1960s film which is really just a slide show with narration. I find spoken French
much harder than written French, but this vivid sequence of still images telling
the story of a time traveller and the future (apparently this film inspired
the rather less haunting '12 Monkeys') is hypnotic to watch and listen to:
'La Jetee'. Why does no-one try to make films like this now?
Odd story about policemen raiding homes
looking for books.
Wake out of vivid, intricate dreams. Was in a novel with haunting flavour
of lost love, hopping between worldlines. Must be last night's
melatonin talking. All day dog-sitting for a friend plus final proofing of
our new physics book,
going off to the printers any day now. Wonderful dark storm early evening.
Sharpen page for
Damage collection. Still much to do.
Weather warm, sticky. Norbina the Fish (for she is a she) wiggles on in her
Two videos showing different ways to open a can without a can-opener
and another by a man who has done lots of research at home to support his
belief that incandescent light bulbs are
cheaper, greener, and give better
light than the new eco-approved CFL light bulbs.
The Sun Is Longing For The Sea.
Now that women's IQs exceed
men's, look for left-wing types who always dismissed IQ as not
measuring real intelligence to suddenly change their minds.
Supposedly this explains four-dimensional
"I woke up from
coma with a West Country Accent"
Afternoon coffee with Antonio, passing through town. Chat about
Dine with Zoe & Lucy. Discuss books.
Tense Friday. Had enough of this now. Manage
to think about cash & debt.
Tense Thursday. Reflect the weather back to where it came from.
Tense Wednesday. Then and
Tense Tuesday. Back when hairdos
rotted from within.
Tense Monday. Venice has underwater
David Byrne singing the song Once in a Lifetime
in the 1980s. This curious stage act (which looks
improvised but probably wasn't) seems to blend two characters into one persona.
The evangelical gospel preacher of New England tradition alternates with
the twitching, demon-possessed chapelgoer in need of spiritual healing.
Las Vegas early days.
Sobering - why firms
hire no new staff.
Automation and inequality.
Epiphanies continue to multiply. Slightly glum American
artist praises candlelight;
dark analysis of world finances puts me rather in mind of
this old tune.
"Burn all my
notebooks. What good are notebooks? They won't help me
survive." I always assumed
that song was mainly about people in New York drinking far too much coffee,
but we are told all these things are sumptuously many-layered.
Medical Attila zooms across town in the heat to save my bacon.
Balint tells me
he swam across Lake Balaton in a big event on Saturday. Drinks after seven
with Brother Stephen and Brother Tim. The
wonders of folded paper.
Three days ago reset the image that glows behind all the little file & folder
icons on my laptop screen (the background so strangely called a "desktop") to
a gravely serene Duccio painting
on wood. A "polyptych", no less. Prefer this one, but
needed a lying-down oblong, rather than a sitting-up one. Thought
perhaps it was time some computer icons met the real thing.
For three days now have been trying a regimen of 3 or 4 cold baths a day,
each lasting a minimum of five minutes. If you run a very cold bath on a hot
day and immerse all but your face, the effect is interesting. The room begins
to spin, and the taps sometimes grow larger or smaller. Or else they visibly
move in one direction (usually left to right) against the grid of bathroom wall
tiles. Of course this is a (very vivid) illusion and they keep snapping back
into place. Like delirium but without the sick fever feeling. Quite
something. The sensation afterwards is wonderful, and the heat
seems pleasant and incidental for about 3/4 of an hour. Reminds me of some
comedian who said he used to smoke hash but now at his age
he can get the same effect just by standing up quickly.
Worry a bit about Norbert the Fish. Each time the thermometer I have
made him share his wineglass with creeps into the mid-80s Farenheit, I slip a
sliver of ice cube from the fridge into his water to bring it down
a couple of degrees. He seems to move around in a less sluggish way after
this so perhaps this is good. Talking of
In the heat of the afternoon, Attila brings some beers round and answers my
questions about dentistry. I get to Jeremy & Csilla almost an hour late but
they kindly invite me to join them for curry, and proper thunder & rain out
on the street comes with nightfall. When the local council water the tarmac
by day, a warm scent of wet road fills the air, and we get this again.
A nice simple graphic image,
but doesn't this have to be depicting two
gay stags? Even if they
kiss, a girl deer (doe) gets much less in the way of antlers, no?
At 8pm I find Market Garden Mark watering his plants two streets away. He
proudly shows me the tiny shoots of his ginger plant, tends to the monstrous
and apparently unstoppable Tomato Being, and explains some different bugs,
good and bad. Apparently watering with chilly water can give plants Cold
Shock, and the Hungarians have a special word for the foot-wide gap that
should be weeded between two adjacent plots. Much to learn. Around 9pm the
light suddenly starts to dim and as we walk towards his tram, jabs of
lightning peep round dark street corners in the distance. Later meet
We briefly discuss Diana
Athill and Germaine
Greer, and Terri explains Alvi's intriguing new
app, a map application that shows you if there are nearby
adventurous people interested in meeting up for a drink.
Sylvia drops by.
Productive lunch with Ross and his colleague Balint discussing
their IP telephony
business. In the evening get a nasty shock. Wandering outdoors, still shaken, to
catch the late shop, bump into American Mark (he of the friendly black dog) who
gives me a radish from his pocket. It seems he is one of a group of vegetable-growing
activists who have created some urban-guerilla allotments just two blocks
behind my flat. I promise to visit him there on Thursday. Old song that
me up a bit.
With Olga and her cat watch 'The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus',
and my June 2nd assessment of the film based on the trailer was wrong. It is a
rather lovely tale, handling some moral themes with a deft lightness I didn't think
Terry Gilliam had in him. The imaginarium is a kind of magical fairground machine
which you enter and where you are shown the dreams inside your own mind. This makes
it a reasonable metaphor for the film industry, and lets what looks like a quaint
fantasy story discuss films, whether directors should compromise to attract
more people to watch a film, and what it is audiences do to themselves when they
choose movies to escape into. All that with likeable characters, colourful whimsy,
gentle humour, and some dark observations of human nature. Watch the
trailer and trust it is a lot better than that.
Orange' with Olga after years of meaning to. Really very good,
surprisingly faithful to the Burgess novel, yet very much a Kubrick film at the same time.
About the only plot detail I can recall Kubrick left out is that in the Burgess version
the liberal-minded novelist whose wife gets raped is writing a book called 'Clockwork Orange'
and Alex spots this on the typewriter during the break-in. Well worth seeing, not least because
some people thought in the 19th century that what we now call classical music filled people
with dangerous, disruptive, antisocial
emotions - the same criticism levelled at pop music in the 20th century.
This old view is now only cited as a way of dismissing more recent critiques of popular music
as self-evidently ridiculous. No-one considers the possibility that both sets of critics
might have been right. Since the fact that Alex the thug loves the music of Beethoven (eg the
Ode to Joy from the Ninth Symphony) is given as a redeeming feature, a sign of Alex's underlying
humanity despite his vicious cruelty, it is not clear if this idea occurred even to Burgess.
Especially unlikely since Burgess was originally an orchestral composer who said he only tried
novel-writing when one day he realised he'd spent a month composing a segment of score that would
play for one minute, and reckoned he could have written a novel in that time.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com