Sunday, 25 June 2017

inspirational places


Our local museum - The Piano Museum (and behemoth/ex-church) is stuffed with beautifully-polished and documented pianos. Mark and I were there yesterday - he page-turning for some pianist friends, me attempting to take photos of them in the unforgiving spotlights/deep shadows.
Away from the main museum, I found this stock/dumping area which was far more interesting with its collection of rejected, or waiting attention pianos, dust and portraits of composers. I thought I'd do my own of the composer I live with, and will probably return soon to see what storylines might occur in this ancient resonant space.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

where's the map?


It's that time again - book finished (writing, that is) at least to the point where the end has been reached and the editing starts - that rolling project that envelopes you in a certain security each day - knowing where you are amongst all the other day-to-day stuff, where you're heading - sort of.
So where next? I've several ideas stumbling about looking for the right path; some to be developed from short stories, another in my Londonia series, or a follow-up to the one just completed - The Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Book.
As Hamish, the main character is still firmly inhabiting my head I might just continue with his life - I rather like him and it might be interesting to see where he wanders off to next, me following, pen in hand.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

More things I know nothing about

We have guests arriving and suddenly the loo broke down and the cooker . . . The loo looked fairly straight forward and I did some DIY in the cistern; this worked for a while providing you gave the button three 'clonks' perhaps not something to have to request of your 'invitees'. I tried to improve on it and then broke the whole thing. No plumbers answering phones, so I went to the plumber's merchants and spoke to a biker who was delightful: didn't sell me anything unnecessary, explained what to do with the thing I had bought and gave me the number of a local reputable plumber in case it - me, failed.
Yeah . . . instructions! bits of ratchety plastic! things to unscrew, tighten again, loose down the bog . . nope, need the right person for the job. Mark can play extraordinarily complex bits of Scriabin or Chopin but faced with a dribbling loo and a spanner or two - nope, 'non plus'. Luckily the plumber was free; came round with his backpack of tools, accepted a glass of water and tamed the bog - in about ten minutes. Lesson to be learned, hm - yes, don't DIY unless you have an awful lot of spare time and patience. There are people who know about theses things, just as I know about . . . lots of other things.
The cooker . . . Oh, God, what a thing of fearful complexity. From the outside it looks Aga-like; friendly, solid, dependable, but when the 'special man' (electrician had sucked in his teeth and advised a specialist) unbolted it all and took the top plate off, it was full of wires and tiny skinny bits of metal as fragile as a spider's leg.
I went and tackled something simpler - cleaning the bathroom (I'm good at this - water, Jif, scrub, done) while he talked to himself - 'Alors, donc . . . cette fil blue, hm, pourquoi ça . . . ah, d'accord. Bon . . .alors, donc . . . cette fil marron, hm', etc. After two hours he announced he knew what it was and that IT would have to be ordered and that he would have to come back again when I had agreed to the price of the thing that was to be ordered, uh?
I suggested I didn't have much choice and perhaps he could just order it. I suppose I could haunt ebay for a few days, but time wasted and possibly not the right IT would be even more annoying. So Mark will have to suppress his cake-making urge for a few days' and we won't be able to offer our guests home-made bread, but at least the loo works.

Loo and oven I probably could mend

Monday, 29 May 2017

Vide Grenier joy

(boot sales, garage sales, yard sales joy).
The Vide Grenier season is well-established here and so far has been useful for a much-needed re-filling of t-shirt drawer and replacement of manky mugs.
This Sunday, however, was a junk market Zenith moment with a finding of a Napoleon and Josephine coffee set for five euros, (only out-done in naffness by our gold rococo edged Stealth Bomber plate, now sadly broken), and a tree-hugging bear lamp that would have happily featured in a 'Blue Velvet' kid's bedroom, had there had been one in the film.


Friday, 26 May 2017

The playfulness of the mind



       Small boulder in a rectangular hole for no apparent reason, or a fish peering out from its shelter? 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

seeing into the future

Watch this excellent comment on over-production of non-needed stuff from back in the 70s! 

Oliver Postgate was a total hero - a creator of marvellously weird animation for kids, but not just for kids . . . Bag-puss, Noggin the Nog - what a genius name for a series!

I was an avid watcher of The Clangers as a child and we bought a video cassette set for Ezra when he was about seven (and we were all still watching the videos when he was well beyond ten.)

He brought up the subject of this very favourite series a few days ago after happening to see there is a NEW version out - complete with jolly, non-BBC-voiced woman and happy blue skies replacing the old black space-scapes that made up the backgrounds of the original series.

He summed the 1970s series rather well, I thought: 'as if David Lynch had decided to make a kids program' . . . and it was; a little eerie, dark, dream-like and with Mr Postgate's gentle voice-over's emanating as if from the mouth of some benevolent god dressed in a worn flannel suit, sitting in an armchair up in the heavens.

Each story seemed to have a light-hearted but real enough moral side to it; a gentle warning, but not finger-wagging, something that kids should absorb rather than just happy-happy and candy-floss colour.

I've looked on Youtube before for this episode as I feel Mr Postgate could absolutely see where we are heading and it's a brilliant comment on man's over-production of unnecessary stuff. Fortunately for the Clanger family, the outcome could all be chucked into a deep hole, hands (knitted paws) dusted off and back to their more puritan and happy lives. We don't have this solution (well, land-fill and not a solution), but we do still have the chance to stop the seemingly never ending flow of plastic before it engulfs the world.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

the changing day-scape

So there I was yesterday, happily putting in some tomatoes after getting all the domestic jobs/emails and other work out of the way. It was a sparkling day after the rain of the night before; birds were shouting, plants thrusting upwards - (weeds especially); all rather wonderful really . . . I went in to make a cup of tea and write something and heard an odd noise in the living room.
    Our older Spanish Greyhound appeared to be about to have a crap on the floor tiles - you know, that rounded-arched-back sort of shape. I was about to reprimand when I saw blood and what appeared to be a knife sticking out of her chest. I just stood pathetically for a moment watching her shake and wondering what I was supposed to do in such a situation - vet obviously but Gala is about the size of a small deer and I can't lift her.
I brought the car up to the door and phoned lots of friends and neighbours - no one in. The vet said there was no way they could come and get her. I looked at the object amongst the bloody fur - could I give it a quick yank out? No. Fire brigade? Ambulance? I tried a neighbour again, with luck this time.
He appeared and we both circled her wondering how to try and pick her up. He tried and she screamed - never heard a dog actually scream before.
    "Will she bite me?" he asked, quite understandably.
    I shook my head. "No - well, she is the most gentle dog in the world, 'normalement' mais . . . "
Whose to say what a normally placid dog might do with a sharpe projectile stuck in her chest and possibly about to peg out. He just did it, somehow - bundled her out into the car and I drove to the vets in Starsky and Hutch style.
    The waiting room was crammed with sad cats and limping dogs. I ran in feeling dramatic: "Au Secours!  - my dog is about to peg out!"
    I was suddenly in a reality TV pet show. Dr Zanin ran from a back room where he had been no doubt dealing with something less exciting; a stretcher was produced which he thrust aside and man-handled the whistling dog from my (friend's - oops) bloodstained car.
    "Vite - prepare the anaesthetic!" The operating room door closed and everyone turned reassuring and sad expressions onto me.
    The receptionist suggested I go home and wait for a phone call. I thanked him and turned to leave feeling still quite dramatic and close to tears. The I couldn't find the bloody car key and the car was blocking the door. After a search of the car, the gravel surrounding the car, the reception area and listening to helpful suggestions, I found it in my pocket . . . I slunk off and went home to finish planting tomatoes to find the other dog had dug them all up due to some particularly fragrant chicken poo I had used as fertiliser.
    The sun was still shining and everything else as bucolic as it was before the dog accident but I couldn't concentrate on anything much other than drinking tea and reading about Donald Trump's latest misfortunes.
An hour before vet closing time, I rang them. She was ready to go.
I arrived, paid (arg!) was shown the eight inch stick that had just missed one of her lungs by a fraction, and the helpful assistant got her into the car. The key wasn't lost; I went home and couldn't get her out of the car. Drank more tea. Showed her the small runty dog in case she was lonely. Covered her with a blanket and watched dusk approach.
Of course in their natural(?) habitat a wounded hunting dog such as this would probably have had a gun to the head, or worse, but Gala is a pampered sofa greyhound, so I did worry . . . bit of music, an extra pillow?
Anyway, an hour later she stood up and got out of the car like some ancient member of a royal family about to greet her subjects, had a piss for about five minutes and hobbled into the house where she tried to get into her normal chair. "No!" me and son cried, "it's the wrong shape." We wheeled the chair to the sofa and she eventually decided the sofa was a better option and fell onto it at which point I poured a large glass of wine and wondered where the day had gone.


                                         Recovering dog with wounds and sad eyes.

Friday, 12 May 2017

moments in life

I've recently come back from seeing my mum in the UK. She's been in a different home now for a year and is sliding each time I see her into a slightly foggier place, mentally. Luckily I am still me in her eyes and I dread the time where I might not be me but some other relative or friend . . .
It was a good visit: the weather was mostly kind so I could wheel her about around town and down by the river where we looked at herons and swans and talked about passing dogs and whether it was time to have a cup of tea yet.
The last day of my visit involved a trip to the coast by wheelchair taxi. It looked like it might rain and the taxi was half an hour late due to GPS directing the driver into some municipal car-park. I was beginning to fear the trip would be fated and stress-inducing with Mum querulously demanding I take her to the loo (utterly impossible) every five minutes and that the café would be shut, scones and tea just a mirage on the sand . . . BUT, it wasn't. It was one of life's perfect moments - sun, light warm breeze, distant clear views of loved land-marks; open tea-shop, scones, tea and a happy waiter called Victor.

On the way back to meet the taxi we were beguiled into 'buying' shells by a happy band of kids on the promenade, (much to their parents' embarrassment). I handed over 50p which sent them into raptures, and chose a large flat oyster-type shell, while Mum pointed out the more unusual one pictured on the left. She looked at it for some time while we waited for our lift and then announced that there was a small dog inside it. As she had said the home had given her wolf for lunch the day before I nodded and said 'really' as I wasn't sure what else to say.
Mum was never really a 'dog person' but in her own more misty world canine creatures seem to have become fascinating; a bit like when we are children I suppose.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Life's crossroads

For months now we've known it would be happening - our lad, off to a city to study fine art. I knew it but it didn't seem real, just a vague thought, hazy, not graspable.
I went with him to Lyon beaux arts college. It was impressive, huge and cold - building and possibly the staff too . . . I don't know, I was so bloody freezing that my brain had ceased to think about anything other than being in one of Lyon's snug little 'Bouchon' bistros. It all seemed so alien, so far away from our own small town, the dogs, the boy's stuff, instruments, his present life. I looked up at the clusters of buildings lining the hillsides and tried to imagine him in a top-floor garret cooking a lonely soup - and couldn't. Lyon is as highly regarded as the Paris schools so we were of course keen, but I didn't feel keen, very, at all . . .

Nimes college was good: small, intimate and they had a soup club on a Thursday evening. Ezra liked the place, the tutors, or the one we listened to talking in his Northern French accent without rolling R's, was kind and enthusiastic. The city is beautiful with a fine modern art gallery, easy access to other fine cities and unfortunately a thriving 'bull-annoying' scene. I could see Ezra there in a garret, and it would be considerably less cold in the winter than land-locked Lyon.
Bordeaux - 'edge-of-water' was our last visit and the one that made a joyful impression - what a city: the river's expanse, the knowing that the sea was only a few snaking kilometres down its length away; the elegant buildings, the plethora of cheap eats (in certain quartiers); and the college itself . . .
As we went around the various departments, Ezra's smile grew. Everything was fascinating and inspiring; they even had a special room in which to make weird electronic music. By the end of the tour Bordeaux had overtaken Lyon by a long measure, and Nimes by a smaller one.
So he applied to the three, forgot Lyon as the interview coincided with the Bordeaux dates (a tad stupid); got accepted by the other two and, of course, chose Bordeaux.
Now it's real. I'm hopping off and on the estate agents sites, checking for garrets, train journeys, planning, thinking and feeling very excited for him, and us. Although my mind is inviting me to imagine those familiar end of days when he arrives, gate creaking, dogs alerting me, somewhat differently: no creak or bark, just a glance at the calendar to remind myself when he will be visiting next, or when I will be visiting him in his garret to eat cabbage and potato soup - one of his specialities.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Something rather nice above the wood shed

This year, due to possibly a vast deluge of rain for a day followed by rampantly-hot sun for about a week, all blossom seems to be more copious and flamboyant then I can ever recall.
This Banksia rose that started as a modest twig with about six leaves on it a few years back obviously has a plan of garden-domination and I'm happy to go along with it . . .

Friday, 21 April 2017

Dreams and acting on them

I dream a lot and usually remember them, well probably not all of them as there possibly are tens or hundreds per night?
Anyway, I woke this morning with one still present in my head which for a time (as I 'came round' - er, what day is it, etc,) that seemed so real that I started to plan the day around it.
As in the dream, I would go to the dump, line up all the disposed-of fridges and spray-can paint 'Stop Le Pen' across them. It seemed like such a perfectly sensible and straight forward idea, something that could be achieved while doing the other jobs in that direction - buy dog crunch, go to the post office and so on. Then as my brain caught up with the rest of me - already on auto-pilot, tea-making mission, I realised this would be more difficult than the dream suggested.
Our local dump doesn't keep white goods there, (even though I think the guys there would most certainly be into the idea of the graffiti); most fridges are taken away when you buy a new one and end up . . . where? and Mark had the car for the day, meaning I would have to take the train to Carcassonne and walk about looking for a bigger 'decheterie' in which to carry out my political statement, also we had friends staying, food to prepare and all the usual jobs to carry out, SO, I opened for a ink and paper version.

Interesting that I imagined fridges in the dream and not wardrobes, old kitchen units or cookers - something glacial in the offing if, God forbid, she were to get in.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

perfect film endings

I was just adding a bit into my current book where, Hamish - main character - is deciding between watching Withnail and I, Singing in the Rain or the above. This must be one of the greatest film endings ever.

'Well, nobody's perfect'.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Vide Grenier (car boot/garage sale) season

And we're off to a good start with this 1970s juicer in perfect working order and with a motor that sounds like it could operate a draw-bridge (think, or maybe don't) of the wood-chipper scene in Fargo . . . I asked the woman how much she wanted and she shrugged as only the French can "Beh . . . trois euro?" I asked if it worked and she eyed me in a friendly but defensive way, "Mais OUI!" It was a bit stupid to ask but I didn't want to lug home a giant piece of orange plastic to find out it would fuse the whole house.
And it didn't. We had fun with withered apples, celery and oranges and the machine duly dribbled out foamy and delicious juice, and deposited a nice brightly-coloured mulch of fibrous material in its box at the back which the chickens went mad over. Cleaning it was a challenge as the special 'key' was missing to demount the various bits but hero husband found a pair of scissors do the job admirably.


Other Vide finds: the lad found found a vintage phone to take apart to make a microphone from (?) and I bought an ancient wooden rocker blotter with which to blot my inky drawings with - the total sum: seven euros for a nice stroll about and a chat with stall-holders.
The last stall had a rather lovely plaster Madonna (Jesus's mum . . . not singer). I asked how much she was but he shook his head: "Pas a vendre, Madame." Apparently, she has accompanied him for forty years as young and older market man; placed out on his tarpaulin along with his goods, overseeing his health and fortune.
Going back to the juicer, think I might approach the Guardian re doing a new column about OLD kitchen gadgets. I love Rhik Samadder's reportage, but I think we need info about vintage, unloved useable gadgets too . . .

P.S: scroll down to find my poet-materialism site which I don't have time to do much on - more old stuff-usage, etc, on there.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Inflated things

I wonder what the daily domestic life of Mr Trump is. Now't I should imagine.
Maybe he should take up cooking to calm himself a little, find something to fire up his creative side; something to calm those twitchy nerves and divert himself from bigger, longer and more expensive things to fire off.
Egos can be quite happily inflated without having to spend, what was it, fifteen million dollars on that last penile display.


This is my first souffle. Cheese and apple, made with five eggs from our hens. How very satisfying it was to open the oven and take to the table this erect and smoking hot main dish.
Oh, the cries of wonder and amazement. How my ego swelled, and the whole thing only cost about seven euros including the cheapo souffle dish, corn for the hens, cheese, a plop of flour and some milk - maybe factor in part of the cost of the wood for building the chicken pen and perhaps a few pence for the gas used, BUT, it was pure testosterone excitement and totally harmless.
Give the president flour, eggs, a Nigel Slater cook book and a few sharp knives. Either he might whip up something quivering, tumultuous and tasty or perhaps slip on a butter paper and impale himself on a Sabatier, his last phone operation a call to the E.R rather than another victory tweet.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

meat and two veg

Or two veg and one meat, or six veg and no meat, and preferably as un-messed about with as possible.
I was fascinated to read Jay Rayner's review of 'Le Cinq' in Paris, a gastro-palace the likes of I am very unlikely to step inside even if I did win the pools which again is highly unlikely as I never do them.
If I did win them, or went out to celebrate the publication of my latest book and its handsome advance ;o) I would probably choose a good Indian restaurant or perhaps somewhere very beautiful with a menu of say forty pounds a head, or perhaps just the small fish restaurant I went to with my son the other day where we sat on a covered terrace looking over the sea and ate lovely fish that still looked like fish.
When did all this farting about with food really start? In the 70s? Nouvelle cuisine, I suppose, but then I just looked that up and Wiki told me that N. Cuisine was actually a movement away from over-faffed food - simpler, fresher, less rich ingredients, etc. So the stuff in eateries such as Le Cinq must be a combination of the two: old classic/ haute cuisine and nouvelle - rich sauces, marinades, gold leaf, aspic droplets, stuff hanging off bits of other stuff and/or balanced precariously/sizzling, on fire, dry iced and so on.
When I worked in a 'French restaurant' in Farnham in the early 80s, there was a lot of piddling about with food: placing small bits of meat on top of a carefully sculpted potato with a slalom of sauce, etc but it still was generally food that you could recognise unlike some of the oddities in Mr Rayner's photos and other over-elaborate messes I've seen while trawling Google for Michelin signature dishes.
Then there's the cost . . . Which would you rather eat?
This fresh fish salad with goat's cheese which cost fifteen euros at the afore-mentioned sea-side restaurant.


Or this depressing lamb thing at a price of ninety-five euros


                      Jay Rayner iPhone photo

Okay, their overheads must be a little different - small town in Southern France compared to a spot on Le Champs Elysees must there must be a happy medium . . .

My favourite part of Mr Rayner's review - the bit about the chocolate pud:

A dessert of frozen chocolate mousse cigars wrapped in tuile is fine, if you overlook the elastic flap of milk skin draped over it, like something that fell off a burns victim.


And it's true. My son turns quite grey at the sight of milk skin, and I don't think most people find it that appetising, so why drape it (or leave it in a rumpled heap) on some dessert that was probably going to set the diner back sixty odd quid when there could be the subtle use of an edible flower or a nice honest blob of clotted cream. But then what do I know? I get excited about a buttered and Marmited crumpet or home-made coleslaw. You eat to live, not live to eat . . .

I love this line I happened to read this morning in Will Self's Psychogeography Too tome:
'Food is just shit waiting to happen'.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Here and Now

I feel it's vital to remember, for us creatures roaming about over the earth and on/in the sea along with all the other mammals and fish going about their (much more sensible and less destructive) lives, where we are and to appreciate it even when dealing with the more tedious stuffs of everyday.
It's good to step outside of all that, into a field, park, or onto a mountain if you have one nearby; or gaze at a lake, a river, or even a municipal pond, just for a few minutes to remember where we are on this amazing ball in space. That's all we really have after all, this time, now, this instant.
A couple of days ago while climbing up into some hills above Port de la Selva in Catalonia, I turned to look at the sea and felt more powerfully than I can ever remember before one of those 'Here and Now' moments; points where you know a memory is being laid down, woven into your mind to be there forever, perhaps surfacing on a grim winter morning when everything is monotone and returning to bed with a hot water bottle seems to be an inexorable pathway.
It was perhaps the combination of the smells of new foliage, lavender I had trampled, the birdsong and the wedge of white-flecked sea in the distance. I had flung my arms up and shouted something, I've forgotten what but probably along the lines of 'Here and Now', and stood for some moments feeling the stretch in my arms and the tail of the Tramontana wind in my hair.
Luckily no one else was about apart from a small hairy dog ahead of its party of walkers who appeared shortly afterwards. It might have smiled at me but it was difficult to tell through the beardy wisps framing its face.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Hothouse soundscape

video video

While doing a bit of in-tray sorting this morning, I stopped to listen to the interesting mix of stringed instrument playing going on. Usually it's piano (husband) and guitar/drums or bass (son) this morning's soundscape featured cello rather than piano in some bizarre free-improv thing where neither party were aware of each other.

Well, it was there on the preview .  . .? Maybe it'll turn up later - the video.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Three things

We need less things, or at least we need to use the things that already exist on this over-cluttered planet.
When nipping into the hyper-market this morning to buy a packet of yogurt culture (yes, intelligent stuff, yogurt) I felt a familiar panic creeping up on me. This one store on the edge of a small town in France, (one of about 36,000 according to Wikipedia) has an aisle just for yogurt about as long as a bus. All those pots - all that plastic . . . and then there's the 'bits and bobs' aisle, even more scary; the stuff you can't even eat - just made for . . . I don't know, looking at, removing dust from - large silver apples, hideous giant retro wall clocks, a thousand 'make-your-life-easier' plastic kitchen gadgets . . .
Any car-boot sale or 'vide-grenier' you might go to will be full of this crap, so why not buy it there for a fraction of the price, or perhaps don't buy it all.
The vast world treadmill we are on, producing all this unnecessary junk must somehow be ceased.
I know nothing of business but it seems to me that if all the people currently forced to make plastic Santas holding signs saying 'this way to the North Pole', Frankfurter slicers, glow in the dark toilet roll, pistol-shaped ketchup dispensers and all the rest of it were to be employed making parts for solar panels, cladding inner-city buildings with mural vegetation or making recycled paper, or . . . a billion other actually needed things it would be a lot more useful and less soul-destroying. Like I say, I know nothing of business, but I do know about the satisfaction in coming across good quality second hand stuff.
Last week in our local recycling emporium I found this lovely little sofa for twenty euros: tad dusty but really comfortable and plenty of life in it yet.

And today's finds in the junk shop after reeling from the supermarket's football pitch of stuff, two perfect-nick old teapots for a euro each.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Looking over the edge of the nest

It's like watching swallows trying out their wings: launching, bit wobbly, oops, return to the watchful eye of the parent bird, then try again, a little bolder, a little more confidence and then they're off . . .
We've been watching our son trying out his various wings for some time, drumming in a band being the real debut of detachment although he was, and still is happy to return to the comforts - food, familiarity, dogs etc, and hopefully, us.
Come the autumn, it'll be for real. Him on his own in a flat in a city (luckily not too far away). We've were graced with an extra year of him to-ing and fro-ing as he undertook a foundation art year in our local town, and thus I/we feel a little more prepared for the . . . departure.


I've talked to several friends about this phase of life with mixed responses from: 'A year on, I still go and sit on his bed and sob, occasionally, to: what a bloody relief . . .
I hope I won't be doing the former and I certainly won't be feeling the latter; hopefully an emotionally healthy point in between with probably the odd pang of worry . . .
Going to look at art colleges with him has brought back many memories of my own forays out from the family nest in Muswell Hill. I think I did all of them on my own as Mother wouldn't have had the luxury of time to accompany me, being on her own and working full time. I do vaguely recall staggering around Exeter with a huge falling-apart portfolio of my stuff and hating the interview. Luckily the one at Farnham was good and I was accepted onto the film and photography course there. Why I mention this is because I never thought at the time, (being young and over-excited about my new life in my halls of residence eight-square meter abode) about what my mother was going though - only child leaving home after a very close relationship of seventeen-odd years.
I have a clear image of waving her off after lugging my wardrobe-sized Wharfedale speakers up to the flat - 'bye Mum, see you . . . sometime, soonish'. She might have gone and howled in a lay-by, or driven back home and downed a few pints in the local (unlikely) or maybe she managed to control it all, got on with her life and half-listened for the phone, without realising, the flat now so much quieter.
I never asked her how it was for her. Maybe I will on my next visit back although her mind is fairly unlikely to recall much now being mostly on its own planet elsewhere.
Maybe it takes the same thing happening to us to fully appreciate the emotions connected with this detachment. I don't suppose our son will think too much about it, as it should be I suppose, but I hope the years we have spent together will leave him with a residual desire to come back and take up his place in the family once in a fairly often while.

Checking out the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Nimes; one of the three colleges applied for.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Follow on from last post

Humph . . . the vid was removed, so here's the original screening that people were reacting to. I defy you not to at least have a few goose-bumps.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Human voice

While posting something on Facebook earlier I watched (as you do - er what was I doing . . .) a video posted by a friend. The choice of song isn't something I would particularly listen to but the voice is extraordinary goose-bump wise.

The twenty-two year old from Kazakhstan, Dimash Kudaibergenov has an incredible octave range, and happily for him, he's lovely to watch too.

Someone has kindly made this collection of extracts of people's reaction to his singing - worth catching especially the girl's reaction at around 8.42 . . .

We are all moved by art, ballet, sunsets, orchestras, films, books, cake, etc but perhaps a truly unusual and frisson-inducing voice unites most humans.

It was especially interesting to me to find this as I recently wrote a short story that features humans' emotional reactions to singing.

In the story, Dog, an Earth-visiting alien slowly pieces together but possibly never understands human behaviour. Befriended and given shelter by a young woman called Ruby, our hero is left in her flat while she goes to work. After trying all of the fridge's contents and exploring her book collection he takes a bath.  When his saviour returns and hears him singing in the bathroom she reacts in a way that surprises him.


I like this so much that I stand and try out all the modulations, tones and possibilities. Jars and bottles rattle. The water surface undulates against my legs.
As I reach the top note that I can see – blue with shimmering edges – the bathroom door opens. Ruby stands with the open-mouthed expression again. She has dropped her bag. Tears run.
I stop the singing and the sound continues, flailing itself against the tiles.
Taking a cloth from a pile, I step out and wrap my lower half.
“Forgive me, did my phonic experiment alarm you?”
She says nothing but steps forward, even lunges; grasps me and fastens her mouth to mine. Hot colour swarms in my head. My tongue dances in her mouth as her hands slide over my wet skin.
She pulls away suddenly: “Oh . . . I don’t know quite what happened. Sorry.”
I think about this gift: “So, that was a kiss?”
“It was . . . but I don’t usually go about seizing and kissing people – well, at least not without knowing them for a while.”
I pull her back to me: “Would you mind if we did it again?” 
Link to the song that's mostly in the background of the extracts video