Monday, April 25, 2005

Disparate House-Lives

Is it me? Is it the summer? Is it the world?
I am struggling to find continuity in my blog, but this is not because of a lack of continuity in my daily life. Perhaps there's too much continuity, too much walking up and down the apartment, and then, freezing, looking down at the carpet and wondering how long before I've worn a furrow.

And it's not that things are boring, because they're not. I've learned an awful lot of stuff, researching my novel and following the various names and places and titles that pop up. In no particular order (as ever), here are some of the things I've covered:

Thimble-riggers, prod-in-the-hoop, rake's, mountebanks, etc, all manner of 18th and 19th century conmen
The forensic pathology of lying and swindling - a book of case histories of people who lied their sweet heads off
Houdini's investigations of people claiming psychic powers and his wonderful unmasking of the techniques employed
Thackeray's "A notch in the axe" and Lytton's "The Haunted and the Haunter"
Jim Thomspon's 1952 crime classic - The Kiler Inside Me, along with a biography of Jim, Savage Art
Too Many Magicians - a bizarre locked-room mystery at a sorcerer's convention in a world where science is forsaken in favour of magic
Storming Heaven - a social history of the 60s and how LSD, the field of psychiatry, and artists came together to unleash that most demeaned of social types - the hippie
Fairy chimneys - towers of volcanic rock in Turkey, Capodica, that emit strange noises at night (for wind poetry section of my novel)
Sonic scupltures (more wind poetry)
Stalkers and madmen from the news, including "Fan Man", James Miller, who fell from the sky into a Riddick Bowe fight, and later landed naked on top of Buckingham Palace. Barry George, aka Barry Bulsara, the "killer" of Jill Dando, who among other things, performed a stunt in Derby where he sped down a ramp on rollerskates and leaped four double-decker buses (he succeeded, but incurred injuries)
James Harries, the late 70s/80s antique expert, who was a boy star with an odd monkey face and golden curls who burned brightly, then disintegrated. Now he is a transexual and prefers to be called Lauren
Realism and Naturalism in literature, with one funny person defining naturalism as "Realism when it focuses on the poor." This was in reference to Nelson Algren and Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis
Rereading Jack Black (not the actor dummy) You Can't Win, an account of a thief and hobo at the end of the 19th century
Heathcote Williams - The Speakers, brilliant reportage of the madmen who preached and deliver talk on Hyde Park Corner in London in the 60s
The works of Herbert Huncke, like the ideas of naturalism applied to the artist's own life...

So there we are, if I'm boring, then this is WHY!


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