Monthly Archives: August 2011

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

I’m jealous of Norwegians.

I was in Norway for a night, for work, waiting in the airport lounge for the flight home. Having hours to kill and nothing to do I browsed the English section of the small Tanum bookshop, and then, still having nothing to do, I browsed the Norwegian section of the bookshop. And then I saw the hard back edition of 1Q84 there for sale. Continue reading


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Day by day

I have no deep seated sadness in my life history. There are no fatal accidents, no addictions or medically incurable diseases. I wasn’t beaten, sodomized, reduced to poverty. There is no single tristeza in my past on which to draw.

I have instead a lifetime’s worth of small sadness’. Slights, rebukes, missed opportunities. Misery on a smaller scale; friends, but none close, relationships, but no love, an underwhelming sense of being left behind, of being overlooked, of glass walls and isolation. Tiny grains of sand that have slowly filled my world and left it dry and desolate.

Unlike a single tristeza it is hard to find inspiration in continuous sadness. A tristeza suffered can later be reflected upon, understood. It remains in the past and becomes a firm and stable point, one that can later be used as the foundations of a new life.

The smaller sufferings are hard to speak about, harder still to build upon. They refresh themselves every day or week or month, sliver thin coats of paint, reapplied each time the previous coat seems finally to have dried. After a thousand coats of paint you cannot move, and the weight of it pushes you to the ground.

Smaller slights still come much more frequently. A phone call with your  internet provider, a meeting with your estate agent, an email request from your mobile phone service. Incompetency to a degree that borders on the malicious, but there isn’t hatred in these actions, only staggering b2c indifference; an apathy that causes frustration, anger, hopelessness and finally exhaustion.

Daily patch up jobs to the coats of paint that one already wears. More damaging in their consistency, perhaps, debatable, than the most terrible of childhood accidents.

This constricting coat can be removed, there’s ways I’m told. But the only way I know, a way guaranteed, is hard and lonely. Fatal, sometimes.

A fall.

The weight becomes too much to bare, you slip, topple, slowly, slowly. And as you crash, you shatter, and you hope that there is enough left inside of you for you to pick yourself up again.

And perhaps then you have your tristeza, your foundation.

If not, you die.



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Journey to the End of the Night : Louis-Ferdinand Celine

I was reading back through the Beautiful Books blog recently when I stumbled across a post written about Celine (author of Voyage au bout de la nuit / Journey to the End of the Night).

Now, Louis-Ferdinand Celine is a writer that, shamefully it seems, I’ve never heard of before. A little reading around him reveals that he was French, a veteran of the First World War, hugely  influential in his writing style and technique, and also extremely anti-Semitic (with this last point being taken as the basis for the Beautiful Books post).

In the short search for reviews and information on  Journey to the End of the Night everything  I found (thisthis, umm, this) was extremely complementary and, reading the first few pages of the book via Amazon ‘Look Inside’,  I think I can see why.

This is a book that’s going on my to-read-asap list, and I’m grateful to Beautiful Books for pointing me towards a new (old) author.

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10.32 – August 18th – 2011

Deep breath, right, no one panic.

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Three times a transient moment

Thin and pale and undersized. Big cheekbones and dark eyes. Dark hair and a light loose t-shirt. When he was young he had been bullied and jeered at; gay, queer, effeminate, the flaws of others visited upon him, or when he was young he had not been picked on, had not been bullied; quiet, shy, harmless, close friends. I saw him outside a bar in December, smoking a cigarette. As he smoked he looked straight ahead at nothing, his eyes invisibly narrow against the cold. I saw him another time in Soho, and another time somewhere else. He wound a scarf around his neck through the autumn and the winter, and in the winter his skin looked translucent; a matt epidermal varnish on sub stratum layers of alabaster. In December I was at another bar, across the street from him,waiting for friends to arrive. I looked down to check my phone, looked left, down the road, to where my friends should appear, soon. I saw the boy at the edge of my sight, saw him flick the cigarette away and turn inside. His jacket billowed slightly as he spun, the bouncer held the door for him, the door closed, the bouncer turned back to the street. My friends should have arrived then but they didn’t and I waited another twenty minutes before I sent a fucked off text and went home. A soft thread of smoke rose from the discarded cigarette. I think it was him.

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Lightning strikes twice

A Portugese man called Humberto is looking for funding to help with the translation in to English of his self published novel, Moneta.

The plot of Moneta:

Imagine what the world would like be if the economy was based on Time instead of current “abstract” currencies. You’d earn in days, hours, minutes and seconds and spend in the same currency. If you were a millionaire, you’d live millions of years. If were poor, a few years and then you’d die. So in the end you’d have to squeeze every minute to make the most of your life. How that affects society and relationships is the core of the book, called Moneta. Moneta was a roman/ greek deity and it is also the root-word for Money.

Sounds strikingly similar to the latest Andrew Niccol film, In Time:

But then, maybe saying they’re similar is like saying Heat and Dog Day Afternoon, both being about bank robberies, are similar. I don’t know. Having not seen/read either (one not being released yet, the other being in Portuguese) I can’t, or rather shouldn’t, judge. Which kind of  renders this whole post pointless.

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bookartbookshop – N1 6HB

Painted on to the side of bookartbookshop – Pitfield Street, London. The artist is ladyluck, the figure is Gentleman Tao; a yeti like figure who changes with the seasons.

Gentleman Tao by ladyluck

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