It comes back to me that I married K. because he whistled Bach perfectly – that was, as I remember, the reason I gave myself and others. It’s as good a basis as any for marriage and I was not disappointed.
The last months of his life were a race against time, yet he maintained an abundant and cheerful correspondence, imagining, for example, a quiet life in an outback town, reading HEAT, drinking beer and brushing away flies.
On the seventh dune we stopped, searched, and found the plant. It was almost anticlimactic to see it extending out of the red crest of dune. A pale, unremarkable-looking shrub with small bell-shaped flowers.
The rain was merely a gauze, a softening of the early autumn air, but now and again Ruth saw a young mother dart out from her avidly talking group to bend over her child, to pull up and settle a hood of yellow, scarlet, or cobalt blue.
To place a bet on the Booker Prize, I had to leave the bright noise of Finchley Road and walk down lurid, carpeted stairs, past a row of old men whose faces were lit by flickering TV screens, and across to a perspex counter. A young woman with spiky pink hair stared at me impassively.
Much contemporary art is a bit too worldly for the polite lust of the connoisseur or the headache-inducing world of academic theory. By ‘worldliness’ I mean the application of common taste, acquired from looking not just at art, or texts, but at the world and everything.
We in the American middle-class grew up in a world almost entirely devoid of smells, except for that of household cleaning products, and barely remember our childhoods at all, except for the television programmes.