Posts Tagged ‘Photographs’

Ali Smith’s ‘Artful’ and some paperwhites

Posted 10 Jan 2013 — by Jonathan
Category Books, Photos

Just finished reading Ali Smith’s lovely, confusing, inspiring ‘Artful’, which I’m clearly going to have to re-read if I want to boast to people that I really ‘got it’; it’s a dense, fast-moving combination of intriguing fiction and literary criticism, and I read it as the former, not worrying too much about wringing every ounce of meaning from the many poems and quotations which pepper the text. I did pick out a few lovely things though;

“When human beings love they try to get something. They also try to give something, and this double aim makes love more complicated than food or sleep. It is selfish and altruistic at the same time, and no amount of specialization in one direction quite atrophies the other”.
EM Forster

There’s lots of Katherine Mansfield in the book, and lots of trees. I never enjoyed reading DH Lawrence, but I like Mansfield’s description of his ‘Aaron’s Rod’ as a tree, “firmly planted, deep thrusting, outspread, growing grandly, alive in every twig”.

And there was more nature in the following, which made me think of the ‘We are the clay that grew tall’ line in Melissa Harrison’s terrific book ‘Clay’, which I talked about the other day.

“Decay is the beginning of all birth … it transforms shape and essence, the forces and virtues of nature. Just as the decay of all foods in the stomach transforms them and makes them into a pulp, so it happens outside the stomach … Decay is the midwife of very great things!”

and here’s Ali Smith herself, talking about something I’ve already mentioned:

“We do treat books surprisingly lightly in contemporary culture. We’d never expect to understand a piece of music on one listen, but we tend to believe that we’ve read a book after reading it just once. Books and music share more in terms of resonance than just a present tense correlation of heard note to read word. Books need time to dawn on us, it takes time to understand what makes them, structurally, in thematic resonance, in afterthought, and always in correspondence with the books which came before them, because books are produced by books more than by writers; they’re a result of all the books that went before them.”

That one’s pertinent.


I took this photograph of a bunch of paperwhites secured with twine.

New Year’s Day

Posted 01 Jan 2013 — by Jonathan
Category Observations, Photos

When we finally made it out of Brighton on the first day of 2013, it was much colder than we expected and the light, which had been thrillingly rich all day, was already beginning to dip. So we only walked around Devil’s Dyke for half an hour or so, mindful not to slip in the mud and binding our coats tight around us, as if we might conjure an extra layer by wrapping them round twice. Of course I had a hangover and new (year) promises to keep, so the cold wind did its unwelcome job of battering last night’s boozy breath out of my lungs until I felt like this was the start of something new, not just a painful bit left over from yesterday. I felt less than re-born, but glad to be alive and idling into another year.

No news yet on the resolutions, but I did take a few photographs.

Missing Miranda

Posted 21 Oct 2010 — by Jonathan
Category Observations, Photos

Me and Lyndsey went up to London at the weekend to watch an episode of Miranda being filmed; my first time to the BBC headquarters and I was very excited, even though it took us an age to get there – Sunday service meant that our train was routed via Lewes and the journey was interminable; an experience not helped by my decision to spend it reading Saul Bellow’s ‘Dangling Man’, a super little novel but counter-productive if one is looking to escape, rather than consolidate, a feeling of stasis and ennui. In the end I resorted to taking photographs out of the window.

When we got – finally – up to White City we found that, of course, the recording had been cancelled at the last minute; no explanation nor forewarning. It was maddening; others had apparently reacted tearfully, but something about the long journey had prepared me for the fact somehow. We had, in the end, a nice evening regardless, wandering through Covent Garden eating ice-cream. We eventually found a pub off Leicester Square which, to our mutual amazement and joy, had Brew Dog Punk IPA on tap – making up at a stroke for the earlier disappointments. (Until the long journey back).

Anyway, here’s the view at East Croydon, on our way in.

Down in Dumbo

Posted 20 Apr 2010 — by Jonathan
Category Observations, Photos, Travel

All being well – in other words, assuming that the signs are tomorrow morning that there’s a fair to middling chance of flights restarting – tonight may be my last night in New York, and that fact didn’t really sink into ’til about 7 o’clock tonight when, gazing out of my hotel window, I realised I had perhaps an hour of light to get out and about in. Pretty much by a process of prior elimination (I’ve now ‘done’ – in the most elementary a fashion – most of NY), I picked a place I’ve never been and piled out of my hotel and onto the Subway.

The place I picked was Dumbo, the contained, art-loft dominated enclave just over the East River (the acronym stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), an area I plumped for because I dimly remembered it being a lively place for graffiti. As it happened, I didn’t see any, largely because as soon as I arrived I saw the enormous darkk buildings of Manhattan looming over the river and knew I had to rush North to take some photos of the skyline before the light went. I headed to the to the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, on the river bank.

It was truly magical – this small patch of green space takes you right down to the water’s edge, and I sat there, silently, listening to the trains buzzing past on the bridge above, and to the gentle pulse of the river washing up against the shore.

The sight was truly spectacular.