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Happy Birthday, Annette… and In Praise of Love March 2, 2013

Posted by astridjohnson in Books, Love, Philosophy, Politics.
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And another birthday blog.

And another birthday blog.

Happy Birthday, my dear sister. You got this photo we took at the MOSI on canvas and a box with some more goodies is unfortunately still on it’s way. Never mind. I hope you have a lovely day with your beloveds in Cologne.

On the subject of love. I am reading Alain Badiou’s “In Praise of Love”, which my husband brought me from Foyles yesterday. and there is much this elderly French communist illuminates about the perennial question mark in “What is Love?”. The book is the script of an interview between Nicolas Truong and Badiou and covers politics, creativity and relationships.

The last paragraph here is about love for the world through relationship and wakes me up to review all of them:

…To love is to struggle, beyond solitude, with everything in the world that can animate existence. This world where I see for myself the fount of happiness my being with someone else brings. “I love you” becomes: in this world there is the fount you are for my life. In the water from this fount, I see our bliss, yours first. As in Mallarmeé’s poem, I see:

In the wave you become
Your naked ecstasy.

The bond with my sister is very deep and the abiding love I have for her took time to be seen and mature.


Book Sacriledge August 6, 2012

Posted by astridjohnson in Books, Current Affairs, Graphic Design, Politics.
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Cultural vandalism?

I am the delighted owner of about a dozen or so high quality design books, each worth the usual £25-£45. They are not the latest ones, from the 90’s and early this century, but they show the best, which is often timeless.

It is a special treat for me to buy such books new, because of the price. So I was very happy when Mark surprised me with them the other week. But this is a bitter-sweet experience for both of us.

The University of Bolton are emptying their storeroom to replace it with a new building or something similar. They are giving hundred of books free to staff or are selling them for small money. Not only design books, all kinds of books…

The big question I am asking though is: Why?

Why would a University get rid of books? Because they are old? Because they don’t have the funds to build or rent a new storage? Can whatever new and shiny thing they are building be more important than books? Are University libraries being reduced to the ethos of DVD rental places – let’s get rid of the books nobody reads? Aren’t University supposed to be archives of knowledge? Is knowledge only kept digital now – not that this is even done with these books?

Here a quote by a Dr John Golder from an article I found on a similar incident at the Australian University of NSW last year and the digitalisation of libraries:

A serendipitous discovery is impossible when the book isn’t there…

This book is orphaned.

I am now the proud foster mother of some beautiful design books.


A Journey Round My Skull June 9, 2010

Posted by astridjohnson in Books, Graphic Design, Poetry.
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Start browsing now.

Well, this is not my skull, but someone’s else. A person called Will.
The blog takes you on a beautiful and fantastical journey through book design and more.

Check it out:

A Journey Round My Skull

And while we are at it, a few poems. My husband brought me a book by Adonis. This is some of the best contemporary poetry. There is very little around with this kind of depth and spirituality. The reason maybe because he draws not on Western tradition but on a much older one. I do hope he gets the Nobel prize for literature soon. So here three poems from “The Pages of Day and Night” by Adonis or Adunis, as he is also known.

And after that a poem I wrote over a week ago during a writer’s workshop, The Rope Maker. The task was to write something with the following beginning: Attached to the Earth by a thread… and something Lovelockian developed.


Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Asbar)


Choking quietly
with pain,
Adam whispered to me,
“I am not the father
of the world.
I had
no glimpse of paradise.
Take me to God.”


For once,
for the last time,
I dream of falling in space…
I live surrounded by colours,
like any man.
I marry the blind gods
and the gods of vision
for the last time.

A world of magic

Between the lord of days and me –
no hatred, no vendetta.
Everything’s over.
He’s barricaded time
behind a palisade of clouds.

My world goes on as magically
as ever. I contradict
the wind. I scar
the waves before I scurry
from my bottle in the sea.


The Rope Maker

Attached to the Earth by a thread
are thoughts about Gaia as a whole.
As fragile as these threads
is balance, equilibrium, survival
of a life form,
considered superior by many,
and quite foolish by others.

Some consider nothing and threads
would have to be massive ropes.

I am a rope maker.
With thoughts I am weaving a rope,
sturdy and visible from the moon,
looking fragile from a distance.

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