Dystopia

"I’ve always been taken aback by the assumption that my vision is fundamentally dystopian. I suspect that the people who say I’m dystopian must be living completely sheltered and fortunate lives."

—William Gibson, The Paris Review

Adventures

"Some adventures are so small, you hardly know they’ve happened. Like the adventure of sharpening your pencil to a perfect point, just before it breaks and that little bit gets stuck in the sharpener. That, I think we will all agree, is a very small adventure. Other adventures are so big and last so long, you might forget they are adventures at all – like growing up."

Anne Michaels, The Adventures of Miss Petitfour 

London no longer exists

“For Londoners, London is obscured. Too thinly spread, too private for anyone to know. Its social life invisible, its government abolished, its institutions at the discretion of either monarchy or state or the City, where at the historic centre there nothing but a civic void, which fills and empties daily with armies of clerks and dealers, mostly citizens of other towns. The true identity of London is in its absence. As a city it no longer exists. In this alone it is truly modern. London was the first metropolis to disappear."

Patrick Keiller, London

Safe

"If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting."

—David Bowie

Love

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."

—Matt Groening, Life in Hell 

The inside-out city

As London continues to be hollowed out by absentee owners and the "buy-to-leave" market, this observation from Jonathan Meades' Museum without Walls seems rather pertinent. 

What we are actually witnessing is an abandonment of the North American model and an espousal of the French model. The embourgeoisement of the inner city combined with a dereliction in the matter of building social housing to replace that which was so carelessly sold off is effecting an economically enforced demographic shift. Social polarities are not going to disappear. The sites of income-defined ghettos are merely being exchanged. They’re swapping with each other. A new hierarchy of place is being created. The haves move inwards. The have-nots move, or are forced, outwards. There is a significant population who cannot afford the affordable. Privilege is centripetal. Want is centrifugal. It can be summed up like this – in the future, deprivation, crime and riots will be comfortably confined to outside the ring road.

Basically, every now and then, we turn the notion of the city inside-out. Me, I'm playing it safe, nestled indecisively between York's inner and outer ring roads. 

Henry Miller's eleven commandments

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to "Black Spring".
  3. Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can't create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don't be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.