Monday, 31 December 2012

The 48 Laws of Power


There is a curious pleasure to writing on a train; the tapping of the keys providing a counterpoint to the rhythm of the train as it slips through the evening’s darkness. The rain, too, has got in on the act, and it is performing a staccato percussion on the windows.

All along the train the melodic syllables of French trip from tongues and lips. Here and there I understand a smattering, but most passes like the trains on the other tracks – full of promise and light but gone so quickly that only a glimpse can be experienced. A small light in the darkness, and then the rain and the dark and the rushing silence again.

I am almost finished with a book called The 48 Laws of Power, which is equal parts sound advice and an overly-long prayer by the author for a time when stabbing someone in the back had a more literal meaning.

It’s also not survived the transition to e-book very well; words appear entirely out of position, the font suddenly spikes in size or changes type altogether, and asides appear inside, breaking up the text and one’s train of thought.

In short, then, a nice idea, but annoyingly it is most certainly a book that one ought to own in physical form, if at all. The author talks endlessly of courts, masters, kings, queens and courtesans, trying desperately to make them analogous to the situations one finds oneself in at work. Sometimes he manages, but for the most part it is an awkward stretch.

I realised as I packed this morning that I had completely overpacked. I had brought at least three weeks worth of shirts when I really needed just one – one week, not one shirt. I’m not a savage. In addition I have gained, as you’ll have previously read, another four shirts and an additional suit and they have been shoehorned violently in. I fear opening this suitcase will ping a zip into my eye and leave me roguishly (rather than classically) handsome.

In any case, I am hoping to meet a friend in Paris – Rachael, a girl I knew from a long, long time ago. She has been in Japan recently – what a glorious, jet-setting group of friends I have! – and has only recently returned to Western shores, with a new haircut and a desire to speak French once more. If I am very lucky, I shall happen upon her and we shall have coffee and talk of many things. Only if I am lucky; neither of us seem to have working phones at the moment.

But with the train rushing, and the dark comforting, and a small child sitting opposite who keeps laughing at my odd nose – I have a feeling of great contentment, and a sense that good things are just around the corner.

Happy New Year. May it bring you everything you deserve.