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So people, what’s happening? I can tell you. Spring has sprung and oh my day, what a nuisance. People are walking around smiling. For nothing I’m sure, except that the sun is out. They gaze at the roof tiles glistening in the sunshine from their office windows and cram themselves into nasty little parks with their prêt sandwiches and sushi on their lunch hour. I have nothing against sunshine per se, it is just depressing to see how people let weather control their lives. Evenings are better here in da hood. The sun sinks below the buildings and the air, vibrant with car fumes, fills with smells of the Mediterranean as the Greek restaurants open up their doors to the world: “Come, come, souvlaki and tzaziki awaits you. Meze with ouzo, with wine, red and white. Come, come, let us relive our old nights of bacchanalias” I ignored their calling, went home and made porridge instead (to the great delight of my bank balance) but had to chuck it because the milk had gone stale. Isn’t life grand?

I’m trying to get on with my work (it is only three or four weeks left now, I have stopped counting) but I keep getting distracted. First I was slightly inconvenienced by Easter. I’m not complaining, not at all, it was a marvellous Easter. But more in the shopping-dinner-park-pub kind of way than in the intelligible-relevant-words-producing way, which is the only activity I should be engaged in. Then I watched the BBC-biopic of Enid Blyton which has kept me upset for a few days. Not because it shattered my childhood delusion of Enid Blyton as a Mary Poppins like creature of flawless character, no because it shattered my adulthood delusions of the absolute ingenuity of the BBC. I get that they want to tell the ‘untold’ story, draw out the dark secrets, tell the truth behind success etc etc. But no one, I mean no one, deserves to have a film made about them where they are portrayed so narrow and unsympathetically. Satan himself would have been treated with more consideration. Appalling, BBC, appalling.

The one good thing was to see Helena Bonham Carter (who I don’t hold responsible at all) back in her old style a la Merchant/Ivory.

Finally, to the most disturbing thing I happened upon. Collateral Murder. I have no words. It makes me want to dig a hole in the ground, crawl down and never surface again.

O sweet spontaneous

    O sweet spontaneous
    earth how often have
    fingers of
    purient philosophers pinched
    ,has the naughty thumb
    of science prodded
    beauty      .how
    oftn have religions taken
    thee upon their scraggy knees
    squeezing and
    buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
    to the incomparable
    couch of death thy
    thou answerest
    them only with
    e.e. cummings

“You will come to the Sirens first of all; they bewitch any mortal who approach them. If a man in ignorance draws too close and catches their music, he will never return to find wife and little children near him and to see their joy at his home-coming; the high clear tones of the Sirens will bewitch him. They sit in a meadow; men’s corpses lie heaped up all around them, mouldering upon the bones as the skin decays.”

(Lady Circe to Odysseus)

The sirens are endlessly more interesting than poor old Odysseus. Or what do you say about “mouldering upon the bones as the skin decays.” Makes my skin crawl (pun most definitely intended). I absolutely loathe vultures, but I feel some strange fascination for these mythical beings. Half woman, half bird. More seductive than the mermaid, more lethal than the sphinx. Yet, how rare they are in the visual arts. Bar Waterhouse, for this episode I often find them represented as nymphs or mermaids. Which is fair enough, vultures aren’t very sexy… The song has nothing, or very little, to do with that of course but the lyrics, oh my, amazing. As for Atwood, I was mucho disappointed in The Penelopiad, nothing at all as grand as her other books, it just felt…commissioned (ugh!), but the poem yes, inversion – me like.  And no, of course there will be no mention of Joyce. Horrid, horrid thought.

(Also, Paula Arundell’s version for the film Candy is growing on me. )

John William Waterhouse 1891

Herbert Draper 1909

Siren Song by Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who had heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.
Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?
I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical
with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

YouTube Channel of the week: FutureShorts

on twitter

  • RT @artinsociety: Albrecht Dürer died #OTD 1528, almost 500 years ago, but his studies of animals and bugs live on ~ here’s his finely-obse… 1 year ago
  • RT @TheSyriaCmpgn: These photos show the devastating conditions Syrian refugees are facing in Lebanon after a brutal storm left their tents… 1 year ago
  • RT @jeremycorbyn: I, Daniel Blake will be shown on TV for the first time, tonight at 9.45pm on BBC 2. It shows the human cost of this Tory… 1 year ago


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mimi harcourt