Went to Dickens House Museum and British Museum today. Too much to take in… may be I should not have visited more than one museum in one day… Extremely exhausted now… But to my surprise/dismay (?), I found that there is actually a Keats House Museum at Hampstead! How come I never know of its existence? And in Hampstead… almost zone 3… another big excursion… Yet I will not let myself down again like last time in Rome when I missed out the Keats-Shelley Museum… So now I return to when I first came to London – roaming the streets everyday…
Finished Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World – my fourth Ishiguro novel – I think I can be counted as a fan now? To be honest, it is not as profound as The Remains of the Day, or When We Were Orphans; but it is only to be expected, since Ishiguro was then an award artist in making. Still, some of his traits are already prominent, and which still do not fail to strike me whenever they come up. In fact, this early novel of Ishiguro’s about the Japanese artist during Imperial Japan and the war years strikes a chord within me. Especially this passage by the end of the novel:
‘Army officiers, politicians, businessmen,’ Matsuda said. ‘They’ve all been blamed for what happened to this country. But as for the likes us, Ono, our contribution was always marginal. No one cares now what the likes of you and me once did. They look at us and see only two old men with their sticks.’ He smiled at me, then went on feeding the fish. ‘We’re the only ones who care now. The likes of you and me, Ono, when we look back over our lives and see they were flawed, we’re the only ones who care now.’
The artist’s contribution is always marginal – this remark reminds me of the scolarship interview last year. Even now I can feel the ambivalence and scorn in the board of interviewers, comprised of businessmen and lawyers, when I talked of my ambitions in the cultural field. Only the boy who was the previous winner of the scholarship took me seriously. But I meant it when I said cultural reform. But why must all artists be confined to the floating world; why must art mean a life of decadence? When we look back over our lives and see they were flawed, we are the only ones who care.