1. 24 marathons. jesus, the steely determination of the man. i'm horrified and jealous at the same time.
2. jenny saville. i've been looking at her paintings rather obsessively over the last couple of weeks. there is something near-magical about much of the work. in some paintings every single mark seems both a pure abstraction and an utterly faithful representation of a part of a body or a face, and as you look at the surface it seems to shimmer between these two things. and another kind of shimmer, too, between a a process which brings out the colours hiding in flesh, or some kind of physical injury. there is also something late rembrandt about the way she can do pretty much anything she wants with a stroke of paint. of course, from her point of view, the process probably feels nothing like that, just the usual grind of pushing a wet mattress upstairs that most art seems to involve... but the result feels touched by the hand of god.
3. the funniest thing i have ever heard on radio. and that includes the hitch-hiker's guide. my boys insist on hearing it repeatedly in the car, all three series. i complain that i've heard it way too many times already. then i give in and put it on i find myself laughing all over again.
4. i read this just after it won the t s eliot prize and simply didn't get it. which happens sometimes. or happens to me at any rate. the moon is in the wrong phrase, i've got my prose head on... Last week i started reading it again and it's wonderful. and obviously wonderful. perhaps i'm just stupid.
while i'm on the subject of philip gross's poetry, this is engagingly odd, especially if you happen to be interested in electricity pylons: