Saturday, 3 December 2011

Bits & pieces, eight
When I finished my course, I also thought about what I would miss. One of the things that came straight to the front of my mind was coming out of Goodge St tube station early on Saturday mornings, always into an empty Tottenham Court Rd. 

Mostly, in my memory anyway, it was bright and sunny. I still can’t figure out why it was so meaningful to me. A promise of hope and potential, perhaps.

Whatever . . . it also made me think of this . . .

Friday, 2 December 2011

Bits & pieces, seven

Just a short note letting you know . . .

One I've redesigned this blog a little, giving all you lucky people a chance to buy my book – in a way that gives me a small kickback.

Two If you haven't learned this already directly from me, I have taken to tweeting and will be creating an alternative advent calendar by sending out a select (and hopefully offensive) fact from my book Filthy English every day till Christmas, at least. My intention is to send it around nine-thirty in the morning, just in time for you to read it on your way to the pithead (or office, perhaps) and retweet it to one of your many, many, many fellow twits. (Help me, please, have I got my terminology right there?)

Three I have added a tweet button here, plus more buttons that will enable you to follow this blog and get updates every time I post, instead of having to wait for my occasional reminders. Come on, you know that's what you've been waiting for.

Next (tomorrow) London WC1

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bits & pieces, six

When I finished my masters, I meant to write something about the Wynne Godley story — how he was appallingly treated by the analyst Masud Khan and how that scandal was dealt with by the psychoanalytic establishment and what meaning and resonance that story still has. But I didn't do, did I? So here is his obituary, which tells some of the story anyway. It's an important tale and there's more here.

PS In case you're wondering why one of those links takes you to a piece of ecclesiastical sculpture, it's because his head was the model for one of the figures.
Bits & pieces, five

Something (fairly) silly? (But perhaps don't bother if you have no interest at all in either football or childhood's bestest imaginative construction toy.)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Wonders of the modern world: what young(ish) people do with my (our) past

I was at a show last nightFlorian Lunaire. It was in a big room above a pub in Essex Rd. It was excellent, as it happens. (Apart from anything else, he has a song called Forever Young. I always approve of songs which share their title with another very famous but quite different song. I'm thinking of writing my own Roll Over, Beethoven — or Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Hit Me Baby, One More Time.)

But the show itself is not the point. The point is the music that was played before Florian went on. It was, as far as I could tell, old. When I say old, I mean old. I don't think I heard anything newer than the early 1980s — when not many other people in the room were even so much as born.

The tune I particularly noticed was Prince Buster's Madness. Now that is from 1963. At least. Maybe it's even older. It certainly sounds like it is. So it pretty much pre-dates the Beatles. I probably first heard it at the Tunbridge Wells club I spent nights at it in 1968 or so. They'd play lots of ska and bluebeat and soul. I'm sure that was one of them. But . . . it sounded old, even then.

And now they are playing at a show for today's young people. Which leads to all kinds of thoughts about nostalgia and its meaning for us. And its inconstant handmaiden, authenticity, too, of course. Which maybe I'll get into some time. But for now, just one thing . . .

I did the maths. That tune is, roughly, fifty years old. For me (and mine), an equivalent would be that when I was at the Tunbridge Wells club, the warm-up music would have been from World War One. Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag. It's a long, long way to Tipperary. My old man said follow the van and don't dilly dally. Boiled beef and carrots, that's the stuff to do you well. Any old iron, any old iron, any, any, any old iron. Etc etc. To a crowd of young men and women in Ben Sherman button-downs and French crops. Possibly not. Probably, in fact.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bits and pieces, four

When, last year, my old (in both meanings, at least) colleague, Murray Sayle died, I wrote a short memory of him — which I was then asked to read at his London memorial. I didn't think, though, to share any of his wonderful writing with you.

Recently, I found this piece by him — which I didn't even know about. It's a great short sample of his work. One of the smartest things you're likely to read about John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

I might post links to more of his work but, meantime, I'd say it's worth searching out these bits and pieces . . .

One His take on Bloody Sunday, effectively suppressed for thirty years or so. He was there on the spot and, much later, gave evidence to the enquiry. If his conclusions haven't been entirely vindicated, the piece still has resonance.

Two His take on Tiananmen Square. A quite different view of how many were killed and what the demonstrators were on about. An interesting perspective at this time of worldwide Square Dances.

Three His documentary about North Korea, done with the great photographer Elliot Erwitt.

Four His revisionist history of the Vietnam War — where he was a reporter.

Five His version of the atomic end to World War Two — which I helped with, in the smallest of ways, by editing the British version, for the Mail on Sunday's Night & Day, down from the New Yorker original.
murray sayle article
murray sayle article