The Colour of Time

The reality of objects: a hard thing to come to terms with when once one stops and thinks about it. How do I know what is true, how do I know what is, I began to wonder after my first few mistakes. In the old days I never stopped to question, my life was cheerfully based on the easy assumption that everything around me was just what it appeared to be; people, yes, people, feelings, ideas could be doubtful, tenuous, ambivalent… but objects were clear-cut and certain: this object on the desk in front of me is a cup of coffee, the desk is a desk, what I am sitting on is a chair – nothing more, nothing less. Of course, we all know that the eye plays tricks on the brain, that appearances can be deceptive; indeed, in the days before all this started I sometimes used to enjoy the deliberate trickery that is op art – there was a faintly perverse pleasure in seeking the image that would catch my brain out. Sometimes I used to like looking at the spaces between things rather than the things or patterns themselves. Though of course in those days I was so certain I knew what the things were that I could afford to be blasé about them… And sometimes we used to laugh, as when once I thought I saw a policeman standing by the side of the road only to realise a few seconds later that it was merely a signpost. ‘Guilty conscience,’ said my wife (I was speeding). Oh yes, we laughed about it. But I have to say that it gave me pause for thought, even in those happy, certain days – if I could confuse a signpost with a human figure, then for sure my mind was too abstracted (or my eyesight too weak) to drive safely at such a speed. I slowed down. Well, it’s been quite some time since I last drove a car. When the neurologist first suggested tactfully that I should leave the driving to my wife, I was outraged; I knew he was right though, so after a bit I acquiesced. These days I sit in the passenger seat and try to recognise objects as we drive past them. I do this silently in my mind, so I can never be sure whether I’m mistaken.
 
The curious thing is that although I’m no good at objects any more I can still read perfectly well: a printed page presents no problems. Thank God for that, at least. I can no longer get out by myself – Louise wouldn’t let me anyway because she worries so much: I tell her that I would be quite all right, but in fact when you’re not sure what the things you are seeing really are you do get a bit disoriented. OK, OK, the truth is that I would get hopelessly lost if I ventured out without someone to guide me. In any case, the result of all this is that I’ve been reading more than ever before in my life since I was a child. And I read everything. I read 19th-century novels – these I like because they’re long enough to keep me going for a couple of days at least. I read detective stories (I can get through three or four in a day) and the kind of book sold at railway stations and airports – blockbusters I think they’re called, or is it bonkbusters? – which all seem to have remarkably similar plots as well as a liberal seasoning with remarkably repetitive sex scenes. Some of them are in fact quite long, which is all to the good from my point of view. I alternate them with Carlyle and Gibbon – both also satisfyingly prolix writers. I read cookery books and Greek tragedies. (I do enjoy pornography too, I have to admit. I don’t think Louise would approve, however, and since it is she who supplies me with reading matter, making regular and frequent trips to the public library and the bookshop on my behalf, I have to make do with what I already have, perusing it again and again.) And recently I’ve been having a binge of reading fairy stories: the Brothers Grimm, Pérrault, the Andrew Lang books.
 
Reading fairy stories is a bit like a secret addiction. It’s not the indulgence of regressing into childhood, not merely a simple hankering after lost innocence or anything like that. It’s something else: it’s the fact that in fairy stories things are not what they seem. A swan or a deer or a frog might be a prince in disguise. A terrible toothless old hag might be a nubile, curvaceous, fresh-skinned young girl… Apart from reading, thinking is my only other occupation and I do rather like thinking about young girls… And of course it’s when you kiss them that they are instantly transformed into what nature intended them to be before the wicked witch cast a spell on them…  Kissing is a euphemism, I rather suspect. Ah well. But you see, it’s not just princes and princesses and noble young millers and so on, it is objects themselves that are fluid and deceptive. We all know perfectly well that straw and gold are two quite different things. These days of course I might confuse them if I saw them – but it’s been years since I saw any straw and the only gold I ever come across is my wedding ring. But the point is that in fairy tales one can become the other: straw can be spun into gold. Isn’t that marvellous? A world where it is completely accepted that definitions are not fixed, that boundaries shift. Come to think of it, the very idea of spinning straw as if it were wool or flax – now isn’t that a magnificent sideways slipping of reality? And take pumpkins: can you imagine anything as solid and immobile and earthbound as a pumpkin? Anything as unromantic, as quotidian, as boringly, uncompromisingly real as a pumpkin? Yet one slight quiver, one tiny vibration of the cosmic kaleidoscope and a pumpkin can become a gilded carriage, upholstered in the palest of sky-blue silk, fragrant with the scent of lily-of-the-valley. Louise always says that Cinderella is the archetypal kitchen maid’s fantasy, pure escapism from a life of meanness and drudgery, a kind of pre-Mills and Boon romance. I don’t say that she’s wrong – as a matter of fact she’s usually right about most things. But I have to say that this view doesn’t interest me very much these days. For fantasy is in one’s own mind, a separate locked compartment, the contents only taken out to examine in private. Oh, I’ve had my share of fantasies in my time. But I’m far more preoccupied now with questions of being, of definition or lack of it, of possibilities. Of reality rather than fantasy, you might say.
 
‘What is truth said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer’ (I’ve been reading Bacon’s essays too). Well, the truth is that I’m more than a little frightened by the blurring of the edges of things. The reality is that reading fairy tales, pondering on pumpkins and so forth is a sort of whistling in the dark to keep my courage up. You see, it’s very important for Louise’s sake that I shouldn’t be seen to despair. She’s always tactful: the other day I spilt my coffee all over the table because I thought it was an orange – she just mopped up quietly, then poured me another cup and put a peeled orange into my hands, talking all the while about George Eliot. At the beginning of all this, after my first visit to the neurologist, she got several medical textbooks out of the library and pored over them in private. How do I know? Because when she was out I found them in the little room where she keeps her sewing machine and I pored over them too. I said nothing. I thought I could match her, tact for tact. (It’s just occurred to me in fact that maybe Louise knows about my private stock of pornography but prefers to say nothing.) They were not encouraging, those medical books. A great many unpleasant words seem to begin with D: ‘disorder’ is the mildest – how about ‘deterioration’ and ‘decline’ and ‘deficit’ (a word the neurologist seems to be particularly fond of, as though my brain were some kind of budget, grey matter to be balanced by grey-faced accountants). For that matter, what about ‘disintegration’, ‘dissolution’ and ‘death’? Or ‘dejection’, ‘depression’, ‘desolation’, ‘despair’? But ‘definition’ is the one that worries me most.
 
You see, all my life I defined myself very largely in the same manner as I defined the things around me. You probably do so too without thinking. I had a solid, unquestioned reality because wood and metal and glass were real, because trees and flowers and stones were real. I dare say they still are real, but since I can no longer be sure of telling them apart I am beginning to wonder if I shall always be able to tell myself apart. Of course, perhaps if and when I reach that stage it won’t matter, I shall be unaware of it. Another word that begins with D is darkness.
 
Anyway, until the final darkness closes in I shall keep on whistling. I shall read fairy stories and muse on the intricacies of parallel worlds where nothing is what it seems, nothing can be taken for granted, one fractional movement and the focus changes. This afternoon I was thinking about Peau d’Ane: does ‘une robe couleur du temps’ mean a dress the colour of weather or a dress the colour of time? And what colour are they? A shimmering, pearly oyster grey, I think, in both cases. Perhaps weather and time are the same thing, weather being the outward manifestation of time. Time passes slowly. When Louise gets back I shall ask her to make me some tea. (She doesn’t trust me to do anything in the kitchen so – tactfully – I refrain. But these days she never goes out for very long, not unless she has arranged for someone else to be here.) Twilight comes early now; winter is drawing in. I shall not put on the lights, I shall sit at the window and wait and watch the evening sky, I shall look at the colour of the time that passes slowly, of the time that was, of the time that is, of the time that never will be.
 
 

© Petrie Harbouri 1998

The reality of objects: a hard thing to come to terms with when once one stops and thinks about it. How do I know what is true, how do I know what is, I began to wonder after my first few mistakes. In the old days I never stopped to question, my life was cheerfully based on the easy assumption that everything around me was just what it appeared to be; people, yes, people, feelings, ideas could be doubtful, tenuous, ambivalent… but objects were clear-cut and certain: this object on the desk in front of me is a cup of coffee, the desk is a desk, what I am sitting on is a chair – nothing more, nothing less. Of course, we all know that the eye plays tricks on the brain, that appearances can be deceptive; indeed, in the days before all this started I sometimes used to enjoy the deliberate trickery that is op art – there was a faintly perverse pleasure in seeking the image that would catch my brain out. Sometimes I used to like looking at the spaces between things rather than the things or patterns themselves. Though of course in those days I was so certain I knew what the things were that I could afford to be blasé about them… And sometimes we used to laugh, as when once I thought I saw a policeman standing by the side of the road only to realise a few seconds later that it was merely a signpost. ‘Guilty conscience,’ said my wife (I was speeding). Oh yes, we laughed about it. But I have to say that it gave me pause for thought, even in those happy, certain days – if I could confuse a signpost with a human figure, then for sure my mind was too abstracted (or my eyesight too weak) to drive safely at such a speed. I slowed down. Well, it’s been quite some time since I last drove a car. When the neurologist first suggested tactfully that I should leave the driving to my wife, I was outraged; I knew he was right though, so after a bit I acquiesced. These days I sit in the passenger seat and try to recognise objects as we drive past them. I do this silently in my mind, so I can never be sure whether I’m mistaken.
 
The curious thing is that although I’m no good at objects any more I can still read perfectly well: a printed page presents no problems. Thank God for that, at least. I can no longer get out by myself – Louise wouldn’t let me anyway because she worries so much: I tell her that I would be quite all right, but in fact when you’re not sure what the things you are seeing really are you do get a bit disoriented. OK, OK, the truth is that I would get hopelessly lost if I ventured out without someone to guide me. In any case, the result of all this is that I’ve been reading more than ever before in my life since I was a child. And I read everything. I read 19th-century novels – these I like because they’re long enough to keep me going for a couple of days at least. I read detective stories (I can get through three or four in a day) and the kind of book sold at railway stations and airports – blockbusters I think they’re called, or is it bonkbusters? – which all seem to have remarkably similar plots as well as a liberal seasoning with remarkably repetitive sex scenes. Some of them are in fact quite long, which is all to the good from my point of view. I alternate them with Carlyle and Gibbon – both also satisfyingly prolix writers. I read cookery books and Greek tragedies. (I do enjoy pornography too, I have to admit. I don’t think Louise would approve, however, and since it is she who supplies me with reading matter, making regular and frequent trips to the public library and the bookshop on my behalf, I have to make do with what I already have, perusing it again and again.) And recently I’ve been having a binge of reading fairy stories: the Brothers Grimm, Pérrault, the Andrew Lang books.
 
Reading fairy stories is a bit like a secret addiction. It’s not the indulgence of regressing into childhood, not merely a simple hankering after lost innocence or anything like that. It’s something else: it’s the fact that in fairy stories things are not what they seem. A swan or a deer or a frog might be a prince in disguise. A terrible toothless old hag might be a nubile, curvaceous, fresh-skinned young girl… Apart from reading, thinking is my only other occupation and I do rather like thinking about young girls… And of course it’s when you kiss them that they are instantly transformed into what nature intended them to be before the wicked witch cast a spell on them…  Kissing is a euphemism, I rather suspect. Ah well. But you see, it’s not just princes and princesses and noble young millers and so on, it is objects themselves that are fluid and deceptive. We all know perfectly well that straw and gold are two quite different things. These days of course I might confuse them if I saw them – but it’s been years since I saw any straw and the only gold I ever come across is my wedding ring. But the point is that in fairy tales one can become the other: straw can be spun into gold. Isn’t that marvellous? A world where it is completely accepted that definitions are not fixed, that boundaries shift. Come to think of it, the very idea of spinning straw as if it were wool or flax – now isn’t that a magnificent sideways slipping of reality? And take pumpkins: can you imagine anything as solid and immobile and earthbound as a pumpkin? Anything as unromantic, as quotidian, as boringly, uncompromisingly real as a pumpkin? Yet one slight quiver, one tiny vibration of the cosmic kaleidoscope and a pumpkin can become a gilded carriage, upholstered in the palest of sky-blue silk, fragrant with the scent of lily-of-the-valley. Louise always says that Cinderella is the archetypal kitchen maid’s fantasy, pure escapism from a life of meanness and drudgery, a kind of pre-Mills and Boon romance. I don’t say that she’s wrong – as a matter of fact she’s usually right about most things. But I have to say that this view doesn’t interest me very much these days. For fantasy is in one’s own mind, a separate locked compartment, the contents only taken out to examine in private. Oh, I’ve had my share of fantasies in my time. But I’m far more preoccupied now with questions of being, of definition or lack of it, of possibilities. Of reality rather than fantasy, you might say.
 
‘What is truth said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer’ (I’ve been reading Bacon’s essays too). Well, the truth is that I’m more than a little frightened by the blurring of the edges of things. The reality is that reading fairy tales, pondering on pumpkins and so forth is a sort of whistling in the dark to keep my courage up. You see, it’s very important for Louise’s sake that I shouldn’t be seen to despair. She’s always tactful: the other day I spilt my coffee all over the table because I thought it was an orange – she just mopped up quietly, then poured me another cup and put a peeled orange into my hands, talking all the while about George Eliot. At the beginning of all this, after my first visit to the neurologist, she got several medical textbooks out of the library and pored over them in private. How do I know? Because when she was out I found them in the little room where she keeps her sewing machine and I pored over them too. I said nothing. I thought I could match her, tact for tact. (It’s just occurred to me in fact that maybe Louise knows about my private stock of pornography but prefers to say nothing.) They were not encouraging, those medical books. A great many unpleasant words seem to begin with D: ‘disorder’ is the mildest – how about ‘deterioration’ and ‘decline’ and ‘deficit’ (a word the neurologist seems to be particularly fond of, as though my brain were some kind of budget, grey matter to be balanced by grey-faced accountants). For that matter, what about ‘disintegration’, ‘dissolution’ and ‘death’? Or ‘dejection’, ‘depression’, ‘desolation’, ‘despair’? But ‘definition’ is the one that worries me most.
 
You see, all my life I defined myself very largely in the same manner as I defined the things around me. You probably do so too without thinking. I had a solid, unquestioned reality because wood and metal and glass were real, because trees and flowers and stones were real. I dare say they still are real, but since I can no longer be sure of telling them apart I am beginning to wonder if I shall always be able to tell myself apart. Of course, perhaps if and when I reach that stage it won’t matter, I shall be unaware of it. Another word that begins with D is darkness.
 
Anyway, until the final darkness closes in I shall keep on whistling. I shall read fairy stories and muse on the intricacies of parallel worlds where nothing is what it seems, nothing can be taken for granted, one fractional movement and the focus changes. This afternoon I was thinking about Peau d’Ane: does ‘une robe couleur du temps’ mean a dress the colour of weather or a dress the colour of time? And what colour are they? A shimmering, pearly oyster grey, I think, in both cases. Perhaps weather and time are the same thing, weather being the outward manifestation of time. Time passes slowly. When Louise gets back I shall ask her to make me some tea. (She doesn’t trust me to do anything in the kitchen so – tactfully – I refrain. But these days she never goes out for very long, not unless she has arranged for someone else to be here.) Twilight comes early now; winter is drawing in. I shall not put on the lights, I shall sit at the window and wait and watch the evening sky, I shall look at the colour of the time that passes slowly, of the time that was, of the time that is, of the time that never will be.
 
 

© Petrie Harbouri 1998

POST RECITAL

Talk Icon

TALK

TN: Brent, I know you spoke to Petrie about this story. What did she have to say?
 
BR: I can't hear you. Can you you turn up my headphones?
 
TN: Okay. How's this?
 
BR: What? Could you turn up the headphone amp please? You're very faint. Why are you moving your chair around?
 
TN: Headphones. Yes, yes. Of course.....Is that good?
 
BR: Much better thanks. Now what were you asking me?
 
TN: I was asking you something?
 
BR: I think so. But I could barely hear you.
 
TN: I see. I just have to regroup for a moment. What are we here for anyway?
 
BR: Are you being philosophical again?
 
TN: I mean what are we meant to be doing right now?
 
BR: We're doing a piece about The Colour of Time.
 
TN: Right, right, yes. Pearly oyster grey.
 
BR: Are you okay?
 
TN: Never felt better. I remember now. I was going to ask you about the interview you did with Petrie.
 
TN: Well....to be honest, I'm not sure.
 
TN: Quite a mouthful.
 
BR: It's a stark look at what awaits us at the end of life. I think his musings on these things are a way to keep his courage up, as he knows he's going to lose the downhill struggle. Whistling in the dark, as she says. 'Definition' though is the odd one in the bunch.
 
TN: Yeah. She talks about it in the story. I think the gradual loss of definition, or the loss of ability to define, encapsulates all those other words. I don't know if it was intended, but there's a potency to the consciousness of unconsciousness - a lucidity in confusion.
 
BR: Very true. That's why I'm feeling especially lucid right now.
 
TN: Oliver Sacks' books of case-histories like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia run parallel to this story. He thought the brain was the most amazing thing in the universe. Everything depends on it. All those things that we take for granted - differentiations, definitions, ontologies, spatial judgements, sense of self etc. If the brain is damaged or disrupted, life becomes impossibly strange and strangely impossible.
 
In this story the protagonist is experiencing that kind of disruption. His wife loves and cares for him but they don't talk about his illness, which perhaps only increases his loneliness – something he tries to ward off  with his thoughts.
 
BR: Yes, illness is a solitary experience.
 
TN: Im thinking of Socrates for some reason. He drank the hemlock and waited, fully conscious, as it slowly killed him. He must have felt alone. You know, he apparently told the judges who tried him that the State should provide him with a house.
 
BR: That's interesting but you're digressing.
 
TN: I am? Well digression begins with D, so I'm not really digressing.
 
BR: Duck begins with D.
 
TN: There is a brace of ducks drifting on the lake. Swan lake. Ducks are swans and swans are princes. I have a feeling that a girl is making shirts from stinging nettles.
 
BR: Ah yes. Fairy tales.....My childhood was full to the brim with them, and you know all I am now is the same child wearing an old-guy mask. As the narrator in the story says, they show alternate realities... that everything is not what it seems. There's something deep in our human DNA that wants that, or it's just our mute wonder, our ancient animal reaction to the magnificence of the night sky, the moon, the fireflies.
 
TN: In this story they fit into the theme of shifting definitions. There's a darkness to them too. When I was very little I was avidly reading a book called The Princess and the Goblin. I was entranced till I came to the part where the boy Purdie gets walled up in a mine by goblins who are trying to suffocate him. I was stricken with a very intense terror and put the book down. I've never opened it since. That was over fifty years ago. Maybe I'm ready to try reading it again.
 
There was another book I had to put down because I found it too disturbing. That was much later - Auto da Fé, by Elias Canetti. It seemed to show how people completely misunderstand each other - how relationships are lies.
 
BR: A cheerful concept. But let's get back to the The Colour of Time. It's a good title - an interesting combination of nouns that describe something indescribable.
 
TN: That's where the weather comes in. She mentions it in the story, where she wonders if weather is the outward manifestation of time, both of them being ultimately the same thing.
 
BR: Well what's the connection? Is it about change? Time and weather are in a constant state of flux.
 
TN: Isn't everything constantly changing? I think in this case the connection is spun from language. In French, the word 'temps' can mean both weather and time. Italian and Greek have a word that means both and in Spanish 'tiempo' fulfils a similar function. There are separate words as well, so the shared words might refer to the concept of Time, as opposed to its details. Weather is a concept or conglomerate anyway.
 
BR: All this could be the other way round. Maybe the connection influenced the language.
 
TN: Possible. But it also could be both. A sort of Möbius strip. Two facets which are the same thing.
 
BR: And in German you have 'Zeit' and 'Wetter' and in English of course 'Time' and 'Weather'. They don't have a shared word. So it only seems to be Romance languages that make that connection.
 
TN: Well ...Thats not surprising. All those Germanic tribes tramping around through the dense forests of Northern Europe. They probably had a limited vision of the sky and curtailed access to sunlight. These things make a difference. I don't think Julius Caesar made it far into Germany. Stymied by the trees perhaps.
 
BR: He wasn't German.
 
TN: Who wasn't?
 
BR: Caesar!
 
TN: Caesar? Ah, yeah right, Caesar. Well, he cut down a lot of oak trees just to fuck with the druids. But that was probably in Gaul.
 
BR: Sounds like an asshole.
 
TN: Yeah. That's what Brutus thought.
 
BR: Who?
 
TN: Who what?
 
BR: Tom, would you mind? You're stepping on my foot.
 
TN: What's a foot?
 
BR: The thing on the end of your leg.
 
TN: But my leg is with me in the control room. You're out there in the lack-of-control room. I can't be stepping on you.
 
BR: It feels like you are.....
 
TN: Maybe you're stepping on your own foot.
 
BR: Ah. You're right....

TN: Brent, I know you spoke to Petrie about this story. What did she have to say?
 
BR: I can't hear you. Can you you turn up my headphones?
 
TN: Okay. How's this?
 
BR: What? Could you turn up the headphone amp please? You're very faint. Why are you moving your chair around?
 
TN: Headphones. Yes, yes. Of course.....Is that good?
 
BR: Much better thanks. Now what were you asking me?
 
TN: I was asking you something?
 
BR: I think so. But I could barely hear you.
 
TN: I see. I just have to regroup for a moment. What are we here for anyway?
 
BR: Are you being philosophical again?
 
TN: I mean what are we meant to be doing right now?
 
BR: We're doing a piece about The Colour of Time.
 
TN: Right, right, yes. Pearly oyster grey.
 
BR: Are you okay?
 
TN: Never felt better. I remember now. I was going to ask you about the interview you did with Petrie.
 
BR: I didn't do an interview with her. I thought you did.
 
TN: No. You did it. Think back.
 
BR: I don't remember doing it. We did do an interview, right?
 
TN: Well....to be honest, I'm not sure.
 
BR: Maybe we should take a couple of minutes and work out what we're doing.
 
TN: Yeah. OK. We'll have a short musical break.
 
Musical interlude
 
BR: So it seems we never did the interview as planned, which explains the confusion. We'll just have to wing it.
 
TN: It shouldn't be a problem. There are plenty of alleys to go down. We might even get lost.
 
BR: We could start by looking at those 'D' words: deterioration, decline, deficit, disintegration, dissolution, death, dejection, depression, desolation, despair, definition and darkness.
 
TN: Quite a mouthful.
 
BR: It's a stark look at what awaits us at the end of life. I think his musings on these things are a way to keep his courage up, as he knows he's going to lose the downhill struggle. Whistling in the dark, as she says. 'Definition' though is the odd one in the bunch.
 
TN: Yeah. She talks about it in the story. I think the gradual loss of definition, or the loss of ability to define, encapsulates all those other words. I don't know if it was intended, but there's a potency to the consciousness of unconsciousness - a lucidity in confusion.
 
BR: Very true. That's why I'm feeling especially lucid right now.
 
TN: Oliver Sacks' books of case-histories like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia run parallel to this story. He thought the brain was the most amazing thing in the universe. Everything depends on it. All those things that we take for granted - differentiations, definitions, ontologies, spatial judgements, sense of self etc. If the brain is damaged or disrupted, life becomes impossibly strange and strangely impossible.
 
In this story the protagonist is experiencing that kind of disruption. His wife loves and cares for him but they don't talk about his illness, which perhaps only increases his loneliness – something he tries to ward off  with his thoughts.
 
BR: Yes, illness is a solitary experience.
 
TN: Im thinking of Socrates for some reason. He drank the hemlock and waited, fully conscious, as it slowly killed him. He must have felt alone. You know, he apparently told the judges who tried him that the State should provide him with a house.
 
BR: That's interesting but you're digressing.
 
TN: I am? Well digression begins with D, so I'm not really digressing.
 
BR: Duck begins with D.
 
TN: There is a brace of ducks drifting on the lake. Swan lake. Ducks are swans and swans are princes. I have a feeling that a girl is making shirts from stinging nettles.
 
BR: Ah yes. Fairy tales.....My childhood was full to the brim with them, and you know all I am now is the same child wearing an old-guy mask. As the narrator in the story says, they show alternate realities... that everything is not what it seems. There's something deep in our human DNA that wants that, or it's just our mute wonder, our ancient animal reaction to the magnificence of the night sky, the moon, the fireflies.
 
TN: In this story they fit into the theme of shifting definitions. There's a darkness to them too. When I was very little I was avidly reading a book called The Princess and the Goblin. I was entranced till I came to the part where the boy Purdie gets walled up in a mine by goblins who are trying to suffocate him. I was stricken with a very intense terror and put the book down. I've never opened it since. That was over fifty years ago. Maybe I'm ready to try reading it again.
 
There was another book I had to put down because I found it too disturbing. That was much later - Auto da Fé, by Elias Canetti. It seemed to show how people completely misunderstand each other - how relationships are lies.
 
BR: A cheerful concept. But let's get back to the The Colour of Time. It's a good title - an interesting combination of nouns that describe something indescribable.
 
TN: That's where the weather comes in. She mentions it in the story, where she wonders if weather is the outward manifestation of time, both of them being ultimately the same thing.
 
BR: Well what's the connection? Is it about change? Time and weather are in a constant state of flux.
 
TN: Isn't everything constantly changing? I think in this case the connection is spun from language. In French, the word 'temps' can mean both weather and time. Italian and Greek have a word that means both and in Spanish 'tiempo' fulfils a similar function. There are separate words as well, so the shared words might refer to the concept of Time, as opposed to its details. Weather is a concept or conglomerate anyway.
 
BR: All this could be the other way round. Maybe the connection influenced the language.
 
TN: Possible. But it also could be both. A sort of Möbius strip. Two facets which are the same thing.
 
BR: And in German you have 'Zeit' and 'Wetter' and in English of course 'Time' and 'Weather'. They don't have a shared word. So it only seems to be Romance languages that make that connection.
 
TN: Well ...Thats not surprising. All those Germanic tribes tramping around through the dense forests of Northern Europe. They probably had a limited vision of the sky and curtailed access to sunlight. These things make a difference. I don't think Julius Caesar made it far into Germany. Stymied by the trees perhaps.
 
BR: He wasn't German.
 
TN: Who wasn't?
 
BR: Caesar!
 
TN: Caesar? Ah, yeah right, Caesar. Well, he cut down a lot of oak trees just to fuck with the druids. But that was probably in Gaul.
 
BR: Sounds like an asshole.
 
TN: Yeah. That's what Brutus thought.
 
BR: Who?
 
TN: Who what?
 
BR: Tom, would you mind? You're stepping on my foot.
 
TN: What's a foot?
 
BR: The thing on the end of your leg.
 
TN: But my leg is with me in the control room. You're out there in the lack-of-control room. I can't be stepping on you.
 
BR: It feels like you are.....
 
TN: Maybe you're stepping on your own foot.
 
BR: Ah. You're right....

Music on this episode:

String Quartet no.2. Opus 17 (Sz 67) by Béla Bartók.

License CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

and

Cyclick by xj5000.

Used by permission of the artist.

THE STRANGE RECITAL

episode 17072

BLACK BULL Logo

What is truth said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.