Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man and Wife in bed; Conversation about Nevil Shute before sleep

"So who's the face on the cover?"

"That's Nevil Shute himself."

"They have the author's face on the cover? How cheesy is that?"

"Naw..it's..well it's his autobiography; 'Slide Rule'. More natural. Here's the same picture. Photo inside, right. Except with a pipe."

"Oh. I see."

"Yeah. He was really called Nevil Shute Norway, y'know. 'Mr. Norway' the engineer."

"Yeah, you've told me before. Are there many people in Britain called 'Norway', then?"

"I dunno. It's not a very usual name. I don't know how extraordinairy it would be, though...there are a lot of 'Holland's about."

"Are there any 'Sweden's. Or 'Denmark's?"

"What, like; 'Hi, I'm Johnny Sweden'."

"Irelands, Scotlands..."

"Yeah, Irelands, yeah. There's a Jill Ireland. I can't quite remeber what she...I've never heard of any 'Scotland's, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were one or two. There are lots of people called 'England'. There was a Mike England...he played for England."

"Germany, Russia.."

"What? 'Jimmy Germany'? Nah."

"'Town Like Alice' was a good book. I've read that."


"Good TV series."

"Yes. Launched the career of Bryan Brown. And that Rachel whatsit.."

"No, no. She was in 'Thorn Birds' with Bryan Brown, but not 'Alice'. That was some other actress. She was English."


The husband reads the following passage from Nevil Shute's 'Slide Rule':

What I didn't realize, of course, is that a piece of writing is like a camera; the smaller it is the more carefully it has to be made.

The previous reader has added a footnote in pencil:

Precisely. That has what...[unreadable scribble]...in a nutshell.

"Are you going to be reading long?"

"No, no more, I think."

"You can if you want.."




Nevil Shute book gets pressed into shelf.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Winterreise mit Dachsund

(In which the poet, his dark rougeish locks flowing in the cold wind because he hasn't the sense to wear a hat, is dragged through a suburban winter landscape by an eager wiener dog on a leash).

All muscle those short legs, and through the snowy world we go.

Rock hard dirty ice piled high.

But my dachs is like a brook, a warbling brook of fresh springtime water, running happily along the parapets of piled up ice. Sniffing at the ground. Sniffing the frozen patches of wee-wee.

Away we go, and round and round.

A sort of halfway world with farms and fields on the one edge, half a million semi-detachds on the other, nestled in the snow.

Clear, crisp, air. Anders Celsius says -2. Dog doesn't care.

To meet another dog..they recognize kinship despite all their shapes and sizes. I often wonder how they feel about that; "Ohh, look, there's a fluffy one...". we don't like their barking much, but it's what they have to work with.

Not many birds around today.

A few dogs.

Quite a few people.

Not a very sad or profound Winterreise, then. Not much "Was vermeid' ich denn die Wege, Wo die ander'n Wand'rer geh'n!".

But often taken.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rooftop Guardians

From the Casà Mila, Barcelona. Designed by Antonio Gaudí. I took these pictures some years ago. The "knights" are chimneys and air vents.