Yesterday I went into the ABC in Ultimo and recorded one of the essays out of Waimarino County for a program called Lingua Franca. It'll be broadcast on Radio National on 21st July at 3.45 pm and there's a repeat the following Thursday at 9.45 pm. They're also going to post a copy of the text on their website when I get around to sending it to them. It's a piece called an.aesthetic that I wrote at the request of a magazine called A Brief Description of the Whole World, since shortened to the far more manageable brief. Curiously, it was a last minute inclusion in Waimarino County, I'd forgotten about it and only remembered when I felt there was a gap in the book that needed to be filled by ... something. I love reading my work, or anyone's really, aloud and it was very satisfying and enjoyable doing it in the Tardis, as they call their studios there. Afterwards I wandered through the tunnel under Central Station on my way back to the train, and stopped in at a bookshop there that I sometimes like to visit. It is full of remaindered titles, often quite trashy and always very cheap; but there are surprises to be found among the dross and I had a feeling, like you sometimes get, that there was a book in there for me. I didn't have a lot of time and I didn't know what I was looking for, and several times I almost left the shop ... it was on the last of the remainder tables, up the back, that I found it: The True Face of William Shakespeare, by Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel. I've read this book, there's a copy in the Ashfield library, but I never thought to own it. A hardback, it retails for about seventy dollars but here it was for sale for $12.50. In it is the story of the death mask of Shakespeare found by artist Ludwig Becker in a junk shop in Mainz. Ludwig Becker was the artist/scientist on the Burke & Wills Expedition. He was an extraordinary painter of landscapes and a meticulous scientist too. I want to go on a journey soon, retracing his path to his untimely death in Bulloo in S.E Queensland. And then I hope to write about him. Finding Ms HHH's book, which is in itself meticulous, fascinating and at times inadvertently hilarious, and which is or was also the inception of my desire to write about Becker is, perhaps, a Sign.


PB said...

Hi Martin,
We'll listen in to 'lingua franca' for sure.

I bought a biography of William Saroyan at that bookshop for $5.95 last week and, once, not long ago, my friend Kurt found about ten copies of the Ashbery- Schuyler classic 'A Nest of Ninnies' there for around $2.50 - I bought the lot and sent them off to Ken Bolton to sell in his bookshop, 'Dark Horsey Bookshop', in Adelaide


Martin Edmond said...

hi Pam. last book I bought there was Andrew Motion's The Invention of Dr. Cake, which is a sort of biography of Keats ... if he'd lived ... btw I've been trying to get AUP to send you a copy of Waimarino County but I don't think they have - will try UNIREPS ... next.