Rattling the cage ~ theatre notes

Friday, May 09, 2008

Rattling the cage

I don't usually do memes, but this one is kind of fun. I've taken it from George Hunka over at Superfluities, and it runs like this:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Reminds me of a John Cage instruction. The nearest book to hand was actually The Song of Roland (translated by the magnificently named Frederick Bliss Luquiens) but, alas, it only runs to 101 pages. Underneath it was Georges Battaille's Literature and Evil. And page 123 reveals this surprisingly resonant thought for the day:

Sacrifice is passive, it is based on elementary fear. Desire alone is active, and desire alone makes us live in the present. It is only if the mind, confronted by some obstacle, brings its decelerated attention to bear on the object of its desire that lucid conciousness has the opportunity to function.

I'll follow George's lead, and leave the tagging as an open invitation. Over to you.


TimT said...

I've done the meme before, probably several times if you count comments like this!

My nearest book was one I bought into work - Clive James 'The Book of My Enemy: Collected Verse':

Can't you tell me that?
You know only a heap of images all broken up.
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd was flowing over Londong Bridge, so many,
So many people there were crossing that bridge
It was looking like Calcutta.

Obviously, a verse parody of The Wasteland. Not bad, but I prefer Wendy Cope's parodies of the same - she translated it, as I recall, into limericks!

Alison Croggon said...

There lately seems to be some kind of conspiracy to make me read Clive James again...! though I've always liked his light verse, the Waste Land parodies aren't the best of them. You'd probably have to be as good as Eliot to take the piss properly. But James did pen those immortal lines, "The book of my enemy has been remaindered / And I rejoice". Mind you, poets should probably be glad that publishers remember them enough to remainder them...

DL said...

I love that meme.
I do it every time I am reminded of it !
Nearest book : "Writing down the bones" by Natalie Goldberg.
It goes:
"Just throw in even one line about the street outside your window at the time you were carving that spoon. It is good practice.
We shouldn't forget that the universe moves with us, is at our back with everything we do. "

Wow, good one !

Anonymous said...

My friend Blogless Dan probably had the most Cagean interpretation of the meme in the comments section of my post, memorable enough to repeat here:

"If the nearest thing to me were a blank journal, and I then entered the empty page 123 from there, I think that would be very 'Cagean.'"

Chris Boyd said...

I loathe me-me-me-me-memes (as David Stratton would say rather passionlessly) with a passion. But the quotation about sacrifice and desire has rocked my world...

Nevertheless, I'm going to be contrary and quote the fourth sentence after the fifth sentence. And only that one.

It reads: "But if all else fails... floss and wear your sunscreen."

Words of wisdom from Alan Alda, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself. It was gathering dust in the pile nearest my left knee. And it's only on top cos I just lent a book on Abe Saffron to my 'da.

Hope you're on the mend, ma'am.

Anonymous said...

My best friend recently returned from the Berlin Film Festival, and surprised me with a book entitled "Metrosexual" (Das Handbuch fur den neuen Mann). The book, laden with the facetious inscription "because you've had a few", is alas... written in German, and thus sits impatiently on my desk beside my copy of 'A dummies guide to German'.

Page 123 reads:

Naturlich ist uberhaupt nichts gegen ein paar trendige Strahnchen, eine Tonung oder auch einen kompletten Farbwechsel zu sagen, falls Sie die Lust uberkommt. Wenn so etwas professionell gemacht wird, konnen Sie dise Effekte um Jahre Verjungen. Aber Tonungen, die Sie zu Hause durchfuhren, um Ihr Alter zu verbergen, konnen mitunter schwer nach hinten losgehen.

My current 'dummy' status means I may be sitting on a masterpiece and have no idea. Calling all translators... (and of course, metrosexuals).

Get better soon Allison..

Nicholas Pickard said...

"The actor is elevated, through language and through the extent of the pain he embodies, to a dominant status, one which obviates pit or judgement.
"The effect of this is that debate - the stimulation of which is the purpose of the Critical play - is abolished, the grounds for it subsumed in the production, rather than the production providing dramatized material to stimulate argument.
"The promiscuity of the imagination in the Catastrophic play, its unapologetic intimacy with the forbidden - indeed, the rupturing of the forbidden as a category - evacuates the territory of values."

(And to think that it was nearly 'The Kite Runner'.)

Anonymous said...

is that barker nick? 'arguments'?