Sunday, May 11, 2008

Of beanies and the not-chill

Not suprising is that the term `my bad` first appears in an entry coming in from California, but what might shock the archivist in you was that it happened in a pine cabin in 1872 on the shores of what was then known as the Polinap river. Sam Wadlund was a candlelight scribbler, as are so many.

Left some grit round the rim of the chamberpot afer I emptied it this morning, Jenna noticed forenoon and called me out. I had some on her though, and said, 'Whose was it that I found yesterday all deerlike pellets and crushed newsleaves?'

'That certainly wasn’t me, I haven’t in a day.’ And she closed in on me with the fact of it, when her hands stuck my ribs quick I had to say, 'Twice my wrong action, twice my bad!'

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On the theme of Portugese loneliness... isn’t there a word for that?

One of the reasons, past kidnappings aside, the beatings with bars of l’occitane soap wrapped in sheets of uncountable threadcount aside, why we live underground is because even in donkay, even in roughshod and openspaced American donkay there are people that act in the belief of a donkay culture when they talk to you, a misguidence which has probably always exisited in the young and a miscadence so clear that it has even been publicly attributed to animated penguins, if we recall correctly.
For us, to be in a room and have a guy lurching forward in sickly compatriotism to ask you awedly if you have read the Joao chronicles, and worse, inferring it, worse again because you have, well it can turn you off.
That doesn’t mean that the obsessive journal kept by Joao Pessoa, a Portuguese trader who stayed on in China to have a family, hasn't been read by most in the academy, and usually in their teens.
He wrote a song a day, song dedicated to his below-mentioned wife and son, the latter of which seems to have left before age 10 to be a fisher-tote, common at the time, and indeed this selection comes from what is called the post-rai section of the cronicles, rare in that it’s written in Portuguese, when most from this period are in a phonetic written form of the local dialect personal enough to remain as of now undeciphered, though admittedly few have tried, or so we divine from our own absolute lack of effort in those years, especially when compared to the rate of soilage occuring to the swiped linen tablenapkin kept crumpled under the academy bunk mattress.
In public, the songs, invevitably occupying the same niche as 'outed' member Ruben Dario, are often sung into the fruity silence of a woodpaneled room by a whisky-toasting academy member, maybe bourbon or red wine substituted, though perhaps for the company, our bellys always wrong for the drink.


Sabes quem,
Veio visitar a mim?

Foi o,
Ele ta lindin.

Nos sabiam’
Que ele ia pro mar,

Mas Lin-jin,
Eh gustosin,
Quando ele ta no lar.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Roy Orbison day...

Jorge Peixoto is a compulsive window-sitter, and by this we mean he managed to while away weeks of 1946 Portugal just sitting at his desk -- which of course faced a window -- watching what went on below him. He was also a writer, which was both convenient for him and for us. He wrote humorless theater criticism for Coimbra's left-wing rag Cidade Baixo, but then again there were no right-wing rags in opposition, and there was nothing to be funny about. But his 'Sill Journals' -- covering a 16-week span of that Portuguese spring -- are some of our favorite lazy Sunday material, if only because they help us envision what it would be like if the academie actually had any windows out of which we could look.

We're betting that it's raining terribly outside right now because we can hear water gushing through the sewer channels above us, but still, we'd like to be able to see it for ourselves.

There is a boy crying out on the street and I am watching him from this, my second floor window. He might be five years-old, but he is screaming as if his lungs are much, much older. When he began to cry, or simply when I first heard him, he was merely loud. This was what brought me over to the sill in the first place. Now, he is a spectacle. The boy had begun to hop about violently, very much like an angry frog, but this apparently was tiring. So he dropped to his knees and seemed to discover at once that lying prone while kicking his legs out and swinging his fists into the pavement both conserved more energy and seemed to cause his heretofore nonplussed mother considerably more distress. He was a success at last.

He has stood himself up, inexplicably. What appears to be his older brother has just taken something quite forcefully from the crying boy's hand. This cannot bode well. Surely the sound emanating from his throat is identical to that made by those unfortunate enough to have been the subject of a public evisceration, circa 1064. Why is he scratching at his own face? Why has he now grabbed that nearby light post? I wonder what his name is.

He has a sister. Now she is crying.

Later. Everyone is walking away. The family is gone, around the next corner, but even minutes later, I am sure I can still hear him.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Being and Donkeyness...

What a treat we have in store for you today. It is not often that the Local sees fit to brush dust from the work of one of l’académie's lodestars, a.k.a. their chosen ones, or -- their term -- pan au chocolats. Dust is not an option. See, l’académie's autocrats keep those treasured sheaves of loose leaf locked in wall-mounted humidors, probably around Chamber 19. Could be 20. Again, we're a tad out-of-step with the daily. Anyway, they're hard-to-find, harder-to-read. But it bears repeating: We holding you down, son. Because they can't hold us down. What.

It is much to our chagrin that our bespectacled overseers rarely take notice that their most esteemed archivists have been not faithful worker drones, but rather dyed-in-the-wool M.N.V.L. members, secretly dismantling the (DonKay)Master's house from within. With words. Erm, vive le resistance, or something to that effect. Enough. We're honored to present to you an interview with Robert Bresson, director, writer, donkée at heart. Hee. Haw.

Most of your films are adaptations. Why did you create both story and script for 'Au Hasard Balthazar'?

I can answer the question simply. One day I saw very clearly a donkey as the center of a film, but the next day that image faded away. I had to wait a long time for it to return, but I always wanted to make this film. You may recall that in Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot', Prince Myshkin says he recovered his good spirits by seeing a donkey in the marketplace. Everything you say points to your belief that the human mind isn't enough. Our senses tell us more than our intelligence.

Isn't it ironic that you are known as an intellectual director? I have always thought you profoundly emotional.

Most of what is said about me is wrong and is repeated eternally. Once somebody said that I worked as an assistant director to René Clair, which is not true, and that I studied painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts — also not true — but this kind of error appears in nearly every account of my career. Of course, the worst mistakes concern my ideas and my way of working.

In those many beautiful shots in which Marie embraces the head of the donkey, were you thinking of the common figure that appears in Renaissance tapestries of the virgin and the unicorn?

No. The resemblance is accidental.

Every day you become more difficult for your audience. So, you only shrug! You're a hard man.

No, I am simply someone who likes exercise. You know that "ascetic" comes from the Greek word for practice of exercise. You know where the title of the film comes from? In the south in Les Baux there is an aristocratic family that pretends to be the descendants of the Magus Balthazar, and so on their crest they wrote "Au Hasard Balthazar." [Balthazar, by chance]. I found it by accident, and the whole story of Balthazar is his chance involvement in the lives of others, so I decided to use this title, which, besides, has a very beautiful rhyme.

Why did you include in 'Au Hasard Balthazar' that short scene with the action painter?

He sits on a clever donkey; I make him speak nonsense.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Only common practice...

Ask a DonKay what he thinks of 1430 and he might spit upon you, but the last thing he'd call us is "law-abiding." Roguish? Yes, guilty as charged. Agoraphobic? Certainly. Who is the current President of the State? The Prime Minister of the House? No idea. We were only just getting to know the last Grand Vizier of the Secretariat. But we've still a healthy respect for the political process, as evidenced by our trove of submissions from learned judges all through time. We've a 'til-now well-guarded literary infatuation with early 18th C. English law; in particular, with Chief Justice Holt, House of Lords. Submitted on vellum, 1703.

But in the principal case my brother says, we cannot judge of this matter, because it is a Parliamentary thing. O! By all means be very tender of that. Besides it is intricate, and there may be contrariety of opinions...

...To allow this action will make publick officers more careful to observe the constitution of cities and boroughs, and not to be so partial as they commonly are in all elections, which is indeed a great and growing mischief, and tends to the prejudice of peace of the nation...

This is a matter of property determinable before us. Was ever such a petition heard of in Parliament, as that a man was hindred of giving his vote, and praying them to give him remedy? The Parliament undoubtedly would say, take your remedy at law. It is not like the case of determining the right election between candidates.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Unite d'Habitacion...

Expat architect, part-time archivist Antony Benton-Wood was living the life you'd expect of a Corbusian devotee traipsing about Europe on the company dime, preparing "feasibility reports" for futuristic underground parking garages during the 1960's. Apartment blocks were sprouting furiously, as you no doubt remember. If you caught him at a good time, he'd tell you about his English father, his American mother, and his by-all-rights beautiful sister who lived, at last communication, in West Hollywood as an actress. If you caught him at the best times he'd tell you she's really one of those cigarette girls at The DelRay. It's a nightclub. We've been. Bottom line, 'tony's an honest dude, which when we come to think of it, might be what we Donkaynians prize most highly in our contributors. That, and the submission of all entries in periwinkle blue colored pencil.

I am leaving Porto, not for good, but for Madrid, and if everything works out I'll be in the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas by evening. Thomas is waiting for me, with the others, most likely at Sol. The plans will have to wait. I console myself by repeating the phrase, "It is well known by the locals that the curvature of the arch in Eiffel's cast-iron bridge over the Douro is hopelessly incorrect." (But do they know which one is his, not his student's?) Everything seems imprecise in this rain.

Already in Gaia. I began the morning quite nervous. The feeling built to a head in Pedro's Renault, on the way to Campanha. I choked on a cigarette, spitting up coffee onto the platform, just missing my pack. Now that I'm safely on the train to Lisboa, I breathe more freely. Strange because people are smoking. I can just make out the Atlantic through the gloom over the horizon. There's a huge sand bar. One hundred meters from crashing waves, someone should be out there, shadowboxing. Instead, it's a golf course. Now Espinho.

A small girl with a sack piled high and wide on her shoulders walks down the aisle. She looks at me with a flat grin, then turns away to find her seat. Where is she going? Why do I care? I won't speak to her. I don't speak to her. Another golf course by the sea. I've done this all before, just in reverse. But it seems different. I still shake when a train speeds by in the other direction; the whole train does.

The old man next to me brought food, presumably with which to torture me by eating, disgustingly. I am correct. I brought none. I have cigarettes though. Two packs of Ventil. A lighter. A book. Colored pencils. This notebook.

Portuguese days begin very late. Rarely is it ever bright before noon. As I write that, the sun breaks through the gray, and I can see lines of growth in the fields, neon greens under thick white, and one blue streak. I draw them on the opposite page. The old man next to me is sleeping with breadcrumbs in his beard. I steal one and use it to bleed the green into the blue.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The humble garrison...

There´s a school of Donkay which we at 1430 might be proud of, given that it´s one that Americans tend to gravitate towards. Not suprisingly, we aren´t. It´s a kind of pragmatist faction, which doesn´t believe in submitting for submission´s sake. Most of these entries are Rockwell haikus designed to elicit a single flexing of the abdomen, producing a sound known in English as the “´huh´ of mild interest/moderate information ingestion.” That´s practical. And William Kearnles is a prime practicioner.

Figured that this must be happening around the world and thought I might write on it. Whole world´s tinkering with screws rusted shut. Lots are using a product like WD-40, comes in a can acourse. Figured it happens a lot that the product has been applied and the screw or nut needs a little forcing to break loose. Seems only natural to give a little crack with the bottom of the can, try to spring it loose. That doesn´t work. Classic example of the lazy man breaking his bones, or his can of WD, right. Not to mention the new pressurized spray can, champaigne mist of greasner all over your workroom.