Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy (Late) Bloomsday

June 16.

It was a Tuesday night. A cool evening here in Canberra, down to 2 degrees centigrade over night. What is late spring in Ireland, is late autumn here in Australia (working on the assumption the winter/summer begins about june 20th).

I went into Manuka, to the Paper Chain bookstore, there was to be a Bloomsday event. How could I have done otherwise?

Being a bookstore first and a venue second, it was uncomfortable, forcing the majority of listeners to stand. But of course lovers of Joyce will not but put off by having to stand, especially as there so were so many wonderful books around! Remembering the discomfort and poverty that Jim and Nora, as well as their children overcame, puts things into perspective. :-)

I arrived late, as I had made a configuration error in our monitoring application at work. I had no choice but to tidy up my error before I left work. This made me late. When I arrived an older man was reading from Ulysses, maybe it was from the Hades section. Bloom noticed the potato talisman in his pocket. Maybe I am confused.

Graeme Adler on violin and Margaret O'Connor on guitar and vocals sang some songs that were primarily settings of poetry, much of it by WB Yeats. Including this one.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Is it just me, or there a hint of an aristocratic fascism in this poem? (Although, as I have just finished the Cantos of Ezra Pound I should probably just shut up.)

A toast to the memory of Sylvia Beach, and to independent book stores in general, yoked under the angelic patronage of Thomas Aquinas.

And then a chap name Robert, I think, read a section from Circe.

STEPHEN: (BRINGS THE MATCH NEAR HIS EYE) Lynx eye. Must get glasses.
Broke them yesterday. Sixteen years ago. Distance. The eye sees all flat.
(HE DRAWS THE MATCH AWAY. IT GOES OUT.) Brain thinks. Near: far.
Ineluctable modality of the visible. (HE FROWNS MYSTERIOUSLY) Hm. Sphinx.
The beast that has twobacks at midnight. Married.

A final reading from Ulysses, the last pages of the Sirens section. An amusing finish to the evening. With the sentence "Bloom alone." showing the power of Joyce's economic emotions.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap

--Very, Mr Dedalus said, staring hard at a headless sardine.

Under the sandwichbell lay on a bier of bread one last, one lonely, last
sardine of summer. Bloom alone.

All in all a pleasant evening. personally I would have preferred more readings from Ulysses, but fun has had. A glass or tow of wine, some Music, some Poetry, what more can one desire.

Three cheers to all involved!

Why I love UNIX.

I was able to navigate to the directory to find the text version of Ulysses i downloaded from here. Then I thought of some unique word or phrase from readings. For example, I remeber Poldy being full of gas in the last reading. So I ran the command

$ cat -n ulysses.txt | grep -i gassy

cat prints the file to the screen (stdout) and the "-n"switch appends a line number to each line. And the the grep command (global regular expression print) searchs the text stream for a particualr 'expression' in this case 'gassy.' This gave the output:

14060 Gassy thing that cider: binding too. Wait. Postoffice near Reuben J's

This allowed me to then issue the command emacs +14060 ulysses.txt - taking me to line desired.

The moral being that UNIX is way cool :-)


No comments: