1. Was too idle and scrofulous to blog, though i have laboured on the latest (and hopefully) final version of my grotesque Bildungsroman, The Better Maker. For the first time since the beast arose in 2002, i have a good feeling but of course wouldn’t be surprised if it actually turns out to be a pile of moronic shit. i feel the crucial difference, between this & other versions, is the distance between me as writer and me as protagonist (yes, it’s a Bildungsroman, hence autobiographical). Now in my gouty middle years, nearing 40 and paunchy like GK Chesterton, i regard my 21-24 year old self with pity and occasional contempt.
2. Went to Vienna for my annual bunse. Smoking now banned save in small cafes & bars, and to be totally so by 2018. Curious to think that, when i go in December 2017, settle with pipe and cup in a cafe, i will know it is the last time i will smoke save in my own meagre home (it is rare to know this is the last time you will enjoy an ordinary human activity). Even when i was a total non-smoker, i felt the smoking ban was somehow pointless and tyrannical; i see it now as propaganda according to Theodore Dalrymple’s definition – its purpose is to humiliate. Smoking is widespread and only harmful to the lesser man, and pipe-smoking leads to a long happy life, so the real purpose of the ban is, clearly, to say “we are the Government, we own you, we can ban your ordinary pleasures and you can’t do jack shit. Now fuck off and pay your taxes, oh and by the way a million 3rd World Muslims are going to move into your house next week and you are a racist.”
As usual i met the Viking, who drew various obscene depictions of myself:
The Viking at the 12 Apostles beer cellar, relishing the Catholicism:
and his depiction of myself therein:
Then to Pub Bukowski, one of my favourite places to smoke. They always play sehr cool music, including the Drive soundtrack.
And naturally the Viking was provoked to draw Catholic obscenities:
3. It was a bit chilly and the Viking decided he wanted to stand on the train platform in a blizzard (he lives in some awful Communist ghetto east of Vienna, so returned every day). i blamed him for the weather and he gave me his hideous Russian hat.
4. Last day alone, Viking preparing to fly back to England to commit Catholic atrocities. Vienna continues to be scuzzier than Munich, many boarded-up shops, but some with style:
And Cafe Kafka, a good smoking place, i ordered a gin & tonic for breakfast and got an amused look, and a gin & tonic:
i started re-reading Kafka’s short stories and found them much more interesting now than when i first read them, 10 or so years ago. They retain their original strangeness, even after millions of secondary whotsits. With truly strange works, such as the poetry of Hart Crane or Wallace Stevens, re-reading is (for me) essential – i remember, or rather don’t remember, reading Hart Crane in 1998 and taking nothing in; the second time i was gagging and slobbering like a dobermann, thinking, How was i not astounded & moved & delighted by this 6 months ago??? Kafka is similar, one needs to attune to the length and rhythm of his stories, to learn what to expect and (more important) what not to expect.
My last night in Vienna, at Bukowski:
Had i only known of the Cologne New Year Muslim sex attacks, i would have gone up to this girl and groped her, leering “bitch, ficki, ficki!” as a multicultural diversity thing. Unfortunately, that hadn’t happened yet, so instead i just drank a lot and then went to bed.