Image Library for WORDSTALL

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Oct 252012

MY CURRENT ‘WORDSTALL’ FAVOURITE – “small kiosk with Turkish sandwiches

Although I am also very fond of the old octagonal cast iron kiosks, of which a few remain in Istanbul, with their elegant tin sloping roofs, ornate ironwork and heavy shutters, I like the mobility of this example more, how it is able to be packed up and moved on in moments, and always providing some shade against the dangers of the burning overhead sun, and at the same time the food is always fresh: ’… critical, radical, topical… and continental, including wisecracks and shock treatment’.

The “small kiosk with turkish sandwiches” is one of the several 2. Turkish Kiosk examples. From the1. Bauhaus Bayer examples I like the Cigaretten Kiosk best with the brilliance of its large smoking chimney. In 3. Garbatella, I recommend a stroll exploring the elegant streets, buildings, and open spaces in the Google image library of this revolutionary-garden-city-suburb of Roma, before encountering the wall “You are now entering free Garbatella


Bayer fonts – eg‘Universal’

Zeitungen kiosk

Kine + Regina booth

+ Cigaretten kiosk


History of Shademakers (part 1)

The Turkish Kiosk Project…

Verona metal kiosk

“small kiosk with Turkish sandwiches”.


Google Images of district

“You are now entering free Garbatella”

(See also Image Library ak +mmj walk in Rome circa 2009)

Oct 252012

Schizophrenia: until for a moment the shade slips (or should one say the mask of self), and

We stand with no protection staring directly at the sun.In 2012, and today it is not Friern Barnet but Highgate Mental Health Centre – the word Centre being preferred to that of Hospital. Friern Barnet closed and was sold off to developers of course, who, although I have not been back to see for myself, I expect have made a good job converting the splendid Victorian buildings to high-end residential accommodation, although I cant help thinking that theoccupants are disturbed walking from their front doors to car parks or sleeping at night by presence of so many ghosts of those for whom time stood still during the long 130 year history of the asylum before.I am visiting my “aunty” at the Highgate Mental Health Centre, where she has been detained for the last four months, although she is not mentally ill now – nor has she been for several years, but the word schizophrenia, like the ghosts at Friern Barnet, has had the capacity of stopping time for her. She is now 81, and becoming slightly frail and forgetful with age. She is also an artist. “I am an artist”, she says, but adds that she has not painted anything for the last ten years. When she is out walking she likes to pick up things from the street and bring them back inside in order to have them with her to make collages. This can land her in trouble. As can her smoking habit. And sometimes people don’t like her. Why is that?, I ask her. My Aunty replies that a very nice woman called Gillian told her why. “The reason they don’t like you,” she told me that Gillian had said, “is because you look into people’s faces, and you see things, and people don’t like that. But you shouldn’t talk about it because it will only get you into trouble”.

Oct 252012

“Self Wins the Booker Prize”. But no, the headline is a fiction. Umbrella lost last week.

And it would have perhaps been worse if he had won. A man like Will Self is steeped in failure, indeed his writing is possible because of failure. Success might have ruined him. Will Self made the point himself in his last summer Guardian Review piece on Modernism. He also recommended Gabriel Jasopovici’s Whatever happened to Modernism? – and both have been speaking in a series of evening talks on Modernism in London this autumn.


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Oct 252012

About failure in general – and the doubts which first found full expression in the nineteenth century, questioning the wisdom of progress, its intellectual and spiritual roots in the Enlightenment, and its inevitability, the future project of progress – failure really got going in the twentieth century, after the First World War of course, and onwards, through the rise of fascism, the Holocaust, the Terrors and the Gulags, postwar to the coups in Iran and Chile and what the CIA call the ‘backdrafts’ afterwards, and on via the two Iraq and previous and current Afghanistan Wars up to the present day. And now, facing the 2020’s and beyond…

Then about the failure in particular of writers of literature – see my September post – from Melville’s Bartleby The Scrivener (1856) down to the present day.

And about the failure of writers to read, and under what kind of compulsion are we (both to write and to read) to scribble and to decipher, suffering avoidant behaviour , since it would be worse not to, a ghostly Death State, akin to being locked up in an Asylum for all our years, the stopping of time.

…Back at the Booker, it all goes along amusingly enough; Self himself playing the royal jester to the crowd, lifting his book Umbrella as if he has just won the FA Cup, but more to show its primary function raised above our heads – to give shade.

Until for a moment the shade slips (and we stare blinking at the dangerous sun) “But No!…” Deborah Orr, who is married to Will Self, gave her own account of his winning the Booker Prize in Saturday’s Guardian; his compulsion to write against the terror of the abyss of failure (his previous book – a turkey); her falling ill with breast cancer, and undergoing treatment, lying in bed all day “passively letting chemotherapy drugs get on with attacking cancer cells”, while at the same time Self is working away upstairs.

And more that “I would prefer not to” – in Bartleby style whether as writer and reader -prefer not to write about or read. And as well for myself, since I have still not bought myself a copy of Umbrella, only looked at the covers and browsed through the first pages in a bookshop again yesterday, feeling under the compulsion of being a dutiful reader and intending to do so, but having failed so far, not until I have at least finished this bundle of writing ECHO EFECTS.

The Joys of Print

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Oct 192012

There is a rose, a single pink rose, on the table in a white vase, a dull yellow tablecloth, salt and pepper pots and a small white bowl stacked with those narrow paper containers of brown sugar. At three tables lone men sit with their laptops. The coffee is cooling. There is no sign of a grand crime of passion about to erupt. We will quietly get on with what we have come here to do. In my case writing these words which will, after a certain amount of thought, reflection and amending, hopefully within twenty four hours, be posted on the blog. Continue reading »

Oct 172012


ARCHIVE “Teeth of… Barbed Wire?

Critical, Radical, and Topical eg: How will we run from those who would sink their teeth into us? A dog, or a horse certainly… but I have never yet been chased by barbed wire desiring to sink its teeth into me. Or I dont think so. It is a frightening prospect.

I was last chased by a teeth-sinking dog in Italy 2 years ago. I was bicycling along a quiet country lane in the narrow flat land between sea and mountains north of Via Reggio. It is a contested and constricted territory (part of Liguria) in which the main north south arteries, railways, motorways, and other roads – and pilgrimage routes – have to fit themselves between the fingers of foothills extending into the narrow plain, and the competing multi-use coastal margin of beach resorts, homes, apartments, businesses and commercial properties (including the Carrara marble yards). Set among this sculptural patchwork is some prime agricultural land, and it was along a small road between flat fields, orchards,
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Critical Roots

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Oct 122012


We have been burning the lights here walkingtalkingwriting now for over six years. Blogging is pure energy isn’t it? Streams of electrons, blinking on off signals, the same way a string of Christmas lights works. On. Off. Over the years there have been a few gaps, when some of the bulbs in the string of lights burnt out, but over the last two years the on/off signals have been blinking away pretty regularly; a weekly flow of between 300 and 500 words, sometimes more, and at the rate of progress we have been going over the years, there must be over 100,000 words on this blog archive.

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Ticking Boxes

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Oct 122012

It was quite a journey. This much was apparent from his white faced collapse. He seemed to look past me into some distance that I was unable to encompass, to find an image or a representation of what he might be seeing. But I knew that he had made this extraordinary journey for me, or at least out of his sense of what a father is. Or could be. Or should be. The bringer of blessings. To come down out of the mountains, through the white swirling clouds, winding along the scarcely known pathways, to leave behind this other world which he had arrived in, years before, exhausted, after tramping through the damp forests, the maze of heavy foliage, tendrils, vines, past the temptations of Bacchus, the soaring spirit of Apollo, the final days, the slippage, consciousness sliding into pervading darkness. What happened then? A howling wind? A fall into emptiness? The long habit of walking taking over, making the journey automatic; the trappings of technocratic modernity long past, gone, dissolved – leaving the steady never ending pace of walking: alone but always keenly aware of the way. Continue reading »