01 May, 2009

Flow gently, sweet Afton


You know when you haven't e-mailed someone for a while, and you feel you ought to, but the longer you leave it, the more embarrassed you feel about not contacting them, and the longer still you want to leave it? Well, so it is with the Varieties. Still I walk—a jaunt from Heathrow to London; a stretch in Waltham and Leyton, where the word alright has become a mere two schwas of rising intonation; a saunter through the campus at Imperial, where hard science and technology are symbolised architecturally by flat glass façades in royal blue and hot pink; East Finchley Cemetery, where the dead are erased from memory, as with poor Henry and Agnes Ritchie, above; and so on and so on. Still I read—Lost Girls in the Library this week, amid a sea of prim Courtauldians sharing out table-space between Foucault and Tiepolo, I relish the thrill of postmodern fin-de-siècle child-porn drawn après Beardsley, Mucha and Schiele. Still I write—my 15,000-word, rather Varietesque opus on the Golden Bough should be coming out in a month or two, and I am already several thousand into a new piece on tripod iconography. In the Roth household, life goes on, and even promises to increase in number. All is well. Sure, there is a certain void, where once were varieties. But this will pass. It always does.

5 comments:

Peony said...

"increasing in number..."

Doesn't that sound lovely? Your fans will always wait for you too, I bet. I personally look forward to hearing about the tripods.... How about a posting on that sometime...???

Hope you are enjoying your spring walkabouts :)

Language said...

What a strange sign pasted on those gravestones! A Google search on "no longer in dedication" comes up empty. What does it mean? Questions, questions!

John Cowan said...

I googled for [grave "in dedication"], and while I don't have definitive evidence, I think the latter might be a technical term meaning that the grave is still visited, maintained, etc. So the sign means that the cemetery owner is willing to take down the headstone and reuse the space.

Pedro said...

The bough of legend or the bough of learned armachair anthropology?

Conrad H. Roth said...

John: my guess is that a certain sum of money (corresponding to a certain period of 'dedication time') had run out.

Pedro: both.