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w/e 2021-07-25

We continued our holiday this week, but at home. Given the hot weather we spent a lot of time reading in the shade of a yew tree, accompanied by the buzzing of flies, the occasional calls of birds, and the distant rumble and clank of farm machinery, presumably making and gathering hay before the threatened – but yet to arrive – thunderstorms.

I’m counting myself very fortunate that we’re able to hide out somewhere beautiful and remote while the virus continues to enjoy its government-granted freedom. Anecdotally there are a lot of people around here who have tested positive, more who are self-isolating, and at least one double-vaxxed person who’s died. Even though I’ve been able to escape many of the difficulties of all this, I’m so so ready for this to end, somehow.

I’ve almost got caught up with the the pile of Sight & Sound and London Review of Books that have built up over the past eighteen months of not reading much. Only a pile of New York Review of Books and The Wire to go. Obviously I don’t read everything, and the LRB seems to have had a bunch of very long and, to me, extra dull articles recently.

Part of me wonders why I bother – there’s very little from this month’s reading that I can recall. For example, I now have a very vague sense of the lives of Simone Weil and Emily Dickinson, about whom I previously knew nothing, but that sense is so hazy after only a couple of days that I’d struggle to put anything into even a few words.

The one fact I can remember is that during the course of Alfred Wesker’s play The Four Seasons the characters make and bake an apple strudel. I like that. It doesn’t take much in the performance of a play to make it all seem fake, and actors pretending to do something – like sweep up rubbish, to think of one badly-performed example I saw once – quickly does it. So having to really do some cooking would not only be real to the audience but also be useful for the actors. The reality of doing as Meisner would put it.

So, yes, that fact is the sole product of the week.

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