On any given day I am, you might say, somewhat susceptible to feeling like I’ve unwittingly waded into some Pynchonian metaphysical quagmire. And thus it follows that I’ve been trying to work out what’s going on in this photo of a cottage 30ft away from the rapidly-eroding cliffs at Aldbrough on the Holderness Coast ever since I took it last Sunday.
What could move the occupier (or someone else?) to pin such a computer printout to their door? Have they been visited by prospecting gentrifiers eager to stake a claim on this overlooked patch of coast? There would have to have been a few of them, surely, to warrant a pre-emptive sign. And these must be gentrifiers of a pretty rare bent, since by my calculations this section of coast is disappearing at the rate of one house every two years and the cottage is only two doors from the cliff’s edge.
So there I was, feet marinating in a puddle, bicycle turning to rust and I said WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE SUMMER, ARE YOU GOING TO GET SOME SUN? and she said, No I’ll be working at home, I have six deadlines for articles I’m writing and twelve books on my shelves I haven’t glanced at and a major deadline for a peer reviewed journal so I guess I’ll have to open a tin of soup and spend the summer on an uncomfortable chair at my desk with my head down. And I thought, you know Ingrid Meinz THIS IS REALLY NOT VERY SEXY. You are intelligent and this should make you sexy, you are an independent attractive woman earning your living and this should make you sexy but you are not. How are you ever going to grab your self some LOVE with that tone of voice and that tin of soup. How much SEXIER if she had said, even though it might be impossible… OH YES I WANT TO GO ON HOLIDAY MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, I WANT TO TAKE OFF ALL MY CLOTHES AND LIE IN THE SUN… now that’s better, she might even stand a chance of someone saying gosh can I come with you? She could have said, I CAN’T GO TO THE SUN THIS YEAR BUT I WILL BE GOING TO KEW GARDENS TO MASTURBATE IN THE ORCHID HOUSE, now that would be evidence of some humour lurking inside Ingrid Meinz, or EVEN if she’d said, I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT CATCHING UP ON THE BOOKS I HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO READ – that would have been an improvement. But as it was she stood there SO INVOLVED WITH HERSELF she did not even notice I was soaked and by this time I was shivering and had lost the momentum that helps a girl cycle the last four miles in the rain so I said good bye and good luck with her deadlines and slowly turned the pedals up the hill, and I thought I will have to call this encounter the Ingrid Meinz Syndome. […] The Ingrid Meinz Syndrome describes an illness that means every time you open your mouth to speak the world turns grey.
– Deborah Levy, “Conversations with Famous Artists”
Totally beside myself with DELIGHT to say that THIS is happening. Pat Waugh and I have brought together some excellent dudes, inc. China Miéville, Stewart Home, Jim Crace, Maureen Freely and Vic Sage, to argue the toss about the future of the British novel. There’s finger pointing, doomsaying, soothsaying and some enthusiastic repping of the GOOD LADS. And it has an extremely delectable cover by Jamie George. Buy here.