Rain all day, heavy rain, drizzly rain, a dismal mild climate change Sunday as the year draws to an end. We do not yet need the heating, but our new dehumidifier hums all night in the basement. I feel penned up, this was the first weekend in a long time we could have gone walking, but not a chance. Went up to London on Friday to see the Anselm Kiefer Retrospective at the RA; having done our prep by watching the Imagine feature on the artist the night before (the staggering humungous scale of his operations had a somewhat chilling effect on me). Very impressive exhibition however, and not too crowded at all, but I still ended up feeling most moved by the "Attic" pictures, that I first saw in the Liverpool Tate many, many years ago, and immediately co-opted into White Queen, my London-based, Wagnerian alien invasion story.
(Interestingly, the "Attic" picture I quoted, a copy of which hangs in Braemar's house, and gives Johnny a premonition of Liebestod, Parsifal I was the only print available on sale when we exited through gift shop. Maybe she bought it here! I didn't: just felt a little spooked, by a ghost of the fictional future.)
But also, okay, I admit, the mesmerising Aschenblume, and the Shulamith and Margarethe, and the Black Sunflower ones; and watching people make the alarm go bleep by peering too closely at the embedded diamonds in the leaden dirt (I forget the titles of that series, oddly enough). And Eis und Blut (pictured), which got me wondering, is that deliberately meant to be a leafless Linden tree, directly behind Kiefer in his father's uniform>. Or am I overdoing the references to the masters thing? (Lindenbaum, the Schubert song "that became a folksong" is Thomas Mann's leitmotif for the 1914-8 War, in The Magic Mountain)
But move over, I kept thinking. Move over, Holocaust, we are entering uncharted territory now, you are no longer the terrible, absolute, unrepeatable, high water mark you were. Our damnation is not in the past, it's engulfing this new century, and the huge mass of Keifer's evidence weighs against his ethereal promise of hope like a lead catherdral against a feather . . .
Installations of piled up paving stones, with a coulis of red grit, did nothing for me, however.
My Fracking Round Up
Still awaiting the verdict on Balcombe residents' High Court judicial review (held on 6th/7th November)
On the other hand, Celtique Energie's appeal against West Sussex County Council (who turned down their application to drill at Wisborough Green, back in July) has now been lodged, and you are cordially invited to send in renewed objections (or to withdraw previous objections) before December 19th by email: Alan.Ridley@pins.gsi.gov.uk
or by post (3 copies) to:
The Planning Inspectorate
3/26 Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Given the government's current leaked plans to drill everywhere! In the whole world!; their support for Ineos's monster raid on Central Scotland (devolved Scotland got anything to say about this??), and determination to remove all forms of regulation or local authority, there is hardly a cat in hell's chance that Greg Davies won't get his way, but weight of numbers is always worth something. You'll probably want to refer to the original application and objections, which you can find here: http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/living/environment_and_planning/oil_gas_exploration_and_frack.aspx
Why do I keep banging on about fracking, when there is so much else to complain about? I don't know, maybe because I started? Because I want to save the future? Because the need to halt climate change is real to me, and a passion for extreme energy extraction on the same page as "Climate Change Fund recieves $9.3bn pledge" just sets my teeth on edge? (not as irrational as it sounds, however.The trick is in that word "pledge"). Or possibly even the snake-oil lies being sold to believers, in contrast with the miserable, short-term yield that's even possible from UK shale gas and tight oil reserves?
"The government is increasingly indistinguishable from the fracking industry it's supposed to be regulating."
Caroline Lucas is dead right.
If 75% of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground, there is no question the UK's shale gas and tight oil, derisory in quantity, corruptly financed, brutally destructive of the countryside, of the economics of renewable energy, and of the development of clean alternatives to petroleum based products, belongs near the top of the list.
Meanwhile, the skylark and the lapwing are on the Red List, can you imagine that, no more skylarks? And the hedgehogs too, so many humble, familiar commensals of ours, in this land, on this earth, just vanishing, and what is to be done? (there's something to done: on which more later...)
But it's dark outside my window, and the cats seem to think I should be heading downstairs. Glad to see another healthy response to my November Ann Halam giveaway, there's one more to come, dates to be announced. And finally, Amazon Anonymous has an action for you, boycott Amazon for your present-buying, this Christmas, and tell them you're doing it, to help them to become a better employer. I felt I could make the pledge without being too much of a hypocrite, as I personally only sell, I don't buy, and it does say Kindle usage at your discretion . But if you join me, spare a thought for those many obligate Amazon partners, the writers (including me) of ebooks and print books, and make sure you do keep buying books and ebooks elsewhere!