Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday night is... Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole: Solid Potato Salad

Nat King Cole with Oscar Petersen, Coleman Hawkins, Ray Brown & Herb Ellis

A hot steamy day on the edge of thunder and I have determined to read through a 340pp novel that I am to introduce and talk about soon. The book is not out yet. I have given up the notion of consuming it bit by bit though when I think back I see that all my best fiction reading has been a concentrated straight run, everything surrendered to one book. 

Recalling this, I understand why I rarely read substantial novels: they won't let you be, the whole day goes and you've done nothing else. Maybe that is why I am a poet - everything has to be together and shaped and done, at least to good draft stage, under the spell of one comprehensive, driving momentum.  

But then reading - just like writing in fact - has always been an act of theft for me: time stolen from something else I should be doing. Seeing how much I have written, I can see my old age will be racked with guilt

So I have read the book, and enjoyed it. Since the house faces east, the sun works its way round from front to back, and the intense light and heat in the south-facing window downstairs moves from the western corner of it to dead centre, to wind up in the east. As a result I found myself moving round the room as I read, from one end of the couch to the other, then to the chair facing it and finally back again. By the end I have circumnavigated the room.

In the meantime I stop now and then for ten minutes to do this and that or catch up with the news, which is dominated by Julian Assange's balcony speech in the Ecuador Embassy today. My notes on him are not particularly admiring. One says Assange is a fly in the ointment. It is possible to dislike both the ointment and the fly. I don't entirely buy his self-proclaimed gospel that he is the one hope of a free press. I doubt the Swedish government is duplicitous. I don't think he ought to avoid the charges he may be facing there. I could be wrong but I begin to fiddle in verse as I tend to do, and this comes out:

I wish I liked Assange's face,
I wish him in another place,
Perhaps I might just like him more
In Sweden than in Ecuador.

Maybe that is too hard on him. It may be so.


J. Marles said...

It's a struggle to like Julian Assange and, if the rumours concerning his disclosure of information about dissidents in Belarus are true, I don't think I'm going to be trying too hard.

Assange exudes the hubris of the professional vigilante. His story of persecution would have been a lot more convincing had he been fleeing from Ecuador to Sweden. I think even the dumbest Hollywood script-editor could point out the flaws in the current "narrative".

George S said...

Precisely so.