Tuesday, 3 January 2012

In which I turn to TS for help

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah.

This is a fairly accurate representation of the sound of my brain. (Sometimes, when I write these things down, I think: if a shrink should read this, would they cart me off to the bin? There is a reason, after all, why most of us put a faint social veneer over our raggedy selves. It’s not just to avoid boring people to death; it’s also so we shall not be diagnosed as being nuts in the head.)

So sorry about yesterday; the broadband went down. Actually, it was rather restful. I took the bank holiday at its word, and took my final day off. My head cold was still roaming about, looking for smallholdings to devastate. I moved very slowly, and read a book. It was a tremendous book, I could not recommend it more. It is called The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, and it’s all about the line between lunacy and sanity, and what he calls the Madness Industry. It’s funny, and shocking.

Now, the internets are back on, and I must gather myself and return to normality. Ha, shout the voices in my head, good luck with that. There is furious sleet outside, high winds, a filthy sky, and not a trace of beauty. I have work to do and thoughts to think and admin to administrate, and I do not feel like doing any of it. Oh how I long, sometimes, to be one of those glimmering, gleaming, shining people, the ones who are neat and smart and sensible and know how to Get Things Done.

From which, you may deduce, I am having a grumpy day. Too much excitement, I think to myself. All that Christmas and the racing and everything; it all got me rather carried away and now there is the bump of reality. I think I had, as a Texan of my acquaintance use to say, too much fun. (You have to imagine that being said with an ironical Southern twang, and a lovely drawl on the word ‘fun’, so that it seems to go on forever.) Christmas was rather lovely. Despite a power cut, the lunch was perfect. The family was all in harmony. The small people were enchanting. It was all high days and holidays, and now I have to get serious, and I don’t feel serious at all.

I wonder if I must view this next part as a sort of training exercise. I used to bang on, in my younger days, about the brain being like a muscle. I am sure this is not neurologically correct, although there was that famous study which showed that the hippocampus of London cab drivers actually grew as they did The Knowledge. My feeling is that you have to exercise the thing to get up to peak fitness. At the moment, mine is sitting on the sofa, flabby and liverish. I have to get it up to racing strength again.

I contemplate ways to do this. Perhaps I shall start with the poets. I think it is time for TS. The Wasteland shall be my new year training. I love it, partly because I do not understand a word of it. There are so many references I do not know, even languages I do not understand. It’s like that line in The Big Chill, when William Hurt is watching some monster B-movie, and Tom Berenger starts asking him questions about what is going on. (Best moment: twenty men wearing Trilbies turn in alarm, and Hurt says, slowly: ‘I think the man in the hat did something terrible.’) Anyway, Berenger keeps asking about this stupid old movie, and Hurt says: ‘You are so analytical. Sometimes you have to let art wash over you.’ Even though that was a joke, I feel that way about The Wasteland. I shall let it wash over me, and slowly get my poor old brain back into shape.

And I Tiresias have foresuffered all

Enacted on this same divan or bed;

I who have sat by Thebes below the wall

And walked among the lowest of the dead.


No pictures today, on account of the filthy weather. I could hardly make it halfway down the beech avenue against the wind and the sleet, although The Pigeon seemed to take delight in the hard weather, and plunged into it as if she were off to a ball.

Here are some from the more clement days:

3 Jan 1 01-01-2012 14-34-03

3 Jan 2 31-12-2011 14-24-34

3 Jan 6 26-12-2011 12-44-02.ORF

3 Jan 7 26-12-2011 12-51-38

4 Jan 4 31-12-2011 14-25-01.ORF

4 Jan 5 27-12-2011 11-14-52

4 Jan 5 31-12-2011 14-27-36.ORF


3 Jan 9 01-01-2012 14-29-53

3 Jan 10 31-12-2011 14-26-58


3 Jan 11 31-12-2011 14-26-22.ORF


  1. Hope you're kicking bottom again soon....in a spiritual sense of course(!)
    I've been ill and ill and ill for weeks and have finally been diagnosed with hospital bug c-difficile.

  2. Are there really 'glimmering, gleaming, shining people, the ones who are neat and smart and sensible and know how to Get Things Done'? You hear about them---but most often in comparisons which arise when you are out of energy and focus. I wonder if they do all that and still manage to think and reflect as well.

    Hope you feel better soon.


  3. Don't know if you have an iPad, but there's a truly beautiful App for The Waste Land: see http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ts_eliot_in_the_app_store_the_waste_land_comes_to.php

  4. On a bleak, wintry day, all you really have to say to improve things is "Tom Berenger". Mmmmmmmmm! See? Much warmer now!

  5. I just watched The Big Chill for the first time and I fell in love with all of those people. The movie really resonated with me, even though it is about a generation before mine. I may have been watching it when you wrote this, which is amazing to me. I suppose that's silly.

    I love the music. I just bought the soundtrack.


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