Robin Carmody messaged me on FB to say he’d just been reading my le carré rereads on ilx, and enjoyed and agreed with them. Since one of my projects here is I guess to begin to centralise my boringly dispersed and rhizomatic self, I thought I’d link them here. This is the original, inset in a longer ilx thread: liveblogging Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. This is the same excerpted at FT (i.e. all the rest of the entertaining ilx chatter cut away). This was intended as a liveblog of a reread of Smiley’s People, except things ran away with themselves and I ended up just posting some thoughts (on an ilx thread no one else ever contributed to).
“… our expectation that avant-garde art must puzzle, shock, and, above all, resist immediate understanding”: pianist-critic Charles Rosen on Elliott Carter (1908-2012) back in 1973
I’m writing about Adam and the Ants all week, at Hendrik’s excellent One Week One Band tumblr — a pleasure and an honour. I won’t quite say this is really actually what I became a music-writer to undertake, delayed by 30 years, except surely this is what I became a music-writer to undertake, and I only had to wait 30 years to find a way.
“No men with names that sound like Aglooka or Toolooa leap from the [crew lists of the Erebus and Terror] in the manner of ‘Ill-kern’/Pilkington or ‘Oolizhen’/Allison. However, it should be remembered that [Vilhjalmur] Stefansson found that even after repeated coaching the Inuit pronounced ‘Jim’ as ‘Perk’ or ‘Zerk’ and that to them ‘Rae’ sounded just like ‘Nerk’.”
—Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony, by David C. Woodman, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1st pb edn 1992, p.197
All the talking heads in the Peter Green documentary were male heads, I believe; and — for all they’ve achieved a kind of artless wondering openness towards the discussion of what must have been very tricky passages of their long-ago past — none seemed especially wise heads. Green himself, hearteningly enough, has emerged as a cheerfully plump balding hobbit of a man, a long long way from the ethereal and curly-headed yearning elf-poet of yore: he has — for someone who’s been through the extended labyrinthine haze of mental breakdown, medication and ECT and long stays on wards — a strikingly exact memory of moments, artistic or chemical or inspirational, on the cusp of his breakdown. He’s vague enough about what he wanted, what drove him — a thing that wasn’t yet there, in his music and his playing — but he’s funny and practical about everything else. Continue reading