A great pop song from the pre-Beatles era (1961):
Rest in peace, Mr. Fenton-Stardust.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
I am a lazy bastard when it comes to updating the blog - especially the 'booksiveread' section - which is shame because my two remaining readers miss out on such gems as this from Sue Townsend.
She was writing about this stuff in 1989. The intellectuals on the 'left' are only getting their head around this sort of stuff now twenty plus years later.
She really was my favourite sort of Labourite.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Loretta had decided to forgo a starter to give herself plenty of time to recount what had happened in Paris, as Tracey tucked into broad beans and artichoke hearts she gave him a bald account of everything she remembered about the weekend. Apart from a rather feeble joke about the Fem Sap conference—Tracey found any manifestation of organized feminism positively terrifying—he heard her out in silence. When she finished, he pushed away his empty plate and thought for a moment. Above their heads, the rain still drummed on the canvas of the canopy and splashed off on to the pavement.
"There really was a lot of blood?" he enquired at last. "Too much for the sheets to have been used to clean up after an accident? More than if someone had been having, er, a period?" He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
Loretta suppressed an urge to smile. "Much more," she said.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
That moment you find a copy of a book for $2 in a bookshop when the cheapest copy available on the internet is $63. That.
Let me correct that. The only copy available on the internet is $63 . . . and, for all I know, it's in worse condition than the copy that I just picked up.
The copy I just picked up is falling to bits as I write and won't survive a second reading - like I ever read a book a second time - but I never thought I'd see a copy of the this most wanted book this side of winning the lottery. (And, trust me, I looked for it.)
" . . . Perhaps the first thing to be noted is its resemblance to a main theme in Paul Lafargue's unjustifiably neglected pamphlet 'The Right to Be Lazy', which was written at about the same time. (Lafargue was, among other things, Karl Marx's son-in-law. There is also something to be said for the contention that he knew only too well whereof he wrote.) If anything, 'What is Ca' canny?' is far blunter than anything Lafargue wrote in 'The Right to Be Lazy', which is in the main a discussion of popular culture and the need for more leisure time. Secondly, whether or not Mann knew anything of Lafargue's literary efforts (and there is no evidence that he did), was he perhaps 'theorising' his own lessons and experiences of 1890, when, as we have seen, the dockers of London indeed engaged in a fair amount of 'ca' canny' of their own? I think it is quite plausible. Finally, one can ask whether the leaflet prefigured syndicalism and was possibly influenced by anarchist thought? Again, there is a strong case to be made that it was. The syndicalists, particularly the IWW, indeed advocated 'ca' canny'. In Dynamite, Louis Adamic tells the story of the construction labourers in Bedford, Indiana, who in 1908 took their shovels round to the machine shop to have them shortened. 'Short pay, short shovel', they said.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Bob found the dog two days after Christmas, the neighbourhood gone quiet in the cold, hungover and gas-bloated. He was coming off his regular four-to-two shift at Cousin Marv's in the Flats, Bob having worked behind the bar for the better part of two decades now. That night, the bar had been quiet. Millie took up her usual corner stool, nursing a Tom Collins and occasionally whispering to herself or pretending to watch the TV, anything to keep from going back to the seniors home on Edison Green. Cousin Marv, himself, made an appearance and hung around. He claimed to be reconciling the receipts, but mostly he sat in a corner booth in the rear, reading his racing form and texting his sister, Dottie.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Then suddenly, midway through the first half and after several hours of watching cars whizz past us, a Terry lookalike in a beaten-up VW slowed down and came to a halt. Seeing the red brakelights got my heart beating rapidly with excitement. Kevin, the driver, just nodded at us knowingly, and uttered the word 'karma'. We got in and Terry sat in the front, taking care of the conversation, while Dave and I took the back seat where we sat in a cloud of Brut. The driver didn't know where the ground was, which I saw as conclusive proof that most hippies don't like football, but said he'd drop us off in the city centre.
He was as good as his word, and half an hour later we were in the middle of Southampton, frantically looking around. Dave asked a woman where the football ground was and she gave us detailed directions. It was within walking distance, but we ran. It was now 3.55 by my watch so we were still in with a chance of watching the last half hour or so, as long as we could get there quickly. Eventually the floodlights came into view, and not long after that I saw a road sign saying THE DELL and heard the sound of the crowd. We arrived at the turnstiles dripping with sweat, but we'd made it. In a rare piece of good luck we didn't have to pay to get in, having missed about three quarters of the game.
Exhausted from all the physical exertion, we wearily clambered up the step terracing just as a chorus of boos was ringing out. What was going on? We arrived at the top just in time to see a lone figure in a white shirt trudging off the pitch, head bowed. The referee, Lester Shapter (Paignton), was brandishing a red card and pointing towards the tunnel. I didn't need to see the number 7 on his back to know that the dismissed player was George Best.
According to the jubilant Saints fans standing next to us, George had taken exception to the awarding of a free kick and had made his displeasure known to Mr. Shapter with an extensive rant. The only consolation was the possibility of George being the first player ever to get a red card (the card system was in operation for the first time that day), but he was narrowly beaten to that honour by Dave Wagstaffe of Blackburn.
We had hitched all the way to Southampton to see our hero walk sulkily off the pitch. We had major hangovers, we hadn't slept, and we would now have to stand in the rain and watch an irrelevant Second Division game that, without its main attraction, none of us would have watched even if it had been played in our back garden.
(From Chapter/Programme 12 - Southampton v. Fulham, 2 October 1976)
Monday, September 22, 2014
Three days later, Rodney was still floating when he took the roadshow back to Loftus Road to face Bournemouth, scoring twice in a 4-0 romp: "It was the only time in my life I've ever played drunk.' If Stock was aware of his condition, it evidently didn't bother him. 'He played so-oo well that night. I sat on the touchline and at one point I asked the referee to keep the game going for another half an hour, just to see what the big fella could do. After the game, the Bournemouth chairman, who also happened to be an FA councillor, comes up to me and says, "That Marsh, he ain't half a lucky player." "That's funny," I said, "but he's just scored his 39th goal of the season and that's more than your lot have scored this season." People can be very bitchy in football. If someone has a good player we are inclined to say "he's not very good but we could do something with him if we had him".'
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
When the detectives had passed the yacht, Mr Pyke spoke again, slowly, with his habitual precision.
'He's the sort of son good families hate to have. Actually you can't have many specimens in France.'
Maigret was quite taken aback, for it was the first time, since he had known him, that his colleague had expressed general ideas. Mr Pyke seemed a little embarrassed himself, as though overcome with shame.
'What makes you think we have hardly any in France?'
'I mean not of that type, exactly.'
He picked his words with great care, standing still at the end of the jetty, facing the mountains which could be seen on the mainland.
'I rather think that in your country, a boy from a good family can commit some bêtises, as you say, so as to have a good time, to enjoy himself with women or cars, or to gamble in the casino. Do your bad boys play chess? I doubt it. Do they read Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard? It's unlikely, isn't it? They only want to live their life without waiting for their inheritance.'
They leant against the wall which ran along one side of the jetty, and the calm surface of the water was occasionally troubled by a fish jumping.
'De Greef does not belong to that category of bad characters, I don't think he even wants to have money. He's almost a pure anarchist. He has revolted against everything he has known, against everything he's been taught, against his magistrate of a father and his bourgeois mother, against his home town, against the customs of his own country.'
He broke off, half-blushing.
'I beg your pardon . . . '
'Go on, please.'
'We only exchanged a few words, the two of us, but I think I have understood him, because there are a lot of young people like that in my country, in all countries, probably, where morals are very strict. That's why I said just now that one probably doesn't come across a vast number of that type in France. Here there isn't any hypocrisy. Perhaps there isn't enough.'
Was he alluding to the surroundings, the world the two of them had been plunged in since their arrival, to the Monsieur Émiles, the Charlots, the Ginettes, who lived among the others without being singled out for opprobrium?
Maigret felt a little anxious, a little piqued. Without being attacked, he was sung by an urge to defend himself.