the m john harrison blog

Month: June, 2011

wish I was here (2)


second brood

The birds are reclaiming the garden. A pair of robins nest in the ivy perhaps eight feet from my window. It’s their second brood. I watch the adults going in and out, but can’t quite see the chicks. The old cat is no threat to them any more. If he’s out there at all, he sleeps or sits there blinking benignly. Everything is very overgrown this year.

Rereading: Robert Aickman, Cold Hand in Mine (with its epigraph from Sacheverell Sitwell, “In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation”). “The Swords” still seems like the most perfect grotesque story ever written, deep sexual politics, body horror & some inexplicable edge surgically inserted between the mimetic & the surreal. Soul horror. It would be nice to get back to the out-&-out Gothic. Watching: Engrenages, series 2. Guilty pleasure: Faber Finds. Relieved to be inside: the last chapter of Pearlant.

I have to work–speaking of the guilty pleasure–to stay off the new Vivian Maier site. Though in a way I still associate the Maier experience with Maloof’s original blog. & now there’s a book, for those who still like them. & for those who still leave their houses, she’s at the London Street Photography Festival, the German Gymnasium, Kings Cross, July 1 – July 24.

far away

“Faraway and once-upon-a-time are code words for Here and Now.”
–John Berger

the struggle to invent

Amid growing unease in the fantasy community, meticulously collected evidence suggests that the blogger known as “M John Harrison” is actually a 13 year old Chinese worldbuilding otaku based in Swindon, England.

broken symmetries

“…pimps, pickpockets, carpenters, finger-men, chorus dolls, housekeepers, second story men, watchmen, cops, priests soldiers–Mildred–The Dwarf–The Man In The Palm Beach Suit–The Masked Man In The Car–the story that was coming to life under his fingers… Truth cannot be symmetrical, he told himself. As he rounded the hill, he saw all of them down there below him. Not one of them but would die. He had seen no danger in toying with them like a monster cat in a box of mice. But their cries were beginning to worry him.” –Kenneth Patchen, The Journey of Albion Moonlight, his italics, my ellipsis.

enclosure 2011

BBC discovers nature “is worth billions” to UK:

Then we’ll reform the way you receive those benefits. There may have to be a small charge. Think of it as a land tax for people who don’t own any land. An equivalent of the tax relief we’ll be giving the people who do. Oh, & by the way: say goodbye to the National Parks.

bus station

Notebook entry 1991:

    Bus stations are places of death. The dying are drawn to bus stations at night. The dead are drawn back to them. Under the fluorescent lights it is difficult to tell which are which.

Under that, heavily underlined twice: This is about people rather than bus stations.

Sometimes you wonder about yourself.