an act of putting-order-into-the-universe that I always find soothing

Traditional Saturday late rise and unhealthy breakfast. In some ways it’s the only way I can tell that a week has passed, particularly when I’m not at work. I’ve a list of things to do and end up doing something else instead. Indeed, the doing of something else instead is very likely the point of having the list in the first place.

I decide that if I want to get anything done, I should probably avoid picking up a guitar for a while, otherwise I might as well write the day off.

The something else is some tidying I’ve wanted to do – basically digging down to the piano in order to be able to play it. However, it also seems to end up involving decanting the contents of a box into either a smaller box or a bin bag. There’s also the inevitable byproduct of tidying (that is to say everything gets much, much messier for a while). Eventually, though, I seem to have reclaimed a sizeable chunk of living room, so victory. This chunk includes a box of stuff that I can either throw away or easily refile, which has been sitting there for a long time. Later it will strike me that there’s something symptomatic of my psychological state in that, and that possibly if I can connect our psychology and our stuff I might get a fairly lucrative decluttering book out of it.

There’s also a lot of ironing – which is an act of putting-order-into-the-universe that I always find soothing, in addition to which it means I have clean shirts to wear.

In the evening I take various things to various garbage receptacles and recycling bins, and get fish and chips, the other Saturday tradition. Followed by the highlights of the new Quay Brothers blu-ray. Which are many, especially the commentaries.

one extra accidental among five

On waking, a couple of things hanging over from yesterday – firstly, the realisation that a lot of upset about Modern Art or Conceptual Art is misplaced. Looking for inherent value in objects where there really isn’t supposed to be any. The really expensive stuff is just a token so that enormous amounts of money can be exchanged. I realise that this isn’t an original observation, but still. The other thing I noticed was that Carl André’s bricks look really tawdry and sad compared to the other stuff it’s alongside, and I suppose that’s what set the point off. People tend to see the neatly arranged pile of bricks and the fact that they’re in a gallery, and the large amount of money that was exchanged as separate things, and demand “Are these bricks worth that money?” Which is entirely missing the point: the bricks are a token that represents the exchange of money. It might as well be a potted plant or a hat or a piece of paper with the words TWO MILLION written on them. The actual statement of value is the financial one.

Strangely, it looks like the KLF were right all along.

I spend a lot of the day seeing what happens when you put a G# into C major (in addition to all the other notes you’d usually find there), and then putting the chords into Lilypond. This isn’t even on my to do list, but I do it anyway.

Anyway, what happens – if you’re interested – are strange things. It’s a bit much to get my head around and it’s only one extra accidental among five, and only one key among twelve. It’s certainly the sort of thing I’d have been better off experimenting with in my youth, when I had the time to waste.

Finally I get myself organised and go to get more coffee beans from Algerian Coffee, and on the way back get tomorrow’s breakfast and tonight’s dinner from Greensmith’s.

Dinner is an excellent steak, accompanied by a perfectly good wine. As with a lot of things, the price difference between he cheapest and the actually-quite-nice is a lot less than one thinks it ought to be. The meal costs about the same or a little less than the usual takeaway, which I ought to learn from. For the rest of the evening, the body is remembering how nice the steak was. Don’t often get gratitude from the body.

The rest of the evening is the usual desperate attempt to eke entertainment out of the television.


Still not quite managing to get into a proper morning routine.

Out of bed, coffee, then practising – I’ve let this also become a bit defocused. I’ve been trying to explore chromatic harmony (the chords you get if you add one passing note to a scale, for example C major plus C#), which was exciting and overwhelming at first, but today I realised could be just as poncey as it sounds if I don’t put some disclipline into it. Exactly what, though, escapes me.

I have a fairly lengthy shower, and put on a nice-ish suit in order to go out. First I deliver a prescription to be renewed (didn’t last long that time – either I’ve been taking more of them, or they gave me a lot fewer than they’re supposed to have done. Probably the former), then strolled up to Tate Modern.


Went to the Georgia O’Keefe, Wifredo Lam, Bhupen Khakhar exhibitions. I wasn’t familiar with O’Keefe apart from being vaguely aware of her reputation. Caught between enjoying the painting (particularly the earlier stuff), and finding it all a bit mundane. Perhaps it’s my mood – if my fallow period continues, I might try to make it back in the next couple of weeks see if I change my mind. I’d seen the Khakhar before, and enjoy colours mostly. I derive the most fun from Lam’s cartoonish surrealism, which is probably my level, sadly, and hopefully I’ll make it back before it closes next year, perhaps even try to get the catalogue at an end-of-exhibition discount price.

Lots of things I’d like to nick and try out in designs and pictures and so forth. I really must try to remember to take a sketch- or notebook with me when I go to the Tate. I always think this, and always fail. I should at least write down the list of things to do that crosses my mind as I’m walking around.

I walk across the bridge at the top, to explore the New Bit, which I’ve not managed yet. Getting across the bridge is the first challenge – walking right in the middle, staring fixedly in front of me, knowing that there’s an impressive drop right and left. First I walk all the way up to the viewing gallery (I suppose I must have thought I’d not had enough acrophobic thrills for the day, or more likely not thought at all). Despite the fact that I started from what seemed very high up indeed it was a further long ascent to get there. The view is very impressive even from inside the glass. I wasn’t going to go out onto the balcony today. There are limits.

The people across the way, complaining about Tate visitors being able to see in to their apartments (which is true), possibly don’t realise that their living rooms are a lot less interesting to look at than the London skyline.

Anyway, then I walk down through the building. It seems oddly anticlimatic, like the exibitions are an afterthought, but, again, perhaps my opinion will shift.

On the way home I buy a packet of peppermint tea for some reason. The superego seems to want peppermint tea. It knows best, I suppose. Well, obviously. Being the superego.

When I get home, I try out some lyrics that came to me for a song that’s remained stubbornly unlyricised for a long time. They do seem to fit, which means that now the song is semilyricised, which is some kind of a start.

H comes home, we have tea, and then I go to the main computer with the intention of getting something done. There is definitely some kind of activity, though I don’t know if I manage to do anything really.

Last Day in Cuernavaca

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Silly to go abroad and not take photographs (even if I did spend a lot of my stay in bed with the flu), so I sort of splurged on the last day. The weather was often a lot nicer than this.

A lot of these things are at the Robert Brady Museum, which is basically a man’s house full of his stuff. But his stuff tended to be fine and folk art from all over the world. Quite amazing, really.

Mosquitos and Ice Cream in Kyoto

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You can’t actually see the mosquitos – they attacked in the forest, near the stream that I photographed there. Stand still for a moment and there’s the tell-tale pricking sensation. Followed by the tell-tale my-hand-swelling-up-like-a-balloon sensation.

The forest is in the grounds of the Shimogamo Shrine, also shown here, though not the innermost bit where photography (and hats; and shoes, of course) aren’t allowed. A genial old gentleman gave a long lecture on the history of the shrine, which I didn’t understand, but seemed very interesting. All while a couple seemed to be getting married in the shrine itself. 

And then ice-cream sundaes at the wonderful ice-cream-sundae joint. This is their special autumn sundae. We probably need to go back for the spring sundae. For the comparison.