Little blue books are becoming a thing with me. It could be a newly-found addiction. Next week I will try something that is already read.
I read this book a while ago. No, that’s not quite right. I started reading this book a while ago and finished it sometime later. My book reading is strange and I can often put a book down for years whilst in mid-read and come back to finish it off much later. This book was not like that, but it did take some will-power to see me over the rump of its initial appeal.
I happened upon the novel by way of my neighbour and former cycling companion. He had started reading my blog and was interested in some of the stuff that I had been reading. He never gave me any feedback on my own writing, but I expected as much (or as little). The Hundred-Year-Old Man came as part of a bilateral book exchange. He got Graham Swift’s Waterland and I got this. At first, I thought he had the best out of the deal. On second thoughts, I think he got the best of the deal.
This little blue book is knowingly amusing. It plays with the genre of the ageless protagonist not only living through world-shaping events, but also playing an unwittingly major role in those seismic changes. It is amusing and annoying in turns in the same way that Forest Gump was. It does, however, keep its true soul to the end when the author speaks, Jonas Jonasson, and this left me with a rather enjoyable bitter-sweet aftertaste.
It’s not something that will live in my memory for all time, even now it is fading, but it was worth the read. I am, however, looking forward to getting Waterland back and must build a bridge to reestablish contact after a number of very quiet months during this endless winter.
Now, to work…
I heard myself talking today. I was discussing the gratuitous sex in the early Game of Thrones series.
Being one or its original converts, I have recently felt a little aggrieved that the wagon that I was travelling on, with but a few, has now become a bandwagon. Every Wight Walker in the Seven Kingdoms is now a Game of Thrones fan.
Well, here is one man of the north who says,
“Tis mine and my like’s. The final season is coming!”
So back to a conversation that I was having about the ridiculous nature of modern day culture that confuses television with actual culture. The conversation started with an outpouring of sadness for a television presenter who just happened to crash into a car with a three year old girl inside. The line of the narrative went, “I think the public really feel sorry for him.”
My line was different.
Anyway, back to Game of Thrones which is not television but a documentary of immense importance. I was bemoaning the fact that the documentary makers had included earlier scenes of such a robust sexual nature that they existed merely as titbits for an audience incapable of following an epic narrative; fisting has no place in fact-based fiction.
And then I got to thinking about Molly Bloom and her monologue at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses (his little blue book).
“…when hes like that he cant keep a thing back I know every turn in him ill tighten my bottom well and let out a few smutty words smellrump or lick my shit…”
This was high art in my day and I loved it.
The years have censored me.
“Oh, isn’t it pretty?”
Are those the first words uttered by gulag residents every morning they wake up and peruse the bleak and frozen wastelands of Siberia?
The amount of people who have recently smiled those words when describing the continuing perm-state of this year’s winter offerings has astounded me. I want to tell them, nay I do tell them, that the bloody white freezing stuff is not pretty unless one hyphenates the word with shitty.
And I dislike the cosy descriptions of: ‘blankets of snow’, ‘a covering’, and ‘winter-wonderland’. The only wonder is that we have not woken up to the fact that Putin is exporting huge swathes of his weather across European borders, without visas, various travel restrictions, and we are not threatening him with a life-time ban from either owning football clubs or making the top floor of Harrods off-limits.
Mini-Beast go back to your papa.
My wife told me that Stephen Hawking had died during the early hours of this morning. She was scrolling the news whilst we sat in bed with our cups of tea.
It was a death that did not shock. It had been predicted for the best part of forty years. Hs life had become something different from other lives, not because he was famous, highly intelligent, a seer, but because he was a definer of existence.
Incarcerated by his illness, he soared boundlessly beyond the accepted limits of imagination; and then beyond.
Time was afraid of him and kept him longer in this place. Time may well have respected him for his refusal to allow it to dictate his time.
Black holes never die, they simply fade away.
But are still there…
Floyd are playing. Pink Floyd.
Our evening meal is cooking. And I am listening to something that is coming at me from across the decades. The night is slowly fading in through the dusk. And everything is still.
I stopped for a moment and thought back through time. I am sure that this would have been something that Floyd intended. They would have wanted to transport me beyond the seventies, through the eighties, ignoring the nineties…and to here; this moment, this time.
So there I stood.
The twilight offering a conveniently apt backdrop. I looked at our home and recognised how very different it is from the one that housed my childhood. I thought about time and the way it tricks you.
Time is a deceiver. And, hopefully, Time is a healer.
A pupil, today, told me that I looked like Doctor Who. This is a common theme. It’s the David Tenant version which makes me quite pleased. But the universe has not granted me the gift of inter-galactic time travel.
Meanwhile, on planet Earth, Time has come on.
It is Pink Floyd telling me that tea will soon be done.