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quote of the week

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s uncanny how it will now get on your nerves.” –Sandra Newman.

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recognition

S’s miniature dachsund chases a fox across the common. The fox, which has a dead rat in its mouth, increases its pace slightly above a walk and the dachsund on its two-inch legs immediately begins to fall behind, looking crestfallen. “This crestfallenness,” I suggest, “seems to indicate a more socially complicated transaction than first appears. It must always have been perfectly clear to the dachsund, for instance, that it wasn’t going to get any of the rat.” “The tragedy of miniature dachsunds,” S agrees, “is that they are only ever looking for one thing: recognition as dogs.”

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a happy new year to all our customers

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photo: Cath Phillips

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2012

Best nonfiction of the year: Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways. Best novel of the year: Will Eaves, This Is Paradise. Best short fiction of the year: David Constantine, Tea at the Midland. Best fiction debut: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town. Best rediscovery: Narrative Discourse, Gerard Genette. Best film: Amour, Michael Haneke (best cinema, The Gate). Best social media of the year: Twitter. Best hot snacks of the year: Penn Ponds car park, Richmond Park. Best new place: the Long Mynd. Best return of the year: S, from Spain. Best news of the year: can’t tell you yet. Wish I’d done more: running.

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oh fuck off

ely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? puerile waste really, personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, surely? personal taste, sur

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LIGHT

The light roared in on him unconfined: he felt it on his skin, he heard it as a sound. It was light unburdened, light like a substance: real light.

He had no idea where he was. He felt the most extraordinary sense of surprise and wonder and delight. He laughed. “Where am I ?” he said. “Am I dead ?”

Light on audiobook, at Neil Gaiman Presents.

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raspberry flavoured nondoms

All the imaginary reviews including the one(s) I forgot to add yesterday.

In other news, the UK fails its quality of life test. Who’s surprised. Brits live in hutches on a petrol station forecourt at the edge of a hypermarket car park or an airport. They seem to like it there. They eat a slurry of reclaimed meat. A few hundred yards away it’s possible to see, through the fog of diesel particulates, an eight lane road along which race the nondoms & celebrities in their SUVs, off to view their money in another country. That’s the entertainment. Behaviour is controlled by cctv & peer pressure, mediated by liars who regularly tap phones & supply the results to the police. The rules are simple. Actually, there’s only the one, & when it’s delivered, it’s delivered in a dead but somehow startled tone: if you want anything better you have to pay more. Quality of life–quality of anything–is a feature of the premium package, not the one you signed for. I don’t think you’ll find it says anywhere that you’ll actually get the thing the ad said we were selling.

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merrill garbus

“Being the woman I grew up to be, there is a lot of apologising for myself and making sure that everyone else is OK, and I have to get out of that frame in order to perform.”

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things to do when you’re alive again

Go to the park every day & read in the sunshine.

Clean everything.

Throw away unwanted things.

Update your source material files. Cull your old short story files & open fresh ones.

Let new ideas in.

Go camping. Go walking. Go to the sea.

Go somewhere new.

Write.

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tramps over travel writers

Because, “mad or chill/obsessed with angels/or machines,/the final wish/is love”. It’s freezing cold in here & upstairs one of F’s students is playing Three Blind Mice on the keyboard over & over. I’m making lists of authors, carefully grouped. Ginsberg, Burroughs, Pynchon is one group, for instance; but Burroughs, Pynchon, Denis Johnson, Robert Stone, that’s a whole other thing. Turgenev, Chekhov, Mansfield, Isherwood, Bates, is an aspect or axis; Turgenev, Chekhov, Gorki, WH Davies, Genet, Eric Muspratt, that’s another. Are you going to put Burroughs in there with these guys ? How can you not ? Well, it’s as much of a problem as, Are you going to, at some point, admit that you need to make a bundle which includes Robert Stone & Charles Williams ?–which you should, really, if you think about it. The writer who appears in the highest number of bundles, over the longest number of years, is that your “favourite” writer ? Or is that the writer who appears in the fewest ? Or is the writer who’s your “favourite” the one you forgot when you were 13, because this is what happened: one day a mysterious book with no dust jacket, no blurb, no author’s name, no title on the spine, appeared on the library shelves; you read it & have been seeking it since in everything you read or watch or listen for, in everything that’s invented & everything that isn’t. You’ve been trying to write it into existence again, between covers that aren’t any colour at all. It was the Robert Johnson moment in your life, everyone’s had one.

Reading, Poe’s Children, ed Straub. Listening to: “Like a Rolling Stone”, on repeat. Here’s a picture for you, thick frost on the balcony, bright sun in the tideway just past these streets, a single contrail diagonal to all else; a piece of medieval-looking scaffolding, up against the next house along like a thousand years of logic. The usual obsessive compulsive morning in village Barnes.

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