Ohio. Grey skies, temperatures just below freezing, and a few glorious minutes of snow while I ran around the pond. This week’s running soundtrack is Public Image Ltd’s Metal Box, one of those records that somehow sounds more vital and prescient forty-something years later.

Today I noticed two of my favorite blogs come from Prince Edward Island. Over the past few years, Peter Rukavina and Clark MacLeod have become steady, welcome presences in my feed that epitomize a relaxed, more personal internet of yore—and hopefully the future. I have no idea if one referred me to the other or if they even know one another. I also realized I had no idea where Prince Edward Island was, so I looked it up this afternoon. It looks beautiful on the map: a squiggle tucked in the bottom of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, its arms cocked northeast toward the coast of Newfoundland and the frozen cadence beyond: The Labrador Trough. Baffin Bay. Cumberland Sound. 

I’ll bet the winters are first-rate on Prince Edward Island. I love the cold and the dark; I fantasize about someday living near a frozen sea—which leaves me wondering why I’m hellbent on living in the Mojave desert, where it’s very bright and two hundred degrees. Maybe I’ll find a way to become Canadian one day. In the meantime, it’s nice to have a new place on the map to romanticize, and I hope Peter and Clark will share lots of pictures of snow. 

The Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Some joker named a cold body of water after a man who was roasted alive. There’s some low-key synchronicity here because I’ve been thinking about the Catholic saints today, particularly the strange relationship between aesthetics and suffering, e.g., Titian’s painting of Saint Lawrence’s last minutes. And the paintings of Saint Sebastian riddled with arrows have always made an impression on me, but it wasn’t until today that I learned he survived these wounds. A widow named Irene nursed him back to health. Two years later, he heckled the emperor Diocletian who clubbed him to death and tossed his body into a sewer. 

A Catholic pun: the Dominican order of priests took the name of Saint Dominic, whose mother had dreamt that a dog leaped from her womb with a torch between its teeth and set fire to the earth. The Dominicans ruthlessly pursued heretics and became known as “the hounds of the Lord”: domini canis.

I’m slowly working my way through The Peripheral, with its dense sci-fi visions of keratotic skin, floating cities, and ceramic androids. But William Gibson has nothing on the Catholics.

Public Image Ltd – Swan Lake (Monitor Mix)

Metal Box | Virgin, 1979 | Review by Simon Reynolds
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Will Ellwood
4 months ago

While I’d also one day like to live beside a frozen sea I would just like to ruefully note that the romance fades in autumn before the cold properly arrives. My running beside the cold & dark North Sea has been seriously interrupted by the late arrival here of heavy autumn rains and strong winds in Scotland.

This week I’d choose the desert.

Thank you though for sharing Clark and Peter’s blogs. I have added them to my feed reader.

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