Month: March 2017

IX. 19/03-26/03/17; groupuscules on a heath

How to steal a country: while the groupuscules struggle, entrenched power thrives. A man in a high-vis jacket, functional track-suit pants and general purpose shoes is reading the Economist while his laptop boots up. No time shall be wasted. The portrait caption would be:  Blue-collar & Economist, or perhaps more accurately, High-vis collar & Economist. Either way, I had never noticed the column by Bello before. A man wearing a Dastar is standing behind the last seat in the row across the aisle. He is thumbing his phone. He wears a silver watch. Strange shapes of modern architectural imagination from Blackfriars: slanted and rectangular stands behind inward-curved and squat, a rounded cylinder somewhere in between and the sharp and splintered tower overlooking the crowd of shapes from the other side, taller than them. Standing only on the 7:30. A woman with a polka-dot top tucked into trousers is reading a textbook on business and management: 5.1 Management Buyouts… The head of an older man with round glasses leans against the wall of the carriage between …

VIII. 13/03-18/03/17; phenomenology

The morning sky could be from a Poussin landscape. Blue, pink, orange: gradations of energy. In the line of sight to the window is a man who is a regular on the 5:59. He is sketching an architectural plan on lined paper in pencil. Four passengers are familiar this morning. By the end of the train journey the man seems to have finished imagining the house. He has written a lot of text around the drawing. He was wholly absorbed by his work. The train is pulling into the station. The architect is in conversation with another regular, who is immaculately dressed, wears very narrow rimless glasses and carries a wood-handled umbrella. They’re talking about a heritage site in the Lake District. The man with the wood-handled umbrella is giving the architect a history lesson. The architect is silent, looks up at the other man, doesn’t have a rejoinder or a contribution to make. He seems uncomfortable next to his fully dressed neighbour who speaks with Received Pronunciation.”Worth another visit then” says the architect. The architect’s …

VII. 6/03-11/03/17; airborne

A big ear with a pinkish tint around the edge; short hair indistinctly parted; grey suit, stiff white shirt with cufflinks. An umbrella is lapel-pinned to his jacket; its canopy is coloured red, green, yellow, green. The wide-cut black tie features an arrangement of dark blue umbrellas. He wears rounded rimless glasses. A sip of coffee. Shiny black shoes; he is absorbed by his tablet. Yellow and orange sunlight is creeping up into the dark blue morning sky. Grades of blue: from the yellow-blue green to shades of fish-belly white-blueness. A long cloud hangs in the sky like a blue whale. A colourful umbrella at the end of the tie matches the umbrella on the pin. The tie and the lapel-pin are a pair. One day follows the next, the wheel keeps turning. Does it leave any tracks? Does it matter? Across the aisle: a man in new-looking, light brown suede shoes, a silver ring on his ring finger, a razor cut around the middle of the jaw bone. Head forward, 90 degree angle between …

VI. 27/02-04/03/17; memetic

Alan Turing showed that a machine can do arithmetic without understanding what it is doing. Most competence does not depend on comprehension. Consciousness as a user-illusion, as an app. A decision is an illusion too. The yes/no dichotomy masks the conscious and subconscious thoughts that precipitate into action when a decision is made. The timing of a decision is more telling than the decision itself. Successful deal makers delay a decision until an optimal moment. They do not let events run them into a decision. It’s like Buffett famously says: investing is like baseball except I don’t have to take a swing unless I want to. You can wait for the pitch you want. The train is refreshingly empty. The temperature is perfect; a slight breeze. Across the aisle a man browses his Facebook feed taking time to investigate some of the pictures from the feed in detail. Feed is the right word, it looks like a drip-feed of inanities. The visions of David Foster Wallace are becoming true. The phone is our entertainment cartridge. …