A book that changed me
JAH WOBBLE on Jorge Luis Borges's 'Labyrinths'
Sunday 12 October 1997
Why did it strike you so much? It's a collection of short stories, essays and parables, and what I always do with a book of stories is find the shortest one - "Oh, here you go, page 182 to 184" - and just steam in. To me, Borges is easy reading, and yet a lot of people have difficulty with him. In one paragraph you'll have a German spy in WWII, and in the next you're in a maze and it's the Middle Ages. And yet it all seems much more real than anything in the latest "gripping thriller". You don't have to look for meaning, the meaning will come and find you. It's the literary equivalent of trance music; it's heart to mind and back again. You don't have to analyse. As a result, I went into all these different dream states. You have very strange dreams after reading Borges.
Have you re-read it? I pick it up quite often. When you're reading him, it's important not to stop and go back, or shut the book after a few pages and say, "Mmm, what happened there?" You've got to open up, don't pause. A lot of people get very hung up on knowing what everything means, following a linear thread - basically being control freaks. I never worried about the temporal displacement because there's a spiritual dynamic. So yes, I dip into it, I find it very relaxing, very meditative. If you're on a train, all stressed out, having difficulty concentrating, it seems to draw all the threads together again.
Did it make you want to find out more about the author? I don't really know anything about Borges, and it's not necessary. He obviously knew a lot about Greek philosophy, Wittgenstein, Cabbalist texts; he's studied all that. But the person isn't important. It's like, I'm glad I never met Miles Davies. Because at the end of the day, you'd only be meeting a human being. You connect with the godhead in the work.
! Jah Wobble's next album, 'The Light Programme' (30 Hertz), will be released at the end of this month.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Endeavour series 2, episode 4 - TV review: A gripping, sordid, startling and magnificent end to the series
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- < Previous
- Next >