(From the archive) Borges, Houellebecq, Lou Reed ... essays

One of the more surprising aspects of having this website over the past year has been seeing which pieces of writing connect with readers and how; noticing, for example, how on one day a reader in the Philippines links with a few more in the United States, and then another in Argentina, or Germany or wherever it might be through the reading of a particular piece of writing.

Two older essays keep returning in the traces: one on the great Argentine writer, Borges and another on the French iconoclast, Michel Houellebecq. It's almost as if this writing is flickering light, across borders and time-zones. So as an expression of gratitude - and it must be said curiosity and intrigue - here are the two essays again.

Rather than a slow fade into the twilight of old age, the last two decades of Jorge Luis Borges’s life saw the transformation of his literary reputation and personal life (through the first International Publishers’ Prize in 1961; then later the Spanish-speaking world’s most prestigious literary award, the Cervantes; the translation of his collected works into English and French and his late marriage to María Kodama). And yet in a way not unlike the knife-fighters seeking their deaths in his imagined Buenos Aires, this success appeared to come at a price.
An elderly man, whose white beard and glasses make him look like a retired professor, sits drinking beer in a Phuket bar. Smoke machines obscure young women – nude, save for necklaces of flowers.

The man is so still he seems dead, but there are tears of happiness in his eyes. He signals to a young Thai woman in a white G-string, who comes and sits on his lap.

On Michel Houellebecq: Sex and the West

As a response to this interest, I have created a new tag 'essays' where you can find my longer pieces, from the archive (on literature, music/hip-hop and refugees) and also future extracts from the book I'm writing on Paris. My hope is that readers who like a certain subject might also try others, as in the end I'm using the same literary techniques and it is driven by the same sensibility. 

My curiosity is piqued by all of this; I encourage you to contact me to let me in on the 'secret'. Indeed, I encourage anyone who reads work on this site to get in touch via contact (as I don't always see the comments on the essays) Thanks.