Author: Admin

GCR#4- AWM-RYS

I prepare for the first afternoon run from the return commute. I admire people who run their commute regularly. There aren’t many, but the ones I notice look very serious about it. A day is like a run, with peaks and troughs. I think my peak is in the mornings, the afternoon is about keeping as much of the momentum as possible. But you can’t always choose your route. I’ve begun to notice the space around my limits. Energy limits, knee limits, other tolerance limits. It’s easy to notice when you’re at the edge, but it’s harder to determine the sequence or path that leads up to it. At what point does wakefulness turn towards tiredness? The transitions are all smooth if one pays attention but abrupt if one doesn’t. The train from King’s Cross is cancelled so I’m on a slower one from St. Pancras. The commute feels different in running clothes. A step removed. Out of the station and past cars parked at the side of the road, commuters. No parking tickets, it’s …

GCR#3 – BDK-AWM

My right knee aches a bit, has been aching all week. Perhaps I should take a longer break. But a break would interrupt the flywheel of habit, which has only just begun spinning slowly. I want to keep that momentum. It’s a bit foggy in Royston. I’m worried about the dual carriageway from AWM. It will be less busy if I get that done first. But the Baldock train comes first, so that settles it. Baldock’s church spire is a highlight in the scenery around the line to London. A short stretch by a road then through a field to an overpass. There should be one of these for AWM too. Time passes faster on a new route. The sun is against me, the tarmac is smooth in the middle of the road like obsidian and reflects the sun. There’s a hedge by the side of the road, and the sun is exactly at its edge so that I am bobbing in and out of its shade. There was another feature on running in the …

GCR #2 – RYS-AWM-RYS

Calf muscles seize into fits of tightness over five days. Time to rest. The short sprints to catch trains after work don’t help. A short run on Saturday over softer ground is a test, with new, chunkier shoes to protect against the impact of hard roads in the months ahead. Thibaut Pinot, a favourite on the Tour de France is forced to give up. He weeps. He wants it too much, perhaps. Expectation becomes a weight, magnified internally. The root of suffering is attachment. Murakami cites a mantra snatched from a feature on running in the International Herald Tribune: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Is that so? To keep on going you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects… The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed—and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage. Haruki Murakami I’ve bought a running vest to carry water and a telephone. Light rain drizzles. Perfect weather. The plan was …

GCR #1 – AWM to RYS

An FT article about running⁠—part of a series called “Rise of the Runners”⁠—activates a latent will to run longer distances. An idea forms: could I run the morning commute from Royston to King’s Cross? Along quiet roads, the distance is about seventy kilometers. In building up to it I could explore the route around the line, run between stations. Glossy videos from an earphone manufacturer capture aspects of the attraction to running. The cost of the Annual Gold Card for a year of train travel between Royston and London was £4936. It will allow me to shuttle between new running tracks. Today marks the start of the Gold Card Running project: Runs between stations on the Royston to London line(s). On Saturday morning I had managed only 3km. A perfunctory restart. Travel and then a cough sapped momentum. A reduction in fitness feels like a gradual loosening of the body. The mind too is less sharp. Long-distance running has appeal: a slice of freedom carved out from the normal flow of events. Murakami wrote about …

XXXII. Extrusion and involution

On Line 6 from Gangcheng Road, a man moves nut beads around a string. The diameter’s length is about half a meter. The man rotates the nut husks quickly. They look like miniature walnuts. They are polished and gleam a bit. He wears garishly coloured training shoes and a golden bracelet and a golden necklace with a jade-like pendant. His head is shaved, he has thick lips and his black shirt features a tiger. M50 is a “creative park” in Shanghai. There are shops and studios. There’s a small coffee shop. Inside hangs a punching bag with a sign asking its viewer not to punch it. A stuffed rhinoceros toy looks out at the punching bag. It’s a coffee shop less than it is a tattoo parlour. The business model is tattoos and coffee. A fat cat lolls about. It needs its owner to feed it water through a syringe because it lacks volition to consume water. There is a tattoo in progress. An outline of activity is visible through a frosted glass screen. The target …

XXXI. memories

Like a commute, a Renaissance garden is a buffer between outer landscape and internal living: outside and inside, departure and arrival. A good commute would be like the Piccolomini Palace garden in Pienza. Opposite me a young man’s neck cranes down to his phone. His ears are covered by green metallic headphones. His perception is limited. His breathing oscillates. An excited crescendo is followed by a sigh. He leans forward sometimes and his stale breath enters my range of olfactory perception. The fold-out bikers coalesce into a peloton on Whidborne Street. It is not safe to cross the road until they pass. A man in a grey tracksuit and a woman by the window argue. He has a can of Red Bull on his table. His black training shoes are immaculately black. He is probably forty years old. The argument pauses. He asks me whether they are in the right carriage to King’s Cross. Two men at Starbucks talk about God. “I know I should be praying” says the one wearing a light beige coat, …

XXX. frayed

A watch of nightingales, a kit of pigeons, an abandon of thoughts. The equivalent of grinding lenses today? What would Spinoza do? Code? The computer is our primary optical device, a  telescope of sorts. People are stuck to them as they walk around. Activity behind me that I cannot see. She was penciling her face when I walked past to sit one row in front. Now she must be packing her face-colours away. Breakfast wrappers uncrinkle audibly. In a pink shirt he reads something about Manchester United in large font on a Samsung phone, his blue bag so frayed you wouldn’t keep it unless attachment to it was a carelessly formed habit, like chewing fingernails, which he does too. The train is full after three stops and the driver’s young voice announces another unscheduled stop at Welwyn Garden City. His fair hair matches a Sainsbury’s bag. Blue pullover, blue shirt. He is studying Japanese with a frayed exercise book. Yesterday between Farringdon and St. Pancras two men talked about a younger colleague at work: I …

Notes on balance

The contest is over for the players, but not for the camera professionals and commentators. The spectator is presented with portraits of joy, relief, agony. Zoom to a clutch of players: all hands to heads. All the evidence is in and the critics make their case. Preparation? Lax. Leadership? Too relaxed. The team? Undisciplined. Would-be heroes had spent too much time nurturing their second-curve careers in fashion and idleness. For almond trees, poor soil [is preferable], for if the soil is deep and rich, the trees experience an exuberance [hubris] because of all the good nutrition, and they stop bearing fruit [a-karpeîn]. Theophrastus About the aetiologies of plants 2.16.8, trans. Nagy. A headstrong defender presents himself for interview, shirtless, tired, bare. He scratches his head as he delivers his analysis. It’s very, very difficult to express the situation in words. We believed in ourselves until the end, even after first goal against us we were looking to turn the game around, but just couldn’t find the goal, none of us could. We had the opportunities. I should have scored when I had …

Notes on a goal

It is the last possible moment. He stands away from the ball at an angle, his back arched, his elbows pointing outwards, his head extending forwards, his feet aligned, right in front of left in a line that ends at Reus. The replay is available from twelve camera angles. The moment is a few seconds long. This is sport in condensed form, thick and full. If a work of art is something you don’t get tired of then a replay could hang looping on a screen next to a Rothko and I think I know what I’d spend more time looking at. Am I making too much of this? It’s a game. These seconds are unimportant outside the game. Yes, but isn’t that always true? 63. If we imagine the facts otherwise than as they are, certain language-games lose some of their importance, while others become important. And in this way there is an alteration — a gradual one — in the use of the vocabulary of a language. 64. Compare the meaning of a …

XXIX. balls & bugs

“The signaler tried to terminate us early at the last station.” A new reason for a morning’s train delay. Illusions become stale. Once you’ve seen the Müller-Lyer arrows they won’t fool you again. Psychologists may at some point in the future run out of illusions to illustrate the mind’s foibles. Follow simple rules and study the effect. For example, take a deep breath before you use an electronic device. What happens? Most of us become obsessed with work at some point. How many calories are channeled into corporate endeavours? There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state — Karl Marx? They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, …