Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Remember You're a One-Ball!"

My review of "Remember You're a One-Ball!" by Quentin S. Crisp (Chômu Press 2010) continued from here:

pp 104 - 129
"I shall tell you - there is always a third figure."
I dare not take you into the realms of this book fully without you having the 'benefit' of its full context. That stricture, however, rather diminishes the ability to do a proper real-time review. Suffice it to say, I am in the thick of it now. I can't retreat and a part of me dare not go forward. Here the inner laws of Playground Lore (hinted at before), the esoteric matters I couldn't divulge earlier, the care one needs to feel and then demonstrate towards living roadkill, the rage against bullying, the (what I call) Astrological Harmonics upon flesh and mind, even when it's only bits of your flesh, bottled and exhibited in front of reticent souls and human shapes.... That does not give a clear picture of the plot but it does of the state of my reader's mind, here, 'in media res' - with half the book still to read. I will, however, mention the specifics of Thirds in literature. I encountered this first in the fiction of Elizabeth Bowen*...
Hopefully, I can be more up front with my review in later sections of this astonishing and frighteningly poignant book. (30 May 2010 - three hours later)

*THIS touches on Elizabeth Bowen's 'shadowy third'.

pp 130 - 142
"The mere act of reading seemed like an escape that had gone wrong midway..."
My relationship with this book is akin to the same correlations that Ramsey himself is making - as if I'm in battle with the book in the playground and I hear the chants of 'Fight! Fight! Fight!...' in the background. And, like Ramsey, I need to clear the decks of other more artificial relationships in the real-time world of people before I can get to grips with the reality of the text in greater privacy and then grasp its implications.... The book is almost like a rubber file that keeps the impress of my fingers in its pliable spine and sides ... and people will point and jeer at me when they know I have handled it as proved by the unique fingerprints. (30 May 10 - another 2 hours later)

pp 142 - 157
"Some of the children were making sounds impossible to record phonetically..."
Jotters with secrets on (they called them 'blotters' in my day) and dustbins used as filing or postal way-stations. Ramsey searches his memory about the past and a school friend of his and Bagpuss and the spitefulness of girls and (perhaps to my mind alone) some mysterious binary code with bits missing.
Tell-tale tits and a secretly documented systematic sports injury (like a chanted skipping-game?) to retrocause deficiencies in most boys to harbour for when they grow older and even more miserabilist? I puzzle over what I am reading but, overall, I am enthralled by possible Jungian undercurrents I sense underlying those old fuzzy mis-scrolling small-screen black and white puppet shows on TV I used to watch on TV before TV people got cleverer with doing TV and gave things pink and white stripes. (30 May 10 - another 3 hours later)

pp 157 - 166
Combining memory and a school file from the time, Ramsey recounts, for our benefit, primary source interviews with the then headmaster and direct experience narrative (all of which is 'fiction' to us but filtered into truth via various authorial 'baffles' to interrupt or ease the flow of events) concerning the eventual de-bagging of that erstwhile school friend (not a friend really but one of those kids whom one shares a past with at 'Primary' School) and the spitefulness of child-evil interactions so typical of our memories of them when filtered by time as an extra ingredient in the mix of transmission to our present (but still fluid) selves. But who is the most skilful at this: the author or the narrator? Who invented whom? (31 May 10)

pp 166 - 184
"It was almost as if there were an actual plot against him."
Continued bleakness, induced semi-obliqueness, 'third' party admissions via kept counselling records, Ramsey makes this story of a previous school 'friend' doubly unbearable. A narrator who also puts it on us to carry these things in our own minds. Too late now to retreat. A mind like a carelessly kept attic or loft of memorabilia where the throat of sound is a stylus dropping on to tight dusty spirals within long-abandoned vinyl.
"I saw a great rock from some unknown quarter of the unspeakable darkness of eternity..." (31 May 10 - eight hours later)

pp 184-190
More discoveries in that dusty attic of childhood's artefacts are seen in interface (across the river space between two chapters - a chapter being a sort of guild or secret club)... in interface with telephonic tantrums from Jacqueline. It would be over-forward of me to comment on those discoveries in the attic. Ramsey has now told me, but he hasn't told you. Da da da-da da! You haven't bought the book yet? Ummm, I'm going to tell! (The book itself has a Foreword that I have not yet read. Forewords are unashamedly forward, too). (31 May 10 - another 2 hours later)

This real-time review is now continued here:

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