Thursday, 2 September 2004

O for a Muse of Fire!

I think I'm still basking in the warm glow of having nothing that must be done. My mind seems empty of anything worth putting in words.

I suspect, in fact, that this is as a consequence of having spent so much time recently thinking visually. I've got out of the habit of verbalising. Normally I find myself writing things in my head and can't wait to get them down on the screen.

All I have at the moment are images - images of streets, images of figures, images of more abstract elements derived from buildings and rust and brick and pipework.

In an attempt to reconfigure my brain, I'm reading. I recently finished Chris Petit's Robinson - a fascinating book which manages to transpose some of the qualities of Neo-Romanticism (did I mention that Graham Sutherland was the subject of my Dissertation?) from the landscape to an urban setting.

In the dark underworld of seedy London, the narrator is seduced and manipulated into Robinson's schemes. Dragged down by alcoholism and drugs, he finds himself involved, first of all, in the shady side of the second-hand book business.

But Robinson - a Harry Lime for today - continues his corruption by drawing him into pornographic film-making and finally into collusion in torture and murder.

Petit, a film-maker himself, paints an unforgettable picture of the city's underbelly, full of cardboard-box townships and riots, with an apocalyptic storm as the ultimate backdrop. JG Ballard, out of Iain Sinclair.

And now for something completely different, and certainly less demanding. I've just started Dan Brown's
The Da Vinci Code., which, despite the hype, comes well recommended. I'd have preferred it to be called The Leonardo Code, though.

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