Saturday, February 11, 2012

Frightening inaction

An assortment of quotes with links attached:

1. Michel Houellebecq on blogging (I should like to declare him entirely mistaken, but he is not):
You can always microblog, Houellebecq had told him [...]; but to launch yourself into the writing of a blog post you have to wait for all of that to become compact and irrefutable. You have to wait for the appearance of an authentic core of necessity. You never decide to write a blog post, he had added; a blog post, according to him, was like a block of concrete that had decided to set, and the blogger’s freedom to act was limited to the fact of being there, and of waiting in frightening inaction, for the process to start by itself.

2. Auden on songs/"words-for-music" (linked site is not without interest -- HT Conor Leahy!):
The song ... is, of all kinds of poetry, the one in which the formal verbal elements play the greatest role.... In the world of the song, one might say, the important relationship between the inhabitants is not any community of concern or action so much as family kinship. The satisfaction I get from reading a poem by Campion, for example, is similar to the satisfaction I get from studying a well worked out genealogical tree. (A wet afternoon could be pleasantly spent developing this analogy. Starting with the notion that masculine rhymes represent brothers, feminine rhymes sisters, refrains identical twins, one could ask what verbal relationship would be equivalent to a second cousin once removed. From there one could go on to consider what discords correspond to marriage within the prohibited degrees, e.g., to marrying one's deceased wife's sister.)

3. Jay Rayner, on adventurous cooking (HT Sarah Duff):
Modern techniques are great. They’re brilliant. If you want to cook my steak by banging it round the Large Hadron Collider, be my guest. Dehydrate my pig cheeks. Spherify my nuts. But only do so if the result tastes nicer.

4. Graffiti from Pompeii:
Herculaneum (on the exterior wall of a house); 10619: Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here 
5. On relocating detective stories from Portsmouth to Le Havre:
There is no translation for "mush" (a Pompey term of affection), "scrote" (the opposite) or "scummer" (anyone from Southampton). Can the city be exported? "I was intrigued by the move to Le Havre," said Hurley. "But they have done a good job. What holds true for Portsmouth also holds true for Le Havre. There are similarities: neither city is fashionable, they are both at the end of the railway line, relatively uncursed by money. Sharp-elbowed places, robust." Could you move other English detectives – Morse to Rouen, say, or Rebus to Marseille? "Rebus, maybe yes. But I'm not sure about Morse. You can't get away from those dreaming spires."

6. Much to like in this review of Dickens's letters (via Light Reading). I particularly liked
the pile of clean spittoons in the corner of a country inn “looking like a collection of petrified three-cornered hats”
(In Ulysses, Joyce has "a hogo you could hang your hat on" and also "what a man looks like with his two bags full and his other thing hanging down out of him or sticking up at you like a hatrack.")

1 comment:

Jenny Davidson said...

I have been intending to read the Houellebecq, but this is a clincher!