". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time Considered As Cat

When you vacation in a cornucopia such as London, with the additional pleasure of seeing people you know, and meeting new people, time contracts like a cat snugged into itself against the cold and, alternately, spilled out ever expansively, like a cat lounging away a hot summer day.

Yesterday, condensed:

Fleet Street, Drury Lane, Covent Garden and for me, back to the British Museum*, as el V had to protect his sinuses and throat from the wind that dries them out.  He had two hours plus to sing non-stop again last night.  He decided to rest in the Grange, while I caught The Horse From Arabia to Royal Ascot exhibit.  It was as packed as you might expect, as it was a splendid Saturday afternoon, it's free attendence, and today (Sunday) is its last day. (My personal opinion is this exhibit doesn't achieve even mediocrity, with the tiny exceptional bit of Arabic texts, including the Quaran's sections on the virtues of the horse, and caring for the horse, horsemanship and so on.)Then it was the Underground (encountering lads furious or exultant over what had happened with the Arsenal shortly before) and Overground three stations away out to Dalston, to the second venue the Serpentine Gallery had selected for the Las Vidas Perfectas performances, as well as tonight's presentation and performance by Bob Ashley, the composer of Las Vidas Perfectas and many other works. Dalston, a district of north-east London, located in the borough of Hackney, is not a tourist destination. There were over three hours of set-up and sound check to get through -- I was reminded all over again why I always do everything I can to avoid being present at this when possible -- followed by two hours plus of performance, intermission, performance, then the after parts, followed by breaking down.  Late in the night we rode back to the Grange on a double decker.  This provided a terrific view of the continuous Saturday night in London youth queued and gathered all along the way until the Holborn stop, right outside the Grange.  In the Grange's bar we had a drink with the wife and the composer of Las Vidas Perfectas, before heading to bed.

Each day contracts and stretches like this. With so many different and not necessarily related occurrences throughout the the waking hours it feels as  though I am currently living perfect lives. The only imperfection is that there's not enough time to live all the lives I want to live.

There isn't time for Liverpool, for instance.  It will have to be Bristol instead, tomorrow.  And then we go home.

* All the members of the Company have dashed in-and-out of the British Museum every day, taking in a bit of this and that, when possible.  It's so convenient to our location.  And like so many of the museum in London, the admission is free.  In NYC, the museums that attract the largest number of visitors will charge these days around forty dollars admission.

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