the m john harrison blog

Month: May, 2011

bay 1987

A black dog runs across the sandy harbour in the blowing rain. Moored with weedy strands of rope against the absent water, the boats are canted at all angles on the sand, all colours, like a box of sweets, red and blue with fluorescent pink fenders, green and yellow with white numerals on the side. These vessels do not have bows raked like a barracuda’s jaw. They are stumpy and inelegant and made of wood. A hundred yards away the sea laps like a kitten. A day is sufficient to its own illusions. You can never recover the illusions of that day. Its sensual qualities–its received images and events, its particularities, the phenomenal evidence that convinces you it was a day at all–are as elusive as the emotional lenses you passed across them. It’s not just that you won’t see it that way twice. It’s that what you saw can never be duplicated either. Memory commits you to the nuance; the fog. If you act on memory you commit yourself on the basis of echoes: unpredictable, faint, fading even as they were generated. No basis on which to inch out across your life, and yet all you have. A woman walks across the sand now, with her shopping in a supermarket bag, and climbs into a boat. Pennants stream from the masts of the bigger vessels in the wind. The hovering gull is reflected for a second in the rain-polished flags of the esplanade before it creams away on urgent business, flying very straight and level over the surf shacks and on above the town, where it disappears among the roofs. Someone you know walks by hunched up against the rain and never looks up at the window where you sit looking out.

Watching: I’m Not There. Looking forward to: Spiral 1&2 on DVD. Guilty pleasure: The Journal of Albion Moonlight. Ben Tye is back, watching choughs at Here to go.


before you came along I had a canon but no matches

Spanish Harlem Incident
Chimes of Freedom
Love Minus Zero No Limit
Gates of Eden
It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Queen Jane Approximately
Desolation Row
Visions of Johanna
I dreamed I Saw St Augustine
All Along the Watchtower

Happy birthday, Bob.

no country for old men

I miss Ben Tye’s blog but here’s SteepEdge, his new project with Brian Hall, John Porter, Chris Bonington & Andrew Denton.

worldbuilding & l’ange du foyer

Don’t fauxthenticate. Don’t make a text that begs, “Believe in this, please believe in this.” Rationale is always the sound of the stuffing falling out, the sound of the failure of imaginative intensity. This doesn’t build a world: it acts by being present.