Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ballard was right

JG Ballard was prophetic about London west along the Thames, it is a future and alien world, out of phase and fringed with spectral blurs tipped by just a fraction of a prismatic degree. Huge airliners constantly track the near horizons, bigger than the blocks of flats and and offices they almost movelessly overhang. Last week was on the lip of the cold waterfall of spring, and the tide came seething over the banks up through Richmond, past Eel Pie Island and across the meadows of Teddington and Ham like a precursor flood from the arctic ice cap. The sky there is full of parakeets, more and more all the time. O, J and I watched the Starwars dvd where Anikin goes over to the Dark Side. O at five understands many things like why those red streaks the androids shoot at the Jedi all the time never, ever hit anybody, in a way that I still strive for. Afterwards in the dusk J and I walked through the trees down to the lock at Teddington (Tide’s End Town, according to Dickens). We were on the narrower track on the left and suddenly a squadron of fifteen parakeets screeched down the wider track to our right at head height. They have scythe wings and dagger tails, and for a second a major part of my brain thought we were under attack from Darth Vader’s half-sensate death machines. The next day we were sitting in an old Victorian greenhouse with M, A and S celebrating M’s thirty eighth birthday and there at the next table, to consolidate the feeling of slightly halucinatory, millennial but euphoric unreality was David Attenborough of Planet Earth, bringing with him to Petersham, if only metonymically, all the exotic creatures of the globe now on the edge of extinction, narwhals and clouded leopards.
Moholy-Nagy and Albers at the Tate Modern were a tremendously impressive and benign learning experience rather than a great emotional high; I felt intellectually priviledged to be there; and also guilty at my directionless time wasting. Maybe if I’d been called Moholy-Nagy, and born in Hungary rather tha Chalfont St Giles, I too could have achieved something.

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