the m john harrison blog

Month: October, 2008

lp @ Cif

Lara Pawson blogs the French arms-to-Angola scandal over at the Guardian.


So if reality exists and if we will never be able to make an operational distinction between reality and information, the hypothesis suggests itself that reality and information are the same. We need a new concept which encompasses both. In a sense, reality and information are two sides of the same coin.

I feel that this is the message of the quantum.

–Anton Zeilinger

note to self

While Pony Boy, making coffee in the kitchen, murmurs Everything you look at’s art, I force myself to consider this: as you improvise your way to the whole, so the whole begins to control your improvisation. Some thinking like that would surely emerge through the “entries, exits, and doorways” –in purest moments of AE Van Vogt–of a third volume of Light: if there were any such thing. Every so often it would jump out & try to have sex with the reader.

Reading: Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson, The Rector’s Wife, Joanna Trollope. Listening to: Awkward Annie, Kate Rusby, Jackie Oates, Jackie Oates, & Dog House Music, Seasick Steve. Disappointed by The Passionate Friends, not half as good as Brief Encounter.

an imaginary review (3)

1973: The whole of a small desert town is inhabited by aliens who have taken on human form. They escaped the disaster that wiped out their planet, but denial & post traumatic stress have erased this from their memories. The TV series, based quite closely on the original film, constructs itself as a phased revelation of their state. Imperfect recollections of life and death on the alien world are seen to be symptoms of what look like new psychological disorders. Dr Bax Fermor, drawn to the desert by convoluted Lacanian flexures in his own personality, understands their situation by an intuitive leap, and becomes town psychiatrist. He must spend the rest of his life taking care of them–some he helps to remember, others he gently encourages to forget.

walking away with life

S over from Ireland, in transit twenty hours. She’s bought some wind chimes for her car. She’s handed on her Dublin music festival, stripped her life down. She’s going to California, then spend a year walking UK mainland long distance paths. We pitch her little MSR in the living room to get an idea of it. It’s a bivvy upgrade: there’s more room under the dining table. S says you need only what you need. She says it’s time. She says walking is about moving your life along. I say, Good that it comes with titanium pegs standard. I’m thinking of Jim Perrin, walking western coasts to alleviate his sense of loss, extend his sense of himself. Feel envious of them both.

places you didn’t think to look for yourself

Any town in the US. In the light falling horizontally along grey lapboards. In very fast light, as on any seafront. In the idea of coughing up your large organs due to drink even though you don’t drink very much. In a related feebleness of your own actions which is not physical. In a tendency to hate being followed, especially in October. In the sense of things adding up or ticking away or both. In such a perfect empathy with other people it enables you to do what they want before they know what it is. Birmingham. In any real sense of looking at yourself from outside. In the softness of your decisions. Most of Scotland. A tendency to copy down signage. In failures not your own which, when you read about them, make you feel uncomfortable for two days or give you a sense you are living out the ending of a Robert Stone novel. Any small town in which people’s lives are directly determined by local economics. In decaying trajectories. In Portsmouth. In real dejection, not just the kind we have now. In the sense that you have reduced your options according to an inner program you don’t understand but which is obvious to anyone who has known you longer than a year. In the failure to be shameless. In a concrete pipe, or on a large ship. In a Turkish film.