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Showing posts from September, 2012

Excursion

It would be the day it poured: the day of liberation from nearly three months stasis in Oxford. I took the 6.56 train Worcester, having the day’s first proper cup of coffee in the cheap Brief Encounter-ish tearoom in Worcester, and then onto Hereford, creeping along the Malvern Hills, the fields inundated with rain, the wet crops, the sheep cringing into the hedge thickets and soggy apple orchards. I’d forgotten about rural buses and their lacksadaisical reliability. I’d missed the bus from Hereford to Hay-on-Wye by five minutes and it was two hours until the next one. Cursing, I walked into Hereford (grey, depressed, with a strangely hospitable European piazza in the centre) for a bacon butty – which, I now know, is impossible to eat without coating your eyebrows with brown sauce – and a stroll through what was promisingly called The Butter Market but was really a church bazaar affair in the town hall.

And thus to my destination. Hay-on-Wye is set on a hill and impossible to navigate…
Attention poetry mavens: any suggestions for good contemporary poets (either in general or particular collections)? Have sudden appetite but very little idea where to start. Any advice welcome!
It's been raining all day, that splendid (as long as you're not out in it) gloomy continuous fall of rain which demands umbrellas and Wellies. There's a film crew on Holywell and I can only presume it's Lewis. I'm imagining a fierce sodden twilight confrontation of the murderer, macs slick with the rain, torches on angry wet faces, etc.

This is what happens a day after the autumnal equinox. It doesn't rain this heavily usually - this is a proper find-your-favourite-jumper day. It makes me think of this scene:

'It's an owl', said Peter. 'This is going to be a wonderful place for birds. I shall go to bed now. I say, let's go and explore tomorrow. You might find anything in a place like this. Did you see those mountains as we came along? And the woods? There might be eagles. There might be stags. There'll be hawks.'
'Badgers!' said Lucy.
'Foxes!' said Edmund.
'Rabbits!' said Susan.
But when the next morning came t…

The view from Southbank

Embarrassingly, last year I went to London only once. I intend to make it up this year. On Wednesday, I took my first excursion to the National to see Simon Russell Beale in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Timon of Athens. The primary plot of Shakespeare and Middleton’s play – of a wealthy man whose estate collapses due to his unrestrained generosity, and turns feral misanthrope after being abandoned by his friends – was effortlessly adapted to a satire of present day London. The first scene, in which a painter and a poet discuss the works they’ve produced in Timon’s honour, is set in an art gallery which Timon’s bounty – and name – had just embellished. (The ancient woman next to me told her friend that the large painting was Goya’s Christ chasing the moneylenders out of the temple). The employment of a revolving stage coyly referred to the wheel of fortune which is set against Timon (in an early scene he walks against the direction of the revolution to the next scene) as well as a c…

Spurious and Spuriouser

There have been times where I have stopped on the street and suddenly had the thought that I do not have thoughts. All around me are people whose brains are knitting and unravelling problems, meditating on beloveds or categorizing errors. Largely, when I move, I think with my body, or I fret. I may notice my surroundings, or I move with such impatience that my journey is fuelled entirely by desire but no reflection. Once, upon such a re-realization, I sat on nearby steps, desperately trying to think about thought and subsequently becoming narcissistically distressed. This is just the sort of problem that haunts Lars Iyer’s Spurious.

Spurious is the clearly signalled offspring of Waiting for Godot. The plot is as solid as a pair of worn knickers. Two academics, the unnamed narrator and his friend/antagonist W., speak, reproach, agonize, try to create meaning, try to write, try to think, try to contribute, acknowledge their own uselessness, struggle against inactivity and superfluity. …