4 thoughts on “The Paris Notebooks – Quentin S. Crisp

  1. 7 – 8 May

    “In any case, you never really catch up.”

    I am only reading this non-fiction diary or notebook of Quentin S. Crisp’s birthday present trip in 2007 by Eurostar to Paris and his stay there because I am the biggest fan of his fiction. Intrigued so far by anonymous S., a pretty young lady I merely infer, and going back to the apartment for Lieder and with a picture of the real Quentin Crisp on the wall. This is not fiction, I infer, but it is in the amenable textured style of his fiction, interruptible audit trail with literary or philosophical or, no doubt later, spiritual coquettish delays between actions and events and near synaesthesia of details. A found art in itself. The arguably ‘one person’ lift being almost a rendezvous of kindred souls, I guess, if not a game of sardines?

  2. 9 -10 May

    “But perhaps my tastes are rather strange. It’s hard for me to tell.”

    Seems apposite for those like us who fear perceived preciousness or as I call it pretentiousness. A travel through some thoughts on Art while accompanying S. (a Platonic friend?) to museums after traipsing himself alone to cafés for the optimum drink and food of neutralised self-consciousness. The Mona Lisa. The contrasts between the orient and occident of music (I simply listen to music so classical music or whatever music needs no agonising over as far as I am concerned) – but death in life and as depicted in Time’s Art does need agonising over, I guess, and there is a very powerful reference here in QSC’s journal to a couple of lines from Bowie that I had not seen before. But meanwhile a question from my reading of this book yesterday – Why peonies? And why today lilies of the valley? Not precious so much as the need to be precise, precise and agonisingly so?

  3. 11 – 12 May

    “S. told me of some writer — Diderot apparently — who preferred symbolic eroticism to graphic eroticism.”

    This journal, so far, other than perhaps the concept of the one-person lift, is overtly as far from eroticism as it can be, but the book itself as a thing in itself may be a symbol for eroticism as well as for many other things? I have read some Diderot, one of my favourite writers in fact, but I can’t remember that preference being stated or enacted. But my example of this book I think is, I claim, just as a good an example as its own cracked jug or a living moment or its author’s stated loneliness or celibate fruitlessness or a pink peony design on a china cup or an unlikely place where to conjure up someone who is not there … I cannot catch up with all the current topics, as a writer cannot ever catch up with everything, but as far as classical music goes I have been listening to a Haydn string quartet while reading these two days in my own real-time, and it has the same methodical, civilised, gentle agonising as the thoughts going through this author’s days. Probably from the same era as Diderot?
    I note, too, by skimming ahead of where I have reached in these days, that PARTS of this book divide a day into two. I give notice that I shall ignore those divisions for the purpose of this gestalt real-time review, although I will give due unacknowledged acknowledgement to them in my own mind: my version of textually thinning a thicket into a thinet?

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