New Year’s Day Portion of DeLillo
Blearily, I sit down on the train as the Hammers fans pile on. A boy pulls a West Ham beanie hat out of a carrier bag and slips it on. The Wolves fans examine Green Street without that jaded, glazed look in their eyes. At Mile End, the board flashes up a Barking Hammersmith and City train but it stops at Plaistow at the train reverse bay and we walk right down and its so incredibly muted and the whole fucking city is hungover and I started the day with Kettle crisps eating laying down. You take a small fragment of a poem and repeat it, repeat it and I remember where I read it. I remember where I picked up the sentence.
— And as a DeLillo fan, there are worse things you could do than compare this, the short story version of the opening of Mao II, with the final book.
They say (he said) in an interview that he writes on paragraph to a page using a typewriter and I think of the weight of all the words he’s written and wonder if it weighs down on him at all and whether that was what squashed his last book into a novella because that makes a kind of sense. The mythology of the Tube means a journey is imbued with meanings and names at all times. The incantory, the hallucinatory "mind the gap" becomes a catchphrase for garrulous back packers,
"This train is being held at this station/
to even out the gaps/
in the service."
Where this train
and I’ve read the opening page of Cosmopolis so many times it may as well be my style sheet, the scrolling dawn, Eric Packer: