Sunday, 26 October 2014

Death in Autumn - Key Hill Cemetery

Key Hill cemetery, autumn 2014. The old cemetery, the General Cemetery as it was once known, where the dead lay siege to the castle, was built in 1836 and designed by Charles Edge. It is the last home to the great and the good of a bygone Birmingham, located north-west of the city centre between the Jewellery Quarter and the Middleway. Among the residents are two Joe Chamberlains no less.

Two empty beer cans lie back on the S-shaped, slatted green bench overlooking mature trees and row upon row of broken tombstones and monuments. Their engravings have faded over a century and a half of weathering and fingers caressing away the names of the dead in acknowledgement and grief. Until they join them. Some have been caught in the middle of being forgotten and remain for the present as partial names; a letter here and there, disappearing into deeper strata of history. Many tombstones are flaking away as if nothing but a page. And the words left the Earth. Angels have lost their features too. Who would send a cherub out in this weather? Their faces have worn away into a state of absolute anonymity; such is the sacrifice of keeping watch, of remaining vigilant. 

The paths are covered in golden leaves to soften your step and the green glow of lichen guides you on through the rows and columns. Not a living soul about, this is one of the quietest places in the boisterous city until the tannoys the Jewellery Quarter station cut through the cool, crisp air lest any of these good people miss their heavenly connections. The buildings of the Jewellery Quarter sit high up at the back of the cemetery on brick-enforced embankments. They loom over the graveyard like an imposing castle. The dead lie at its foot. Remember us, they moan. The castle quarrels. The dead be silent, it demands. Castle business, castle rules.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Not I

I'm looking forward to this production at Birmingham Rep of 3 of Samuel Beckett's plays: Not I, Footfalls and Rockaby. I've bagged a ticket for Saturday night and am quite excited as I've never seen any Beckett live despite enjoying him for years on paper. I bought the ticket because I thought I should get out more and, appropriately, I came across the following passage in my current reading - Vladimir Tasic's Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought - in which the author is putting forward a argument by Johann Gottlieb Fichte:

My being has some initial familiarity with itself. However, I can only advance from this initial point by interacting with things other than me. I can reflect upon myself all I like, but, as the German poet Novalis wrote, "what reflection finds, seems to have been there already." Introspection is not enough, so I am always in need of some "other," something that I am not. And I can only know something that I am not by noting its "impact" on me, how it affects me, its resistance to my actions. Hence, I must always act, realize myself in the larger, resistant world of the "not-I": material world, language, culture.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

We are spinning tenderly through the house

I am speaking sincerely away from the book.

We are spinning tenderly through the house.
You are within me.
We are playing cautiously in a dream.
We are dreaming about the town.

Everyone is tumbling under a dream.
They are climbing innocently from the book.
Everyone is stretching cautiously.
Everyone is making love innocently next to the page.

I am writing selectively.

She is dancing tenderly within the movie.
He is incoherent.
She is recovering and honest.
They are playing invisibly within you.

You are changing elegantly in the rain.
He is the source of the river.
You are stumbling honestly within our memories.
They are playing invisibly within you.

I am running tenderly with my lover.
You are running but also cautious.
I am recovering elegantly within you.
I am sleeping invisibly within the book.

Everyone is sleeping elegantly upon the street.
They are recovering for the final curtain.
Everyone is speaking deliberately upon gentle moans.
Everyone is dreaming.

I am recovering tentatively without a dream.
We are spinning tenderly through the house.

written with assistance from Microsoft Excel & VBA