Tuesday. Last night slept 9 hours. Fairly old tune from Bristol's Tricky.
Monday. Last night slept 11 hours. Interesting claim that much vaunted Green Future of renewables and improved batteries is a wasteful fantasy. Summarising article, and much more detailed original .pdf version.
Sunday. Last night slept 14 hours. Robin & I meet Sergey for coffee. Starting to recover optimism. Robin and I try to find how to watch this intriguing-looking film Corridor of Mirrors. Simon does his best to help us.
Saturday. Last night slept 14 hours. Much better. Sensuous memories of swimming in dark dreams of hidden doorways and intricate windowless rooms. French farmers sue their government over wireless death-ray mystery.
Friday. Last night slept about 4 hours. Here's some foaming at the mouth from Suzanne Moore. Thank goodness we're bigots if we reciprocate!
Thursday. Sounds like Tesla was a bit confused.
Wednesday. Patrick Caulfield working his nihilistic charms.
Easter Tuesday, we might call it. Neither a video nor a tune: You Man and Birdcage. Fidgety visuals the more interesting part. Alert readers might notice Jurassic 5's break-dancing Beasts in a couple of snatches.
Easter Monday. Read a strange little 1943 hardback book I found at Robin's, called 'The Intimate Papers of Colonel Bogus' by Michael Barsley. This is wartime humour, bitter in part. A lot of rather heavy-handed puns ('Sable-Bodied Women', 'Ritzkrieg', 'Colonel Bogus' [a sort of play on 'Colonel Blimp'], 'Ruralitarian') - this is probably a collection of magazine pieces, with drawings by the writer. It being a book produced under World War 2 paper rationing, there isn't much info front or back. Some of the drawings are very good: verbal humour not so much. Thinly-disguised pro-socialist/central-planning sentiment throughout, a sort of arch "social justice" sarcasm.
Easter Sunday. Get to the end of Simon Corrigan's eerily depressing second novel 'Sweets From Strangers' kindly lent me by Marion. Although Corrigan liked clustered sentences and slightly precious choices of wording, the overall creepiness of mood is well established. The book comes alive (as it should, given who he is in the story) with the sudden disruptive arrival in the boring bourgeois Home Counties of the arrogant-yet-irresistible Luc and his sinister Continental glamour.
A lovely evening with travellers Brad and Gregg on many topics, including combat with bears and how "Wokiest of the Woke" Kamala got started in California politics.
At some ungodly hour like 2am, Michael and I are talking about hats. He cannot remember the ska revival's failed attempt to also revive trilbies etc in the early 1980s. I suggest the real switch happened somewhere between Sean Connery & Roger Moore as Bond around the mid-1960s. Triumphantly, I manage to locate a snatch of 'Russia With Love' where James Bond is, yes, wearing a soft hat. We both realise neither of us know the difference between a trilby and a fedora. Thinner rim, apparently. I point out how by the 'Streets of San Francisco', insistence on still wearing his anachronistic (probably) fedora in the early 1970s marks out the older detective as the reliable old duffer, voice of experience, yada yada.
Saturday. Impressive poll support for new turquoise-themed Brexit Party.
Good Friday. 29-year-old man declares his love for toy robot. Oh, and you can buy minges made of fudge flavoured with creme egg. Nice.
Thursday. Botanist David Bellamy describes (6 years back) being frozen out at the BBC for saying global warming was nonsense, and a former Australian government adviser describes (4 years back) the global-warming scam as a cover story for introducing a UN-controlled world government.
Wednesday. South Africa is judged to have declined by more this last decade than almost any country not at war.
Tuesday. Interesting piece on claims by EU critics that its own auditors haven't signed off on its accounts, versus EU claims that oh yes they have.
Monday. Finally in the morning I meet Seamstress Aranka - first time for half a year. She has restitched 2 of 3 shirts and the dodgy Berlin bondage-club leather trousers I was given by a film director. All is amicable. Driving back after dark into town with Robin at the wheel, sleepy farmworker Istvan in the back (ill and in need of an early night), about fifty pounds of fresh meat and eggs, the gears stop engaging on the motorway about thirty miles outside Budapest. We drift to a halt with a worrying burning smell and no power from the engine. Robin is gloomy and slightly tense. I walk off to a nearby roadside phone and speak to emergency services. After 40 minutes or so, a trailer appears and puts his car on the back. It seems Robin just paid over a thousand pounds to have the car made good as new about four days ago. As we travel in the cab with the trailer driver (who tells us that the law prevents him from driving into the centre of town) Robin and I are negotiating by phone text with different friends of his about where to leave the meat and eggs on the outskirts. Then one friend of his, still up in her flat at 11pm, Judit, does her own research on the bylaws and traffic regulations and finds that after midnight, legal weight restrictions mean a lorry of a certain size can go right into the middle of the city. She phones up our trailer driver and explains at length as we all trundle down the deserted motorway. Persuaded, he takes us into central Budapest. We arrive shortly after midnight, meeting Judit outside her block of flats in person, transferring trays of eggs to some of Robin's customers under the streetlamps at 1am.
Sunday. Following the EU lead, Britain's quisling government prepares a bill to control & censor content in online social media.
Saturday. In search of my mended shirts, get to Aranka's in the next village kindly driven by Bela around 11am. We find neither Aranka the seamstress nor her dog Dumpling, even though we are within her Saturday opening hours. Her husband says I might find her on Monday. Seems that shark skin is actually made of teeth. Also, animals "know" which herbs to heal themselves with.
Friday. Drive out with Robin into the Great Plain after dark.
Thursday. Since 1980, the EU has steadily shrunk as a share of the world economy, even as it got more members.
Wednesday. Further Dr Moreau news from one of our contributors: human genes make monkeys brighter.
Tuesday. Claims that sexual roles are socially learned during childhood now even more dented. Brain scans show that girls' and boys' brains work differently even in the womb before birth.
Monday. Another climatologist says global warming is spin.
Sunday. Finish British historian Norman Stone's book about the last 200 years of Magyar history, 'Hungary: A Short History'. Now to write the review for the Salisbury Review. It's readable and packed with events. Stone confirmed to me last year over a beer that he had indeed, as Mehmet once told me, learned Hungarian from a cellmate. That was during a brief prison spell in the communist 1970s for trying to smuggle a girl out over the border in his car boot. In this history Stone keeps the narrative pace going. In just a couple of places he moves so fast the prose is puzzling, but in general he holds all the narrative threads together adroitly. He takes the beleagured country's story from roughly 1800 to about 2015. Though mainly a Turkish history specialist and despite being scathing with some of the nation's sillier political figures over the last 21 difficult decades, Stone clearly still has faith in the Magyars.
Saturday. As I've predicted for years, WiFi-blocking home decor is now a thing: anti-WiFi paint. Oh, and self-healing concrete.
Friday. Finish the book I bought yesterday on a whim, 'Whatever', a translation into English of Houellebecq's first novel. Entertaining, if bleak, and laughed out loud a lot more often than the other book of his I read a few years back. This, his first, is frankly autobiographical. I wondered if this version had parts cut out? That's because I remember a complaint in an article from a former colleague muttering that Houellebecq didn't even change the posters on the wall of an office of someone in the book modelled on him - and there were no posters on any walls in this copy. A slightly odd edition by a firm called "Serpent's Tail", the translator from the French, Paul Hammond, doesn't get a mention, not even in small print. The story, about an endlessly irritated 30-year-old computer technician touring small towns across France teaching Agriculture Ministry employees a new data system in around 1990, wonderfully captures the nihilism of office work. He also has an ear for the dishonest way people talk in offices, the cultish feel of information technology, the desperate sadness of some people's sex lives, and the drab flatness of European daily life. An achievement, given all that, that it's as funny as it is. If he only had one novel in him, this close-to-life story is probably it.
Thursday. I don't think I'd be thrilled to learn my music repelled insects.
Wednesday. The Republic of Ireland (which left the British Commonwealth some years back) has now joined the club of French-speaking countries.
Tuesday. More claims that vegans risk mental illness.
Monday. April Fools' Day, so here's background on one special hoax.
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markgriffith at yahoo.com