Interlude

I have just read Pratchett’s short story Dragons at Crumbling Castle and am so happy and feel so privileged to write a doctoral thesis about such a talented, warm and funny man.

I normally try to avoid fanboying for fear of losing objectivity, but right now I can do nothing but sit here and marvel at the simple yet wise message of this story.

Starting tomorrow, I will put this feeling into more elaborate words and hope to express it with the same vigour.

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Happy holidays!

All Christmas presents wrapped; first two episodes of Good Omens listened to. The final episodes of Cabin Pressure are coming up as well, as is the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

And, as always, the recurring question: Should or shouldn’t I take work with me on my Christmas holidays? Experience says that I will not have the time (nor intention) to get anything done, but I still like the feeling of having the instruments around if I need them. In the end, it will probably boil down to my Kindle and whatever philosophy/literary works it holds.

That said, I wish you all happy holidays, a very merry Christmas and a safe journey towards the new year!

Aiming around the corner

Editing is time travel. I am both cursing and congratulating my past selves on writing such erudite rubbish which is growing into a finished thesis that does not exist yet. Sitting in the middle, surrounded by books and notes scribbled on the backs of articles and papers is a rather confused but also confident present me.

Oh, and after eight successful shows (four more to come), I have finally managed to finish reading Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory backstage between Acts 2 and 3. If you think German philosophy is needlessly complicated, have a go at an English translation thereof. There’s a lot of useful knowledge in Adorno, don’t get me wrong – but in order to attain it, you have to navigate a jungle of Germanic pretentiousness and lengthy wordings.

Foucault is almost refreshing as a change…

Going gothic

William Beckford’s Vathek is a very strange book and thus a perfect addition to my ideas concerning my next article…

To give you a little insight if you haven’t read the book, here are a few scenes from the novel:

– The main character Vathek builds a tower of ginormous height to study the stars at night. Besides being an observatory, it is a vertical labyrinth filled with mummies, rhinoceroses’ horns, snake oils, trap doors, dead ends and numerous other dangers and findings.

– Later, he kicks a merchant in anger who turns into a ball tumbling through the palace. Vathek advises everyone to join in, so a kick-the-merchant-turned-ball game ensues throughout the city until said ball-merchant drops into a valley. To appease the merchant, fifty children must be sacrificed by throwing them into the valley as well, so Vathek enacts a contest pretending to find the most beautiful boy.

– Vathek falls in love with a girl who fakes her own death to escape only to re-encounter him immediately thereafter and falling in love with him after all

– Blue fishes are coerced to talk and act as oracles, but after one question answered they do not feel like answering any more so they are released again

Perhaps more than anything else, Vathek is an excellent example of how good pacing works. The book is less than a hundred pages long, but it feels like an awful lot is going on all the time. I haven’t found any boring passages – some are laughable, others wildly colourful or dreamlike.

And now I just have to find all of its architectural notions that I have read about in secondary literature…

Night Train To Nebelsbad

I have just finished editing my presentation for tomorrow whilst listening to The Grand Budapest Hotel soundtrack. I feel like I should dance on something or go sledding, but there is too much stuff on my table and it isn’t winter yet. Yet.

By the way, if you want to read a really good although mildly confusing book, give John Morreall’s Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor a try. It’s an excellent attempt at trying to find out why we laugh and philosophers oftentimes didn’t.

On the lines

Off to theatre camp tomorrow. With me I am taking:

– An obscure book to review (google Arno Schmidt if you want to know more)

– An essay to give the final edge to

– A PhD rewriting to summarise

– A lesson for next Tuesday to prepare

– William Beckford’s Vathek to read for another essay

And of course my script and everything else I need to survive for this long coming weekend. I might send updates now and then (we do have internet even though we’re out in the country near somewhere called Lützelflüh), but only sporadically so if at all. In the worst case, you’ll hear from me next week! Check out my twitter account if you’d like to read some of my more obscure writings: https://twitter.com/TheCityofNames

Have a great rest of the week!