Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sent to Coventry

DEAR Friends and Visitors

I'm presently working away from home (and PC) on a short-term contract until the end of February. Exchanging family life in rural Sussex for a Bed & Breakfast in the industrial West Midlands four nights a week is not without its compensations, though: material is accumulating for a return to active blogging in March. Meanwhile, my sincere thanks to wellwishers, friends and visitors, and apologies for the enforced vacation.

Suspended amidst a riot of discontinuities, living and working in one of the most radically disrupted areas in Europe, I suppose, I find the theme recurring in my B&B reading: Francois Mauriac, Ian McEwan and Joseph Conrad so far - all informed or preoccupied by rupture at one level or another, or so it seems. Perhaps it's a symptom of projecting, monomaniacally, one's own preoccupations onto the world at large; or perhaps discontinuity, like paradox, is intrinsic to the music of life, and deafness to it is more or less equivalent to being mad.

The picture? Coventry Cathedral, as re-ordered by the Luftwaffe.

With prayers and best wishes to all; see you after the motu proprio - or perhaps sooner...

Ben Donald


Anonymous said...

Surely the Luftwaffe can't take all the blame - not it's design!

Moretben said...

Perfectly fair point - Herr Goering merely furnished Sir Basil Spence with his opportunity (I'm tempted to labour the analogy by drawing in Maria Laach, the Wandervogel and Annibale Bugnini), as did Glasgow City Council in razing the Gorbals in the 1960's. Spence's monstrous dysfunctional tower blocks were demolished a mere twenty-five years later, but his ambiguous north-transept-to-a-ruin survives. I intend to post a bit about this iconic post-war structure subsequently.

Ttony said...

You can also muse on the Muse. Philip Larkin's father was the Town Clerk of Coventry who was not only forced to get rid of the bust of Hitler in his office well after the War had begun, but who also cornered the market in cardboard coffins before the Luftwaffe raid. You mentioned in a private message Larkin's "much richer and more entertaining godlessness" (how Evelyn Waugh would have leapt on a comment like that!): the spectre of his father must have had much to do with it.

Maria Laach is pushing things a bit too far, I think. A better analogy might be Poulson: "they're never going to let me get away with this!"

Anonymous said...

[quote]Coventry Cathedral, as re-ordered by the Luftwaffe.[/quote]

A case of "the Rhine flows into the Sherbourne"? ;-)

All the best with your new job. I look forward to return to active blogging.

Mr B

Moretben said...

Thanks TTony & Mr B

"richer" an infelicitous choice, I agree - "entertaining" is truthful enough, though: first the chortle ("pushed to one side, like an outdated combine harvester"..."the Churches ornate and mad in the evening sun"...) ...then the desolation

And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Joee Blogs said...

If you're stuck for Mass may I recommend Christ the King Coventry which has a sterling Curate...

All the best old chap!!!


Fr Ray Blake said...

You see, your return came, as you predicted, just before the first ship, which docks next Tuesday, therefore the next ship will follow, my source not quite connected to the head, the HF's office was right (for once).