Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bliss it was, indeed

The novel is finished (for the moment!), revised right through three or four times, sent to Amazon as a Word document, transmitted back to me - converted - so that the italics show up on Kindle, emailed to Plutarch for structural assessment. The opening chapter is too tight, too brusque (two Americans talking to each other) but I cannot presently tease it into relaxation. A lifetime’s conviction that all articles are too long leaves me deficient when asked to add rather than cut

I am under-employed. Wrote a post this morning, here’s another. Nobody’ll read them when they are jam-packed like this. But this is different, this is bliss.

Bliss means music, the greater power that leaves prose – even poetry – rocking in its wake. Nothing high-flown, just the sea-shanty/lamentation, Tom Bowling, where lines like

… lies poor Tom Bowling
The darling of our crew;
No more he'll hear the tempest howling
For death has broached him to….

Thus Death, who kings and tars despatches
In vain Tom's life hath doff'd
For tho' his body's under hatches
His soul is gone aloft

are matched to a simple, unsimple, desperately sad tune. Which I faintly know but have never learned. I listen to tenor Robert Tear, boy treble Lewis and a school band and – oh joy! – ensnare and hold the first eight bars. But the next eight rise gently, subtly. Just the first two notes - that’s all I need! Got them! Can sing them. On to the keyboard and – ah! – that’s it, the song’s heart laid bare, it’s mine damnit. And now I can take it with me to the kitchen, fill the coffee percolator, sing it confidently in the sharp acoustic and snuffle at its sadness.

Alas, I cannot claim to be limitless

A question arises: is Rouchswalwe a toper? Definitely not. Toping is drinking to excess and although beer flows through her blog like the Drac flows through Grenoble, she remains clear-sighted – even starry-eyed – enough to produce vigorous, allusive prose, and poetry, unaffected by alchohol.

Recently I scientifically tested her consumption and she cheerfully responded. See http://5fingerplatz.blogspot.com/2011/09/me-gustaria-una-cerveza.html

I now return the favour.

Until recently this itinerary was bi-annual. My companion, C, is fifteen years younger, physicist turned website designer, creator of a web-based library, a fairly extreme left-winger, enormously articulate, widely read and a forensic conversationalist. Since the mountain must go to Mahomet I turn up at Lewisham (SE London), we taxi to Greenwich and order a meal at Davy’s Wine Lodge. An absorbent meal with a mature zinfandel. I choose the wine since for all his abilities, C lacks a retentive palate.

We then stroll past the Cutty Sark to The Trafalgar, the best pub in London. Which at 2.30 pm, is empty. In a bow-fronted window overhanging the Thames we may look upstream to the heart of London, across the river to the financial skyscrapers and downstream to The Dome (which we watched being built). We then each drink five pints of real ale, The conversation is broken only by increasingly frequent absences at the Gents but a graph of consumption resembles the discharge rate for a capacitor (ie, one sharp peak followed an endless visit to the plains). Drinking ends at about 10 pm.

This is my limit since beer turns me into one of those maths problems involving a bath, a tap and a plughole. A mere conduit. The conversation is demanding, stretching me like Peter Rabbit to bursting point. It is an admirable justification for boozing.