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Showing posts from October, 2018

Book 14: The Accidental Woman, Jonathan Coe

Part of the problem with all this reading and writing about it is, of course, that by the time I get round to writing the blog post the book is a distant memory. In the case of this Jonathan Coe novel, this disconnect is actually rather fitting. I read way back in the high heat of summer (remember that?), slightly ironic, as there's a lot of drizzle in the book. Coe's first novel, it is fairly clearly the work of a young man, full of smart arse artistic flourishes and asides to the reader (can you tell I'm annoyed I didn't write it? This is the sort of thing I used to think I'd never get away with), a book of clear ambition which ultimately doesn't quite hang together.

The plot, such as it is, follows the life of a young (and then less young) woman called Maria who, for want of a better phrase, can't be arsed. Not that she's totally indifferent to the world around her, she recognises enough to interact with it in a reasonably usual manner: school, unive…

On contrariness (and trying not to be preachy)

Now, I am aware that I have a bit of a tendency to proselytise from time to time, and I imagine it's bored the hell out of a lot of people down the years. I remember being once asked (via an intermediary) why I was "so angry all the time" (this after a run of particularly virulent Facebook statuses about the then government, like it was going to make any difference).

I'm not, you know, not really. well, okay, a bit. But by and large I'd like to think that I'm nearer the reasonable end of the scale than unreasonable. And so that comment did make me wonder precisely why I can get het up about things, and why I feel the need to then publicly vent. It's not as if I have a huge platform or following (and if I'm sure of one thing, it's that I'm self aware enough to realise this) or that my opinions are particularly novel or interesting. It can certainly be a bit outrage by numbers at times (though hopefully not to the extent of the eternally offende…

Book 13: Awaydays, Kevin Sampson

Disastrously behind schedule (though that rather depends on your definition of what constitutes a disaster) I scoured the shelves of the local charity shops for a slim volume I could whip through in next to no time. Confronted by a sea of Tom Clancy and Maeve Binchy I wandered home, dispirited. I had, of course, forgotten the first rule of those who hoard book: there's always a tonne of stuff at home you haven't actually got round to reading yet.

And that was the case with this nasty but exhilarating little volume. An account of the bad old days of football hooliganism it features our protagonist, Paul Carty, a nice enough young man from a decent family whose less pleasant weekend hobby is going away with the Pack, Tranmere Rovers' organised firm of hooligans, and smashing the living bejaysus out of some poor provincial town centre.

The book opens with violence, and is punctuated by accounts of fights in various beknighted spots in the lower reaches of the Football League.…