2014 — 11 September: Thursday

The world has never struck me as a particularly safe place1 and it's now 13 years since the "West", for one, started to feel a great deal less safe.


... there's evidence from my central heating to suggest it's also now a cooler place. I leave the room thermostat (in the hallway) set at 20C all year round and several of my radiators have interpreted that as a signal to warm up this morning. Suits me. It may be time to add crockpot meals back into my diet, too, now that summer is no longer icumen in.

Know the feeling?

Spotted mere minutes ago:

That we are incapable of knowing how much time we have left inspired this thought of the Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, in his novel The Master and Margarita: "Yes, man is mortal, but that's only half the trouble! The problem is that he is unexpectedly mortal, there's the trick! And in fact, he can't even say what he'll be doing tonight."

Roger Grenier (translated by Alice Kaplan) in American Scholar

Is there anything...

... quite as soothing as media management speak? Sample:

We want to evolve our digital estate to reinforce the online association with our 
linear channel brands and to provide a broader range of content experiences in an 
increasingly personalised manner.

I quite enjoy being out of touch these days. Channel 4 seems to me to have come a long way, and almost all of it has been downhill. But what do I know? I don't watch it, after all. Though it did show "Northern Exposure" two decades ago, so it hasn't been all bad.

Stephen Fry has just cost me a CD of Stephen Hough piano music to get hold of a piece called La chanson de la folle au bord de la mer (Prelude Op. 31 No.8) by a chap I'd never heard of: Charles-Valentin Alkan. Perisher!

Having caught...

... Mr Postie before he could flee, leaving his calling card, I now have another cracking pair of Blu-rays for my further edification and delight:

Lake Placid + Playing by Heart

Though why the chap who directed "Playing by Heart" seems to have made no further ventures into feature films since 1998 mystifies me.

Late afternoon aside...

... to Christa. I've just picked and eaten a pair of our pears while admiring the industry of the ants near the base of the tree, on your most recent bit of brick wall. I'm sure there are good reasons for getting rid of them, but I have no intention of doing so as long as they confine themselves to the garden and not the house. If they were wasps, I would feel very different, no doubt.

After a suitably...

... long pause, I can report that the "Lake" is perhaps a little more "Placid" than I remember it being last time I watched it, but that "Playing by Heart" still manages to push all the right buttons in exactly the right sequence. This Spanish Blu-ray also includes a nice bunch of on-set interviews that I've never seen before. Hard to believe this marvellous film was made 16 years ago.



1  Nobody gets out of it alive, for a start...