Hair today, Proust tomorrow
Sometimes people think I am shallow. You’ll agree or disagree depending on where, when and how you know me. A couple of random quotes to illustrate the “shallow” hypothesis:
Kim: “When did you become so shallow?” (2004)
Early Bird: “When Theresa first started working in magazines she was an intellectual hippie from Grahamstown, but look how shallow she´s become!” (2006)
In 2005 Mim gave me a hair-straightener for my birthday. I was delighted with the present, and had painstakingly straightened locks for a month or so; then I shaved all my hair off. I also demanded (and received) the complete In Search of Lost Time for Christmas – to pacify my pseudo-intellectual side. My hair has since grown back. And I´m only halfway through The Guermantes Way. But reading this poem, first brought to my attention by Early Bird, makes me feel better.
Anyway, while I was in London, my dear friend Caramello gave me a very generous voucher for my birthday. And it’s not all about hair and lipstick, so I was glad it was for Waterstone’s rather than The Bodyshop. A list of my purchases follows.
GX and I have a running argument as to whether Iain Banks or Iain M Banks is the better writer. Considering I have read only the former, and GX only the later, it’s never gonna be settled until one of us becomes less precious about our selection of reading material.
2. Odd Girl Out
The first lesbian pulp fiction novel. Despite the wimpy main character and surprising lack of sex scenes, it’s still a classic.
3. The Road to Oxiana
The original Bruce. Byron is the hero of my hero, which makes him a superhero.
4. The Princess Bride
An epic tale of “true love and high adventure”. I never tire of it.
I revelled in discovering Houellebecq. But honestly, there´s only so much of ageing Frenchmen fucking hot young things that one can take before it begins to pall.
6. Confessions of Zeno
Actually the book I bought was called Zeno’s Conscience, but I prefer the translation above. I first came across this novel through William Kentridge’s opera, and have spent years searching for my own copy after UCT library rudely demanded I return the one that belonged to them, as well as issuing me with a hefty library fine. The book sits by my bed for the day or night when I am inspired to give up smoking. Until such a time, I am a devotee of the last-cigarette ritual.
‘To reduce its outlandish appearance, I even tried to give a philosophical content to the last-cigarete disease. Striking a beautiful attitude, one says: “Never again.” But what becomes of that attitude if the promise is then kept? It´s possible to strike the attitude only when you are obliged to renew the vow.’
pp 13 to 14
Right, it’s 1:.29am on 27.03.08, hardly an auspicious date to give up smoking. So I’m off for a “last cigarette” before bed.