Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Walking the River Thames

Back in the UK for a few days and the opportunity to have a walk along my favourite section of river close to our home in Longworth.  It seems ages since I had the 2012 chub and barbel campaign.  I remember thinking then that maybe the great chub fishing was going to be coming to an end soon as there were few small chub about (crayfish the likely factor).  So I fear the river is perhaps a shadow of what it was when I fished there lots.

But I did take with me a loaf of bread and was able to bring some chub to the surface to take pieces of crust, so some fish are there still.

I still haven't sorted out some fishing in France, but maybe that will occur this summer / autumn

Robert Pirsig RIP

I first read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when I was about 14.  That is a very impressionable age to come across something like ZAMM.  I remember I read it through twice one after the other, something I don't think I have ever done with any other book.

I have often wondered if this was the book that caused me to study philosophy at University.  Possibly, but it may also have been Lisa Alther's Kinflicks that did that.  Whatever.  . . .

Robert Pirsig passed away a few days ago.  And to have written something like ZAMM is to have achieved an immense thing. 

I have four books that I read at the rate of one a year in rotation.  2017 was a year to read The Dharma Bums, and next year was supposed to be The Snow Leopard, before reading ZAMM in 2019.  But maybe a re-order is called for.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Swish Magazine

A recent interview with Cosey Fanni Tutti to link in with her new autobiography has mentioned some of her "work" in the sex industry in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  One mention was of the magazine Swish.  I bought an issue of this once when I first came down to London and was investigating the things for sale in Soho.

It was a corporal punishment magazine feature young ladies dressed as school girls or maids and being chastised for various indiscretions.  A quick search on google actually revealed the actual magazine I bought - I remember being much impressed with the shortness of the girl's maid outfit!

Wasn't that bothered about the rest of the magazine though

Batgirl versus Catwoman

And speaking of bats (see last post), there has been some discussion in the paper about who is the best bat girl / cat women.

It seems obvious to me that it is the sixties version of each that is the best.

Batgirl in peril - oh no

A bat flies into the house

It was sweltering hot in France today with the peak afternoon temperature reaching into the 30s for the first time this year.  So when we were watching a movie this evening, the main door was still open and much to our surprise, we were joined by a bat that flew in.

It settled on one of the roof beams, hanging downwards, while I went and found my fishing net from the garage.  Rather surprisingly. it was happy to drop into the net and was carried to the bottom of the garden before it flew off again.

Bats are really tiny when you see that face-to-face as it were, but are odd looking creatures.

Not sure if they can give you rabies, as Daughter maintains, but I was very heroic as I rescued the bat and saved the day.

In my view, the bit when the bat flew in was the best part of the film.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Andy Goldsworthy in the Times - a new Documentary

One of my all time favourite DVDs, and one of the handful I kept when we had a purge a few years ago, is Andy Goldworthy's Rivers and Tides.  I have watched this half a dozen times I would say.  His art seems so simple, but on the few occasions I have tried to do something similar, it has largely failed.  I just don't see the same artistic possibilities (or haven't tried often enough)

The new film is called something like Leaning Into The Wind.  I shall keep an idea out for it, or maybe add it to my Christmas list (where it would be the first item)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

J G Farrell's A Girl in the Head

While waiting for the Cosey Fanni Tutti autobiography to arrive, I have been reading JG Farrell's A Girl in the Head for the first time in 20 years plus.

This was actually published in 1967 I was amazed to discover, while my edition is from the early 1980s and bears a rather unusual cover and not the sort of thing you would see now at all.

I remember being rather sympathetic to the main character, Boris, when I first read the book, but find myself less so on this re-read.  And I am surprised that 80 pages in and Inez, the Swedish girl in question, has not yet appeared.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey

An obituary in The Times reports that the art restorer who restored The Execution of Lady Jane Grey has died recently.

This is one of my favourite paintings and the shimmering dress she is wearing looks extraordinary when seen for real.  It is at the National Portrait Gallery in London and I last saw it a few years ago, so maybe it is time to see it again

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Cosey Fanni Tutti's new book

The autobiography of Cosey Fanni Tutti is released in the next week or so and I am very keen to read this.  I was amazed to find that she is 65 now.

When I was a teenager in the late 1970s, most guys fancied Kate Bush, Debbie Harry or one of the girls from ABBA.  The more extreme among us fancied Viv Albertine of The Slits and the really way out fancied Cosey.

Not that we had ever heard any Throbbing Gristle at that time - for some reason, John Peel wasn't keen on them and never played anything by them.  But when I came to London in the early 1980s, I soon bought copies of 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Second Annual Report.

TG broke up in 1981 and I never saw them live.  but I did once go to a screening of a live concert film of them which was held in a warehouse near Shoreditch one Saturday night, and what an odd audience it was - I was by far the most normal person there

Can't wait for the book to arrive - what with Viv Albertine and Kim Gordon's autobiographies, it has been a great period for such books.

Reading "K2 - Triumph and Tragedy" and Youtube K2 videos

Re-reading Jim Curran's book about K2 for about the fourth time.  I have also discovered that people have started making films of mountaineering trips using more basic camcorders and gopro cameras, and watching some of these on Youtube, I was amazed by how steep K2 is when you see it up close - maybe 50 degrees for most of the ascent?

I am also left wondering how you navigate on such a huge expanse.