Friday, September 22, 2006

שנה טובה

I spent the eve of the Jewish new year sitting on a bench outside the North Sea eating chips, watching the too-loud conversations from the yuppified Norfolk Arms across the road. They were happy but I don't think it's about the promises of new beginnings, more about lovely warm September evening.

I've had nicer new year eves before, for example in the Villas two years ago, I went especially to the supermarket to get honey, and G told me it's his favourite shoplifting item. The honey is necessary for the customary apples and honey, which I have insisted on for the last five new years in England, although actually I prefer the pommegranite custom. This year, 5767 if you want to know exactly, it was just chips and salt and vinegar. And the nice breeze of a crazy September.

It was a decent chips I must say.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Iraqi screen is blogging again. If you want to know about the situation in Iraq - beyond headlines and statistics - read her.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Underground worker is slowly peeling a poster, the image of a woman comes off the wall. The noise of tearing, the marks of billboard exfoliation. You observe slowly as the train pulls away.

You are on your way to a party in the north. You have an address; a contact; a map. You have never been there. You are out of your territory, slightly unsure whether you should have set out on this late night journey; the rocking of the train makes you sleepy. Is it time for dancing? But then you think about the moment the door opens, and you walk through a suburban labyrinth of coloured rooms, untill you stumble upon bass sounds in the half darkness.

It seems like long minutes since you left the last station, but the train carries on, at the same speed, the same rhythm, shriek, rattle, and jolt. How long between stations, usually? two, three minutes? this time it seems to go forever. You keep expecting the familiar noises of slowing down, the florescent welcome of the next station; but these refuse to appear. The movement does not stop. You think: it's been ten minutes at least. You search for signs of anxiety on the faces around you, and find no trace of it. They seem calm, relaxed, sedated even. As if everything is normal. You do not find this reassuring. They do not understand what is about to come; perhaps they do, and unlike you, they embrace it. You wish you could wake up or - if this is no dream - talk, say something, send a last message; but in the silence of carriage, you know that this would be a mistake for which there would be no penance.

The train slowly comes to a halt in Caledonian Road.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth.

The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway.

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea.

Obscure Visual Sign of the Week (37)

So stay out, all you soft hat lowlifes
Finding myself at College so late at night, I took this opportunity to inspect the grafitti at the boys toilets. I was relieved to find they included generous invitations such as cum on my boots and other familiar topi.

A few weeks ago when I went dancing with E. in Bethnal Green, she commented with disappointment how all the grafitti in the toilets were myspace website addresses. 'What do they think, that I go there with my laptop? Where are all the sluts' phone numbers and the bad puns and rhymes gone?'

This world is becoming increasingly referential and flat.

* * *

Orage, thunderstorm, is one of my favourite words in French. Perhaps because unlike in English - or in Hebrew - it is a word of its own right, not just two words pasted together. Right now there's one raging outside. A late summer tempest.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Insights from the holidays

1. Welsh crash course:

Lift = lifft
Fresh Coffee = goffi ffres
Good morning = Bore Dah

2."If you do not want your carrots looking like mutants, you must put very little muck (compost) in the ground."

3. "You can grasp nettle in your bare hand, and you will not get stung; the secret is, you must touch the leaves on their bottom side."

4. Jardin de Luxumeburg has an area reserved for reading. Excited talk by passers-by (even on academic matters such as early 20th century ethnography in Palestine) will solicit stren looks from the readers seated on metal chairs.

5. Paris in September is perhaps less beautiful than in November, but much easier, especially when walking down memory lane. The best companion for such solitary walks is, of course, Walter Benjamin's Passagen.

6. The smells of the Tube and the Metro are distinct and different; the first always reminding me of foggy rain, the second of chestnuts and pain-au-chocolat. No, I'm sure it's not my clicheed imagination.

7. The presence of millions of tons of water above one's head, while going through a dark tunnel at a bottom of a sea, is best kept at bay, by writing melancholic emails (outward journey) or sleeping (return).