Good morning, it’s Wednesday afternoon. I just woke up. I’m still nudging the sleep out of my eyes. I’ve been reading a Spanish review of my book, after pushing it through Google Translate. One line from it said ‘he believes that being gay is racist’. Being gay is racist. That is a computer translation that I don’t think I can untangle. Only a translator speaking Spanish and English would be able to. I’ve been trying to think of good analogies, to make it seem clearer to myself. The best I can do is:
I’m thinking of a line of small, houses. Each house is a different colour. Each colour is a different language. Each house has been built as a reinterpretation of the first. The first is my house and it is blue. Come inside, it’s warm here and I have a dog. The dog is called Edwardo. Edwardo is of little significance to the analogy but he is good company so be nice to him.
A long basement runs under all of the houses. On each side of each house there is a door in the basement. In the basement space between each house there are a thousand tangled balls of string. All of the houses are built of string.
That didn’t go very well. I think I’m more confused. I was just trying to think about the parts of writing that only translators get to know about. The female human who wrote the Spanish review doesn’t know it says ‘being gay is racist’ to me and I don’t know what she originally meant by it.
It’s scary to not know what people originally mean. That could make bad things happen. Maybe the rapey man in the kebab shop just meant ‘there is dirt on your face and I am going to get it off’. If that was the case, then I’m sorry. (It definitely wasn’t).
I’m back in London now. People are still protesting about things. People are angry at things. People believe in things. People tweet about hating the government while they are eating breakfast. I don’t think I hate anyone. I’m warm and I’m not hungry and I’m listening to Eminem. Everything’s fine. I’d like to be back in Den Haag though. Here are my tips to the organisers:
-make it one month long
-make the deadline for these columns be ‘when the sky has
Everything was fun and everyone was nice to everyone else.
p.s after my last column a nice man that I met on my first night sent me a tweet saying ‘the story about marihuana on that island is true…;)’. So I guess I got that wrong.