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).
“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
When I first read about Mallory and Irvine years ago — there was a plaque in a church to the latter, and I used to gaze at it as a child — I was fascinated and intrigued by the idea that two people could just vanish off the side of a mountain. The clouds came down, and when they disappeared, the climbers had disappeared too: a ghost story, really.
I’ve read enough about Everest since to get a sense of how unimagineably and breathtakingly vast it is: and now I think what strikes me, really, is that so little does actually vanish. Everything’s still there, of course; but the curious fact is that everything gets seen — it just doesn’t always get reported.