1. i’ve been too busy and idle to blog. Days teaching, mainly just schmoozing and listening to amusing tales, being paid large sums per hour but alas not enough hours per week that i can afford to move out of my horrible basement room. Tomorrow i teach English for Accountants, 8 hours to a group, though i get paid to take them out for lunch and my school even gave me 20 Euros for food. i’m tempted to take my students to McDonald’s and order 20 cheeseburgers per head, or just spend it all on booze. Accounting is easier when you’re drunk.

2. A new student has come my way, a 21-year-old girl, rich, intelligent, adventurous, beautiful, she wants to study Photography in London so has come to my school for prep. Luckily there are almost no British teachers so i get a lot of these students, who only want chit-chat. The girl is interesting – i haven’t seen any of her photos but i feel a kind of imaginative force in her, which i’ve learnt to recognise as the basic requirement for an artist; it’s not as overwhelming, raw, as in Murtaugh’s now 15-year-old son, Leo (whose talent is as yet latent), but it’s there. Talking about a painter i met in a temp job in 2006, David Whitlam, she asked “why do you meet so many artists? Is it just chance?” i said “no, it’s not chance, though it looks like it”. This basic imaginative force, a way of apprehending the world, is so deeply-rooted it can take many forms, not all of which are obviously artistic – but the great artists, i guess, have this force in every life, this intensity of apprehension. They see the world more acutely, and so they live with greater energy of attention and response, precariously and often blighted, but nonetheless more.

3. i found a parallel text of detective short stories, German and English, for a couple of Euros, and am strangely enjoying them – i say strangely because in terms of genre fiction i usually only like Fantasy and spy thrillers – but there’s something rather pleasing about elaborate, reasoned, brutal murders in English country houses, and characters like Poirot, who can say, with all seriousness: “I am down here on business. Murder is my business.”

4. Hungry, must eat burgers.

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