1 may 2007

Still, Toute la Memoire du Monde, Alain Resnais.

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4 may 2007

Romance at Short Notice

By popular request, this site's first podcast: Saki's The Open Window [7:39]

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6 may 2007

Stanley Spencer, Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing-Station at Smol, Macedonia, September 1916

Spencer wrote: 'This picture is not in any material or practical sense a truthful representation of the scene it is supposed to depict.'

All of the commentaries talk about about the spiritual aspects of the picture; Spencer himself was keen to emphasise 'God in the bare real things, in a limber wagon, in ravines, in fouling mule lines'. But what no-one mentions is what seems clearest to me, that one of the strongest echoes here is of a Nativity/Epiphany scene: the mules looking into the circle of light at a helpless recumbent figure.

Columba aspexit
per cancellos fenestrae . . .

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7 may 2007

A geographical tube map makes one appreciate once more the genius of Harry Beck.

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8 may 2007

For the curious there are two Icelandic foods that should certainly be tried. One is Hákarl, which is half-dry, half-rotten shark. This is white inside with a prickly horn rind outside, as tough as an old boot. Owing to the smell it has to be eaten out of doors. It is shaved off with a knife and eaten with brandy. It tastes more like boot polish than anything else I can think of. The other is Reyngi. This is the tail of the whale, which is pickled in sour milk for a year or so. If you intend to try it do not visit a whaling station first. Incidentally, talking about pickling in sour milk, the Icelanders also do this with sheeps' udders and the result is surprisingly very nice.

- Auden & MacNeice, Letters from Iceland

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9 may 2007

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10 may 2007

Today's podcast is Derek Mahon's poem A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford [3:25]

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24 may 2007

Thinking about toxophily, it came to me today why it was that Zeno picked an arrow for his example. When you fire an arrow from a powerful bow, it's first with you, and then upon an instant it appears somewhere else (sproing!), at a distance. Leading inexorably to the question, where was it in between? Was it in between? Yes, in spades, your man decides.
But the question would never have arisen if he'd looked at a runner, because a running man is obviously always somewhere. Greece, it usually was in those days.

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