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Showing posts from January, 2015

Bringing it home

When Tesco announced a while back that it was closing a bunch of stores I’m sure many people felt, as I did, an obscure sort of hubristic satisfaction. Even if you don’t pay much attention to their more unappealing habits, there is a vague sort of sense that companies like Tesco are the enemy. If pressed, one might wave one’s arms vaguely and mutter something about forcing suppliers prices down, or express doubt about the ethical quality of their supply chain. Also Tesco= supermarket, and supermarket = death of high st, and probably that nice little specialist food shop you like, but only go in once a year. Because you’re in Tesco.

So their increasing travails have been a low level of background mirth in my world over the last year or so. Tesco suffering? Ha, and furthermore, ha. Ohh, share price tumbling? Poor lambs. So it came as, if not a jolt, then at least something to pull one up short when I read the list of stores to be closed and discovered that the Ormskirk one sat nestled …

Je suis Charlie

It’s impossible to let it pass without comment. You know what happened. Gunmen entered the offices of Parisian satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and killed twelve people. There’s no point piling up the adjectives. You know what an horrific act this was. Me saying so on the internet isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. You know that the perpetrators are murderers, who bear as much relation to their religion as the Crusaders do to a vicarage tea party.

The usual condemnations pile up. The worn-out rhetoric of outrage, only so shopworn because we’ve had too much cause to use it the last fifteen years. This isn’t going to be a long piece, there’s no point in it being so, mais de tout couer avec Charlie Hebdo. Je suis Charlie.

In defence of anonymity, and the lack of it.

I have a large degree of sympathy for Mark Pritchard, the MP who has today been informed that the rape inquiry hanging over his head has been dropped due to a lack of evidence. To be accused of such an appalling and stigmatising crime would be a blot of anyone’s reputation (apart from Ched Evans, it would seem). Depressingly, the court of human nature tends to return a verdict of no smoke without fire (along similar lines, it’s interesting to see how many people are absolutely ready to believe the allegations laid at Prince Andrew’s door. Not that I’m saying it didn’t happen, and his taste in friends is clearly beyond questionable, but they are, as yet, merely allegations), so to be accused of rape, however falsely, is a lifelong burden.

However, it was depressing to see the rapidity with which he started banging the drum for altering the anonymous status of the accusers and accused. I can understand his position, in his place I’d feel something similar. I can’t imagine what it must …

What I think about when I think about Haruki Murakami*

Some years ago I went through what’s best decribed as a Haruki Murakami phase. My reading habits are normally varied, but every once in a while I’ll binge on a particular author, and at that precise point he spoke to me deeply. The seeming detachment of his protagonists spoke to my own level of engagement with the world, their surrounding themselves with their interests seemed to me to be the way I lived. Even the fantastical elements chimed perfectly with how I was seeing the world at that point, dystopian, seemingly aimless on the surface but intimating that there was far more to discover. In essence each book seemed to be a pretty cool guy versus the world, both this one and, occasionally others.

This is a horribly reductive view of it, of course, and barely scratches the s of the word “surface”. This is why I don’t write literary criticism. Suffice to say I read him voraciously for a few years and then stopped. Whether it was the similarity of the protagonists, whether the otherwo…

My pied wagtail

I alluded to this in my first post of the year, only half-jokingly. I do have a profound fondness for Pied Wagtails, you know the ones, jaunty black and white , their gait described (quite accurately) by John Clare thus:
• Little trotty wagtail, he went in the rain,
• And tittering, tottering sideways he near got straight again.

Anyway, part of the reason for my wagtailophilia is proximity, there’s a cock whose hunting ground is the flat roof at the back of Source, so adjacent to my kitchen, and every time I have to peel myself away from the stove for one reason or another, I’m sure to see him bobbing about hunting (pied wagtails are insectivorous). To my mild amusement he quite often pecks merrily away at the window which lines the stairs, to percussive effect. Anyway, I like him, I like them. Pied wagtails, as my nearest available bird are a daily reminder for me, when it all gets a bit grindy, of the world outside. That there are things other than the stove, the prep list, and t…

The thorniest of issues, well, no, not really.

Convicted rapist Ched Evans has been offered a job by the current league leaders in Malta , Hibernians (on no account to be confused with Scottish side Hibernian, who have not offered convicted rapist, Ched Evans, a contract). Now, there has been some controversy as to whether or not convicted rapist, Ched, Evans, should be offered a position playing for a football team, as that is what he does for a living. The rape’s more of a sideline. Some argument s have been made along the lines of time has been done, debt to society paid, what have you. I have some sympathy with these arguments. The whole idea of our justice system is, in theory, based upon redemption and rehabilitation (stop laughing at the back).

Other arguments, (including those advanced by convicted rapist, Ched Evans), I have less sympathy with. You know the ones, at the least repulsive they start with “who hasn’t had sex with a girl who was too drunk” (Um, me. Most people. You see, if she was too drunk to say no then I w…

And we're back in the room

To general surprise, expressed, I note, in a tsunami of shocked tweets and facebook stasuses, the year 2014 has been followed in numerical order by the year 2015. Whilst this is noteworthy in and of itself (possibly a jump to 2036 was expected, or maybe a hop back to the heady days of 1878) it is not, on its own, much cause for a blog post, the first back after the horrors of December, but by way of easing myself back in gently, I suppose it’ll have to do.

I was, I confess, half tempted to just start again without any reference to the date whatsoever. It all seems a little pat, starting off the New Year with a post about the New Year. Maybe an essay about my fondness for Pied Wagtails, or a brief discussion of the poetry of Lee Harwood. Maybe something rude about George Osborne. Still, too late now. The New Year it is, so we’ll have to just plough on regardless. So welcome to 2015, the one after 2014 and presumably, immediately prior to 2016. As 2015 is a different number from 2014 t…