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It has been suggested, and not in the most elegant terms, that are to be no more Kandinskys in these parts.

They may not appear terribly frequently but I must assure my esteemed correspondent that we are far from 'done with' Mr Kandinsky. There are one hundred and thirty four more where this came from.
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Last night, to the 'Russia Now' exhib. at the RA (by the way, don't you just hate it when people write " the [whatever]..." So affected and pompous, which is exactly why I do it). It was still raftered at half-nine in the evening, though the clientele younger and thus less fearsome than the usual geriatric sherry-soaked contingent at that time. Not exactly coherent in terms of curation, the commonalities between the works being in their origin rather than represented on the walls.

Three good Kandinskys, at least one barking mad Chagall, several inscrutable Malevichs. Sponsored by E.ON, who have no apparent significance other than that they are currently being eaten by Газпром.
- The works of art loaned for this exhibition are protected under Part 6 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (protection of cultural objects on loan) -  )
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I am finding idleness agreeable.


Jan. 14th, 2007 12:42 pm
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How did it get to be Now? What happened to the Then in between?
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Ik vermoeid, maar ik slaap niet.
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Of no relevance, I have forgotten how to sleep.


Sep. 30th, 2006 09:29 pm
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Earlier from my window at the rear of the building I heard a young man singing along with a Beatles track. "Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends...", in tones that suggested that his own friends were present, or at least within earshot, and were being no help to him whatsoever.

In music, popular and otherwise, my education is patchy. In fact my education is patchy, full stop - auto-didacticism is all very well post-academe, but it's no substitute for a solid groundings in the Classics, etc. This by way of excusing my failure to properly listen to anything by Can until this last week. That and all those music journalists who would make ponderous reference to them. I bought a compilation of their stuff and ditto of remixes and they haven't been off my stereo since. Walking home from work it occurs to me 'Soon I can listen to that Can CD again.' and my step lightens and quickens. I'm sure you've experienced similar with some music or other.

There is something anachronistic about a lot of it (by which I mean the reverse of the term as usually deployed), sounding at least one decade ahead of time. Also rather familiar, because of all those bands who have been so transparently influenced by them. Strange to think that this has all been around for so long without me properly registering, but cheering in a way. Who knows what I might discover tomorrow! Isn't life grand?

Of course not all source music is so listenable. I am heartily in favour of the more creative musicians (Sonic Youth, Bjork, Stereolab, etc, spring to mind) listening to John Cage and having their own work informed by his, but I would rather not do so myself. I'll happily struggle with a difficult book, but awkward sounds are a different proposition to me altogether. After all, I make no noises of my own, other than speech and the occasional discreet cough.
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Last post or so ago, I wrote about getting, and not getting, to sleep at a young age. There was a book that occasionally did the trick, but I had to try to read it for some time before it would work. I can remember the cover, a painting of the inside of a debating chamber. There were gentlemen and their dogs. It was the done thing to bring their dogs with them into Parliament.

But I couldn't remember the title, so I asked my Mum on the phone the other night. She knew it immediately and hauled it off the shelf.

'The Growth of Political Stability in England, 1675 to 1725', by JH Plumb.

And the dogs were there on the cover, I hadn't imagined them. Though the cover painting was entitled 'The Court of Chancery in the reign of George I', so not actually Parliament.

I've Googled endlessly and cannot find the picture, but another Kandinsky will always compensate.
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A long time ago I worked for a plumbing sub-contractor. When a big building went up, they put the pipes in (to this day, when I see the partially concealed little ghetto of Aspern Grove, off Haverstock Hill, the number '1153' pops into my head, because that was the accounting code we used).

A Sikh worked there, a fellow named Harbens. Despite the firm being a nest of golf club vermin I think he did okay, though an unfunny colleague would occasionally take the piss: 'Your head hasn't got any better has it Harbens, you must have changed that bandage fifty times by now.' Etc. He was renowned as a good site manager, which I'm told requires superhuman skills of psychology and people-manipulation talents.

One afternoon we were sitting around having a tea-break when a female colleague, quite apropos of nuffing, asked to stroke his beard. Shyly, he allowed her to. 'It's so soft!' she exclaimed. Never having been cut, the bristles had not become bristly. Pretty soon every female in the department was getting tactile on his chin.

Afterwards his mood was strange, like one of those koalas that remain still while petted but emerge from the experience suffering profound stress.

Anyway, I was only reminded of this as I met a Sikh chap today. An elderly chap, his beard and what hair was visible around his turban quite white. He waylaid me in Gloucester Place, beside that long short building with the large Low Countries-style windows, you know the one. One doesn't see many Sikhs around my way, still less those that initiate conversation at random.

He said to me that I looked like a happy man. That I didn't care for money but just wanted a peaceful life (spot on there, I thought, though kept shtumm). That the 21st October would be a very good day for me. That in 2007 a good woman would be mine. This came out in rather a stream, so I may have missed parts. In any case, at a momentary pause while he took breath I thanked him and went on my way.

I refrained from stroking his beard.


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