February

By Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

I Wish I Had a River

Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on


Goodbye Winter

In W.G. Sebald’s book The Rings of Saturn, he talks about Polish writer Joseph Conrad and how his father, Apollo Korzeniowski, was sentenced to exile in Vologda, a god-forsaken town somewhere in Russia. Apollo wrote in the summer of 1863:

“There are only two seasons: the white winter and the green winter. For nine months the ice-cold air sweeps down from the Arctic sea. The thermometer plunges to unbelievable depths and one is surrounded by a limitless darkness. During the green winter it rains week in week out. The mud creeps over the threshold, rigor mortis is temporarily lifted and a few signs of life, in the form of an all-pervasive merasmus, begin to manifest themselves. In the white winter everything is dead, during the green winter everything is dying.”

OK, winter is not that bad here in the sunny coast of Spain, but winter is winter. And now it’s over, so HELLO Spring, let’s soak up the sun!


CÓS BLANC

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Lots of confetti + lots more confetti + music + people + more confetti + costumes + beer = Cós Blanc

In the small coastal town of Salou it snows only once a year, always on the first Saturday in February. But the snow in Salou is not as we know it, it’s much better.

Cós Blanc is a surreal experience, and I can think of no better way to start my new blog. On this night 20 tonnes of confetti shoot out of 20 cannons along the main street while a parade of carnival floats and bizarre costumes takes place. Thousands of people come to watch and throw confetti at each other. Expect to find confetti on your clothes for the next 4 months and on the floor of your house for as long as you live there. Also, be warned: if you buy a giant litre of beer you WILL get confetti in it and you WILL drink it anyway! 

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