I was given a gift card to pick out two Christmas presents that I said I had wanted. One of the presents I wanted was the Complete Montaigne, the Everyman edition, but I could not find it where I looked, and I did look in several places. (It does not surprise me because with the corporate takeover of education, especially higher education, too many of the products of that education imagine themselves intelligent enough, literate enough to be radical enough to believe they can do without connection to anything that has been a product of the intellectual currents of what we used to call Western Civilization, perhaps eschewing Montaigne most assuredly because he was [is] white and male, perhaps more so in America because he is French?) One clerk at a bookseller never contacted me after he said he was going to order the aforementioned, so I let it go. (People in positions to help people often do not because they feel they are under paid. It remains very annoying.)
I had also wanted Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, since last year Jeanne Moreau died. I adored the film when I was in my twenties–I adored her. I first saw it at an art house cinema decades ago while I was studying with Bill Packard at HB Studio on Bank Street in the West Village–it’s no longer there–the art house cinema–as so many places like that for film are gone. HB is there, although Packard is dead . . . I am not going to tell you about the day I found out and how and where and with whom and what we were doing and did after . . . .
I did not get the Montaigne, nor did I find the Truffaiut film at B&N when I looked there among their Criterion Collection. Instead of Truffaut, I decided to get Goddard’s Breathless. As far as a book to complete my intentions, I bought Alfred Doblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, perhaps because I have recently become enamored with the Netflix Original series Babylon Berlin, the later taking -place in the year Doblin’s book was published, 1929. Best television I have seen in years????
It’s only been a couple of weeks that I am in possession of the two. I have only just started the novel, but I was in the middle of re-reading Kafka’s The Trial and Brecht’s Three Penny Opera, as well as from a copy I found in the library of Radio Benjamin which collects somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty of Benjamin’s radio broadcast transcripts he delivered on Berlin radio between 1927 and 1933.
Berlin in the 20s . . . !
I have already watched the film mentioned above, which I have seen before, I cannot say how many times . . . but it seems as if it would have to be at least a few or more. I miss the arthouse cinemas of NYC when I was a young man.