Sunday, October 29, 2006

Survived the BMW test drive

Wheeeeee!! My guardian angels didn't take the Sunday off and managed to remove all possible dangers from my path. Even did a stellar parking (after two crooked tries) in a half-deserted lot. I'm on my way to winning Formula One [yeah right, the husband would say, as in first gear].

Despite what they say about BMW cars, I'm not impressed. Stepping on the pedals is like doing the leg press — compared to the smaller cars I've driven it's quite a stiff. One nice thing about it though is I can go up to 45 kmh on second gear. Which is such a relief since someone in the company had the amazingly bad idea to put the R-everse on the left side of instead of the usual right... which never fails to make me shoot the first gear into the third — with rather nerve-wracking consequences.

Publications received:

Soooooo thrilled with my copy of Liminal Pleasures. For only £3.50 (via PayPal), you get five CD-sized, professionally printed, staple-bound (32pp, 8pp, 24pp, 32pp, 24pp) chapbooks of the issue lovingly tied with a purple yarn and delivered to your mailbox. Just looking at them awakened that old desire [suppressed for lack of equipment] to print books.

Have also received my copy of Forklift Ohio (#15).
It is what can be described, in the editors' words as, hand-assembled in limited quantities from a variety of unusual materials: approx. 4" x 6" inches, 154 pages of poetry (contributors' notes not included), saddle-stitched and laser-printed. What can I say, except I love it and I'm seriously tempted to get the previous issues, too. Interested parties can purchase the issue/s via PayPal.

An excerpt about Mestre:

Okay, I almost died laughing when I read this hilarious description of Mestre in Marius Brill's Making Love: A Conspiracy of the Heart — which is the town you pass through in order to arrive to Venice. It rather mirrors the town —Spinea— where I live in many rich ways:

Mestre. Say the word without hissing the conurbated villain, and pitying its citizens.
As quickly as they can, two million tourists pass through, or by, Mestre each year, and each one will be struck by the same thought as they wonder at the aesthetic opposition that it represents. Mestre is an ugly town but ugly only in the same way that Michael Jackson might be desccribed as eccentric or a Tabasco Vindaloo flambéed in rocket fuel might be described as warm. Mestre is almost excremental in its hideousness: a fetid, fly-blown, festering, industrial urbanization, scarred with varicose motorways, flyovers, rusting railway sidings and the rubbish of a billion holidaymakers gradually burning, spewing thick black clouds into the Mediterranean sky. A town with apparently no centre, a utilitarian ever-expandable wasteland adapted to house the displaced poor, the shorebound, outpriced, domicile-deprived exiles from its neighbouring city. For, just beyond the condom- and polystyrene-washed, black-stained, mud shores of Marghera, Mestre's very own oil refinery, less than a mile away across the waters of the lagoon in full sight of its own dispossessed citizens, is the Jewel of Adriatic. Close enough for all to feel the magnetism, there stands the most beautiful icon of Renaissance glory and, like so much that can attract tourism, a place too lovely to be left in the hands of its natives, the Serenissima itself, Venice.

The ironic thing is that town officials have actually labeled these excremental buildings as some sort of cultural treasure and are trying their best to make sure no one touches them with a paint brush or bulldozer. But hey, even Michael Jackson is considered a national treasure/relic where he lives, isn't he?

For the record, I've never seen those thick black clouds though — makes me wonder if the author had eaten some bad beans while writing the novel. Compared to Manila, the air here is pure and divine thank you.


michi said...


it's quite a stiff
you wrote this in esp for me, didn't you? or were you, um, sucking up (hehe) to mcclimb?

i knew you would love those parts about mestre / venice in the brill novel. i got a kick out of them.

those little books look tempting btw. argh! as if i didn't have enough reading material to last me the rest of the year ...

milieu x

Liz said...

BMW - wow Arlene, that's what I call booting around in style...what do you call him/her? (My first car was 'Rivet' and the second is '¡Hi-Ho Silver!'):)

'Making Love' sounds/reads brill...going to have to get it.


Anonymous said...

Not bad Beans, you wait until the "bora" hits and then the air stagnates as summer approaches. I lived half my youth on the Lido looking straight across Venice at the Mestre site and black smoke billowing outwards and upwards resembling giant black "you are here" arrows pointing from the sky right down in to Mestre and reflected, at sunset, in the lagoon...