Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lou Reed, Doris Lessing and Lionel Shriver

I felt sad about Lou Reed, 71 is not old (especially as I am approaching 50). You feel sad not only for the (at times, grumpy) man, but for the person you were when you listened to his music. Transformer was an album I listened to countless times with my first boyfriend in early 80s. We were together for five years. I can still see us taking the album out of the sleeve to put it on the record player. He lived in a 'rough' area and his dad was a communist. He'd shout upstairs, It's time Nasim was going over the road, and  the boyfriend would  dutifully walk me home. All of them are dead now, the druggy boyfriend, the father and Lou Reed. In that order.

I've just started Doris Lessing's The Memoirs of a Survivor, it's been yellowing on my bookshelves, I've no idea when I got it. I'm only 35 pages in but love its strangeness and clarity, and Hugo the yellow cat/dog. Am smiling that her character smokes one cigarette every day, one of the characters I'm writing just now does too - her luxury in one dreadful day after another. These coincidences always happen, and are always going to happen, but just so you know I'm not nicking from Doris. (I met a woman once who smoked one cigarette every New Year's Eve.)

I'm having an eye saga again, no uveitis, thankfully, and touching all the wood in the world, every single tree, but the pressures have risen again, no idea why as there is no inflammation, and I stopped using steroid drops two years ago, but the pressure-lowering drops do not agree with me, they cause eyelid swelling - most eye drops do in my case, and ME can make you especially sensitive to drugs - which is just not on. And my poor eyes are dry as stones. When you have an opthalmology appointment now, they phone you a week before and you press this key and that  key to confirm. I'm always scared I make a mistake, but I love our NHS and would happily press keys every day to confirm.

And speaking of eyes, am very tempted to say to Lionel Shriver, Dry your eyes, Lionel. Also tired of her and Jonathan Franzen badmouthing social media, they don't understand that many writers use it intelligently and creatively. Yes, Lionel, dry your eyes.


Sabine said...

Oh I remember reading that Doris Lessing novel many years ago and the cat/dog Hugo scared me at first. I suppose I took a lot of her writing very very seriously at the time.

Regarding eyes, I have similar flares (due to immune suppression drugs and/or whatever) and since I started to use plain eye drops - the stuff that is just like tears - religiously every couple of hours and panthenol eye salve at night things have gotten much better. It can make you look like you are on the verge of tears but what the heck.
Hope things will get better!

Alison said...

I tried to get into Lou Reed and Velvet Underground in college, but besides a few songs it didn't happen. My husband was scheduled to play at a "covers night" yesterday at this bar and the organizer asked all the musicians if they could play Lou Reed covers, but no one did, but the organizer, who's a friend, felt he had to. So he played Perfect Day for the last song of the night and everyone just sat quietly and listened. I rocked a little and got teary. I guess in a way I was happy for him. If this is what people are doing the days after your death you've had a good life.

I smoked one cigarette on New Year's Eve. The next day the people I smoked with were offering me cigarettes and I politely turned them down. "I don't smoke, that was just last night." I don't think it's a tradition I want to start though : )

I tried to read the Lionel Shriver thing the other day when I saw it on twitter, but after a few paragraphs I had to stop. And I wanted to keep going because I do like her books. But yeah, what was that?

Hope your eyes feel better soon. You don't have Sjogren's, do you?

nmj said...

Hey Sabine, I have hardly read any Doris Lessing, but enjoying this... she's a brilliant writer, though I've found some of her books impenetrable before...I've been using preservative free artificial tears for many years, but this betablocker eyedrop medication, which I can no longer tolerate is for high pressure. I have come off it, I can't do this to my eyes! Hopefully can find another med if need be.

Hey Alison, Was not a huge Lou fan, much more into Bowie, but Transformers just whisks me right back to early 80s. I like WHTTAK, but have not been able to read any of the others. I also find her articles a bit dense to wade through and the 'poor me' tone of this one just rubbed me the wrong way. But I like seeing her on review programmes on TV, she is so honest, no bullshit. And you are married now! Hope you are as well as can be.