Saturday, March 17, 2007


Another rough old week on the bodily discomfort front, though it appears to be gradually diminishing, but not yet gone. The last couple of nights I’ve taken a hot shower before retiring, this appears to ease it sufficiently so I sleep most of the night before my right shoulder and arm resume their muscular whingeing.

I’ve felt too mentally exhausted most of this week to creatively engage with writing. So, much vegetating, reading and feeling sorry for my lot has been indulged in. But seriously, this persistent pain and discomfort over the last two weeks has been the worst I remember, in a long time. The psycho / physical origins of these symptoms of bodily revolt, are pretty clear to me. As ever, what I can do to ease or resolve them continues to perplex me. Somehow my sub conscious has a message to communicate to me via the crudest of body language - ‘I don’t like this, stop doing this, I’m going to become increasingly a pain until you do something about this’ – all without it being in the least bit clear what ‘this’ is. I’ve changed my style of work quite a few times, had Body Therapy/Counselling, seen an Osteopath; I’m soon going to start sessions of Acupuncture. I’ve emptied my life out like the contents of a handbag, thrown out the crumbs, sweet wrappers and detritus, yet here I am with the same symptoms still intact, if not thriving and developing more quirky ways to nag and bear down on me physically, and eventually mentally fatigue me too.

I rented Tarkovsky’s ‘Nostalgia’ from the Mr Stacey’s Video Emporium, Cambridge’s independent DVD rental shop. I’d really wanted to see ‘The Stalker’ again, but that was out. All the same I had fond memories of ‘Nostalgia.’ On this showing it’s a rougher, and slightly less engaging poetic odyssey than I remember. Prolonged absence and the deceitful cheek of memory, painted a richer picture. It is still good none the less. Filmed in Italy, it is consumed by a sense of longing for something lost or abandoned. A Russian poet is exploring Italy with a stunning woman, who looks as though she’s just stepped out of a Renaissance painting. He discovers all around him echoes ( sepia tinged ) of a life he’s left behind. Quite what happened with his family back in Russia and why he has come here, is never explained. His female accomplice, is in love with him, but frustrated by his melancholic self-preoccupation and reluctance to take ‘their relationship’ further. She eventually leaves, unable to take being second fiddle any more. Not before they’ve met the local ‘madman’, who years before locked himself and his family up in a house for years, so they wouldn’t leave him. The poet finds a personal resonance, and, with the woman gone, spends quite some time with him. The madman also leaves, his parting request, is for the poet to complete a bizzare task for him; to walk across a Spa pool, fed by hot underground streams, holding a lit candle without letting it be blown out. The final minutes of the movie document, in real time, the three attempts he makes to do this task. The third succeeding, but the poet’s heart seizures as he reaches the other side and he dies. It is a brilliant visual metaphor for the futility of nostalgia, all that endless going over and over events, trying to regain or complete an unfinished task before one dies. Hmm, some pause for thought required.