Monday, 1 June 2009

Briefs in respectable condition

1. Excuse:
Still getting my head back, having loaned it to the Arvon Foundation. I think it's the same head but it's doing a fair spot of rattling. More brain cells go missing.

2. And yet...
New piece of translation, in haste, for Mr LK of Hungary, on the occasion of him being asked to write an essay for the Tate.

On velocity
Laszlo Krasznahorkai

I want to leave Earth behind, so I dash past the bridge over the stream by the meadow, past the reindeer-feeding-trough in the dark of the forest, turning at Monowitz on the corner of Schuhkammer and Kleiderkammer, into the street in my desire to move faster than the Earth in whatever direction this thought has taken from the point it started, for everything has converged to such a point of departure, leaving everything behind, leaving behind the Earth, and I set off, rushing instinctively, doing the right thing by rushing because it wasn’t East or South or North I was heading or in some other direction in relation to these, but West, which was right, if only because the Earth spins from left to right, that is to say from a Western to an Eastern direction, because that is right, that’s how things are, that’s how it felt right, was right, from the from the first half-fraction of the instant in which I started, since everything moves most definitely from West to East, the building, the morning kitchen, the table with its cup, the cup with its steaming emerald-coloured tea and the way the scent spirals upward and all the blades of grass in the meadow that are pearled with morning dew, and the empty reindeer-feeder in the dark of the forest, all of these, each and every one, moves according to its nature from West to East, that’s to say towards me, I who wanted to move faster than Earth, and rushed through the door over the meadow and the dark of the forest, and had to move precisely in a western direction while everything else, the whole of creation, the lot, each billionth of a billionth component of this overwhelmingly vast world ,was continuously spinning at unimaginable speed from West to East; or rather I, who wanted to move faster, therefore fixed my own speed in the opposite, wholly unexpected, direction, one beyond the realm of physics, that’s to say...

The sentence continues for two more pages. Followed by a very short sentence. End.

3. TV fame and world-domination...
The Book Quiz programmes in which I, by the powers invested in me, did take part, are due for broadcast on Friday 12 June between 10:00-11:00 pm on BBC4, thus. Two thrilling semi-finals and a breathless, captivating final. Could there be better entertainment? (That was not one of the quiz questions, by the way.)

4. Telephone incident
Woman on end of phone. This is the X charity. We are very grateful for your support so far. I wonder if you have a few minutes to spare, so that I may tell you...

Me (cutting her off): You'd like more money?

Woman: Er, yes. I wonder if you would feel able to increase your support to (and she doubles the monthly amount)...?

Me: You mean double?

Woman: Er, yes.

Me: We can't do that...

We add on 20%, it's the best we can do for now. I wish she had started that way rather than beating about the bush. About fifteen years ago I was stopped in a street in London by a poor-looking woman with photographs of terrible mistreatment of children in one of the Arab states. She asked me for money and to sign a form. I gave some money and signed the form. Some three months later received a phone call asking if the same people could see me as they were in the area. Two men in suits. More pictures. They wanted thousands. I thought they were from Mars. Look around you, I said. Does it look as though we have thousands? It didn't stop them. Eventually they went. They really were from Mars. They mistreat their children all the time on Mars. And then you feel guilty for having let another five Martian children starve.

One should perhaps tell them just to go and have a revolution. Except that seems no like reply at all. Maybe they're trying.

5. Michael
It has been agreed that I could write a 1200-1500 word evaluation of Michael Murphy's poetry for Poetry Review. I have most of the work except the very last poems. Must ask D or M for those.

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