Saturday. Visit the sauna again. Some more pro-sauna videos from Rhonda Patrick. The useful 8-minute summary is here.
Friday. NYT: Everyone's a Curator Now. Cunning plan continues.
Thursday. More non-Scruton-approved Crystal Method: Dubeliscious.
Wednesday. Strangely compelling "encyclopaedia" of aeroplane sleeping positions.
Tuesday. After reading up on saunas, seems they have real benefits. Last weekend went to a sauna three days in a row. Here's a short summary of why.
Monday. Over a lunchtime chicken & bacon burger on Kiraly street I finish 'Machiavelli' by Quentin Skinner, a short introduction I found among Greek Michael's books. I read 'The Prince' as a teenager, foolishly without checking an introductory text first. This brief overview might have helped. Skinner takes us briskly through the political & writing career of the man Leo Strauss described as an advocate for evil: hard not to wonder what his episode of imprisonment with torture was like. More than a match for most mid-life crises. Skinner nicely brings out how the Florentine thinker tries to insinuate his own increasingly desperate current career needs and self-promotion into apparently timeless political discussions in print. What also comes out is Machiavelli's own philosophical development as he digests turns of events in northern Italy in his lifetime, trying to abstract lessons from Cesare Borgia's rise, and then from his fall. Reminds me oddly I'd quite like to see this current film.
Sunday. Has the tomb of Romulus been found? And if his brother had killed him first, would the city be now called Reem?
Saturday. Stories alleging the Wuhan-sourced coronavirus outbreak is a lab-escaped biological weapon gather momentum. A 2nd article, and then a 3rd. Not just my informal sources, it seems.
Friday. Claims of large-scale IP theft and corruption by China.
Thursday. For lovers of cubbyhole hideaway stories, a 1-pound home with no entrance.
Wednesday. Sea-level specialist says (imagine!) that it's all a scam.
Tuesday. Arctic sea-ice cover grows to mid-February 11-year high.
Monday. British government seemingly plans major censorship.
Sunday. Effortless-sounding guitar & voice from Barbara Lynn, Moving on a Groove, and I Feel All Right. A shame she didn't record more party stuff like the second piece, instead of her doubtless better-earning mass of I'm-a-good-woman-you'll-miss-me-bad numbers.
Saturday. A tune by Crystal Method (tune producers criticised very reasonably by the recently deceased Roger Scruton in a talk I went to a few years ago): Glass Breaker. Then their remix of a Moby track, notable for looping a cough into the rhythm: Come On Babe. The late Scruton's right, they're a bit nihilistic, grim.
Friday. Late in the quasi-Buddhist cafe, I am packing my stuff up as they close, no other guest on the premises. Perhaps because I tease them about their vegan cakes, they sweetly tell me not to rush off as they put chairs up on the tables. Instead they introduce me to their new colleague, a roughly 16"-diameter 3"-thick white disc gliding carefully across the floor patiently cleaning it. "We decided to name her Consuela" one of the waitresses explains. I say a BBC TV show called 'Tomorrow's World' described these devices in around 1972 (their faces cloud slightly with confusion when I mention the date): I've been puzzled by the delay in making them actually available ever since. She looks exactly as her earlier prototype did in one of the Tomorrow's World print annuals Mother bought me several Christmases in a row. I first saw a (slightly noisier) version of Consuela in Terri & Alvi's flat close up about five years ago. "What exactly took you all so long?" I want to ask someone or other - hardly undersea glass domes or moon bases, is it? I still remember Alvin Toffler in a 2-or-3-year-old copy of 'Future Shock' from the public library telling the ten-year-old me that in the future we'd have special terminals in our homes we could use to access films, music, the libraries of the world; by my mid-teens rolling my eyes and wondering why everyone was so slow about it; and by my late twenties just assuming it would never happen.
Thursday. Man goes to bank branch in the US to deposit money and gets arrested: a clear case of Banking While Black. What makes the story even better is he was trying to deposit money from a previous racial-discrimination settlement.
February 12th; Wednesday. Striking song animation: The Ghost of Stephen Foster.
February 11th; Tuesday. Here's a 'Witch House' (dark ambient Goth techno Satan something something) version, I slowly realised, of a Lionel Richie song. Cover photo shows a standard-issue Hungarian party girl dressed as if "of the night", complete with bored, sneering expression ('O', from the nattily named Blvck Ceiling). Pretty much the same sort of thing from 1958 by Kip Tyler - 'She's My Witch'. With a friend to Indochinese restaurant. Friend persuades me to try a strange sweet course starring "black rice". Something of a Goth dessert, a veritable Pudding Of Darkness, I tentatively suggest, as we churn in the coconut milk it comes with. During conversation, it emerges he used to work with a titled German accountant in London whose real name was Count Frankenstein, a French notary in Geneva whose real name was Jesus Christ ("I had to stop using him, people complained about documents notarised with that name on"), and knows a girl in Ukraine whose common-law husband was phonetically called Gary Satan (although the spelling is different, something like "Seyton").
February 10th; Monday. Discover some filmed radio film reviews, if that isn't complicated enough, featuring a man called Mark Kermode. Some of his reviews are interesting, although the earnest way he reviews the risible Black Panther, and reverential mentions of various Italian schlock horror film directors give him away as a BBC leftist wally. But some films competently reviewed nonetheless. Here he is on A Field in England / The Navigator / Inception / Grand Budapest Hotel.
February 9th; Sunday. Full moon. Something very strange in Simon's kitchen. I distinctly recall last weekend there were two neon lights under one leg each of the the L-shaped array of head-height cupboards. One along the stretch almost to the fridge, and the other under the cupboards over the sink at right angles to the fridge stretch. In fact, at one point last weekend I switched the fridge set off leaving only the other strip on. Now not only is there no neon strip under the cupboards above the fridge, there is nowhere it could have been (cue eerie music). The wires, plugs, and sockets are in the same place, but no light strip or even place for one. Just an air extractor grille taking up the whole underside of that cupboard stretch. Slightly panicky, I feel like one of those mad people utterly convinced some children's cartoon had a different spelling 20 years ago therefore they "must" have slipped sideways into a very similar parallel universe with one or two absurdly trivial details changed. Shall ask Si. Editing transcripts of documentaries last week and this week about suicidal, infertile, criminal, insane people might have got me imagining things. Fairly unlikely Simon's electric kitchen is actively trying to gaslight me.
February 8th; Saturday. Increasing rumours from several sources are claiming that the coronavirus pneumonia-like disease currently killing people in China was an engineered weapon designed in a government lab that escaped into the city of Wuhan. The extra claim is it was a weapon intended for Hong Kong.
February 7th; Friday. Three tunes from Little Ann, plus one where she sings backing for the mightily titled Tarheel Slim.
Going Down A One Way Street /
Sweep It Out In The Shed /
Who Are You Trying To Fool /
Can't Stay Away.
February 6th; Thursday. The London Metal Exchange decides for now to keep open outcry as its auction method. London's last commodity market, apparently, to still have a trading ring or pit with lads shouting at each other to settle prices.
February 5th; Wednesday. Final chat with British journalist briefly in town. We discuss lots of stuff, including religious art, the difference between Dracula and Nosferatu: #, books by Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton's
February 4th; Tuesday. A few helpful remarks from publishers currently looking for fiction. Metaphorosis Books is issuing "a reprint anthology for Vegan science fiction and fantasy stories published in the previous year -- They want stories that happen to be vegan - no meat, no hunting, no horse-riding, no leather." The Were-Traveler wants "weird fiction where the setting is a carnival, theme park, circus or fair/festival. 'Clowns can be part of the story, but they don't have to be.'" Hybrid's 'Genderful' is a "furry fiction anthology in two parts which aims to explore how furry and gender interact. They want submissions that explore the implications of non-cisgender life within the context of furry."
February 3rd; Monday. Looks as if some remains found at Pompeii really are Pliny the Elder. One of our book's contributors sets out the four different epidemics affecting Asia at the moment. Interesting wartime deduction using wargaming of how German U-boats were attacking Allied food convoys in the Atlantic.
February 2nd; Sunday. Do a bit of firewood sawing next to the garage, watched critically through their wire fence by Robin's geese. Here's an intelligent dog vaguely like the white-coloured Siegfried.
February 1st; Saturday. Kindly invited out to countryside by Bela, by mid-afternoon train. On the local stopping train across the Great Plain, a drawn-out sunset shimmers at the sky's edge, like a burning city just out of sight below the horizon. Was it yesterday I recommended Bubu watch this and this film?
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com