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ARCHIVED ENTRIES FOR JUNE 2014

June  30,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'After a while, getting what you want all the time is very close to not getting what you want all the time.'

--A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

June  29,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

History isn't what happened.  History is just what historians tell us.  There was a pattern, a plan, a movement, expansion, the march of democracy; it is a tapestry, a flow of events, a complex narrative, connected, explicable.  One good story leads to another.  First it was kings and archbishops with some offstage divine tinkering, then it was the march of ideas and the movements of masses, then little local events which mean something bigger, but all the time it's connections, progress, meaning, this led to his, this happened because of this.  And we, the readers of history, the sufferers from history, we scan the pattern for hopeful conclusions, for the way ahead.  And we cling to history as a series of salon pictures, conversation pieces whose participants we can easily reimagine back into life, when all the time it's more like a multi-media collage, with paint applied by decorator's roller rather than camel-hair brush.

--A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

June  28,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

And does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce?  No, that's too grand, too considered a process.  History just burps, and we taste again that raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.

--A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

June  27,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

I can't tell you who to love, or how to love: those school courses would be how-not-not-to as much as how-to classes (it's like creative writing - you can't teach them how to write or what to write, only usefully point out where they're going wrong and save them time).

--A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes

June  26,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Of course, it is a relatively modern American import, the notion that we must 'have these things out,' while the old, English traditions of letting sleeping dogs lie, and brushing things under the carpet, have been spurned.  But who gains from this constant picking at the scabs of life?  'We have to talk,' says at least one character in almost every television drama these days, until one longs to scream at the screen, 'Why? just let it go!'

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  25,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

They cannot admire anyone who is more successful than they are.  They cannot enjoy the friends of their partner because these strangers may not agree to accept them for the superior being they are.  But since they have no friends themselves, it means they must regard any human gathering with suspicion.  They cannot praise, because praise affirms the worth of the person to whom it is given and the process of controlling is built on the suppression of any self-worth in whomever they are with.  They cannot learn, because learning first demands an acknowledgement that the teacher knows more than they, which they cannot give on any subject.  Above all, they are boring.  Boring beyond imagining.  Boring to the point of madness.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  24,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Genuine controllers are anti-life, killers of energy, living fire blankets that smother all endeavour.  For a start, they are always unhappy on anyone's territory but their own.  They cannot enjoy any party they are not giving.  They cannot relax as guests in a public place, because that would involve gratitude and gratitude is, to them, a sign of weakness.  But they are intolerable as hosts, especially in restaurants, where their manner to waiters and fellow diners alike poisons the atmosphere.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  23,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

The reason this is completely bewildering for the upper middle and upper classes is simply because for them the dinner is the pleasure.  It is the apex, the core, the point.  If the whole business of feeding is over by half past seven, what on earth is one to do until bed?  These people don't go to self-help groups, or engage in amateur acting, nor do they study art of quilting, or drop into a bar.  This is why any role in local government is so difficult for them.  It takes place just when they prefer to be sitting at a table for a very different purpose.  For those who cross the great social divide, there can be few habits harder to adjust to, whichever direction they have travelled.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Patrick: Lagniappe

To me, early eating can only be explained if food is considered essentially as fuel to strengthen one for the adventures yet to come.  So, people will dine at six or six thirty in order to be fuelled by seven, in time to fill the next few hours with fun.  This time may be spent in a club or in a pub or keeping fit or studying macramé or learning Mandarin or line dancing of simply watching television while sitting on a sofa.  The evening is your oyster and, by eating early, you are free to enjoy every pleasure while it lasts.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  21,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Not belonging to this team, I find it hard to penetrate their thinking.  Do they imagine that by being demanding and edgy and cross, they will force you to work harder to make things better?  If so, they are, of course, completely wrong.  This kind of talk just gives one permission to go.  The more dissatisfied they are, the more their gloom will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In fact, the first time you hear that put-upon sigh, 'I suppose I'm expected to clean this up,' you know it is simply a matter of time.  The irony being that the ones who are truly hard to leave are those who are always happy.  To desert a happy lover, to make them unhappy when they were not unhappy before, is hard and mean, and involves guilt of a major kind.  To leave a miserable whinger just seems logical.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  20,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

I was struck, not for the first time, by the tremendous mistake that about half the human race usually finds itself making when it comes to wobbly relationships.  The division is not be sex or class or nationality or race or even age, since almost every type is found on both sides of the divide.  The mistake is this: When they are in a partnership that is not going well, they attempt to inject a kind of drama into by becoming moody and critical and permanently not quite-satisfied.  "Why do you always do that?' they say.  'Now, are you listening because you never get this right?'  Or, 'Don't tell me you've forgotten again!'

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  19,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Very few Englishmen ever ask women anything about themselves.  They choose instead to lecture their dinner neighbours on a new and better route to the M5, or to praise their own professional achievements.  So if a man does express any curiosity about the woman sitting next to him, about her feelings, about the life she is leading, she will generally tell him anything he cares to know.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  18,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'I knew he'd do well.  That was what I loved about him.  He was part of the world that was coming.'  She glanced at me.  'Not the world we thought was coming, all that peace and love and flowers-in-your-hair.  Not that.  The real world that crept secretly towards us through the seventies and arrived with a bang in the eighties.  The ambition, the rapacity, I knew that another rich oligarchy would be back in place before I died and I was sure Damian would belong to it.'

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  17,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

It was not unlike Mr Blair's attempt to rebrand the country Cool Britannia.  There was a period when everyone thought it might work, then a second chapter when the media would insist the experiment was working even though we all knew it wasn't and finally a universal acknowledgement, from Left and Right, that it had been a ridiculous and colossal failure.

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

[N.B.:  No, no, no--this has nothing to do with current affairs.  After all, the book was published in 2009.]

June  16,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'Who's that one?'  A tall and handsome young man flashed her a smile as he passed.

'Don't bother.  No money.  No prospects.'  Lucy clearly understood her companion's priorities.  'Of course, he's clever and he's headed for the City.  He may make something of himself.'

But Terry shook her head.  'That takes twenty years and by the time they've got there they're ready to trade you in for a younger model.  No.  I want some money from the outset.'

--Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

June  15,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'Actually,' said Alex, leaning forward, 'I've got a question for you, Luke.'

'Shoot.'

'You're watching television.  Suddenly you realize there's a wasp crawling along your arm.'

'I'd kill it.'

'You go into a restaurant, the entrée is boiled dog . . .'

Luke said nothing.  His eyes met Alex's in t rearview mirror.

'Tell me,' said Luke, 'have you ever taken this test yourself?'

'Within five seconds,' said Sahra, 'Alex will be doing his Rutger Hauer.  I guarantee it.'

'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe,' said Alex.  'Attack ships on fire off the shores of Orion . . . '

Luke joined in and they did the last lines together, perfectly synchronised: 'All of those moments will be lost . . . in time, like tears . . . in rain.'

Nicole and Sahra did a perfectly synchronised yawn.

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  14,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'The point is that everything can always be improved.'

'How can you ever be happy if you think that?'

'How can you ever be happy if you don't?'

'What does that mean?'

'It means everything can always be improved by drugs.  It's just a question of fitting the substance to the activity in question.  Or finding the right activity for the substance.  You admit that listening to music is much better if you're stoned, right?  And dancing is much better if you take--'

'For you, yes.'

'For everyone.'

'But I don't want to take it.  I don't try to persuade you not to.  So why do you try to persuade me to?'

'Because you're missing out on something great.  It can get to the point where there's nothing but lights and music.  You can feel yourself dissolving as an individual.  You can feel yourself not existing.'

'I love my existence.'

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  13,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'That was amazing,' said Luke when they came out of L'Avventura.

'Amazingly boring, you mean?' said Sahra.

'Yes, exactly.'

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  12,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

When in pursuit of a woman, Alex thought, your friend's girlfriend will always be your best co-conspirator.

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  11,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'The most important thing,' said Nicole, 'is that women like men who like women.'

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  10,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

To have telephoned the next day would have appeared over-eager; the following week too casual. So he called after three days - exactly, as Sara calculated, when someone romantically inclined would do so.

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  9,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

'What did you see?' Alex said.  'More precisely, which Cassavetes film did you see?'  There was a Cassavetes season on.  You could not move for Cassavetes films.

'Faces'

'Faces?  I can't remember whether I've seen that one or not.  It's the one that's exactly like all the others, right?'

'That's the one.  Have you seen it?'

'Yes.  Or maybe it was one of the others.'

--Paris Trance by Geoff Dyer

June  8,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Breaking a long silence, Lionel said, 'You see that uh, architect who topped hisself, Des?  Sir John someone.  His mum pops off and he tops hisself.  And everyone goes, Ah, he was depressed, see because his mum popped off.  They always say that - and it's bollocks.  It's not that he suddenly wanted to.  Top hisself.  It's that he suddenly could.'

--Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis

June  7,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

"See Daph, the rich world . . . is heavy.  Everything weighs.  Because it's here for the duration.  It's here to stay . . And my old world, Diston as was, it's . . it's light!  Nothing weighs an ounce!  People die!  It, things - fly away!"  He does some more frowning and says, "So that's me challenge.  To go from the floating world . . to the heavy.  That's me challenge.  And I can handle it."

--Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis

June  6,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

"You're not wrong, Daph.  I never had much time for the other.  Before.  Wasn't bothered.  Perfectly happy with the porn."

'This is casually said.  As if for all the world adult videos were a traditional alternative to adult relationships.'

"You can't go far wrong with the porn.  It's like prison.  You know where you are with the porn."

--Lionel Asbo: State of England by Martin Amis

June  5,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

I don't normally have much patience with messy lives.  Does it sound smug if I say that I saw through the seventies and its morality before most people?  I can't help that.  I tired fairly early of people boasting about their open relationships, and then complaining when that same openness let everything they could have valued trickle away.  The word open began to sound warning bells long before it became apparent that people were leaving themselves open to more than bad behaviour.  I would almost flinch when I heard that word.

--The Changes of Those Terrible Years collected in Monopolies of Loss by Adam Mars-Jones

June  4,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

I closed my eyes and I could see the characteristics of a voice, its strengths but also its temptations.  I knew which singers were basing themselves on the wrong models, dreaming of a sound that was impossibly big or pure.  The limitations of the physical apparatus must be faced squarely, but then transcended.  It's actually the limitations of the voice's owner, rather than the voice itself, that most often impose artificial boundaries on a singing career.

--The Changes of Those Terrible Years collected in Monopolies of Loss by Adam Mars-Jones

June  3,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

I believe I was the only partner with no musical ambition of my own.  Certainly at the firm's Christmas party each year two of my colleagues would be led protesting to the piano to attempt some Schubert four-hands.  Despite their protests at the stiffness of their fingers and the limited time they had for practice, they were really not very good.

--The Changes of Those Terrible Years collected in Monopolies of Loss by Adam Mars-Jones

June  2,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

Understanding people is a perfectly valid alternative to liking them  . . . .

--Summer Lightning collected in Monopolies of Loss by Adam Mars-Jones

June  1,  2014

Patrick: Lagniappe

He liked to walk along Bourbon Street, loving the clarity of its division.  On one side of a definite line, the street was clearly straight, on the other side it was just as clearly gay.  Standing there on the divide, it was impossible not to notice that straight sex was sold, and gay sex given away.

--The Brake collected in Monopolies of Loss by Adam Mars-Jones