European currency

A note on the superlative that a previous post was missing (here): i.e. on the specialest Disneyest superlative, the greatest,
the happiest,
the biggest,
the longest rhumba line…

It, this use of superlatives, demands a complete subjection to the principle of the creator’s imagination. Not, emphatically, the creative imagination.

In this way, it provides a religious experience, through access to one of the most basic requirements of religion, obedience: it requires, demands obedience. Obedience to the notion that there is a religious experience to be had!

In other words, what we called to do is Celebrate Today! Celebrate Today! Hallelujah… Hosanna in the highest!

You’re not a cool outlaw, you’re simply somewhere you don’t belong.
– David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries

To anybody reading this, to you, dear visitor, dear repeat visitor, you who are coming again, to you who are asking yourself, What’s up with these posts from the world? With these banal journal entries, telegramming the events of single days, and yet arriving sometimes two to a day, or having time leak in between them, so that between posts belonging to consequetive days a week perhaps has passed? What’s up with that?

First, might I ask you to take advantage of the comment facility. I have tried to make it interesting to you, suggesting that you might like to append a photo of your chosen avatar to your comments, of your Gravatar, copyright, I’m sure. I ask you to ask me rather than leaving it to me, all up to me, to do your readerly duty, your repeat-visitorly duty and ask myself, answer myself. For as Stanley Cavell wrote: Narcissus can ask himself questions, but he cannot give himself an answer he can care about. I am not your proxy, ought not to have to act on your behalf, for having made the presumption as to what indeed is in your best interests, I might with good intentions pave our way to hell. Indeed, no promise is made that this is not. Is it even ours?

The tour gathered under the category on tour (here) came to an end with our return to New Zealand, with pangs – at the bad food experienced in LA and at having had to leave Europe – over a month ago. I’ve been catching up, posting the journal entries with the snaps – and nothing much else – since we got back. There’s your explanation.

And having devoted all this time time travelling to when we were travelling I have not had time to record our impressions on our return. I had an idea to carry on travelling, actually, if only in how I approached the writing and recording business. How posts looked. What they should say. Please avail yourself of the comment button to interpose the opinion of yourself and and or of your avatar, gravatar (here).

To keep up with a day by day dosage of journal and snappings. What difference is there between the daily negotiation of impressions away from these islands and the same on them? But of course, stymied from the start through having to get through the backlog, those initial feelings found no immediate expression. Well, not here. A couple of notes went thereto. And I kept taking snaps.

Now, having been back over a month, back in what most people I met would gleefully refer to as the ‘real world,’ saying, So, what’s it like to be back in the real world? I have some ideas about the differences, about the construction of preferences.

How Maui’s brothers hacked these islands up! The landscape is chaotic. Hacked up hilly.

But I think the first thing I felt was, How like an old people’s home it is, with people who looked like volunteers serving hot drinks to new arrivals; and how like a pre-school, with the immediate sense that all aspects of life come under the purview of the central regulator: we were stopped by the police on the way back from the airport to check our WOF and registration; how safety is a by-word for culture, a culture of ‘being told to be careful.’

The second thing I saw was how insubstantial the architecture is and how impermanent. I asked, Is it in the knowledge of not belonging that the buildings are not built to last even a hundred years? that we have impermanent cities? houses?

We return to materials out of habit and building methods that won’t make buildings that last. Auckland, in addition, has been gutted of the buildings that might have made it beyond a hundred.

The other thing I noted was something I’d been struck by on returning to the European continent after a quarter of a century: the currency of history. This, in contrast to its obsolescence or a senescence of traditional cultures. There are buildings and monuments and statuary and gardens and artworks all with things to say to the present. That don’t need to make their claim in order to be heard. (Unlike what I said above about latterday American puritan culture: the demand that it is attended to, that we attest to the creative genius.) The human past is legible in the inhuman present, in the beyond to which the senses are submitted – but not required to submit: cobbles, stains on stone, decay, attempts at renovation, those vain occupations of ancient niches in old stones.

Further, the construction of a preference for a milieu in which English is not spoken. I enjoyed that. It gave me work.