A Londonish Day

from a John Virtue painting
Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Why is a fire truck parked outside my window? I am quite sure the house is not on fire, although now that the coffee maker has stopped glugging, I really should pour myself a cup before I manage to turn the stuff into wormwood as usual. And then I should turn off the heating element. No fires here.

Everything seems so strange today, odd but uninteresting. I ought to go see about the fire truck, but instead I sit and type at the window. It's one of those days.

One of my favorite London poets, Aidan Dun, now has a website. He also wrote a wonderfully wry, elaborate, and pleasingly though not intrusively Derridean "Ode to a Postbox".

The world shall write a love letter to itself and entrust it to the poet
who will place it in the postal system at the earliest visitation of his
first class muse.

The black and white picture is a detail from a painting by John Virtue, part of his London series. Saw the real thing three years ago in London -- the paintings at the Tate, drawings at the Courtauld -- last time I was there. I think of Virtue as a depressive's painter par excellence -- he uses only black, white, and shellac. Color, he says, is a distraction. From what? Let me tell you: seeing the world as it is. Realistically.

Overstatement? Maybe. But if you walk out of the National Gallery on any bog-standard cloudy London day and stare at the sky, I think you'll agree that Virtue's urban landscapes, postmodern as they are, partake of a certain realism.