Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

740 - Clive James on Real Adventure

A lovely, long, inspiring quote about what makes a fine life, from his book, Cultural Amnesia (but what to do when every other sentence is worth quoting?):
The usual division [in social life] is to treat our daily job as the adventure and our cultural diversions as a mere mechanism of renewal and repose. But the adventurous jobs are becoming more predictable all the time, even at the level of celebrity and conspicuous material success. Could there be anything less astonishing than to work day and night on Wall Street to make the millions that will buy the Picasso that will hang on the wall of our Upper East Side apartment to help convince us and our guests that we are lucky to know each other? I have been in that apartment, and admired the Picasso, and envied its owner: I especially envied him his third wife, who had the same eyes as Picasso's second mistress, although they were on different sides of her nose. But I didn't envy the man his job. In the same week, I was filming in Greenwich Village, and spent an hour of down-time sitting in a cafe making my first acquaintance with the poetry of Anthony Hecht. I couldn't imagine living better. The real adventure is no longer in the job. In the job we can have a profile written about us, and be summed up: all the profiles will be the same, and all the summaries add up to the same thing. The real adventure is in what we do to entertain ourselves, a truth which the profile writers concede by trying to draw us out on our supposed addictions to shark fishing, fast cars, extreme skiing and expensive young women. But even the entertainment can no longer be adventurous if it serves a purpose. It will be adventurous only if it serves itself. In other words, it will not be utilitarian. It has always been a part of the definition of humanism that true learning has no end in view except its own furtherance.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

744 - This Green and Soggy Land

I hope NASA produce another photo of GB after the snow has melted. It'd look a little like those fragments of decomposing sponge washed up on the beach from time to time.

Last such fragment I found was on Tynemouth Long Sands: an all-but-complete seat cushion kept afloat in the wellspring by Crusoe's Cafe by the water bubbling underneath it. I fished it out, feeling the rubber-watery weight of it around my hand before dropping it like whale blubber onto the shore.

As I left, I was aware of a kid behind me, fascinated, picking it up and dropping it back into the spa.

The sea is ripe for symbols, and the sealine the place they venture into consciousness. I still remember, passing the Rendezvous Cafe two or three years ago, seeing a complete copy of the Quran furled/ unfurled in the waves, whether coming in or washing away I couldn't tell.

Friday, 8 January 2010

745 - Iced

Love this, by NASA via the BBC...

746 - Haiku, Better?

Reading about the Haiku format, I came across this quote: "Basho [a Japanese haiku master] said that each haiku should be a thousand times on the tongue."

Yesterday's haiku tries to convey a flow of time - winter into spring - with the sense that it is a cycle that repeats, but on the first line a strong image - city - perhaps overweighs the rest of the poem. Centrally, I was hoping to convey the idea that civilisation is no more or less than a fall of snow, despite its initial sparkle and subsequent seeming permanence. But traditional haiku are about emotional states, not concepts.

By returning again to the haiku, in the spirit of Basho, and rearranging it, so that the city occupies the last thought, I lose the sense of time-flow, of state change, but correct the imbalance... oh, I don't know! what do you think?

wake my tongue, to numb
and cease me, melting away -
fall soft my city -

Thursday, 7 January 2010

747 - Winter Haiku

fall soft my city,
wake my tongue, to numb and cease
me, melting away.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

748 - Miswikway

And not sure, at all, who or what this is about...

749 - As The Year Turns

By way of a late Christmas/Solstice greeting, here's a fragment from our 2009 Christmas Card.