songofcopper: (montesquiou by doucet)
I’m such a contrarian. This is 2017, the world is screaming, laughing, spinning outta control, and yet now, most inappropriately, I seem to have fallen back in love with life.

I think I knew I was going to be ok when I opened one of David’s Christmas presents to me: a book about British galls. I spent most of Christmas Day reading it and getting excited about Spring, when we can go on a proper gall hunt together.

Rightful Inhabitants )
*

The culture has mined a new depth of decadence: you can now buy bottles of molten iceberg water from Harrods, £80 a pop.

Had it been available to him, our old pal Des Esseintes would probably have ordered in gallons of this stuff, probably for the purpose of bathing in it, followed by an acute and prolonged attack of guilt. Guilt, I think, is the most expensive luxury of all - for those with any residue of good taste. For those for whom ‘taste’ is just a thing Coca Cola has, a brazen lack of guilt is preferred: think of those shameless big game hunters who pose for grinning selfies next to dead elephants.

Yes, guilt is an emotional tax that some of us pay in return for doing wretched things. Some people, however, are temperamentally tax-evasive.

*

Yesterday the David and I went record-shopping and I bought one! I got this:

klaus_schulze_x

“X” by Klaus Schulze. This is one of my favourites. Mostly because of its side-length piece called ‘Ludwig II. von Bayern’.

Glorious Anachronistic Muddle )

*

Some current reading matter - a curious thing indeed:



Tenebrae by Ernest G. Henham.

Jealousy! Murder! Arachnophobia! )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
Well, now. My Temples Festival Experience. It was by no means the experience I expected. And you might think, reading the details, that I’d be disappointed. And yet, somehow, I’m feeling positive. Thankful, even. This may be considered strange… but I’m ok with that. Wherever I go in this world I’m a bemused foreigner, a Culture Of One (even in what looks like my own milieu). As long as this is expressed gently and positively, it is no disadvantage.

Visitations )
songofcopper: (Christina Autochrome)
On Friday, we took another train - this time in search of Castell Coch. (You get the train to Taff’s Well, then stroll to the village of Tongwynlais and up the hill to the castle.) This was the day of our anniversary, so it was befitting that we should save the most romantic of the local castles for the occasion. I had seen it twice before (once on a field trip from University, once with David on our previous visit to Cardiff); seeing it this third time, I was impressed more by its air of melancholy than its romance. The thing is, the 3rd M. of B. (yes, this is yet another of his projects!) had a tendency to lose interest in his buildings once they were completed. The planning, the design, the collaboration with architects, the imagining, the excitement, the construction… all of that was deeply interesting to him, but a finished thing held no allure. How very sad! It put me in mind of those books and films where there is a flourishing finale, THE END, and everything just stops. Many people regard weddings that way - a lot of fuss and planning and show, and THE END. What happens next? If you can manage to appreciate the non-exciting, non-glamorous stuff that happens next, perhaps you’ll do alright.

In fact, without the non-exciting, non-glamorous everyday stuff, the gilt fades, the lustre dims, you are left with an empty memory, gathering dust. The Bute family almost never visited Castell Coch after it was completed. At times, they used it as a quarantine sanatorium when their children were ill. When first I saw this place, I thought it so very beautiful and romantic. But now, walking through uselessly opulent rooms, I felt sorry that it had never been a home. On the few occasions when the castle was used, the family had to bring in servants from Cardiff. I stood in the kitchen and felt annoyed on behalf of the state of the art range: nobody habitually cooked on that thing! It was as redundant as an Aga in a show flat. What a shame - what a shame! And what a relief to know that though our house is nothing special from an architectural point of view, it contains real life; breakfast is eaten there, warm bodies sleep there, laundry is washed there. Upon leaving, somebody locks the door with care, in anticipation of returning very soon. You can get married at Castell Coch, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Empty Halls )
songofcopper: (Albrecht Dürer Forever)
The following day, Thursday, we avoided Cardiff, thinking it might be too full of NATO and police officers to be borne with good grace. Instead, we took the train to Caerphilly in order to look at its castle. The town of Caerphilly made me oddly nostalgic for the 1990s - it seemed not to have been touched since then, so I daresay it too was feeling the same way. We had elevenses in a café that was still serving that prototypic form of caffe latte that comes in a tall glass mug and consists of slightly-soiled milk. I have been ruined, I fear, by knowledge of coffee that tastes recognisably of coffee. Still, the establishment also served loose leaf tea (which pleased the David) and was so extremely clean that I almost wanted to drop my shortbread on the floor in order to enjoy the rare thrill of innocent trust that would assuredly accompany the eating of it anyway.

As we strolled through the town, I felt somewhat sorry for Caerphilly. It had very obviously seen better days. When you think of Caerphilly you think of cheese, and perhaps of the castle, but as for present-day prosperity I am not sure that it’s very lively. Still, we did spot a local landmark…



Enormous Edifices )
songofcopper: (endless pencil)
Time at last to relate the tale of our trip to Cardiff. I hope you like castles of the earth and castles of the air, for there are many of these herein.

I note with bemusement the fact that I seem fatally drawn to individuals who have converted to Roman Catholicism. I wonder why that is? I think it highly unlikely that I shall ever go that way (mainstream religion does not suit my constitution), but anyway - there it is. A Thing about Me.

I mention this only because of the Third Marquess of Bute. He was just such a convert. He impressed me well enough on my first visit to Cardiff, but somehow I appreciated him more fully on this second sojourn. It is always entertaining to poke through the leavings of these characters who have sufficient wealth, influence and imagination to enable fantastic things to be brought about - wondrous castles with preposterously exuberant interiors - but the 3rd M. of B. does seem to have had something more about him than mere whimsy. According to Vicipaedia, ’The Marquess’s vast range of interests… included religion, medievalism, the occult, architecture, travelling, linguistics, and philanthropy… A prolific writer, bibliophile and traveller, as well as, somewhat reluctantly, a businessman, his energies were on a monumentally Victorian scale.’

I wonder, do such people exist nowadays? What are we (our generation) building? What, moreover, are we imagining? Not A Very Great Deal is the only conclusion I can casually arrive at. We don’t quite know what to do with our rich folks these days (or they don’t quite know what to do with us). Gone are the days of paternalistic patronage, and so much the better, but that just leaves us with the dead weight of such frivolous nonentities as populate the shiny society pages, creatures content to be customers - clients! - rather than patrons, sponsors, mentors. Once upon a time, profound depths of excess were mined for rare and aweful jewels. These days, all we can muster is the occasional flamboyant celebrity, scratching out some further extent of shallows - channels for orts to float sewerwards. Distance long is not the same as distance deep. Doing opulence (decoration) well is, I fear, a lost art: or rather, having been cleansed of anything approaching the merest pose of spiritual intent, it becomes something merely selfish, gaudy and inutile. ‘Good taste’ instructs that the only appropriate expression of a rich man’s fancy is in minimalism. Discreet, faceless, apologetic, antiseptic… I like this not. Minimalism was worthwhile as a species of flamboyance: when orthodoxy takes on tints of the bombastic, rendering the outrageous humdrum, your ideal next move (stylistically speaking) is subtle, subtle, subtle, white, white, white, flat, flat, flat. Do that, cutting across hackneyed-gothic, and you have something. But it’s trite now. It’s beginning to look preposterous. It’s as if nobody has the guts to CHOOSE STUFF any more - to CHOOSE STUFF BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT.

Anyway… all I am saying is, ‘Give Fabudorability A Chance’.

With that in mind, let me take you to a strange kingdom.

A Strange Kingdom )
songofcopper: (magritte)
We went for a walk yesterday, in one of the local nature reserves. I took my camera with me. When I go out with the intention of taking pictures, I often feel unequipped to make much of The View. Big landscapes - I struggle to do them justice, in the camera and in my appreciation of them. Maybe it's simply a matter of scale. Or maybe it's because sometimes they really do look like paintings you've seen. It's difficult to feel you're really there, in a way.

But small things always call to me. I use the camera's macro setting more than anything else.

Anyway, here's a series of glimpses of the way wandered.

 photo DSCF3336.jpg
We ate lunch on the bench you see here. This place is called 'Belvidere Meadow', and you can see why. Sitting there with my cheese and tomato roll, I began to mourn the loss of that old country stalwart, the Real Tramp. People who were itinerant, in a skilled and (semi-)purposeful way. Moving around to where the work was, or when there wasn't any work, the welcome. A skilled tramp, sitting on this bench, eating a cheese and tomato roll, I thought, would not be less rich than whoever owned the land.

Wind-Blown Wanderings )
songofcopper: (Sparks - Big Beat)
…I think only in certain cases. Might the mythick off-duty habits of members of Led Zeppelin comply with the spirit of the equation? You Tell Me… :-)

Anyway, I only ask because I've been out buying lps again. Yesterday saw the return of the regular Second-Hand Music Fair to Exeter, and the David and I spent an interesting few hours turning over the stock.

Serviceable Civilities )

Cosmic Sparks & Pastel Paintwork )

Planetary Reflections in Moodily Depicted Chaos )

One Closing Grotesquerie )

Queen of Clubs

Thursday, 21 November 2013 18:38
songofcopper: (fred)
Sometimes, Cosmé hides, trying on Normal Person Clothes just to blend in. (Let's face it, charm is keenest felt when it is a rarity! Let us not give of our benison too freely, lest it be misprised for something cheap or commonplace!) However, today is not one of those times. Today is a Princelie Daye.

Fate undoubtedly agreed with me on the point. This morning, on the train, a cluster of boys from the College were… not playing cards, as such - playing with cards. How they giggled, as they flung them at each other! (It is reassuring to find that seventeen-year-old boys can still giggle and lark about like this. What a shame if they were all po-faced little cynics!) A playing card, I conjectured, might make a useful weapon if aimed with devastating accuracy and coated in something corrosive. If it got you on the neck, or the eye…

"Can one die of a paper cut at high velocity?" I wondered aloud. (If only there had been an indiscreet Ninja present to answer my question!)

A minute or two later, one of the boys happened to throw his fistful of chances with more flamboyance than precision. A card landed in my lap, from several yards away. I picked it up with a flourish and scrutinised this unexpected messenger. It was a court card - the Queen of Clubs.

"How very appropriate," said David.

"Indeed," said I; "I shall keep it, as a souvenir."

The boys didn't seem to notice or care that they had lost a card to my acquisitive fingers. I suppose this means that I have already influenced the outcome of their next game of Gin Rummy - if they ever bother to play it.

(Just now I am looking at the Wikipedia page on cartomancy. Apparently, the Queen of Clubs signifies "A woman over 18, with medium or dark brown hair, with brown, blue or hazel eyes. Usually a business woman or social butterfly." As with all fortune-telling, this is both wildly vague and mildly specific; it does and does not refer to me, in several aspects. In fact, there appears to be no card that points very definitely at Cosmé - how cramped the imaginations of seers must be!)

When I reached the bookshop, I saw that the window was filled with books on Medieval History. Appropriate again! For there I was, attired in a splendid pair of black velvet knee breeches (I finally found just the kind I wanted, from a seller of vintage clothes on Etsy), my dear time-travelling shirt and a bargainsome scarlet velvet shirt found in a charity shop. The buckled shoes completed the picture.

DSCF3100

Rouge, Noir, Argent )
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
It's very unusual for me to go so often to concerts as I have in recent months. The reason for this is tripartite - first, I live in rural seclusion and quixotically combine distance-from-cities with reliance-on-trains. (I'm a whimsical so-and-so.) Second, I'm picky about music. Only a very few things really please me, or please me well enough to send me out-of-doors after dark to stand-or-sit in a room with 'em. Thirdly, the musical personages I do like are often (a) semi-retired, (b) permanently retired to the Sussex Downs or (c) irrevocably retired to the Next Life. This makes that rare beast the concert-I-want-to-go-to a Special Occasion indeed.

I wasn't sure when I started listening to Van der Graaf Generator whether I'd get an opportunity to hear them (or just Mr Hammill) play live. They had done the whole getting-back-together thing in triumphant fashion, even weathering a personnel change and sending out new albums into the aether - pretty well-received new albums, too (haven't heard these yet myself, but people seem to like 'em), which is quite unusual amongst reconstituted prog rock* formations.

A Joyful Noise )

En Vacances: 1

Sunday, 29 July 2012 14:23
songofcopper: (Christina Autochrome)
It's holiday snaps sharing time! :-) And I shall open with an image that screams 'English Summer': Emy on a boat, with bare porcelain legs and sandals. ^_^



feetses


Trains, and Boats, and - er - Buses! )

En Vacances: 1

Sunday, 29 July 2012 14:23
songofcopper: (Christina Autochrome)
It's holiday snaps sharing time! :-) And I shall open with an image that screams 'English Summer': Emy on a boat, with bare porcelain legs and sandals. ^_^



feetses


Trains, and Boats, and - er - Buses! )

Incredibly Edible

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 17:49
songofcopper: (magma lava)
Hello. I have food to share... or at least, descriptions thereof. (If you were right here I'd feed you actual food, I promise!)

Not long ago I made a very simple and successful Butternut Squash Risotto. Not very seasonal really, but if the weather is determined to be wintry and the supermarket insists on stocking squash in July, what am I to do?!

Butternut Squash Ristto


From Squash to Sauerkraut... )

Incredibly Edible

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 17:49
songofcopper: (magma lava)
Hello. I have food to share... or at least, descriptions thereof. (If you were right here I'd feed you actual food, I promise!)

Not long ago I made a very simple and successful Butternut Squash Risotto. Not very seasonal really, but if the weather is determined to be wintry and the supermarket insists on stocking squash in July, what am I to do?!

Butternut Squash Ristto


From Squash to Sauerkraut... )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
...Like a wheel within a wheel...

Nope, I have not been tilting at windmills.  Instead, I've been to a record fair, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long.  And instead of going on my own to run the gauntlet of shifty fellows in leather jackets scowling from behind paste tables groaning under the weight of several kilos of Beatles albums, half a ton of Jethro Tull (why is there always half a ton of Jethro Tull? Not that I have anything against 'em!) and reams and seams of Pink Floyd, this time I had a David to accompany me!  (Just call him Sancho Panza...)


Tryin' to make a living off an elpee's worth of tunes... )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
...Like a wheel within a wheel...

Nope, I have not been tilting at windmills.  Instead, I've been to a record fair, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long.  And instead of going on my own to run the gauntlet of shifty fellows in leather jackets scowling from behind paste tables groaning under the weight of several kilos of Beatles albums, half a ton of Jethro Tull (why is there always half a ton of Jethro Tull? Not that I have anything against 'em!) and reams and seams of Pink Floyd, this time I had a David to accompany me!  (Just call him Sancho Panza...)


Tryin' to make a living off an elpee's worth of tunes... )
songofcopper: (CAKEZ!!!)
Weekend Snapshot: Saturday morning saw me AROUSED BY A COCK at ten minutes to six.

(pause)

Actually there were several...

(pause) (blink)

...several ROOSTERS, people, roosters. About 4 of 'em. All competing for my attention, with occasional percussion from a pheasant, and backing harmonies from numerous little chirpy birds. Conclusion: AAARGH. I think, given the attendant sleep deprivation, a poor joke is forgivable! >.<

Cock-a-doodle-DON'T )
songofcopper: (CAKEZ!!!)
Weekend Snapshot: Saturday morning saw me AROUSED BY A COCK at ten minutes to six.

(pause)

Actually there were several...

(pause) (blink)

...several ROOSTERS, people, roosters. About 4 of 'em. All competing for my attention, with occasional percussion from a pheasant, and backing harmonies from numerous little chirpy birds. Conclusion: AAARGH. I think, given the attendant sleep deprivation, a poor joke is forgivable! >.<

Cock-a-doodle-DON'T )
songofcopper: (full head & shoulders)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Testing... LJ just ate what I wrote! Will this work...?

Aaaanyway... let's try again, shall we?!

What I said was, my film choice would be 'Meet Me In St Louis'. ^_^

And, But, Also: In Other News, I am Alive, and (--touch wood, and swallow Echinacea--) Well. I am liking my job, enjoying the bookshop, and looking forward to the holidays. Not in a Christmassy way, as such - as usual, I am excited about gift-giving (I am a good chooser, if I do say so myself!), but ignoring the tinsel. Buying some things online and making the rest is the way forward, methinks! Anyway, what I mean is, I'm looking forward to some time off with D. He really needs a break, and I intend to make sure he has a good one!

Bonus Typical Scene From The Domestic Life Of M: I have been glued to the unfolding drama in my bathroom between my two friends Spider and Woodlouse. ^_^ Spider, a nervy, mobile arachnid, lives in a crevice by the door frame; Woodlouse, a placid, static crustacean, has parked himself between the bath and the lavatory. I am hoping that Woodlouse (who, whilst certainly alive, has disdained to move from his current position for several days) will muster the will to trundle off to some safe haven, rather than fall prey to Spider. I am fond of Spider but would rather he ate flies, because I don't like flies. ^_^ Ah, the folly of a biased biped! >_<

And on that weirdly unfestive note, I wish all who read this a Merry Penguinmas! (Even naughty Ugg boot selling spammers!)

I hope to write more soon; I have been reading. :-)
songofcopper: (full head & shoulders)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Testing... LJ just ate what I wrote! Will this work...?

Aaaanyway... let's try again, shall we?!

What I said was, my film choice would be 'Meet Me In St Louis'. ^_^

And, But, Also: In Other News, I am Alive, and (--touch wood, and swallow Echinacea--) Well. I am liking my job, enjoying the bookshop, and looking forward to the holidays. Not in a Christmassy way, as such - as usual, I am excited about gift-giving (I am a good chooser, if I do say so myself!), but ignoring the tinsel. Buying some things online and making the rest is the way forward, methinks! Anyway, what I mean is, I'm looking forward to some time off with D. He really needs a break, and I intend to make sure he has a good one!

Bonus Typical Scene From The Domestic Life Of M: I have been glued to the unfolding drama in my bathroom between my two friends Spider and Woodlouse. ^_^ Spider, a nervy, mobile arachnid, lives in a crevice by the door frame; Woodlouse, a placid, static crustacean, has parked himself between the bath and the lavatory. I am hoping that Woodlouse (who, whilst certainly alive, has disdained to move from his current position for several days) will muster the will to trundle off to some safe haven, rather than fall prey to Spider. I am fond of Spider but would rather he ate flies, because I don't like flies. ^_^ Ah, the folly of a biased biped! >_<

And on that weirdly unfestive note, I wish all who read this a Merry Penguinmas! (Even naughty Ugg boot selling spammers!)

I hope to write more soon; I have been reading. :-)

Forever Amber

Friday, 7 October 2011 10:35
songofcopper: (Tea is the drink of great detectives! :-)
Dear me, my poor ole brain! >.<  I think it has been taken over by rogue hormones.  Explanation required?  Ok then...

Last night we we were watching a documentary about early experiments with electricity.  I'm sorry, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, but if you're going to stand there announcing, with a totally straight face, "...he charged up a glass rod with a silk handkerchief..." - whilst demonstrating this with authentic props and a deft, wristy manoeuvre...  Well, I'm sorry, but all you are going to get from me is a resounding "Ooh, Matron!" ;-)

And afterwards, here you are with a replica of some weird, kinky looking apparatus that some bloke had made in seventeen-hundred-and-something.  Apparatus in Q. comprises a double swing suspended on silken ropes.  Apparently, yon bloke borrowed an orphaned youth, positioned him face down on the said swing and applied an electrical charge to the boy's body as he swung there, lying on his stomach.  Bits of gold leaf were sprinkled upon the flagstones beneath the youth and when the electrical charge was applied, the gold leaf flew up, attracted by mysterious forces to the boy's outsretched hand.  At this point in the anecdote I began to feel that this was less a sober documentary on the history of science and more an hommage to middle-period Fellini. o__O

My dear husband works with electricity in his research, but as far as I know, the nearest he gets to silken ropes, gold leaf and charging up his rod is the occasional mishap with faulty wiring, leading to nothing more exciting than a brief ouch and having to reset all the equipment.  A brief diversion was enjoyed, I hear, when one of his PhD students left a valve half open and allowed a vast quantity of helium to escape overnight, leading yrs trly to imagine a lot of cross scientists complaining in high-pitched voices, but other than that...

...As I say, this is as far as I know.  Maybe a surprise visit to the lab is in order, just out of wifely curiosity! >.<

In dream-related news, I have had no further visitations from Beyond the Fringe. ;-)  I did, however, dream last night about a house where some wag had gone about removing the bottom steps from all the staircases, of which there were several; there was also a developmentally-disabled young man trying to sell apples and sliced onions to the passengers on a high-speed train (which, with typical dreamlike non-logic appeared to be inside the house); and at the end, we were all of us (me and all the other now-mostly-forgotten dream people who thronged the house suspecting each other of being the staircase-saboteur) forced to watch a video in Japanese about the juicings of kombucha fruits - which may or may not be a thing in the real world?!  [Edited to Add: I think there may have been a horse present at some point, too. ^_^]

Yes, quite; and yet I have the bare-bummed cheek to complain about the Fellini-esque peccadillos of Al-Khalili...  I know, the hypocrisy is astounding, innit?!  In conclusion, I offer you a well-turned Gallic shrug, a dark-lashed wink, and a half-hearted, salt-soiled almost-promise to Do Better Tomorrow. ^_^

...And how are you this morning? :-)

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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