Thursday, 17 April 2014

Dichotomous Ramification 1

I was thirty. We went to Lisbon, for pastries and balconies and hills. On the balcony you could eat a box of pastries and look up and down the hill. It was a loud urban hill paved with taxis and mosaics, which they swept at night with water, sending the cartons and papers down the gutters in a stream that stopped for the traffic lights and left behind the phrase "glistening cracks", which I disappointingly haven't been able to construct an unforced-sounding sentence around this week, but maybe next, maybe next.
Pessoa has a statue sat getting polished by photography outside a good cafe. There was an empty chair next to it and sometimes there seemed to be a queue for the chair, sometimes there were fifteen art students drawing pictures of the statue and the statue's photographers. I sat next to it and poked it in the eye.
Across town his house is mostly now a tall library, but they still have his room and his books and you can go in and look at the margin notes and lie on the bed and crush the hat.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Orality Corner

-[question]
-There was concern, about the start of the last bit. Either it was an unforgivable lack of proofreading or it was a deliberately unfriendly, unnecessary, pretentious whim. In a moribund slew of fragmented tedium.
-[response]
-Slew is no exaggeration after five-ish years, we feel.
-[response]
-It doesn't appear to be leading anywhere. And the eyes crave things to be glad about, and they feel themselves beginning to require an explanation, they say, or they might stop letting through the light that bounces off these drab and baggy lumps, until a more reader-friendly tone is struck.
-[response]
-Slews can contain lumps.
-[response]
-Yes, but they have no say in where we choose to point them. They said it was only yesterday they felt that a quiet word must be had, if a general improvement in stimulus is ever to be gained.
-[response]
-Verbatim. And somewhat highfalutin' we admit. We can't imagine why.
-[response]
-While you were passed out.
-[response]

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Big Super Normal Time

, but using the phonetic alphabet when stood two feet away, while neither one of us was in a blizzard or a war, was too much, and it was only my long-standing and well-known commitment to appearing professional when I can be arsed to, that stopped me asking him if he was taking the piss. Maybe he'd always found the sound of y hard to distinguish from the sound of q, and used the names yankee and quebec as a confusion-reducing courtesy to my thick-eared and disengaged face. I asked him to repeat himself.

Monday, 31 March 2014

A Selection of Varieties

I opened the train door window and stuck my head out and got a big schnozzful of evening. When I pulled my head in to avoid having it thunked senseless by an approaching pole, I looked behind and saw a man hanging out the next window, doing the same thing, grinning, not intending to be inconvenienced by a mere lethal hazard.

Overheard in the shirt shop: It would irritate my neck. I can't be expected to go about with an irritated neck all day, just because of rules.

In Cambridge they apparently let the cows frolic and feed on the city centre grass, once in a while, or regularly, but maybe not every day. Which explains the wafts of dung, and the trampled rats, and the hoofprints on the cars.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Yeah Not Bad Mate

The toothy young barber did not want to stop. I'll go at your eyebrows, he said, no thanks they're not really something I get involved with ever but now you've highlighted their lack of splendour maybe I'll give them a once-over in the bathroom mirror although if you start on that path where will it end, in fact just get the machete out and I'll swap heads with somebody I can stand to look at, and that's not anyone in this room right now, so you're going to have to take to the streets, I said. And he for some reason took this as consent, and slapped a comb against the left eyebrow and made some sweeping stabs with the electric thing, then removed the electric thing and the comb and held them in perfectly still hands while he tilted his head as if to invite me to stop him, giving me the opportunity to say yeah don't bother with the other one I prefer a fucking mismatch above all things, which I didn't, so he went at the right one, then threw his tools down on the counter and with his back to me dipped a fist-sized black brush in white powder, turned, breathed in, and Zorroed me about the face with it. I can only assume it was essential to my recovery.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Now Don't Be Alarmed

The crisps really look like they're having a great day at the pool, leaping from the diving board into the sour cream and the spring onion confetti, with a cosmic slipstream stretching up through the three in the air to the last one left, on the board, clearly trembling. Maybe having realised that after the cream comes being smashed between teeth and swallowed out of existence. It's hard to tell. The peppercorn-eyed and mouthless overseer at the top doesn't seem surprised by either the leaping or the trembling.
I phoned the info line and crunched worriedly at them. All they said at first was sir, sir, sir. It was remarkable how they could tell my gender from the I'm not sure but probably tone, frequency, and rhythm of the crunches. By the time I'd eaten half the pack I'd been passed to a manager, who sang a de-escalatory lullaby that had a list of compensations for its chorus. I couldn't get enough.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Much Crudity

Hack a kebab off my shin, I've finished reading Gargantua and Pantagruel. It took nigh-on longer than it might've done if I hadn't been taking frequent breaks to wonder when I'd get round to finishing it. I enormously recommend it if you like all the stuff that goes into and comes out of human holes and heads. Or books by 1550's French doctor-monks. Or books, or heads, or holes, in general. While that was going on, I was working on stuff, and taking frequent breaks to wonder about the differences between "finished" and "done". I don't know anything more about those two things now than I did when I started thinking about them, but the thinking about them has definitely helped with the avoidance of doing what I keep saying I want to do.