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vendredi 21 novembre 2003

It's hard to stay gloomy forever with an iPod.
Mine is now full, so it will take me a long while to listen to all those CDs I bought during a frenzied period in preparation for my old age.
I was going to send a flower to the Wildcat just as she called and asked me whether I was ready to "stop that nonsense about..."
I am not ready to stop it, no.
And have no intention of being ready at any time in the foreseeable future, since I really can't think of anybody else with whom I'd rather share that old age.
We're not there yet either.
This she now knows, but I don't know why she considered the way I made it clear worth tape recording, except that she couldn't. I forgot to add that if she thinks I'd make a rotten father and all that she had better say so forthwith, but you can't fit everything into one rant.

coreopsisAnyway, that's by the by and she gets her flower, which I culled in Buckinghamshire -- as far as I can make out. The Coreopsis, I learn, is the "official wildflower" of Florida. Somebody may know whether this particular kind is a 'calypso' or a 'tinctoria', or both...
Darkness has fallen and even if I've been afflicted by days of light deprivation, rather the dark than the damp grey.
Even where the Wildcat is, nasty as well as cold weather is coming and she was sitting on a train because her boss had informed her that she was welcome to spend another night somewhere nice, "at your own expense."
He, of course, can afford to be mean...
"This isn't what it was meant to be about," she moaned, meaning the job, life in general and intolerable parts of the world in particular.
"It's meant to be about edible food, sunshine and remotely friendly people!"
Dream on, darling, and take me with you!

I should have taken you with me on a trip to the rue de Rocher, which now has three distinctions. It's the only street I know in Paris with buildings making each end of a bridge crossing another road. Life must be fun for the postman since the ground floor in one building is on one road while the second storey is on another.
It is where wise visitors can find a little restaurant called 'Capriccio', where Enrico greeted me with the warmest 'Ciao!!' I've had in many a month and made me regret already having eaten my dessert. This generally cheery fellow is the best Italian cook in Paris. How do I know? Because he has never ceased to tell me so ever since the Kid and I first made acquaintance with him, his wife and their daughter in Morocco many years ago.
And because it tastes true.
And Rocher Street is where I found the honey shop at the crest of the hill.
What a honey shop, too, every conceivable variety of the substance, I had no idea there was such a range! "I've come in quest of royal jelly," I told the elderly lady in charge, who was a robust advertisement for her fare.
This was the search my friend Jean-Paul launched me on several weeks back. I found the honey shop by way of the French beekeepers' society. The woman and her husband looked appalled when I said that I'd already tried royal jelly in powder capsules from a chemist (at considerable expense), confirming that such products were confidence tricks in which all active ingredients were long since deceased, including the mystery three percent.
The real thing, in small bottles from the fridge with even tinier dosage spoons, was also horrendously expensive, but I bought three. One for J.-P. himself, since if what he said was right and I shall be flying after three days of it I'd rather he came with me.
And one for the Wildcat, if it works. I'll let you know what the food of queens does (or doesn't) in a few days.
She also needs a miracle.

"Royal jelly consumption has recently been linked with acute asthma, anaphylaxis and death," warns PubMed from Hong Kong, while Britain's Food Standards Agency advises against consumption of such produce from China.
One health site at Columbia University says it's probably a scam. But I don't care. J.-P. swears by it and he's a very sensible, down-to-earth kind of chap. Even when flying...

The iPod took me up with Curved Air ... 'On Air'. Not till '97 were the BBC sessions of this fine band released on the Strange Fruit label, but they were recorded between 1971 and 1976, which meant I was there for the last of these live performances.
"Progressive, Marianne, that's what we used to call this kind of music when I was a kid and John Peel was the late-night DJ to listen to," I've told the Kid, who shakes her head in pity. All she knows of John Peel is the mellow fellow who presents 'Home Truths' and is married to Sheila, "known affectionately as the Pig."
Largely passed over by critics, 'On Air' is a bit dodgy for the first two tracks including their famous 'Vivaldi' (in recording quality too), but takes off with the third number, 'It Happened Today,' and then simply soars, like Darryl Way's electric plexiglass violin and Sonja Kristina's wonderful voice, which sometimes flies and sometimes gets too raunchy and gutsy for the tender, impressionable youth I was then.
Another gem off the iPod comes from Terry Riley, who gave that band their name with his Rainbow in Curved Air. I treasure a recording of the first piece of minimalist music I ever heard, In C, which is only a few years younger than me. Riley's trend-setting piece gets a performance as striking as it is original from the Shanghai Film Orchestra, no less, on traditional Chinese instruments (Celestial Harmonies label).
The third of four (re)discoveries to mention comes from Africa, because I have one thing in common with Lee in Picadilly Circus, who was "completely shocked when I think that I had once lived without knowing Fela's music" (Odessa Street). Me too.
When she typed that, most of her collection of the late great Nigerian was on vinyl, she says, but one of my favourite Fela CDs lives up to its name, the 'Best of the Black President'. My own copy of this superb double album has a nicer cover than the one at Amazon, but of course it's scarcely the packaging that counts.
Today's final choice to set me flying comes from the chill north. I don't think guitarist and composer Terje Rypdal has cut a bad album yet on the ECM label, and Jon Christensen is one of the most brilliant but subtle drummers around. When these two get together with trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg the results are very special.
If you're lucky enough to catch them live, they and their friends are priceless modern jazzmen, but the studio album Skywards is already, like one of the tracks on it, 'Out of this World.'

8:30:54 PM  link   your views? []

This morning's mail delivered a surprising batch of comments on the Natural "intelligence" story on Bejan I also submitted to Blogcritics.
A good debate took off there on what the clerics used to call "the argument for design".
As to the rest of the mail, apologies to the handful of people I've yet to answer. Now that my ISP seems, touch wood, to have sorted out most of its technical glitches, I was inundated yesterday by a big backlog.
The Wildcat didn't sound best pleased last night when I for a while gave answering most of these priority over the need for us to talk.
But she's a lucky lass, has gone off on a brief mission to one of her favourite capitals well to the east of here, where it's apparently even sunny!
I'm not at my best; it's that horrible time of the month again, a new moon imminent. I felt like it was for tomorrow, but it seems it's not until Monday. And the weather is grey gloom, has been for days now...
Oh well. The Kid won't be coming this weekend. The grippe has arrived. I've not seen much sign of it in Paris, but both the Kid and her mum have been confined to their abode near Versailles since the start of the week by a bad bout of 'flu.
Best that the Kid's not around when the plumbers are, anyway. Yesterday they punched a nice little hole through my bathroom wall from the stairwell outside. When they're working on some new sewage tubing on the stairs, this hole gives them a good view inside the bathroom. It will be there for at least a week.

At the canteen (update), Sam is disgusting. He needed the hole truth. All right. The role of the hole is to receive a pipe which will in due course evacuate... you know. It's thus just by where you ... you know ... sit for a read. Which means, yes, that when I just can't wait any longer and the plumber won't go away, I have to put a warning note through the hole. "Bombs away!"
Ca suffit, non?

1:07:31 PM  link   your views? []

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