Going Toward The Light

Film, Observatory

I took this just before I left Nice. I’m beginning to see why older people move to sunny climes. Some of us clearly crave warmth and light as we age, just as the young love night. I write enough about darkness to not want it in my waking hours, and have always been drawn to Southern regions. Watching the hard lines shifting between light and dark gives one a sense of diurnal time.

My friend Roger (from the North of England) seeks out the reverse, and drags his slender wife to freezing dark zones of the world for their holidays. ‘Where are you off to this year?’ I’ll ask and he’ll say ‘We’re thinking of Iceland’ as if he was considering the West Indies.

My love of light extends to exotic novels and artists like De Chirico. The Ottoman rulers had a horror of shadow – they thought death dwelt there, and often went to great lengths to avoid right-angles that would allow shadows to form in their courtyards.

Keep your countryside but show me city streets in fierce light. There was a wonderful New York photographer whose name escapes me, whose photographs of people walking across roads and rooftops at sunset used to grace my walls. Clues, anyone?

12 comments on “Going Toward The Light”

  1. I went to Nice once, but the image I brought back of it is of dark canyons, big compact four- or five-story blocks which only got light when the sun aligned itself with the streets. I felt as if the whole city was one solid block of concrete buildings one had slashed streets into with a big knife. Granted, I just stayed in the city itself, didn’t stray to the beaches and promenades. And I brought back two nice original Chas Addams collections from a small second hand bookshop.

    Which seemed consistent with the gloomy overall feeling that short stay inspired.

  2. admin says:

    Valid point, Marcel – I’ve seen it like that often in winter. It’s like four cities in one; the port, the promenade, the old town, the modern quartier. Most of it isn’t pretty, but I still think some parts are sublime.

  3. “Valid point, Marcel”

    Thank you, Fowler! ^____^

  4. Brian says:

    I think your comment went straight over Christopher’s head Patrick. Perhaps it’s an English thing. That sort of name usage certainly doesn’t fly here in Australia.

  5. Alan Morgan says:

    I prefer a bourbon.

  6. @ Brian: he seems to have my last name confused with my last, which happens often enough, though it’s surprising, from Chris.

  7. Alan Morgan says:

    What about that crocodile documentary fron the 80s? They called the expert ‘Dundee’ all the time and it’s pretty clear that if you listen his christian name is more properly ‘Mick’.

    Once again we see how it’s one rule for fish-out-of-water antipodean poachers engaged in high-jinks that mock 80s New York society – and another for London-based authors (that mention Sondheim a lot).

  8. Anne Fernie says:

    It happens to me all the time and has done since I was at school. People hear my name once and it is ‘Fernie’ forever – odd.

  9. Helen Martin says:

    I have an artist nephew whose work is reviewed fairly often and it feels odd to see him referred to as ‘McSavaney’, as if that were what you would call him. It doesn’t seem odd to refer to ‘Picasso’ or ‘Dickens’ without a first name or title, but it does when you know the person.

  10. admin says:

    Hi Patrick –

    Yes, I did confuse the two names – as well as regular writing I have to run two sites a day and working from a laptop, going from one Wi-Fi to another, I have to rush. Mind you, the Marcel Marceau connection could be exploited…

  11. Helen Martin says:

    Don’t apologize, Chris. Something like that just gives us more to natter on about. This conversation sometimes seems to just head off into the blue with no concern about where you started from.

  12. karin says:

    Martin er Helen you are right. I love reading the comments and following the conversations on this site as much as I enjoy seeing what Christopher has in store for us today. What a delightfuly witty & silly group.

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