Sunday, September 23, 2001


Now In Trieste. Also In Italy But Only Just. "Trieste," says Lorenzo, who got me here for the festival, "is where dreams come to die." I"m not sure if he's quoting someone or not, but it seems about right for this strange crossroads town, once the southernmost bit of the Austrian Empire. We saw the home of Maximilian, briefly Emperor of Mexico, this morning. Seeing the journal's been off-line I've been filling up a moleskine notebook with jottings, and I may put a few of them onto the computer tomorrow. Trieste seems like the interesection of so many places, so many stories...

It rained all day today -- grey, and misty. Yesterday, also in the rain, we walked across the Square of Unity, and found ourselves watching jugglers and suchlike, in unconvincing costumes, and a parade of re-enactors from nearby towns, wearing things people didn't wear, carrying weapons they didn't have. It's all going renfest, I think. The whole bloody world. Not that I minded; there's nothing to cheer you up like other people wearing wet chainmail.

En route today to the home of Maximilian, the rain forced us into a dry space which happened to be holding an exhibition of Robert Capa photographs: astonishing stuff, of the Spanish Civil War, of the Second World War, of the Japanese-Chinese War of 1938, and I found myself looking at the photos of combat, of wounded civilians, of people whose worlds had crumbled and fallen, without any sense of irony. These people were us. Whatever side they were on. They were us, and the images had a truth and an immediacy I couldn't have imagined until recently.

Spent several hours this evening doing a round table discussion at the Festival, talking about comics, myths, magic, language.

The Moleskine notebook (I bought it in Venice) is one of my favourite possessions already (although they sell it now as "Bruce Chatwin's Notebook!" which seems, I dunno, in faintly bad taste, although I'd be hard put to tell you exactly why I think so.) Just the right size. Just the right weight. an elastic band to hold it closed, a pocket to put invoices and so on. You can see a bit about it at -- now I have to find somewhere to buy them in the US.

Home tomorrow... It seems odd to be going home the day that Jet Lag catches up with me.