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A Necklace of Memorable Days

by Factotum

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"Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To be damned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonising preoccupation with self."

Iris Murdoch, The Nice and The Good

What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.

V. Woolf

" She strung the afternoon on the necklace of memorable days, which was not too long for her to be able to recall this one or that one; this view, that city; to finger it, to feel it, to savour, sighing, the quality that made it unique."

Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being

"Why did I write any of my books, after all? For the sake of the pleasure, for the sake of the difficulty. I have no social purpose, no moral message; I've no general ideas to exploit, I just like composing riddles with elegant solutions."

Vladamir Nabokov

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Montreal Landmark

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Downtown Montreal has grown up around the former site of the Guaranteed Pure
Dairy, and the giant milk bottle is all that remains. The bottom photo is a
close up of the wall in the photo above it. The graffiti is a quotation from
Juvenal, "Who Watches the Watchmen?"
According to the OED, Juvenal: (Latin name Decimus Junius Juvenalis)
(c.60-c.140), Roman Satirist. His sixteen verse satires present a savage
attack on the vice and folly of Roman society, chiefly in the reign of the
emperor Domitian. They deal variously with the hardships of poverty, the
profligacy of the rich, and the futility of ambition.
4th Aug 2006, 01:58   | tags:,,,

Caine says:

Another really nice series. My faves are the third, fifth and sixth shots.

4th Aug 2006, 03:03

swamprose says:

I grew up with that milk bottle. I thought it was gone. it looks so sad. It used to be white with a little ladder up the side. As a kid I thought they went swimming in the milk inside and used the ladder to get in and out. time we got it shined up, the ladder back...reminds me of 'In the Night Kitchen' by Maurice Sendak.

4th Aug 2006, 07:59

swamprose says:

these are wonderful photos, even if you don't know the milk bottle. and I looked closely. there still IS a ladder up the side. : )))))

4th Aug 2006, 08:33

OJ says:

This is a great series factotum. The penultimate shot is probably the best for showing the old building in context - the avenue of cars leading to it is actually nice.

But I also really like the last one just as a photograph. Perhaps predictably the bricked up building innards make me think of Rachel Whiteread's sculpture and the patchwork of brick colours and textures is really reminsicent of a Kurt Schwitters image I have in my front room. Sorry to write an essay, I just really like what you've done. :-)

4th Aug 2006, 12:22

OJ says:

I have emailed you. I think the Schwitters ref is more tenuous - it just reminds me of the colours of this Merz collage but probably because it's very familar to me!

4th Aug 2006, 13:26

Viv says:

can see the ladder in 4
agree with OJ about the penultimate shot

8th Aug 2006, 03:00

factotum says:

Rachel Whiteread's Water Tower piece

reminds me that I didn't mention that the milk bottle was originally the water tower for the dairy. It was built in the early 1930s.

8th Aug 2006, 03:11

Phill says:

I remember seeing this on a visit to Montreal. I hope it's still there along with the "Farine Five Roses" neon sign.

16th Aug 2006, 14:42

factotum says:

The Farine Five Roses sign was turned off recently, but I've heard that it's been turned back on again while its fate is being decided. It's right at the bottom of the street with my studio building, so I will blog some earlier photos of it

17th Aug 2006, 02:08

attilahooper says:

Those days are long gone. Je me souviens, but the language police weren't there.

NDG forever, no damn good.

31st Aug 2007, 03:26