Saturday, October 31, 2009

That is Life.

Last night I was quite dreamy as we were getting ready to sleep, two things did not aid sleep one was talking to Richie.

And the other much more disturbing thing was the parties with their dull droning bass beat, which is sadly all the neighbours hear.

The dull droning bass beat and lots of excited screaming and screeching of happy party goers were not exactly good to go to sleep with.

The dull drone really had control of the airwaves for what seemed like eons but was only for several hours, I think that I must have lain awake for three hours.

Realised at a certain point that I needed to do something to resolve the situation; a pill and a bag of THC, the THC to relax me while waiting for the pill to work.

Guess the pill worked as I slept until 11.30 which is not bad at all rather disappointed that I had to use a pill to sleep last night.

Really want to get back to the happy days of inhaling 3 bags of thc and this would let me sleep until 9 to 9.30, sometimes even to 10.30 and to 11.00.

Found myself thinking about books both when I was drifting off as well as when I woke this morning.

In 1974 I went for an interview for a job as an offset litho printer with Metal Box in Baker Street, London.

I was interviewed by the head of the Personnel Department, a stern looking woman, called Vera Wood.

She asked me about the books I was reading and seemed quite surprised when I enthusiastically told her all about the author I was reading at that moment called Laurens van de Post.

Laurens van de Post is an Afrikaner, who wrote amongst other books The Lost World of The Kalahari; he did not agree with Apartheid, his books were about the life of the Kalahari Desert and the lives of the African people.

Laurens had been fortunate to get to know Africans as a child and with a child’s lack of prejudice.

I got Vera Wood so interested in his books, that I lent her a couple there and then that I had finished already.

I also got the job which started with a six week offset litho printing course in Acton, West London before starting work at the Metal Box Head Office in Baker Street, Central London.

The train journey was excellent for my passion for reading and I read quite a few books before the end of the course.

And once the course was finished I was travelling daily to Paddington Station and then because the short tube journey was so crowded and claustrophic.

And there was always the chance of being taken a stop further, just like I was the first day when I got taken to the next stop, which was Madame Tussards.

I decided to walk the twenty minutes to and from Paddington Station everyday, this was a good decision as one of my colleagues and her husband did the same journey everyday.

We ended up getting 40 minutes exercise every morning and every evening.

Some of the other authors that I read in 1974 and 1975 were:

Black Boy and The Outsider by Richard Wright.

The Little Foxes and Pentimento by Lillian Hellman.

Hear The Grass Singing and The Golden Notebook and The Four Gated City and The Good Terrorist by Doris Lessing.

Living my Life and Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman.

Jane Eyre and Emma by Jane Austin.

Vida and Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy.

Sexual Politics and Flying and the Prostitution Papers by Kate Millett.

The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.

Beyond A Boundary and Letters From London and Minty Alley by CLR James.

A Bend in the River and A House For Mr Biswas by V.S Naipaul.

The Tin Drum and Dog Years by Gunther Gras.

The Buddenbrooks and Tonio Kruger by Thomas Mann,

Washington Square and Portrait of a Lady by Henry James,

Patterson and Collected Poems by Carlos William Carlos.

War and Peace and Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan IIyich b y Tolstoy.

Metamorphous and The Trial and The Castle and The Penal Colony by Franz Kafka.

A year later Metal Box moved to a brand new office in Reading town centre a mere twenty minute walk from where I lived.

Although it was excellent not having t o catch the train at 7 am every morning I really missed the train journey and especially the reading time.

There are always swings and roundabouts and ups and downs.

That is life I guess


Cranky said...

Herrad - I always like to read your reminiscences. I am impressed that you know the books you read in a year 35 years ago as well as the books themselves. I've read some of them as well, but certainly not all. I find it hard now to read as much as I'd like as there are so many other things competing for time, such as perusing my favorite blogs!

I can't wait to see some photos of you in the chair and out of the apartment. Very exciting.

mortonlake said...

to be able to lose yourself in a book is to escape into another world,even if only for a short time.and yes,i read a care herrad,love mort xx

Peace Be With You said...

Wright, Naipaul, Hellman, Faust ... I read those too. It's hard to remember my reading list that long ago, but Gabriel Garcia Marquez stands out. I always enjoy your visual images very much.

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
I remember reading t hese so well as they made a big impression on me.
Have you tried audio books, something which I find very good.

Hi Mort,
You are right losing yourself in a book is good.
Audio books is I find a good solution now I can not turn the pages anymore.

Hi Judy,
They are very good books which I have reread alot over the years.

Thanks everyone for coming by and sharing your comments.
Have a good day tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

It might have been two decades ago since last I read Thomas Mann and his novel about this family, as well as Gras's book about that child.
With more than six bookshelves full there are many nights spend awake over here as well.
Hope everything turns out just fine into this wonderful Sunday of yours.

Stephany said...

Hi Herrad,

This is a great list of books.


Herrad said...

Hi Robert,
I think Sunday will be good, hope yours is too.
I had an audio Buddenbrooks in Mann's own voice.
Which was wonderful.

Hi Stephany,
It is a good list, good books.
Hope you are doing ok.
Thinking of you .

Thanks both of you for coming by and sharing your comments.
Have a pleasant day.

Webster said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I am not nearly as well read as a college graduate should be. I have read a few on your list, but alas, not many.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How great to have a job where you were able to read so much and also get in your excersize every day...I have seen many Lillian Hellman plays on Broadway and read "Pentimento" many many years ago....I enjoyed it very very much. Did you ever see "JULIA" with Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave...It is a very good film. Based on one f the chapters of "Pentimento".

suejan said...

Lovely as usual Herrad I lived just off Baker Steet nr park Clarance Gate Gardens Lived there 3 years before and after marriage Know Madam Taussards well Went to interesting Hamstead rugger club dance there.[My main boob while there was going into kosher butcher and asking for two pork chops! Do you know Marylebone Register Office Lovely pics of friends as got married there.

I was also in litho print. When editor of mag[still got my writings] they would use block. Effort for me doing layouts.

Ive given up reading now-effort with glasses.

sheri said...

Good morning Herrad,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I've been spending some time at yours getting to know you.
Hope you have a nice day!

Amrita said...

Hi Herrad, thank you for pictures you send.

Like your line up of books. VS Naipaul is of Indian origin.

chessie said...

Herrod, I'm really glad you dropped by and left your words on my blog. You reminded me it's been ages since I last dropped in on you.

at University, I majored in Literature. Not sure what I was going to do with the degree, but thought it would be helpful somehow.

Actually, I just loved to read, and found I got to learn so much about all different types of great literature. American lit. English Lit, Native American stories and writings...good lord, I read so much, and enjoyed it all.

I still have all the books I was "forced" to buy and read as a student. I simply can't throw or hardly give a book away!

But...and this is a HUGE but, I don't remember them all or even well...not like you have and do...I feel quite sad for myself now...what have I done that I don't remember the names, the story lines, the authors? I'm missing out on the essence of reading I fear...

Be well

Anonymous said...

Hi Herrad!!! I used to love reading on the train commute back and forth to work! I have 6 books on my nightstand these days, I love reading! My favourite book is Jane Eyre actually!

Ana said...

Oh Herrad!
What a great universe you have at your blog!
Funny because I was thinking about writing about Borges and Cortázar two of my favorites writers.
And I came to your blog first because you were so kind visiting me today!
I will put your blog at my two blogs because you have so many amazing thoughts that I wonder I didn't add it yet.
I feel like copying and pasting this post. :)
Thank you for being so amazing!

Herrad said...

Hi Webster,
Lovely to see your comment, listened to alot of audio books last year.
Also found some free online.

Hi Naomi,
Nice to see your comment, I used to read Pentimento every year, like Lillian Hellman's writing very much.
I have seen Julia, it is a very good film, Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave are excellent.
How fortunate that you saw many of Lillian Hellman's plays on Broadway.

Hi SueJan,
Good to see your interesting comment , Clarence Gate is that near Bayswater?
Shame you can't read so well these days, have you tried audio books?
I really like them.

Hi Sheri,
How lovely to see your comment, love your photo of you on your bike.
Brings back happy memories of my 250 cc Greaves.

Hi Amrita,
Great to see your comment, glad you like my book list.
You are right V.S Naipaul is of Indian origin, he is a big favourite of mine.

Hi Chessie,
Great to see your comment, wish now that like you, I had done a degree in Literature instead of Criminology.
I had a friend who worked at Reading University, she lectured in American literature and introduced me to Richard Wright and Carlos William Carlos amongst others.

Hi Rain,
Reading books while commuting to work is a great bonus.
I used to get through heaps of books, bet you did too.

Hi Ana,
Lovely to see your comment, please feel free to copy and paste the list of books.
Thanks for your sweet comment, I think you are amazing too.

Thanks everyone for coming by and sharing your comments with us all.
Really gives me such a boost to see your comments
Have a good start to the new week tomorrow.