Thursday 24 November, 2022
EV charging, Riga
And the date when this was taken? July 2017. Makes you think about British exceptionalism, doesn’t.
Quote of the Day
”Russia: a gas station masquerading as a country.”
John McCain (RIP)
Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news
Antonio Forcione | Scrambled Eggs
Good tune for breakfast, though I prefer mine with smoked salmon.
Long Read of the Day
The Shock and Aftershocks of “The Waste Land”
Lovely New Yorker essay by Anthony Lane.
May is the merriest month, and there are few more cheering journeys than a train ride into the green wilds of Sussex, in southern England. And no destination is more peaceable than Charleston, the secluded house, wreathed with gardens, that found fame as a rural HQ of the Bloomsbury Group. Now a place of pilgrimage, it continues to summon writers and artists, with audiences to match. Here it was, for a festival in May, that the culture-hungry came. Drifting in their dozens past fruit trees and congregations of flowers, they entered a large tent, where the trappings of Bloomsbury-scented comfort were on sale: straw hats, cushions, padded Alice bands, and vials of Sussex Rose Aromatic Water for the soothing of high or fevered brows. We took our seats for the arrival, on a raised dais, of Benedict Cumberbatch. He it was whom the pilgrims had travelled to see, and this is what he had to say:
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
There was more, and worse. “White bodies naked on the low damp ground / And bones cast in a little low dry garret.” And this: “Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit.” And again: “In this decayed hole among the mountains / In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing / Over the tumbled graves.” What had we done, in the sun-warmed paradise of Charleston, to deserve all these mountains, bones, and teeth? So much death, on a day that promised such life!
Cumberbatch was, needless to say, reading T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” which will shortly celebrate its hundredth birthday…
Read on. It’s good.
My commonplace booklet
A Letter to Nancy Sinatra from Her Boots That Were Made for Walking
by John Moe
January 23, 1966
First of all, GREAT song. Honestly, Lee Hazlewood’s melody and lyrics, your spunky vocal. No wonder it’s such a hit. You deserve it!
And as your footwear, I am excited to be a part of the collaboration. I have loved performing with/on you in Vegas and meeting big stars like Joey Bishop and Dean Martin. Of course, you were the one that actually met them, but if they had looked down they would have seen me. I tried talking to some of their shoes. Peter Lawford’s loafers, Sammy’s ankle boots. But they never said anything in response because footwear is not sentient. Except me. That’s why you speak to me in that song—Hello! I’m your boots!
I’m writing to explain my existential terror and apologize for my abysmal performance…