I Have An Addiction!

There, I've said it. Are you happy now that you've seen it in pixels right before your very eyes?

I have a compunction, an unstoppable drive, a basic instinct, a fatal attraction. It's affected my ability to form lasting relationships, my ability to stay with my rational decisions. Against my better judgment I keep going to places I know I will be tempted, where I know I will fail to hold my willpower against the power of my obsession.

What did I do the very first night in Bangkok?

Oh my, the shame….


I went… oh how I wither into myself as I say these words.. the self disgust, the bitterness...

I went into a bookshop.

My body sweats,
my teeth gah-riiiinnnd...

My name is E@L, I am a bookaholic.


I came here to Bangkok with two tasks (other than turn up for work each morning) - finish "Journey Into The Whirlwind", by Eugenia Ginzburg (US$32 or so) and start "The Things I Didn’t Know", the memoirs of Robert Hughes [truly, who GIVES a fuck!?] (S$28.89) But straight away I popped in AsiaBooks in Pathetic Place which, along with Bookazine across Sukhomydik Rd, often have a tasty and unusual morsel or two - a deep fried grasshopper of fiction or non-fiction that I might not find (I mean, not even consider buying) in Singapore. I got the PK Dick and the HP Lovecraft biographies, gems, both, in Thailand - I've still not seen them elsewhere.


Last night I picked another book that allows me to continue my supremely dilettantish dalliance with the highly arcane world of the psychoanalysis of German poets and philosophers that all started with Irwin Yalom's "popular" (in my sense) books on Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. Well, that's not really where it started: I already had of a copy of Rainer Maria Rilke's selected works "By Way of All Partings" (to get my copy of his poem The Panther and to quote his works at quite serendipitous random in this incredibly pretentious blog ) and, for some obscurely fatalistic reason, a self-given Darwin's Day present of the collected correspondence between Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé (now out in mass market paperback, I noted last Friday in PageOne, Singapore!) I think I bought it because the one passage I fell into in the bookstore (Readings, in Carlton, Melbourne) grabbed me with its powerful humility and world-weary wisdom though Rilke was only young when he wrote it. His meditations touched me deeply and set me to pondering great philosophical thoughts of mourning and regret, the flux and impermanence of all we love and the futility of mere art against the fucking inevitability of decay and death.

Which is what "Freud's Requiem" by Matthew von Unwerth (595Bht) seems to be about as well, happily.

One of Yalom's books places Salomé (aka Frau Lou), Freud and Nietzsche together ("When Nietzsche Wept"). However, in real-life, Freud met with Frau Lou , who was at that stage the most famous and indeed most notorious of the three, and Rilke on an apocryphal walk one day in the Italian Tyrol… and the rest, as they say, was totally ignored by history. Until now. Love, lust and psychoanalysis, friendship, fellowship and enmity, yada yada. Another great and mind-numbingly obscure pickup by E@L. Who the fuck BUYS these things besides me?


While in the mood for hyphenated surnames, I also grabbed a copy of "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality" by Andre Comte-Sponville (450Bht). Just what I needed, another book to tell me what I already know by my own leap of faithlessness.


Aside: Only the other day, the word 'infidel' hit me on the chin - from the same root as 'fidelity'. The fideles who adeste each Christmas on my mother's Harry Belafonte album are all ye faithful who come, oh.

How thick am I to have missed that for like, 50 years, or to have known it subconsciously (Harry [my long dead FATHER's name!!!] Belafuckingfonte, we had him EVERY freaking Christmas dinner, I kid you not), but only thought about it recently. Very Freudian. Very Lacanian. Very Zizecian. Let me tell you about my mother…


Therefore, 'infidel' simply translates as 'unfaithful'. A music recording that is highly faithful to the original is HiFi - High Fidelity (also a great book and a great movie). Hence people who listen to crap compressed MP3 recordings are going to go to hell. And deservedly so - it is no accident, no deus ex iPod, that we refer to a well-recorded version of Beethoven's Ninth as 'divine'.

End Aside.


Gawd Awemighty!

Scoop - you read it here and everywhere else first. There is no God, pictures of me in fancy dress on Facebook nothwithstanding.

I mean, did I have to add another atheist tome to my huge collection on the agnostic shelf? I mean, do I need ANY such books when the classics have already argued all that needs to argued? In my opinion, for a start, the problem of evil simply does away with God as we define him - as good and all powerful.

And it was all said (and quoted or paraphrased in each book in my current collection) by I Am Epicurus Yellow, when he reasoned:

Either God wanted to eliminate evil and he could not; or he could and did not want to; or he neither could nor wanted to; or he could and wanted to. If he wanted to and could not, he is impotent, which cannot be the case for God; if he could and did not want to, he is evil, which is foreign to God's nature. If he neither could not wanted to, he is both impotent and evil, in which case he is not God. If he both wanted to and could- the only hypothesis that corresponds to God - where does evil come from and why did God not eliminate it?

OK, good god question. I'll only take calls on this one on my private number.

Books. I mean really… Look where they lead. To end of civil society as we anarchists know it.


And then finally (finally, I mean *for the moment* - see above re: transience and flux - I will buy more books), tonight - before a fine, if overly sweet I was finally deciding, meal of serpent-head fish in spicy Thai herbs at Raan Derm in Soi 24 - I ventured into Kinokuniya at Excelsior and spotted "The Seven Basic Plots - Why We Tell Stories" by Christopher Booker (1,393Bht) something that I have been looking for for a shitload of time. To go with my futile aspirations to be a writer and my ridiculous attempts to be a better reader. To lead me to deeper understand of the narrative archetypes that makes me realize that the movie "Caddyshack" is actually both Cinderella AND Beowulf intertwined. Freudian (?) Clue = it's no accident, no deus ex BigBertha that Bill Murray keeps saying "Cinderella story, outta nowhere…" as he golf-swings the heads off all the flowers in the golf-course garden! (And of course Beowulf is actually Oedipus Rex!)

More books - no extra fucking time to read them. Especially if I waste 2 hours writing this pointless, meaningless, readerless drivel all about them…

I am led by my urges into shady nooks,
I might as well face it I'm addicted to books.



Posted by: expat@large on Sep 10, 08 | 2:08 am | Profile


I'm a bookaholic too-but that does not mean I don't appreciate a nice Thai ass grinding on my groin while I think about what I am going to read next.

Posted by: Skippy-san on Sep 10, 08 | 9:55 am

what a week you've had while i was away, sugar! xoxo

(your addiction is what i've always found most fascinating about you!)

Posted by: savannah on Sep 10, 08 | 10:09 am

Mmmm. Cue Robert Palmer

The lights are on and you're at home
Sitting there all alone
Your groin creaks your body aches
Another page is all it takes
Just you and text. Well that's all you've got
It's just as well your libido is shot
You like to think that your immune. You're just a sook.
Gonna have to face it you're addicted to books

Your staph infected friend ( stents!!) who,if I recall correctly, did warn you of this addiction of yours and tried to physically restrain you on occasions in Patong!!!


Posted by: Pete3859 on Sep 10, 08 | 5:01 pm

Skip: truer words were never written and read.

Sav: all my weeks are interesting. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't writing this bloody blog. See the Robert Walser, Saul Bellow and Yevtushenko quotes at left.

Pete: I'll just line up the girls for the climax. Of the song, of the SONG!

They call it staph because all the hospital staff have it.

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 11, 08 | 12:41 am

Well mate, stent no more.

Went in today and had a flexible ureteroscopy to remove the troublesome staph repository UNDER LOCAL. Yes, man that's right. I bravely and stoically was awake and watched as the urologist guided a telescope up my urethra, grabbed the stent and whisked it out. Videos will be available as soon as the soundtrack and post-processing are done!! Strangely when it was all over (7mins from theatre entry to "she's gone!) I felt quite the man.

So now, as the legendary Jimi Hendrix sang, "I'm stone free to do as I please"



Posted by: Pete3859 on Sep 11, 08 | 6:11 pm

Pete: So long as we are not singing, "Hey Pete, where you goin' with that gun in your hand..."

p.s. you can always send emails unless you prefer posting your intimate genito-urinary details on someone else's (i.e. mine) blog...

Hey got a ticket to the GP in Singapore - I'll miss the GF in Melbourne but I fly in from India on the Sunday morning.

Skip: just thinking about those bodies grinding - it makes my teeth sweat.

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 11, 08 | 11:40 pm

OK....no excuses left now....pick one plot and get on with it.

Posted by: Dick on Sep 12, 08 | 1:58 am

but of course, sugar! xoxo

Posted by: savannah on Sep 12, 08 | 2:47 am


Notify me when someone replies to this post?
Submit the word you see below:

Powered by pMachine