Quiet Sunday in Budapest. I cut the
2nd chair's struts each
about 3/4" shorter, while relistening to the three Melvyn Bragg radio
discussions Mystery Friend 1 kindly e-mailed me: Baconian Science,
Raphael's School of Athens, and the
one about Sparta. Late at night I use a free Wifi hot spot at
tram stop and meet Kaori from Japan & her colleague from China.
One kitten seems to have lived, the other died. Robin & I make it out to another
field of stubble for 3rd crack at The Project in the hour and a half we have on
my way to Lakitelek railway station. Rain holds off, skies and the vista
look impressive, we get about halfway through and learn a lot. No hens, no deer.
As I change trains at Kecskemet, the lopped boughs & split-open tree trunk,
the apiarist with his bees are all gone and tidied
Rainy and cloudy almost all day. Inner
clarity grows though.
breakfasts in his Boer War khaki shorts, braces and beige shirt, all going nicely
with the pink fluffy slippers. A day with
Sanyi of The Stranded Truck,
who is eating & chatting in the kitchen with Robin. Sanyi has made his very
tasty though rather formidable plum-jam dumplings for breakfast, and people
are still eating them with sour cream for lunch. Then Sanyi, Robin, & I spend
the afternoon driving around visiting car-parts stores & spare tyre garages in
the region of Cibakhaza, to obtain an elusive part for a motor bike. We hire a
trailer for one hour for the princely sum of 65 new pence.
Robin's family cat Babette apparently gives birth during the afternoon to
some kittens, hiding them in a hollow part of the interior of the fireplace
in the sitting room, where the bricks are presumably cosy and warm. Throughout
the evening, we hear tiny squeaks coming from the inaccessible regions of the
Read a book in Robin's studio which looks like one from his mysterious
vanished friend Mike:
Without Architects', by Bernard Rudofsky.
This is a black-and-white
book published as a record of an exhibition in New York in 1964 about
vernacular or indigenous architecture throughout history and all over the world -
buildings put together with local materials, meeting local needs, designed and
constructed by people whose names we will never know. The book is slightly
ideological, and of course in a sense this was the highwater-mark of modernist
architecture, the ultimate celebration of "form follows function". It might have
also been the beginning of postmodernism, since Rudofsky writes with emotional
regret of vernacular local buildings being demolished to make way for
international-style "commercial architecture". This book is already part of the
reaction against modernism. Even as it celebrates anonymity and humility and
function, it respects the old and the traditional. Also, Rudofsky's
writing style suggests he received an education in an earlier era, before
television conquered all.
Robin and I take his car onto a field of stubble (not far from Rita's riding
stables) in the early evening to test the second draft of the outdoor
installation. A deer approaches us to watch from about a hundred yards, and
makes that cough-like deer noise either as greeting or to indicate polite
interest in the project. Robin's skilful driving, including an impressive bit
of reversing down a winding dirt track, gets us through some muddy ruts in the
lane there and back without getting stuck. For some reason a
full-length arrow is stuck in the hole in the front centre of the bonnet where
the car manufacturer's logo or symbol should be, tail fins at the top end.
On the way Robin finds a giant bendy piece of willow suitable, he says, for
making a bow. At one point later in the evening, Robin chuckles eerily in the
darkness outside his studio and says of a mutual acquaintance "...perhaps she
fancied a bit of tweed." Two slightly odd stories noticed by New York magazine.
A German lingerie firm has
started using the Rupert Murdoch phone-hacking scandal to sell stockings etc.
More worryingly, job ads in the US have started to specify that
no unemployed people may
apply for their jobs.
I wake in Robin's studio with a vivid image of creating floor outlines of
Britain's abbeys destroyed in the 16th century fixed distances away from the real
ruins, former walls marked out accurately with hedges. After a day of rain &
cloud clears finally in mid-afternoon I cajole
into joining in with the first draft of the outdoor installation. I choose the
space between the fencing of the chicken coop and the side of the garage. The
hens are not alarmed by our experiments.
Catch train out to countryside, feeling strangely energised. On the train the
quiet girl to my right with the dopey-looking boyfriend is reading a large
coloured picture book in Hungarian called 'Patch Sewing'. As I change trains
in Kecskemet and visit the petrol station shop in my spare twenty
minutes, I pass a group of trees that have had big chunks sliced off them.
Massive branches with foliage lie around still not tidied up, and one whole
tree has been chopped down and cut open. A man in a white hat with a black veil
over his face is bent over the horizontal hollow tree trunk with a small thing
like a metal watering can sitting beside him. A few puffs of smoke are still
drifting out of it. I go up and introduce myself. With bare hands the beekeeper
gently picks large shards of wood with only eight or nine bees on each
one out of the hollow trunk and moves them to one end next to a waiting
box. He explains the queen bee is already in her new home, and pheromones
will take about an hour to tell the whole swarm to congegrate at that end of
the trunk. I ask if they are wild bees and he says no, domestic. I realise
I want to ask about the swarm and have forgotten the Hungarian word ('raj'),
so I ask him what the word is when a whole bee colony masses together. He
tells me and casually asks my nationality, still looking down at his bees
wondering dozily around the hollow trunk. I say English and he suddenly becomes
excited, jumps up, takes off his veiled hat, shakes my hand and says he worked
for a time in St. Alban's. He speaks a few words of English and seems very happy
to meet a live Englishman.
this Persian poet some
Saturday. My 2nd chair is a bit arrested, having been at this stage for some
weeks. Though the pieces for the struts are nicely laid out
in the photograph,
I cut them all the wrong length. Luckily too long, not too short.
Friday. 2nd rosemary plant
seems to be surviving in my flat where the 1st simply died.
The soil should be a bit drier by now.
Chatting online with
Phelim, to ask him
to remind me who wrote this
book. He mentions this commentator about leadership,
Holman. In a short 7-minute film further
down her page, she gathers journalists & librarians together to draw mind maps
and brainstorm ideas about how they could work together. One woman given the
microphone asks "My question is, what instructional strategies
help kids care about news & current events, while building library engagement
skills?" Tricky one, citizens.
I start to get the hang of jquery for
the book's webpage.
In the evening, go to a Bang
& Olufson event with Robin, Zita, & Ernesto, meet Edit, drink
too much white wine, and go back to Ernesto & Eva's for dinner.
Finish a detective novel Heather gave me while in Paris from my niece's
office. I was warned this might not be so gripping but it has an odd appeal,
something about it nagging me I didn't quite understand.
The writer, someone called David Dickinson, had the interesting idea of
setting a classic country-house murder tale full of eccentric
aristocrats on the eve of the historic 1909 vote where the House of Lords
threw out Lloyd George's Liberal budget, thereby dooming those same
aristocrats to be pushed out of British politics thereafter. Like a lot of books
that get published, it sounds good over lunch. We have the good toffs and the
bad toffs, with mad toffs evenly scattered in both camps. We have sturdy,
stubborn locals with pitchforks, a few horses, an early Rolls Royce, but somehow
something is missing. Different bits seem to have been thought out in detail,
this is a running property ("a Lord Francis Powerscourt mystery") so this writer
has readers. It was only when I checked the back and found that Dickinson
had a career in television (and non-fiction television, news documentary-making)
that the missing piece clicked into place for me.
in a Scarlet Coat', described by
someone on the back with the words "you have to pinch yourself to remind you
that it is fiction - or is it?" is a sort of extended film treatment by someone
who can do factual research into modern history but never acquired the
knack of imagining story characters. The frequent mentions of the vintage car
for example puzzled me until I grasped this. We read about the
Rolls Silver Ghost driving along country roads and suddenly, in the mind's eye,
the Upstairs-Downstairs-style British TV
class-and-costume-drama mechanism whirs into action. Here are the rolling dales (or
similar "ancient" landscape), chaps and gals dressed in perfect period outfits,
colourful peasants who get to be amusingly rude about the posh folk, comic vicars,
scenes of noble nurses struggling to get help quickly with early technology
like telegrams and bakelite phones. There is the irritating ex-military Chief
Constable, the useful drudge police inspector, the boyish eager young constable,
the mysteriously undemanding old chum who can be sent to remote towns to
hang around for weeks in small hotels. At the same time, none of the parts really
add up. For example, the subplot of one smart girl courted by an up-and-coming
newspaper columnist from London. He is keenly following the Budget debate
showdown between the Lords & the Commons - obviously in the book to tell
readers that this is a historic moment even though no-one but he realises
....yet is really just tacked onto the family of
one of the aristocratic characters, I can't remember which. Interludes with him
popping into the murder story to say something at a dinner table about a change
coming soon to the whole country make no sense in terms of a book plot,
but you can get away with tricks like that on the screen if the visuals are
holding the audience's attention.
It might be unkind to suggest this was written to be mulched into a TV series,
but it would solve the puzzle. Writing for television
you have to get the overall mood clear, show the director what
has to be shot where, create some plausible plot twists.... the one thing you
don't need to do - if producers are already convinced by the basic
idea - is write such good dialogue that individual characters come
alive on the page. Providing the setting persuades and the dialogue isn't vividly
bad, then good actors, costumes, make-up, sets, good use of camera, the writers
who work each week on the scripts will
all fill in the characters for you. Whether by chance or not, this book reads like a
very detailed proposal to write a novel or a screen drama, not like an actual
Dickinson's books might
have an elderly readership who have been consuming detective novels
for half a century and need this stuff a bit like a fix - hard to be sure.
Even if these novels really were originally written with the
small screen in mind yet didn't make it into television, they seem to have
Hot weather still. A 2nd person
ends up dead in the Murdoch snooping scandal. Is
all the filth of modern Britain finally coming out?
It's the weekend for people in this Budapest borough to throw old
furniture out of their flats. This piles up in the street for a day or two, before
being cleared away by big refuse lorries. Until that moment, cheerful Gypsy
families sit out on the pavements in the sun for whole days chatting around
piles of rubbish they have collected as worth reselling, waiting for whichever
friend or relative is bringing the transportation. Over the last 4 or 5 years,
I've seen the numbers of real wooden objects thrown on the street thinning out.
There used to be old bedside tables, kitchen chairs, modest cupboards or
sideboards made out of genuine sliced tree, some in bad condition, but still
real wood. This time I see none. It is now all plastic chairs, chairs made
badly from steel tube and foam pad with ripped leatherette covering, heavy
furniture made only from chipboard & veneer, and armchairs which are chipboard
frames with plastic foam cushioning attached. Year by year you can actually trace
how the Bauhaus
stripped what limited charm there was from the lives of manual workers, decade
after decade. The annual sifting of the
'lomtalanitas' clears more
and more likeable stuff out of their homes - leaving only the 20th-century tat.
Hot, sweltering weather continues. I continue to tidy up bits of my messy
flat. Curious memories: three or four weeks ago, buying a second-hand belt
from one of Budapest's many stores
resell clothes bought from Britain's High Street charity shops,
I find myself queuing behind a startlingly lovely young Gypsy mother with a
small child. The mother is as slim as a wand and might be as old as 18,
not so much pretty as exquisite with delicate feminine eyes, mouth, eyebrows,
slight figure, leggy yet curvacious, tastefully
and sexily dressed.
Despite having had her front two upper teeth knocked out, she seems remarkably
sweet and free of bitterness. She had not stopped making an effort to look her
best. Further back, perhaps six weeks, I see a notable line-up of people facing
me across a carriage on the underground train, blue line, one night. A woman
right in front of me wearing black shiny boots has a red shirt on with the
words 'Oh La La' picked out across her breasts in large letters. Next to her a
girl in shrill pink has a pendant in the shape of a silver key, as if there might
a cupboard door hidden in her chest. On the other side of Madame Oh-La-La, at my
extreme right, sits a man in a
black tee-shirt with the words 'Darkest Hour' in English picked out in white
letters. He has a full coloured sleeve tattoo down one bare arm, is very closely
studying a hardback book, perhaps a textbook. He has the slightly worn, hardened
face of a man who might have done a couple of years in prison and is wearing
absurd plimsolls decorated in a black and white checked pattern as if made
out of miniature Formula One racing flags. The fourth person facing me, at my
extreme left, looks sportif in a boatish sort of way. He is younger than the
other male, has thick muscular Popeye biceps, a sailory short-sleeved shirt with
horizontal blue and white stripes, and a ridiculous watch on one wrist. Looking
several times too large & chunky, it is an intense pale baby blue in thick
plastic - like the sort of outsized thing ten-year-old boys might wear to get
themselves in the scuba-diving mood. Over to the left is a pair of
young males who look oddly Londonish by dint of having shirts and ties but with
their shirt-tails hanging completely out of their trousers, as if they have been
out drinking for a couple of hours straight from the office. As always with a
random collection of odd sights, hard to avoid the feeling there is some obscure
meaning to the scene, even though there obviously isn't. A month and a half later,
I still remember the sight of all of them together.
The enigmatic Josh in Britain sends me more unusual links, in particular to an
Italian fake documentary made in 1968 about those crazy naughty Swedes.
This excerpt mentions a night
club for some wild beatnik hedonists "of a certain preference" ..."de
sentimente particulare". How sweetly innocent they look now in their tasteful
frocks - and what fun the music sounds.
Bastille Day. Pay my landlady, thanks to credit not debit, and get down to
the business of writing & posting
nasty letters about Barclays (amusingly,
the European Parliament website has been designed by people who never thought
about whether constituents might like to write to their MEPs), drumming up
interest in the book collection about the future of text ('The Book About The
Book'), and doing some cleaning. Still sunny, still hot. Last
night 85 degrees Farenheit at 1am.
Fairly much whole day on the phone via Skype finding out why my debit card
still does not work, despite me having moved funds. Short answer: no-one at
NatWest knows, and they all insist the card is not blocked, and never was.
Cash dispensers at five separate Budapest banks near me disagree with
I begin to think the cash machine network in Paris has its own opinion of
my cardworthiness, and has said bad things about me to other machines on the
Continent without telling my bank. Since I now have access to my credit-card
four-digit code, I am able to check the same cash dispensers and indeed, there
is no problem with the terminals. There is clearly some kind of block on
my debit card, a block which, unsettlingly, NatWest seem
not to believe is possible. Still, my branch phone me up from Yorkshire to
try to be helpful, which is welcome.
Weirdness on the RER C suburban train line into Paris turns what should
have been a leisurely public-transport journey to Orly airport into a race
against time. Dark grey skies and pouring rain. Kind Elise in the ticket
office at Javel goes out of her way to reroute me round some of the delays
but an unexplained & nerve-wracking 20-minute wait at Choisy Le Roi starts
building real tension, the airport bus from the metro takes its dawdling time
to arrive, loads its passengers as slowly as it can, and I reach Orly Sud
terminal exactly at the gate-closing time. The bus even uses a nail-biting
extra two minutes to crawl through a traffic jam right outside the building
before stopping and opening its doors. Running through the tunnels of the
famously chaotic Orly, I am ten minutes late at the check-in desk for the
Easyjet flight to Budapest and am bathed in sweat. Employees take one look at
my wild-eyed, escaped-farm-beast stare and brace themselves. All around are
masses of sullen passengers squeezed into meaningless queues snaking round
mis-signed desks & barriers. It feels like I am fighting my way through crowds
of porters towards a packet steamer somewhere like the Marseilles docks in 1930.
I protest I have already checked in on-line, waving my printed boarded pass
(apparently it is no such thing, they patiently explain). They tell me the gate
is closed, and I cannot board the flight. Then it emerges that some
kind of baggage machinery has broken down. Take-off is delayed fifteen
minutes. With tangible relief, the girls take my hold bag off me and point me
towards my gate. 500 yards further through the Orly Airport rodent-IQ-maze,
a brief squabble with a snarky woman passenger. She doesn't like
me stepping into her after the uniforms tell me to back out through the magic
archway, take my shoes off and come through again. She snaps at me, I shout at
her, she sarcastically says "it's OK" and I bark at her that I'll be
the one who decides whether it's OK or not. The French security goons noticeably
perk up at the rare treat of an Englishman showing some passion for once and
give me surreptitious thumbs-up signs she cannot see. You tell ze
bitch, monsieur! they smirk admiringly. The gate is calling for me as I struggle
with my laces to put my poison-gas-capsule shoes back on, slip my radioactive
passport back in pocket, slide my explosive laptop back into my lead-lined
briefcase etc. I announce to anyone who might be listening,
whether they care or not, that the whole procedure is a massive waste
of time & money and doesn't make flying safer, and an elegant black girl in
uniform sweetly takes me by the hand to show me the signboard with my flight
details on. Wonderful how warmly these Latins and southerners respond to
someone who is openly emotional. I then march to my gate to find a motionless
queue of relaxed French & Hungarian passengers. They are calmly chatting in front
of an intensely-lit store stocking two hundred kinds of perfume. This is one
of those luminous airport duty-free shops whose ceiling, walls and shelving
units glow with otherworldly brightness because they are entirely made of white
plastic boxes & panels neon-lit from within. We wait another fifteen minutes,
then get onto the plane. There one French stewardess is almost comically cute,
flirtatious, and cheerful. I check that we are indeed flying to Budapest, and
she reacts like this is the wittiest, most interesting thing anyone has ever
said to her. I suppose the man she is in love with has told her he loves her
or she's had some other bit of good news - because she is batting her eyelashes,
rolling her big, wide eyes and camping up the whole flight the way surely
no air hostess does after about the fourth week at work. From grey, rainy Paris
we fly to hot, dry Budapest. As I get off the plane stepping into bleaching
sun, Flirty Stewardess wishes me a nice holiday, I say I live here, so then she
wishes me a nice rest-of-my-life here. I am almost the first into the little
runway bus. I sit down in one of the very few seats. The bus slowly fills up.
Suddenly as the last passenger gets on the bus, I realise my mobile phone is
missing. All across Paris I was buzzing with panic. Now without any anxiety at
all, I calmly step off the bus and trot up the steps into the plane. Not missing
a beat, Flirty Stewardess laughs that I couldn't stay away from her, I agree that
I couldn't, go down the empty plane, bend down, see how my phone has slipped
between two seats, retrieve it, bid her farewell again, trot back down steps,
and slip back on the bus. It passively waits for me, stuffed with hot tired
passengers folded into it like clothes in an overpacked wardrobe. As we go
through baggage and customs I wonder idly if there is free Wifi in the airport.
There is. Unlike Charles de Gaulle Paris, which proudly boasts on
posters that it offers 15 minutes free connection, but gives nothing,
1 Arrivals Lounge simply logs me on to an unlimited connection, and I
sit in the arrivals cafe with a table to myself doing some work on my
laptop for half an hour, including a Skype call to my bank in Yorkshire. Sun
still shines. Time to help a girl from Queensland's Gold Coast onto the right
bus outside, and guide a Danish medical student and a French backpacker dude
into town. In particular, across a little patch of dusty scrubland
passengers getting off the airport bus at 'Hatar ut' must cross before plunging
into a cluster of scruffy stalls hiding the steps to the underground station.
Find Mateus in town in a bookshop. He has some excellent advice. We briefly
walk into the church of Saint Germain des Pres so he can show me the Carolingian
columns, and this is where things start to get odd. I have completely forgotten
my bag (laptop, passport) at the cafe. Outside the church we wait and chat in
the sunshine for quarter of an hour waiting for a friend of his. I walk away,
arms swinging, and realise my bag is missing. It is back at the cafe, untouched,
three cheerful families sitting round it. Everyone is visibly happy for me.
Then I find my debit card has stopped. With only ten minutes to get back to
Saint Michel to meet someone, I have to cash in my 5000 forint note at
St Germain change bureau
that ripped off Mateus. I get eleven euros rather than, say, twenty.
Meeting goes very well, but my money affairs are not as I thought.
Meet Antoine & Mateus in central Paris at
the friendly cafe again.
Travel in the morning to Chartres Cathedral with Fred doing the driving. I
fail to locate the floor-mosaic labyrinth, perhaps because restoration work
has large sections of the cathedral boxed off and behind scaffolding. The
stained glass is indeed lovely with rich, intense colours. A school choir
from the US happen to be in there giving a free concert, so we listen to
girls' high ethereal voices piercing the huge spaces above us. In the
late afternoon, cannot find a telecom place open in Paris, but a friendly cafe
with an extremely bubbly Finnish girl behind the counter is open with Wifi for
an hour, which is a help.
More natter with Heather & Fred at the house they are staying in
val Fleury. I sprain my foot when the garden chair I'm
on suddenly collapses under me. Fred later finds the wooden slat
failed along a previously mended break. More lovely breakfasts and dinners.
Heather says my only true uncle, Eric, was an adventurer who once homesteaded
some unsettled land in northern Canada, another time married an American
Indian woman to help her get her papers in order, and for on another period
worked as a butler to the painter Augustus John. She also says the house I was
born in had at its core a hunting lodge dating back before 1200 which sounds a
bit more unlikely, but would be fun if true.
Relaxed day chatting with Heather & Fred. Walk round
Meudon. At night, finish a curious chick-lit first novel
that had me laughing out loud once or twice on the aeroplane. This is called
'Elegance', and is
by Kathleen Tessaro. It's interesting for a couple of reasons. One is something
it might be saying about feminism I can't quite put into words. A fictional
woman narrator in the present has her life transformed by a mid-century
how-to-dress-well guide she finds in a 2nd-hand-bookshop. Another curiosity is
that the manual-within-the-novel is a real book, enjoyably wise,
I happened to
read a few years ago, a copy Robin had given Georgina. Tessaro
says in a foreword that Genevieve Dariaux, author of the life-transforming
'Guide to Elegance',
kindly allowed her to quote chapter-heading sections from the guide in her novel.
It seems Madame Dariaux was altogether very civilised and gracious about Tessaro
using her elegant-dressing manual as the touchstone for a novel. As one might
be, you'd think, but authors don't always live up to their own personas so well.
There are some plot twists by Tessaro that didn't entirely convince, and I
thought I could sense in a few places anxious interventions by either an editor
or a doubting Tessaro herself, worrying that "we must
have a bit where..." But there were also sections that actually
made me laugh aloud, so she does something right. Here she is, enduring a gallery
event with her husband's mother and friends, ex-mannequins who all still look
elegant despite being twice her age. "'Those were the days!
Lend me a light, Mona?' Mona passes her a gold engraved lighter and my husband
shakes his head. 'Mums, you promised to stop.' 'But darling, it's the only way
to keep your figure, isn't that right, girls?' Their heads bob up and down in
unison behind a thick cloud of smoke.
And then it happens; I'm spotted.
'And this must be your wiiiiiiife!' Penny gasps, turning her attention to me.
Spreading her arms wide, she shakes her head in disbelief and for one horrible
moment it looks as if I'm expected to walk into them. I dither stupidly and am
about to take a step forward when she suddenly contracts in delight. 'You are
adoooooorable!' she coos, turning to the others for affirmation. 'Isn't she
Elsewhere in the novel, our heroine finds herself in the sticks
struggling to survive Her First Weekend At A House In The Country.
"Piers is fishing by the
river's edge.... He waves a be-Barboured arm, signalling for us to be quiet. This
is what it's all about: a man, a stream, a smelly coat. A moment of almost
overwhelming pastoral beauty. Seconds later, he reels in a fish and begins
clubbing it to death with a small leather bat he keeps in his pocket.
I had no idea that fish screamed, but they do." Made me
Fly to Paris. I remember the last time I was at Charles de Gaulle airport,
before the mobile-phone era when the only way to use a payphone was with
special prepaid cards that ensured that France Telecom got 20 Francs or
whatever it was off you in order to make a two-shilling call, where of
course you would never get the rest of the card's value back if you were
changing planes and just flying through. This time there are posters
everywhere advertising "fifteen minutes" (generous!) of
"free Wifi" in the arrivals lounge which naturally
doesn't work, this being France, and the man at the desk confesses it has
never worked in the two years he has worked there. This is awkward, because
it turns out that I get all the way to Meudon without being able to check
my e-mail for Heather's phone number (I know I know), so I have to get a
beer and sit down in a cafe next to the station trusting she & Fred
will contact me and find me sooner or later. The staff in the cafe are visibly
puzzled & worried by my anxiety to get my laptop connected, and when I give up,
pack the laptop away, get out a book, and ask them to follow the beer with a
green tea and a goat's-cheese salad, they look noticeably relieved. They
enthusiastically attend to preparing food & drink - the proper business of cafes.
Ah, Monsieur is shaking off his Anglo-Saxon confusion and is now rediscovering
the true priorities of life! Heather & Fred indeed get in phone-text contact
later and come to pick me up after I have enjoyed a fine and filling meal.
Phone up Barclays, to be told they can add on extra charges they hadn't
told me about, and my cheque for 300 pounds does not put me back in the black but
leaves me still 130 pounds overdrawn & rising. Post copies of economic-crisis
book to Saudi Arabia, thanks to Bisan's kind help. Take off from
Budapest airport flying to London. Publicity for the book starts
to pick up momentum, with the Look Inside feature now switched on.
Go with the Nigel of Light to Merrie's Salisbury Review party in Islington.
Breakfast with Marion, Paul & Nick.
makes two fascinating remarks.
1) Classical music is dead, or at least completed, now a fixed canon.
2) Classical music at its height from the late 18th century throughout the
whole of the 19th century, from Mozart to Mahler, was entirely an outpouring
of emotions set off by the beginnings of the French Revolution through to its
aftermath even a century later. They also mention that the interest in the
artform's own past came quite late to classical music, and that 18th-century
composers knew almost nothing about 17th-century music, for example. Paul
again: 3) Almost everything known about the history of Western music from
the year 1000 AD to the present was researched by musicology researchers,
often amateurs, in the space of just a century.
Wet depressing Sunday.
warming looking feeble.
Read an odd short book called
Kybalion', with a fake discoloured cover cleverly
suggesting dusty old bookshops and arcane wisdom. The author or authors archly
bill themselves, herself, or himself as 'Three Initiates'. A note at the back
speculates they were a he, an American occultist from around 1900 also writing
under other impressive-sounding names, including
Yogi Ramacharaka. The book
sets out in short clear chapters what is apparently the wisdom of Hermes the
Thrice-Great, and apart from the Edwardian habit of putting CERTAIN PHRASES
into capitals for emphasis, the contents are well laid out and readable.
Absolutely delicious dinner at Marion & Paul's. Nick is there, a college friend
of Paul's, who is a classically-trained singer & teacher of choral music. He &
fill me in a bit on the Council of Trent. We chat until late of this &
that. Topics include why all their doctrine's supernatural
action is limited to the Eucharist and nothing else.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com