Sunday, 27 December 2009

Dmitri Nabokov: The enemy of art.

Let me preface this entry by saying Dmitri Nabokov, that I am on the one hand, forever in your debt. The book I unwrapped this morning, The Original of Laura, is tangibly beautiful. Chip Kidd's sublime design provides as wondrous a showcase for these Penguin-termed fragments as I, for one could ever have hoped for.

Let me not omit to mention either how grateful I am for the opportunity to see, nay possess, these exquisite perfect replicas of God's your father's smudged index cards... these photostat perforations of his precise, pencilled print.

But Dmitri, Dmitri. Gay Dmitri of seventy three years. You are quite repellent; Your introduction to this tome is one of the most disturbingly deluded diatribes I've ever read (and I had the misfortune to read your insisted-upon introduction to Pia Pera's Lo's Diary, you predatory pedant). Your talk of lesser minds, half-literate journalists and inferior intellects is delivered without a hint of irony; You believe this bull. You're in orbit of your own ego.
Clearly Dmitri, lifelong batchelorette Dmitri, your father cast a long shadow. I envy you not the eternal race to cheat the sun. You model your lyrical style upon him, like VN on a bad day, VN with a summer cold. You're Nutella on toast - a poor man's chocolate bar.

All this Dmitri, all this emulation and idolisation (and who can blame you for that - not I) - it just, it just never worked did it? He never really liked you. Gay Dmitri, with his supercilious, superfluous nature, living off his father's reputation, his mother's adoration. It's a vacuous life you've lead Dmitri, one of shabby Swiss hotels and Viennese Bath Houses (My italics). You have nothing to say, much less a beautiful way to say it. I wouldn't share my pen name if I were you either. We've seen your style, we've seen you flounder on the rocky shore as the retreating sea carries away your past connections. There's so much time between him and you now that you're no closer to him than we are. I'm not the only one to notice your considered, contrived Laura introduction fails to mention money. Hey nice guy, how much did desecrating Pops memory net you?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Little stabs at happinesss.

I was just thinking, pursuant to something I was thinking days ago... that a reflection of a reflection of a thing is actually truer to the thing than the reflection. A reflection reverses our thing and it's the reflection of the reflection that reverses the reversal.

YES! I understand everything now.

By the false azure of the window pane.

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth, You owe me
Look what happens with a Love like that!
It lights the whole sky.
Hafez 1315-1390

I think love is dead. I think it died (collectively) sometime in the mid-late 20th century. I think it's a hollow word we coo at each other now. I think love flourished in a time of cholera and starved in the time of TV.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Memento Mori

I found this poem by Henry Scott Holland. Here's the first verse;

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

And I thought... really?

It's one of those pieces that from the moment I read it, I was overcome with the urge to rewrite it. It's that last line that's getting to me.... I'll explain;
I used to go to school with Freddie Mercury's niece.. and one day I overheard this exchange:

Boy: Are you Freddie Mercury's niece?
Niece: Yeah
Boy: No you're not! He's dead! Hahaha !

Did she stop being his neice when he died? Did he stop being her uncle when he died? Henry Scott Holland doesn't think so.
But look at me! I am nobody's granddaughter. There's no one on earth who would claim I am that to them. If you asked me I'd say I don't have any grandparents and you'd accept that. We'd both unwittingly agree that the relationship between my dead grandparents and I has been severed.

So Mister Holland, here's how I think your poem should read:

Whatever we were to each other
That, has been voided.

By the way, this is the chorus to Alanis Morrisette's You live, you learn, which goes

You grieve you learn, you choke you learn
You laugh you learn, you choose you learn
You pray you learn, you ask you learn
You live you learn

But which is clearly suffering from an acute case of the jollies because it absolutely should go:

You grieve you learn,you choke you learn
You laugh you learn, you choose you learn
You pray you learn, you ask you learn
You crash, you burn.

That one has been bugging me for years.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Laughter and forgetting.

Memory; It's a wild concept isn't it?
You know, the word Nostalgia comes from the Greek nostos meaning to return home and algos, meaning pain or ache. So the very concept of nostalgia is suffering, is an insatiable longing to return to the past.
Makes me wonder if anyone draws comfort from memories the way they claim. Me, I shouldn't mind if I befell an amnesiac loss. I cower in their shadows, I bristle with disgust at their lingering touch.
But... forgetting. Forgetting is even wilder.
Say we met, fell wildly in love and parted. We meet again in twenty years. I remember jokes we laughed at. I've remembered them all these years... sometimes I heard things that reminded me of you, of us, of our jokes, our moments... and I'd stop to catch my breath, all the while never doubting for a sceond that it's been this way for you too. That you've been reminded of me by the same things, that you've felt the same way and now, La! you're hoping just like I am that we could take on nostalgia together... and win.
But we meet... and it's strange. You don't remember the jokes I resurrect, those private themes that seemed so drenched in meaning. You talk about things we did, people we met... I shake my head and look at you with vacant eyes.
We realise our memories do not match.
It was all just stabs in the dark, who knew what would stick and for whom. You forgot all the moments I cherished and I erased all the times you enjoyed.
I made a new memory right there; a snapshot of a sorrow so sumptuous it feels like pleasure.... you didn't.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Cornuto

In Sicily, one of the worst insults you can throw at a man is Cornuto!*
It means cuckold (and if you're like me, you probably need a translation of that too... it means you're an ineffectual little man who's wife is cheating on you... brazenly.)

*so said Paul from Canada