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Hogarth judge

November 2017

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Hogarth judge

This is worth keeping

This text is from a Penguin UK site advertising a new book by Bill Duncan called The Wee Book of Calvin.



Answer the following questions to find out…

You prefer travelling North to travelling South

You feel a secret, unspoken thrill each October when the clocks go back an hour, anticipating the early darkness of the next afternoon, with diminishing daylight hours over succeeding weeks

You fill a basinful of hot water to wash dishes, unwittingly allowing the water to become uncomfortably hot. You nevertheless close your eyes and plunge your hands and forearms into the scalding liquid, despite excessive heat and pain, mindful of your own responsibility and because not to do so would entail guilt

You will write only in black ink: any other shade you abhor, wearily casting the pen aside with distaste, insisting upon the absolute of black ink on white paper

Your membership of a Health Club, far from permitting hedonistic indulgence, allows you to manipulate a delicate and troubled equilibrium of pleasure and pain: it legitimises a guilt-inducing degree of alcohol abuse, while ensuring that indulgence and the pain and punishment of harsh and excessive physical exercise are contiguous. Cleansed, your body is a tabula rasa, awaiting the predestined cycle of indulgence and laceration, guilt and redemption, again and again

You feel suddenly and unaccountably sad during moments of pleasure or relaxation with friends

Your most loved bird-call is not the exaltation of the skylark or the melody of the nightingale, but the harsh croak of the raven as it glides above the desolation of scree and corrie in its perfection of blackness

You favour the art of the Pict, the Viking and the Inuit over that of the Renaissance master or the Mediterranean genius

You harbour an unspoken contempt for the use of anti-depressant drugs as an aid to emotional stability, in the belief that sadness and depression are forces to be experienced in their full, stinging intensity

You prefer black and white to all other colour combinations, except black and black

The two qualities you admire above all others in works of creative endeavour are space and silence

You value your fathomless propensity for harbouring a grudge over years, decades or a lifetime, perceiving a form of beauty in the ability to recall a slight or act of wrong-doing against you by an adversary who may have been unconscious of the act which he or she has long forgotten. Nevertheless, you value your ability to distil the memory of this act over time, allowing it to dominate your perception of the individual concerned, who may find you unaccountably reserved or even hostile. Your response to the individual is dominated by a memory of which the individual is unaware but which you have nurtured and perfected to the extent that the individual becomes nothing more or less than the memory of a grudge

You prefer North Uist to Milan: East Harris to Florida

Your favourite confectionary product is 'Fisherman's Friends - Extra Strong'

You prefer your own company to that of others

You shiver with a sudden thrill when, after days of the sun's grinding dazzle, the trembling static of blue sky and the distant blur of altocumulus, a car passes the open window, its tyres hissing across the dusk as you turn from your book to the silent billow of the curtain rising like a ghost as you close your eyes and inhale the scent of rain

You recoil in lovemaking from experiencing those acts and sensations that you desire and enjoy most intensely

You have an uncanny empathy with bleak and deserted landscapes and with art that centres on melancholy, loss, rejection, tragedy, alienation and suffering

You are unable to resist attending a Free Presbyterian Church service, conducted entirely in Gaelic, when on holiday in the Outer Hebrides. You think you recognise the words 'creel,' 'whisky,' and 'Hell,' but sitting alone in the darkness of the half-empty Kirk amongst a sparse, black-clad, ageing congregation, their voices ascending in a strange dark beauty against the raging surge of the Atlantic, you feel inexplicably at home

You have lost someone who loved you but who was unable to suffer your inability to return love and you are aware of the space that this has placed in your life forever and your heart knows that you could not behave in a different way if you could relive this chance of happiness

You feel an almost uncontrollable impulse to embrace your children when an invisible force paralyses your body and senses, almost as you reach to the adult who you remember holding as a child

You prefer saying No to saying Yes

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