Friday, January 20, 2006


Haruki Murakami

"Have you fallen in love with somebody, by any chance?" he asks.
"You seem kind of out of it."
I don't have any idea how I should respond. "Oshima," I finally say, "this is a pretty weird thing to ask, but do you think it's possible for someone to become a ghost while they're still alive?"
He stops straightening up the counter and looks at me. "A very interesting question, actually. Are you asking about the human spirit in a literary sense - metaphorically, in other words? Or do you mean in actual fact?"
"More in actual fact, I guess," I say.
"The assumption that ghosts really exist?"
Oshima removes his glasses, wipes them with his handkerchief and puts them back on. "That's what's called a 'living spirit'. I don't know about in foreign countries, but that kind of thing appears a lot in Japanese literature. The Tale of Genji, for instance, is filled with living spirits. In the Heian period - or at least in it's psychological realm - on occasion people could become living spirits and travel through space to carry out whatever desires they had. Have you read Genji?"
I shake my head.
"Our library has a couple of modern translations, so it might be a good idea to read one. Anyway, an example is when Lady Rokujo - she is one of Prince Genji's lovers - becomes so consumed with jealousy over Genji's main wife, Lady Aoi, that she turns into an evil spirit that possesses her. Night after night she attacks Lady Aoi in her bed until she finally kills her. Lady Aoi was pregnant with Genji's child, and that news is what inspired Lady Rokujo's hatred. Genji calls in priests to exorcise the evil spirit, but to no avail. The evil spirit is impossible to resist.
"But the most interesting part of the story is that Lady Rokujo had no inkling that she'd become a living spirit. She'd have nightmares and wake up, only to discover that her long black hair smelled of smoke. Not having any idea what was going on, she was totally confused. In fact, the smoke came from the incense the priests lit as they prayed for Lady Aoi. Completely unaware of it, she'd been flying through space and passing through the tunnel of her subconscious into Aoi's bedroom. This is one of the most uncanny and thrilling episodes in Genji. Later when Lady Rokujo learns what she's been doing, she regrets the sins she's committed and shaves off her hair and renounces the world."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

FAB 208 (1971)


Francoise Hardy:
"One of the surest ways to attract and hold a boy is permanently to smell gorgeous. I use Vent Vert by Balmain - perfume or cologne - and in my daily bath I put Sea Water Concentrate by Revlon. It's expensive but the fragrance is worth the cost!"

Judith Durham:
"From my experience, boys hate thick make-up. So for a smoother, more natural make-up always apply your foundation with a damp sponge. Doing it this way means your make-up won't hide your face, just enhance it. Besides, the less you use, the less the cost!"

Carol Dilworth:
"A tip for blondes - wash your hair as usual then put some Borax in the rinsing water. That's an idea passed on from my mother. Doing this keeps my hair soft and shining, and I'm sure it's the reason that I'm still a natural blonde. Once when I stopped using Borax for a while my hair started to go darker."


Grace James

Day and night he kept Tamamo by his side. He grew rough and fierce and passionate, so that his servants feared to approach him. He grew sick, listless and languid, he pined, and his physicians could do nothing for him.
"Alas and alack," they cried, "what ails the Divinely Descended? Of a surety he is bewitched. Woe! woe! for he will die upon our hands."
"Out upon them, every one," cried the Mikado, "for a pack of tedious fools. As for me, I will do my own will and pleasure."
He was mad with love for Tamamo.
He took her to his Summer Palace, where he prepared a great feast in her honour. To the feast were bidden all the highest in the land, princes and lords and ladies of high estate; and, willy-nilly, to the Summer Palace they all repaired, where was the Mikado, wan and wild, and mad with love, and Tamamo by his side, attired in scarlet and cloth of gold. Radiantly fair she was, and she poured the Mikado's sake out of a golden flagon.
He looked into her eyes.
"Other women are feeble toys beside you," he said. "There's not a woman here who's fit to touch the end of your sleeve.
O Tamamo, how I love you..."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BE MY BABY (1991)

Ronnie Spector

Skinny Yellow Horse. That was the name the black kids had for me when I was growing up, because I had light skin and I was so small that I'd always kick like a little pony whenever I got in a fight. And I was always getting beat up. PS 153 on 145th Street and Amsterdam Avenue was one of the toughest black schools in Harlem, and the kids were always making fun of me. 'Hey, half-breed,' they'd yell, 'get your ass back to the reservation.'
I didn't have it as bad as my sister.

Alfred Hitchcock


'Perhaps a rolling pin; a jungle knife brought back from the Amazon country years ago by the original owner who had traveled with Theodore Roosevelt; a dose of poison in the soup; a thin but strong cord across the top of the staircase...
Such was the grandeur of yesteryear, when murder was done with flair and imagination.
Of course we all recall the story of Lizzie Borden who took an ax and gave her parents forty whacks.
And then there was the gentleman on December 31, 1913, who stabbed his wife to death, dissected her body, and sent the pieces to friends and relatives with best wishes for a most enjoyable New Year.
The press would be much enlivened by a good garroting or a woman tied and left on a railroad track (of course, one would have to be sure the trains are still running).
I cannot promise such excitement in the future, but I can promise you a shudderingly good time in the pages to come.'