Soul Bean news

December 26, 2006 at 8:25 pm (Uncategorized)

This blog will be updated on January 5. Please keep reading in the New Year, have a happy and safe one. SB

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Self help

December 7, 2006 at 6:25 pm (Double espresso)


In New York, the talented British novelist Will Self is having a different time of it. Yesterday’s New York Times, carried a piece about his decision to walk to his hotel in Manhattan, from the airport. Apparently, Self is into “psychogeography”.

“People don’t know where they are anymore,” he tells the paper. “In the post-industrial age, this is the only form of real exploration left. Anyone can go an see the Ituri pygmy, but how many people have walked all the way from the city to the airport.”

Pygmies are human, a curiously Victorian sightseeing objective.

“The city is coming out to embrace us,” he says as the metropolis unravels during his six-hour walk. Approaching Brooklyn Bridge, the Londoner expects respite from the scenes of poverty that have dogged his trek: “We’ll hear the skirl of the Gershwin clarinets and we’ll believe in the dream of possibility again.”

Why do we Brits go so weak at the knees when it comes to New York? Rather than stab Times readers with the George Michael-style anti-war invective he’s good at, Self opts for the psychobabble our novelists are fond of: “It makes more metaphorical sense to think of New York as one enormous chunk of masonry that has been cut up and carved away. It says, ‘This is the ultimate polis, through which humans move like nematodes’.”

Nematodes are worms. Lighten up Will, it’s only a city. And as Sean Bell, the unarmed 23-year-old gunned down by New York cops the other week might say, fuck the polis.

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God bless America

December 5, 2006 at 8:50 pm (Espresso)

Am in San Jose. A new housing development with a gym. Friend’s. Outside it is sunny, just spent 45 mins on jogging machine. Wasn’t jogging, but it’s enough to stand in one spot sometimes. I do that with books in bookshops — stroke them, without reading them. Cannot upload photos at the moment. In fact, have had communications issues since I entered this country. Starting at US passort control in Vancouver. Got the full “Are you a Mozlim” treatment. Fortunately my non-Muslim credentials are intact. But what if I was? Hmm. This exchange actually took place:

“Where were you born?”
“Are you Hindu?”

Sparky was trying to elicit the defensive response “No, I am a Muslim.” Then he pointed me to the back room.

“My colleagues will ask you a few questions because you were born in Iran.”

Sparky I
“Are you a Muslim?”
“Er, no.”
“You’re not a Muslim?”
“Do you practice any religion.”
“I dabble with Catholicism. I like communion wafers. Also, I suffer guilt, which I suppose makes me Jewish.”

Sparky II
“Will you be working in the United States?”
“Yes, for Wal-Mart. Nothing like low wages and no medical insurance. The company offers employees a sweater after 25 years of service. Oh, and there’s the 10 per cent store discount.

Sparky III
“What is the reason for your visit to the US?”
“There is a religion that believes in the arrival of a fifth Beatle, I am the Iranian reincarnation of Stuart Sutcliffe.”

Sparky II again
“You’re not a Mozlim?”
“Not according to my Rabbi?”
“You have a Rabbi?”
“Yeah, I took him hostage.”

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