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May 20, 2002
No updates from Real LifeTM recently, owing to doses of real life. Saturday was spent teaching drama and watching Mongerama having her hair done, while Slew, her musician brother, was putting the finishing touches to his new album. At the same time he was also packing up his house in preparation for an imminent move to Los Angeles.
Owing to the frenetic activity happening in all directions around me, it was decided that my job was to mind Mongerama's bub and keep up the conversation. But I got distracted watching the hairstyling process. I'd never really had the chance to observe this before, and was struck by how complicated it was. And by how long it took. By the time it was done, I'd grown a beard.
To my enormous embarrassment, I couldn't see much of a difference between the Before Look and the After Look. Something was definitely different, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what.
So I spent years watching a process of mindboggling complexity, and came out the other end having noticed nothing. I think I read somewhere that observational skills are useful. Oh well.
The Dadalailai Lalamama plays Melbourne
Yesterday Ammo and I went down to see the Dalai Lama, but got there too late to get a seat inside the stadium. So we sat on the concrete concourse with a view over the garden square and the video screen, and tried to make out what he was saying.
We were halfway between two sets of speakers, so we got to hear everything he said twice. But the second word arrived while we were still listening to the first, and the same thing happened with the third word and the second, and so on. It all got very confusing. The first thing he said was "thankthankyouyouveryverymuchmuch," which was at least understandable, but then he started using words of more than two syllables. This rapidly became the aural equivalent of watching someone getting a very, very elaborate haircut.
I was astonished at the number of people who were puffing on cigarettes. We left early, owing to the sound problems, and I counted a dozen people smoking while the Dalai Lama was still speaking. I'm no expert in how people should behave while a religious leader is nearby, but overt displays of addiction seem to announce "I've missed the point!" And in this case, to a audience of thousands.
Tonight was a farewell dinner for Guan-Ji, who leaves tonight for a six-week jaunt around Europe. He'll be spending time in London, which is presumably why London has been on my mind of late. He asked if there was anything I could recommend doing there, so here's a quick plug for Highgate Cemetery.
The cemetery is in two parts: the bit they've tidied up, which is where Karl Marx is buried, and the old, spooky bit. The old, spooky bit is generally shut to the public, but there are occasional open days, and tour guides who operate on an erratic schedule. Whichever way you do it, it's worth making the effort to get inside. This is one of the most atmospheric places in London. At one point, about a century ago, the cemetery's owners went bankrupt, so they closed the gates, turned the key, and fled. No one, alive or dead, could get inside for decades. Time enough for the vegetation to grow wild, and time enough for the more elaborate graves to crumble.
At the time of my last visit, three or four years ago, there were plans to renovate the old part. I counted the number of people being employed to do this massive job, and there were three. At this rate Highgate Cemetery is going to be atmospheric for a very, very long time. If London ever makes some kind of equivalent to Wings of Desire, some of it will have to be shot here.
Right. Back to Dog Biscuit.Posted by Sean Hegarty at 10:19 PM in the Boring old news category | Comments (0)
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