October 18th, 2009


I read the first few chapters of Farewell, My Lovely last night. Three things.

1. Chandler reads like a parody of Chandler. The writing is so self-conscious.

2. The people, Marlowe and especially Moose Malloy, are comic book characters. I don't believe in 'em.

3. The racism took my breath away.

I'm going back to my man Hammett. Hammett had been a Pinkerton. He knew the mean streets and Chandler didn't. Chandler's relish for the posturing of coarse, ugly, violent men makes me feel a little queasy.

As for the racism, well, I know he's writing about a racist society, but does he really have to enjoy it so much?

Bits And Pieces

Ailz is giving away houseplants through Freecycle. A pair of guys came to pick some up while she was out yesterday afternoon. I think they were a couple. The younger one complimented me on my paintings and pentagram ring and showed me the lunar tattoo he has at the base of his spine. I said how we used to run a coven and he said he was wary of joining a group. I'd have liked to have sat them down and made them a cup of tea, but there's an etiquette about these encounters which rules they should be brief and businesslike.

The first decade of the 21st century is nearly over. The Guardian ran a heap of "summing-up" articles yesterday. I think, to borrow Auden's view of the 30s, it's been a "low, dishonest decade". How will it be remembered? As the Age of Bush most likely.

Still with the papers, there was an article in the Observer by Victoria Coren this morning excoriating Post Office management on the eve of the postal workers strike. I'm all for excoriating management, but I want to record- as an act of simple justice- that our postal service up here in the provinces isn't as degraded as hers appears to be. She doesn't know her postie, but I know mine, not by name, but well enough to wave to him on the street; he's a pleasant young guy with a penchant for shorts and sandals. Also the branch at the top of the road has not only had a recent makeover, but has taken to opening on a Tuesday afternoon, which it never used to do.