Writing On Literature

  • My French editor, a poet who'd slipped into publishing because poetry doesn't pay, was a former colleague from the old Bibliotheque Nationale on the Rue de Richelieu. I worked in the galleries, he was Maps and Stamps, though his true interests were poetry and the spirit of '68. He had in mind a verse epic about Paris and life on the Grands Boulevards, the contemporary everyday bursting with ghosts. He had a greedy eye, and could be distracted by fleeting impressions and chance events, so much so that he often forgot to inject himself with insulin. This meant he was forever scurrying into the toilets of a MacDonalds, a syringe between his teeth. Someone would call the police. When he forgot

    Oct 08,
  • Plain black swan black wine black fashion black Leb black jet burnt black at midnight. Medium black velvet black hat black coat black shoes black eye black eyes black eye. Benjamin Banville Black and Conrad Moffat Black with Green and Blacks back Captain Black the blackguard. Dahlia black sacks on matt black tarmac. Ninja black on code black black ops bruised black by crow black oppo. Strong black deep black coal black tyre black road black boot black bin black black black black. Fast show black. Cat black and bible black even the eye of a pea. Nothing black, all black, empty black, soul black. Serious black. Extra black, extra extra black. Hole.

    May 01,
  • I was due to go on holiday tomorrow, and the first part of the journey involves a 'no-frills' airline.  'No-frills' means 'no service', so I was concerned that my crocked leg, permanently braced at a constant zero degrees, would count as a frill (i.e it might require some service). I found this on the Easyjet website, under Carrier's Regulations: 'Adult passengers travelling with lower limbs in cast, waist and/or full leg plaster, must purchase three seats in total, per journey, to travel.' British Airways require only one extra seat, presumably because the seats are wider.  Prof Shiro Yamamoto (who once made a 2-day trip from Tokyo to London to buy a violin), tells me one extra seat is also necessary

    Aug 18,
  • York, who took the place of Gloucester, was in alliance with Cambridge, though the main Yorkist network was in the South and West.  The Lancastrians rose in Kent.  Norfolk was for York, but not Warwick, while the king was stricken with measles at Durham. The Earl of March drove the King to Wiltshire in July and August.  York was summoned to Leicester but retired in spurs to Sandal, in Yorkshire, where he was joined by Warwick and Salisbury.  Buckingham and Dorset were wounded and carried home in a cart.  York became the stronghold of the Lancastrians while Exeter, remembering St Albans, beheaded Salisbury, the son of Buckingham.  Somerset went north and the ensuing battle took place in a blinding snowstorm. 

    Jul 12,