Ballade pour Regina Spectre

1.Facts Annouchka has already bought the sunflower oil. Her carelessness you have always said is amusing. You are amused by innocence, how silly. Yet the same innocence it is that must be plucked, you said, plucked lest it overgrow thee, lest it corrupt thee, lest it… No: at age nine, ten, innocence becomes passé. It is no good pretending we are young at eleven. They … Continue reading Ballade pour Regina Spectre

Bitter cherries

What follows is not a review but an attempt to answer a question. Abbas Kiarostami’s A Taste of Cherrywas first released in 1997 (coincidentally the year I was born) and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes the same year. I have watched Kiarostami’s A Taste of Cherry some months ago. It is a pretentious film1, redeemed only by its occasional playfulness, its detachment, and perhaps … Continue reading Bitter cherries

Who shall know the name of the wind

On the steps of the Temple Hall a half-naked mongol1 was proclaiming the end of the world. Three centuries earlier, William, earl of Orford, who had gone mad the previous summer2, had stood on the same spot, raving in the same madness, before the king’s men arrested him for disturbing the peace; he was hanged the next day. My education forces me to come up … Continue reading Who shall know the name of the wind

Trois contes

Here is an account of the terrible fate that befell María San Nicolás de Montany’s brothers during the years 19— to 19—, retrieved from the parenthetical announcements of deaths in the unread pages of Correo andalús and La menina negra: The oldest, Joaquín, was hang, drawn and quartered by two unknown men two days after Easter. There were only three witnesses to his death: Mgr … Continue reading Trois contes

Simian Devils

The Monkey King is the ageless Sun Wokong. Unlike the West who saw the personification (viz. concretisation or de-abstraction or whatever) of evil in serpents, dragons, or some other fierce but ultimately stupid beast, the Chinese saw them in monkeys. They are perverted images of ourselves. I can hear 子 saying: ‘This is what happens when you succumb to evil; this is what happens when … Continue reading Simian Devils

Down the Wine Cellar

Tolkien’s Elvish languages were mainly influenced by two languages: Welsh and Finnish. The two shared no similarity besides the fact that they are both spoken in Europe (though only Welsh is Indo-European) and that they pleased Tolkien’s ears. Finnish is the model for Quenya, and although both Sindarin and Quenya were designed to be euphonic, Quenya has a distinct melancholy feel that would invoke the … Continue reading Down the Wine Cellar