18.5.06

Today it's 25 years since I first came to Australia. I was thinking of working up a statement of what this might mean but somehow, in the event, the anniversary seems without any significance at all. Oh, well.

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Meanwhile, this amused me. It's from a review, in Overland, of Chronicle of the Unsung (2004):

Imagine W. G. Sebald turned vagabond hippy.

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I've always counted myself lucky that I didn't read Sebald until after I'd written The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont(1999), particularly the first section of that book. It meant I could recognise an affinity rather than fall under the spell of a (possibly overpowering) influence.

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It was The Rings of Saturn, still, in my opinion, the best of his books, that I read, in a Harvill edition translated by Michael Hulse, with a cover that is a detail of a Whistler painting: Harmony in Blue and Silver, Trouville. At first it seemed strange to me, that choice of cover image, but not any more.

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This book was published in 1998 but I don't remember when I bought it - 1999? 2000? - although I do remember where: at Clay's Bookshop in Potts Point. The German edition (1995), I found out recently, has a sub-title - English pilgrimage - omitted from the translation. I don't know why.

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It was raining hard, the City looked grey and unappealing. It kept on raining for two solid weeks while I squelched back and forth from the Springfield Lodge in Kings Cross to the Combined Services taxi depot in Glenmore Road, Paddington, learning how to do that.

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One day the sun came out and there, across the road from the hotel, was an old friend, Vic Filmer, sitting on a bench, talking to himself, as he is wont to do. I hadn't seen Vic for years. Come to thnk of it, I haven't seen Vic for years. I should give him a call.

2 comments:

Bernardus Sylvestris said...

Mate, we're glad to have ya in Oz.

You are tsking this semi litersate in several strange and pleasant directions. WG Sebald was apparently often spoofed by Private Eye.
I will try and get hold of some and try it.

By the way, do lok up Vic
Bernard

Martin Edmond said...

Bernardus, I did - Vic & me are meeting at Central Station on Thursday.