All That Remains Is Time

“I despise stories,” Béla Tarr stated. “They mislead people into believing something has happened. In fact, nothing really happens as we flee from one condition to another. All that remains is time. This is probably the only thing that’s still genuine—time itself: the years, days, hours, minutes and seconds.”

From the new introduction to the new edition of Transcendental Style in Film by Paul Schrader (UK) (US), which I’ve been re-reading.

Today I am amused by Zine Lab, a site for making “interactive” digital zines. Not a space I ever thought I’d see another player in.

This peculiar moment I’m having where I’m thinking a lot about personal digital instantiations: I could do without it.  All that remains is time, and I don’t have enough of it on any given day to be farting around with this stuff right now.

(Bela Tarr was wrong. Things happen all the time.  Stories are how we arrange them to make sense of them.)

Moving Moments In Golden Light to my phone.

Photo below taken yesterday, when it was 5 C and foggy.

 

Broadcast And Transmission

Universe is a fun bit of thinking — building websites on your phone, in an app.  Which means updating your website easily in an app, in theory as easy as using Instagram.  Certainly a few steps shorter than WordPress.  It could even be an amusing way to do a status page.  It doesn’t spit out an RSS feed or have anything in its code that Feedburner can grab, so it can’t really talk to the outside world — you have to subscribe to Universe pages inside the app, like following someone on a social network. Which isn’t ideal.

I feel like I want to see some more thought around getting the fuck off social networks but being able to maintain lines of connection between friends, comrades and fellow-travellers in addition to the Republic Of Newsletters and the Isles Of Blogging.  Status pages as the signals from the Invisible Monastery, or, possibly, Hobo Code marks on the walls of the web.  Planning for the oncoming dark age?

Radio beacons.

I dunno.  I feel like it’s either a fragment of an idea for maintaining connections while routing around toxic internet, or it’s MySpace pages.  Or possibly my brain is playing with this because it doesn’t want to work on the thing in front of it, but surely not, that never happens

SHUT UP

 

I Will Kill My Phone If It Shouts At Me Again

It is reported that in the US alone, the average adult spends two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. That is eight minutes longer than Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker.

– from DIGITAL TARKOVSKY, Metahaven (UK) (US)

I really like that idea.  That is a clever way to frame it.

Also from that book, which I’m still reading:

Our addiction to the mobile device’s platform services then enmeshes us in time intervals that run between our cravings for updates, shorter or longer latency periods when no updates happen, the moments of actual updates, and the velocities of all other events in our lives and environments. Here, also, things take time.

Having the kind of job that requires me to be in communication and make decisions as well as just, you know, writing, means that some days it becomes stupidly hard to get the phone out of my hand.  It is, yes, the taking of time – the subtraction of time.  And, as I find myself saying to people more and more, if the phone is in my hand I cannot type pages on the laptop.

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m a professional emailer and texter and I’m just venting about it.  Roll on next week, when America has their random holiday and everyone fucks off for — oh, wait, turns out I have meetings next week —

It’s a great life, but sometimes you really just want to be a writer for a while.

Listening to: TRAITS by Clovvder.

Inbox: 31 when I went to bed. I don’t dare look at it yet.

 

Movement

Actually managed to walk yesterday.  31 minutes, down to the overlook above the water and up to my preferred watering hole for a healthful glass of red wine.  Except that one glass of red wine isn’t healthy any more, and is now considered a thing that will kill me. Fuck it. Life without red wine would be awful.  And longer while being awful.  I remember the story of John LeMesurier being told to stop drinking or it would kill him immediately.  After a year, he told his family he just wasn’t happy without a drink.  So he started drinking again and lived another ten years or something, entirely healthily by all accounts until he, in his own words, “conked out.”

Today is three days into a medication course I have to take for some opportunistic disease bullshit I picked up at the end of my bout with this year’s Death Flu, and after that it’s time for this year’s round of blood tests, since I remain a Medical Mystery and now I am of an age where I need to be screened for diabetes every now and then.  Pity they told me that after I was sick with flu for four weeks and ate cakes because I was miserable.  Whoops.

Check out the light over the water yesterday.

READING: THE 36 DRAMATIC SITUATIONS, Mike Figgis (UK) (US)

LISTENING: Deep State Radio

Inbox condition: CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN

The Status Page

I was clicking around, looking for something, when I came across this old post by Merlin Mann:

Lots of sites have status pages. I wish more people had them.

My friend, Leslie, used to do an excellent one that included updates on her beverages, hair, and stress level.  I manually update a stripped-down status that shows roughly how busy I am.

Yeah, status pages for people should be more popular, and I also wish they were a bit easier to make and maintain. It would be a nifty way to display information

Which was exactly the opposite of what I was looking for, which was an actual status page system, that perhaps tied into IFTTT (which is hard, as I think IFTTT charges services money for their integration).  I no longer wish to be an Extremely Online Person, but I would like to have an easily (or daily-automatically) updated status page showing my email load, general working condition, location and available hours.

I may just start a second blot.im instance and update a plaintext file every day.  But, of all the things microblogs and newsfeeds squashed, it’s kind of sad that you don’t see these personal, eccentric things much any more.

The thought was started by whereisfelix.today , a clever piece of coding I cannot approach or grasp, and the emulator projctr.io , which appears to be a lot less functional but you can’t get under the hood to see what they’re got unless you pay them seven Yanqui dollar.

 

PODCAST SUBSCRIPTION LIST 1NOV18

 

DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD

‘Don’t you have a torch?’ he asked. Of course I had one, but I wouldn’t be able to tell where it was until morning, in the daylight. It’s a feature of torches that they’re only visible in the daytime.

DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, by Olga Tokarczuk as translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.  It’s a crime story.  It’s also a study in isolation and mental illness.  And a masterclass in literary eccentricity.

He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.

The protagonist’s narration is just fascinating, and a joy to read. She lives on a plateau, somewhere in southern Poland near the Czech border, shares with a few other hermit types and a lot of animals.  One night, one of those hermit types is found to have died. And the protagonist finds evidence suggesting it may not have been a simple death.

I don’t want to say a lot more about it, save that the mystery – and the deaths that follow – tangle up the supernatural with the ecological and the social and even the literary, without ever really breaking the spell of one estranged and lonely and ageing woman who is a head smarter than anyone else she knows dealing with loss and damage and distance and an unexplained death that nobody else seems to want to solve.

Everything was starting to crackle, I could sense a feverish vibration under the grass, under the layer of earth, as if vast, underground nerves, swollen with effort, were just about to burst. I was finding it hard to rid myself of the feeling that under it all lurked a strong, mindless will, as repulsive as the force that made the Frogs climb on top of each other and endlessly copulate in Oddball’s pond.

It is marvellous and kind of heartbreaking and another phenomenal choice from one of my favourite publishers, Fitzcarraldo.  There’s nothing else quite like it.

The fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future is a terrible mistake in the programming of the world. It should be fixed at the first opportunity.

DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, by Olga Tokarczuk (UK) (US)

 

Usual Hermitage Bullshit Notice

A note mostly to myself — like pretty much all the notes here — to mark that on Saturday at 1201am I turned off my social media. I have a private IG account for looking at nice pictures, and Twitter lists for news, but I’m not posting on or participating in the public internet for the next several months.  I tell people on my newsletter, all the time, to tune their internet connections until they are useful and fun.  The public internet stopped being fun for me some years ago, and I disconnect from it for half of each year at least.  I like newsletters, blogs and RSS, podcasts, email, messaging apps and complete thoughts.  The public network turned into something I don’t really enjoy or get anything out of.  I still have the autoposters that sling links to these posts on to social networks, because, fuck it, why not?  Maybe you followed one of those, read this, and thought for five seconds about what you get out of the public network.  Maybe you like things just the way they are. That’s fine.   Maybe you had another thought about how you could make your experience better. These are all just tools, and you can fiddle around with them any way you like.

Anyway.  I write in my journal here in the morning when I remember to.

Reading: DIGITAL TARKOVSKY, Metahaven (UK) (US)

 

Star Fear Halloween Summer

Back from London, where the weather was really disturbingly good.  Like, 25 Celsius in the middle of October good.  Very worrying. The rain came back the day after, but it was still 15, 16 degrees.  We’ve been feeling climate change for the last ten years, but Saturday should have scared the shit out of everybody.  More than when it hit 35 over the summer.

It didn’t, of course, and London was as littered with half-dressed Saturday night drunks as you’d expect.  Some places still had radiators and heat lamps on, “because it’s October,” despite the fact that we’ve had summers in previous years that were not as warm as last Saturday.  One year a frost in June killed all the seedlings the kid and I had planted and raised.

One of these days I’m going to buy a farm, convert a chunk of the land for solar and let the local permaculture people experiment with the rest.  I don’t want to go all Dark Mountain here, but if you haven’t noticed by now that we’re all in trouble, then I’m not waiting for you any more.

 

Recently read and loved: DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD, Olga Tokarczuk (UK) (US)

 

Recent Quotes 26sep18

When he was young and dreaming of the future, hadn’t he imagined an ideal profession which unfortunately doesn’t exist in real life? He hadn’t told anyone, and never uttered these words aloud, even to himself, but he would have liked to be a ‘mender of destinies’.

MAIGRET AND THE HEADLESS CORPSE, Georges Simenon

‘4′ 33″’ is not about silence at all, in fact, but the impossibility of it. This was something he discovered on visiting an anechoic chamber at Harvard University, supposedly a sensory deprivation experience, but during which he was aware of two droning sounds, high and low. These were, the duty engineer told him, the sounds of his nervous system and blood circulation respectively. And so the point of ‘4′ 33″’ is that it is the ultimate ambient piece: it consists of whatever sounds happen to fill the listening space while the musicians do not play – a passing car or overhead plane, perhaps, a shuffle, a cough or simply the sound of the venue’s central heating system. These sounds are now in the frame, just like the reflections of the observers of Rauschenberg’s black and white canvasses became their (albeit transient) subject matter.

MARS BY 1980, David Stubbs

‘My theory,’ Hole continued with an innocent smile, making him look like a boy trying to persuade his mother he should have an atomic bomb for Christmas, ‘is that…”

POLICE, Jo Nesbo

We no longer even make the mistake of the wild young ones, by claiming that our judgment is the last judgment or declaring that this is where the road ends.

THE WORLD GOES ON, Laszlo Krasznahorkai