New Year's Eve. As well as playing the same 3 or 4 songs again and again, the gormless Arabs next door seem unable to talk to each other normally. They're either silent, or suddenly shout at each other, across a normal room, oscillating between periods of frenzy and boredom. They're a bit like the noteless kazoos being blown on the street but much louder. During one of these nights, one of them locks the others out. Seems to sleep through them hammering on the door on and off for around four hours. Apparently trees talk to each other too, but quietly.
Sunday. As darkness falls, a few stray kazoos honk outside on Vaci street, trying to get the party going. Plausible case that pro-Remain campaigners are driven by snobbery. Mrs Merkel says countries must surrender sovereignty. Peter Hitchens, brother of the late Christopher, gives his account of far-left infiltration.
Saturday. Mystery neighbours move in, some dopey Arab lads from Dubai. They will suddenly start playing some sentimental Arab pop music at huge volume right against the partition wall, sing along to it in a tone-deaf howling-dog sort of way, and then go quiet for an hour or so before striking up again. I ask them to let me sleep at 3.30am, they promise to, but of course they don't. I get to sleep around 5. Here's an interesting account of meditation-induced lunacy.
Friday. Seems someone exploded 5 postboxes in Chichester on Boxing Day. Vaguely reminiscent of 'X v. Rex'.
Thursday. Delicious seasonal lunch at Textile-designer Edina's stylish flat, along with a lesson and a couple of Tarot readings.
Boxing Day. I find Davor in a Mexican restaurant - we watch some rapid chess games he's following live on his phone, both of us making guesses on the obvious next moves.
Christmas Day. Davor, whose flat is just round the corner, plays me some snatches of old Tom Leykis radio shows.
Christmas Eve. Tonight, I rather like this nativity.
Sunday. Shutters in Michael's main room at night let in differently-sized strips or lozenges of light that hover on different parts of the plaster-moulded ceiling. Sometimes their colours slowly change and I try to guess without getting out of bed what is causing them on the street. Most nights the illuminated names of two shops opposite, the serifed L'Occitane and the sanserif Foot Locker tint two oblongs. However, sometimes another ceiling rectangle trembles visibly because a video screen is playing in a shop window across the pedestrian street down below.
Saturday. Cold weather lightens: much milder. Sleep a lot to recover from all that film-set action (or at least film-set sitting around). Here's an old article from Tom Wolfe, ahead of his time, as so often.
Friday. Surprise return to film set, first warning this morning. After I finish lessons by about 3, get driven out and then wait. Two very cute girls, apparently both certified bodyguards, swap chat about firearms as we hang around in the draughty canteen shed into the evening, ready to work. The close-up shots of my neck being stabbed (again) are done surprisingly quickly at around 9 at night.
Thursday. Quiet day at office on Crypto Hill eating no food, waiting to be paid, and feeling frail. Apparently cold today: the air seems to actually attack the skin. A big NYT article with some nifty moving graphs explains the rise of China, yet seems to me to miss the point a bit. It dwells rather on the 'American Dream' label used whenever some large chunk of the world does catch-up development in a number of decades.
Wednesday. Meet Renata for a lesson at the 24-hour restaurant she likes, Pizza Paradicsom. I eat some pasta and feel strangely exhausted by about 9 that night. I wake up realising I have food poisoning. Through the night wake several times to heave my guts up miserably into a bedside bucket. The staff know and like her, but of course the thought that might explain me being given bad food is much too paranoid, ho ho! The Godhead doubtless raises a sceptical cosmic eyebrow at only being prayed to at certain special moments, painful vomiting being one of those. The sense of being mixed, mingled with something bad, is tangible. And with each session of spewing, the self is more pure, it's more me each time crawling to the bucket, head hanging over the edge while I get back breath. The moment it's complete and my body seems my own again is extraordinary. On my knees in the dark, abdomen muscles hurting in a good way, having done their job when called on, finally free of poison: almost the original image of gratitude.
Tuesday. After a day on Normafa, am driven to film set straight from the frosty hilltop. Sent to sit in a room with walls made of weirdly large bricks at a small yellow-wooden desk. After a couple of hours emerges that no filming is possible, so am driven home again.
Monday. See on Lorand's coffee table a Playboy Hungary magazine he was interviewed in. He remarks the pretty girl partly in the giant champagne glass on the cover isn't Magyar because Playboy Central took away the Hungarian franchise's budget for doing its own photo shoots. They were overspending on the girls. Sounds believable.
Sunday. Since it's the day of the sun, here's a short talk for anyone not exposed to enough in the way of wild theories. Rupert Sheldrake with wonderful calm courtesy proposes that the sun might be conscious.
Saturday. Another disruptive theory, as we call them now. A short film about fringe (or marginalised) researchers suggesting water has memory.
Friday. Someone found a termite 'network' "the size of Britain". Slightly unclear whether the 'network' is a unified supercolony, or just lots of separate colonies.
Thursday. Back at the film set, being repeatedly dragged through pools of fake blood. A 14-hour day from 6.15 to 8.15, with some worrying online messages in the afternoon only accessible if I join the girls in the make-up caravan to use their WiFi. I manage to persuade a kind production person to send a driver off the set to use about ten pounds cash I have to recharge my phone so I can send a phone text to someone in Britain to phone someone else in another part of the world. All very complex, but succeeds.
Wednesday. A short talk which gets down to business. Perkily titled Artificial Intelligence: It Will Kill Us, this speaker laudably avoids the singularity mirage. It's about being outgunned rather than outclevered.
Tuesday. Two articles about ice. NASA 3 years ago says Antarctic ice is thickening, and NSIDC 3 days ago says North American November snowfall biggest since 1966.
Monday. Back on film set for surprisingly long day as a dead ticket inspector lying down on the floor again and again of the disabled loo I was murdered in yesterday. Whole day in ticket-inspector uniform, sticky with fake blood.
Sunday. In film production where I have quite a long day being repeatedly stabbed in the neck (about 70 to 80 times) in a disabled loo on a mock-up train inside a mock-up Channel Tunnel by two different rather dishy girls: an Australian film actress playing a slinky terrorist, and her slightly sportier Hungarian stunt double. There is a rubber knife, a rather alarming-looking real knife (heavy with polished blade), and an intriguing knife handle with a short stub of luminous green where the image of the blade can be reinserted into the footage using computer trickery in the post-production studio. Everyone is very sweet and careful not to injure me.
Saturday. Our man in Bucharest writes about how teachers aim to identify and root out children with unacceptable political views.
Friday. On de Quincey's 1849 farewell to express mail coaches.
Thursday. The Guardian, bless its cotton socks, hosts a Cambridge politics don suggesting 6-year-olds get the vote. I remember the SPS students.
Wednesday. UK pre-crime software. What could possibly go wrong?
Tuesday. First she was warned the EU would use the Ulster border trick. Now the Commons is onto May's deception (blocked by Safari?).
Monday. Non-stick frying-pans can shorten your stick
Sunday. Some days chilly, some days quite mild. People in high-viz jackets (blocked by Safari?) seem to be rioting in Paris. Much of it seems to be
Teacher's (blocked by Safari?)
But he shall rule like a Roman God!
Saturday. Times article (reg wall) says PM May was warned by attorney general about Irish-border EU trick.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com