Monthly Archives: June 2011

step 1 : find attractive paper

An inspiring quote from Sylvia Townsend Warner, who I can’t believe I haven’t written about here yet. She deserves a proper, wordier post and she’ll get one sooner or later, but in the meantime here is something to think about, from the dust jacket flap for The Flint Anchor (The Viking Press, 1954):

a quote from Sylvia Townsend Warner

She omitted to mention that it is essential to be brilliant. It’s nonetheless heartening to catch a glimpse of a writer saying “I’m a writer because I wrote something,” not “because I obtained a MFA,” not “because I’ve done time in workshops full of thunderingly insipid people who share my high regard for the consensus of People Who Are Into Consensus.” I’m surely a little excessive in my disdainful eye-rolling on this matter but sometimes it looks like the dominant school of thought has come to be that people ought to set about making prose the way they used to set about obtaining, say, a certificate in HVAC repair. Viva anti-professionalism!

The book itself is inspiring me too, to collect blue books and keep them all in one place. As in this photo from the lovely Bookride:

blue books! from Bookride

The Flint Anchor cover

In the comments on that post there’s a tantalizing mention of a collection of books with mirrored covers. It brings to mind — to my mind, anyhow — the idea that it would be a worthwhile pursuit to fill a room with such books, all four walls, floor to ceiling, like Andy Warhol’s Factory for the obsessively literary, a combination library / bar / installation where people could pull a random book off the shelves and browse, or just admire the room. A 100′ roll of mylar is only $53. Have you got a spare room and some amphetamines and nimble hands for folding, comrade?

mid-week stationary field trip

First, we will spend three and a half minutes inside one of those Yayoi Kusama mirror rooms. (Gleaming Lights of the Souls, Liverpool Biennial, 2008).

Then a commercial break (Afri-Cola 1968)!

Then a music video (Kleenex, “Hedi’s Head,” 1978).

I’ve just noticed Rough Trade is reissuing Kleenex’s debut single on 7″ in July. Or you can watch them on Swiss teevee in 1979 right now here. Kleenex eventually became LiliPUT.

If you are taking the deluxe field trip, there is also a thirty-minute tour of Henry Miller’s bathroom. This is part 1 of 3.

creeping around in creepers

People, people. I have half a dozen longer posts about this and that in the works (including a blog mixtape, which has been finalized but yet to be uploaded) but a very busy week ahead of me. In the meantime I’m wondering where you stand on creepers. Last night while browsing I noticed some white ones and sent them to a former Mr. Camel Co. asking what he thought, not for me but in general. At some point we both went to sleep but the conversation continued this morning, until we realized that we’d had a rambling two-day discourse on creepers. I can’t really see myself wearing them and I know they’re derivative and sort of costume-y, but overall I’m happy that we’re in a moment in which people feel like being experimental with what they wear. It’s not inconceivable that someone might wear those white creepers at the same time as, say, this feathered neckpiece and these absolutely mental leggings. I think that’s sort of great. Not necessarily in real life, in NYC neighborhoods that are feverish with gentrification, but, you know, as an idea.

there and back

Clearing some photos out of my BlackBerry again. These three were next to each other and they form a sort of narrative, a journey to happy blobby fun land and back, with a pale sunrise the morning after as fuzzed as a quince. Happy blobby fun land is in fact known as Rainbow City and I did not spend the night there, but whatever.

IMG-20110608-00090 instant

happy blobby fun land


down there

IMG-20110429-00002 cinema

Sexy advert disintegrating into the corner of 116th and Madison Ave.

I don’t know you. We don’t know each other.

Down with impostor lunar camels!

impostor lunar camels

They say it’s “Lunar Camel Footwear” but it really, really isn’t.

Aha. Now we’re getting warmer, somehow. Not really, but just go with it:

Warmer and warmer!


The Hawks and the Sparrows

Earlier this week I started to watch Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows (Uccellacci e Uccellini), an allegorical 1966 film about a father and son who meet a talking crow. It was very interesting! Alas I was so sleepy that I paused it about a third of the way through and went to bed, and I don’t want to write much about it until I’ve seen the whole thing. In the meantime you should see the opening credits, which are incredibly simple, inventive, funny and utterly distinct.

The whole thing is very Pasolini. At the beginning of the movie the son dances with some boys outside of a grubby bar on the outskirts of Rome and runs off to visit his girlfriend, who is dressed like an angel for a pageant.

The Hawks and the Sparrows angel

He meets up with his father again, they walk some more, and they meet a talking crow who says he’s left-wing. The crow joins them (although they refuse to say where they’re going) and explains that he comes from far away, that his country is Ideology, that he lives in “the capital, the city of the future, on Karl Marx Street, number seventy times seven,” all of which the father and son find very funny.

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing

The Hawks and the Sparrows laughing two

Later on the father is complaining about their poverty and the crow tells them they’re actually very lucky, they “walk like masters in the streets on the outskirts of the cities, and you enter the little cafés with the workers and the morning sun, and you kiss girls dressed as angels, and you discuss life and death with the words closest to hand, whereas I . . .” He’s a thoughtful crow. He’s portrayed by a well-trained actual crow, not a mechanical movie crow.

The Hawks and the Sparrows story

You might like it. I think I like it. I hope to find time to watch it again from the beginning and write more about it soon.

grow your own

Or are you already growing your own marimo balls?

I just bought a set of small ones from these people on eBay and they’re on their way to me now, snoozing inside a little padded envelope as they make their way from Malaysia to Harlem. (One can assume . . .). I think they’re going to be great pets. They don’t even need an aquarium — they can live in a bowl or a jar and all they need is fresh water every two weeks or so, plus a friendly squeeze every now and then to keep them from bobbing around on top buoy-style. Maybe a tumble once in a while to maintain roundness.

We’ll see. I’ll show you readers my marimo balls when they arrive, and again if they become lumpy. Pretty much all I know about them I’ve learned from their Wiki page. A friend wanted to know how they reproduce and I don’t quite understand myself. All that rubbing together at the bottom of lakes they do, it must be deeply intimate and mysterious — that is all I know about marimos making more marimos.

They only grow about 5 mm per year but reportedly can live for over a hundred years. Naturally I am planning to grow the marimo balls in my care impressively large and to eventually bequeath them to a trustworthy individual or organization. If you are young and healthy and interested, it is not too soon to announce yourself in the comments.

The other noteworth thing about my new pets, according to their Wiki: “The balls do not have a kernel of any sort.” I think that means they’re like hotdogs inside, the same substance all the way through. Don’t ask me to bisect one to be sure, though, because I won’t.