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March 27th; Friday. The electrically-operated front gate out here in the suburb known lyrically as the 'Pearl of Buda' seems to have a persona, a bit grumpy and prickly as personalities go. Sometimes the inner white button starts to open it, or starts to close it, but sometimes it refuses. Then on occasion, it changes its mind, reversing direction in mid-whirr, beginning to open but then closing again or vice versa. The external keypad on one of the gateposts seems to be no use in dealing with these moods either.
A friend in France writes a fascinating, rather dark, article about the French left's paedophile tastes.

March 26th; Thursday. Read a book I find in Iris's office, by John Berger 'Art and Revolution' from 1969. Really it's appalling that someone of the aesthetic sensitivity and empathetic insight of Berger could, as late as the 1960s, still be defending the deeply nasty regime of the USSR. He seems to genuinely believe that Stalin was some kind of betrayal of Lenin, as opposed to the (surely obvious?) reality that Stalinism was the natural fruition of the vileness of Lenin and his feral co-conspirators. Yet Berger's prose, here as elsewhere, is sensuous, tactile, and often exquisitely precise when he turns it to examination of artworks, the artistic process, or the patient stoicism of the people he admires, the poor.
Here he describes part of Eastern Europe viewed from a moving train: "The sky is very big, the light is stretched across it - stretched so it gives the impression of having been worn thin. Dog-roses along the railway embankments look like mulberry stains on pale green linen - such is the lack of definition, the endlessness, the edgelessness, of the light of the plain.
A woman is watching her cow graze. A couple lie on the pale green linen grass. A cart is drawn by two horses along a straight uneven road. A man bends over some vegetables to see whether they can be picked today. A cyclist appears like a moving post on the far side of the wheat."
Even the rhythm of the journey subtly appears in the short sentences as briefly-seen details flick past the train crossing the huge flatness of the steppes. Reading a writer of such poetic sensitivity lauding the Soviet Union, describing in a closing section the poor world's "three continents" that are "exploited and oppressed" by Europe, speaking with unfeigned sincerity about Marxist revolution, is deeply embarrassing. It's like seeing someone whose hands profoundly understand the sweet physical language of clay or wood ignorantly mouthing cruel dogma from a barbaric religious sect: two sides of one mind out of sync.
The case he uses the book to outline is that a sculptor called Neizestny is sincerely in favour of the socialist revolution that the Soviet state, by the 1960s, is in contrast only partly committed to. Niezestny, he explains, has by historical accident a resonantly symbolic name meaning 'The Unknown One'. Superficially, his sculptures resemble Henry Moore works except with gritted teeth. Berger describes himself what he sees as Niezestny's debt to, and difference from, Moore. "Moore's imagination is oceanic: his figures are the creatures of forces that overwhelm them. His world, although his sculpture is entirely unliterary, is not unlike Thomas Hardy's. Neizvestny's imagination, as we have seen, is anthropocentric and based on a heroic conception of the human will." Those three sentences left me wondering whether perhaps Berger's imagination is oceanic and like Thomas Hardy's. In any case he responds thoughtfully to the Russian's sculptures, noting how Niezvestny's technique of working at the inside surfaces of mould pieces gives his pieces a sense of something like a life force pushing out of each human body.
A different comparison might be with the paintings of Francis Bacon, where physical flesh endures nihilistic humiliation & pain. Yet Berger fluently persuades us that this is more a Russian sense of hope, a triumph of life over death, less a negative expression of horror. The cramped, almost unlit, workspace of Niezestny in Moscow oddly recalls Bacon's crammed and equally lightless studio in London. Niezestny defies the regime in certain measure, pursuing his own vision of proletarian socialist art (loyal to what Berger touchingly sees as the inspiration of the Bolshevik revolution). He does this in a way which threatens the official values of the 1960s Party, Berger says, more than a dissident artist could. An open quarrel about art with Krushchev at an art gallery in front of Party dignitaries shows that Niezestny is brave, and that by then some criticism could be tolerated. For Berger, this shows this sculptor carries the flame of 1917 ideals and has potential to bring Russia back to its great moment. For me, it shows Russia was on a slow upward curve, very gradually, painfully healing from the 20th century's primal moment of political thuggishness four decades earlier. The trick by which the Leninists seized power, like hijacking an oil tanker, prefigured Mussolini's power grab, Hitler's power grab, those of all the other students of Lenin.
March 25th; Wednesday. I quite often have dreams which feel vividly different from my other dreams, and seem to be reports from longstanding other lives. Of course, because I haven't kept a proper dream diary (and even that wouldn't really prove much), I cannot distinguish between the "feeling" I keep revisiting certain alternative lives in my dreams years apart, and whether I really am having dreams that link together across months or years in coherent narratives of their own. So, during the night I am for some reason attending an event at the House of Commons, where I'm on the invitation list because two of my old school English teachers are being given some minor award. All the same I miss the actual event, and am wandering around inside the building. One woman I call up on an internal phone line asks me "Are you War?", meaning am I on the list of arms dealers usually invited to such events, and a few moments later I'm carrying two briefcases, one of which is large, boxlike, and dark grey (but oddly not heavy), and another female official asks me, politely enough, "Weapons trade, sir?" for the same reason.
Tidy little film runs over the pros and cons of storing energy in flywheels.

March 24th; Tuesday. The pink fluffy socks I bought from a discount store facing Simon's with their smiley faces and chirpy brand name Mr Pamut ('pamut' = 'cotton') perhaps herald a new buoyant phase in my life. They're very comfy. Evidence continues to mount that the 19th 'coronavirus', or COVID-19 has been absurdly oversold as a threat - Nobel Laureate predicts quick recovery, 12 specialists question the panic, and Swiss doctor notes that the average age of deaths in Italy with COVID-19 is 81, with 90% of victims over 70. At the same time, evidence is also mounting that, even if less deadly than claimed, COVID-19 looks manmade, like an unsuccessful attempt at or an early draft of a biological weapon.
March 23rd; Monday. Three days ago, a good-natured Hungarian woman remarks to me as I arrive at an address that "it only feels like a proper home once there's a man in it," (meaning me). I've heard this frequently said about women (that their presence makes a home a home) but struggle to recall any Englishwoman ever saying anything like that in my hearing: that it's a proper home if a man is there.
Meanwhile, for anyone needing guidance on the term 'fruit bat', the following short film might be helpful.

March 22nd; Sunday. Read a 68-page report Iris has lying around, dated to early 2019, about strategic concerns facing Russia and its "international partners" (meaning the US, China, the EU, etc). 'Russian Challenges from Now into the Next Generation: A Geostrategic Primer' is an INSS report in a series called Strategic Perspectives, number 29: authors Brigadier-General Peter B. Zwack and Marie-Charlotte Pierre. Written in standard Pentagon English with a few typos, the overall message is (convincingly) that Russia is under strain, carefully using its military and quasi-military power to counter long-term threats to its territorial integrity. As ever with documents like this, it's the omissions which are interesting. Timely US responses to Putin's occupation of Crimea in 2014 (which could have forced a Kremlin climbdown if they had been promptly carried out within a window of a fortnight) are passed over, while the claim that Russia interfered in US 2016 elections is mentioned a couple of times without any admission the story holds no water. Accounts of intervention in Syria leave much out, and discussion of Turkey's rather alarming politics are also strikingly tactful: a minimal mention of Erdogan's sham putsch in the summer of 2016, and no mention of the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey in December of that same year. A strangely public killing on camera in an art gallery that looked very much like a planned provocation by some player trying to set the two countries against each other.
March 21st; Saturday. Quiet day, lots of sleep. Fun talk on orbits & ancient history.

March 20th; Friday. An epidemiologist talks sense about the exaggerated fuss over the current "pandemic". Meanwhile another allegation that COVID-19 is manmade.
March 19th; Thursday. Charming short film explains Machiavelli's main idea. Lovely bits of Renaissance art animate a broad view compared to last month's introduction.

March 18th; Wednesday. A few days back, an online friend linked to this scene from the 1960s Zulu movie for some reason, I suppose about overcoming fear. I have to say I struggle to see the accounts of COVID-19-quarantined Italians singing opera from their balconies in the same light, but that's probably just me being unkind.
March 17th; Tuesday. Budapest's streets seem sunnier and prettier with lots of people staying indoors. It seems that COVID-19 responds well to a Japanese anti-viral drug Favipiravir, sunshine & fresh air, and another cocktail of existing drugs some Indian hospitals are using successfully. Then we hear that the "coronavirus" already has a 2nd-century saint. Saint Corona is apparently patron saint of pandemics, although here is a nicely-researched counterclaim.

March 16th; Monday. Perhaps a new state of matter has been found.
March 15th; Sunday. Chatting with Bela out in the wilderness around the crackling log fire. When I cut bits of firewood outside the garage, the nearby geese in their enclosure pass comment quite irately. Is my sawing technique so obviously amiss?

March 14th; Saturday. Things seem to be getting complex. I get the train down to Bela at Robin's on the Great Plain. A crispy-sweet Jessica Pratt song with wispy-neat video to match: This Time Around.
March 13th; Friday. The story around Dean Koontz's 1981 thriller seemingly predicting COVID-19 not quite as good as it sounds at first, but that hasn't stopped his airport thriller re-entering the bestseller lists.

March 12th; Thursday. Mum's on the Council: a mighty cartoon strip indeed. Culture-Watcher Nick comes surging back.
March 11th; Wednesday. Programmer and almost-Benedictine-monk Andras reminds me of Michelle Gurevich. Although best known for songs like Party Girl and To Be With Others, it's really this adorably frank tune that makes her sound most East European: Music Gets You Girls. Then she has Behind Closed Doors, and a couple where the video-film itself is really more interesting than the song: Fatalist Love and Drugs Saved My Life.

March 10th; Tuesday. Man who sounds like Ice T says sleep is more important than diet or exercise.
March 9th; Monday. Finally the overpricing corrects. Phase Two of the 2009 global crash has, thanks to coronavirus, at last arrived.

March 8th; Sunday. It's happening, and just the way Herrick tells it.
So good-luck came, and on my roof did light
  Like noiseless snow, or as the dew of night;
Not all at once, but gently, as the trees
  Are, by the sun-beams, tickled by degrees.

March 7th; Saturday. My memory of Everything But The Girl is partly housemates at college listening to them and dressing like them, and partly of a Hungarian woman translator at the state news agency, mother of two, a decade later. On one evening shift, as an EBTG video played on the office television, she said wearily of the singer, "She's so ugly I can't even look at her." Three songs: Wrong (Todd Terry remix) / The Future of the Future - Stay Gold (Deep Dish mix) / Missing (Todd Terry remix).
Brilliantly chosen lyrical niche of course. Woman says "I was wrong", "I'll follow you" (in a moping manner rather than Lykke-Li style), "I miss you", in contrast to the jaw-clenching way most of them never ever admit they made a mistake.
Robin, Bela, & I visit the late-night swimming pool and sauna at the market town of Martfu (Dr D later tells me the town is still known for a serial-killing lorry driver in the 1960s who murdered several girls finishing the late-night shift at the shoe factory). Facing the baths is a brand-new but totally traditional building housing some kind of national agricultural institute: another straw in the wind. Something wonderful Robin says today: it's a mistake to not have a baby for cost reasons, because the baby brings the energy & hope that helps you find resources to feed it.

March 6th; Friday. A Frieze article depressingly discusses British Surrealist painting as if leftist wisdom is finally reaching our shores after an inexplicable 90-year delay. Drive into countryside with Robin.
March 5th; Thursday. Here's a guide to changing yourself.

March 4th; Wednesday. Wonderfully-titled blues song from Lightning Hopkins: It's a Sin to be Rich, It's a Low-Down Shame to be Poor. He discusses this important question in the lyrics: a rich man ain't got a chance to go to heaven, and a poor man got a hard way to go // Gabriel going to be the next man blow that trumpet. I want to be there when he blow. Blow, Gabriel! // That's when the world be over with the people, and I can lay down and rest for sure..
March 3rd; Tuesday. This week's third visit to the sauna at the affordable Tempelfit2 club. On my first post-Patrick session in there last weekend I saw, in the far corner, a pair of jaunty male genitals scratched into the soft pine under the lamp, probably with a locker key. In sign language, two four-inch-high symbols are added together with the arithmetic operators, taking up the whole width of the horizontal plank at eye level: cock&balls1 "+" cock&balls2 "=" heart sign. Romance!

March 2nd; Monday. Someone tells me that London rhymeists are now calling Corona Virus Miley Cyrus. China's police state reduced to pretending there is no economic impact (see March 9th above). By one of our contributors.
March 1st; Sunday. Go as guest with Greek Michael to his de-luxe fitness club, where we try out several of their absurd number of saunas - 13 or 14. One or two sharp-eyed brunettes in white towels checking us out. I find myself in a packed large sauna (15 of us) where there is a kind of no-entry/no-exit timed "show" or presentation from a polite towel-clad trainer explaining the benefits and wafting hot steam in different directions with another white towel part-wrapped round a wooden rod, a bit like a flag on a pole. Sedate applause when he finishes. One "sauna" seems to be gently spraying very finely powdered salt over me & a chatty lass in a bikini.

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

February 29th; Saturday. Visit the sauna again. Some more pro-sauna videos from Rhonda Patrick. The useful 8-minute summary is here.
February 28th; Friday. NYT: Everyone's a Curator Now. Cunning plan continues.

February 27th; Thursday. More non-Scruton-approved Crystal Method: Dubeliscious.
February 26th; Wednesday. Strangely compelling "encyclopaedia" of aeroplane sleeping positions.

February 25th; Tuesday. After reading up on saunas, seems they have real benefits. Last weekend went to a sauna three days in a row. Here's a short summary of why.
February 24th; Monday. Over a lunchtime chicken & bacon burger on Kiraly street I finish 'Machiavelli' by Quentin Skinner, a short introduction I found among Greek Michael's books. I read 'The Prince' as a teenager, foolishly without checking an introductory text first. This brief overview might have helped. Skinner takes us briskly through the political & writing career of the man Leo Strauss described as an advocate for evil: hard not to wonder what his episode of imprisonment with torture was like. More than a match for most mid-life crises. Skinner nicely brings out how the Florentine thinker tries to insinuate his own increasingly desperate current career needs and self-promotion into apparently timeless political discussions in print. What also comes out is Machiavelli's own philosophical development as he digests turns of events in northern Italy in his lifetime, trying to abstract lessons from Cesare Borgia's rise, and then from his fall. Reminds me oddly I'd quite like to see this current film.

February 23rd; Sunday. Has the tomb of Romulus been found? And if his brother had killed him first, would the city be now called Reem?
February 22nd; Saturday. Stories alleging the Wuhan-sourced coronavirus outbreak is a lab-escaped biological weapon gather momentum. A 2nd article, and then a 3rd. Not just my informal sources, it seems.

February 21st; Friday. Claims of large-scale IP theft and corruption by China.
February 20th; Thursday. For lovers of cubbyhole hideaway stories, a 1-pound home with no entrance.

February 19th; Wednesday. Sea-level specialist says (imagine!) that it's all a scam.
February 18th; Tuesday. Arctic sea-ice cover grows to mid-February 11-year high.

February 17th; Monday. British government seemingly plans major censorship.
February 16th; Sunday. Effortless-sounding guitar & voice from Barbara Lynn, Moving on a Groove, and I Feel All Right. A shame she didn't record more party stuff like the second piece, instead of her doubtless better-earning mass of I'm-a-good-woman-you'll-miss-me-bad numbers.

February 15th; Saturday. A tune by Crystal Method (tune producers criticised very reasonably by the recently deceased Roger Scruton in a talk I went to a few years ago): Glass Breaker. Then their remix of a Moby track, notable for looping a cough into the rhythm: Come On Babe. The late Scruton's right, they're a bit nihilistic, grim.
February 14th; Friday. Late in the quasi-Buddhist cafe, I am packing my stuff up as they close, no other guest on the premises. Perhaps because I tease them about their vegan cakes, they sweetly tell me not to rush off as they put chairs up on the tables. Instead they introduce me to their new colleague, a roughly 16"-diameter 3"-thick white disc gliding carefully across the floor patiently cleaning it. "We decided to name her Consuela" one of the waitresses explains. I say a BBC TV show called 'Tomorrow's World' described these devices in around 1972 (their faces cloud slightly with confusion when I mention the date): I've been puzzled by the delay in making them actually available ever since. She looks exactly as her earlier prototype did in one of the Tomorrow's World print annuals Mother bought me several Christmases in a row. I first saw a (slightly noisier) version of Consuela in Terri & Alvi's flat close up about five years ago. "What exactly took you all so long?" I want to ask someone or other - hardly undersea glass domes or moon bases, is it? I still remember Alvin Toffler in a 2-or-3-year-old copy of 'Future Shock' from the public library telling the ten-year-old me that in the future we'd have special terminals in our homes we could use to access films, music, the libraries of the world; by my mid-teens rolling my eyes and wondering why everyone was so slow about it; and by my late twenties just assuming it would never happen.

February 13th; Thursday. Man goes to bank branch in the US to deposit money and gets arrested: a clear case of Banking While Black. What makes the story even better is he was trying to deposit money from a previous racial-discrimination settlement.
February 12th; Wednesday. Striking song animation: The Ghost of Stephen Foster.

February 11th; Tuesday. Here's a 'Witch House' (dark ambient Goth techno Satan something something) version, I slowly realised, of a Lionel Richie song. Cover photo shows a standard-issue Hungarian party girl dressed as if "of the night", complete with bored, sneering expression ('O', from the nattily named Blvck Ceiling). Pretty much the same sort of thing from 1958 by Kip Tyler - 'She's My Witch'. With a friend to Indochinese restaurant. Friend persuades me to try a strange sweet course starring "black rice". Something of a Goth dessert, a veritable Pudding Of Darkness, I tentatively suggest, as we churn in the coconut milk it comes with. During conversation, it emerges he used to work with a titled German accountant in London whose real name was Count Frankenstein, a French notary in Geneva whose real name was Jesus Christ ("I had to stop using him, people complained about documents notarised with that name on"), and knows a girl in Ukraine whose common-law husband was phonetically called Gary Satan (although the spelling is different, something like "Seyton").
February 10th; Monday. Discover some filmed radio film reviews, if that isn't complicated enough, featuring a man called Mark Kermode. Some of his reviews are interesting, although the earnest way he reviews the risible Black Panther, and reverential mentions of various Italian schlock horror film directors give him away as a BBC leftist wally. But some films competently reviewed nonetheless. Here he is on A Field in England / The Navigator / Inception / Grand Budapest Hotel.

February 9th; Sunday. Full moon. Something very strange in Simon's kitchen. I distinctly recall last weekend there were two neon lights under one leg each of the the L-shaped array of head-height cupboards. One along the stretch almost to the fridge, and the other under the cupboards over the sink at right angles to the fridge stretch. In fact, at one point last weekend I switched the fridge set off leaving only the other strip on. Now not only is there no neon strip under the cupboards above the fridge, there is nowhere it could have been (cue eerie music). The wires, plugs, and sockets are in the same place, but no light strip or even place for one. Just an air extractor grille taking up the whole underside of that cupboard stretch. Slightly panicky, I feel like one of those mad people utterly convinced some children's cartoon had a different spelling 20 years ago therefore they "must" have slipped sideways into a very similar parallel universe with one or two absurdly trivial details changed. Shall ask Si. Editing transcripts of documentaries last week and this week about suicidal, infertile, criminal, insane people might have got me imagining things. Fairly unlikely Simon's electric kitchen is actively trying to gaslight me.
February 8th; Saturday. Increasing rumours from several sources are claiming that the coronavirus pneumonia-like disease currently killing people in China was an engineered weapon designed in a government lab that escaped into the city of Wuhan. The extra claim is it was a weapon intended for Hong Kong.

February 7th; Friday. Three tunes from Little Ann, plus one where she sings backing for the mightily titled Tarheel Slim. Going Down A One Way Street / Sweep It Out In The Shed / Who Are You Trying To Fool / Can't Stay Away.
February 6th; Thursday. The London Metal Exchange decides for now to keep open outcry as its auction method. London's last commodity market, apparently, to still have a trading ring or pit with lads shouting at each other to settle prices.

February 5th; Wednesday. Final chat with British journalist briefly in town. We discuss lots of stuff, including religious art, the difference between Dracula and Nosferatu: #, books by Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton's now-endangered house.
February 4th; Tuesday. A few helpful remarks from publishers currently looking for fiction. Metaphorosis Books is issuing "a reprint anthology for Vegan science fiction and fantasy stories published in the previous year -- They want stories that happen to be vegan - no meat, no hunting, no horse-riding, no leather." The Were-Traveler wants "weird fiction where the setting is a carnival, theme park, circus or fair/festival. 'Clowns can be part of the story, but they don't have to be.'" Hybrid's 'Genderful' is a "furry fiction anthology in two parts which aims to explore how furry and gender interact. They want submissions that explore the implications of non-cisgender life within the context of furry."

February 3rd; Monday. Looks as if some remains found at Pompeii really are Pliny the Elder. One of our book's contributors sets out the four different epidemics affecting Asia at the moment. Interesting wartime deduction using wargaming of how German U-boats were attacking Allied food convoys in the Atlantic.
February 2nd; Sunday. Do a bit of firewood sawing next to the garage, watched critically through their wire fence by Robin's geese. Here's an intelligent dog vaguely like the white-coloured Siegfried.

February 1st; Saturday. Kindly invited out to countryside by Bela, by mid-afternoon train. On the local stopping train across the Great Plain, a drawn-out sunset shimmers at the sky's edge, like a burning city just out of sight below the horizon. Was it yesterday I recommended Bubu watch this and this film?

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