Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A new word

A tough, protective, semitransparent substance, primarily a nitrogen-containing polysaccharide, forming the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi.

Discovered in Unless/Carol Shields as 'chitinous'.

'But I was suddenly alerted to something about her presence: the fact that her face looked oddly fallen. Her eyes were swollen, filled, though not with tears. What I glimpsed there was something hard, chitinous. What was it? "We are real only in our moments of recognition" - who said that? I was recognising something new."

Shields is talking about an estranged daughter. And the moment she realised that she had lost her.

A discovery on Easter Sunday: the artist responsible for my Sunday School book illustrations is German Bernhard Plockhurst, whose life spanned much of the 19th century - he has a very 19th century vision of Christianity. He is apparently almost unknown in his native Germany, but still popular in the U.S.

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