Sunday, 8 February 2009
Sunday Night is.. Cary Grant singing Cole Porter...
...in his own inimitable way. I keep thinking he is being played by Tony Curtis.
Finished second of Newcastle lectures about poetry and history / politics / Eastern Europe and whether we live in ivory towers. I know I do, but it could do with some redecoration. I also packed up a working state of the new younger Hungarian poets anthology (for Salt). All work no play makes George a relieved boy. Temporarily. Temporarily.
Read Will Self on W G Sebald in The Guardian. What he misses about Max is humour and delight. I know, Sebald is melancholy. That's a given, but not that it's a droll melancholy - droll, that is, when it is he himself being melancholy. It is deep dark melancholy when it comes to the human race though. Self is right to emphasise that Sebald loves individuals but not the species.
Phenomena are another thing altogether: life in Sebald is absolutely full of extraordinary things: from moths, through the human eye, through domes, through hotels, through colours, through coincidence, through almost anything at all perceivable. It is the magical encyclopaedia aspect of his work.
It is history that is deeply melancholy for him. And so it is. For us too. That's the whole point of an ivory tower - it is an observation post from which one might survey the multitudinous seas clashing incarnadine, alas, against the rocks. Everyone needs one or else drowns. Life is not, as Pasternak put it, a walk across a field. Nor, equally alas, across water.
A melancholy thought. Put on Otis.
Phew! That was a close thing.