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May 8, 2002
Lunch today with Kirsty, though she didn't eat anything, and I had breakfast, owing to the fact that I'd just woken up.
OK. Fine. Let's just say I had breakfast with Kirsty, and leave it at that.
Kirsty's a potter. I asked her what she most likes about pottery, and this is what she said: "I like its humanity. Pottery can't be made on an assembly line. It can't be mass manufactured. It's been made by a real human being."
These are all very good reasons. But she also made an observation, and one that intrigued me: "people like to pick up pottery."
For some reason I can't get that out of my head. Partly that's because I immediately knew it was true. If I see an object that I like, or which I'm curious about, my first instinct is to pick it up and to look at it from all sides. Then there's the inevitable weighing up of the object, which involves passing it slowly from one hand to another, and looking generally thoughtful. (Another optical illusion, by the way: this process tends to look more philosophical than it actually is.)
So. What I want to do with whatever creativity I have is to write. It's a kind of metaphorical pottery.
Last night I saw From Hell and Quills. Quills bored me to tears, so I left half an hour or so before the ending. The acting was good and some of the actors were terrific - you've got to admire any film with both Michael Caine and Kate Winslet - but I just couldn't get interested in the Marquis de Sade's character.
While walking home I was reminded of something that Joyce Grenfell apparently said to Clive James: "those who regard themselves as gifted have fewer, not more, excuses for behaving badly."
The Marquis, it would seem, regarded himself as extraordinarily gifted, yet his "art" appears to amount to nothing more than demeaning and destroying anyone who tries to help him. Yawn.
To my surprise, I quite liked From Hell. Sure, after a few moments I wanted to stand up and yell "it's a lie!", but that passed away soon enough. What I was reacting to was the establishing shot of London, which actually makes the city look beautiful. (Uh ... what?) We see St. Paul's Cathedral in the middle of a spire-studded landscape, and the whole thing has been laid out to make London look as if it's on a hill. London is most definitely not on a hill. And it's not a terrifically beautiful city either, and I'm sure that's been the case for some time now.
There's another shot, much later in the film, which also features St. Paul's Cathedral. It's possibly the only scene in the film which was shot outdoors and in daylight. In it the cathedral towers majestically above the grime of the street. In the middle of the shot is a railway bridge, and as a train rumbles past it produces a dense cloud of black smoke, which largely obscures the view of the cathedral.
On Sunday I drove down to the beach and went on a three or four hour walk. I enjoyed myself so much I've been wondering why I don't do it far more often.Posted by Sean Hegarty at 11:39 PM in the Reflective category | Comments (0)
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