Friday, 3 January 2014


Two days work and I have cleared out my university office, all mod cons included. There remain some dozen empty box files and lever arch files and some twenty-five ring binders. I am Lord of the Ring Binders and Plenipotentiary of Paper Clips. I have filled twelve bin-liners with old teaching material, and a couple of security bags with old reports and minutes of meetings etc. I have taken out the coffee machine and the desk lamp which were mine.  I have removed the many thin volumes of poetry and some of my own werke, not to mention sundry anthologies and works of criticism. They now sit at home in cardboard board boxes anticipating the next stage of the operation where I launch an assault on our overcrowded shelves and give some books away, as well as reaorganising my papers.

That's a lot of work to do.


Clarissa has had a cold for the last four days and has been slaving away at the tax. By the evening it is all we can do to settle down to an episode or two of Breaking Bad, which is in fact a monumental piece of storytelling, beautifully written, directed and acted. It's like Gogol's Dead Souls with crystal meths. At bottom it is a reflection on mortality and the male of the species. The big moral question is whether it is better to be a psychologically emasculated failure with two years to live, your family united in persuading you to take a hopeless course of radiation and chemo while you know that doing so will financially devastate the family, or whether to take arms against a sea of troubles and, being a chemistry teacher who once worked with a Nobel Prize winning scientist, to brew your own super-meths and go down the road to perdition against all kinds of sadists and demons. It is, in its own way, the American Beauty thesis but bigger and and far more dangerous. But we are less than half way through. It does deal with masculinity at a deep mythical level. Walter White, our hero, is the primordial provider, providing not only money but tragedy.


Tomorrow to talk to Faith from the BBC on the phone about the spot on next week's edition of The Verb, which means a long day travelling to and from the Batmanesquely named Mediacity in Salford. Subjects: Rilke on the edge of the First World War and Ferenc Békássy's poems in England, in English (published by the Hogarth Press) written just before he returned home to fight (and die) for the other side. This is really George Gömöri's territory but I'll make sure he gets the credit. There may also be time for a little Langoustine, and maybe even Wordless.


Meanwhile the wind is rising again. How quickly Saturday comes around.


Gwil W said...

George I enjoyed that Wordless link which I hadn't seen before. It's like Sam Beckett, Magritte and The Avengers all rolled into one.

George S said...

That was the area broadly aimed for with a faint touch of Stan Laurel, Gwilym.

Gwil W said...

And nicely done.