Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Maybe it's because he's a malamute

Thankfully a mild to cool day. I went into town with Bondi (again on the tube) for a wander around and some shopping. Found myself in Trafalgar Square, which I had inexplicably missed on earlier visits. Tourists were were preoccupied with taking photos of Nelson's column and Bondi drinking from one of the fountains (added in 1939). I had a diabolical latte from the Caff on the Square, but later had a really good coffee from Caffe Vergnano on Charing Cross Road. I also pottered around in the bookshops on Cecil Court and briefly fondled a copy of The Hobbit signed by JRR Tolkien. That was fair game while the store owners were busy drooling over Bondi.

I bought some new walking shoes to replace my boots and sneakers, after what I surmise to have been shin splints developed during my Great Glen Way walk. Had a great but inexpensive 2 course lunch at Kingley Court off the very much revamped Carnaby Street, and then stopped in at Schott Music publishers and Harold Moore's Records. The latter wanted to borrow Bondi for the day (really!) to attract customers to a warehouse sale of CDs defaced by rubber dinosaur stamps (hee hee xx).

Bondi was also very much the focus of attention on our return tube trip. I can sense some trepidation amongst tube travellers following the bombings, but Bondi seems to be a welcome distraction for them.

One of my favourite vocal groups, Antony and the Johnsons, are on the shortlist for the 2005 Mercury Prize for best UK album. Although unknown to most until their favourably reviewed second album, I Am A Bird, I was fortunate to learn of them about 5yrs ago. I went into a Seattle news-magazine outlet on Broadway and heard this incredible music, which at first reminded me of This Mortal Coil. The counter-chick said "it's this guy I went to high-school with" and off I went to hunt down some CDs...

I've resumed my reading of HG Wells' A Short History of the World. His prose is as vivid as it was in 1922, and the summings-up of earlier periods as relevant as ever:
THE SOUL of man under that Latin and Greek empire of the first two centuries of the Christian era was a worried and frustrated soul. Compulsion and cruelty reigned; there were pride and display but little honour; little serenity or steadfast happiness. The unfortunate were despised and wretched; the fortunate were insecure and feverishly eager for gratifications.
It also brings to mind the thrilling grandeur of his opening to The War of the Worlds (1898) memorably performed by Richard Burton:
No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might wscrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:34 pm

    love the pic of bondi bellying up to the bar. what a nice dog!