On the urge to get away

Writing for the morning(s) after, by Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Jenny Diski, Andrew Motion, Nicholas Spice, Peter Hill, Barbara Newman, Alexei Sayle and Mary-Kay Wilmers.

What made Albert run: Mad Travellers

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, 27 May 1999

Suppose that this desire to flee becomes an obsession, a truly irresistible compulsion. Suppose further that it all happens in a state of absence and you cannot remember any of it: you arrive somewhere, dazed, without the slightest idea of what happened in the interval. 

Diary: A Looking-Glass Land of Sorts

Jenny Diski, 23 February 1995

The lady who has embarked on a campaign to give me serene shoulders, my ‘massoose’ she calls herself, asks me what I do and gets the wrong end of the stick. No, really, I’m not here in search of plot ideas. ‘I expect you have to travel a lot to get stories to write about.’ ‘Not at all,’ I say. ‘I stay at home and make them up.’ 

Poem: ‘Run’

Andrew Motion, 21 December 1989

To hell with out of place!The pissy Thames is rubbing away your face! 

On Loathing Rees-Mogg

Nicholas Spice, 21 February 2019

I associate my Remain vote with my tendency to claustrophobia: I like to know how I can get out. I give sleeping bags a wide berth, potholing I try hard not to think about. I prefer an aisle seat on the plane or in the theatre. I like open spaces and silence. 

Diary: From the Lighthouse

Peter Hill, 6 June 1996

I spent the most bizarre night of my life on Hyskeir. If I mention The Birds you will immediately understand. 

Diary: The 006 from Liverpool to London

Alexei Sayle, 19 January 1984

Paul Theroux takes the London Transport Number 19 from his house down to the shops. Michael Frayn goes on a sight-seeing tour round Sheffield, and Michael Palin pays five quid to go to India on an old Leeds Corporation double-decker. And I, in a bus-ride down memory motorway, take the number 006 National Coach from Liverpool to London. 

Diary: Brussels

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 29 July 1999

My family left Brussels in 1960 and several decades went by before I thought to go back to have a look and found that I hadn’t imagined its dreariness: Brussels, it turned out, wasn’t a metaphor for my forced separation from the neighbourhood drug store, or a virtual city thought up to express my pre-adolescent or late-childhood gloom. It was in actual fact much as I’d remembered it. The difficulty is to know who or what to blame.

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