Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-08-10 - 9:26 a.m.
I flew in from Lycia on Sunday evening and discovered that I needed to be in Birmingham half way through Monday morning. Here’s a paragraph about Lycia that I unearthed yesterday evening:
"In south-west Anatolia, between the bays of Antalya and Fethiye and extending out into the Mediterranean is the Teke Peninsula, known in ancient times as Lycia. The geographic boundaries of Lycia, which is hemmed in by the regions of Pamphylia to the north-east, Pisidia and Phrygia to the north, and Caria to the west, cannot be precisely drawn, because they changed several times in the rapid currents of its complex history. Roughly, however, it may at one time streched from Telmessos in the west to as far as Phaselis in the east.
Recent excavations and research have brought to light important information about the history, language, and art of unspoilt Lycia, famous for its rock-cut tombs, its sarcophagi, and its local script.
As a result of excavations conducted by a team of American archaelogists since 1963 in Karatas-Semahoyuk area near Elmali, the prehistory of the region has largely been filled in. Early Bronze Age examples of earthenware pottery reveal that the region was settled by 3000 B.C. Moreover, the fact that place names containing, "-nd", "-nt", "-ss" (Kalynda, Arykanda, Telmessos, Idebessos) occur in a number of Anatolian sites also dated to the fourth millennium B.C. verifes this early settlement date linguistically."
We went as far west as Caria to ancient Caunos and as far east as Arykanda. Caunos was the son of Miletus who gave his name to the birthplace of philosophy in Ionia. Caunos had a twin sister who developed a incestuous desire for her brother and so he fled south. She tried to kill herself but was turned into something like a stream or lake. The love of Caunos became the name for an unrealisable passion.
There are some great rock tombs at Caunos – like those at Fethiye – and I made a sketch of them. I also made a sketch of the theatre at Arykanada. I am going to be writing and talking about Arykanda at some length towards the end of September, I think . It has tombs in the Lycian style with Christian codes and a church which seems to have been badly damaged by the earthquake of AD 146.
Arykanda also has a very complete bath complex which helped make sense of the Turkish bath I had at the hotel. In sketching the hotel I thought I might eventually get into the atmosphere of de Chirico - putting the guests in the middle distance on the terraces in slightly inconsistent perspective. The barman had a David Sylvian album which he would play some nights in the early hours – also some Turkish percussion spoons – his family played a lot of Sazz. He said the Turkish music I bought in town was the stuff older people would listen to. Some of it sounds a bit like prog to me. Phrygia where the scale comes from is to the north of Lycia, of course.
Lycia was a federation whose constitution was much admired eg by Montesquieu and small cities like Arykanda only had one vote whereas large ones like Xanthos had three. The sea used to reach all the way to Xanthos (which has unusual pillar tombs). Nearby Letoon where the federation used to meet to deliberate used be an island – the city is named after Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo – whose father was Zeus.
His wife persecuted Leto who wandered the landscape and there is a belief that she may have given birth to her twins at Letoon rather than Delos. At Letoon there are three tombs side by side – to Leto, Apollo and Artemis – and a theatre in the Hellenistic style with a frieze over one entrance with masks sculpted including some dedicated to Dionysus. I sat in the shade of the temple to Leto and sketched the view towards the theatre.
Father Christmas was born in Lycia – maybe at Xanthos. The Lycians fought on the same side as the Trojans at Troy against the Greeks.
I wrote two drafts of a talk about Nick Drake, Elektra and Cambridge poetry by the pool/bar/at the beach cafe. Just now I am working through Peter Ackroyd’s “The Diversions of Purley” looking for clues. Yesterday I found “day is done”in a short poem by Veronica Forrest-Thomson (1948-75) and an amazing poem in memoriam.
This is the sort of clue I am after:
This beautiful fruit broken off the tree
A veiled remembrance of all this reality
At night I like to look up at the stars
And when I wake up I am glad to be alone
Just as things are brightest when they are stopped in mid-career
This sequence of feelings
Is described in the head
As a hymn to feeling
Leading me forward
He said, the day is like a code
No she said it is clearly over
We must wait for the collapse
Before we start a new life
Indistinct now as the sky fills with wings
On waking up and looking at the day
Like an engraving in a penny dreadful
Look down and read the faces in the crowd
Silent as if seen through a window
I think the line in Riders on the Storm “into this world we are thrown” is quite important – also the self interview that Morrison did in 69 – also People Are Strange. Also that in August 67 that he taught Nico the use of imagery in songwriting and then of course Nico’s views on songwriting influenced John Cale who came to London in May June 1970 to mix Desertshore. Morrison was into the Apollo Dionysus distinction.
We went on a sea kayak trip over the sunken ruins of Kekova – my arms nearly fell off but it was worth it in retrospect. Vita learned to dive to around 100 feet which she thought was brilliant – I have to say I am pretty impressed – she thought it was great.
There was an interesting programme last night on R3 about Messaien’s mum and the unworldly poetry she wrote.