August 31st; Monday. 'University professor' photographs fairies and 'scientist' images 'multi-dimensional beings'. Both men look suitably non-mainstream.
August 30th; Sunday. New theory links atheism & emotional suppression.
August 29th; Saturday. Via Alison, how to mount your own 'Colo[u]r Revolution'.
August 28th; Friday. Swim almost a mile at one of the pools on the island in the Danube and then some mild weight training. Foolishly forget I might burn my shoulders and back doing breast-stroke lengths under a hot sun. Haven't swum I think even once for possibly two years. The Hajos Alfred pool has switched to the strange fake plastic wristwatches with a magnetic code for opening your clothes locker, a system several of the hot mineral baths have had for a decade or more. Quasi-swimming-pool-worthy remix of You're My Lover by someone or other.
August 27th; Thursday. NY Times comes daringly close to suggesting that China deceived the world about COVID-19 via co-ordinated Twitter storms.
August 26th; Wednesday. Someone's remix of someone else's remix of Live Without Your Love, Calvin Harris something something.
August 25th; Tuesday. 2017 Statistics piece: British quango says Muhammad not in fact England's most popular name now for newly-born baby boys. Except, yes it is.
August 24th; Monday. Detailed piece argues COVID-19 made almost no difference in England & Wales total mortality.
August 23rd; Sunday. Spiked discuss the 'culture war'.
August 22nd; Saturday. Two erudite articles on Islamic politics from the Hoover Institution:
There is no Shia awakening and
Trouble in the Shi'ite Crescent.
August 21st; Friday. Razor-sharp old Dmitri from Paris no longer dresses like an airline pilot when he works as a DJ. Has he lost his way a little? Lugubrious, almost depressing chill tune.
Thursday. Big Wild's perky tune
Wednesday. Sleep 13 hours. Recovering from cold I must have had yesterday - why I felt so odd at Lake Balaton. Friend cites old Neil Diamond song, the cheery Cherry Cherry: making songwriting sound super simple.
Tuesday. On the morning train to see Dr D. at his holiday home at the other end of Lake Balaton, I finish a book lent me (or perhaps given?) by Esther V., 'Madonna of the Sleeping Cars' by Maurice Dekobra. Though I started this earlier than the wittier Szerb Pendragon novel, a similar era (late 1920s rather than early 1930s) and a similar vintage: fascination by some Continental author (or his readership) with the snobbish mysteries of Celtic Britain and the aristocrats therein. Rather than a Welsh noble, this book is centred on a Scots noblewoman, and rather than told through the eyes of a wandering Hungarian scholar, Dekobra's book is told through the eyes of a French aristocrat fallen on hard times. He is gallantly platonic friend and loyal companion to the Madonna, and some of the action takes place on long-distance luxury trains, as one might hope. Intriguing to see how this book was translated into
languages from the original French, not just into English.
Even made into at least
films. This was also an early spy novel, and the Amazon page writes "Alan Furst fans will note that train passengers in his bestselling thrillers are often observed reading The Madonna of the Sleeping Cars. It's a smart detail: First published in 1927, the book was one of the twentieth century's first massive bestsellers, selling over 15 million copies worldwide." Fascinating to keep finding how rich the past is - to never have even heard, until a few weeks ago, of a book that sold 15 million copies between the wars. Put into English by Neal Wainwright, I found only one sure translation mistake, 'receipt' instead of 'recipe', but it's an enjoyable read. Some parts felt a little stilted, but hard to know if that's a cultural shift or the loss of some flair in the original text once no longer in French. Aristocrats-versus-Bolsheviks, stylish high-spenders struggling to survive the new austerity, and a central character who is elegant yet racy, perhaps even "modern" (beautiful blue-blooded ladies are allowed to sleep around) - it's just about possible to see why readers found it so exciting and up-to-date at the time.
Dr D. shows me round Balatongyorok, including his vineyard and wine cellar, and we see warning lights flashing at the edge of the lake telling boats a storm is coming. He tells me something terrible I'd never heard - the lake is dangerous because it's shallow. He says if a storm whips up waves, instead of being big heaving rolls, they are small and full of spray, making them dangerous to swim in. He mentions a recent storm near his harbour (last year?) where eight male students were on a boat that got into trouble. One of them, a young championship swimmer, struck out for the shore to get help, not realising that in the two or three feet above the storm-lashed water the air was full of water droplets and water vapour. So this powerful, experienced swimmer literally drowned with his head above water - he was asphyxiated by the water vapour in the air he was breathing, and died before reaching shore.
Monday. Intriguing claim: Face masks make you stupid.
Sunday. Bouncy tune from Parov Stelar called Number One MC. The cover art shows a pretty girl wearing some sort of breastplate that looks part-typewriter/part-disassembled-oboe. The looping chords take the Sugar Rush approach to making a pop song, bridging back and forth between two different bits of upbeat melody.
Saturday. Only around March did I notice the zip tags on the knapsack I got as a present on Christmas Eve from my kind student Edina. Each tag is a black rubber capital M with a scribbled white italic TV on the right leg. Sudden recognition takes me back to the early 1990s, when the decade-old the MTV channel still seemed almost fresh. Just before the internet brushed it aside.
Friday. Mises website again on COVID-19 panic's political subtext.
Thursday. The myth of pervasive misogyny and a woman who found her
female-only TV production firm mired in women-manager bitch fights.
Wednesday. Spectator points out how exaggerated the COVID-19 threat has been, and a Swedish doctor shares his anecdotal experience.
Tuesday. Global elites hint COVID-19 controls might stay forever.
Monday. Two lawyers who threw a Molotov cocktail into a police car, defended rather cloyingly in long-form article.
Sunday. Choosing the name "Fuckpony" suggests some kind of male anxiety to me (they are from Berlin), but anyway, here is:
I'm Burning Inside /
Fall Into Me /
Bongo Porn /
Ride the Pony /
Saturday. Forbes article from May suggests that deaths caused by the COVID-19 curfews will hugely outweigh deaths from the disease itself.
Friday. Rhythm Scholar's extended remix of Andre Previn's Executive Party track from 1970s film 'Rollerball'. Meanwhile, wild boar steals naked German man's laptop bag, naked German man gives chase, and recaptures bag.
Thursday. Important, clearly-written Mises website article puts COVID-19 response in context of Davos-founder Klaus Schwab's 'Great Reset'.
Wednesday. Three more songs by Unknown Mortal Orchestra:
American Guilt /
First World Problem /
Not in Love We're Just High.
Tuesday. Three songs from the rhythmically inventive (but badly named) Unknown Mortal Orchestra:
Little Blu House /
Can't Keep Checking My Phone /
Monday. Finish a delightfully entertaining book borrowed from Irish Michael, 'The Pendragon Legend' by Antal Szerb, translated into English by Len Rix. This is a lively and archly-written 1930s parody of gothic novels of the time. Originally in Hungarian, the central character and narrator is an eccentric Hungarian scholar adrift in London, invited to the mysterious castle of a nobleman in Wales. All the cliches and tropes of the Country House Ghost Story of the time are wittily included: my favourite were the gelatinous translucent-white deep-sea creatures condemned to blob around in giant dimly-lit tanks of water on one floor of the nobleman's home, being killed and revived in ghoulish scientific experiments. The jolly-hockeysticks German sportswoman, the rogueish Irish adventurer, the deranged local vicar, the evil-yet-hauntingly-beautiful heiress - all the elements are in place. Here's a rather hostile review, but headed by a nice photo of Szerb from the time.
Sunday. Why 'The Woke' won't debate with others.
Saturday. Intriguing article compares faeries and aliens flying UFOs.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com