Month: November 2019

The High Country

Psychic investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by allies and adversaries. Featured characters include Annabella Lwin, Mark E Smith, Donna Tartt, Dashiell Hammett, Robocop, Patricia Highsmith, Cornell Woolrich, Robert Morley, Ming the Merciless, Jean Seberg, Del The Automator

As a favour to my sister, I invited Mark Gavigan – one of her clients and, in Christine’s words, ‘a real Western buff’ – to participate in tonight’s show, a tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah. Arriving ten minutes late and already unsteady on his feet, Gavigan embarked on a long, incoherent explanation – on air – throughout which he made frequent use of the ‘f’ word. At this juncture, at least, he was still affable. As the show continued, he became increasingly rancorous, at one point demanding an explanation as to why I ‘kept banging on about Sam fucking Peckinpah.’

The Omega Man

Psychic investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by allies and adversaries. Featured characters include Patricia Highsmith, Donna Tartt, Roots Manuva, Susan Tully, Judge Dredd, Robocop, Hayley Mills, Shirley Jackson, William Reid and Keith Harris and Orville.

Spencer and I watched the Omega Man. I can’t help but feel sorry for Charlton Heston. Even his once fabled physique seems inadequate – as he pulls off his shirt to display an expanse of vaguely defined midriff, he resembles nothing so much as a father who persistently embarrasses his children in public.

How He Played the Game…

Psychic Investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by adversaries and allies. Featured characters include Donna Tartt, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Highsmith, Vladimir Nabokov, Shirley Jackson, TV Smith, Roots Manuva, John Kennedy Toole, Judge Dredd, Keith Harris and Orville, Honey Bane

Since introducing Jackson to the table tennis club, I’ve had to warn him about gamesmanship on four separate occasions. Team Drumfeld has written rules that specifically forbid offences involving goading or distraction of opponents. Over-celebration is also discouraged. Although there are no written guidelines on winning gracefully, common sense should suffice: a ‘high five’ exchanged with a doubles’ partner is acceptable; a fist belligerently pumped in the direction of a vanquished opponent, Jackson’s customary gesture of triumph, is not.

‘Memories of Frost’

Psychic Investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by characters associated with film noir and crime fiction. Featured characters include Orson Welles in Touch of Evil, James Stewart in Rear Window, Hayley Mills in Tiger bay, Richard Attenborough in brighton Rock, Clifton Webb in Laura, Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter, roman Polanski in Chinatow, Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple, Ivor Novello as The Lodger, Patricia Highsmith, Lino Ventura, Alain Delon Gene Tierney

Spent the morning reading some of Anne-Marie’s poems. They seem very accomplished – sensitive without being cloyingly so and illuminated by flashes of insight. In ‘Mission Statement’, for example, a cat sits on the window ledge, staring back at the narrator with an expression of ‘insolence and regret’. This, I assume, is a metaphor for friendships lost and opportunities squandered. Later, in the same poem, she follows ‘a shadowed path, leaving parts of myself in its puddles.’ Is this, I wonder, the path that led to Steven?

Book Group – Death on Credit

Psychic Investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by allies and adversaries. Featured characters include Chester Himes, Roots Manuva, Judge Dredd, Patricia Highsmith, Dennis Hopper, Donna Tartt, Genesis P Orridge and Jean Seberg

Tonight’s book group was at Christine’s. A pointless and rancorous exchange about Celine’s ‘Death on Credit’ – my suggested novel – which nobody else had bothered to finish. Pauline, in fact, confessed – apparently without embarrassment – that she hadn’t even started, an admission I thought should have invalidated her presence at the meeting. The evening might have been wasted were it not for Izzie’s revelation that she went to school with Anne-Marie Osler. “We weren’t particular friends, but she was nice,” she said. “Jessica keeps up with her – she writes poetry…”

On W.B. Yeats and the Perils of Automatic Writing

Psychic investigator Hamilton Coe surrounded by icons of horror. Featured characters include H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Vampira, Donald Pleasence, Pennywise, Joan Crawford, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Dave Vanian, Vincent Price, Pola Negri, Michael Redgrave as Maxwell Frere, Children of the Damned

In 1916, W.B. Yeats, having been rejected by Maud Gonne and her daughter Iseult*, proposed to Bertha Hyde-Lees (familiarly known as Georgie). If Yeats was hoping that one or other of the Gonnes, dismayed by the prospect of his imminent unavailability, would finally surrender to his advances, he was to be disappointed. If anything, both seemed relieved by the apparent transfer of his affections. Worse still, Georgie unexpectedly accepted his proposal with the consequence that within months the poet, chagrined and bewildered, found himself honeymooning with a woman whose very presence was a source of irritation. Having already used Georgie shabbily, Yeats, whose advanced years came without the compensation of sensitivity or experience, had little compunction about confessing the cause of his unhappiness. Understandably bemused by developments, Georgie struggled to compose her thoughts by writing them down. Distracted by Yeats’s self-absorbed interruptions, it suddenly occurred to her that, while she continued to write, the words no longer came of her own volition – she was merely a conduit for some other source of inspiration. Pointing out to her husband the vaguely promising sentiments ” With the bird all is well at heart ” and ” You will neither regret nor repine ” she triggered an obsession that would dominate the rest of their lives.