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Sorry about the long LJ silence, everyone. Do you find that it's very easy to get out of the habit of posting once one's stopped for a bit? I do. Anyway, here I am again...

What the thunder said

Since showering this morning I have been slightly deaf in my right ear. I think it's getting better now, but earlier it was quite pronounced, and had the weird side-effect of making any movement of air past my ear sound whooshing and gushing and rather sea-shell-like. Given that it was a fairly breezy morning and I walk pretty fast, it meant my whole journey in was accompanied by the sort of bleak, blasted-heath-and-totally-alone wind noises that the makers of all historical documentaries seem to feel compelled to include whenever they want to convey 'the dark ages'. This, incidentally, is horrendously insidious and pervasive. I've been studying the Anglo-Saxons et al for a good fifteen years now, and know very well that they had just as many or just as few undramatic and slightly showery nondescript sorts of days as there are at present,1 but I still can't entirely rid myself of the faint subconscious conviction that it was a more-or-less constant howling gale before the year 1100.

But I digress.

What the unwonted sound effects rather impressed on me is that by comparison with what I normally hear as I pick my way through that neither-quite-Clerkenwell-nor-Islington-nor-Finsbury swathe of degradation and horror that lies between King's Cross and Bloomsbury, the whole freezing-solitary -moors-bereft-of-habitation-and-friendly-face shebang actually sounds rather cosy and appealing. I know that St Pancras and district are gradually improving with all the hods of cash that have been thrust at them in recent years, but crikey, they're taking their time over it...

The Panther

On a not-wholly-unrelated note, when in York recently, I purchased (at the rather splendid Ken Spelman's bookshop) a remaindered hardback edition of Ted Hughes's Collected Poems. For the less-than-princely sum of £15, incidentally, which pleased me greatly. I like Hughes. I did some nature poems for A-level, but never really got them at that age: I was way too much of a Romantics boy then, and if it wasn't Keats or Shelley I wasn't really terribly interested. Since then, though, and greatly aided by seeing him live in York in '93 (with Tony Harrison in the special guest slot), I've really come to enjoy his stuff.

Continued exposure to the Collected Poems, though, with all their raw and brutal red-in-tooth'n'claw-ness seems to be having the most appallingly deleterious effect on my character. I keep on developing the yen to be a lot more brooding and dark and filled with the sort of savage animalistic sensuality that is a thrilling but horrendous danger to all that behold it, and that throws the right sort of artsy girl into positive palpitations at the very thought.

Anyway, all this is all very well, but for the fact that to do that sort of thing properly one really has to be dark. It just doesn't really work terribly well popping up being all tow-haired and fair and so on and yet trying to be storm-tossed and awful and Heathcliff. For that your hair is actually supposed to be as black as your heart and your mood, sympathetic fallacy and all that. Genetically I fear I am predisposed to nice-but-dull hero roles, which I find deeply unfair. I mean, who wants to be Mark Hamill?

But this has set me thinking about the way in which physical attributes (or actually the culturally-determined narratives attached to them, if we want to be dully academic about it) condition personal choices and behaviours) Well, something like that, anyway. Basically, yes, it's just an excuse for another rather over-written poll. Hooray!
Read more... )

1 Yes, loathsome sticklers, there were various warmer and cooler periods during the early middle ages, but we're leaving that aside for the sake of argument, as this really isn't the time or place for discussion of isotope analysis of ice-cores from Greenland.

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April 2009

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