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Coming next Friday, it sez in the Groaniad, a film called ‘Thomas Pynchon – A Journey Into The Mind Of [P]’ Awful AWFUL title.
Is this a spoof? A legpull? Or just a HUGE disappointment in waiting?

I hate to admit it, but the DERRIDA docu earlier this year wasn’t really such great shakes & hasn’t really stayed with me. There was a lovely bit right at the beginning which made me think it might actually be good [jes' sum lo fi Straub Huillet type shots of Seine/bridges going by and a voice over from yer Da abut the SURPRISE of the time to come, the need of the unpredictable, the need for proper duration to think, etc, and then you got a PLUS bloody predictable film MERDE alors. V. ironic.

Did find out Mr & Mrs Derrida have a lovely Siamese cat, tho.

Not as good as the South American doc I went to the Barbican to see: the LOVELIEST opening shot of BORGES alone in a room on a bed, stroking his best friend his cat. I nearly blubbed. But it would be (too) easy here to say he looked vulnerable or lonely or something; these would be mere projections in a private cinema, or chimera. The fact was, I thought, he looked like one of the happiest, or at least most contented (yes, ‘content’ is a far more Borgesian word/idea than ‘happy’) men in the world. A world which, for him, may (happily) have stalled somewhere nearer the end of his beloved previous century.

Somewhere in my archives, I think I even have the name of Borges cat.
That’s the kid of paw boy I am.

Last year I bought a cheap paperback biography of JLB [LOVE the sound ‘Lew-eees’ makes] The author had previously rushed out paperback biogs on, oh I don’t know, Alex Hurricane Higgins & Robin Wiliams, but OH, how I wished I hadnt read that book. I’m a child when it comes to certain authors. I just didn’t WANT [or more crucially I think, NEED] to know about Borges & sex, Borges & money, Borges & ego.
(I had the same reaction, strangely, when I started to read James Atlas’ biography of Bellow – an author I don’t even read, or like, never mind admire or revere.)
And OK – le nom de BORGES is only an “I” away from ORGIES.
But it is, crucially, an I that is lacking.

EPOCH disjunction: Borges – 19th century. Biog – late 20th.

Secretly, my vice, what I really want from such a biography, is, you know, the Secret Formula: if I drink this coffee for breakfast, have this writing schedule, re-read these 11th Century Gnostics and wear this straw hat, will I too be able to write like Borges reborn?

If this biog had a good side effect, then, I think it was this: it actually exposed such wishful thinking for a major cateogry error. There IS no link whatsoever between real Borges and tale Borges. He is rather a Narnia some of us treasure, and why not, I think I might go insane if there were not, occasionally, a Borges door I could walk thru to his Other side...

I recollect there seemed to be a time in the 90s when everyone a certain age (and clue: it’s not mine) nominated ‘the lion the witch & the wardrobe’ as their favourite book or in certain gnarly hairy rockers cases the only book they’d ever picked up or finished.
Maybe it is a generational thing: I never read it, even as a kid; altho there was I admit (already) an element of hi wire show off precociousness w/ my reading lists when I was a kid: I was reading a Study In Scarlet (Borges would approve!) when everyone else was reading oh, I dont know, I had my head stuck in a book, what do I know from Other People?

Anyway, at the moment The Book seems to be something called The Alchemist, which, it seems to be one of those books that idiot boy yobbo men SAY they love to get over with women on first dates. (Maybe it even works, what do I know from the dating game? I remember a lovely dark eyed girl staring at me perplexed & semi worried & assessingly her hand gingerly cradling a filthy copy of an A-Z SERIAL KILLERS paperback I had tipsily dropped on her floor the previous night and asking me “WHY are you reading this book Ian?”
Trash and theory, theory and trash: the banes of my life, I tellya.)

I havent read The Alchemist either.
[Wasn’t it one of the books they all read in The Book Group? Great programme.]
or The Beach
or White Teeth
(There really ARE people, you know, who only read One Book A Year. I’ve met them. And they’re not, like, heroin smudged bottom of the barrel street people. They’re the middle crassest of the middle crass, you know, cocaine dinner parties, work as wonks in the government, holiday in Tuscany type people. And all year round they read nothing but MAGAZINES & tabloids mainly, until the two weeks off in Tuscany, and then they dip in & out of The Beach and on thr return they say, seriously: ‘You like BO-OOKS don’t you Ian? Well you’ve GOT to read this, it's so…’ (Obvious?)
or Fever Pitch
or 21 Things You Might Want To Do With Proust If You Cant Be Bothered To Actually Sit Down & Read Him You SLAG Leave My Salon NOW and take your miserable Guardian columnist derived opinions with you… and MY GOD have you ever read anything which turned the white hot fever excitement of reading into ANYThing as sludgy dull & all out YAWN and SMUG as the Guardian Saturday [books] REVIEW when I’m not in it (which I like get the feeling I wont be ever again somehow…….)

COMING SOON: my belated attempt at the One Book A Year market:


BUT… having just said that about G REVIEW I just opened today’s up, [Susan Sontag: pro or contra? How about BOTH at the same time?] and there’s further INFO on that PYNCHON film, which actually sounds VERY interesting, even if you’re not a Pynchon fan or conspiracy nut, obsessed with bunkers & doubles & initials & actually drawn to a German documentary with a soundtrack by The Residents...

[Talking of which, this is the second G REVIEW Diary report I have seen there signed with the initials IP. The other was about – what else!? – Maurice Blanchot RIP. And before anyone asks, no, THAT “IP” is not THIS ‘I.P.’ and I don’t know who it is either. Woke up this mornin’, doppleganger blues / blues falling down like names…]

[Upon further inspection I've also noticed this week's REVIEW has paens to both BOGART and CAMUS ... now, I don't want to get all paranoid ... but the recent PILL BOX archvies are there, dated ...]


NEW DE LILLO: is it, can it, really be That Bad, as flat out bad as everyone is saying it is?

Have to say the initial sign not good: COSMOPOLIS is a goddamn stinking awful title. Sounds like, I dunno, the title of a lost album by Classix Noveaux or something. Or Billy Idol in his cyborg phase. It’s a ‘moderne’ with an e title (“We really like Kraftwerk, and we see rock as a multi media experience rather than a grotty little club only thing..” said Tristran, the band’s Minister For Propoganda…) Yeuch.
But COSMOPOLIS – isnt that almost TOO & suspiciously off-key a title for someone whose titles have always been integral?

It’s not, like, maybe - I luv the sound of grasping straws! - a spoof of this whole ‘I’m so concerned with world politics now after 9/11’ thing, a jape on Don’s part is it? I mean it’s only a hundred some pages long which Don (or even me you ask me nicely, four noughts on the cheque) could knock off in – well, Don a couple hours probably, me, give me a couple weeks …
I can do “sincere”, I really can.


“Any--way -- they --
already expect
you to all
give a cheque to tax deductible charity organi-sa-tions…”

One night last week turned on the NEWS…
…to find…:
Avril Lange doing…
… “Knocking on Heavens Door”.

Some kinda War Child project named HOPE some damn thing or other yes yes all very fine & I Want Hard Candy …

Such luminaries as Travis, Ronan Keating, George Michael Sir Paul MacCartney. Oh, they’ll all be there doubtless, the whole slick crew, Jools ‘Mr Mayonnaise’ Holland, Paul Weller, U2, oh and Beth Orton alWays there propping up the guestlist for all us freaky deaky weirdo boho avant garde kids who, woah, stay up late once a week to catch salad days with sir jools hollandaise…. the reverse alchemist… steadfastly reliably week in week out turning old gold into a river of safe sanitised pap…

I’m not sure I’m up to unpacking this…
But I DO remember when I was 6-9, and my da kept a little notebook of all the top 20 songs he taped on our exciting new tape recorder, and I would run my finger down the names and get flutters of excitement (I started nagging them to get me the NME and from there I was but Destiny’s Child...) at new or known acts and I had the STONES and DOORs and DYLAN and even Creedence Clearwater and HENDRIX and DUSTY and MOTOWN and the early PINK FLOYD (“… hadda strange….HOBBY”) to pick and choose from, in amongst, yes, dross, dross is always with us, but (but even the dross/one-offs included “Something In The Air” say, which is still, to this day, a great 45) and OK I’m a cyncial old SEAT FIGHTING MAN and I can’t talk and only the other day here I was saying people should get involved with CHARITY – so, de facto de jure de camptown ladies, if money gets to needy people I guess I can just shut up and go back into my pill box, altho one thought suggests itself: why should parents taxes go to pay to kill and maim these kids and then their childrens pocket money be used to patch them back together?
There seems something NOT RIGHT there somehow.
Asking kids to shell out to take the shrapnel out of the bodies bombed by the governance of their parents?

Plus, NO charity could be worth (say) a Ronan Keating version of I dunno, Wild Horses say.

[NB: I wrote that last sentence circa 8.58 a.m.; and now it is 6.42 pm, and wouldn’t you know it – Ronan Keating is on the TV murdering “IN THE GHETTO” … and I see hear now what it is about all these post Take That post Spice “singers” – they’re NOT Singers. Theyre all STAGE school adepts, taught to ham & sham and smile and dance and act and Be Interviewed and Pose for Photos – but they are not sui generis SINGERS – they do not know how to SING – to interpret… so it’s “singing” with no anger, no pathos, no ANYTHING… except publicity of course, hiked on the back of pain & suffering (those poor Iraqi kids, I mean, not mine having to hear ‘In The Ghetto’ being trampled underfop…)

Doubtless this is Onan’s contribution to the Warchild document… it is that obvious a choice…
But I mean there was genuine towering PATHOS in the Presley version… and there is literally NOTHING here which leads you inescapably to the important conclusion that Ronan has NOT actually empirically verifiably been IN THE LEAST BIT TOUCHED BY THE HORROR AND PAIN AND SUFFERING he claims to be speaking on behalf of… which this is a fair enough point because we only have his words to go on or rather the voice he uses to messenger them over to us, and that voice is noting but LACKING in identifiable human colors tones tics echoes… it is not I would contend “singing” AT ALL per se.

Any more than putting back together a jigsaw puzzle of Francis Bacon – blood pooling between the floorboards, Furies stalking your loneliest hour - makes you an artist.

MacCartney extolling the virtues of “peace + love” (as opposed to…?) and then this voice of a generation much loved elder statesman lyrical writer of long standing pleads for more
“humanitarian coming-togther-ness.”
Right now. Over me.

Well, I didn’t exactly expect him to wear one of the PILL BOX CORP’s new
t shirts, but all the same …is that the best you can do, Paulie? Nothing more lyrical, like that GREAT quote on the ultimate sin of meat eating :
“It’s like what Hitler did to the fucking Jews…” ?

Peace out, Paulie.

posted by Ian 4/26/2003 12:51:00 PM

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