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Tony Grist

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Total Mule [Jul. 24th, 2004|09:27 am]
Tony Grist
I hate being drunk. I hate the fakiness of it; the feeling of being brilliant when you know- with that maidenly part of the mind that has stood apart- that you're actually having difficulty putting one foot in front of the other. And then, of course, I hate the comedown. No brief moment of blokey exaltation is worth that long night of having to hold onto the bed in case its pitching and rolling throws you off.

Yesterday was a very quiet day. I finished Mrs Dalloway. And I'm going to follow it up now with Michael Cunningham's The Hours (which Amazon's courier delivered to the door this morning.) Judy advised me I should do this, and I must respect her judgement very much because I'm a total mule and reject most such suggestions out of hand. Sadly she won't read this little tribute. I keep trying to get her to invest in a LJ, but she remains stubbornly faithful to her first on-line love, the political chat-rooms.
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2004-07-24 11:50 am (UTC)
Ah yes, I'm always much more witty when I'm buzzed ... at least until some tiny still-sober part of me listens to what I'm saying and realises that I've just insulted everyone in the room. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 11:55 am (UTC)
Exactly.

I do so hate being out of control
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 01:38 pm (UTC)
The Woolf-Cunningham combo is very good; I did the very same thing a few months ago! And then, of course, as I hadn't seen the movie, I got the video and watched that too, all within two days. Suffice to say that I was Woolf'ed out by the end of the film, but I loved it anyway. Of course I do have a thing for the Bloomsbury set in general, having haunted their former homes, read their books, seen their paintings and so on...

Nothing like going all intertextual for a few days, even though I did it with exceedingly bad timing; being in a somewhat pseudo-depressed mood I got the odd urge to put a rock in my pocket and find a river!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I can manage the movie as well. And anyway, I have this hunger for Woolf herself. Woolf pure and undiluted. I have ordered the complete works, more or less, from Amazon and am poised now to plunge into To The Lighthouse.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 01:54 pm (UTC)
I never really got into The Lighthouse, though of course I reckognise it as a brilliant book. To me personally Mrs. Dalloway was far more gripping, but this might easily be explained by a certain feeling of recollection when reading the book; Mrs. Dalloway was mainly set in surroundings I know (or at least environments whose parallels I've experienced), and her feelings were also very much reckognisable to me on a very concrete level. To the Lighthouse never gave me that feeling of having lived it myself, and so it became a lesser experience to read. (Lesser by comparison to the fantastic read of the Mrs.!)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 02:19 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. Mrs Dalloway is, apart from everything else, one of the great visions of London. And I love London- especially that part of London where the novel is set.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 02:33 pm (UTC)
Well; I've lived a bit all over town, but there was a time when I lived and worked in South Ken and had a boyfriend who lived in Clapham, so I'd take the 49 bus down the King's road every day; isn't it mainly set somewhere in the Sloaney part of town? (God; my memory is becoming un-reliable!)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 02:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Bloomsbury, South Ken- and of course Whitehall and the Strand. London is a beautiful city. I don't think it gets enough credit for just how beautiful- and civilised- it is.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 03:00 pm (UTC)
I remember thinking London was actually rather ugly when I first got there. Well; ugly isn't the right word; perhaps "gritty" is better. Compared to the postcard looks of central Paris, London seemed to be a mix of a few beautiful old buildings, some outsized edwardian civic palaces and horrendous post-blitz concrete. But then; in time I got to understand the layout of the town and realised that though it bore the clear marks of the English sense of private property (as opposed to the absolute powers of the French kings and Emperors and, of course, Baron Hausmann), there was a distinct logic to the layout and a beauty of a far more organic type in the developement of this city. Paris was created, London grew.

And of course I have long since abandoned the hôtel particulier in favour of the Georgian townhouse as my ideal city dwelling. (Not becessarily for me, but as a template for the perfect residential building...) The economy of the nation of shop-keepers have managed to create buildings that are perfect in their spartan, yet not austere, lack of exterior ornament; Adolph Loos would find nothing to criticise on such a building! (I still cannot stand the grand, ornate and in-humanely scaled office-buildings in Whitehall, though...)

One can only hope that buidings such as the Erotic Gherkin (a.k.a. Swiss Re Tower) will set the standard for future building projects in London; Lord knows the city needs no more square phalloses (phalli? Phalleke? God, my Greek is shite!) like the three graces of Canary Wharf! The layout of a great city is there, so now we just need to get rid of the "let's whack 'em up in a hurry" post-war buildings and create a city of beautifull buildings. The greatest quality of London is the individualism that has been propelled by the importance of private property; an individualism that means that new buildings do not necessarily have to conform with its neighbours in order to create a harmoneous city; harmony can be composed of singular, individual elements as well as by conformity!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 03:34 pm (UTC)
You understand London. Yes, it's beauties have to be looked for. And it is an organic city. The writers- Dickens, Conan Doyle etc- have rather emphasized the squalor and the (now vanished) fogs, but there is another London- the London of Blake and Woolf and (oddly enough) Canaletto- which is a version of the New Jerusalem.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 03:43 pm (UTC)
The beauty of London is that all of its times coexist in one harmoneous example of city "non-planning"; the dickensian squalor might have been done up and turned into 500-grand flats and houses, but there are still distinct traces of the ancestry of each neighbourhood. My ex and I moved in together in Tufnell Park, and on Tufnell Park Road you can actually still see "gate posts" marking the entrance to the estate of Tufnell Park, evoking the days before it was turned into suburban terraces.

And I should hope i understand London, yes; at least as much as any foreigner could... But again; the two years at the school of Architecture has given me a few tools for approaching the built environment (i.e. the urban environment), so to me a city can be read the same way you'd read a book. The signs are all there, and just as when reading a book, it is hard not to start making interpretations of them. Cities can easily be seen as semantic representations of the people and communities that inhabited them through the years, and a city such as London chronicles the life of its people from the Roman invasion to the present.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-07-24 03:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, London is a palimspest(s?) Layer upon layer of history- all the way back to the Romans (at least) And none of those layers has been entirely erased.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-07-24 03:59 pm (UTC)
He who tires of London, tires of something... I cannot help but love it!
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From: acraein
2004-08-04 01:40 am (UTC)
Alcohol makes me forget, and that's what I love about it. Often times, I even begin not to feel, I am enlivened but immune to all emotions.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-04 03:01 am (UTC)
Forgetting might be good. No, all it does for me is create the brief illusion that I possess super-powers. And then I crash.
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