May. 11th, 2012

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We read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for book club.

In an odd way it's kind of like a masculine A Passage to India or even A Room with a View: a thing about secrets, friendship, betrayal, relevance, identity, the fall of the British Empire, &c. Maybe it's Brideshead Revisited with paperclips?

I've always liked George Smiley.

I've always had bouts of an intense sense of universal pointlessness and ridiculousness, which I guess are crying and laughing at the same thing. They've not really decreased as I've got older: I think you just learn to accept it and learn to continue functioning through. And I guess you learn not to try to prove those notions incorrect, just to accept them as awkward truths. There is so much coneit and fantasy everywhere, inside me and outwith, it's like trying to fight through the amazon with a butterknife. It's just so tiring.
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I've just discovered that on the 11th floor of the famously futuristic Lloyds of London building, 60 foot above The Lutine Bell, is an "an 18th century dining-room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763; it was transferred piece-by-piece from the previous (1958) Lloyd's building across the road" (!w Lloyd's building).

When I read this, I was reminded of this short clip from 2001 (and of the library in Solyaris). This must be what it's like to be one of those guys running a financial institution like Lloyds of London these days, or those guys at JP Morgan Chase I read about today.

Update: Here's the room!

When I read about "The Greeks" (not not the people in Greece, Delta, Vega, Theta, etc), it always seems a little antiquated to me and, well, Georgian. All those partial differentials between this and that, it's all quite thermodynamic: kind of has the air of post-Revolutionary France, in a way, Carnot, Laplace, Jacobians, all those folk who like drowning men grasp desparately at ever flimsier algebraic substitutions in a world of Chaitin's Constant, statistical mechanics and finite element analysis.


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