DAMP AND RAINY AFTERNOON. Puddles all up the high road. Pedestrians dodging trucks and buses that periodically spray the sludgy water high. Blue and white sky. No thunder. No mizzle or drizzle now. When it does rain it will be London rain. Intermittent. Not light, not heavy. We benefit from the trans-Atlantic Gulf Stream. Hence our clement climate. British weather is seldom beautiful, but very seldom very ugly, either.
MATRAN AND LAUNDRETTA have been shouting. She has taken to reading American romances and thrillers on our doorstep, beside the heavy door with the closet-lock that they've both bashed in too many times for anyone to recall.
IT'S A NO-SMOKING NATION NOW. No smoking anywhere. The Indian man in the post office (which also has a front newsagents selling tobacco products) warned me to be careful where I light up my Richmond Superkings now. I told him about the phone box warnings. He laughed, disbelieving I was for real. Truly, I told him. It says "No smoking in these premises ~ plural. As if there's room for another person passively to get lung cancer as you insert your 40p minimum charge (80 US cents for a phone call! What is the world coming to?!?) and gabble for the thirty seconds or so for which this buys connexion to a mobile telephone. Ruth was right. The UK's blanket smoking ban does not technically cover the Members of Parliament who voted it in with such ignorant alacrity. This is because the Palace of Westminster (the photogenic building housing the Commons, the Lords and Big Ben) is technically a Royal Palace on a par with Buckingham Palace and banning smoking in their bar would, under present law, be like banning smoking in the late Princess Margaret's bedroom ...
MARIA PUZO is still keeping me nightly enraptured in his tale of 1960s gangsterism and vice. Considering he's chosen the genre of "popular fiction" to tell his tale ~ what many in the literary world consider to be literary trash ~ he writes fantastically well. And what lifts his novel above the morass of average crime novels and thrillers is his uncommon psychological insights into the hearts and actions of his characters. A feat uncommon in writers even of romantic of popular fiction, let alone crime novels. Crime though, as we all know, is all about motives and motivation. You cannot tell the story of a crime without getting into the minds of victim and criminal. Mario Puzo does this excellently. My only reservations come when he stoops to telling his characters' sex lives. He devotes an entire chapter, for example, to one woman's gynaecological troubles and what they would call nowadays a "pelvic floor operation" ~ as if we're all so fascinated in that! I cannot tell whether he is being pervy and creepy, or is inserting scenes he considered expected of him, or whether such details flow naturally from his pen (I sense that they do not) ... then I realize this was published in 1969 when explicit talk of sex was still a novelty in the popular novel. But I feel he has sexualized the book in the interests of commercialization, not because of art. And this is one of the book's few failings. ...and that's my intellectual summary of Mario Puzo's The Godfather: so there!
IRONIC, REALLY, that when the book was written and when the film was shot, the Italian mafia were the reigning barons of crime in the USA. Nowadays their power is so incredibly weakened over there ... I believe they still reign pretty supreme in Sicily ... but the old power they once weilded is now smashed due to multiple arrests and convictions, show trials that went ahead with all defendents in glass boxes despite the threats and posturings of the "families" concerned ... and new gangsters from other parts of the world have taken over ... e.g. the South Americans who control (at the top levels, at least) the international trade in cocaine ... "Narcotics," as the novel repeatedly makes clear, were, in the early 1960s, "the way forward" ... opium, imported from Turkey, was refined in Sicily into high-grade heroin and exported (often via France, hence that expression "the French Connexion") to the United States. Now the Italians have lost control of this trade to the far more powerful South American gangs and seem to be back to controlling the meat-packing districts of New York and garbage disposal services in towns across America. (Did anyone hear about the man who single-handedly faced out the mafia-controlled garbage near-monopoly in his home city (somewhere in America; I don't recall where) only to be barraged with almost cartoonish Italian-accented threat phone calls ... his business was barricaded by garbage trucks so nobody could drive in or out ... et cetera ... though threats of violence were made nobody (if I remember rightly) was ever hurt ... eventually the police were brought in and the hoodlums captured because you can't say, do or even think of doing anything today without your thoughts and actions being captured somewhere on mobile phone records or CCTV!) ...
LAST NIGHT I DREAMED of celebrities. I don't normally do this ...
DID YOU NOTICE MY £77,777 daydream post? I hardly daydream any more and when I last did, caught myself actually fantasizing about getting clean. This is such a forward step for me. A sign that I do see a future without these drugs. Not too long ago my only fantasy of fluent-flowing money was as a means to binge out, not to fly away half-way across the road newly clean, to stay clean, to start life anew clean and finally to sit down and do the only thing I've ever really wanted to do in life, which is to write for a living ... and such a convoluted, twisted, writhing, raging way of getting to that point. I'm determined to get there even if doing so half kills me. I have always had the requisite talent. Only now I have bitter experience behind me as well as a unique point of view. To write compellingly one must not only have a tale worth the telling, one must be able to tell it in a fresh, inimitable way. Then the reader feels his or her eyes have been opened. Life is experienced from a perspective all new. That's how I perceive the writer's role in life. Am I right? Keeping a blog has been good practice, but successful blogging is actually a more difficult task than writing a great book. Because a great book, devoured in a matter of days, must only hold the readers' attention for that long. A highly successful blog, on the other hand, going on and on for months and years on end, as it does, like a soap opera is quite a different achievement. A more difficult thing to achieve. I feel my energies, in the long term, would be more profitably poured into the writing of a great book.
But what? Why? Who? Where to start? These are the questions plaguing my mind.
When I've an answer to these my book will already be written. Then I'll just tell yous the isbn number and you'll be able to follow my thoughts on old-fashioned butter coloured acid-free paper between gorgeous hard covers. And you won't have to log on to my baby-blue blog any more!
Don't worry I won't give up blogging yet... The Godfather, I think, is a much better book than the film of it... my friends are just getting bored of me rattling on about the doings of the Corleones' arch rivals the Vermicellis and the Tagliatelli families ...
Quote of the day:
"When you are going through hell; keep going!"
~~ Winston Churchill
Found at http://workingatlanl.blogspot.com/
AWAY IN AMSTERDAM - Tomorrow I am going to Amsterdam to be the body guard of nearly 7 year old grandson Toby. It is about time that I leave home for a few days because I think...
1 day ago