1st december 2006

landscape from a dream

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2nd december 2006

7 bis Rue du Nadir aux Pommes

Still from Celine & Julie Go Boating, now out on DVD from the BFI with English subtitles. The French won't release subtitled French language films, why? This one's for Paul, who loves this film but is elsewhere.

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13th december 2006

saloop revisited once more

from the proceedings of the Old Bailey, July 1783:

William Miller the elder, sworn.

Miller. My business is to sell saloop in Moorfields, I heard a cry of Stop thief! I cast my eyes about to see from whence it came, and I saw a man running, and another came close by me, and I said, my son, stop them.

Court. What time in the morning?

Miller. About four or five o'clock, it was was a joke, it was fun, but I would not be funned that way, he would have avoided the matter if they could, but I said, stop them right or wrong; Cooper and my son run about one hundred yards, before they took the prisoner, then they got him in possession; I must say the prisoner behaved very genteel.

Court. Where did your saloop barrow stand?

Miller. In what we call Middle Moorfields, at the extremity of Lower Moorfields, and just at the edge of Upper Moorfields, from which I could see into Moorfields, and down Brokers-row; after they got the prisoner in possession about a minute or two, I saw another man run past me, and he run up with a pistol, and rescued the prisoner out of their hands.

Court. Then they had stopped the prisoner before that other man passed you?

Miller. Yes.

Prisoner's Counsel. Where do you sit friend, with your saloop?

It is facing Bedlam, between the two mad houses, but I bless God, I have got my senses yet, there are a many cribby islands and places thereabouts, where people that do dark actions love to go into.

Cribby islands are rookeries or blocks of slums: there was a famous one just north of the Strand which was first named The Bermudas after the discovery of Bermuda by Sir George Somers, then rechristened The Caribbees, and then the name shortened to The Cribbys before becoming a generic term.

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20th december 2006

Look out, look out the gods are coming down; from palaces of glass they step out into air, among the clouds in multicoloured shirts and coats like harlequins; they step out into air, descend in palanquins of glass, look out, the gods are coming down.
The gods are pink, cherubic, young but never panting, they have tidy minds. Sometimes within their midst they bring a damsel (heightened by eternal bloom, of course, the gods are ageless); she speaks of dispositions and arrangements, orders given to a lesser god, she speaks to her attendants on a telephone (“my train”), look out, the gods are come, the gods are here among us on the ground.
They do not see us, for how could they? To them we are invisible, or mist, they brush our shoulders as they pass (to us of course the contact brings quick hurt, the denseness of it! The divinity of dark wool robes) they sweep away to sanctuaries elsewhere, the gods must sleep on earth. Look out, the gods are here.

They leave few traces of their presence. A pool of vomit (are the gods not flawed? They share our appetites); some crumpled papers, orange peel. And now they’re gone.

And us, what do we feel? Abandoned on the rainy streets, ignored; we wish we’d never witnessed deity. Too concentrated, godhead burns: we’re better off if gods are spread more thinly, if they’re everywhere at once and so invisible.

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Die wollust der creaturen ist gemenges mit bitterkeit.

Each creature's desire is mixed with bitterness.

- Meister Eckhart

He was wont to say that Man was but a great mischievous Baboon.

- John Aubrey, on William Harvey