All previous Grandview 1920 clippings
Today is the 67th anniversary of the first successful climbing of Mount Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. News of the success arrived in England the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and I remember my father, who was very excited by the news, telling me all about it. For years thereafter Edmund Hillary was the greatest hero of my young imagination.
I have one or two memories about my brother and me that pre-date May 1953, but Hillary on Everest is the earliest I can recall anything outside the family. I know from photographs that there were massive street parties I attended to celebrate the new Queen: I remember none of that. But Hillary on Everest has stuck with me all these years.
The picture is of Tensing Norgay taken by Hillary. There are no pictures of Hillary on the summit because Tensing didn’t know how to work the camera and, as Hillary said, the summit of Everest was no place to start teaching him!
For about a decade now, I have lived and died on Twitter. It has been my main source of breaking news, the place I feel most comfortable to debate, and a platform for my political and personal propaganda.
If there was an AA meeting for Twitterers, I would be saying about now: “My name is Jak and I am a Twitter addict. I have been clean and sober for seven days…”
At the end of last week, I finally decided I was ready to write another book. I started work on it, and discovered — to my shock and horror — that the constant breaks I took to check up on my Twitter feed were interfering with my writing flow. There were times when it stopped me completely. As I got more and more annoyed, I made a promise to myself that I would not visit Twitter at all last Friday and for the entire weekend to follow.
I did that, and managed to pull together more than thirty thousand second-draft words on my project by Sunday night. I was happy and a lot more relaxed than I have been in a long time. So I kept going.
It is now Thursday evening, I have managed to continue avoiding Twitter (though the temptations have been strong) and I have a pleasing sixty-thousand words completed and ready for editing.
There is a long way to go on this book project and right now I am in no mood for Twitter to regain its prevaricating hold over me. We’ll see if I can maintain this sobriety for another few weeks.
The first step in making your dreams come true
is to wake up and get on with it.
Fifty-four years ago today I went to the Albert Hall in London to see Bob Dylan. There were walk outs and cat calls in the second half as Dylan went electric accompanied by the earliest iteration of The Band (most of whom were from The Hawks).
I have a sense that I enjoyed both halves of the show just as well, though the second half, the electric half, was still unexpected even though one knew it was going to happen.
Yesterday, I had to go to the pharmacy. They were busy and I was asked to wait twenty minutes for my prescription. I had no problem with that as I am at an age where having to sit in their comfortable chairs and wait is a bit of a blessing, to be honest. However, I had noticed on my walk passed, that The Dime had re-opened, and so I went there instead.
The Dime is one of my favourite places on the Drive and I was genuinely excited to get back in the door for the first time in a couple of months. They did not disappoint.
On entering, you have to sign in with your contact information. I noticed I was the fifth diner. That business, plus some blocked off tables and the use of a much-smaller paper menu, were the only signs noticeable to me that we had gone through this plague. There were no gloves or masks, but each setting was well cleansed after being used. It was service with a smile from a server who seemed genuinely happy to be back at work.
I sat in my usual spot, looking out onto the Drive, thoroughly enjoying my Swiss Peppercorn burger and a long cold drink of Dam Amber beer. Beside the Dime being a lot more empty, and a lot quieter, than usual, I felt back at home!
This is apparently a couple of years old now, but it is new to me and simply brilliant. Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” played by a wooden ball rolling down a massive marimba.
The conception, let alone the precision construction, is remarkable.
filters of memory
crimp images from forgotten
down these pathways of the past,
tiled with jagged notches
of previous wants.