Tuesday, September 14, 2010

mystery, vegetables, Balzac

Posted by PicasaAlmost all windows, particularly when they are open or partly open, have a sense of mystery or at least rouse curiousity.

I am in the midst of harvesting beans, lettuces, chard, squashes, beetroot, courgettes, spinnach, potatoes and tomatoes, and finding suitable neighbours to give the surplus to, when  a seed catalogue arrives with 2011 on the cover. Vegetable fatigue.

The way people spoke on the radio and TV 50 or 60 years ago is often mimicked nowadays. I find myself listening and watching, almost in disbelief, on the BBC archive, to John Lehmann interviewing Aldous Huxley. Their closed vowel sounds, musically  but monotonously articulated, are matched by the stiffness of their posture, which barely changes throughout  the interview, and the absence of a smile or any other expression on their faces.  "In one of your essays," Lehmann says to Huxley, "you suggest that Balzac made the mistake of putting everything he knew in his novels; can you be accused of doing the same thing.? As I am half way through my seventh Balzac novel,  and thinking a lot about Balzac at the moment, I find myself wanting to join in the conversation, but my vowells, hard as I might try, would not be up to it, even if I managed to get back through time to 1958.

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