Saturday, September 11, 2010

On the inconstancy of time

So here I am sitting in Starbucks waiting for the 11am (SL time, 8pm my time) Fracture dance and conversazione salon to begin, and realizing that it seems a very short time since I was here.

This week has been about ten hours long, subjectively. I'm aware that there are seven days between Saturday and Saturday, and I know that I wasn't comatose for a week (G would have surely said something), so clearly I slept and woke and ate and brushed my teeth etc etc etc. But for all the record it left in my memory I could have spent this week dead.

It's somehow vaguely worrying.

In happier news we seem to be heading for a proper Altweibersommer, the Southern German equivalent of what North Americans call[ed] an Indian Summer. Is that term still socially acceptable, I wonder? In any case: blue skies, sunny and warm, gentle breeze smelling vaguely of Autumn. Lovely. I have a burning desire to go to Venice for a long weekend.

In much happier news I'm going to Japan at the end of November! Two weeks in the land of the Rising Sun — and Sony and sushi and various things that begin with "s." I'm so looking forward to this! I'll have a week in Kyoto to start off, booked into bed-and-breakfast place 20 minutes on foot from the Katsura Palace. I have been in love with [a particular image of] Japan since I was a child, based on the wonderful black-and-white photography of Takeshi Nishikawa. Forty years on, I can still feel the texture of the paper and smell the ink of those enormous, beautiful books.

I know that it's an illusion, that loving Japan because of 1970's photographs of the architecture of the 16th and 17th century is as doomed to disappointment as, say, loving England because of the novels of Alan Sillitoe would be. Nonetheless, these books were my introduction to the place and the culture, and they remain a major block of influence in my mental picture of the world*. Nishikawa had an eye for shadow and for the gradations of darkness that was unequalled. Before seeing his photos, I'd thought of shadows as failures, as errors in an image. His images of highlighted leaves against a dark wall brought home the essence of chiaroscuro better than any art teacher could.


* Rather like Alan Sillitoe's novels, in fact. I must write sometime about his books, in particular the William Posters trilogy (an old British grafitti-joke: it was and perhaps still is traditional to scribble "Bill Posters is innocent!" on signs stating "Bill posters will be prosecuted").

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3 Comments:

Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wow, Japan - you are covering the world

September 15, 2010 at 9:14:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Ibrahimblogs said...

There are times when even my week seems like a few hours only.
Your post is very touching. All the best for Japan!!

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News

September 24, 2010 at 9:50:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Agatha Macbeth said...

On the subject of 'Bill posters is inncocent', my own personal favourite was something in the same vein which went 'Be alert - We need Lerts'

October 18, 2010 at 1:19:00 AM GMT+2  

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