Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (3)

15.4.1890. My father dies. L.C. For those who do not know, those last two letters do not stand for Lower Case, but for Last Cigarette. This is an annotation I find in a volume by Ostwald on positivistic philosophy, with which, full of hope, I have spent many hours and never understood. No one would believe this, but, despite its brevity, that annotation records the most important event of my life.


The Moviegoer: quotes (4)

The boy has done it! He has won the title to his own existence, as plenary an existence now as Holden’s, by refusing to be stampeded like the ladies from Hattiesburg. He is a citizen like Holden; two men of the world they are. All at once the world is open to him. Nobody threatens from patio and alley. His girl is open to him too. He puts his arm around her neck, noodles her head. She feels the difference too. She had not known what was wrong nor how it was righted but she knows now that all is well.

I am attracted to movie stars but not for the usual reasons. I have no desire to speak to Holden or get his autograph. It is their peculiar reality which astounds me.

Am I mistaken or has a fog of uneasiness, a thin gas of malaise, settled on the street?

He [Eddie] understands everything out there and everything out there is something to be understood.


Critics of Enlightenment Rationalism

Just published.




A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (3)


Is it part of the police department to harass me when this is a flagrant vice capital of the civilized world? . . . This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians, all of whom are only too well protected by graft.

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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (2)

If I had stopped smoking, would I have become the strong, ideal man I expected to be? Perhaps it was this suspicion that bound me to my habit, for it is comfortable to live in the belief that you are great, though your greatness is latent. I venture this hypothesis to explain my youthful weakness, but without any firm conviction. Now that I am old and no one demands anything of me, I still pass from cigarette to resolve, and from resolve to cigarette. What do those resolutions mean today? Like that old doctor described by Goldoni, can I expect to die healthy, having lived with illness all my life?


The Moviegoer: quotes (3)

Truthfully, it is the fear of exposing my own ignorance which constrains me from mentioning the object of my search. For, to begin with, I cannot even answer this, the simplest and most basic of all questions: Am I, in my search, a hundred miles ahead of my fellow Americans or a hundred miles behind them? That is to say: Have 98% of Americans already found what I seek or are they so sunk in everydayness that not even the possibility of a search has occurred to them?


Ian Dury

Born on this date and it’s just over twenty years since his death. Here’s a decent enough write-up from ten years ago.

Shortly before his death in March 2000, Paul McCartney paid him a visit. It was “like having the Queen Mother coming round for tea,” he told his wife.

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Ian Dury at the Dentist 1978 by Chalkie Davies

Whilst others had problems with him, I always found Ian Dury to be fun to photograph and his enthusiasm made the job easy, no matter what else might have been happening he always switched into photo mode for me and we did some memorable shoots together.

In 1978 the Stiff Tour had made Ian pretty successful, the first album had sold really well and his management set their sights on America.

But before he went there, and paid for by the royalties from Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, he decided to get his teeth fixed. Like fellow Punks, Lydon and Strummer, Ian’s teeth were in terrible condition and he underwent serious dental work.

Due to the pressure of gigging he had this done in stages and the Dentist dealt with his lower jaw first, this involved putting a temporary bridge in place and while chatting to the Dentist Ian came up with a unique idea, just in time for his first trip to the Americas.

He had a Union Jack painted on this bridge so that when he gave those septics (septic tank = yank) a big toothy grin they would see the flag of his beloved Britain.

Hearing about this it seemed a natural thing to take photos of, and so I went down to Harley Street with my lights and set up in the Dentist’s office. Ian sat in the chair and mugged away for the camera, it’s one of my favourite sets of photos of him and the NME liked it enough to use it as a cover.