It may look like vandalism, but how else are you going to chase away the demons of the old year?
Last week I received a long, rambling letter from Cerebrus Platvis, the famous Dutch poet. It feels like ages since I last heard from him and by the looks of it things haven’t been going great.
Nearly twenty pages long, written on paper that looks like it was crumpled up and then re-used, some of it stained with huge blotches of ketchup or perhaps curry, full of convoluted diagrams, arrows that point nowhere and emphatic exclamation marks, it is nothing like his usual measured work. I fear he must be losing his mind or has already lost it.
Much of the letter, if that is what it is, is hard to decipher. Some parts seem (intentionally?) smudged beyond recognition, others so hastily scrawled that they’re barely readable. The parts that can be read do not seem to connect into any coherent whole.
In one of the corners on sheet VI, as I’ve numbered them, there is a little poem, in simple, almost childlike writing. It reads:
“Ach,” riep het laken
dat met vlekken was besmeurd
en daar zo’n beetje bij hing
in beter dagen wit gekleurd
Een hond begon te janken
en er klonk een droge snik
Het laken haalde adem
“Het spook”, sprak het, “ben ik”
It will take some time to study and catalog the document in its entirety. But I feel that in sending it he meant to tell me something, and if it doesn’t mean anything to me, perhaps I can find out what it meant to him.
False positive is an amazing comic. It’s fantastically drawn and terrifyingly hilarious.
Sometimes you wonder – where did all the monsters go? Did we kill all them all? What happened to them? But here they are. They are here.
11 Jan 2011: The Telegraph quotes Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays: “There was a period of remorse and apology for banks. I think that period needs to be over”
28 Feb 2012: Jamie Dimon, CEO at JP Morgan, is quoted by the WSJ as saying “We need top talent, you cannot run this business on second-rate talent”
15 May 2012: Washington Post reports that the US Department of Justice is preparing a criminal investigation into JP Morgan’s $2 billion loss. Dimon: “There were many errors, sloppiness and bad judgment”.
27 Jun 2012: US Justice Department releases statement: Barclays admits to misconduct, agrees to pay $160 million penalty.
3 Jul 2012: Barclay’s chief Bob Diamond steps down. Diamond: “I know that each and every one of the people at Barclays works hard every day to serve our customers and clients. That is how we support economic growth and the communities in which we live and work.”
The Independent reports that mr Diamond’s severance package is still under discussion.