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2011
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July 31st; 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.

July 30th; 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 up.
July 29th; Rainy and cloudy almost all day. Inner clarity grows though.

July 28th; Robin 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 fireplace.
July 27th; Read a book in Robin's studio which looks like one from his mysterious vanished friend Mike: 'Architecture Without Architects', by Bernard Rudofsky. This is a black-and-white picture 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.

July 26th; 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.
July 25th; 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 Robin 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.

July 24th; 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 bee 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.
Was recommended this Persian poet some days ago.
July 23rd; 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.

July 22nd; 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.
July 21st; Chatting online with Phelim, to ask him to remind me who wrote this book. He mentions this commentator about leadership, Peggy 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.

July 20th; 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.
July 19th; 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. 'Death 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 novel.
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 a following.

July 18th; Hot weather still. A 2nd person ends up dead in the Murdoch snooping scandal. Is all the filth of modern Britain finally coming out?
July 17th; 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.

July 16th; 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 that 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.
July 15th; 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.

July 14th; 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.
July 13th; 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 NatWest. 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.

July 12th; 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, Budapest Terminal 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.
July 11th; 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 the Bvd 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.

July 10th; Meet Antoine & Mateus in central Paris at the friendly cafe again.
July 9th; 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 fifteen 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.

July 8th; More natter with Heather & Fred at the house they are staying in at Meudon 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.
July 7th; 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 just adoooooooooooorable?'"
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 chuckle, anyway.

July 6th; 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.
July 5th; 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.

July 4th; Breakfast with Marion, Paul & Nick. Paul 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.
July 3rd; Wet depressing Sunday. Global warming looking feeble.

July 2nd; Read an odd short book called 'The 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.
July 1st; 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 & Paul 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