And now for something completely different
Instead of a newsletter... here's another newsletter
Hello. A lot is happening right now, isn’t it. After two years of worrying which of my personal choices might kill someone else, I’m now worrying about coworkers in an active warzone.
And I do this from my sleepy hamlet of Haarlem, pretty much as far away from war and its attendant problems as you can get. (As I’m writing this a group of people have strung up a finish line banner across the road in front of the new panopticon cinema. Half the group film the other half running up to the line and cheering.)
It’s part of why I moved here. Not to escape war. But to escape. You can never really escape though, can you. You can pull yourself halfway around the globe but if your heart has been tied to anything on the other side that string will grow taut. You’ll realise you’re just waiting for the pull.
Since it’s always the wrong time to do anything, I’ve decided to launch another newsletter. It will run for 52 issues then stop. It will be about Haarlem. It will be about paying a lot of attention to small, somewhat insignificant moments.
It’s called Haarlem Shuffle.
For inspiration I owe a lot to Georges Perec, but, if I’m being honest, moreso to Michael Crowe’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in GTA Online. It falls into my favourite category: taking something silly very, very seriously.
I’m also indebted to Dutch writer A.L. Snijders, who was relatively unknown even in his own country until (personal fave) Lydia Davis found some of his dry daily musings and taught herself enough Dutch to translate them. Davis is a professional translator and accomplished author so she wasn’t exactly starting from “scratch”, but…
Here’s an idea of what to expect:
The swan is standing near the garbage bins.
In the Netherlands household garbage is placed in locked containers. The door swings up and when you swing it down, the garbage falls underground. Then trucks lift the entire structure into the air, and a latch on the bottom opens to drop the garbage into the truck.
The swan seems oblivious to the interest of everyone around it. I have a nagging memory that swans are violent and can mess you up big time. Another nagging memory tells me this is geese I’m thinking about, but now isn’t the time to test that out.
I’m reminded of the Tracy Jordan line from 30 Rock when he sees a pigeon digging through the trash. Have some self respect! Don’t you know you can fly? I realise I’ve never seen a swan fly. Do swans fly? Geese fly.
A swan is basically a white goose with better PR.
Each issue will have a photograph and some will/might have audio and maybe video I don’t know yet. TBD. The only definite is that there will only be 52, and it will start some time before June.
That’s all for now. Supergranular will resume at some point. Take care of yourselves.
Swans fly and they make an amazing sound when they do. You have to experience that some time.