Who do we write for? Who do you imagine when you type the words in the glowing white box of your choice?
Maybe it’s a side-effect of my own checkered past in the theatre, but I spend a lot of time wondering about them, out there in the darkness. In all my art [ARTZ tm] there’s a need for the receiver, a tacit covenant with the other end of the line. I cannot transmit into a vacuum, I have to know that someone, somewhere is tuning in – and like many monkey-brains I need immediate verification of that fact. The few times I’ve tried some mediums without that component I’ve felt like my feet are nailed to the floor.
I worked for a radio station for a brief stint, back in college. Even got a few shifts here and there on the microphone – but it made my flesh crawl…
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I like it. I find it humorous but a lot of lesson though
On my bookshelf sits a copy of Struwwelpeter, one of the most disturbing books for children ever put in print. It’s been around since 1845, first published in Germany, and features illustrated rhymes that stress the terrible consequences of bad behavior. There’s the story of Harriet, who burns to death while playing with matches; and Augustus, consigned to an early grave after refusing to eat his dinner night after night.
The story that truly horrified me as a child, however, was that of “Little Suck-a-Thumb.” Young Conrad is a chronic thumb sucker. One day his mother goes off to market and tells him before leaving, “Don’t suck your thumb while I’m away. The great tall tailor always comes to little boys who suck their thumbs.” The tailor in question is “The Great, Long, Red-Legged Scissor Man,” who likes to cut children’s thumbs with his giant scissors. You can guess…
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Until now, my knowledge of the French experience on the Western Front has been largely confined to Henri Barbusse’s Under Fire. I was particularly taken by his striking evocation of the materiality of war – of the ‘slimescape’ – which features in ‘Gabriel’s Map’ and ‘The Natures of War’ (both soon to be available in written form):
The earth! It is a vast and water-logged desert that begins to take shape under the long-drawn desolation of daybreak. There are pools and gullies where the bitter breath of earliest morning nips the water and sets it a-shiver; tracks traced by the troops and the convoys of the night in these barren fields, the lines of ruts that glisten in the weak light like steel rails, mud-masses with broken stakes protruding from them, ruined trestles, and bushes of wire in tangled coils. With its slime-beds and puddles, the plain might be…
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