October 22, 2004


I was on the Underground on my way to the Hayward Gallery to see the Eyes, Lies & Illusions exhibition when a father and two little boys got on. The beauty of this trio was such that it seemed to light up the whole carriage. I didn't want to stare and kept surreptitiously glancing from behind my newspaper. To say that they were black says nothing. Their skin was African midnight blueblack, the colour of a starry desert sky and polished as the stones in a clear stream. There was not a hair on their heads or brows. Their smooth hairlessness and the extraordinary intensity and innocence of their eyes made them seem like beings from another planet. The man was dressed in a light-coloured tracksuit but the boys, under their black casual jackets, wore formal white shirts and white trousers. My sketch from memory does not do them justice. If I had brought my camera I would have asked permission to photograph them. Sometimes life generously offers you a brief encounter with absolute beauty to remind you that all is not lost and ugliness can never entirely take over the world.

The Hayward exhibition was another kind of beauty. It is based on the collection of Werner Nekes, German experimental film-maker and media researcher, and includes over a thousand images, early optical instruments, devices, games, illusions, as well as work by some contemporary artists who explore optical phenomena. There is even a room-size camera obscura set up on the roof of the gallery where you can see an upside down, moving image of the South Bank - no electronics, simply a very small hole in the wall and the principle known since the 5th century BC:

Light travels in a straight line and when some of the rays reflected from a bright subject pass through a small hole in thin material they do not scatter but cross and reform as an upside down image on a flat surface held parallel to the hole.

I love it to bits, all of it, especially the wonderfully ingenious and gorgeous to look at early optical devices, and the engravings of such inventions. No Olympic-size techno fair displaying the latest computers (upgraded ten minutes later) can compete, in my eyes, with one room full of lovingly conceived, crafted, polished and built-to-last-forever magical instruments which expand your mind and thrill your senses.

To conclude my Name the Gnovel Competion, I cannot resist quoting from Ivy's lovely e-mail response to her runner-up prize, Augustine's True Confession:

"...The book itself is a wonder. Thinking about the format, of what it would be like presented as straight prose, I think I would not have found it so compelling as I did. The white space, the movement, the way my eyes were pulled in every direction provided relief and dynamism at the same time..."

( Just in case you hadn't noticed, this book can be ordered from me).

On Sunday I'm going to Paris for a week so no blogging until November 1 or 2...eek! US election day! Let us pray. And vote, if you are American and want your country back.



October 19, 2004


Last night I thought of a title for the gnovel, which I'm going to hang on to for the time being: DOUBLE ENTENDRE. It has the right sound, the right risqué connotation, and the idea that more than one level is involved.

However, I'm going to award the prize to the runner-up, the one who came closest to hitting the target. And that was...drum roll..... poet par excellence Ivy, for her suggestion: Beside Herself. Take a bow Ivy and let me know where to mail your prize.

Big thanks to the rest of you who responded to my short-lived challenge and provided enough great titles for a shelf of as-yet unwritten books. Maybe you could get started on some of them?



October 17, 2004


Gnovel page 7Can you suggest a title for my gnovel ? Come up with one that I can use, something catchy and relevant, and I will send you a prize - a signed, free copy of Augustine's True Confession!! So far I've rejected two banal ideas of my own: Double Life and Ottoline/Augustine.

Here's a mini-version of the latest image to be added. There's more on the drawing board and I'm getting nearer to the stage when I can send a chunky section to a publisher with the aim of getting a contract to finish the book.

I find it hard to summarise verbally what this gnovel is about though I know it in my head and heart. There are two distinct ways of thinking and seeing running in counterpoint, like a musical composition. In fact I see it in those terms: there's Ottoline's voice, Augustine's voice, plus the voice of an unseen narrator. The readers' eyes move from one to the other in the same way that you can hear the separate parts in a madrigal without losing a sense of the whole.





October 15, 2004


Kerry & Bush



October 11, 2004 4:20 PM

AND HERE'S GOD! (Augustine Interviews God: Part 10)



The flashing and dimming and pinking started the minute I turned on the computer today. Just when the new *fantabulous* if I say so myself God Interview No. 10 is ready all but for reducing size and laying it out on the page. So please do something - pray, light candles, cast spells, call the engineers - but don't for God's sake go away!

And my contribution to Dem's guest blog went up yesterday. Check it out along with all the other glittering stars.



October 8, 2004


Somebody tell me quickly:

What does it mean when your monitor screen goes fuschia pink, flickers and dims, dims and flickers, back to normal, dims again, pink again, normal for some time then has a fit again? Is my Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 720 monitor dying? Is my Mac G4 dying? They're only about 4 years old for goodness sake. I handle them with kid gloves, treat them respectfully, give them every comfort. They cannot possibly be giving up on me. What should I do? What if everything but everything suddenly shuts down? And I haven't posted the latest God interview yet. HELP!!






October 6, 2004


new winter versionGod isn't ready yet but some abracadabra has turned Monday's placid winter lady into this incandescent angel.

Probably inspired by reading in yesterday's Guardian G2 section some of the letters written to Michael Moore after the release of F/911 by disillusioned and angry American soldiers serving in Iraq. These should be required reading for everyone but especially American voters. They are from a book published in the UK tomorrow by Allen Lane and in USA by Simon & Schuster:

Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the Warzone to Michael Moore.

I would quote from the letters but I fear that the emotion might tremble and tear this page to shreds.



October 4, 2004


As usual my resolutions to do something or other on a daily basis fall by the wayside. But I have an excuse: I'm in the middle of another interview with God about a Big Subject. A lot for a small cartoon creature to deal with. Meanwhile here's something to look at while you wait. And don't fail to visit all the celebrity guests at Dem's blog this week while he takes time off to act like a Marine (on stage, not in life).


winter is coming