XXI. on the “challengers’ debate”, modern opposition politics, & the general election

Watching the live coverage of the “challengers’ debate” on the B.B.C. yesterday was just a little bit depressing. I only came into it to watch the last twenty minutes, but the tactic seems to have become disparaging your opposition for 99% of the time, & making vague promises to “working people” for 1% of the time. There were four leftwing proponents on stage, who seem to have taken for granted that conservatism and lowering the budget of the central government were idiotic, outdated, laughable ideas, when, depending on the election and the poll, 55-60% of the country disagrees with them. Maybe Farage‘s contention that the audience were handpicked was true. / Now, I understand that this sort of badmouthing is not a new phenomenon; even Disraeli was partial to a bit o’ banter; upon being told by his opposition Gladstone that he would likely die at the gallows or of the pox, he replied:

That depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.

But I do think it’s gone a bit too far. / Also, I usually enjoy political debate regardless, but with two leftist separatist parties on the stand, one climate change maniac, & one selfprofessed-socialist bandwagon high jump champion, it was a really masturbatory thing to witness. / Watching Farage‘s confused and bored and slightly disgusted face as they attempted to out-progressive each other was priceless.

XX. on coffee & James Joyce

Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. the nickel shavingbowl shone, forgotten, on the parapet. Why should I bring it down? Or leave it there all day, forgotten friendship?

Started reading Ulysses by James Joyce. Had to start at some point, regardless. It’s a long slog and joy ahead, but it’s been a while since I’ve struggled through any literature; I’ve been going rather easy on my brain. / Through this, even the literary complexity of my own writing has been dropping. Reading Joyce now, & skimming through writing of mine from not even eight months ago I am noticing techniques and turns of phrase that I used to use but had forgotten. / I usually avoid reading too much while I’m writing because there’s always the tendency to drift away from your own voice and lean into someone else’s, but perhaps that was a thing that I had also learnt through my formative years; maybe my voice is strong enough now to more easily resist someone else’s slipping into my work; can it stand on it’s own two feet? / I don’t know the truth in that, but I’d like to believe it. This should be easier, after all, the first time I read Joyce, — an old copy of his poetry and then Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — I found our styles comparable, this happened also with Mervyn Peake and his Titus Groan books.

Does anyone else try to limit the amount they read when they write? / Or conversely, does anyone feel that reading another person’s writing enlightens their own, & affects it as inspiration?

XIX. on generic style

so lately I’ve gone quite generic in my style. I have this absolutely beautiful photograph of a model wearing a crisp white shirt with three-quarter sleeves and a fine wool dark grey jumper with near-matching trousers, & it’s been my background on my phone and my desktop background on my laptop for months, I can’t get enough of how strikingly generic it is, & how beautiful that can be. / a few weeks ago I walked into the Muji shop in town and instantly fell in love. While they only have a few pieces that fit my aesthetic, — as their sizes run quite big and baggy for the palewave, chill look — the pieces I have fallen in love with have been perfect. / this sort of generic style is difficult to do properly but you can look really sharp doing it, & you’ve gotta do something in the office to stand out without looking like a tit!