Three beginnings

PM00000040000005530 15: 2012 § Leave a comment

But I know this city!            This green ticket-hall, the long office half-rounded at its ends, that ironic clerestory, brown glazed tiles, green below, the same, the decorative hammer-beams supporting nothing, above, of courseI I know this city! How did I not realize it when he said, Go and do City this week, that it was this city?            Tony.            His cheeks sallowed and collapsed round the insinuated bones, the gums shrivelled, was it, or shrunken, his teeth now standing free of each other in the unnatural yawn of his mouth, yes, the mouth that had been so full-fleshed, the whole face, too, now collapsed, derelict, the thick-framed glasses the only constant, the mouth held open in a controlled scream, but no sound, the head moving only slightly, the white dried and sticky saliva, the last secretions of those harassed glands, cauterized into deficiency, his mouth closing only when he took water from a glass by the side of his bed, that double bed, in his parents’ house, bungalow, water or lemon he had to take frequently, because of what the treatment had done to his saliva glands, how it had finished them.                Him

Covered courtyard, taxis, take a taxi, always take a taxi in a strange city, but no, I know this city! The mind circles at random, does not remember, from one moment to another, other things interpose themselves, the mind’s            The station exit on a bridge, yes, of course, and the blackened gantries rise like steel gibbets above the midland red wall opposite.             I should turn right, right, towards the city centre, yes, ah, and that pub!

B. S. Johnson :: The Unfortunates :: 1969

I really cannot think what made Emily arrange for us to meet in Fitzrovia (which I heartily detest); suppose she picked up the habit from Dylan. The usual blurry chaos ensued. Ruthven Todd arrived, very drunk, with a long story about fighting a gang of toughs; and Nina Hamnett, of course, also drunk and with long stories about everybody one has ever heard of; odd lesbians; vaguely literary young men; a rather nice sculptor called Richard Hughes; a young upper-class Cambridge friend of apparently everybody — and God knows who else! One’s head went round. George very wisely left less than half way through the evening. When the pub closed we all went to another, then in a taxi to the Café Royal, then to some Soho café-bar place, Ruthven getting more and more maudlin and incoherent, and the subject of Emily and Dylan and Kathleen M. incessantly recurring.

This sort of thing usually overwhelms me, I get more and more depressed and dumb and finally go home feeling quite dead. But this evening I somehow managed to keep my head and to take in everything that was going on all around. It was extremely complicated. For once I even quite enjoyed it all, in a detached and wondering way.

The whole point being:
a) the impingement of worlds;
b) the illusion of human intercourse (‘There is no conversation’).

David Gascoyne :: Journal 1936-37

Sunday 2 April

Did nothing all day. Rained continually. Couldn’t go out. Read Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis. After I finished this I started to read the hymns in The Book of Common Prayer. Watched My Favourite Brunette on television. This was the film which, on its first release, I was interfered with. I don’t remember much about the film … Kenneth has decided that what’s wrong with him isn’t his heart but his liver. He isn’t eating. Just sipping milk every few hours. Most tiresome. I got my own lunch. There was nothing in the cupboard but spaghetti. I had spaghetti and cheese and tomatoes. As Kenneth has decided to go on hunger strike I shall now get all my own meals. This doesn’t worry me particularly, except that it means we’re starting to live quite separate lives.

Joe Orton :: The Diaries


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