Sunday, July 31, 2005

View from the garden, Glen Feshie

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

This was taken in the river gorge near where I was staying on holiday. The images (below) of the loch were taken with a Canon compact digital camera, but this was taken with my old Pentax SLR film camera - using a tripod and long exposure. It's so much easier using a good SLR camera, where you can see exactly what you're taking and have better control over the whole process. In theory you can frame shots accurately using the LCD on a compact digital camera, but when you frame a picture through a viewfinder you shut out all extraneous information. This both concentrates the mind and causes a slight dislocation from reality, and for me it produces better results. I think I need a digital SLR.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.
Henry James

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Monday, July 25, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

I suppose I should have known better than tempt fate by anticipating a relaxing holiday. Midway through it I strained my back and spent the remainder of my time in the Highlands hirpling gingerly around the house popping painkillers and watching the birds and squirrels eating nuts on the feeders outside the window. So much for fishing and walking and breathing in the clear mountain air. Ah well, I found this nice little loch with water-lilies before it happened.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

I'm off for a holiday in the Highlands. Walking, fishing, photographing, and hopefully relaxing. Take care, and see you all when I get back.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A librarian wearing dark glasses asked him: 'What are you looking for?' Hladik answered: 'I am looking for God.' The librarian said to him: 'God is in one of the letters on one of the pages of one of the four hundred thousand volumes of the Clementine. My fathers and the fathers of my fathers have searched for this letter; I have grown blind seeking it.'

Jorge Luis Borges, from 'The Secret Miracle'

Friday, July 08, 2005

Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.
Arthur Schopenhauer
I found this old email I wrote to an online news service on 8th October 2001, at the start of the war in Afghanistan, and long before our misjudged involvement in Iraq:

"My initial reaction to the September 11th attacks in America - following disbelief and horror - was to ask what Britain's response would be. I assumed that this was a time to keep a low profile; for cool heads and few words other than those of condolence. Surely the only way to respond to an enemy as deadly and invisible as this was a tightening of security and the application of covert intelligence rather than a public display of muscle flexing.

I was therefore surprised and dismayed when Tony Blair's mug immediately appeared above the parapet threatening all kinds of dire retribution against the perpetrators of the outrage, and firmly establishing the UK in the eyes of the extremists as America's number one supporter. Was that really necessary? Couldn't we have shown our solidarity with America in more appropriate ways? Did we really need to fan the flames of hatred with such rhetoric, setting ourselves up as a sitting target for attacks on our own soil?

Now look at the headlines today: 'The US and Britain launch strikes'. No other nations are even mentioned in the world press, even though there are plenty who are working behind the scenes to counter the terrorist threat. We are now in the front line for future terrorist attacks. As one of your correspondents has already pointed out, if a Conservative government had responded in such an aggressive way to the current crisis the Labour party would be up in arms about it. Where are the voices of reason and caution in the Labour party? Or has the shiny new cult of Tony 'I'm a World Statesman' Blair rendered them all dumb?"

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A woman finds herself in a situation where she isn't employable. Or maybe she has interests like child-rearing, cooking and home-maintenance that keep her from getting a job. So what does she do? She cooks up a scheme to entrap a man using her body as the bait. It's frightening, but it happens every day in this country.
read more ...

President Bush delighted an intimate gathering of White House dinner guests with a spirited, off-the-cuff discussion of the Roman poet Virgil's lesser-known works.
read more ...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

news snippet
who: Human cannonball Todd Christian
what: Fired from circus because he is afraid of flying

Vladimir: We have to come back tomorrow.
Estragon: What for?
Vladimir: To wait for Godot.
Estragon: Ah! (silence) He didn't come?
Vladimir: No.

Samuel Becket, from 'Waiting for Godot'
volvos and oranges ... the new face of marketing

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

a swift shuffle

Pogues ~ Rake at the Gates of Hell
Aimee Mann ~ Girls Talk
Grandaddy ~ I'm on Standby
Dandy Warhols ~ Bohemian Like You
McGarrigle Sisters ~ Alice Bluegown
Mekons ~ Take His Name in Vain
Sex Pistols ~ Pretty Vacant
Nico ~ Fairest of the Seasons
Merci-S ~ Summer Days
Pink Floyd ~ Julia Dream

Which reminds me, did anyone see Pink Floyd's great version of Comfortably Numb at the London Live 8 concert?

'In everything that concerned his art, Beethoven is so true and so sovereign that no artist dares approach him. In the rest of his life, however, he is so naive that you can do anything you like with him.'
Bettina von Arnim, in a letter to Goethe

Well nowadays you can do anything you like with Beethoven's art too, as this proves. Out of interest, and wanting to get my money's worth out of my broadband subscription, I downloaded the whole shebang here, and it's really quite relaxing, although I obviously haven't listened to it all. Eno was right. Anyone can make ambient music now. Even Beethoven.
In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

Norman Maclean, from 'A River Runs Through It'

Monday, July 04, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The shape of your eyes
The shape of your eyes goes round my heart,
A round of dance and sweetness.
Halo of time, cradle nightly and sure
No longer do I know what I've lived,
Your eyes have not always seen me.

Leaves of day and moss of dew,
Reeds of wind and scented smiles,
Wings lighting up the world,
Boats laden with sky and sea,
Hunters of sound and sources of colour,

Scents the echoes of a covey of dawns
Recumbent on the straw of stars,
As the day depends on innocence
The world relies on your pure sight
All my blood courses in its glance.

Paul Eluard, 1926

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Chogyam Trungpa

Original Sin
Coming from a tradition that stresses human goodness, it was something of a shock for me to encounter the Western tradition of original sin.... It seems that this notion of original sin does not just pervade Western religious ideas; it actually seems to run throughout Western thought as well, especially psychological thought. Among patients, theoreticians, and therapists alike, there seems to be great concern with the idea of some original mistake which causes later suffering -- a kind of punishment for that mistake. One finds that a sense of guilt or being wounded is quite pervasive. Whether or not such people actually believe in the idea of original sin, or in God for that matter, they seem to feel that they have done something wrong in the past and are now being punished for it..... The problem with this notion of original sin or mistake is that it acts very much as a hindrance to people. At some point, of course it is necessary to realize one's shortcomings. But if one goes too far with that, it kills any inspiration and can destroy one's vision as well. So in that way, it really is not helpful, and in fact it seems unnecessary. As I mentioned, in Buddhism we do not have any comparable ideas of sin and guilt. Obviously there is the idea that one should avoid mistakes. But there is not anything comparable to the heaviness and inescapability of original sin.

Chogyam Trungpa, from 'The Meeting of Buddhist and Western Psychology'

Friday, July 01, 2005

Guardian Angel
I am the bird that knocks at your window in the morning
and your companion, whom you cannot know,
the blossoms that light up for the blind.

I am the glacier’s crest above the forests, the dazzling one
and the brass voices from cathedral towers.
The thought that suddenly comes over you at midday
and fills you with a singular happiness.

I am one you have loved long ago.
I walk alongside you by day and look intently at you
and put my mouth on your heart
but you don’t know it.

I am your third arm and your second
shadow, the white one,
whom you don’t have the heart for
and who cannot ever forget you.

Rolf Jacobsen, translated by Roger Greenwald
What Nixon Saw
Richard Nixon watching 'The Sound of Music'? hmmmnnn...