Sunday, December 08, 2019

SAMUEL BECKETT WAS NOT A CRICKETER

Reading sometimes leads the person from exultant heights to despairing depths. But it must be done. The mind is enriched, while the glutei maximi may wonder whether there is more to living than this rattan chair seat which is mortifying to the flesh. Don't rest too long here.
Sore arse may result.


SAMUEL BECKETT
Both inspiration and discouragement.

Quote: "There is a little of everything, apparently, in nature, and freaks are common. Yes, there were times when I forgot not only who I was but that I was, forgot to be. Nothing matters but the writing. Each must find out for himself what is meant. It means what it says. I cannot imagine a higher goal for today’s writer. What is that unforgettable line? If I do not love you I shall not love."
End quote.

Almost like stream of consciousness gibberish, or the stuff one of the patrons (a nimnoo) of the same coin-laundromat spouts.
Maybe I should do my laundry less.

Quote: "We wait. We are bored. Confusion amounting to nothing. Despite precautions. The confusion is not my invention. You must not think of certain things, of those that are dear to you, or rather you must think of them, for if you don’t there is the danger of finding them, in your mind, little by little. A disturbance into words, a pillow of old words. All life long, the same questions, the same answers. The churn of stale words in the heart again. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. This tired abstract anger; inarticulate passive opposition. I pushed and pulled in vain, the wheels would not turn. How hideous is the semicolon."
End quote.

If someone put this in a note at work, I might wonder at their sanity or whether they were finally losing it to the point of instability, complete breakdown, and destructive or anarchic acts.
Unfortunately, I myself am most likely to do that; purely ironically, of course, but no one would get it.

Quote: "Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful. So all things limp together for the only possible. In the immense confusion one thing alone is clear. I forgive nobody. Nothing to do but stretch out comfortably on the rack, in the blissful knowledge you are nobody for eternity. All I say cancels out, I’ll have said nothing. Words are all we have. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. To restore silence is the role."
End quote.

An attempt to be deep and meaningful, the only result being that he sounds like a pot head. One with clinical manifestations. Too much pot.
Very Californian.



VITAI LAMPADA
By Sir Henry Newbolt

More inspiration, less discouragement. "When the one great scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game" (Grantland Rice).
Cricket. Sportsmanlike behaviour. Fair play. The right thing to do. Proper conduct. How, in the end, you measured up.
Don't let the side down.


There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night,
Ten to make and the match to win;
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red,
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'



You know, I do indeed find Henry Newbolt's poem inspiring, while very much acknowledging its very great silliness. That combination of dated time and place specific reference points, the ponderousness, and the high flying moralist imperialist sentiment; all speak to me.

I never went to an English Public School.

Which is perhaps fortunate.




The game was on teevee at work in the backroom.
There was a whole lot of shouting.
I did not watch.



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