The Water Table, Up in the Air, and Brussels

The winner of the TS Eliot prize was announced yesterday as Philip Gross, for his collection, The Water Table. I went out and bought it today, not a bad move considering I hadn't even heard of him before, let alone read him. A brief leaf through at lunch-time brought the gem 'White Sheet' to my attention, here's the first couple of stanzas.

Note to self: might have to work
to break the beauty of white pages:
not much gets conceived
on an unsullied sheet.

Might have to sweat it a bit - not,
not in bounden duty but
with all ruthless lack
of circumspection

of pure play

Last night I went to see Up in the Air, with George Clooney. I didn't go with George, you understand, if only... It was a good film with that independent feel that so many American film-makers have adopted in the wake of upbeat successes like Juno and Little Miss Sunshine etc. It wasn't just a rom-com either, which is not a genre I would ever rush to see, and steers clear of tying up the end in a nice pink bow.

Also, this Saturday I'm off to Brussels. I've been meaning to go for a while because Mary Burns, the subject of my novel-in-progress, spent a year there in 1845, and I have already learnt that, in this instance, nothing can be learnt from books, only some definite sense of the actual place will do. So, I'll be embarking upon an intensive walkabout and absorption of history - whilst also going to see a few Rubens... and partaking of a bit of chocolate (well, it would be rude not to).

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