Piera introduces me to some artists like the jovial
Kaz. I also meet the elegant
and organiser of the event. Back at Catford, fish & chips while NIgel & I down
quite a lot of pink and red wine.
on GNER train slow & pricey. Find Nigel & Juno in upbeat mood when I reach
Catford. Nigel points out that my momentary feeling of nausea at the crowds
of Londoners surging through Charing Cross station was not a kind of vertigo,
but more a sort of horizontigo.
On train to Leeds meet the charming Saniah & Sabrine. Though she is quite shy,
Sabrine is wearing red shoes,
a red zip-up jumpsuit, a red headband, and generous amounts of silver jewellery.
The more conventionally dressed Saniah insists I should refer to her stylish friend
in this weblog as "the teenage witch". Saniah kindly promises
to recommend me Punjabi &
textbooks. By evening I finish Steven Rose's
Making of Memory',
a pleasantly meticulous account of just how painstaking
laboratory work in brain science is. Intriguingly, Rose has read several philosophers
& sociologists of science. He seems to have a vaguely Marxist view of the world
beyond his special field, which is chemical traces of learning in chicks' brain tissue.
dry cleaners have got the rust-&-orange-coloured pollen stains out of my
jacket. Mother is starting to find the giant lilies interesting, pointing out
the red dots are raised like pimples, and fade, while rising, to waxy white spikes
deep in each blossom's throat.
Finish book called
Fiction' I picked up second-hand the other day. A collection of
humorous essays that it seems were published in a
column under that title. It's attractive - an old
Pelican facsimile cover [blue & cream] meeting an old Penguin facsimile
cover [orange & cream] at what looks like a vertical tear. Presumably Pelican = True, and
Penguin = Fiction. The first essay was funny in parts. The rest
embarrassingly bad - like the worst school-magazine prose.
Lame flights of fancy, each
wrapped up with a leaden attempt at a punchline. Dreadful.
in Bradford, but no small ads.
Ed's megablooms still power-scent the upper 2/3 of the house. I read a book from
Hebden Library which might be for sixth-formers, am not sure. Called
Climate Crisis', it is very short, composed of articles each filling an A4-format
page, drawn from different sources like The Guardian, Friends of the Earth and so on.
Strong on check-lists of what will change, short on properly-marshalled facts. Some
typos, such as writing millimetre instead of centimetre, which are hard to forgive in
a 38-page study pamphlet for students. The urgent tone of certain doom jars a bit with
the wildly divergent guesses for what the future holds. Not much use.
Ed invites me for lunch in Bradford. Afterwards, he convinces me to take back with me
the large & mightily-perfumed flowers he'd relegated to his stairwell to stop them
smothering him in his flat. I struggle onto the train back to
Mytholmroyd with the blossoms. No
reactions except for a faint shudder of distaste from a Japanese girl,
soberly and demurely dressed aside from her knee-high leather boots. When
I bring them into the house, mother is at first alarmed by the triffids,
but we find a vase for them next to the bath. They are some kind of lily, each
bloom surrounded by six huge waxy petals with crinkled white edges fading in to a
deep pink blush and mass of red spots down the centre. The scent is so strong it
threatens unconsciousness if you stay too close. Long stamens
wobble their powder-caked tips eerily at you. The same night I
finish mother's copy of
Aquarian Conspiracy' by Marilyn Ferguson. Mother said it was disappointing and
she's right. A well-intentioned book, it somehow caused a big sensation in 1979 when it
came out. The thesis is that new research in brain science and a growing number of
Americans studying Eastern meditation techniques are together helping to form
a completely new kind of social reform movement - decentralised, open-minded,
co-operative, holistic. So far so good. Ferguson dates this back to American
movements like the early-19th-century
and cites so many other
precursors like H.G.Wells and Aldous Huxley, all saying a big new kind of change
is just around the corner, that one begins to feel the movement has rather
taken its time.
Reading a 1980 book in 2006 adds to this sense of
irritation at the messianic, millennarian feel to the whole text. Unless we decide that
the Internet itself is what the Aquarian Conspiracy was building up to, it's hard to
see what else it was "just about" to do in the early 80s. She says the book emerged
from a questionnaire she sent out to lots of people who were on her mailing list for
a brain-science newsletter she ran in the 1970s. It is long, and is mainly written in
a breathless, shrill style, as in: This is happening, and this is happening, and
these people there are doing that, and these other people over there are doing this, and
these other people found that if they.... Also, as soon as
Americans get together to share ideas in Ferguson's world, they have to do lots of
sobbing and crying together. The whole thing is exhausting to
plough through. Might have made a good 3,000-word article.
Pancake with John in Manchester. Two days ago finished
by George Steiner, from Hebden Library. He's a bit overfond of words like
is alarmingly well-read in French, German and Latin. Some of the argument
is confusing and pompous, but some of it is very stimulating.
He mentions some Germans like
who were anticipating Wittgenstein on
language already in 1900, and he is interesting on Dada and subsequent
artists, like maker of self-destructive pieces
A Tinguely sculpture
gives the book its off-putting cover. The main theme is the impinging of
science and mathematics on the province of art and literature.
Convincing in places. Some very exciting references.
like my blue-green shirt. All over it on train
Our identities are
New York catalogue.
oddly unsuccessful. Manage to both burn top and leave insides
uncooked. Took hours too. Mother mutters something kind about Yorkshire gas being
Shop for cinnamon.
Bridge Library at new address.
Buy book about AutoCAD.
Find seamstress in Bradford.
Buy summer suit with Nigel. Starting out for train to North, I get a telling off from
at Catford Bridge for questioning why they keep
closing their blinds just when I need to buy a ticket. Naughty customer.
Late evening in Mytholmroyd, I finish
Nina's present of a couple of
years ago, which I had lost and then refound at
by Willem Elsschot is a sparely-written and touching comic novelette
about a Belgian clerk who tries to become a cheese importer. Set in the 1930s,
Sad, modest, sweetly funny.
Get polite learn-Arabic sales letter from
Fruit juice with Adrienn near
Manage to locate some Arabic
Nigel and I go shopping for
books & magazines.
Leisurely breakfast with
flight to Luton the plane flies into night,
back into evening and then again into night, with an orange stripe of sky just above
the horizon, a yellow-green stripe above that, and lots of blue shading into black
above that. Night bus across London to meet Nigel & Juno at midnight.
Stopping briefly on the way to see the butcher about some
drives me to Lakitelek station. Changing trains in
Kecskemet, I rest in a sunlit park and find a dead tree festooned
with giant mushrooms. They jut out from the trunk as though partly buried
there by a powerful discus-thrower. Two the size of dinner plates, four or five
the size of dessert bowls. Back in Budapest, dinner and drink with Isabel.
Wake up in morning still alert from the tea. Bela is watching
in the next room. I find I enjoy hearing it as a sort of radio play. At lunch
Georgina & I pop down to the village bar for a wine with soda. The barmaid
with the pony tail is not there. We sit with our drinks inside. All the walls
are lined with interlocking strips of rubber in alternating stripes of brown
& beige, buckled into curves, either because the material has expanded or
the building has shrunk. A large colour television is playing a 1980s
American romantic drama, dubbed into Hungarian. All the actors
have 80s big hair, though somehow bigger than I remember. Two barmaids sit
at another table watching the TV impassively. After a few minutes I realise that
the screen is distorted at the top, which is why the big hairdos are even bigger
than they were in the 1980s. Occasionally a character moves up and
gets both higher hair & longer forehead like a
in afternoon, I retire briefly. Fall asleep pleasantly lulled by
Dopplerish sound effect of Bela running or tricycling round & round
four cloistered sides of the house while being some kind of motor vehicle.
Quiet May Day until evening. Forgetting the strict anti-caffeine instructions
of my wizard, I have a black tea with
& Georgina. Immediately cat-allergic
asthma returns, and I manically discuss art late with Robin, taking it upon
myself, giddy on caffeine, to tell him how he could be more like
Hirst. We bounce around
Kicsiny, and blood banks.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com
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