DAY 2.14 Conjunctions

December 21st, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink


(A rendition of ‘dancing till dawn, see below) among which I, like many others, count ‘and’ ‘but’, ‘because’, ‘moreover’. and so on. Accordingly, this afternoon (to change the subjcct, at least partially), I improved my life dramatically by changing the picture which I’m forced to look at while (now there’s another conjunction) I bicycle, on my ‘exercise bike’. It (I mean the picture) was a particularly dreary contemporary bunch of flowers; but I persuaded a kind friend (I still have them) to climb the stairs, an exercise which is far beyond my capabilities, and come back with a photographic report of what lay hidden there; which included a first-class example of the genre  of Chinese ink paintings of rushes. It’s beautiful, and now proudly installed in its place opposite my bicycling seat. But all the same, I have to worry about the reported absence of conjunctions from Quechua, who had, naturally, to borrow them from the conquistador, or Spanish invader. They had previously got by, I’m told, with juxtaposition, which I imagine must have done for most purposes. Still, how did they manage to explain that ‘Sophie is clearly exhausted, yet she insists on dancing till dawn.’? My Quechua isn’t up to it, and I have to choose between at least eight variants of the language – I’m surprised that they still have that many, given the extermination of the speakers by the Spaniards. You have to begin by exclaiming (which I’m increasingly doing) ‘Don’t use this vocabulary; it will lose what brain cells you still have left!!’ I’m confronted by the image of a strange universal plague which has arrived – from China, not surprisingly – to attack me and my household with some loss of any or all abilities to carry out even the most rudimentary tasks. Here we are, isolated in our corner of North London, a million miles from Wuhan (how are they off for interjections there?)

DAY 2.13 Interjections

December 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Which seem to be the most appropriate part of speech for this dreadful morning. How could we have arrived here? I cast my mind back to the afternoon in 2015, which I’ve perhaps too often referred to, when I marched with
many others to welcome refugees (I didn’t get to Trafalgar Square, but that’s rather the way things are these days); and at some level set the course of my further life, what was left of it. Before the march started, a great roar told us that Jeremy Corbyn had been elected leader of the Labour Party. And in the course of the next two weeks I was to find myself integrated in a raggle-taggle army of much younger militants, traipsing between London and Calais, enlisted for the refugee cause. And I, and my friends, and the refugees are still there (in some sense) and will not be moved for all the actions of states to displace us; the Labour Party, which has been through so much from Keir Hardie to Benn to Blair will probably remain there, waiting for the revolution.

If you look up ‘Wow’ on Wikipedia, you’ll find that it’s an interjection which has an incredibly complex cluster  of meanings, and one could perhaps borrow one or more to express one’s feelings this morning. (One could also say ‘Shit’, as I did first thing this morning, or use various Anglo-Saxon words relating to sex or bodily functions; and I have been fairly free with them from time. to time.)

So, what should I say about my feelings on this momentous day? Raising my eyes as much as was possible from the immediate mêlée, I tried to focus on the more long-term questions, in particular the ‘Green New Deal’ in New York. It is, after all, important to remember that the real questions are only answered over decades if not centuries.

DAY 2.12. The next thing?

December 9th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

My dear friends lately persuaded me that the best cure for my late night insomnia was a subscription to a film streaming website; and recommended particularly a site by the name of ‘MUBI’. Indeed, one can spend a couple of peaceful hours after midnight watching something a bit soporific which one could enjoy. However, I found, after a short time, that MUBI in particular tended to be less than perfect; relying as they did heavily (at that period) on obscure Latin American family dramas which at the late hour already mentioned simply confused me. It’s true that the gamut. of films available is far wider, allowing one to hope that some day La Chinoise or La Regle du Jeu.would turn up. And indeed, the other day I was rewarded by being allowed to see Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, which in my humble opinion has got to be the nicest film I’ve seen in a long time, and atones for MUBI’s many goofs. I must urge you to watch this idyllic story of a bus driver (who is also a poet) and his wife, who aims to become a star cupcake baker and country singer. He’s called Paterson, and they live in Paterson N.J., immortalized by William Carlos Williams. His poems are
brief and  lovely; his wife Laura is constantly urging him to preserve them and his failure to do so leads to eventual disaster at the hands of the odious dog which unaccountably both Paterson and Laura are attached to. I won’t reveal the dénouement, but the way Jarmusch explores it is enchanting. I strongly urge you to watch it as soon as you can.

DAY 2.11 The end.

December 3rd, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

I, like many of my readers I expect, have got thoroughly tired of hearing apocalyptic warnings about how soon the planet is going to run out of its resources, (they must have started about fifty years ago) and I’m impatiently awaiting the day when the powers that be (who are they?) will announce that the planet has indeed finally run out of everything; and we can stop being in a state of red alert, because there is NOTHING LEFT TO DO! Despite all the best efforts of pigtailed Scandinavian teenagers, the Earth has run its resources into the ground, figuratively speaking, and we can just carry on partying, snorting coke, playing old Led Zeppelin tracks etc. I would get the current president of the USA to support me in this position, but I don’t think he has the intellectual rigour.

DAY 2.10 Verbs

December 1st, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

a subject which has been rather a lot on my mind lately. Why? Compared with elections or shipwrecks or revolutions, verbs might seem to occupy a relatively small space in the public consciousness, although in their defence it could be pointed out that you can’t do much or indeed anything without them. But here they are, ever-present with their conjugations and stuff. I’ve been particularly preoccupied by the parallel between Nancy Ajram’s عم بتلعق فيك شوي شوي وعم حس بحني‘and Sappho’s Fragment 31. Both present the speaker as paralysed, in a sense, by the loved one’s presence. Immediately after posting I got one of those entirely justified complaints about the lack of translation: to which I had to respond



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