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euskara {basque}
magyar {hungarian}
nederlands/vlaams {dutch}

other links : i ii iii

Can you translate the next 300 words into Hindi, or Korean?; if so, please contact me and there will be rejoicing.


October 31st; Over breakfast Olga and I discuss what language textbooks should really be like.
October 30th; Sara forgets my money again. Scott tells me about Gloomy Sunday and plays me the song.

October 29th; A dynamic, coffee-fuelled day. Contact with szitanyomas folk.
October 28th; Passengers at the far end of the carriage bitterly nag when, down to my tee-shirt sweltering on the heated train, I desperately open a window at my end by one third. Self-righteous with rage, one marches up to shut the window completely, so as to restore it from stuffy-kitchen temperature back to cheek-burning laundry temperature. I drink in cool draught when the doors open at stations.

October 27th; With Robin discuss pop-up books and the Moscow Project.
October 26th; Finished a book about time and space from 1880 to 1918. Clearly written for the interdisciplinary-studies market, because, to my disappointment, it wasn't really about anything. At one vague level it is about how inventions like telegraphs, telephones, railways, bicycles, cars and aeroplanes made people feel different about time and space. In other words, less of both or more of both, depending on how you look at it. A bold idea to write this, but I need more than the revelation that Cubists felt vindicated by First-World-War camouflage paint and aerial views of zigzaggy trenches, to pull all these interesting things together. Einstein and Lorentz make a brief appearance as the twin fathers of 'space-time', but one has the feeling that Kern is skating on rather thin ice when writing about either special or general relativity. How can we blame students for getting glib, when encouraged by books like this to think they have understood relativity, post-impressionist art, Proust, and the build-up to the Great War all at once?

October 25th; After last night's final local train from Kecskemet to Lakitelek [myself and a white-haired man so drunk he had forgotten his station and would clearly sooner or later wet himself and not notice], Robin picked me up in Jeremy's green car with the strange thumping noise. Back in the studio they were building a trailer for the boat they made last month, again out of skilfully salvaged old wooden and metal bits. Today they finished and drove off to drag boat out of river Tisza.
I add a link to an Arabic-language online bookshop in my Arabic section.
October 24th; Yesterday's holiday keeps shops shut today as well. It's not as if most Hungarians do any real work when they're actually working, so holidays here always puzzle me. Like trying to tell the difference between crawl gear and out-of-gear when reversing a lorry.

October 23rd; Agnes shows me what concordances are.
October 22nd; Get to speak to my mother on the phone in hospital. She's well. I reseal the water inlet into the communist washing machine back in Budapest.

October 21st; Robin disassembles a complete fireplace brick by brick in his studio and pipes in an old stove, which, like the piping, he found on the street. He's particularly pleased with some local clay substance he seals the piping in with.
I finish someone's copy of David Lodge's 'Paradise News'. Nice light read, back on his pet plot of university academics comparing Britain and the USA. A disenchanted theologian has to visit Hawaii for family reasons and the fun unfolds. Was intriguing to compare with the one Mr Myers lent me before university entrance, 'Changing Places', because the unctious Irish-in-England landlord of that 70s novel reappears here as a major character (the narrator's father). The man who in Changing Places has a daughter who furtively borrows Maurice Zapp's porn magazines, and who Zapp knows will be masturbating over the adverts for hi-fi and colour television sets in the magazines when he confiscates them, not the naked girls, is recognisable as the greedy, cantankarous old relative in Paradise News. Which makes it tempting to see this as an autobiographical story by Lodge of a mildly-deprived Catholic Irish upbringing in 50s England made good in redbrick academia.
October 20th; Saw 'Samurai Jack' again with an interestingly rapt Caspar & Bela.

October 19th; Robin & I uproot a dead tree and chop it into firewood.
October 18th; I design a gameshow for German TV.

October 17th; Another slow, soothing train journey out into the flat country.
October 16th; Complicated day. I talk Agnes through a paper she has to summarise about SGML and the TEI, then try to get Hussam enthusiastic about sundials (so why else do clocks go clockwise, then?), and finish off by hosting Writers' Group with Esther for Kalman, Elysia and Jeff. I totally mishandle cooking flapjacks. No-one in any Budapest shops has a clue what golden syrup is.

October 15th; Jimmy the philosopher is in touch again.
October 14th; Back in Budapest, after Caspar and Bela yesterday waved me off, gradually getting quite interested in the train as we all waited for it to leave.
Gordon and Kirstin throw a dinner and ply me with lots of gin, sloe and fast.

October 13th; I fiddle with the computer while Robin watches BBC history on the telly. He passes out on the sofa somewhere between Canute and Henry the Lawgiver, and sleeps right through to Magna Carta.
October 12th; I doze off after a long day on the computer.

October 11th; We drive out into the country and have an excellent coffee & pudding at a sort of butterscotch/gingerbread motel outside Kecskemet.
October 10th; Robin, Balint & I pop in on Lilla and her bubbly friends just by Margit Bridge, for strawberry tea.

October 9th; A show at the Ludwig about wishes coming true. Back at Gogol street, Istvan cooks Robin and me a fine chicken curry with refreshing Dreher beer.
October 8th; Chris gets cross when Marion demands he program a new noise into his phone to represent her ringing him. Rob cooks lovely duck, olives and goat's cheese, plays me the soaring 50s Betty Carter and Ray Charles jazz duet he rightly thinks would make a wonderful theme tune for the Airport animation series, and suggests forming a commune.

October 7th; Journey back in, and an Il Treno pizza with Gabriella, Paula, and now also Cheryl, of, yes, The Family. Robin drives fast to catch up with the last HEV so the girls can get back to their house on Csepel Island.
October 6th; We visit an extremely gloomy scrap-metal merchant in Kunszentmarton. Later, Robin and I set up a blackboard for the kitchen and I gouge a chalk groove with a chisel, sawing off the wrong width of course.

October 5th; Get to the end of the peculiar 1917 novel 'Moonchild' by Aleister Crowley while trying to melt some plastic spectacle frames with a candle in Robin's garage around dusk. As I reach the concluding page a bizarre sunset ends outside in which a massive tilted slab of blue-grey cloud slowly positions itself over the whole sky like an ocean liner the size of London. Some excellent thunder and lightning follow later.
Crowley, self-styled magician, prewar English eccentric and 'Great Beast', is not a very good novelist judging from 'Moonchild'. But it manages to be an interesting read due to the sheer oddness of Crowley and the flowery manifestos he puts on every page. This Edwardian [the self-satisfied writing in Wilde's 'Picture of Dorian Gray' leaps to mind] follows the precious aestheticism of the 1890s. Like the tiresome Wilde, Crowley's novel is encrusted with paradoxes which are supposed to have us gasping with admiration.
A cosmic battle between good and evil takes place. We can spot the magicians of the White Lodge are the goodies because they spell magick with a k, and strut around a world of invisible servants, joke Americans, and pointlessly precise Parisian apartment addresses familiar to Sherlock Holmes and early Agatha Christie readers. The strutting around involves connoisseurship in foreign cigarettes and punchlines like '"My dear man," said Lord Anthony, "prawns are much better at the end of a dinner - as you'd know if you had been to Armenia lately."' Ha! Answer that one!
The magickal guardians of the cosmos sound like a cross between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bulldog Drummond. Given the woodenness of the characters [the black magicians are particularly tedious], it is a miracle, or perhaps a successful spell, that anyone can finish the book at all, but I did. Its schoolboyish earnestness, alternately 'humorous' or lyrical, has the same pre-World-War-I innocence as the '39 Steps'. Pompous digressions on science and spirit are hard to bear when Crowley drops clangers like saying spiders have six legs, not eight. Yet the clever clever people with their wearily superior cynicism and cod antinomies [Women have no minds, only their sex, so they and only they should vote! is one thigh-slapping cracker] are quaint too. And certain scenes are memorable: the Abbotesque explanation of the then-fashionable fourth dimension, the necromancy with the tortured cats, the peculiar occult honeymoon in Italy attempting to draw the spirit of the moon into an unborn foetus, the clearly sincere if overlong lectures on Taoist white magic and twisted, self-damaging black magic. The conclusion in the early months of the First World War, and the idea that magic[k] and espionage are in businesslike harmony is quite interesting. The book somehow gets itself from the fin-de-siecle smart naughtiness of the Yellow Book all the way to the fresh-faced-yet-nasty optimism of the 1920s. Like the Great Experiment itself, reading Crowley trying to write is not something to undertake lightly, but there are moments of relief.
October 4th; Enlarge website. Late-night television programme about part of brainís frontal lobe responsible for spiritual experiences.

October 3rd; Travel out of town. Robin and I find that Cserkeszolo restaurant where gorgeous waitress with coconut-cream tan works is closed for winter. We eat elsewhere.
October 2nd; Having yesterday thrown essay at Hussam, today all is calm.

October 1st; Esther mentions occult black-cloud presence in flat. Apparently it hovers near the ceiling during the night.


Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact@otherlanguages.org

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