Monday, 6 January 2014

Dismantling a wall and diversions on Uxbridge Road

They are dismantling the Wall at St James's Piccadilly - pass by on my way to NatWest at lunchtime to pay in a cheque. Am sorry that I missed this but also sorry somehow that it happened. Cannot believe that presenting such a visual symbol of conflict in such a way can result in any good.
Lucy Winkett (Rector of St James's) is a role model of mine but she seems defensive in the Guardian.
"When we have been challenged about "taking sides" and "politicising the church" – which is a fair discussion to have – we are clear that we are not "pro" one side or another but we are instead campaigning for equal human rights for all people regardless of ethnicity or background. Sometimes the church will speak on issues seen as political in order to advocate for people who are suffering. We are supporting the ordinary people of Bethlehem at Christmas because we believe it would be wrong to sing about the town and meditate on its importance to our faith without acknowledging the grievous situation its citizens find themselves in today."
Later get far too strident with an old friend in the National Gallery bar. He has been to Israel/Palestine more times than I have had hot dinners and is genuinely shocked by my suggestion that he might be too overtly pro-Palestinian. "They are the poor and oppressed. What else are we do do?"
(On the table next to us someone I have not seen for years is chatting up a blonde girl with a transparent green Louis Vuitton bag. The last time I saw him was four years ago at a seminar in Swansea. He is absorbed in his conquest and buys glass after glass of champagne - takes out his Mac to show his photographs.)
A reading list from my friend: Anne Michael Fugitive Pieces and The Skin Divers.
Paul Celan's poetry - especially that set to music by Harrison Birtwistle (which I know will be far too challenging for me).
Driving rain outside. A deaf homeless man in the damp tiled tunnel in Charing Cross tube station - mouthing and gesturing to a comrade in a blanket a few yards away.
On Uxbridge Road there is a crowd at the bus stop. A ginger headed man wearing high vis trousers, covered in mud, and some kind of jerkin over a short sleeved shirt strides down to us and gestures. "It's no use waiting here - there's no bus coming. The buses are coming out of that road there see...." pointing towards a side road "you'll have to walk down to the next bus stop." What had he been doing? Lying in the road? Digging? Physically diverting the buses? His forearms are covered with tattoos and short ginger hairs. Why is he not cold?
He turns and walks a few steps beside me. "It's not very far," he says, nodding, encouraging.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy