Thursday, June 13, 2024

About indie reading

Anna Doble on being an indie music fan in the mostly-analogue 90s:

London Fields by Martin Amis sat on my shelf for at least a year in about 1997. Why? Because one of Blur once mentioned it in an interview. My copy wasn’t even mine – it was taken out on loan from my home-town library which led me to racking up a fine so insurmountable (£8-ish) that I eventually returned it under cover of darkness in a covert mission to the marketplace whereupon I shoved the book through the library’s awkward letterbox and ran panting for the hills. Other books on the curriculum in the School of Indie were Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and Douglas Coupland’s Generation X (which we all actually read).

Do musicians tell people what to read these days? I know the likes of Dolly Parton encourage kids to read, but where’s the equivalent of Graham (I bet it was Graham, he worse glasses) begging up Martin Amis? And the Manics doing the same for Mishima and many others, Radiohead for Chomsky and Naomi Klein, Paul Weller for Colin MacInnes, Edwyn Collins for Salinger, Morrissey for Wilde and Capote (less so Keats and Yeats). Is literary prescriptivism not A Thing any more?

Saturday, June 08, 2024

About Kafka and crockery

Yet more musing on what we’re expected to know. This morning, in a discussion on Radio 4 about the overused adjectives “Orwellian” and “Kafkaesque” Evan Lian (who drew the cartoon above) says, “I’m not the most well-read person, which is sort of embarrassing to admit on a BBC radio programme” which does rather play into the idea of the BBC (and, by extension, Britain) as being the repository of everything and everyone erudite. Which is nice.

And then on the same station’s Electioncast, broadcast immediately afterwards, BBC's own chief political correspondent, who read PPE at Oxford, says that he thinks he once read an essay by Orwell and then admits he doesn’t actually know what a Ming vase is.

PS: And a few hours later, I heard another BBC journalist refer to a calvacade.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

About pumpkins etc

Far from new, stolen from Facebook, but it belongs here, I think.

And while we’re here, this can come out to play as well.

And then...

(And all the time I’m simultaneously worrying about and luxuriating in the exclusivity of all of these. Are they funny in spite of the fact that a lot of people won’t get the gag, or because of the fact? And somehow this ties into the most depressing article I’ve read this week, Elle Griffin on how nobody buys books any more.)