Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Learning to read

You would think that after ten years of writing this blog that I would have learnt how to read! In the preface written by Walter Kaufman he explains that Buber wants to teach us how to read. I think this is more relevant than ever for today where attention spans are so short and we have so much to read on a daily basis.

He explains that most people learn how to read and then struggle through an unprepared section of their life, searching out things to read. Most settle on an unsatisfying diet of newspapers and magazines that are written with only one purpose - the rubbish bin. They scan and read quickly and most of the content is ephemeral.

So what does it mean to read?

"We must learn to feel addressed by a book, by the human being behind it, as if a person spoke directly to us. A good book or essay or poem is not primarily an object to be put to use, or an object of experience: it is the voice of You speaking to me, requiring a response."
from Walter Kaufman - preface to 'I and You'

Delirium feriarum 7 and 8

Sunday, May 26, 2013

God cannot be spoken of, he can be spoken to

The above quote by Walter Kaufman is taken from his preface to 'I and Thou' by Martin Buber. I am trying to read it.

I thought for an experiment I would try a 'book cocktail'. I picked two books, 'I and Thou' and 'Independence Day' by Richard Ford and see what happened.

What Kaufman is saying is that we only percieve God in other people, in the moment of interaction.

By chance I had stopped reading 'Independence day' at the critical moment where a days worth of frustration had been building between father and son as they enter the baseball hall of fame. There is a confrontation and the sons runs into the practice field and lines himself up for a fastball. The last thing the father shouts is 'you are too close'. It is a moment of frustration, clashing personalities. The ball shoots out at colossal speed and hits the son in the eye. A crowd of spectators surrounds the two as the ambulance arrives. Family people enjoying a moment to bask in baseball fame are drawn over to watch a family in crisis. 

Ford creates characters, every person he writes about is unique, every person, no matter how fleeting is memorable. I would like to think that Ford read Buber in preparation for 'Independence day'. If he has he is doing better than me, because I am still struggling through the preface(!)

Five dials

I have just downloaded Five dials 28 edited by Craig Taylor and it looks very good.

The editorial mentions a piece called 'heroes'. Meditations on characters in films we all know but who were brutally cut out for the sake of the film. Such as the sword fighter that Indiana Jones watches casually for a few seconds then shoots him. It made me think of how the world is misunderstood by Hollywood. The whole of the western world is hated because of films such as Indiana Jones and yet the whole of the western world hates Indiana Jones (well, some of them, well, we feel misrepresented by him - even though we love the film [secretly!])

Events in recent days show just how shocking that misunderstanding has become. The headline on Friday showed an Islamic country with a banner saying - leave us alone, go home. If only it was that simple. If only 9/11 hadn't happened. If only the Russians hadn't invaded Afghanistan. If only Britain hadn't conquered half the world and left it in a mess.

Heroes? Maybe Indiana Jones will save the world!

Delirium feriarum 6

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Delirium feriarum

A study of a present day hysteria, with special regard to its common symptoms and advice for its prophylaxis and therapy, together with numerous pathological illustrations by Professor Chaval.

This is the start of a new series from this curiousity printed in 1960 by Geigy Pharmaceutical Company.

See also my scribd page for pdf and for an intro to the project.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Watcher

The Watcher by Robert Crais (2007)

This is is a sound, enjoyable book by Crais, based in Los Angeles, with his really innovative slant on hard boiled crime fiction. Continually getting new slants and twists combined with deep character insights. Just a real good read!


 I found this in one of my notebooks. I can't remember if this was copied or if I made it up. Could be quite useful.


The process of analysis can be thought of as the process of identifying a rock type. Imagine the following:

You are looking at a rock face.

The landscape / features can indicate general rock type. There are three types of rock:-


see this video for a general introduction.

Then step toward the rock face. What do you see?

Variations in colour
Features – eg caves

Consider the environment:

What are you stepping on?

Move closer to the rock face:

What is the grain size / rock elements?
What can you tell that nobody else can tell?
What can you gain from it?
What are the dangers?
How can you find out more?
How can you verify what you have identified?


Can you explain to me in your own words why you think you are here.