The Salisbury Review issue with
- apparently - my cover article in it should be out in the next day or two.
More interview coaching for Adriana. Three songs from Little Dragon:
Constant Surprises /
Empire Ants /
Re-record a single sentence for Malev. Kalman & Mark the sound engineer find a cunning
mixing-desk wheeze to disguise the changes that have apparently happened to my voice since
the original was taped a couple of years ago. Kalman keeps saying how much I've "matured".
Thanks mate. Sylvia & I do more planning for the
Breakfast at Kalman's. He puts lots of spices into the frying pan, and these
burn up into pale grey smoke that fills his kitchen, brings tears to our eyes and makes
us both cough uncontrollably. Effectively our omlettes pepper-spray us, getting
their revenge in first since we clearly plan to eat them soon. Once the
crying & choking is over, though, they are delicious. More work during day grappling
with a paper for a
cancer journal. Impromptu evening soup
party at Marguerite's with two friends whose identities shall remain undisclosed.
Quick tune from un Freunch rockeur du mix, the wonderfully named Fred Bigot:
Another truly remarkable
law being prepared in the US. What are we going to do with these people?
Mulled wine with kind Marion. Tasty dinner at
Hear stories about Ronnie Barker and two porcelain traders she used to know.
Do mock Oxford interview with soignee young Adriana from Spain. She tells me that all
Hungarian boys sound gay to her, but that Italian boys are gay. An important
distinction, probably. She also proudly mentions having rescued a 16-year-old
would-be monk friend from a lifetime
of Catholic devotion by seizing on a chance remark of his that some girl he knew seemed
"interesting". Thereafter she repeatedly urged him "Go out with her! Go out with her!"
until finally he did.
Surprise dinner at Ernesto's.
Meet jovial Basshar at the dinner, until he rushes off, suddenly
summoned by phone to stop a political quarrel between two fellow Syrians.
Over at Marguerite's for the night so that fluffy
Emma has company while her owner visits Madrid. Emma behaves well and is cheerful,
bustling round Marguerite's flat busily chewing on squeaky toys and so forth.
Seems that members of South Korea's parliament sometimes mace each other during debates.
At least they care.
Over to Marguerite for a tasty omlette, to say hello to her dog Emma, to use her Wifi,
and to help her carry what I suggest is an aesthetically-challenged
coffee table back from the absurd furniture warehouse
This is a local chain of shops blatantly titled to sound almost like Ikea. She says
she is not bothered if I think the table is ugly, pointing out she'll almost never see
it because it will be covered in books and papers most of the time, and it's cheap
anyway. On unpacking it, as I predicted, there is a problem: no pre-drilled holes, so
she must buy a special drill bit for going into wood before she can assemble it.
Flat-pack furniture that gives the customer a creative role.
Bump into Henry in the Corvin shopping centre. Franc joins us. The three of us discuss
teaching & internet marketing.
Sylvia sweetly invites me out for dinner at boutique hotel
Brody House, where we watch
a dapper Frenchman do some
very clever conjuring tricks beside each of the four dinner tables, and Sylvia & I swap
ideas about selling. William seems to like the joint book-launch idea. We have one
last beer in the repulsively smoky cellar bar Vitula.
Spend whole day working with Robby only to number the shots on the film. Seems that
has done this yet, and without this it is very slow to produce a first draft.
Since the deadline is tomorrow, it is obvious we cannot finish in time. I feel ill.
Get told I have been disobeying clear instructions with
Payment comes tomorrow for
Monday. No money or food, so Robby, the Dutch video editor, kindly shares his lunch
with me. Then generous Ernesto
invites me over for supper, where I encourage Viki to also interpret some Tarot spreads.
Sunday. Homing in on internet-access
Saturday. This competition might be fun.
Some people get excited today by it being the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th
year of this century. Some even celebrate
today when it is 11 minutes past 11am.
Productive day working with Robby, Kalman's new Dutch video editor, rebuilding the
Cesky Krumlov /
Holasovice architecture film. Andi tells me I should also mention Agi,
yesterday resplendent in turquoise stockings, in my weblog if I'm going to write about
her addressing me in Spanish. Brief beer with Mr Saracco after dark. He is in
good spirits and buys a copy of the
book. Aniko seems to have finally recovered from
her heavy cold, and sends me another of the images we have to get done for the
Wake on my sofa out of a dream in which slow-moving swarms of flying bee-wasp-type
things burst out of the walls of a sandy tunnel a few inches under the ground and mass
onto a kitten or hamster. They eat it alive in slowmo. Not very nice really.
Exhausting day at Kalman's office. New video editor from Holland interviews. Learn by
text message that my money stash for landlady tonight is not enough, and must borrow
another twenty quid to meet a water bill for several months that just came in, back to
you in the studio Trevor. Kalman
& I talk about money worries. In the late afternoon, he takes me back to his flat
and generously shares his meal with me, some rather tasty macaroni carbonara.
In all the excitement, I rudely forget to go
round to Gordon's at 1pm to sell him a copy of the book for cash. Seems I seriously
offend him. On top of what would have been a very useful tenner it turns out he'd have
given me some lunch too. Could have done with that.
Robin treats me to breakfast.
Ernesto is helping him design his catalogue. All my
students have cancelled this week (Poor Attila sends me text messages making it sound
as if he has tonsilitis). So suddenly have no cash. Work through day & evening
to finish newer Panama
Business breakfast at Vesna's firm. They provide rather nice croissants. The firm,
Sova, design and/or make hand-tufted carpets. Valentin, the founder of
unexpectedly buys a copy of the
book as Vesna - who works with Ernesto on
interior-design projects - shows me photos of some lush & intriguing rugs
dreamt up by carpet designers they work
with, such as Kata
Brinkus, Csilla Safrany,
Work afternoon at Kalman's and then Robin drops by my flat
in the evening.
Esther takes me to meet Catherine briefly back from teaching English in Saudi Arabia.
We veto the new ice bar with furniture
carved out of blocks of ice as too expensive (an
obvious winning business concept in Hungary - the only culture I've ever known where women
hate the cold so much they whine incessantly to everyone about catching a chill up their
fannies). Instead Catherine kindly treats us at a shisha bar where we all puff
apple-flavoured smoke through hookahs like Alice's caterpillar, but less expertly. To
top this, Catherine also buys a copy of the
book, sweetly saying she needs to learn about
the economic crisis. Life on the teachers' "compound" in Arabia sounds a little
claustrophobic, rather like living on some kind of moon base, but Catherine is as cheerful
as ever about it. Her Brazilian friend & fellow teacher/linguist Andy tells me that
irregular verbs are not the nightmare I'd been warned against. Last thing we repair to
the dark deserted concert-bar room of the Cotton Club. Last there with Ines, I think. A
sea of small round tables and lots of red velvet seems to create the right ambience for
some successful Tarot readings for the three of them.
Go with Marguerite and her fluffy white dog Emma to Tim's Guy Fawkes bonfire party
out in nearby village of Paty. Very appropriately, Tim burns a large effigy of the euro
currency symbol atop a sort of wooden castle, narrowly avoiding setting fire to a
neighbour's house. A close brush with what would have been an all-too-vivid metaphor for
how the euro spreads its woes to neighbouring economies. Wonderful cooking from Tim's
wife Erika. No major fireworks and small dog Emma enjoys the food & company hugely.
Straight back into town for delicious dinner with Zoe and her two friends. We hear how
someone in Sydney attending a Coptic Christian festival had their suit stained
with blood spattered onto him by an overenthusiastic self-flagellator. Zoe
Curtis is a
closet state-socialist and relates how she
once attended a talk he gave in London where he showed a three-minute snatch
Philby's funeral: slightly odd
of material perhaps. She relates
crossing communist China as a schoolgirl during Mao's Cultural Revolution to visit
her father then posted in Mongolia - worrying moment when put by Maoist Chinese
handlers into a separate taxi from the Queen's Messengers she was supposed to stay
close to at all times.
Surprise dinner at Ernesto & Eva's flat. Once again, as a later course
up a superb midnight pizza. Interesting anecdotes.
Decide to replace my half-rotten
watch strap with something I make myself, money
being not so plentiful right now.
Meet Attila & Bubu in the Arkad shopping arcade. Finally meet Treehugger Dan at
launch party but leave early, feeling rather feeble. Feeble not something
a hipster would feel, of
Arrange my books on the floor in low piles of 2 or 3 into an almost closed rectangle.
Makes Balint laugh anyway. Decide not to visit
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com