Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The steamer, Sestri Levante, stood high above the dock side, and the watery sleet, carried on the wind blustering down from the Black Sea, had drenched even the small shelter deck.  In the after well the Turkish stevedores, with sacking tied around their shoulders, were still loading cargo.

     Graham saw the steward carry his suit-case through a door marked PASSEGGIERI, and turned aside to see if the two men who had shaken hands with him at the foot of the gangway were still there.  They had not come aboard lest the uniform of one of them should draw attention to him.  Now they were walking across the crane lines towards the warehouses and the dock gates beyond.  As they reached the shelter of the first shed they looked back.  He raised his left arm and saw an answering wave.  They walked on out of sight.

      For a moment he stood there shivering and staring out of the mist that shrouded the domes and towers of Stambul.  Behind the rumble and clatter of the winches, the Turkish foreman was shouting plaintively in bad Italian to one of the ship’s officers.  Graham remembered that he had been told to go to his cabin and stay there until the ship sailed.  He followed the steward through the door.  

     The man was waiting for him at the head of a short flight of stairs.  There was no sign of any of the nine other passengers.

     “Cinque, signore?"


     “Da queste parte.”

Note:  And I thought I was angry and unsettled.  My own personal Journey Into Fear these days (or at least one of them) derives from reading the hate-filled, unknowing, self-satisfied, one-sided and implicitly anti-Semitic comments that wallpaper so-called "social media" today regarding the ongoing Israel and surrounding area travails, some of which emanate from people I thought were friends of mine. 

The future is here. It's Not Far Away and it's certainly simplistic.


Canaletto:  Entrance To The Grand Canal, Venice (upper); 
The River Thames (middle); Self-Portrait (lower). 

Text:  Eric Ambler, Journey Into Fear, 1940

Monday, July 21, 2014


Art in art is art.

The end of art is art as art.

The end of art is not the end.

                       -- Ad Reinhardt


Note:  I’m currently on a conference call, mute button pushed, tag-team financial planners droning & trying to gull attending-under-compulsion listeners into some form of submission. 

I’m reminded of that funny scene in Take The Money and Run where Woody Allen is made to serve time in an underground bunker with an insurance salesman.

Better to think of Ad Reinhardt: his talents, his achievements, his percentages, his compounding.

As Regan, that poor child in The Exorcist, put it so well, “Mother, Make It Stop.”

Top:  Ad Reinhardt, Painting, 1954-58. 

Center:  Ad Reinhardt, Black Painting, 1960-66, photographed under ultra-violet light after laser cleaning at Art Innovation, Oldenzaal, The Netherlands.

Lower:  Ad Reinhardt,Twelve Rules for a New Academy, 1953.

Lowest:  Ad Reinhardt, Symmetrical Two Travelers, 1946.

Link: Take The Money And Run (@ 8:44) 


Sunday, July 20, 2014


I fight in red for the same reasons
That Garibaldi chose the red shirt
      -- Because a few men in a field wearing red
Look like many men  -- if there are ten you will think
There are a hundred; if a hundred
You will believe them a thousand.
And the colour of red dances in the enemy's rifle sights
And his aim will be bad – But, best reason of all,
A man in a red shirt can neither hide nor retreat.

         --  Hugh MacDiarmid, Why I Chose Red