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[AUGUST 2016.]

Die gewalt der musik

Reger in Bernhard’s Old Masters hates Reni, calls him the most tasteless of all the painters in the museum; which means at minimum that we’re supposed to take hating Reni as an intelligible position, perhaps consider what else might be entailed in hating Reni. And perhaps the answer is “not much”; Baroque is Baroque after all, and Massacre of the Innocents seems unreasonable, Saint Michael would be too much even without the nipples and navel on his armor, David With the Head of Goliath is one punchable kid.

There’s always something, though. His Saint Cecilia I saw in Los Angeles and stayed in front of a long time.

Why that figure—someone he knew? The crease under the eye. The neglectful grip on the bow, about to let it drop.

(I also find Bacchus and Ariadne hard to dismiss, I think because of the complete unreality of the scene: still life at the swimming pool.)

The funny thing about London is how everything feels like it’s trying to push you out. So all these people are trying to get in, but the city itself and the infrastructures that have been created and the social issues, everything is trying to push you straight back out. Everyone’s trying to fight to get into the middle, but then there’s something in the middle that’s just trying to force everyone out and it's saying, you’ve got to earn your place. But if you get pushed out, then someone else instantly fills your space. We feel a bit disposable.

—source quoted in Craig Taylor, Londoners (2011)

At dusk a foggy layer that spent all afternoon massing behind San Francisco breaks over the peaks and slides onto the water in a huge wall, like Ginnungagap. It hits the 80, all the cars slow to 15 and turn their wipers on.

κι άκουσε...
...ως τελευταία απόλαυσι τους ήχους,
τα εξαίσια όργανα του μυστικού θιάσου,
κι αποχαιρέτα την, την Καλιφόρνια που χάνεις

and hear, as a last delight, the voices,
the exquisite music of the mystic procession,
and bid her farewell, the California you are losing

“We have to stop winning.” The devil never even comes to collect his due. To him it’s enough that you take the gifts. I live to serve, he says, and means it. The old non serviam in heaven, that was an opening gambit. He knows he’s in a better place now.

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