Mono no aware

Tuesday, 7 March 2017 14:35
songofcopper: (montesquiou by doucet)
Hello. Herein, a potpourri of petals.

Attempts at preserving the transient come in many forms. Some people take photographs. Some make jam. My instinctive preference is to write things down.

The other day, mine eye landed upon something so ideally symbolic of DECADENCE that I had to record the encounter in my Büchlein.

Decadent object )

People, phones… What am I carping for? Is it really any worse than troops of Victorians sketching everything in sight? As for loathing textspeak ’n’ sexting, just take a look at the postcard section of your local antiques market. Often these ephemeral curiosities feature saucy cartoons, portraits of Noted Beauties, photos of underdressed actresses or athletes. The messages are frequently cryptic love notes and tryst set-ups, and can be signed in secret ways - initials, pet-names (‘Your Sweetheart Always’), or just ‘from You-Know-Who’.

The throwaway stuff that seems not to matter, or that actively irritates us, generally turns out to be the most interesting and useful to historians. Aren’t you glad that people wrote on walls in Pompeii? And yet, you’d probably be cross if some present-day autographer tagged the front of your house. Graffiti: an interesting area to ponder. For example, how do you feel about government-approved areas set aside for street art? Can anything that is placed there have the same sensibility and significance as art that is made guerilla-fashion/wherever the maker wants/illegally? And again, what about transience? Once an item of street art has arrived upon a surface, are we to guard and preserve it, or is it fair game for rival artists, municipal street cleaners, vandals?

How long must something survive ‘against the odds’ before it becomes precious heritage?


Will there one day be a way to ‘collect’ digital ephemera? Captured in some kind of storage media, equivalent to an album? Or will we fish for it virtually, dipping a notional jar into long-forgotten isolated internet ponds whose connexion to the larger ocean long since silted up?

The way digital information looks is highly dependent on the software we are using. Will it be someone’s job some day to recreate ancient lost fonts? Simulate antiquated browsers?

My curiosity about this is brought about partly by current reading-matter.

Photo of two books: The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon and Hadrian the Seventh by Fr. Rolfe

Snippets )

AND FINALLY, here’s a notebook with a macabre history - and, well, yes, it’s another joyous local news headline: ‘Wallpaper which killed Napoleon Bonaparte on sale in Exeter.’

Don’t get too excited, folks. We are not talking rolls of the stuff on special offer at Homebase. It’s simply that a local auction house is offering for sale a scrapbook cover, which is alleged to have been made from Napoleon’s famously-arsenical bedroom wallpaper.

After Hitler’s phone and Napoleon’s wallpaper, whatever can be next?! My prediction shall be… Bismarck’s moustache-trimmings. Watch this space, collectors.


Ooh, finally-finally, I have pretty much always referred to Wikipedia as ‘Vicipaedia’, but it wasn’t until the other day that I learned that the Latin language edition of Wikipedia is really truly actually called Vicipaedia! Accidental-correct-guess-success, baby. Yeah.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014 20:36
songofcopper: (Albrecht Dürer Forever)
Yesterday, very very overdue indeed, I gave myself a much-needed haircut. Really, it is quite a relief to feel like myself again! Hair is psychologically significant, even if to own so is apt to make one feel rather superficial.

No Actual Capes )
songofcopper: (fiction)
I did a thing the other day. I joined the city's library. The place is newly refurbished and open again at last, complete with all the added incentives that the municipal authorities seem to feel we need these days in order to entice us to borrow books - to whit: café, computer terminals, wifi, self-service issue and return points, and something called a 'fab lab'. (Apparently, amongst other contraptions, it features a 3D printer for public hire; I predict embarrassment of the 'no, sir, ma'am, you can't print that here' variety. What'll it be first - guns, or Intimate Stress-Relief Aids for the Frustrated Misanthrope?! No - I have it - e-readers! Surely that's got to be against library policy.)

Librarians, Librarianing )

fabulam mirabile

Thursday, 11 April 2013 20:04
songofcopper: (Sparks - Big Beat)
WARNING: unless you want your book-shopping-list to get LONG, don't visit the compulsively-intriguing 'Writers No-one Reads' on tumblr. The obscure, the overlooked and the just plain odd are all there, and it's tantalising. Already I want to find out more about...

...Athanasius Kircher, whose approach to science was part-prescient, part-fraudulent, part-fantastic - he is to Natural Philosophy what John Mandeville is to Geography!

...Gyula Krúdy, whose whimsical and romantic stories resurrect the bones of sweetest savouriest memory - his Sindbad, 300-year-old revenant-amorist, might be a happier, cleverer alternative to our dreary modern-day corpse-romances (a livelier strain of undead!).

...Wendy Walker, whose literary-espionage-fiction blends the anachronistic and the metaphysic - Jules Verne meets Franz Kafka?!

There are many others, but these stood out to me particularly. Then yesterday I passed some time before my train by wandering through Waterstones booksellers. They have a couple of tables devoted to Strange and Interesting Things from Other Lands. I've often looked but never bought (everything is expensively-imported). But perhaps I shall some day. Having seen all manner of interesting things on 'Writers No-one Reads', I learned to recognise the distinctive binding of the New York Review of Books' publishing arm. They seem to specialise in translating weird things into English. There on the table, dressed in their livery, I saw a book by...

...Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, his 'The Letter Killers', whose blurb says it all:

"The Letter Killers Club is a secret society of self-described “conceivers” who, to preserve the purity of their conceptions, will commit nothing to paper. (What, after all, is your run-of-the-mill scribbler of stories if not an accomplished corruptor of conceptions?) The logic of the club is strict and uncompromising. Every Saturday, members meet in a firelit room filled with empty black bookshelves where they strive to top one another by developing ever unlikelier, ever more perfect conceptions: a rehearsal of Hamlet hijacked by an actor who vanishes with the role; the double life of a merry medieval cleric derailed by a costume change; a machine-run world that imprisons men’s minds while conscripting their bodies; a dead Roman scribe stranded this side of the River Acheron. But in this book set in an ominous Soviet Moscow of the 1920s, the members of the club are strangely mistrustful of one another, while all are under the spell of its despotic President, and there is no telling, in the end, just how lethal the purely conceptual—or, for that matter, letters—may be."

As a lifelong Ideas Person and Intermittent Scribbler this appeals to me severely! (The concept about imprisoned minds and conscripted bodies does sound a bit 'Matrix'-like - I wonder if any of the others have escaped the novel?)

Also reclining there, an epistolary novel (the diary kind) from the pen of...

...'Viscount' (self-styled!) Emilio Lascano Tegui, whose 'On Elegance While Sleeping' is described as "deliciously macabre... part 'Maldoror' and part 'Dorian Gray'". As the author himself puts it: "I write out of pure voluptuousness. And so, like a courtesan, I'll take my sweet time, and begin by kicking off my shoe."

I can only approve - of a self-styled Viscount, and of shoelessness as a prelude to... heh... writing, or being writable-about. I now find that Lascano Tegui has had a mention on 'Writers No-one Reads'; I have my eye in, it seems, for spotting what is to their taste!

Discoveries are fun! I hope I shall get to read and enjoy some of these - if I do I'll be sure to pass on my impressions.

Words, words, words. ^_^


Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:35
songofcopper: (magritte)
Here is a humungous reading-related questionnaire espied chez [ profile] aerodrome1.

Turn the page... )
songofcopper: (pixel me)
A question was posed by [personal profile] steve98052:

Can you tell about an example of a work of fiction that you enjoyed, even though it was a member of a genre that normally doesn’t interest you?

songofcopper: (pixel me)
A question was posed by [personal profile] steve98052:

Can you tell about an example of a work of fiction that you enjoyed, even though it was a member of a genre that normally doesn’t interest you?


songofcopper: (Default)

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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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