos for today. Black soul & commitment from Ike & Tina in a splendidly energetic stage show. Though Ike, glowering in the shadows, seems almost sinister, I'm not sure we ever heard such sweetness from Ms Turner again once she was rid of him. Then some white chill & detachment from Calvin accompanied by a back-to-basics non-moving picture.
January 5th; Quiet day catching up on correspondence. From this song to this one, Ms Murphy continues to exploit the take-me-I'm-yours niche. Can it be coincidence that her best songs are also the ones where someone's at least tried to rein in her appalling dress sense?

January 4th; Up late. A mix of thin snow and frost outside. I go out and note that Lupus, the white shaggy komondor dog, has icicles all over his fur. He bounces around cheerfully, seemingly untroubled by this. Perhaps being strong, brave, and stupid is not such a short straw to draw after all. Every branch and twig is picked out with a fur of tiny white crystals, like the negative of a print. Georgina drives the two girls, Robin & me to Kecskemet. As we drive down the dusk country road towards the town of Kecskemet, Georgina at the steering wheel mentions a vision of angels she had a couple of nights ago. She was unable to sleep because of anxiety, and a group of fiery orange angels hovered around her soothing her worried forehead with tiny cool hands. After dark, Robin & I take an overheated train into Budapest, stomachs rumbling because MAV decides again not to bother giving the train a restaurant car.
January 3rd; Around lunchtime, I wake up in the library, get up, go next door, and find I have been inadvertantly locked into the darkened sitting room, with cushions blocking the barred windows and lit only by a string of white fairy lights framing the door. I knock but no-one can hear me. Since I very much want to urinate, I think over what my options are, and send a phone text to both Robin & Zsuzsa explaining my situation. After a few minutes Georgina unlocks the door, neither of my messages having reached anyone. She explains that she locked me into the sitting room because she needed to go out to get some honey.
Over lunch, as we gaze at the tablemats in Robin's kitchen depicting Victorian engravings of places round the world, he suggests we organise a holiday to visit his tablemats. A couple are parts of China and India with memorable rock formations towering over bays. He points out that those bits of terrain probably still look like that, and the challenge would be to find and stand in the position of the person who did the original drawing. I mention to Robin, that when I was keen to piss and locked into his sitting room, I considered urinating into the fireplace. He remarks this would have been a perfectly reasonable move, and it strikes me that since I have bought a couple of Robin's works, this would have reversed the famous fireplace piss that established Jackson Pollock as a daring enfant terrible of post-war art. Instead of, as in Pollock's case, a drunken artist urinating [to their delight] in the fireplace of a couple of pious art collectors, it would have been a sober art collector urinating in the fireplace of an artist. Spend afternoon and evening working with Robin on a logo for a cricket team he plays for. Towards midnight a strange chilly mist drops down around the house. I go out to look at it, and it just hangs there in the air, silent, like a curtain.

January 2nd; Wake up in Robin's library to bright, chilly sun. Get to the end of 'The Rosicrucian Enlightenment' by Frances Yates. Her thesis is as bold as it is carefully argued. 1) The Rosicrucian manifestos of the early 17th century were calls for a fusion of ecumenical Christianity with systematic study of nature, not literal descriptions of a secret society. 2) The Rosicrucian furore these pamphlets caused had a specific political edge, namely to arouse support for a Protestant alliance centred on the Bohemian court of England's Princess Elizabeth and Frederick, The Elector Palatine, rapidly crushed and driven underground in Europe after defeat by Catholic Habsburg troops at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. 3) The careful manoeuvring that led to the 'Invisible College' of England's 1640s, and then the Royal Society in the 1660s, the world's first association for rigorous, scientific study of nature, cannot be fully understood without following the esoteric currents around men like Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton. 4) After studying the German Rosicrucians and alchemists linked to the short-lived Palatine court, Yates gives John Dee, Philip Sidney, Giordano Bruno central roles in Continental hermetic, and hence scientific and religious, thought, influencing developments even up to a century after the end of Elizabethan England. Interesting and persuasive side suggestions emerge. Perhaps Freemasonry was an attempt to rise to the challenge of the Rosicrucian pamphlets. Perhaps cordial relations kept up between the widowed Princess Elizabeth, James I's daughter, in Holland during the 1640s and 50s, with both Royalist and Parliamentarian sides in England's Civil War, help to explain the mystery of how smoothly and easily James I's grandson Charles II was able to return to England's throne after the interregnum. Perhaps the antiquarian Elias Ashmole was a more typical founding Royal Society member than historians have hitherto thought. Perhaps the strongly materialistic character of 17th & 18th century science was a deliberate attempt to hide politically dangerous occultist sympathies among the early natural philosophers. Perhaps, as early pro-Rosicrucian authors warned it might, this materialist slant caused long-term harm.
January 1st; With the supportive online presence of the Nigel of Darkness, I set up his Delphi-built back-end uploader for Robin's new website, sort out some small glitches, and show him how to upload new images.

Mark Griffith, site administrator / markgriffith at yahoo.com

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