‘In human affairs, things tend inevitably to go wrong. Things are slightly worse at any given moment than at any preceding moment.’
J.G. Farrell, ‘The Singapore Grip’
Friday 20 Mar 2020 (4min read)
It seems a bit daft firing up my walking diary at the very point when the possibilities for walking have become so restricted. But it probably isn’t a coincidence. The urge to write often comes from the pain of exile. We’re all exiles now.
I walked to Chipperfield (from Boxmoor) in the second week of February to meet … more ...
Two post-mortem writings on a Hertfordshire airman.
Monday 9 March 2020 [7min read]
The photo was in a
book called ‘Talks with Spirit Friends, Bench, and Bar: being
descriptions of the next world and its activities by well-known
persons who live there, given through the trance mediumship of the
late Miss S. Harris to a retired public servant, and recorded by
him.’ I’m not sure if copyright law extends the other side of the
veil. On earth, the book belongs to the British Library so I shall
describe the image only.
The caption reads
‘Second Lieutenant J.W.D. Needham, … more ...
Friday 14 Feb 2020 Vinicio Capossela at the Union Chapel, Islington.
‘But in the furrows of the new effort “Bestiary of love”, on the market today, the “werewolf songwriter” who emerges from the most hidden ravines of the Cúpa to dispense mottos and words of truth loosens the bridle to the minnesänger that is in him using the zoological metaphor of the last album “Ballads for men and beasts” to unite like a fourteenth-century troubadour “minne”, love, and “sang”, singing.’
Vinicio Capossela: “L’amore, unico antidoto alla peste” ANDREA SPINELLI, Il Giorno Milano, 14 February 2020.
Peter Cook ‘I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.’
Aftermyth of War
31.01.20. I had been here before of course, the day we voted leave on 23.6.16. My aim then was to walk to Berkhamsted along the line of Grim’s Ditch. It would, I thought, provide me with the first chapter of my book. The walk was part of the problem, I now think. A sort of superstition. I believed that boots on the ground could somehow impose their own structure … more ...
I promised Frank to share this on social meeja. So I have. ‘Sinatra: Raw‘ at Wilton’s Music Hall. I went on Thursday night (24 Oct). It’s a great venue and a great gig.
I didn’t know he was a Democrat. I thought I knew about the mob connections, but as Frank himself explained to us, the mob ran the music venues in those days: all musicians worked for the mob. He was not bad on civil rights either.
Got some of the showbiz goss, too, of course – at least enough to put some … more ...
I realised when I posted ‘Trouble in Mind’ on my blog that the version published in ASON, the Graham Greene newsletter, had gone out without a couple of corrections. These related to the ‘sunken’ cottages at the bottom of Castle Street. They weren’t, as Greene thought, alms houses. I had removed references to them as such in the final draft.
Not the biggest of big deals, but difficult for an auty.
Last weekend at the excellent Graham Greene International Festival, I suddenly heard my dad saying ‘That’s not the same man you wrote about’. He was … more ...
On Sunday I met up with Ben Mackay, who is writing a book following in the footsteps (and cycle tracks) of Edward Thomas’s In Pursuit of Spring, and Saeko Yoshikawa, who has translated, and published, Thomas’s poems in Japan.
We walked a circuit around Box Hill and Mickleham in the hottest August Bank Holiday on record: not typical Edward Thomas weather, but there was plenty of shade in the chalk woodlands, in Mickleham church and in The Running Horses, which Thomas mentions in the text.
It was nice for me to share my ET enthusiasm … more ...
26 July 2019: My book has become a ball & chain. I can’t even look at it. I’m accepting defeat, for now. Thing is: I have problems organising a sentence. I sometimes forget to write in paragraphs. A book? What was I thinking of?
For the moment I am happy being a consumer of words. 25,000 words
of evidence from Smith vs Brownlow, for starters. This court case
(1866-70), and the events leading up to it, are one of the foundation
stories of both the Open Spaces Society (then called … more ...
A hatchet faced photo of a dozen Berkhamsted School Prefects in the Summer of 1922 shows my grandfather, Dennis Goffey, on the far right, standing. Charles Greene, headmaster & father of Graham, is in the centre, and Claude Cockburn, the writer, and friend of Graham, seated (appropriately, he was once denounced as the ‘eighty-fourth most dangerous Red in the world’ by Senator McCarthy) on the far left.
The photo may or may not explain my interest in Berkhamsted’s most famous literary figure – I mean after Ed Reardon.
The following article can be read – complete … more ...