Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Via the Royal Academy and a recording studio

One more brief unillustrated post. Caught the morning train to London from Oxford and met with ex-student Hen who is currently a Printmaker Fellow at the RA. She showed me around in the Schools, all vaults and arches and paper and equipment. We drank a long coffee and talked in the cafe then quickly dropped into the Watteau drawings. Hen is in her early 40s now but looks hardly older than she did at seventeen. Perhaps we shall do something together: an art-poetry piece. I hope so.

I set off to the studios where I was to record a couple of poems for, as it happens, the RA show of Hungarian photography at the end of June. The buses crawled up Ludgate Hill. I'd have got there quicker with crutches, walking backwards. I was some forty minutes late. But they were very sweet. I recorded the poems then some more material about photography and Hungary in response to questions. I am fully aware all this will be heavily cut, but it is best to have a decent chunk to cut from. This is all for the audio guide. Bits of the poems will be next to the photographs they address, both by André Kertész. One of them was a Poem on the Underground.

Having slept very badly the night before the journey home was a faintly hallucinatory experience, arriving some time after 6pm. Tomorrow into university.


I bought a Guardian and a Times to follow the Bin Laden story. It's a little like an earthquake: a major shock then the after shocks; first reactions followed by visions and revisions. As I wrote yesterday, the usual people are writing the usual things. The Times has given it many pages with every victim of every El Qaeda attack named and a selection of them with photographs and brief accounts. The man was responsible for thousands of deaths, and maybe more. The precise balance between what he might have conceived as murderous political redress, ideas of a caliphate, religious fury, and the sheer desire to dominate is impossible to establish. I doubt now whether we shall get refined and crystalline essence of Bin Laden or even Bin Laden-ism. We don't really know what kind of body politic Guevara would have established. Myths are bigger than political programmes.

There is still a long way to go with the Bin Laden story. The evidences of his death have yet to be presented. I note a video supposedly showing his death circulated on Facebook, but there's nothing there when it's clicked on. Possibly a hoax. There is also the balance between relief, delight and triumphalism in the context of international sensibilities to consider. And will the the event will have any bearing on the unfolding Arab Spring?

Tomorrow back to normal, or thereabouts.

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