1. A vignette from Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, which would appear, annoyingly enough, to be as good as everyone says it is:
Often I was joined by a very kind widow in a baseball cap who conducted an endless and apparently fruitless search and murmured to herself, for some reason, about Luxembourg.It’s the subject of the murmuring that’s so perfectly chosen: Belgium or Cleveland would be too obvious; Mongolia or Ouagadougou too self-consciously wacky. But Luxembourg is just right.
2. In the BBC3 documentary Deborah 13: Servant of God, the eponymous pubescent creationist goes to stay with her equally devout but slightly less intense brother Matthew at university. He introduces her to the joys of clubbing, but leaves the floor when Katy Perry’s lesbian-till-graduation hit ‘I Kissed A Girl’ comes on: “I’m not going to dance to this song because I don’t agree with it,” he announces as he flounces. (Incidentally, did anybody else think Matthew was the campest fundamentalist Christian they’d ever encountered?)
As Matthew and Deborah stand outside assessing the experience, a slightly déshabillé young lady stumbles over and asks if anyone might be good enough to write on her prominently proffered ladybumps.
Matthew demurs, having previously recounted how he’d fended off the amorous attentions of a mud-spattered wench with the horrified retort, “you’re dirty!”; he's clearly a very picky young man. He then determines that she’s a fresher, and asks: “Why are you letting people write on your boobs on your first night?”
“I’m not,” she responds, “this is, like, my third night.”
3. And following on from the earlier reminscences about Uncle Tom Dolby and all, at Rock’sBackPages, I attempt to concoct a retrospective pop genre: Postmodern Futurism.