Wednesday, 2 December 2009


For reasons of asking nicely I'm at home without a book to write (failed on that NaNoWriMo thing: something infringed on one weekend then 2500 words an evening after work made me want to jump up and down and do obscene things to characters who already worked in Currys and were Scottish). Being dragged, dragging myself back to this blog is an attempt to wake myself up without jumping at the short-term fix of coffee: I have a bit of a tender stomach after some kind of flu that has been going around and gin, and now I'm sitting wondering where my next fix of spinach is going to come from or even what I'm going to cook it in once I get it. Regardless, words must be typed for only in the fingers comes liberation. The keyboard's softer and spongier than I remember it being, which is no way to have it. The old-timey writers like F. Forsyth prefer typewriters, ones with 'bullet-stopping capability', or somesuch: it gives one the impression that one is hammering the work into the paper with a mechanised chisel-and-mallet. What one creates in this case, presumably, feels more permanent, altogether more edifice-like, sculpted... and the kind of thing that bloggers or twitters ping out on their spring-dampened, backlit'n'glowing Macbooks is by contrast flimsy and apt to be swept away by the next gust that happens by.

Well the damn thing can blow away for all I care. That stifling sensation that everything I write (or, even, perhaps, on bad days, do) forms some kind of unalterable canon of work that will be frowned upon by scholars at some point and deemed utterly unworthy, for all the fleeting bits of interest. Having not thought about anything for two years the task of doing it again proves arduous beyond contemplation. I have spent an hour now looking at Masters programmes, wondering what on earth to study (choose: European Studies, Contemporary European Studies, European Cultural Studies, European Thought), and then wondering how on earth, given the fact that I can't think any of this or organise toffee into a lump, how I'm to convince anyone that I'm capable of anything. And therefore I'm not.

That is a rant over and now I'm going to bitch about Bagpuss, who is living -- I don't doubt -- a life of absolute Parisian bliss, hunched over his little gramophone twittering out old Duke Ellington records from 1926 and wondering whether that period of inter-war gluttony (for the landed gentry, at least) has, indeed, come to an end. I hear he has moved to onto cheroots. Suffice to say he has got himself a job, renting out his legs and hands to a man with lots of boxes to move and no legs and hands of his own. It pays in whisky, which he sells on the corner of rue ----- and pont des ----- at a time when all the normal people are at Bastille market in search of vitamins, though probably he reserves a small squat tumbler to drink before his evening bath. The fellow is most evidently alive.

I discover all this through the medium of the post-card, an old turn-of-the-century affair by someone who fetishises cats by way of marketing. Written on the back was nothing save my address and a 'FROM BAGPUSS'. But one can, of course, extrapolate. There was a point when he posted me the inside sleave from a pirated copy of Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk, by which I was to understand that he had taken to learning German, begun translating the Threepenny Opera into an altogether more fashionable and vibrant and modern work, and was probably half way to Berlin, sitting in a late-night café, Vienna, dashing back, Dusseldorf, talking to Iggy Pop and David Bowie. One can assume a lot from Bagpuss's limited communications. This is presumably why he feels the need to do so little of it.

So, in conclusion, I can conclude that we are both alive ("On sait qu'on existe quand on veut des épinards...").

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