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OUR BOOKS > JANUS

Janus
Travel Pieces
Written by Chester Eagle
Designed by Vane Lindesay
DTP by Chris Giacomi
First published 2001 by Trojan Press
Circa 36,200 words
First edition 200 copies
Electronic publication 2006 by Trojan Press
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Here’s what it says on the cover:

This book looks in two directions. It is a collection of travel pieces, taking the reader to France, China, Rome, New York and other places, but the observations and extensions of thought opened up by distant places return the traveller, and with him the reader, to Australia. To travel far is to know one’s own place a little better. The first piece shows the traveller in Sylvia Beach’s bookshop in Paris, explaining New South Wales to two Americans who have a print of George Lambert’s ‘Crossing the black soil plains’. Later pieces look at Gipsies, those who travelled to make war, and those who came to know that their spirit was better suited to a distant land. In the last piece the traveller returns to what is no longer his home, finds it changed, and encounters the life he might have led had he not taken his path of study and travel. Janus, the god of ambivalence and the divided mind, presides over everything in this book which is named for him.


To read some extracts from the book click here:
Paris
Paris again
Saumur
Rome
Australians
Earlier Australians
Barcelona
New York
Suzhou

To read about the writing of this book click here.

Paris

They returned to Paris, the city that made you small. Powerful lines ran through great spaces. Important buildings sat apart from others, visible each to each. A taste for grandeur had never been overthrown with the kings who’d introduced it. Or had they? The visitor studied the people of the city, wondering what they had in their heads that wasn’t in his. Precision, cruelty, a willingness to ignore much so that some point of perfection might be created ... and not a thought about sharing the moment of wonder, when it came. Monarchy’s still here in its absence, Andy thought, and it pleased him; it fitted with his ideas of the void in his country, to which he’d soon be returning. He wondered what his children would remember, and what they’d forget, from their travels, and of course he didn’t know, any more than he knew for himself. Importance discovers itself; there were pages in his diaries from earlier trips that meant nothing to him now, while other, passing, remarks made him wish he’d gone back for another look. We never know what we’re going to want to know, it’s a process of continual emergence, never fixed. This thought contradicted the great monuments, the Arc de Triomphe, the Palais de Versailles, Notre Dame, unless you dissolved them in your mind and thought of them as sources from which flowed or attached new meanings. There! Meanings! Mankind was making them all the time, as regularly as bread in bakers’ ovens, producing daily. What a silly world, he thought. Monuments are made to finalise meanings, and they’re no sooner built - and photographed - than they start to change the production process. In his mind he reviewed some of the fixed objects of his country - bridges, soldiers’ memorials, anything that might end up on a stamp! It seemed to him that the power of endless mention must mean either a weakness in the society - this needs to be emphasised, to keep us going - or a weakness in the idea - if I raise my voice you may not notice that I’m talking rubbish. What things were sacred, and did it make them more or less vulnerable to single them out? What things, he asked himself, were sacred to him?

He put his own life, back home, aside. He couldn’t deal with it. Here in Paris? He enjoyed the question. What things were sacred?

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Paris again

He opened his eyes, which he’d closed while he’d been thinking. Leila was struggling with a puzzle. Tim was sorting stamps. Their bags were on the floor, and damp things hung on a line they’d stretched across the room. ‘I thought you’d gone to sleep, dad,’ Leila said. ‘I was going to wake you, but when I stood up I reckoned you were just thinking.’

He smiled. His daughter knew him. ‘Thinking about home?’ Tim said. ‘Thinking about here, this time.’ They looked at him. ‘Four days to go, then we’re in aeroplane world for a day and a night, then we’re back.’ They thought of the flight. ‘Maybe planes will be faster one day, and coming here will be like flying to Sydney. Only an hour.’ They thought about it. ‘Maybe it’s best the way it is,’ Andy said. ‘I don’t know.’

The next day Tim asked to go to the Shakespeare Bookshop again. There was no sign of George. A stranger was sitting in the chair that had been Leila’s. He was reading something in thick, black German text. Leila was soon bored, and asked her father for a drink. They told Tim where they’d be, and went to a cafe. ‘I don’t know what he sees in that place,’ Leila said. ‘It’s okay for a while, but he’d spend his whole time there.’ It was an appeal to her father for an explanation because he too, she could tell, was drawn to the shop. ‘Why can’t he get interested in other things? Books, books, books!’ Andy said, ‘I think he can sense the atmosphere. He doesn’t know the story of the place, but it’s something he’s drawn to. He’s following a line of people who’ve been drawn to it down the years.’ The girl was surprised, having never thought of a shop as having a past. She said to her father, ‘Is it full of ghosts, or something?’

‘In a way it is. It was started by an American woman, in 1919. World War 1 had ended. American soldiers helped the British and French to win the war. But America was restless when the so-called peace got started. They were already on the way to being the richest country in the world, but they didn’t have confidence in themselves. Cultivated Americans thought Europe was where culture came from, and Paris was the centre of Europe. This woman called Sylvia Beach came here and started a bookshop. She was young, she didn’t have much money. She struggled, but surviving was enough. The fact that she had a shop, that there was a place, allowed lots of people to gather. English writers came to her shop. Americans who came to Paris felt they had to visit. French writers who were interested in books in English went there. Sometimes, when a movement’s forming, it only needs a place, and then things start to happen ...’
Leila said, ‘You think Tim knows all that?’ She was scornful, but interested.

‘No, he doesn’t, but it’s in the atmosphere. He’s ready to be told it. I might try and get him a book about it, when we get back home.’

She scoffed. ‘A book about a bookshop?’.

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Saumur

They climbed. They explored. There were numerous displays, and enticing flights of steps, some of them polished by thousands of feet, some grim, as if holding memories better forgotten. ‘Battles,’ Andy said, ‘that’s what these places are about, though people would have lived here for years without being attacked. The whole idea was to look so formidable that nobody would have a go at you.’ Somewhere near the middle of the castle they came on a raftered space with display cabinets; at one end they held plates, bowls and cups, which Andy saw had been made in Sèvres, while the other end featured a display of saddles, bridles, banners, and protective leather or metal for horses to wear in battle. ‘The medieval horse!’ Andy said, smiling, then noticed that they were being approached by a young woman wearing a long blue coat; she had a white silk scarf and jet black hair, and she was coming to talk to them. Approaching Andy, she let him see her eyes turn to the children, then back, acknowledging. She lowered her head in deference and he found himself melting; they did it so easily, these cultivated people. She welcomed him, and said he and his children were the first visitors of the day. ‘Nous sommes embrumées,’ she said, making the fog sound internal, and creating a philosophy of its own as it wound itself about things. Andy felt that his simplicity and clarity were protecting him; in a world full of fear, he was unafraid. The lovely guide asked him where he came from. His answer caught something in her beyond professional skills, or interest. ‘It is so far that you have come,’ she said. ‘I have always wanted to come here,’ Andy replied. ‘In our culture, France is one of the highest places, perhaps the very finest.’ He gestured towards the finely decorated, finely shaped table ware. ‘Even the Chinese could do no better than this. I’ve seen nothing so delicate in all my life. It’s not only fine, it’s ...’

Raffiné,’ she said, her completion of the sentence joining them strangely. Andy felt a stillness entering him, and at the same time observed the penetration of her eyes. ‘You have had the whole morning, then, to think about the world?’

She nodded. ‘It is troubling. Perhaps, where you live, it is not so dark?’ He thought. Dark enough, but his country had the barriers of isolation, and its people, though they might despair of the world, could treat it with the contempt of indifference. It was too far away to bother about. But here in the middle of Europe, with disintegrating Russia nearby, tribal Africans with rapid-fire guns, and the Americans overshadowing everything, he could feel the world worrying him, and see the worry in her face. ‘Tell me something about these dishes,’ he said. ‘While there’s beauty in the world we need not give in to despair.’.

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Rome

Andy smiled. ‘I am being put on the spot! Let’s analyse our feelings. How do you feel about being here? Does this place make you feel worthless, or special and valuable?’ He looked at them. ‘Hey?’

His daughter said, after some thought, ‘Both. You can tell you’re a complete nobody, the place is so big. But you feel you must be important, just because you’re here.’ She turned her head to look upwards into the cupola which was where, the building suggested, the spirit would settle on earth, when it chose. ‘Nobody there at the moment,’ Andy said. ‘All’s quiet, up above!’ He smiled slyly. ‘You said that very well. I think the church, that’s the Roman Catholic Church, wants you to feel that way, and if we do, then the building’s done what those who built it wanted it to do.’ His son was disturbed by this. ‘It’s not just the building ...’ He didn’t know how to finish. His father said, ‘Remember Churchill: we shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us. He was so right. Hundreds of years ago, the pope of the day and the priests he had around him said to some builders, this is what we want to make people feel when they come in. And if you think about it, we’re all human, so even if we aren’t Christians, and even if we come along hundreds of years later, we’ll still feel the same way, if the building’s been well designed, as it certainly has.’

All three felt that enough words had been said. The building was a force trying to shape them, and they considered themselves to see how they were being shaped.

Tim found himself thinking of their airline tickets. If anybody tried to trap them into becoming nuns and priests, they could fly back home. He knew his father had the tickets in his money belt. With the tickets, they were safe. He looked around. Light poured on the tiled floor, on the altar, and seemed to create a reverberant dimension to the sounds of the building. He realised that it was hard to think of it as a thing, made of stones, that had to carry its own weight and hold out the storms and winds of centuries, it was more an embodiment of faith, and that was insubstantial because it had to be renewed, and yet it was a lasting force, like a glacier crushing downwards through thousands of years. A group of priests moved close to the Australian travellers, red-faced, wearing black, murmuring to each other in deceitful subservience. Tim could feel a revulsion for these men run through his sister and father. The men were practised in moving through crowds. It was a secret of their trade. They were obtrusively unobtrusive. Tim wanted to scream at them, but knew it was smarter to be silent. While dad had the tickets, they were okay!

Leila responded as she knew she was meant to respond to the filtered light, the gold, statues, windows and incense. Above all, the murmur of hundreds or was it thousands of people, all talking, but reverently, told her that they were in the control of a force which they were meant to think was the power of God but which, she knew instinctively, was held by a group of men who must look on the crowds in their church with glee. Gotcha! It was creepy, the way they did it, and they were, she knew, very good at it. Every doubt, every suspicion, had an answer, a restorative to faith. Once you give in, once they’ve got you, you’re lost. It’s obedience for the rest of your life. When we leave this church, she thought, I won’t come back. Getting out was the thing! She looked, the doors were still open, people were leaving as well as coming in. They didn’t actually lock you in, they let you commit yourself. You had to ask them to bind you in a wrap of faith. She felt safe, safe and strong. There was nothing in her nature that wanted to be bound..

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Australians

She led him to a cabinet, and talked about the things she pointed to. They’d been made long after the castle that housed them. ‘You must know the history of many periods,’ he said; it seemed to please her, and to expose a weakness. ‘It is necessary for us, if we are to be educated, to know the history of our country, but we are a proud people and we are so busy learning about ourselves that too often we know nothing about others. It is the bad side of something good. Tell me about your country, so very far away.’ She added, ‘Here it is day, though we are in a cloud of fog. Where you live, it is night.’ He felt a European way of thinking gripping him, beautifully defined, but too tight. ‘People who look at us,’ he said, ‘if they’ve been educated here, think we are careless. Wide open. Good-natured but stupid. In a word, slack. We cannot build huge, high constructions of thought. We can’t build skyscrapers like the Americans, we aren’t refined as you are, we aren’t as subtle, as clever or devious as the Chinese ... apparently we’re inferior to everybody in the ways they judge their own qualities. The remarkable thing, though, is that Australians are convinced that they - we - are right. We don’t know where we’re going yet, but we truly think that the future of the world is ours. Civilisation is a huge pretence, it’s something people admire because they can’t think of anything better, and we, stupid as it may seem, have a feeling, an inkling ...’ he paused, wondering if she knew the word, but she was following ‘... that to live simply, to survive, in the surrounding presence of infinity, is the best that anyone could wish for!’ Amusement brought lustre to her eyes. ‘And all we can offer you is fog!’.

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Earlier Australians

‘They must have felt different,’ his daughter observed.

‘I suppose so. Well, we’re on the other side of the world now, aren’t we? Look at us! Why are we here? It’s because this is where people like us came from, but we’ve been away so long that we’ve almost forgotten - or we’ve never known,’ he said, his children in mind, ‘what it’s like. We’ve grown apart. But Brian’s father, and my uncles Tim and Toby, they came here when Europe called them. Great Britain, to be precise, wanted them. They felt they had to come. Everybody back home, except the Irish catholics, told them they ought to come. They didn’t feel as separate from Europe as we do, though travel took far longer in those days. But something happened.’

He paused again, feeling that there was a thought pressing for his attention, but it wasn’t clear enough, yet, to say.

‘They were proud of fighting well when they got here, and they’re still proud today, those that are still alive. They’re dying off now, there’s only a few of them left. But something happened, and people don’t talk about it. They closed their minds to what they’d seen here, and they didn’t talk about it when they got back home. They’d seen the evil which is so big a part of the European mind, and they tried not to take it back. They knew it was in them, because they’d shot men and killed with bayonets like all the rest, but they didn’t want to take the war back home. What they’d seen was too much to be introduced to the lives of the towns and cities, the farms and streets that they returned to. Too disastrous, too evil, so it had to be locked up where it was, inside them. That’s why Tim and Toby kept quiet about what they’d been through, and it’s why Brian Robinson’s father’s diary was in a drawer for the best part of forty years ...’

‘Did he find it and read it?’ Leila asked.

‘He read it every now and again, over the years,’ Andy said, ‘and then he realised that even the diary didn’t say as much as it might have, so he thought the only way he could add to what his father had put down was to bring the diary back here, and walk the very roads his father had walked. Marched, I should say, although, with shells bursting around them there must have been a few times when they dived in the ditches at the side of the road.’ He looked into his son’s and daughter’s eyes. ‘It’s hard to think of explosions, and guns going off, and aeroplanes, and men screaming as they charged the enemy trenches, as you go through that countryside, like we did last week. It’s as if the war is so wild and violent that everything will be changed forever by it ... but that’s only how it seems at the time, because after the years pass and the farmers get their fields back in production it’s almost impossible to believe that you’re in what was once a war zone.’

Leila looked out the window of their cafe at the station, Roma Termini, on the other side of the road. ‘Lot of people all of a sudden. A train must’ve come in.’ Tim and her father looked too. ‘It’s not good to look at people in the mass,’ Andy said. ‘They look as if they don’t amount to much, as individuals. As if they’re just there to be given orders. As if you can shout at them and they’ll go off to war, or go off to buy all the crap in the supermarket, or sit at their desks and do what they’re told to do ...’

‘They’re people too,’ his daughter said. ‘Like us.’

The crowd gathered on the footpath outside the station, then pressed onto the road, stopping cars and buses. They reached the footpath outside the cafe where the Australians sat, and their coats and hats and cases, their umbrellas, their rolled-up or unfurled newspapers, their smiles and scowls, their face-masks hiding what was happening within, all passed the glass which allowed the visitors to observe. ‘Did your Uncle Tim and Toby ever come to Rome?’ Andy shook his head. ‘Not as far as I know. They never went back to France either, though they went to London once or twice, after they’d married, and made a bit of money so they could travel again.’ He thought. ‘Again. The first time wasn’t really travel or not the way we think about it, and yet it must have had many of the same effects. Broadening the mind!’ He grinned, then closed his face again, hiding his thoughts as the veterans had done. ‘I think they felt contempt for what they’d been made to do, but everybody, back home and over here, told them it was heroic, and they’d made their country proud, and they must have wondered how stupid we were if we could think ... they must have had more sense than that ... if we could think anybody could be proud of what they’d been made to do. As far as they were concerned, suppressing it was the only thing to do.’.

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Barcelona

It was down a narrow lane in the barrio gottico; they’d smelt it, on their first night, when they were looking for a place to eat. It was full of students, and people whose clothing showed they needed somewhere cheap. The place was packed, but each night the waitresses, recognising them, moved tables and chairs, putting people together so they could have a place. It was full of spirit, and noisy. People smiled at the Australians, accepting. A waitress noticed Andy’s eyes following the drinkers who held goatskin bags above their heads to let red wine tumble in a long stream down their throats. ‘You want?’ she said. His eyes lit up. His children laughed when it came, and laughed more loudly when the waitress grabbed the glass of wine in front of him to take it away. Andy raised his eyebrows at this. She patted him on the back and put the goatskin in his hand. Seeing that he was nervous, she waved a hand around the place where a number of drinkers were letting wine pour into them in the African fashion. ‘Go for it!’ Her voice had an American sound. Andy put the skin to his lips, then slowly lifted until he had it at arm’s length. ‘I wish I had a camera,’ his daughter said. ‘We could blow this up and put it on the wall at home.’ Andy chuckled. ‘Spare me! We do things when we’re away that we wouldn’t normally do.’ ‘You drink plenty of wine,’ his son said. ‘Not like this I don’t. Do you want to have a try? Just a drop?’ Tim and Leila shook their heads, though they were tempted. The waitress said, ‘What you going to have? Sopa? Caldo? For a start?’ ‘Soup,’ Andy said. ‘One’s thick and one’s thin. Unfortunately I don’t remember which is which.’ Leila thought this didn’t matter. ‘Get one of each, and we’ll try them.’

They tried many dishes in Spain. They had sherry in their soup, they had gazpacho, they ate fish they’d never seen. They climbed towers and looked on torrents. They walked across chasms on eery bridges, they looked over plains where battles had been fought, and at the outline of cities Andy knew from El Greco. In the depths of the Prado they saw the black paintings of Goya and Andy felt they’d been taken to humanity’s lowest low. ‘This country had a shocking civil war about the time I was born,’ he said. ‘They did dreadful things to each other. It’s a miracle that they’ve recovered. Perhaps it was so bad they’ve had to push it out of mind. We’ve been fortunate that war’s never come to our country.’

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New York

It took Andy a while to see what she saw in the rubbish. There were car bodies piled high, some of them sitting on oil drums, as if to give back some movement of the wheels they’d lost. It dawned on Andy that the shop dummies and bags of refuse wearing cast-off clothes were meant to be the passengers of these vehicles, and that they were making a pretence of progress only because they were being pushed by more shop dummies and potato-sack people, the first, and biggest, wearing the clothes, colours and hat of Uncle Sam. On a slab of three-ply, tatty at every edge, was painted, ‘faith moves mountians.’ Uncle Sam, the leading pusher, had a gleam in his eye. ‘Is faith the name of a drug?’ Andy said. ‘Not that I know of, but if it isn’t, it will be. Nothing takes long around here.’

‘What else have they got?’ Andy said. ‘Hang on, let’s go round where we can see this.’ ‘This’ was the jib of a lengthy crane from which another dummy hung - or was hanged - by a chain around its neck. A wrecker’s ball also hung suspended above the dangling body, and again there was a sign: ‘If first barstid dont getya, second will.’ Andy laughed. ‘Too true! Hey, I see what you like about this place! Let me see what else there is.’ His eyes passed over the mess. The yard was so deep in crap that the exhibits, if that was the word, were above eye level. ‘How many years has this stuff been piling up?’ Sam thought it wouldn’t have been long. ‘They wreck a building, and if they don’t start something straight away, people bring out their trash. They have to throw it somewhere.’ Trash, Andy thought; if you consumed, as you were told, you had to throw out. It all had to go somewhere. ‘This is the arse-end of the city, isn’t it? It’s a lot of rubbish, but in a city this big, there must be more places like this? That right, Sam?’

She said. ‘Course it is. Don’t imagine this is the whole city’s rubbish. We could’ve found others, but these are the best sculptures. I wanted you to see them. There’s a lot of imagination in what they’ve done. I brought my friend Muriel here, you haven’t met her yet, she’s a real expert on cartoons. Everything from Uncle Sam to Donald Duck. And beyond. She can tell you what period any Uncle Sam drawing comes from, just by looking at it. She says whoever did these ones styled them after the period of the cars. So we’re not dealing with a bunch of loonies having fun, we’re looking at the work of people who know!’ Then she took him by the arm. ‘Come round the other side. There’s one you mustn’t miss.’

It was even scungier on the other side, and the rotting smell was stronger. ‘There’s days when I can’t come here,’ Sam said, ‘because it stinks so much. Sometimes I think the people who do these things must shit here to add to the effect, but maybe it’s just a blockage in the sewers. It’s actually not too bad, today.’ Andy thought it was very bad indeed, but went where she led him. A huge metal cow, which must have come from an outdoor nativity scene, was giving birth to the leather-clad and helmeted rider of a bike, of which the rear wheels and pillion were still in its uterus. Saintly figures from some Christmas window looked on. ‘The doll,’ Sam said, ‘on his back.’ Andy looked more closely. There was a doll clinging to the shoulders of the cyclist. A halo of thorns had been nailed to its head. ‘My God,’ he said, ‘welcome baby Jesus.’ It made him feel queasy, but it had a savage force. ‘Actually,’ he said, ‘this beats most of the stuff I saw in the Metropolitan Museum the other day. It’s got more nerve. It’s more relevant. They really fling it at you. They’re right down the bottom, the people who did this stuff, and they don’t give a shit about you being upset. They’d think that was a win for them, if you hated what they’d done. This is art coming out of the people with a vengeance!’.

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Suzhou

He moved along the crowded pathways, but always circling; he wanted to discover what it was Jasmine centred on. There were pools, rocks, and pavilions everywhere, and visitors were swarming through and over them, cameras flashing, all chattering and moving restlessly. You never get any peace in this country, he thought, and then it struck him that he’d expressed one half of his central reaction to China; what was the other?

He looked about. With an effort, he subdued his disappointment, and saw the place without its visitors. Graceful pavilions were surrounded by rocks which were not so much natural, as representations of wildness; what, then, was the source of the grace with which the pavilions were informed? They were places of contemplation, he saw, and they were open so that wind, odours, light and shadow could play on the minds of those seated within, sheltered, but only by a roof and by the depth of their concentration. ‘Ah!’ Andy said. ‘So that’s it!’ He circled back to where he’d left Jasmine, and looked around. He could see her, at a distance, in a pavilion that was rectangular, not circular, and seemed to be the largest building in the garden. He drew closer, unobtrusively, not wanting her to feel she had to resume responsibility. She had forgotten herself so far as to put first a need of her own. He studied her, trying to imagine himself into her mood, her contemplation, then he realised he was unready to do this because he hadn’t studied the pavilion where she sat. He’d taken it for granted.

He looked again. The pavilion was symmetrical. At either end was a table, two dragon chairs, a bench, a bowl, and two huge dragons sculpted of wood and painted, standing higher than a man. All wood was dark. The walls were panels, and all of them, he thought, though perhaps he was wrong, could be opened. If all could be open, all could be closed, or some, a few, as many as you wished. The fiercest wind, the gentlest breeze could be kept out, or admitted, allowed to flow through the contemplation of those within, or refused. In his own country, he knew, any building open to the weather would be rough, but the contents of this contemplative pavilion were forceful, yet delicate, strong, yet refined. It pleased him. More than that, he felt envious. Man could make things, and ideas, that were his best, yet open to any test the world could bring. Power of the mind did not have to be locked away. Secure in itself, it could be open to the scrutiny of everything it considered: the passage of observation was two-way, from ruler to subject, from lowly to exalted. This was the centre of China’s wisdom? He thought it was.

Later that morning, he thanked Jasmine profusely. ‘That,’ he told her, ‘was one of the great experiences of my life.’.

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The writing of this book:

It’s interesting to look through one’s files to find the earliest workings out of the ideas for a book. Here’s what I found with Janus:

31/12/99 Title of next book could be Janus because he looked two ways. The book should look forward (globalisation) and back (aboriginal life), with the narrator’s standpoint steadily dissolving (a process set underway by didgerido.

This might be thought to be perceptive and forward-looking, but it better describes The Centre & other essays than it does Janus. Something in my mind was looking two books ahead, not one. The book I wrote first was a collection of travel pieces, and their looking-two-ways aspect comes from the fact that when one travels one sees one’s own country more clearly, and at the same time as one is looking at foreign places. To know about one’s own place, it helps to go away.

I notice though, looking through my notes, that I did quite a bit of reading about the origins and making of the didgeridoo, something of a run-on from my previous book, and some reading also about Henry Clay Frick, whose home/art gallery came into the third story in House of music, ‘Those shining towers’. My mind seems to have gone wandering again as it prepared for the travel pieces.

What does please me, as I look back at Janus and the notes that led to its writing, is that I’m focussed on the minor incidents and aspects of travel which rub against the edges of the mind, rather than the noteworthy places that ‘bring history to life’. Travel is, for me, an intensification of the thought processes that go on all the time, having the advantage – travel, that is – that new observations cause one’s thoughts to take new paths. I might say that I have only ever travelled fairly cheaply. I wouldn’t want the protection of luxurious accommodation because I would feel I was closing out the very aspects of the world that stimulate me most. Two stars, or one, or none, for me!

Finally, I would like to say that my Chinese friends were very interested in the piece called ‘The pavilion’. They were pleased that I was curious enough to reach out for something that’s of great importance to them, and even more pleased that I could see and respect it as something not available outside their culture.

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