Coconut and chickpea and lemon stew for dinner. I should have added a banana and then it would have been perfect.
Later, I take tea with a friend of mine, a nameless-for-his-own-sake friend.
"I'll tell you a story," he says. "The scene is My Brain. It's a few years ago, and I'm in me Dad's car. Things are definitely Not Looking Good." He had tried to go sailing, he says, remembering previous months of sheer sea tranquillity, crossing the Atlantic. But this time, he says he'd just got drunk and ended up in jail for sixteen days for some stupid immigration hiccup. His Dad was picking him up, him the bedraggled, bedrunken, befuddled son.
Voice of Dad (stern): "What have you been doing with yourself, son?"
My friend gives me a twinkly wink. "You know the bit when you are in a deep pit anyway, but you just know you're going to say something which will make it even worse but you can't stop yourself?"
So he glances at his Dad and assesses the situation. Bad. "What have I been doing, dad? Licking out whores' cunts in the Caribbean. Actually."
A pause of five seconds which lasts an eternity.
"Filth," spits his Dad, and nothing more is ever said on the matter.
Meanwhile, back home, I'm writing out a talk I'll give at the Hayward Gallery next week, about the politics of time. (Yes, there is such a thing.) My talk is part of a larger presentation of a project called "Aluna" ? to make a tidally powered moon clock and set it up in the Thames. It's a truly beautiful idea, visibly illustrating round, wet time, the kind of time which rivers and women experience. And it is a beautiful counterpose to the abstract, uniform kind of time which Greenwich Mean Time represents. Also, I want to talk about the imperialism of time, how one kind of time, Western, Christian, specifically British, in fact, has been imposed all over the world, and how there are hundreds, probably thousands, of different, distinct ideas of time, ways of measuring it, ways of envisioning it. But there has been a cocacolarization of the calendar. And then I want to talk about carnival and the enclosures of both land and, crucially, time. And for the sake of a monotime, monotone, monocultural world where time is money (not), all the times known to various cultures around the world are in danger of being lost. Time ribboned, colourful, elastic, time chancey and profoundly embedded in nature, is crushed for the one empire of time, and one set of time-values. Speed, punctuality, efficiency. And, since controlling the measurement of time was the great breakthrough in navigation, and ruling the seas meant ruling lands and establishing empires, there is a nasty steely connection between timekeeping and slavery. Which, interestingly, is how many people in the West now experience time ? as a slave master, too little time, time-poverty.
The cats are strangely hungry. Maybe it's because it's so wet in the garden that they can't easily go hunting. Can mice swim? They can in Alice in Wonderland says Penny. I start making some bread, but I start it too late in the day, and I don't want to stay up all night babysitting three loaves on their second rise. Penny is writing an article about the takeover of the Vortex Jazz Club, legendary amongst jazzers. It was closed down a few years ago, but has recently been squatted by a group of young activists to make it a community space. A temporary autonomous zone. Everyone is giving their work for free, done by donations and a wish-list. It is the kind of pint-sized project which in its very smallness is most absolutely essential, for it demonstrates that you do not have to have power in order to speak with power. That you can create your world with a few trips to the local recycling site and a colourful mind. "There Is No Authority But Yourself" was one of Penny's lines, and that is the beauty of dreams. You are the author of your life, you are the authority you choose to respect.
I'm thinking about going swimming, and I know I'll love it once I get there but it's cold and raining, and I'd rather sit by the fire and drink a glass of red wine. I will appeal to the very Protestant Work Ethic which I intellectually dislike, and use it to drag myself to the pool. Whereupon I know it will transform into the play ethic on the instant. Water will do that.