Monday, March 16, 2015


What will be, will be

I am surrounded by things that are going to happen rather than things that have.
            Today I heard from Ignacio Acosta who is the great-grand-nephew of one of the artists that I have chosen to write my mini-thesis on for the end of my OU course.  Ignacio is mounting an art exhibition based on his experience of his great-grand-uncle Alvaro Guevara, which has opened to positive reviews.  The press release can be seen here and, if things go according to plan then a version of the work that I will produce for the course will find its way onto the website devoted to the exhibition.
            A lot of work has to be completed before that can happen, but it is a goal worth aiming for.
            More pressing is the essay that I am supposed to be writing for the end of April.  This seems like eons away at the moment but I am not going to be fooled by that trick time has of melting away just when you need it most and I am reading my last textbook with avidity bordering of desperation!  I am already reading chapters that we should not have started until April – but as I will be in the UK on the date in April that the essay should be handed in I need to give myself some sort of buffer zone of knowledge before that date.
            We are, it’s true, given a week off for good behaviour for Easter, but I am looking to be writing the essay during that week so that I can concentrate on the masses of work necessary for the piece on Hockney and Guevara.
            All of this is in the future and all my work at the moment is the potential rather than the realization.  Still, bit by bit.

Beware!  An ‘early start’

Resultado de imagen de siegfried liceu

There is always something a little daunting when the opera you are going to see is scheduled to start a clear hour earlier than the normal starting time!
            It perhaps comes as no surprise to learn that the opera in question is one of Wagner’s, and is the latest offering of the Liceu as part of the realisation of The Ring Cycle.  We have now made it to Siegfried.
            As far as I can tell, the setting for the story has been updated from the Mythic German Folktale to a more industrial and 30s Austrian faux-schloss modishness.  So far I have enjoyed the productions and, apart from my rear end going to sleep, I am sure that I will enjoy this one!
            I will attempt to write a review of the production in the next couple of days, with the real problem trying to find secure photos of the production that will not slip away to blank squares after a day or so!
            I have not had the courage to discover just how long we are going to be in the theatre and I might just consider buying myself a meal for one of the intervals to make things bearable.
            I have also booked myself a room in an adjacent hotel so that I can collapse with the least possible effort and not after a drive.
            The cost of the hotel room has gone up 33%!  That, if nothing else, is an indication that the winter months have gone and Barcelona is eager and ready to fleece the tourists who flock to the centre.
            The one thing I object to is that everyone who stays in Barcelona is subject to a 72c ‘tourist tax’ or ‘city tax’.  I mean, come on, I live here, why do I have to pay!
Poems keep flowing

I have recently had a crisis of confidence in my writing.  The last two poems I have written, I like.  I enjoyed writing them.  But.
            It’s that ‘but’ that disturbs me.  There is a sort of arrogance in writing poetry, especially poetry that one is prepared to share.  You are saying, in effect that you have something worth saying and that people would benefit (in some intangible way) by reading it.  It’s that last bit that I am not sure about.  Nor come to think of it, the first bit!
            If you are writing a story there is a distinct narrative to keep you and your readers going.  One plot device follows another, there is character development, things happen and then they come to an end.  Some of my poems are, I think, like that – other are most distinctly not.  Some poems I think I know what I was hoping would be the end result of writing them, other poems I read through them and wonder.  I know that could be a good thing, but I sometimes wonder about the quality of what I have to say.
            Some people writing about ‘big’ subjects and use vocabulary that I shrink from.  Not out of prudishness, you understand, but because I do not think that my poetry is strong enough to take such loaded words.
            The last poems I have written have made me think about what I am doing and wonder if I am going through some sort of phase in my development which may mean that I write in a different way in the future.  Put like that, my questioning seems quite positive.
            I like that approach and I will watch what I write with interest and hope for something new to come out of it.
            If you want to accompany this voyage of discovery (which isn’t going to be much of a voyage if I continue to use clichés like that) then do check out and leave a comment to help me on my way!
            Wednesday will see the return of Kate, the group leader of the Barcelona Poetry Workshop after her extended visit to the USA and that usually means that another poem will be squeezed out of me.
            It is also an opportunity to put pressure on a few of my possible collaborators on Flesh Can Be Bright whose publication is galloping nearer and nearer!

The Future

Book to edit; text book to read; essay to write; research to be finalized; abstract to be written; poems to be produced; lengths to be swum; bikes to be ridden and . . .
            Talking of swimming I have downloaded an app for my watch.  I am a great supporter of Pebble smart watches (Kickstarter and all that!) and I have just managed to use a swimming app which is supposed to tell me everything about how and how long I swim.  It does seem to me to have all the qualities of Black Magic (and I don’t mean that in a chocolaty sense) as I am nowhere near my mobile phone (which is necessary for my smart watch to operate) when I have my swim and yet, my watch told me how many yards I had swum.  I think.  I have set nothing, not even the length of the pool – but I long ago surrendered to the power of gadgets beyond my ken and I simply accept what they say.  I have no idea how to access what I saw on the face of my watch when I pressed some button or other at the end of my swim.  Presumably the information is somewhere, probably waiting for me to download it to a computer where a bewildering array of graphs and statistics will be presented for me to ignore.
            This is something to work on.  Or wait for.  There is another app that I downloaded which is supposed to monitor how far I walk in a day.  I don’t quite know what happens, as I do nothing.  But when I wake up in the morning the watch face that I have selected (you can do that sort of thing at the touch of a button) has gone to be replaced by a very technical looking dial.  Which I ignore.
            One day I pressed the wrong button and I was suddenly presented with a graph showing how long I had slept for the last week!  I think this is the approach I will take with the swim app, wait for a fortuitous accident, and then marvel at what a wristwatch can do nowadays.

            Technology, after all, is a belief in the future!
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