I needed a catch up with myself. There’s a lot going on, no time to stop and think. The only time for conscious-sensuous self-awareness is late at night.
There’s a lot of writing going on. It gets sent off to various editors and publishers. A sense of anticipation, a hope for an immediate response. Silence, the constant checking of email and messaging services slows down, eventually it stops. The pieces are forgotten.
The reading continues. During the week I come home late after a drunken evening in a London pub. There were a lot of people there. Several questions raised without any words being spoken. A parcel on the floor behind the letter box. A copy of The Consul, a series of interviews with Ralph Rumney. I enjoyed reading it a great deal.
I’ve been reading the Book of Revelation in a thick edition of the Authorized Kings James Bible. If it’s assumed that it is not the voice of God speaking, then who is the voice? It is possible to have a radical reading; of this being the voice of the oppressed within the Roman Empire. If this is the case, it gives it extra power. It needs more study.
I was running the bath. It’s grotty. The head fell off the shower and now it’s a hose. It works after a fashion. This space was a poor quality conversion about twenty years ago. Every feature and fitting as cheap as possible. The bath is less than twenty years old and looks older than domestic baths from the nineteenth century. But it holds hot water and I much prefer the bath to the hose. The Bible is too big a book for bath-reading. I read Ralph Rumney instead, until the water was tepid and uncomfortable.
Without really thinking I went to exactly the right shelf, in exactly the right bookcase and picked out Alastair MacIntyre’s Marxism and Christianity. I love having all my books on display and being able to go to exactly the place to find what I’m looking for. It’s even better when one can pluck out a book and find exactly the passage that one wants.
Something was needed to read on the train to toil. It slipped into my bag. The ideas kept cropping up during the day at unexpected times and places; during a long meeting, waiting in the queue at the supermarket.
For some reason I went to another book case, as if compelled by a hidden force. Within three or four books I found Terry Eagleton’s Materialism. It fits well with the Bible and MacIntyre.
I bumped into a friend at work. He stopped and pulled a book from his bag and handed it to me. A copy of Ada Gobetti’s Partisan Diary in Italian. I kept turning it over and over in my hands as if it was a copy of the original manuscript. Written in secrecy and danger in the Suza Valley during the Nazi occupation.
We had a long discussion as we walked through the shopping centre to get our lunch. The developers of such places imagine that the only conversations here are of buying and selling. But I suspect we are not the only people talking and thinking of revolution. But what sort of revolution will it be?
On the early morning train to London with the plan to make a film. There is no shortage of ideas, rather of money and equipment. There is rain and mist across the sea, the waves look bored of their routine, holding back, building up their power for tempestuous crash and roar.
The grey begins to fade until all that is left are a few clouds steaming away above the downs. And then those too are gone. The blue sky, the sunshine, the vibrant colours of green, red, brown, luminous yellow and gold are all the brighter for the contrast. Is that where I want to be right now? In phenomenal nature?
Taking photographs from the moving train. The landscape looks different, the colours blurred and stretched out by the speed and motion. A great deal of abstraction is captured, shapes created by the corners of warehouses, the hull of a ship in the Thames, electricity pylons in lines across the wetlands, redevelopments in the skies.
The train fare is expensive, the whole management culture of the rail industry is of suspicion, bureaucracy and police-like officialdom. I have to present my ticket four times on a journey of just over an hour. What are these managers so afraid of? That something might develop to challenge their rule?
There is a lot of individualism and disengagement. The recent strikes are symptomatic of something else. But will they be powerful enough to break through the layers of apathy and despondency? There is great trauma in England. Precarious existence creates precarious thinking.
Into London, on the Thameslink train to Blackfriars. Walking through Ludgate Circus. Standing in New Bridge Street waiting for a friend. I see him in the distance.
And sometimes you walk through the streets and there’s a particular person you want to meet. And it’s not clear why.