Saturday, December 20, 2014

Le Baron, Chouzy

Through the years, Cartier-Bresson's
famous post-war portrait of a vigner-
on at home in the Loire Valley has ac-
cumulated, for anyone who's revisited
it over time, a gathering context of
associations, relevant and extraneous
in equal parts, so that it is pleas-
ing to try to see it as for the first
time, although at one's present age,
and in one's present culture and soci-
ety. One of the first things to strike
one is the angle of view, higher than
if one were at the table and lower than at the mantle; but this is not a Rollei photograph, which could account for an abdominal perspective. This is a Leica image, from the nose. The vis-itor bowed.

    Nothing in this
    space is a clat-
    ter. Everything
    thuds; which is
    to say, illumin-
    ation weighs ev-
    erything in aud-
    ible coherency.

    It's a declara-
    tion of genius,
    yet whose, I'm
    not sure.

Henri Cartier-Bresson
Le Baron, Chouzy-sur-Cissé

Martin Conte 
work shirt

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Cuban choke-hold and the next Bush

 The Alan Turing story
 has been told, well,
 already, but we have
 a people who wouldn't
 know that. The hostage
 our diplomacy has been
 to a concentration of
 Cuban grudge-bearers, 
 in a State of elector-
 al vote riches, is be-
 ing gradually released
 in a market of relaxing
 hysterias. There is e-
 ven talk that we might

 This may put the next
 Bush pleasantly on the
 spot in his Party, as
 he styles himself to
 win its many yahoos.
 Worst case, he'd still
 have to come before us.

 Just a hopeful thought.

Hugh Whitemore
Breaking the Code
  Based on the book,
  Alan Turing: The Enigma
  By Andrew Hodges
Samuel French, Inc.
Hugh Whitemore, Ltd, 1987©

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How rude

  Prepared my dog's
  dinner last even-
  ing, mixed a cock-
  tail, went to my
  desk, clicked the
  wi/fi, tapped my
  telephone, and 
  saw a letter from
  the wife of my old-
  est friend, saying
  he is dead. I've
  awakened to the
  how rude phase of
  shock, and insofar
  as we dwell in i-
  rony, that's what
  to register here.
  This is a page a-
  bout playing fair.
  And the first of
  these injunctions
  is, to play. 



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Origins of Wednesday x: Gérard and the proof of jell-o

We can't have been alone in
noticing how doctrinaire our
gastronomic texts have turned.
Even in the matter of jell-o,
there are those who'll contend
that it's all in the mold, and
some, the hue, as others claim
weights are what make it true.

This last assertion struck our
Gérard as reflecting his own
experience, sufficiently to in-
sinuate itself into his mind un-
der the appealing pseudonym of
"logic." And little is so con-
soling as the mantle of that
mentality, where it already lies
so close at hand - and especial-
ly, in the intimidating court of

Logic it was, then, that drove
Gérard to create his masterpiece,
a well-jelled swimming pool of a-
gave extract, to celebrate his
new aviators. Ours was not to rea-
son, against a slope of verdured
slime, but rise to praise how tea-
sin' was the rôle played by the 

               We have given the measurements for the 
               water for the jelly in grams, rather
               than millilitres. This is because, al-
               though millilitres and grams are equal,
               in recipes where precision is important
               you get a more accurate result if you
               weigh the liquid.

Honi soit
qui mal y

Jack Adair-Bevan
Paûla Zarate
Matthew Pennington
Iain Pennington
  Recipes, Foods and Spirituous
  Liquors, from our Bounteous
  Walled Garden in the Several
  Seasons of the Year
  [The Mendips, Somerset]
    Summer:  Pineapple Weed Jelly
    220 grams caster sugar
    40 grams pineapple weed
    13 grams gelatine leaves
    Cherry Spoom to serve
Ebury Press

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Listening at the Monteleone vii: Pacings of Advent

          There is a king inside the king that the king
          does not acknowledge ..

          The glittering ship captained by darkness
          swiftly, evenly, crosses and


          I have seen it. I cannot
          forget. Memory is a fact of the soul.

Frank Bidart's poem, of which this
is a fragment, runs for 30 pages in
the edition of the small collection
which it ends. He has remarked that
this poem seemed to him to climax
many years of working finally to re-
lease it, and one can believe that.

Then when such a work emerges I'd
guess it's never so much out of sea-
son, as beyond seasons. This is at
least how it strikes me. The Monte-
leone series is where it fits here. 

Frank Bidart
  The Second Hour
  of the Night
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
op. cit.

Is all information intestinally suspect?

 I know, I know. It must
 seem to be one sluggish
 day for wit, when Ox-
 ford dons take to imit-
 ating our darling Cen-
 tral Intelligence lads.
 Was Freud right? Is all
 interest in information
 inherently a barnyard
 occupation? Was Animal
 Farm satirical at all?
 Never let it be said,
 the Augean labors of
 research are for the
 squeamish, the tongue-
 tied, the twisted, or
 hamfisted of the pen,
 where smelly gents' in-
 telligence is laid out
 end to end, for type-
 setters to mend.

 The unredacted typo is
 the least of terrors,
 where rectitude's feuds
 are internecine. Hoist
 a glass to confusion of
 us all, our enemies are
 bound to know us by it. 

                  reading some of these pages one
                  immediately detects an affinity
                  between the savage intestine
                  feuds of Oxford (and 'the House'
                  in particular) and those of the
                  intelligence services.



Geoffrey Wheatcroft
The Spy as Historian ..
The Spectator
20 September 2014©