Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday commute xcii: following the ground

Our meadow grasses licked our boots with frost, the seething soil rose earthy to our nostrils, a slant-ing light reflected from the silver as it melted.

Fiano gave way to Barolo.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I'm fine with the font


    not so sure
    about the


 I doubt if it ends. A blog
 posting sometimes prefig-
 ures, sometimes recalls an
 experience extruded by met-
 aphor. This morning Thorny,
 my English Cocker, exuber-
 ant to be feeling swell af-
 ter a long run in a frosty
 meadow, careened into my
 desk and demolished a clas-
 sic lamp from Artemide, one
 of two from the year of its
 release. A predecessor of
 his, Robbie, munched a first
 edition of Alexander Pope.

 Pillage doesn't have a la-
 tent punctuation, but among
 the options, the full stop
 is the last one imaginable.

 Still, the picture makes a
 point. It can be amusing.

        From the basement there emanated a great brou. Ha ha.
        'They're all there. Down below. Hear them romping a-
        round? They're prehistoric. Because, as I told you,
        to me, billiards ..'

Raymond Queneau
Zazie dans le métro
Barbara Wright, translation
Penguin, 1960©

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Same-old, same-old Curzon Street

  Violating my holiday from
  care, Heywood Hill wrote
  in to announce their new
  website, and I summarily
  offer the penalty of hot
  publicity in the same me-
  dium. We've visited them
  before from this address,
  but this time I leave it
  all up to John le Carré,
  in a well-recollected in-
  stance of intrusion upon
  a fellow's private time.

.. he solemnly set off for
Heywood Hill's bookshop in
Curzon Street, where he oc-
casionally contracted friend-
ly bargains with the prop-
rietor. On the way he became
even more irritable, and from
a call-box sought an appoint-
ment with his solicitor for
that afternoon.

"George, how can you be so vulgar?
Nobody divorces Ann. Send her flow-
ers and come to lunch."

This advice bucked him up and he
approached Heywood Hill with a mer-
ry heart only to walk slap into the
arms of Roddy Martindale emerging
from Trumper's after his weekly

Martindale had no valid claim on
Smiley either professionally or
socially. He worked on the fleshy
side of the Foreign Office and his
job consisted of lunching visiting
dignitaries whom no one else would
have entertained in his woodshed ..
He affected buttonholes and pale
suits, and pretended on the flim-
siest grounds to an intimate famil-
iarity with the large back rooms 
of Whitehall.

With due regard for my shameless
fondness for Trumper's Portugal -
a happy evocation of another Age
in California - I credit the nov-
elist for a withering appreciation
of that very same fateful juxtapo-
sition we've all experienced, of
the sublime bookstore and the tem-
ple of vanity. Here was Tillman
Place, there Tiffany; here was
Scott Martin, opposite Wilkes.
This lent many a fanciful jaunt
the flatulence and bad company of
a supererogatory lunch, and not
a reader has lacked for Smiley's
regret of Martindale.

John le Carré
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Penguin Books, 1974©

Monday, October 21, 2013

Christie quits, desiring higher status

The office of the Governor
of New Jersey announced to-
day his retreat from thrust-
ing a celebration of bigotry
before voters in the Garden
State, and abandoning his
appeal to the State's high-
est court, to extend the
exile of same-sex couples 
to second-class status of 
citizenship. For this, he
expects forgetfulness, and
and he'll probably get it,
from himself.