Saturday, August 14, 2010

unreal city














“Like a man travelling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.”


The summer cools and the west wind brings back the moist air again. A pattern seems to have formed here over the last few years: a dry and hot early summer followed by a cloudy and rainy August - just in time to slightly spoil the school holidays for the children who will be back at school in September when the weather clears again for a nice bit of Indian summer. You get two months of pretty much unbroken sunlight and then people complain when the rain comes again, as if we don't need the rain. Weather predictions are rarely accurate so all rights are reserved etc.

English people are fairly obsessed with the weather and any small conversation can at first involve a few straightforward remarks about the weather of the day, as people are unthreatened by this comforting cliche. Anything you say beyond that is your own lookout. As someone once pointed out, the english always complain about the weather but no-one does a damn thing about it.

Flow time flow, a river of perpetual now, our dreams of the future like leaves that are carried away and disappear under the bridge.

All the things you could be by now if Sigmund Freud's wife was your mother. I don't know about being obsessed with the weather, it's songs that always seem to be on this brain and any phrase spoken or image observed might remind me of a song lyric. What is all this garbage that swirls around the brain? Lyrics from the should-be long forgotten Netherlandic entry into the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest. I haven't seen TV for a few years now but I can still find myself humming the tunes from adverts of the 1970's and it's doubtful I'll be able to shake them off now. I do actually notice what's going on around me when I'm out walking but it's strange what else enters the thoughts at these random moments.

A mental map of the area I lived in 25 years ago, most of the geography in reality now probably changed beyond all recognition. The exact placing of about 10,000 items in a supermarket of the past. Round and round in the fog it all swirls. There's too much information. There's too much dis/mis-information and there's also a lot of seemingly useless information.

How the world became plastic. How to win friends. How to fool most of the people. How to make a reality that falls apart after a few days. So out again now, and cloaking myself in the beautiful fog.

10 comments:

evat said...

Hi john , it seems short summer that you have there in Devon, we have dry , hot , long one here in syria ,nice small plants grow under the trees at your beautifull ,foggy forest , well ,it seems frightening place in this weather,but even that , after yours photos ,anyone will be excited to go there ,and enjoy walking . nice photos .

nobody said...

Ayah! A weird shimmy hit my eyes when they lit upon the words 'unreal city' and the picture immediately below it. It was very odd, like something had moved. Weirdly enough it was the perfect beginning to the rest of the pix and the text. Very good John. It had that vibe to it.

I just came over from dyslexiaisokhere and it struck me that your blog is closer to hers than first glance would suggest. Perhaps the differences come down to youth and 'Finnishness', ha ha.

Anyway I did like this John. Oh, and I liked last week's too in spite of the fact that I didn't comment. Somewhat dizzy, me.

john said...

Hi Evat and thanks. We still have a bit of summer left and we have had a good summer this year, sometimes we don't get a summer at all or so it seems.

It's not too frightening but then I enjoy the fog and how it changes a place. There are lots of good plants under the trees. We have been up on the little moor here picking whortle berries.

Whortleberries are the local wild blueberries; very sweet and tasty but very small so they take a long time to pick. They also stain very well so you end up with dark crimson fingers and a black tongue if you eat them. Thanks again Evat.

john said...

Cheers nobody and thank'ee

Yes I think dislexiaisokhere might possibly be a bit younger than me by the look of them. She certainly has a nice wide angle lens there at the moment, it's good stuff alright and I like the writing. I try to tone down the weirdness.

I get to see about one movie a month and last night it was Melvilles Le Cercle Rouge. He's a cheery chap that Melville.

Over last Christmas I got to catch up on a load of Korean movies which I thoroughly enjoyed and would like to see more of. Joint Security Area etc. but the other one I wanted to see was Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring, but not possible so far, I don't know if it's any good but it looked interesting to me.

Have you written any film reviews lately nobody? this was the stuff that got me into your blog as they were very good and I haven't even been over there for ages to see if you've written another. I should go and have a look really. I'm such a lazy cHope all good there with you nobody and hey! on WRH again! Does that keep you busy on the comments? Cheers for now m'dears and ta again.

nobody said...

Thanks matey, I guess I ought to do some more reviews. The only problem is that Hollywood films are all a bit too obvious now and the worthy non-Hollywood efforts are really difficult to write about. Otherwise I know what you mean. In terms of me reading my own stuff, I kind of like them the best.

Also, I looked at all your pix again here John and I'm not sure if it's an auto-suggestion due to your title 'unreal city' or due to the photos themselves (or both) but I just can't help but look at them without feeling that they're populated. With ghosts, natch (they being foggy and all).

Do you know what I mean? It's just the fog surely?

john said...

It's the fog I expect, it plays tricks sometimes.

It's been foggy here a lot lately, it's like living in a sort of limbo though a big storm is forecast for tonight with gale force wind and maybe three inches of rain.

I love storms but we now have the additional possibility of a large cracked chimney falling onto us, or as the refrain from an old popular tune has it; "Whats she gonna look like with a chimney on her?" I'm sure we'll hear it on it's way down.

I get more of a sensation of spirits in the air with storms really. Without wishing to sound too peculiar these intense winds and their movements do seem to suggest certain shapes as they pass through.

A few years ago I posted Vernon Hills illustrations to the Arcadian Calendar. I might dig these up again and repost them as they describe such things beautifully.

I've been reading books again. I won't say what but it involves lot's of Main Topgallants and staysails and suchlike. New Holland eh? first I've 'eard of it.

nina said...

Beautiful work, beautiful essay. I love fog.
Thank you John, nina

john said...

Cheers and thanks Nina. It's difficult to write sometimes isn't it? Recently we have the flooding in Pakistan and I find myself unable to say anything useful or to any possible affect. The scale of such a disaster is unimaginable.

What can one say about such things? I can only think that in the press here the flood in Pakistan was, from the beginning, treated in a very dubious manner which is unusual for such a disaster but must suit certain agendas to push these lines. I'm almost surprised that large numbers of troops haven't been flown in yet.

Greece has been interesting although it seems difficult to get much information about what is actually going on there a lot of the time. By pulling the money and jobs from places people seem to be being pushed into a confrontational position.

I have very much enjoyed seeing your photographs recently Nina and often come by to read the discussions at your place, even if I don't say much. Cheers for now.

Oh! and being a bit poor we didn't have a maid but my grandmother who lived in Singapore in the 30's had one. In Singapore they were known as an amah.

Joe's blog said...

wow...wonderful photography.....

john said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message Joe. Hope all going well where you are. cheers, john.