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August 15th; Thursday. A 1970s conference suggested a cashless society would be the perfect surveillance state.

August 14th; Wednesday. A video from the (mostly) new Brasilia of Kazakhstan, Astana, showing off its Sinbad-inspired fascistic modernism, vaguely humanised by a dancing girl. Rumour is the new capital has an almost unbearable climate, with one or two references to an annual season of blood-sucking midges the size of bluebottles. I also heard Kazakhs eat boiled or fried puppies, but mustn't be churlish. Nice video. As for dance moves: :::
August 13th; Tuesday. The voice of the by-then-elderly Florence Nightingale, from 1905.

August 12th; Monday. Travel back into Budapest on what Gyuri promises, as he drives me to Kunszentmarton train station, is going to be a kanikula/caniculae day, over 100 degrees Farenheit. In Kunszentmarton, I meet Aranka's contact Editke in the fabric shop and we look at various pieces of cloth together. The train journey itself is hot enough to change sides of the carriage every time the shady side shifts. At Szolnok station, leaving myself ample time for the transfer, I walk down the long white cement tunnel going under all the tracks to get to platform 16. These are of course, in order away from the 60s modernist station, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16. Obviously. If this was a 19th-century British station Guardian readers would blame this kind of illogicality on tradition. On Britain missing out on a proper bourgeois revolution, of which Hungary is unlucky enough to have suffered at least four. Once I am relaxed and waiting at the last platform I see there is a view across at least another ten tracks. New grass vigorously grows between them, but the shine on the rails shows they are all in use. Then a line of parked empty carriages hiding the horizon. Above this only some sort of white-painted gas/silo fractionation-type tower rises sci-fi-style into a blue sky. Almost like looking out to sea. A Hungarian man politely asks if this is the right platform for the Budapest train. I say yes and - whoops! - he is able to smoothly move in with the next question, about "how I see" the next 3 or 4 years unfolding. He is angling for some kind of catastrophist view of current events, and I say yes another bourse crash but no matter, and no, no climate apocalypse. Doggedly the poor man, obviously a Jehovah's Witness by now, soldiers on and asks me about the book of Daniel and the kingdom of God. I say I favour Augustine's view that the city of saints is outside time and space. A very tiny twitch of irritation here gives him away, but he maintains his calm wheedling sales patter, and we finally compromise on a leaflet and part in peace. Later in the afternoon, having handed a basket of 24 eggs over to Robin at one of Budapest's grand railway termini, I meet a new student who is going abroad soon to study ceramics.
August 11th; Sunday. It seems that yesterday Jeffrey Epstein, he of the private island, private jumbo jet, and parties full of very young girls for celebrity guests, killed himself yesterday in his cell in a maximum-security prison. It appears he was taken off suicide watch (despite an apparent earlier attempt a week ago), his cellmate was removed, and the CCTV cameras were switched off. As one wag on the internet jested "If you were surprised that Jeffrey Epstein killed himself yesterday, just imagine how surprised he must have been!" Hur hur.

August 10th; Saturday. An intriguingly odd discussion of human/machine merging from the eccentric perspective of Rudolf Steiner followers.
August 9th; Friday. I go from Robin's farmhouse to see Seamstress Aranka in the next village Tiszakurt, unfortunately accompanied by Siegfried, the grandson of the komondor sheepdog Lupus or Lupi, appropriately enough, since he was a bit loopy. Siegfried's mother Sissi died just a couple of months ago, leaving the grandmother Domor, Lupi's widow, as the senior hound. The current foxterrier also died some weeks back this spring, so the doggy social milieu at Robin's is a little altered. It's a hot, airless day, and I go to the next village on foot, equipped with large straw hat and sun-blocking cream. Parts of the garden wall collapsed some months now, replaced with not-so-effective wire netting. Knowing the ways through, Siegfried suddenly pops up next to me on the walk once I'm about ten minutes into the journey, refusing to go home. He has no collar or leash. He looks and acts like a pale labrador that's had a bang on the head. None of the aggression of his grandfather, just a good-natured streak of daft curiosity and stubbornness. We get onto the main road and it's clear he has never seen large vans or lorries before. He actually hides from each one in the ditch as it passes, clearly seeing them as more menacing than the cars. He goes up to each barking dog in each garden to say hello, but never barks back at them. We reach Aranka's and she has finally mended my stuff. She and her family are a bit nonplussed that I'm with a dog that has no leash, and their cuddly mongrel Dumpling, tied to his post, is upset about this too. Wilting somewhat in the heat we hide in the shade of a bus shelter, and magically one of the only 2 or 3 buses a day arrives to save us, 3 minutes behind schedule. I talk the driver into letting us board the packed vehicle, and I crouch on the steps holding the hound while passengers discuss the whole conundrum of a dog without a collar in the company of a funny foreigner in straw hat etc. We get to Tiszainoka, and a villager fishes a long ribbon in the German colours out of his parked car, and expertly fashions a collar with slipknot and loop for me to hold at the other end. We pop this on the astonished Siegfried (the man teasingly mentioning he gave me a lift a year ago, and I'd forgotten him) and the small group of locals agree that order has been restored. I walk the final 15 minutes with the hound, confused and unhappy at being tethered to a person, a whole new experience for him. Siegfried has reluctantly got used to the leash by the time he & I return to the farmhouse, triumphantly bearing my blue bag that Aranka has magnificently repaired at a very modest price, albeit taking about four months. I can leave Robin's basketwork hamper case at the house now.

August 8th; Thursday. Going straight from my lesson with Esoteric Veronica, I catch a train down to Robin's place on the flat, sun-baked Great Plain by the Tisza river. Two (I think deliberately) Bond-themeish Goldfrapp tunes: Pilots and Lovely Head.
August 7th; Wednesday. Surprisingly interesting and even-handed BBC web article about hysterical Malaysian schoolgirls. Though this is from a heavily Islamic region, comparisons with other religions suggests that strict moralistic governing of adolescent girls might be a factor in mass crazes of screaming, fainting, heeby-geebies etc. Perhaps the Beeb should evolve into a long-format paper/web magazine like the Atlantic, and give up on the broadcasting.

August 6th; Tuesday. On my way back to Budapest for a lesson with Esoteric Veronica, I finish Michael O'Sullivan's book about the 1934 adventures of Patrick Leigh Fermor: Noble Encounters Between Budapest and Transylvania, an English traveller across Europe. With an elegaic tone, O'Sullivan traces Leigh Fermor's journey on foot from chateau to chateau across the Hungarian-speaking parts of Eastern Europe with evident pleasure. At the same time his regret at how so many of those grand families were later brought low under communism is just as sincere. Small black-and-white photographs like those in Sebald novels add to the other-worldly mood, romantically recalling the grace & taste of vanished aristocracy.
August 5th; Monday. Zsuzsa's mount strides around us looking glossy & elegant while Zeno the Alchemist, Bela, Gyuri and I take items from the car in the late-afternoon sun. It's parked round by the seed & grain store area next to the chicken coops. The big chestnut-coloured horse Solero seems to genuinely want to help us unload groceries out of the small car, but has not much idea what to do in practice so strolls around a bit, getting in the way. Later in the kitchen, I find Bela, supervised by Zeno, injecting dozens of doses of strong schnapps into a melon using a 5-millilitre syringe.

August 4th; Sunday. More rain outside all day. Read a 1983 picture book I found in a bedroom at Robin's house on the Great Plain, 'Kozep-Azsiai Muveszete Avicenna Koraban' (Central Asian Art in the time of Avicenna) by Lutfija Ajni, E. Guljamova, Karolyn Gombos, G. Verhovskij, and translated into Hungarian by Ilona Kovanecz from what I assume is Russian. That's judging from the original title, written as 'Iszkussztvo szrednyej Azii epohi Avicennu Izdatyeltszvo "Irfon"'. The text is thorough, explaining what was going on politically & culturally in parts of Central Asia around the year 1000 AD. During the lifetime of the brilliant poet, medical physician, and philosopher Ibn Sina - Latinised to Avicenna - much was occurring in what by the 1980s (when this book was produced) were still Muslim republics of the Soviet Union. Pictures a little disappointing, though some are beautiful, or at least show an object which seems to be beautiful even if the picture of it isn't. Some photos of the fragments of arch from vanished mausoleums or collapsed mosques have a look-upon-the-works-of-Ozymandias feeling. A few bits of thousand-year-old tile or brick work are still striking. The overall impression from the history text in the book is of a region, era, and religious system so violent and despotic that it was no surprise the period's handful of bright individuals like Avicenna left little long-term trace in the culture they were unlucky enough to be born into. Avicenna himself moved home several times and spent time in prison for political reasons. In the early evening Artist Robin arrives from the big city, and we bounce ideas around until late as usual.
August 3rd; Saturday. Last night slept 15 hours. Outside dark and rains all day. Today read a picture book from Robin's library, 'Sufi: Expressions of the Mystic Quest' by Laleh Bakhtiar. The illustrations are wonderful, and some consist of large, clear, whole-page pieces of black-and-white calligraphy, perhaps the single most impressive craft in Islamic culture. While pictorially wonderful, some of the text is confusing, often providing a minimalistic, laconic reference to some intriguing giant diagram of Sufi concepts which diagram is mysterious, pretty, but leaves rather a lot still unexplained. For example, there is a fabulous wheel taking up page 62 representing stations of the moon, along with signs of the zodiac, each of the Arabic letters, and handy categories like 'The 4th Heaven, The Sun, Abode of Hermes' or on another spoke, more simply 'The Hidden'. No clue what's going on there. Fifty pages later a similarly baffling section has some rather lovely magic squares doing arithmetic with the names of Allah (eg, if Allah is 66, that name can therefore = 21 + 26 + 19, or 20 + 22 + 24, or 25 + 18 + 23 : and so on). More methodical commentary in more detail would hugely improve this visually lush book. Solero strides around in the garden Biblically, chewing horse-chestnut branches within reach. Apparently he is in his new paradise because he's killed no fewer than three lambs out in the meadow by charging the flock and taking out his frustration or boredom on straggling youngsters. Hence he now potters about outside the house, sniffing the fruit trees as if in a picture of Adam naming the beasts.

August 2nd; Friday. Interesting article comparing the search for partners by men & women to two separate economies, with very different degrees of inequality. Catch train. Uneventful trip out into the Great Plain of rural Hungary. The leggy serving lass at Szolnok station looks tired, snappy, blank-faced of late. After dark find Zeno the Alchemist & Peter K., his & Robin's artist friend, smoking quietly at a small table on the verandah, sheltered by foliage, rain pouring down 3 or 4 feet away.
August 1st; Thursday. Seems I got quoted in a Breitbart piece.

July 31st; Wednesday. Strange, thought-provoking piece about an entire century-old underground-railway system (under Cincinnati) which never got used. Apparently even the tracks were laid.
July 30th; Tuesday. Hot sun. Finish book borrowed from Michael A., 'The Closing of the American Mind' by Allan Bloom, describing what he thinks has gone wrong with humanities teaching at universities. His focus of course is the US, and this was written in the 1980s. I've been meaning to read it since I saw the Nigel of Light with a copy years ago. However, it's even more topical now. An excellent read, perhaps the best thing I've read for a year. Bloom addresses how college students and the culture they're brought up in has changed since the 1950s, he traces a range of European intellectual influences on US humanities teaching over the decades of the 20th century, and he has some fascinating personal anecdotes about anti-Vietnam demonstrations on campuses in the 1960s along with the involvement of black power groups in those university sit-ins. The chapter on classical & pop music alone is worth reading the book for.

July 29th; Monday. Slightly unfair April article about the old tweets of a new 24-year-old National Union of Students president. In these she proclaimed she "wants to oppress white people". Given she was 17 when she wrote that, it should perhaps be overlooked. Her current views might be obnoxious enough, but plenty of people say silly things while still adolescent.
July 28th; Sunday. Overview of Lebanese artist whose sensual, body-centred artworks might be coming into fashion after decades of relative neglect.

July 27th; Saturday. Shortly before the lesson with Boardgame Orsolya, I finish the book I bought in the departure lounge at Heathrow Sunday before last, which I've been meaning to read for years: 'Moonwalking with Einstein' by Joshua Foer. Nicely written, a little unkind in one or two places about the people he meets, but overall sensible, encouraging, and inspiring. Cleverly helps make amazing enhancements of the mind seem more credible, feasible, and worthwhile. A journalist interviews a memory-champion competitor, refuses to believe competitors have normal memories improved by tricks, and ends up spending a year (coached by his original interview subject) training for a memory competition himself to test the claim.
July 26th; Friday. Nazi scientists tried to train talking dogs, says 2011 article. Icelandic anthropologist asserts in 2016 that elves are real.

July 25th; Thursday. Swathe of euro-weasels lose their Cabinet posts as Boris Johnson, great grandson of an admirable-sounding Turkish politician (briefly Ottoman Minister of the Interior in 1919), becomes Tory leader.
July 24th; Wednesday. Two articles about alleged Jew-hatred inside the Labour party: a quite brave mea culpa from one former participant; and the rather wonderful thought that Ken Loach might be sued by a journalist he criticised.

July 23rd; Tuesday. Elon Musk opens up about plan to wire people into the internet. Of course, he adds, "This is not a mandatory thing. It's something to have if you want." Increasingly difficult not to see Musk and his clutch of loss-making businesses as a sort of tame technologist/guru/entrepreneur/kite-flyer for, and funded by, the US deep state.
July 22nd; Monday. Are men intimidated by highly educated women? Seemingly no. Two researchers say that men don't select for education in women partners, but nor do they select against it.

July 21st; Sunday. Kai Fu-Lee is a Chinese engineer originally from Taiwan (the "rebel province") now based in Peking. He suggests China will overtake the US in artificial intelligence (AI), but warns AI systems will never be minds.
July 20th; Saturday. A celebrated present-day thinker who is Korean but writes in German, Byung-Chul Han discusses privacy, social media, and self-exploitation. Unfortunately, since he studied philosophy in Germany, he's been contaminated with Hegelianism, uses giveaway terms like 'neoliberalism', and thinks there's a thing called 'capitalism'. Hence although it's interesting he's writing and thinking about these topics at all - doesn't feel like he has anything original to say about them, but I haven't read his 16 books. Here he is on "the Hell Where Everything's the Same".

July 19th; Friday. Two songs by Kimbra. The disarmingly honest and tense Settle Down, and a self-critical Top of the World.
July 18th; Thursday. Esoteric Veronica tells me during our lesson that one of her grandfathers, a restauranteur round about World War 2, gambled away his wife in a poker game. This wasn't Veronica's grandmother: he married 5 times, she explains. Meanwhile, a handy guide to finding white witches in northern Poland; sad tale of Tory pro-EU rebel MP Anna Soubry losing faith in Mr Chuka; Guardian cartoonist goes supernova when his pro-Palestinian cartoons get censored; British government announces country's highest exports ever.

July 17th; Wednesday. Smoking "scars" your DNA.
July 16th; Tuesday. Journalist wears music-activated 'device' to night club.

July 15th; Monday. An equation supposedly predicting the end of humanity. Underpins Nick Bostrom's rather dotty simulation argument.
July 14th; Sunday. A very jolly Polish lady driver takes me to Heathrow for my flight back. My journey is seemingly shadowed by someone else in the TV production called Omar. I never meet Omar, but I find his driver outside the hotel in London, waiting to go to a different airport terminal. On arrival in Budapest an anxious driver there at the airport straight away asks me if I am Omar. Once back in the Big Pogacsa I drop by Simon's flat where he and Robin are watching the nail-biting England/New-Zealand cricket match projected onto his sitting-room wall. Slightly startled to notice the England team are playing in face cages and baby-blue pyjamas with a white cricket ball and black screens. Then Terri & Alvi & I dine together at a Thai eatery, where we talk about low-budget feature films, cricket, psychological drama, Tunbridge Wells, weird parasites, and prophetic short stories.

July 13th; Saturday. I oversleep (due to getting no call times the previous day) but everyone is very nice about it. Driven into Westminster, I find I must get out of a black taxi driven by the lady-taxi-driver actress's amiable body double. We do this on camera four times, and am told then at 9 in the morning my work was great and I can go. Sleep a couple of hours in my Keats-carpeted bedroom, then spend most of the afternoon hanging around in the basement of the hotel basement with some genial extras. I eat some fruit and more cakelets. An effort to find a charity shop selling 2nd-hand clothes south of Waterloo around 6.30pm fails. Last night finished Paul's copy of 'The Strange Death of Europe' by Douglas Murray: moderately, carefully argued, full of interesting interviews with refugees coming into Europe.
July 12th; Friday. Catch a plane in Budapest to get to London so as to play my small role as rude taxi passenger again. A charming but gloomy-looking man from Kosovo drives me from Heathrow to a rather swish hotel across a bridge from the Houses of Parliament. The cheerful make-up-and-hair ladies let me snaffle some darling cakelets seemingly abandoned outside their cosmetics den in the bowels of the hotel. The carpets in corridors and rooms upstairs have a curious design: an orangey tandoori sort of colour with the words of Keats' poem Asleep! O sleep a little while, white pearl! set into the carpet in yellowy-cream cursive italic. A block of text doing this poem twice recurs every couple of yards. Sweet idea for a hotel carpet, really.

July 11th; Thursday. Finish Paul's copy of the 1975 book 'Biology of God' by Alister Hardy. He was a marine biologist involved at an Oxford college with research into people's reports of religious experiences. Hardy proposes that some higher moral sense of togetherness (perhaps some richer kind of telepathic communication across a tribe) was of evolutionary advantage for early humans. He's quite careful and thoughtful in summing up various positions on science-versus-faith.
July 10th; Wednesday. Nicely restrained song Why Don't You from Cleo Sol. On the other hand, Amber Mark and Lose My Cool.

July 9th; Tuesday. Interesting attempt to claim the great Tunisian historiographer Ibn Khaldun as an early economist centuries ahead of his time. Suggesting he anticipates both Smith and Keynes rather torpedoes the idea before it even gets going though. Still, I ought to check Khaldun myself.
July 8th; Monday. Psychiatric diagnoses meaningless? Not a complete surprise.

July 7th; Sunday. Brave firm reviews 3 ways (it says) to raise IQ. Not quite how I remember modafinil, but never mind.
July 6th; Saturday. Two tunelets from the adorably named "Young Rascals", many moons ago. Feast your eyes on that green-satin-shirt-plus-waistcoat combination on tambourine man. Then another from the following year, again with some mighty outfits but noticeably more post-suit.

July 5th; Friday. Curious research result that immune cells, the little tinkers, invade brain tissue over time. This is not a good thing, say men with clipboards.
July 4th; Thursday. Pick up document from the FCO. Ja! My papers are in order!

July 3rd; Wednesday. 40 years on, China repeating Japan's Fifth Generation mistake.
July 2nd; Tuesday. Trudge over to new British Embassy location up bright, sunny 11 bus route on Fig street for my "emergency travel document" for July's filming. No! Is not so simple, my friend! Later find Theology Andras & two of his brothers, before a lovely dinner of steak on hot stone in small town just outside Budapest. We touch on Jaynes and Sulloway, among other coffee-fuelled topics.

July 1st; Monday. The day (July 1st) one Hungarian colleague told me one year that summer was already over. Prizewinning example of looking on the bright side. Meanwhile, even a single exercise session helps brain cells.

Recent weblog entries continued:

Who can translate the next 300 words into Korean or Hindi? Contact us and there will be revelry.

Languages dying out each week - who cares?

We do - otherlanguages.org is gradually building a reference resource for over five thousand linguistic minorities and stateless languages worldwide.

Thousands of unique language communities are becoming extinct. Out of the world's five to six thousand languages, we hardly know what we're losing, what literatures, philosophies, ways of thinking, are disappearing right now.


We may soon regret the extinction of thousands of entire linguistic cultures even more than we regret the needless extinction of many animals and plants.

The planet is increasingly dominated by a handful of major-language monocultures like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Russian, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Bengali - all beautiful and fascinating languages.

But so are the 5,000 others.

These are groups of people?

Linguistic minorities are communities of ordinary people whose native tongue is not their country's main official language. Swedish speakers in Finland, French speakers in Canada, Hungarian speakers in Slovakia - and hundreds more - are linguistic minorities.

And totally stateless languages are the native languages of some of the world's most intriguing, little-known, cultures. Like the Lapps inside the Arctic Circle, the Sards in Sardinia, Ainus in Japan. Cherokee in the US, Scots Gaelic in Britain, Friesian in the Netherlands, Zulu in South Africa. There are only a couple of hundred recognised sovereign states and territories, so 5,000 languages - more depending on how you count - are the native tongues of linguistically stateless people.

How could I help?

You don't need to learn an endangered language - any more than go to live in the rainforest to help slow its destruction.

A good start is to just tell friends about websites like this.

Broader public interest makes it easier for linguists to raise funds and organise people to learn these languages while there's time.

That's right. There are people who love languages and are happy to learn them on behalf of the rest of us, but they need support, just like zoologists, botanists, or historians.

Fewer languages still sounds good to me

Depends what you think languages are for. They're not just a tool for business. We never said you should learn three or four thousand rare languages - or even one. And which ones we make children learn in school, or whether we should force children to learn languages at all, is another question.

Typical scene in a European city; Chances are, folk here speak some sort of foreign language *5

A century ago - before we understood ecology, and when we cared less about wilderness, most educated people would have laughed at the idea of worrying about plants or animals going extinct. Now we understand how important species diversity is for our own futures, we are more humble, and more worried.

In the same way, linguistic triumphalism by English-speakers who hated studying foreign grammar at school is dangerously ignorant as well as arrogant. Few of us know what we are losing, week by week. How many people realise these languages have scientific value?

Scientific value?

You can think of these languages across the planet as beautiful cathedrals or precious archeological sites we are watching being destroyed. That should be motive enough.

But these five thousand languages may also hold clues to the structure of the human mind. Subtle differences and similarities

Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
between languages are helping archeologists and anthropologists to understand what happened in the hundreds of centuries of human history before written history. And that is one of our best chances of understanding how human brains developed over the thousands of centuries leading up to that.

Study of the mind and study of language go hand in hand these days. The world's most marginal languages are actually precious jigsaw pieces from an overall picture of who we are and how our species thinks and evolves. Every tiny language adds another brightly-coloured clue to this academic detective story.

Yet researchers have hardly started sifting through this tantalising evidence, and language extinction is washing it away right in front of us.

And worst of all, most people have no idea that there is this fantastic profusion of cultures across our world, let alone that they are in danger of extinction. Even just more people learning that there are still five thousand living languages in the world today (most of us would answer five hundred or fifty) is already a huge help.

We English-speakers hardly notice English - it's like air for us. But every other language is also an atmosphere for an entire cultural world, and each of these worlds has people whose home it is. Each language encapsulates a unique way of talking and thinking about life. Just try some time in a foreign prison, being forced to cope in another language, and you'll realise how much your own language is your identity. That's true for everyone.

Minority languages are a human-rights issue?

One of the most basic.

Dozens of millions of people worldwide suffer persecution from national governments for speaking their mother tongue - in their own motherland.

Many 'ethnic' feuds puzzling to outsiders had as their basis an attempt to destroy a linguistic community. Would the Northern Ireland dispute be quite so bitter if we English had not so nearly stamped out the Irish Gaelic language, for example? Almost nowhere in the world does a language community as small as the few thousand Rheto-Romanic speakers - the fourth official language of Switzerland - get the protection of a national government. Next time you see some Swiss Francs, check both sides of the banknote.

But outside exceptional countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, speakers of non-official languages have a much less protected experience.

Speakers of minority languages are often seen as a threat by both the governments and the other residents of the countries where they were born, grew up, and try to live ordinary lives.

They experience discrimination in the job and education markets of their homelands, often having no choice but to pursue education in the major language of the host state: a deliberate government policy usually aimed at gradually absorbing them into the majority culture of that country.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, of course *7

Most governments are privately gleeful each time another small separate culture within their borders is snuffed out by a dwindling population or a deliberately centralising education system.

The United Nations is no help. It is an association of a couple of hundred sovereign states based on exclusive control of territory, almost all of them anxious to smother any distinct group or tradition that in any way might blur or smudge the hard-won borders around those pieces of territory.

The usual approach by sovereign states is to deny their linguistic minorities even exist.


Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

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*1 image from , with thanks
*2 "Al-Araby" in written Arabic (read more)
*3 "What?" in American Sign Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written Chinese  (read more); image from , with thanks
*5 image from , with thanks
*6 image from , with thanks
*7 image from 'B?ume', with thanks to  Bruno P. Kramer, and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag


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reviews: ................. books {...or films here}

1 metrologie historique
2 postmodernism & the other
3 disaster (news on sunday)
4 money unmade (russian barter in the 1990s)
5 the sleepwalkers
6 e
7 the kruschev era
8 the end of science
9 don't you want me?
10 the carpet wars
11 zelator
12 life of thomas more
13 faber book of science
14 gilgamesh
15 out of it
16 guns, germs & steel
17 words & rules
18 figure in the landscape
19 life without genes
20 bede's history of the english
21 the nothing that is
22 zoology
23 journey by moonlight
24 heavenly serbia
25 ratkay endre
26 the handmaid's tale
27 the selective eye
28 a megismerese epitokovei
29 intention
30 thirty nine steps
31 princess
32 the pyramids
33 the etruscans
34 moonchild
35 paradise news
36 culture of time & space 1880 to 1918
37 szimmetria
38 babel orokeben
39 astro-archeology
40 a history of islamic spain
41 high gothic
42 among the believers
43 the renaissance
44 augustine
45 mcvicar
46 atomised
47 tangled wing
48 da vinci code
49 nature via nurture
50 termeszet szamai
51 decline & fall of roman empire
52 practical cheesemaking
53 the sufis
54 fra angelico at san marco
55 the cryptographer
56 they have a word for it
57 szamok valosan innen & tul
58 artistic theory in italy 1450 to 1600
59 darwin's black box
60 indiai ejszaka
61 cleopatra: histories, dreams & distortions
63 what mad pursuit
64 language, the learner & the school
65 writing the romantic comedy
66 the blank slate
67 dougal & the blue cat
68 diego velasquez
69 horse nonsense
70 a certain chemistry
71 deterring democracy
72 textiles
73 thief of time
74 bloodsucking fiends
75 right ho, jeeves
76 generativ grammatika
77 1st time i got paid for it
78 galapagos
79 othello
80 understanding media
81 mysticism
82 short history of french literature
83 best on the market
84 art of seeing
85 culture & imperialism
86 food of the gods
87 arabic-islamic cities
88 the alchemist
89 verbal learning & memory
90 building a successful software business
91 don't make me think!
92 memory
93 the u.s. & the arab world
94 hard times
95 spells for teenage witches
97 the pig that wants to be eaten
98 encyclopaedia of stupidity
99 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part i
100 beach watching
101 the ancient greeks
102 brainstorms
103 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part ii
104 utopia
105 technical writing for engineers & scientists
106 alphabet versus goddess
107 writing on drugs
108 news from somewhere
109 isp survival guide
110 petrus hispanus mester logikajabol
111 art of seduction
112 stet
113 penguin by design
114 the sense of being stared at
115 the golden ratio
116 dinamikus emlekezet
117 margins of reality
118 hopjoy was here
119 bump in the night
120 box of delights
121 color atlas of immunology
122 fashionistas
123 pi in the sky
124 a new kind of fool
125 one man's meat
126 greek fire
127 the buddha in daily life
128 beginner's dutch
129 private life of the brain
130 solar ethics
131 pedant in the kitchen
132 knots
133 the planets within
134 encyclopaedia of ancient & mediaeval history
135 consilience
136 the age of scandal
137 fashion: the 20th century
138 the tipping point
139 design literacy
140 the silent partner
141 hamlet
142 1421
143 the 1890s
144 godel's proof
145 rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead
146 beyond reason
147 little book of music theory
148 q-basic
149 alone of all her sex
150 social studies
151 eternal darkness
152 drawn from memory
154 a guide to elegance
155 medea & other plays
156 the future of money
157 cheese
158 grammars of creation
159 aquarian conspiracy
160 the climate crisis
161 true fiction
162 the making of memory
163 why most things fail
164 genetikai abece
165 finding fulfilment
166 genome
167 the broken estate
168 inigo jones
169 flashman & the dragon
170 from bauhaus to our house
171 100 great paintings
172 kis spanyol nyelvtan
173 the historian
174 tomorrow's gold
175 charting made easy
176 life after life
177 spanyol igei vonzatok
178 the eclipse of art
179 fire in the mind
180 the human body
181 out of control
182 possession
183 simplified chinese characters
184 the generation of 1914
185 intellectuals
186 world of late antiquity
187 riddle & knight
188 informacio kultusza
189 napoleon of notting hill
190 secrets: palm-reading
191 meet yourself as you really are
192 cat's abc
193 intro to spanish poetry
194 rise of christian europe
195 philip's guide to electric living
196 sins for father knox
197 celtic twilight
198 myths of love
199 snobbery with violence
200 just like tomorrow
201 7 basic plots
202 experiment with time
203 vile bodies
204 icons & images: 60s
205 fisher king
206 new jerusalem
207 born on a blue day
208 surveillir & punir
209 trial of socrates
210 how to catch fairies
211 conversations on consciousness
212 mind performance hacks
213 conscience of the eye
214 beau brummell
215 evolution
216 the outsider
217 raja yoga
218 rise of political lying
219 occidentalism
220 colossus
221 secret teachings of jesus
222 blue murder
223 nostrodamus the next 50 years
224 homage to catalonia
225 charity ends at home
226 palace of dreams
227 discovering book collecting
228 beyond the outsider
229 the last barrier
230 that hideous strength
231 indian sculpture
232 small world
233 evolution & healing
234 in search of memory
235 campo santo
236 llewellyn's 2007 tarot reader
237 dream of rome
238 why buildings fall down
239 the empty space
240 england made me
241 greek science in antiquity
242 science, a l'usage des non-scientifiques
243 utmutato tarot
243 hunt for zero point
244 william wilberforce
245 viktor schauberger
246 untouchable
247 the vitamin murders
248 straw dogs
249 elizabeth's spymaster
250 the hard life
251 the god delusion
252 the intellectual
253 undercover economist
254 quirkology
255 chasing mammon
256 early mesopotamia & iran
257 the strange death of david kelly
258 the pilgrimage
259 origin of wealth
260 maxims
261 the finishing school
262 the shepherd's calendar
263 islamic patterns
264 lost world of the kalahari
265 german short stories 1
266 electricity
267 liber null & psychonaut
268 born to rebel
269 wittgenstein's poker
270 will the boat sink the water?
271 romeo & juliet
272 why beautiful people have more daughters
273 the crossing place
274 the turkish diplomat's daughter
275 missionary position
276 lust in translation
277 teaching as a subversive activity
278 how german is it
279 empires of the word
280 warped passages
281 the power of now
282 ponder on this
283 sword of no-sword
284 narcissism
285 blink
286 shock of the old
287 basque history of the world
288 truth: a guide
289 who shot jfk?
290 newtonian casino
291 power & greed
292 the world without us
293 5-minute nlp
294 concise guide to alchemy
295 evidence in camera
296 4-hour work week
297 the rosicrucian enlightenment
298 de-architecture
299 how to lie with maps
300 a book of english essays
301 a time of gifts
302 the occult philosophy in the elizabethan age
303 le pelerinage des bateleurs
304 alchemy & alchemists
305 greenmantle
306 the hero with 1000 faces
307 goethe's parable
308 rhedeyek es fraterek
309 letter to a christian nation
310 the tryst
311 7 experiments that could change the world
312 mill on the floss
313 metastases of enjoyment
314 the isles
315 between the woods and the water
316 secrets of the great pyramid
317 life in the french country house
318 the china study
319 tarot: theory & practice
320 the roger scruton reader
321 alchemy & mysticism
322 picasso's mask
323 the rule of four
324 triumph of the political class
325 arts of darkness
326 neuroscience & philosophy
327 the art of memory
328 mind wide open
329 mud, blood, & poppycock
330 society of the spectacle
331 lila
332 de imaginibus
333 electronics
334 giordano bruno & the embassy affair
335 temporary autonomous zone
336 the human touch
337 the fascination of evil
338 the king of oil
339 dowsing
340 the book of j
341 the west and the rest
342 story of my life
343 plain tales from the hills
344 under the influence
345 modern culture
346 50 mots clefs d'esoterisme
347 giordano bruno & the hermetic tradition
348 development, geography & economic theory
349 das kapital: a biography
350 strange days indeed
351 hegel: a very short introduction
352 reflections on the revolution in france
353 history of sexuality: an introduction
354 why we buy
355 origins of virtue
356 the holographic universe
357 a dead man in deptford
358 obsolete
359 137
360 in your face
361 7 spies who changed the world
362 the noetic universe
363 why beauty is truth
364 imagery in healing
365 the craftsman's handbook
366 futurism
367 in the cards
368 dmso
369 les hommes et leurs genes
370 the franchise affair
371 the decision book
372 les harmonies de la nature a l'epreuve de la biologie
373 kibernetika
374 zuleika dobson
375 l'empire de nombres
376 circus philosophicus
377 some girls
378 number
379 island
380 how to get your ideas adopted
381 drive
382 emergence
383 rfid : la police totale
384 the tempest
385 aspects of wagner
386 view over atlantis
387 world atlas of mysteries
388 art of the dogon
389 genesis machines
390 the sirius mystery
391 the cult of the fact
392 anastasia
393 ringing cedars of russia
394 a whiff of death
395 spirit level delusion
396 wavewatcher's companion
397 the kybalion
398 elegance
399 death in a scarlet coat
400 architecture without architects


1 k-pax
2 very annie mary
3 wasabi
4 gosford park
5 arany varos
6 minority report
7 amelie
8 bridget jones' diary
9 arccal a fo:ldnek
10 monsters' ball
11 cube
12 man with no past
13 talk to her
14 szerelemtol sujtva
15 bowling for columbine
16 matrix3
17 zoolander
18 anything else
19 farenheit 9/11
20 8 & 1/2 women
21 madagascar
22 kill bill 1
23 dude, where's my car?
24 the woman in green
25 the hunger
24 nightwatch
25 de battre son coeur s'est arrete
26 wicker man
27 v for vendetta
28 courage the cowardly dog
29 casino royale
30 power of nightmares
31 charlie's angels
32 full throttle
33 foxy brown
34 paths of glory
35 airplane
36 between iraq & a hard place
37 mutiny on the bounty
38 flashmob the opera
39 octopussy
40 bakkerman
41 kiterunner


June 30th; Sunday. Fascinating theory: depression caused by tissue inflammation.

June 29th; Saturday. Finish a book from Robin's library: 'Wartime Writings 1939 - 1944' by Antoine Saint-Exupery, the French pilot and lyrical, almost mystical, author who never returned from his final mission flying over southern France in July 1944. A fascinating section from pages 106 to 116 shows his curious form of love for country, and how much it revolves around a kind of philosophy of joy, peace, and friendship. A memory of one occasion drinking outdoors in sunshine in a French village with a friend where they invited two bargemen (one German, one Dutch) to join them seems to glow in his memory as an emblem of happiness, a symbol of what it is the war is really for. The letter "to an American" that was published in LIFE magazine, where he is flying above France taking aerial photographs for the Allies while breathing oxygen bottled in New York, is a highlight showing how enchanting his writing could be. But his basic anxiety - what is civilisation? are we losing it? can we rebuild it? - comes through on every page. Even the "Pharoah's blocks" maths problem on pages 148 & 149, one of those he makes up to fill idle hours while grounded with an injury, is about reconstructing a relic of a lost civilisation. The book combines many of his private letters, diary entries, published articles, and a few letters and entries about him, written by others. There is an introduction for American readers by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, daughter of the pioneering aviator.
Known mainly to English-speaking readers today for his 'Little Prince' children's book (which struck me as sickly sweet when I first read it), "St-Ex" (as he signs his letters) was much better known in the 1940s as a pilot who wrote. In particular, his experiences in French North Africa in the 1930s flying airmail postal deliveries seem to have filled him with an almost religious awe for the Sahara desert. Memories of crossing the desert, landing in it, being rescued, rescuing others dying of thirst, looking up at the stars during nights in the desert, seem to haunt him. He has an almost Bedouin reverence for the silent vastness of the flat dry plain and what it seems to say about creation, crossed with an excitement about what can be achieved with modern machines that echoes the Italian Futurists of two decades earlier.
It was these reminiscences about flying and about the Sahara that he was better known for in his own lifetime. In his disagreements with fellow Frenchmen who are Gaullists he already sees and dislikes the notion of a postwar bloc drawing together several nations together in one European Union, but St-Ex has an odd mixture of emotions defying political categories. He yearns for a return of religious sensibility, he is a passionate patriot constantly driven to return to the battle against Nazi Germany, and yet he also has a strangely naive belief in universal love and comradeship beyond nations. He seems to want to struggle against comfort, consumerism, suburbanism, reaching for some austere supreme good he cannot quite describe except in terms of aviation and the desert. Much of his writing sounds like a reprise of the British World-War-One poets, alternating between their early longing for a cleansing, purifying conflict and their later jaded anti-war mood. At a few points it's possible to sense how charming he was and what an enormous impression he made on those he met, something beyond his writing. His superior officers were right - he should have allowed them to put him to work in propaganda instead of letting him insist on enduring pain & risk (& ultimately death) flying high-altitude missions in his forties.
June 28th; Friday. Short piece about attacks on satellites.

June 27th; Thursday. Thoughtful review of a rather cross-sounding book called The Return of Race Science.
June 26th; Wednesday. Writer says remove all furniture from your home. All of it.

June 25th; Tuesday. Pick up mended basketwork picnic-hamper thing from Wicker Man, two trolleybus stops behind IKEA.
June 24th; Monday. Some evidence human brains have DMT receptors.

June 23rd; Sunday. Do some filming in a rather hot mock-up of a London taxi, being towed around central Budapest, acting my small part as a rude passenger ('Banker Dude' in the script). My task is to be sneeringly patronising to a rather fit, sleek black girl who is the taxi driver (a major character in the show), curtly demanding she turn off her Nigerian pop music. Which tune shall we use?
June 22nd; Saturday. Short piece fills out the Whitby/Dracula connection.

June 21st; Friday. Longest day. Seemingly the long-running "yellow-jacket" protests across France have pushed Teacher's Pet into recklessly increased spending & debt. Driven slowly to rage over long years, it seems, a segment of rural France has now snapped and is determined to riot every weekend no matter what, like a sort of revived Vendee uprising.
June 20th; Thursday. Meet Laszlo the Wicker Man in a suburb, then visit Kerepesi street for a costume fitting for Sunday, then find Theological Andras at home behind the Keleti station. Here's some music the truckdriver/theologian/programmer/monk chopped up before it got used to back an interview. Sexy sexy.

June 19th; Wednesday. Chatting late at a cafe with Michael, he tells me of black Africans' morbid dread of owls, and I have to check again who Holderlin shared his theological university dormitory with (Hegel & Schelling). I rant on about the misconceived Hegelian nature of the EU. We touch on Benetar and I find a rather startling review of the Cape Town philosopher's dismally nihilistic book 'Better Never To Have Been': "My girlfriend was on the fence about having an abortion so I picked up a copy of this here shit right here, had her read it and VOILA! Fetus Deletus! This shit is magic and I recommend all sexually active males retain a copy!"
June 18th; Tuesday. Visit Paul & Marion at home. Remembering an evening at the open-air cafe with Michael and his art-trader friend Tony about 2 weeks ago. Tony & I urged Michael to write a zombie-apocalypse opera about sunspots. Next day I decide it should be a trilogy of zombie-apocalypse operas, the first one (obviously) named 'Maunder'. That was the night Sirius and the caniculae of mid-summer heat got Tony talking of having known Florence of the Machine as an eerily pretty little toddler running round her daddy's gardens, referring to this song.

June 17th; Monday. Paul sends me a wonderful article on Spengler.
June 16th; Sunday. Talking of Miklos, 2 weeks ago he showed me this 1950s TV chef from whom we must suspect Sesame Street's Swedish chef was comedy offspring.

June 15th; Saturday. Rather confusing train journey through summer heat (changing at four places on Hungary's Great Plain: Kiskunfelegyhaza, then Szentes, then Tiszafoldvar, then finally reaching Kunszentmarton to meet Gyuri. He's chuckling in his car as he finds me outside the station dancing around in the dusk, dodging mosquitoes). While on the train, I finish a book by a friend Miklos Molnar '33 Hungarian Histories', collecting short 600-word biographies of famous Hungarians he wrote for issues of Time Out magazine before it pulled out of the country. Written with a light touch, he gives an entertaining mix of lively historical characters, some famous, some not. Would have liked to see chapters on Denes Gabor and John von Neumann, but perhaps a second volume is planned? Thirsty at throughout the second train journey, I asked a cute but tubby woman ticket inspector why none of these stations seemed to have buffets or bars or even vending machines on such a hot day. She said "Because they don't", but at Szentes pops out of the staff office with two 1-litre mineral-water bottles, one for me, free of charge. The bottle is squat in shape but quite feminine, not unlike her.
June 14th; Friday. Short decade-old review of book claiming WW2 US general Patton was assassinated at the behest of his own government. Sounds intriguing.

June 13th; Thursday. Last 2 or days suddenly hot & sticky, like a classic Budapest summer. Japanese Buddhist shrine unveils robot goddess of mercy.
June 12th; Wednesday. Student Tamas tells me the floating crane I saw yesterday came from upriver near Slovakia, and had to wait six days before the flood river had gone down enough for it to fit under the several bridges to the north on its way here.

June 11th; Tuesday. Crossing the Danube by bus east to west via Margit Bridge, and to our left an enormous yolky orange crane thing towers at least 40 feet above the bridge from a barge on the river. Must be there to haul up the wreck of the small boatload of South Korean tourists pushed underwater by a bigger ship several nights ago, dragged upriver some distance and rammed into the mud just under the bridge. In the afternoon I finish a book from Michael's late wife, 'The Aesthetic Adventure', by William Gaunt. It traces the century of "art for art's sake" from the second decade of the 19th century to the second decade of the 20th century in principally England and France. A good summary, breezing through Baudelaire, Whistler, Swinburne, Walter Pater, Walter Sickert, slowly building to a kind of climax with Beardsley and Wilde. Every page enjoyable to read.
June 10th; Monday. Another lushly-orchestrated female solo about loneliness: 2Wicky by Hooverphonic.

June 9th; Sunday. The strange death of Labour England?
June 8th; Saturday. Old Moloko song, quite good, with a we-didn't-really-run-out-of-ideas video. "It's going to be brilliant, Jason, we just have them all dance in a tunnel. Back to basics, trust me."

June 7th; Friday. That Brazilian cover of Fool on the Hill. More Brazilian music from back then: Panis et circenses.
June 6th; Thursday. Portishead doing Glory Box live.

June 5th; Wednesday. Nice article: learning about life from Mick McManus.
June 4th; Tuesday. Entertainingly tetchy interview with Evelyn Waugh. Notice the BBC make sure to get their version of events on record at the start of the footage.

June 3rd; Monday. Weather is still cloudy, rainy, chilly. New moon.
June 2nd; Sunday. DJ Fresh decade-old tune: Gold Dust.

June 1st; Saturday. Men with clipboards model human cells as circuit boards.

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