morningmusicshuffle:

Day 50 : Is This Love? by The Fireman from Electric Arguments
The experimental psychedelic noodlings of Paul McCartney and Youth (producer and former Killing Joke bassist). Lots of cymbal shimmers, tom tom dabs and background flutes - its a cross between the trippy bits of The Doors and the slower sections on Carlos Santana.
The album (and The Fireman project) is McCartney harking back to his hippy 60s period. Not your perky music-hall tunes. More reflective and mystical. All credit to him for letting go a bit.
Serendipity : 10
Love : 4

morningmusicshuffle:

Day 50 : Is This Love? by The Fireman from Electric Arguments

The experimental psychedelic noodlings of Paul McCartney and Youth (producer and former Killing Joke bassist). Lots of cymbal shimmers, tom tom dabs and background flutes - its a cross between the trippy bits of The Doors and the slower sections on Carlos Santana.

The album (and The Fireman project) is McCartney harking back to his hippy 60s period. Not your perky music-hall tunes. More reflective and mystical. All credit to him for letting go a bit.

Serendipity : 10

Love : 4

3 notes

'The Quarry' by Iain Banks #briefbookreview
It was my brother who got me into Iain Banks, when he lent me ‘The Wasp Factory’, which I enjoyed, although I didn’t think it was brilliant, just good. And I felt the same way about ‘Consider Phlebas’, his first science fiction book. Over the years, though, I came to love his writing, ‘The Crow Road’ and ‘The Player of Games’ being my favourites in the fiction and science fiction collections, respectively.
He brought out pretty much a novel every year and, as you might expect, the quality was not consistently brilliant, although he was never worse than good. Probably the strongest criticisms that I could make about him are that he was too verbose at times and also occasionally repetitive with his settings and characters. But I bought each book as it came out and I have everything he’s ever written. The only other author I can say that about is Arthur Ransome! Oh, and Harper Lee :-)
Early last year, Banks announced that he had cancer and he passed away just a few months later, leaving us with one final novel, ‘The Quarry’. I didn’t know Iain Banks personally, so the deep sadness I felt about this was reflective of the fact that, abruptly, the annual purchase and enjoyment of one of his books would come to an end. It was perhaps reflective of this that I delayed buying ‘The Quarry’ until Christmas, although I still could not bring myself to open it.
Then, having finished the dense, academic ‘On the Periphery' while away in Aviemore, I was looking for something lively and pacey to follow it, and 'The Quarry' sprang to mind, so I pulled it down off the pile of unread books. I was immediately transported into the setting that Banks had created for the novel, a transition made all the more easy by my familiarity with his writing: it was like embracing an old friend.
As to the book itself, well, it’s great! It’s certainly different from most of his fiction, featuring a cast of largely unlikeable people orbiting a character, Guy, with terminal cancer. There is a central plot device - the location of a missing video tape - but this is almost incidental; the book is primarily a drama based around the characters and their interactions with one another, including the protagonist, Kit, a teenage boy with Aspergers. However, unlike any of Banks’ other novels, this one would work quite easily and effectively as a play.
There are neat twists to the book and Banks makes good use of our preconceptions about character types to pitch several curveballs at the novel’s outset. Even including Kit none of the players in this novel is portrayed without their faults and we’re invited to like some of them, at least, by accepting them as complicated and multi-faceted people, much as we have to in real life. 
The horrible irony is that as he wrote this, Banks himself was dying from cancer and that appears to inform the writing in places, not least in Guy’s spectacular rant about humanity’s failings and the reasons that he is (almost) glad to be dying. I was briefly tempted to transcribe it in full, here, but powerful and corruscating as it is, it works far better in the context of the book, which, as you’ll have gathered, I’m strongly recommending.
It is a great read; I picked up the book on Monday and finished it two days later on my birthday, as I pulled into Oxford Road on the train. As I walked down off the platform, I felt some of that sadness again because I then had to accept that I’ll never read another new novel by Iain Banks. But it was a great place to finish. Yes, as he said, it might have been better to finish with “a great big rollicking Culture novel" but, actually, I’m glad he ended here with a novel that showed he was far from complacent in his writing and with a work that struck out somewhere new.

'The Quarry' by Iain Banks #briefbookreview

It was my brother who got me into Iain Banks, when he lent me ‘The Wasp Factory’, which I enjoyed, although I didn’t think it was brilliant, just good. And I felt the same way about ‘Consider Phlebas’, his first science fiction book. Over the years, though, I came to love his writing, ‘The Crow Road’ and ‘The Player of Games’ being my favourites in the fiction and science fiction collections, respectively.

He brought out pretty much a novel every year and, as you might expect, the quality was not consistently brilliant, although he was never worse than good. Probably the strongest criticisms that I could make about him are that he was too verbose at times and also occasionally repetitive with his settings and characters. But I bought each book as it came out and I have everything he’s ever written. The only other author I can say that about is Arthur Ransome! Oh, and Harper Lee :-)

Early last year, Banks announced that he had cancer and he passed away just a few months later, leaving us with one final novel, ‘The Quarry’. I didn’t know Iain Banks personally, so the deep sadness I felt about this was reflective of the fact that, abruptly, the annual purchase and enjoyment of one of his books would come to an end. It was perhaps reflective of this that I delayed buying ‘The Quarry’ until Christmas, although I still could not bring myself to open it.

Then, having finished the dense, academic ‘On the Periphery' while away in Aviemore, I was looking for something lively and pacey to follow it, and 'The Quarry' sprang to mind, so I pulled it down off the pile of unread books. I was immediately transported into the setting that Banks had created for the novel, a transition made all the more easy by my familiarity with his writing: it was like embracing an old friend.

As to the book itself, well, it’s great! It’s certainly different from most of his fiction, featuring a cast of largely unlikeable people orbiting a character, Guy, with terminal cancer. There is a central plot device - the location of a missing video tape - but this is almost incidental; the book is primarily a drama based around the characters and their interactions with one another, including the protagonist, Kit, a teenage boy with Aspergers. However, unlike any of Banks’ other novels, this one would work quite easily and effectively as a play.

There are neat twists to the book and Banks makes good use of our preconceptions about character types to pitch several curveballs at the novel’s outset. Even including Kit none of the players in this novel is portrayed without their faults and we’re invited to like some of them, at least, by accepting them as complicated and multi-faceted people, much as we have to in real life. 

The horrible irony is that as he wrote this, Banks himself was dying from cancer and that appears to inform the writing in places, not least in Guy’s spectacular rant about humanity’s failings and the reasons that he is (almost) glad to be dying. I was briefly tempted to transcribe it in full, here, but powerful and corruscating as it is, it works far better in the context of the book, which, as you’ll have gathered, I’m strongly recommending.

It is a great read; I picked up the book on Monday and finished it two days later on my birthday, as I pulled into Oxford Road on the train. As I walked down off the platform, I felt some of that sadness again because I then had to accept that I’ll never read another new novel by Iain Banks. But it was a great place to finish. Yes, as he said, it might have been better to finish with “a great big rollicking Culture novel" but, actually, I’m glad he ended here with a novel that showed he was far from complacent in his writing and with a work that struck out somewhere new.

1 note

'On The Periphery' by Christopher E. Young #briefbookreview
Or, to give it the rest of its title, ‘David Sylvian - A biography. The Solo Years’
This book is, if nothing else, a labour of love and, consequently, it is, in places - many places - somewhat obsessive. It’s not a book I’d recommend to anyone who didn’t love David Sylvian, in fact I would hesitate to recommend it to a lot of people who do! 
For a start, the font is small and the text is, therefore, unusually dense, which is completely analogous to the book itself. It is, in many respects, a reference book rather than a narrative. I bought this expecting to read about Sylvian’s post-Japan career in some straight linear prose and, indeed, Young does piece together Sylvian’s movements during that period with great accuracy: lots of bits of stories that I’d heard about Sylvian are neatly and chronologically contextualised.
However, the book has a number of drawbacks, at least from the perspective of someone who just wants to read about Sylvian’s work over the last thirty years. For a start, there is a lot of detail about his collaborators, of which he’s had many. To be honest, much as I am (very) interested in Sylvian, I wasn’t terribly interested in many of these and, if I had been, I would simply have Googled them. That said, I did find Young’s précis of many of Sylvian’s spiritual influences quite interesting and useful, at least in the context of understanding his work. 
In addition, it’s not a terribly musical book: it shares none of the virtues of, say, Ian MacDonald’s ‘Revolution in the Head’. Indeed, there is almost nothing in the book about how the songs were composed or recorded. This is primarily due to the fact that there’s not a single direct interview with Sylvian himself or any of his collaborators, although Young has done a very thorough job of collating and reading Sylvian’s interviews elsewhere. Thus, as you might imagine, the book is largely based on Young’s interpretations of Sylvian’s work, particularly the lyrics. And, on the whole, my impression is that he’s pretty astute although perhaps I simply mean that his interpretations over the thirty years of Sylvian’s solo career are consistent and coherent.
The book itself is full of misprints, which I know - from a brief Twitter conversation with Young - has been a source of frustration to him. Yet this sporadic lack of attention to detail plagues the narrative, too: his passing explanation of the e-bow, for example, leaves the (non-musician) reader at a loss. Furthermore, I don’t think this book really captures Sylvian. This is a man, it seems from what I’ve read elsewhere and as is hinted here, with a great sense of humour: just take a look at the cover of ‘The First Day’ (his collaboration with Robert Fripp). Yet the book paints him as almost intolerably sober.
All that said, I must thank Mr Young for one thing, which is bringing me to the point of enjoying Sylvian’s most recent solo work ‘Manafon’, with which I’d always struggled. Serious fan to serious fan, this is a book that I’m very glad that I’ve read but that I’m also quite relieved to have finished. 
I’ll never read this book again but I expect I will reference it many, many times in years to come. If you understand that I love David Sylvian’s work in a way that I love no one else’s, then that probably tells you all you need to know. And ultimately, I raise hat my Mr Young because this was never a book that was going to top the bestsellers list but he’s done an amazing job of sharing his knowledge and views about a man who, in my opinion, anyway, is one of the most astounding musical innovators of the last four decades.

'On The Periphery' by Christopher E. Young #briefbookreview

Or, to give it the rest of its title, ‘David Sylvian - A biography. The Solo Years’

This book is, if nothing else, a labour of love and, consequently, it is, in places - many places - somewhat obsessive. It’s not a book I’d recommend to anyone who didn’t love David Sylvian, in fact I would hesitate to recommend it to a lot of people who do! 

For a start, the font is small and the text is, therefore, unusually dense, which is completely analogous to the book itself. It is, in many respects, a reference book rather than a narrative. I bought this expecting to read about Sylvian’s post-Japan career in some straight linear prose and, indeed, Young does piece together Sylvian’s movements during that period with great accuracy: lots of bits of stories that I’d heard about Sylvian are neatly and chronologically contextualised.

However, the book has a number of drawbacks, at least from the perspective of someone who just wants to read about Sylvian’s work over the last thirty years. For a start, there is a lot of detail about his collaborators, of which he’s had many. To be honest, much as I am (very) interested in Sylvian, I wasn’t terribly interested in many of these and, if I had been, I would simply have Googled them. That said, I did find Young’s précis of many of Sylvian’s spiritual influences quite interesting and useful, at least in the context of understanding his work. 

In addition, it’s not a terribly musical book: it shares none of the virtues of, say, Ian MacDonald’s ‘Revolution in the Head’. Indeed, there is almost nothing in the book about how the songs were composed or recorded. This is primarily due to the fact that there’s not a single direct interview with Sylvian himself or any of his collaborators, although Young has done a very thorough job of collating and reading Sylvian’s interviews elsewhere. Thus, as you might imagine, the book is largely based on Young’s interpretations of Sylvian’s work, particularly the lyrics. And, on the whole, my impression is that he’s pretty astute although perhaps I simply mean that his interpretations over the thirty years of Sylvian’s solo career are consistent and coherent.

The book itself is full of misprints, which I know - from a brief Twitter conversation with Young - has been a source of frustration to him. Yet this sporadic lack of attention to detail plagues the narrative, too: his passing explanation of the e-bow, for example, leaves the (non-musician) reader at a loss. Furthermore, I don’t think this book really captures Sylvian. This is a man, it seems from what I’ve read elsewhere and as is hinted here, with a great sense of humour: just take a look at the cover of ‘The First Day’ (his collaboration with Robert Fripp). Yet the book paints him as almost intolerably sober.

All that said, I must thank Mr Young for one thing, which is bringing me to the point of enjoying Sylvian’s most recent solo work ‘Manafon’, with which I’d always struggled. Serious fan to serious fan, this is a book that I’m very glad that I’ve read but that I’m also quite relieved to have finished. 

I’ll never read this book again but I expect I will reference it many, many times in years to come. If you understand that I love David Sylvian’s work in a way that I love no one else’s, then that probably tells you all you need to know. And ultimately, I raise hat my Mr Young because this was never a book that was going to top the bestsellers list but he’s done an amazing job of sharing his knowledge and views about a man who, in my opinion, anyway, is one of the most astounding musical innovators of the last four decades.

1 note

"

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.


Albert Einstein

"

Stupid things 

Do animals do stupid things? Would an animal commit an act of utter idiocy and then sit down (if it’s an animal with a bottom and not say, a snake,) and have a word with itself saying, “Well, that sure was dumb.”?

I’m going to say “no”. This means that what really separates us from the beasts is our ability to be utterly, gloriously stupid. I like that. 

Take the time I put my hair in the mangle. I thought I would have hair all smooth and sleek, like a dark glassy lake but instead I had a mangle attached to my head. Similarly, there was the time I attempted to give myself curls after swimming by rolling a comb up in my hair and then had to sit all the way through “The Adventures of Sinbad” with a comb protruding from my ear like an unexploded doodlebug. 

Sometimes we would take turns at putting on my Mum’s shiny nylon housecoat and launch ourselves head first onto an old mattress we had chucked onto the stairs. It was a kind of 70’s homespun version of the skeleton luge, one where the competitors wore Wranglers and gave each other Chinese burns while waiting to compete. Anyway, one time I decided to freestyle a forward roll at the top. We learnt an important lesson about momentum that day. Also minor concussion.

Once I was drunk in a pub when a friend of mine, inspired by the movie Le Hussard Sur Le Toit”  (go to 1.46), started to dip his finger in his whisky and then set light to it. Emboldened by our inebriated admiration, he decided to try it with his nose whereupon his nasal hair went up like a forgotten hedgehog on Bonfire Night. He awoke the next morning a dead ringer for WC Fields. 

So many stupid things. Stripping to your pants and vest and rolling yourself in fibreglass loft insulation in the gang hut, “hiding” a Meri Mate bottle of cola in 4th year arithmetic by pouring the contents on the classroom floor, using two plastic bags as makeshift oven gloves. I could go on. 

Good fun, stupid stuff, as long as you don’t kill yourself in the process. I don’t seem to be so stupid these days. No more tying tin cans to life’s tail, instead I sit quietly while it pads around me and settles in my lap. 

(via therealshequeen)

2 notes

hrtbps:

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon after registering using the gender-neutral K. V. Switzer. 
After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon. The photographs taken of the incident made headlines around the world.
 Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29. [more]

hrtbps:

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon after registering using the gender-neutral K. V. Switzer.

After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon. The photographs taken of the incident made headlines around the world.

Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29. [more]

103 notes

Assume Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know what he's doing? There's 19 billion reasons that say he does

thexxcorp:

image

Mark Zuckerberg is 29-years-old. He’ll be 30 on May 14. If, by some fluke of galactic dice, I had grown up in the same country and same state as Zuckerberg, we would have been in the same school year, potential classmates. Mark Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $19 billion. I have an…

4 notes

'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham #briefbookreview
I took my first year at secondary school in Hong Kong, attending the Island School. It was a different world to the grammar school where I’d spend the rest of my teenage years: short-sleeved cotton shirts, seemingly endless sunshine, swimming at lunchtime and, of course, girls!
My English teacher was an engaging chap called Mr MacNeil. He was one of those teachers that one is not only keen to please but also actively enjoyable to learn from. Some time in the second term of that year, he gave me three books: ‘Shane’; ‘Great Expectations’; and ‘The Chrysalids’. I’m embarrassed to say that I barely started the Dickens but I did hugely enjoy ‘Shane’. However, it was ‘The Chrysalids’ that blew my socks off.
I’ve read all of John Wyndham’s books many times over the years - most people will be familiar with ‘The Day of the Triffids’ - but this is the book of his that I like the best and not, I think, just because it was the first one I read. I wouldn’t describe it as science fiction but it is set in a dystopian post-nuclear future where a community of humans is battling against mutation. The story is based around a small group of children who have an invisible mutation, in the form of telepathic powers.
If this doesn’t sound quite your thing, don’t be too hasty. The story Wyndham tells is a very human one (think of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.) and his style is gripping. Much as I am a fan of Iain Banks’s writing, he would have told this tale over three times as many pages. Wyndham, by contrast, has an enviable economy with words.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought ‘Shane’ and ‘The Chrysalids’ for Dan and this weekend he brought the latter to the cottage. I idly picked it up on Saturday evening and finished reading it on Sunday afternoon. It’s as brilliant as story as I remember it to be. What beats me is why no one has ever turned it into a screenplay.

'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham #briefbookreview

I took my first year at secondary school in Hong Kong, attending the Island School. It was a different world to the grammar school where I’d spend the rest of my teenage years: short-sleeved cotton shirts, seemingly endless sunshine, swimming at lunchtime and, of course, girls!

My English teacher was an engaging chap called Mr MacNeil. He was one of those teachers that one is not only keen to please but also actively enjoyable to learn from. Some time in the second term of that year, he gave me three books: ‘Shane’; ‘Great Expectations’; and ‘The Chrysalids’. I’m embarrassed to say that I barely started the Dickens but I did hugely enjoy ‘Shane’. However, it was ‘The Chrysalids’ that blew my socks off.

I’ve read all of John Wyndham’s books many times over the years - most people will be familiar with ‘The Day of the Triffids’ - but this is the book of his that I like the best and not, I think, just because it was the first one I read. I wouldn’t describe it as science fiction but it is set in a dystopian post-nuclear future where a community of humans is battling against mutation. The story is based around a small group of children who have an invisible mutation, in the form of telepathic powers.

If this doesn’t sound quite your thing, don’t be too hasty. The story Wyndham tells is a very human one (think of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.) and his style is gripping. Much as I am a fan of Iain Banks’s writing, he would have told this tale over three times as many pages. Wyndham, by contrast, has an enviable economy with words.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought ‘Shane’ and ‘The Chrysalids’ for Dan and this weekend he brought the latter to the cottage. I idly picked it up on Saturday evening and finished reading it on Sunday afternoon. It’s as brilliant as story as I remember it to be. What beats me is why no one has ever turned it into a screenplay.

2 notes

'100' by Bill Drummond #briefbookreview
I like all sorts of books: fiction; science fiction; biography and autobiography; non-fiction; science; and, to a degree, essays. And I suppose by essays I mean people writing about what they think, although that comes in various guises. It might be actual collections of essays, such as Jonathan Meades’ ‘Museums Without Walls’, diaries like Brian Eno’s 1995 incredible diary ‘A Year With Swollen Appendices’ or this, a collection of responses to interview questions, published by Bill Drummond.
The conceit behind this collection is Drummond’s understandable concern that, when interviewed, he was always being asked the same questions. (And, as a reader, I don’t think this concern was unwarranted.) So he said that for the next 25 interview requests he received, he’d allow the interviewer to ask him four questions that he hadn’t been asked before, which In itself was interesting as a the reviewer had to go and look at the previous questions.
The questions themselves vary in their inventiveness and interest but Drummond’s responses are almost all fascinating, the exceptions being the responses to those questions that had nothing for him to get his teeth into. And he writes brilliantly, fluently and engagingly.
Whereas Eno’s book actually seemed to stretch my brain out of shape and change the way I thought about things, Drummond’s made me think about my life and how I lead it. His apparent process of constant self-review, aspiration, acceptance, energy, ideas and enterprise is something that appeals hugely to me, which may be why I enjoyed the book so much.
He doesn’t just write about what he’s done or is currently doing, he writes about his ideas and perceptions (so very different from the prankster that he is often - and lazily - portrayed as in the press). The book illustrates the incredible depth of thinking that underpins his activities and it is worth the price of admission even if you were to only read his piece on freedom, meaning, loneliness and death, in which he not only gets to the heart of the human condition but also neatly sums up the malaise afflicting western culture in the twenty-first century.
As you’ll have gathered by now, this is a book that I’d heartily recommend. It’s great to dip into, perhaps a question and answer at a time, which is what I did last year. This year, though, I started at the beginning and worked my way through, which was even more satisfying. At the risk of over-egging this brief review, if you do find life is lacking a bit of meaning, this would be a great place to start in addressing that.

'100' by Bill Drummond #briefbookreview

I like all sorts of books: fiction; science fiction; biography and autobiography; non-fiction; science; and, to a degree, essays. And I suppose by essays I mean people writing about what they think, although that comes in various guises. It might be actual collections of essays, such as Jonathan Meades’ ‘Museums Without Walls’, diaries like Brian Eno’s 1995 incredible diary ‘A Year With Swollen Appendices’ or this, a collection of responses to interview questions, published by Bill Drummond.

The conceit behind this collection is Drummond’s understandable concern that, when interviewed, he was always being asked the same questions. (And, as a reader, I don’t think this concern was unwarranted.) So he said that for the next 25 interview requests he received, he’d allow the interviewer to ask him four questions that he hadn’t been asked before, which In itself was interesting as a the reviewer had to go and look at the previous questions.

The questions themselves vary in their inventiveness and interest but Drummond’s responses are almost all fascinating, the exceptions being the responses to those questions that had nothing for him to get his teeth into. And he writes brilliantly, fluently and engagingly.

Whereas Eno’s book actually seemed to stretch my brain out of shape and change the way I thought about things, Drummond’s made me think about my life and how I lead it. His apparent process of constant self-review, aspiration, acceptance, energy, ideas and enterprise is something that appeals hugely to me, which may be why I enjoyed the book so much.

He doesn’t just write about what he’s done or is currently doing, he writes about his ideas and perceptions (so very different from the prankster that he is often - and lazily - portrayed as in the press). The book illustrates the incredible depth of thinking that underpins his activities and it is worth the price of admission even if you were to only read his piece on freedom, meaning, loneliness and death, in which he not only gets to the heart of the human condition but also neatly sums up the malaise afflicting western culture in the twenty-first century.

As you’ll have gathered by now, this is a book that I’d heartily recommend. It’s great to dip into, perhaps a question and answer at a time, which is what I did last year. This year, though, I started at the beginning and worked my way through, which was even more satisfying. At the risk of over-egging this brief review, if you do find life is lacking a bit of meaning, this would be a great place to start in addressing that.

1 note

'Dancing About Architecture' #briefbookreview
I was, I’m afraid, disappointed by this book for a couple of reasons.
The first was my own fault: I simply didn’t realise that this book related specifically to teaching.
That said, I am involved with a secondary school and I am interested by teaching methods, so even once I’d realised, it didn’t stop me from reading it.
In précis, the book talks about using the body below the neck to teach the part above. So, Phil Beadle talks about using dance or creating tableaus, for example, as a method of teaching classroom topics. He also talks about how teachers need to focus on process, not outcome, such that by organising your lesson to dance about trigonometry, you might get interesting results that you couldn’t have predicted.
In principle, I think it’s great to explore different methods of teaching: the school I’m involved with has lots of creative methods for ensuring that the pupils engage in lessons, that they’re not expected to just sit there taking notes. But I have two objections to this book.
The first is entirely personal: I would have hated to be taught in this way. That’s not surprising; I was a grammar school boy and quite academic. I had an English teacher who liked to use different methods - like the day we watched Darren Lodge stand outside and perform ‘Request Stop’ from under an umbrella in the rain (we couldn’t hear a word, of course) - but those methods were memorable but not effective. The author assumes everyone will enjoy learning this way.
My second point is that we do need to have teaching methods that work. Not for Ofsted or Michael Gove but for the children whom we’re teaching. Yes, they should be varied and interesting but an outcome is what we’re after. I wasn’t surprised to find Phil Beadle is enamoured of Brian Eno and, specifically, his Oblique Strategies. I think that’s fine if you’re creating a piece or music or a picture, outcomes that you can simply discard if they don’t come to anything, but we can’t treat education that way.
I think there are some interesting ideas here for enlivening lessons but as an overall strategy for teaching, I’m dubious. What would be interesting would be to see some case studies, to see how people had made this approach work. 

'Dancing About Architecture' #briefbookreview

I was, I’m afraid, disappointed by this book for a couple of reasons.

The first was my own fault: I simply didn’t realise that this book related specifically to teaching.

That said, I am involved with a secondary school and I am interested by teaching methods, so even once I’d realised, it didn’t stop me from reading it.

In précis, the book talks about using the body below the neck to teach the part above. So, Phil Beadle talks about using dance or creating tableaus, for example, as a method of teaching classroom topics. He also talks about how teachers need to focus on process, not outcome, such that by organising your lesson to dance about trigonometry, you might get interesting results that you couldn’t have predicted.

In principle, I think it’s great to explore different methods of teaching: the school I’m involved with has lots of creative methods for ensuring that the pupils engage in lessons, that they’re not expected to just sit there taking notes. But I have two objections to this book.

The first is entirely personal: I would have hated to be taught in this way. That’s not surprising; I was a grammar school boy and quite academic. I had an English teacher who liked to use different methods - like the day we watched Darren Lodge stand outside and perform ‘Request Stop’ from under an umbrella in the rain (we couldn’t hear a word, of course) - but those methods were memorable but not effective. The author assumes everyone will enjoy learning this way.

My second point is that we do need to have teaching methods that work. Not for Ofsted or Michael Gove but for the children whom we’re teaching. Yes, they should be varied and interesting but an outcome is what we’re after. I wasn’t surprised to find Phil Beadle is enamoured of Brian Eno and, specifically, his Oblique Strategies. I think that’s fine if you’re creating a piece or music or a picture, outcomes that you can simply discard if they don’t come to anything, but we can’t treat education that way.

I think there are some interesting ideas here for enlivening lessons but as an overall strategy for teaching, I’m dubious. What would be interesting would be to see some case studies, to see how people had made this approach work. 

2 notes

frocksbooksandcakes:

sosuperawesome:

Lori Nix constructs these small dioramas using cardboard, foam, glue and paint which she then photographs using an 8 x 10 inch camera. Each piece takes about 7 months to complete.

Loving these..

15,155 notes

About these bruises.

gaiatheorist:

I’m wrecked again. Luckily, I have ‘the pain threshold of a concrete bear’- ask my son, he’ll tell you. I’m bruised, that’s all. Probably. Nothing’s so tender that I’m worried it’s broken, I’m just bruised. (One of my colleagues has fractured ribs, I’m better at this than he is.)

Why am I…

15 notes

domconlon:

Poem by Dom Conlon. Illustration by Carl Pugh.

domconlon:

Poem by Dom Conlon. Illustration by Carl Pugh.

3 notes

'Do The BIrds Still Sing In Hell?' #briefbookreview
Sometime last year this book was mentioned in my Twitter timeline and after skimming the reviews on Amazon, I decided to give it a read. As is the sad destiny of so many books that I buy, this story then spent a few months sat on The Pile until I got ‘round to it after finishing the Morrissey autobiography.
And I’m not sure that the choice was completely random. I enjoyed Morrissey’s writing about his childhood in Manchester - a period that has become history - and I think I fancied something else along those lines. I like my history leavened with a bit of human interest.
Horace Greasley’s story is, indeed, incredible. He suffered badly at the hands of the Germans, having been captured early on in the second world war. Yet, despite unbelievable hardship and harrowing conditions, he was never cowed and worked hard to undermine the German forces despite being incarcerated. Most notably, at one point he facilitated the distribution of daily news from the BBC to three thousand prisoners under the noses of the camp guards. It’s a tremendous testament to man’s ingenuity and spirit.
The story is told by Ken Scott and his style is easy enough: I whizzed through the book in a few days. However, there I do have a couple of grumbles, the first of which I see is shared by other reviewers on Amazon, and that is that Scott makes too much of the sex scenes, which are unerotic and rather prurient. 
Secondly, rather than writing Greasley’s account as it was told to him, Scott adds some detail to the story that neither he not Greasley could possibly have known, about what people other than Greasley were thinking, for example. This speculation undermines the historic facts of the story.
And it is a great story, just not told particularly well, although the writing itself really isn’t bad. I’d say this would be a good book to take on holiday or on a journey.

'Do The BIrds Still Sing In Hell?' #briefbookreview

Sometime last year this book was mentioned in my Twitter timeline and after skimming the reviews on Amazon, I decided to give it a read. As is the sad destiny of so many books that I buy, this story then spent a few months sat on The Pile until I got ‘round to it after finishing the Morrissey autobiography.

And I’m not sure that the choice was completely random. I enjoyed Morrissey’s writing about his childhood in Manchester - a period that has become history - and I think I fancied something else along those lines. I like my history leavened with a bit of human interest.

Horace Greasley’s story is, indeed, incredible. He suffered badly at the hands of the Germans, having been captured early on in the second world war. Yet, despite unbelievable hardship and harrowing conditions, he was never cowed and worked hard to undermine the German forces despite being incarcerated. Most notably, at one point he facilitated the distribution of daily news from the BBC to three thousand prisoners under the noses of the camp guards. It’s a tremendous testament to man’s ingenuity and spirit.

The story is told by Ken Scott and his style is easy enough: I whizzed through the book in a few days. However, there I do have a couple of grumbles, the first of which I see is shared by other reviewers on Amazon, and that is that Scott makes too much of the sex scenes, which are unerotic and rather prurient. 

Secondly, rather than writing Greasley’s account as it was told to him, Scott adds some detail to the story that neither he not Greasley could possibly have known, about what people other than Greasley were thinking, for example. This speculation undermines the historic facts of the story.

And it is a great story, just not told particularly well, although the writing itself really isn’t bad. I’d say this would be a good book to take on holiday or on a journey.

4 notes

itshibbert:

Hi, I’m Bert and for the main, I don’t wear shoes. Yes, you read that right, I don’t wear shoes.
Now I appreciate that, for some, this is quite a difficult concept to get their heads around, so I thought I’d write a little bit about me & my feet to try & explain it a little further.
As you can imagine, walking around all day without shoes on draws attention to yourself, some good attention, some bad attention, but attention none the less. People look, comment, nudge each other & come up to me to ask me questions on a daily basis. Most days I am happy to deal with this and will patiently answer all questions and smile, other days I have my hood up, my hat on, earphones in and my best ‘fuck off’ scowl on my face to avoid having to talk to anyone. But for the main, I accept that going about my business without shoes will attract attention and people will be curious and want to talk to me so I suck it up and deal with it, I guess its just part of the territory. At first I used to absolutely hate the attention, but I’ve learnt to accept it now and can reel off my standard answers to standard questions without becoming defensive.
So, here are some of the most common questions I get asked & how I answer……
'Why aren't you wearing any shoes?'
The answer to this one varies day to day & depends on who I’m talking to. For the main a simple ‘I prefer being barefoot’ will suffice. During the summer months i like ‘Its too nice a day to wear shoes’ and when children ask me I tell them that ‘Being barefoot makes my feet feel happy’, to which they nearly always look at me then smile.
And I suppose all of them are true. I generally prefer being barefoot to wearing shoes. My feet get too hot and feel too confined in shoes, so are ‘happier’ without them on. Simple really.
'What if you stand on glass/in dog shit/on a needle?'
Hmmm. This is pretty much the first question people ask when they find out about my barefootedness. I’ll address them one at a time.
Glass. In 2 years of being barefoot I have never stood on a piece of glass. When you dont have anything on your feet, you tend to become more aware of where you stand. If a piece of glass is big enough to be seen you can avoid it, if its too small to see it is unlikely to cause you any damage.
Dog shit. Everyone LOVES to ask about standing in dog shit. Sorry to disappoint but its not happened. Yet. Again, you tend to be able to avoid dog shit by simply stepping over/around it. Just like you would if you were wearing shoes. And the truth is, dog shit is easier to wash of the soles of your feet than from the treads of your shoes.
Needles. Go look outside at the pavement on your street. Or the place you walk your dog. Or you route to work/the gym etc. How many needles laying on the floor do you see? Count them over the space of a week. If its more than zero you should possibly reconsider where you chose to walk. I have never seen a needle laying on the pavement shod or barefoot.
'Aren't your feet cold?'
Not really, no. Of course I am aware of the change in temperatures, but my circulation has improved since I went barefoot and your body is pretty good at acclimatising. I don’t chose to spent long periods of time walking round without shoes in the colder months because the climate in this country is pretty shit and its just not practical. But I can comfortably spend periods of time without shoes all year.
'Have you ever cut yourself?'
Yes, I have. As I said previously, you become much more aware of where you stand without shoes and can avoid any potential dangers.
However, after far too much to drink, your awareness becomes slightly less, and so the only time I have ever cut my feet are when Ive been, well…well Ive been shitfaced. I couldn’t even tell you what I did to cut them. But its happened twice. Both times in drink. Which tells me a lot about my non drunk awareness levels!
'Do you ever wear shoes?'
Yep. I’m not ‘anti shoe’, I’m just ‘pro barefoot’. And of course, there are situations in life where its just not possible to go barefoot. Job interviews, the gym & work meetings being just a few. And some days I just want to wear shoes for no other reason than I do!
Places I don’t wear shoes include
Driving, supermarkets, my local pub, cinema’s, restaurants, day trips, public transport & work.
'Do you run barefoot?'
Sometimes yes. There is a very famous running book called Born to Run which introduced me to the idea of barefoot running. I still prefer to run anything over 3/4 miles in shoes (a fairly minimal running shoe) but have run my local 5km road race barefoot (in about 25 minutes) and in the summer months I run my local Parkrun barefoot. I do like the reaction of other runners when I overtake them not wearing anything on my feet ;o)
'What does your family think?'
My partner doesn’t like it. He has come to accept it over the past 2 years, but will ask me to wear shoes in certain circumstances as he doesn’t like the attention it brings. The rest of my family are fine with it. My youngest boy who’s now 6 will often go barefoot in summer. I have never asked him too, but I have also never insisted he wears shoes if he doesn’t want too.
'Aren't your feet really hard?'
Nope. And they don’t smell, or have bunions or hard skin. The soles of my feet are soft & supple. I think I have nice feet actually. 
So that’s me and my feet. I enjoy being barefoot & talking to other people who are thinking about it.
So if you ever get the chance to take your shoes & socks off & walk in a shallow stream, over smooth slippery rocks and dry them off on the warm grass in Summer, then do it. And think of me when you do.
Take care, Bert x

itshibbert:

Hi, I’m Bert and for the main, I don’t wear shoes. Yes, you read that right, I don’t wear shoes.

Now I appreciate that, for some, this is quite a difficult concept to get their heads around, so I thought I’d write a little bit about me & my feet to try & explain it a little further.

As you can imagine, walking around all day without shoes on draws attention to yourself, some good attention, some bad attention, but attention none the less. People look, comment, nudge each other & come up to me to ask me questions on a daily basis. Most days I am happy to deal with this and will patiently answer all questions and smile, other days I have my hood up, my hat on, earphones in and my best ‘fuck off’ scowl on my face to avoid having to talk to anyone. But for the main, I accept that going about my business without shoes will attract attention and people will be curious and want to talk to me so I suck it up and deal with it, I guess its just part of the territory. At first I used to absolutely hate the attention, but I’ve learnt to accept it now and can reel off my standard answers to standard questions without becoming defensive.

So, here are some of the most common questions I get asked & how I answer……

'Why aren't you wearing any shoes?'

The answer to this one varies day to day & depends on who I’m talking to. For the main a simple ‘I prefer being barefoot’ will suffice. During the summer months i like ‘Its too nice a day to wear shoes’ and when children ask me I tell them that ‘Being barefoot makes my feet feel happy’, to which they nearly always look at me then smile.

And I suppose all of them are true. I generally prefer being barefoot to wearing shoes. My feet get too hot and feel too confined in shoes, so are ‘happier’ without them on. Simple really.

'What if you stand on glass/in dog shit/on a needle?'

Hmmm. This is pretty much the first question people ask when they find out about my barefootedness. I’ll address them one at a time.

Glass. In 2 years of being barefoot I have never stood on a piece of glass. When you dont have anything on your feet, you tend to become more aware of where you stand. If a piece of glass is big enough to be seen you can avoid it, if its too small to see it is unlikely to cause you any damage.

Dog shit. Everyone LOVES to ask about standing in dog shit. Sorry to disappoint but its not happened. Yet. Again, you tend to be able to avoid dog shit by simply stepping over/around it. Just like you would if you were wearing shoes. And the truth is, dog shit is easier to wash of the soles of your feet than from the treads of your shoes.

Needles. Go look outside at the pavement on your street. Or the place you walk your dog. Or you route to work/the gym etc. How many needles laying on the floor do you see? Count them over the space of a week. If its more than zero you should possibly reconsider where you chose to walk. I have never seen a needle laying on the pavement shod or barefoot.

'Aren't your feet cold?'

Not really, no. Of course I am aware of the change in temperatures, but my circulation has improved since I went barefoot and your body is pretty good at acclimatising. I don’t chose to spent long periods of time walking round without shoes in the colder months because the climate in this country is pretty shit and its just not practical. But I can comfortably spend periods of time without shoes all year.

'Have you ever cut yourself?'

Yes, I have. As I said previously, you become much more aware of where you stand without shoes and can avoid any potential dangers.

However, after far too much to drink, your awareness becomes slightly less, and so the only time I have ever cut my feet are when Ive been, well…well Ive been shitfaced. I couldn’t even tell you what I did to cut them. But its happened twice. Both times in drink. Which tells me a lot about my non drunk awareness levels!

'Do you ever wear shoes?'

Yep. I’m not ‘anti shoe’, I’m just ‘pro barefoot’. And of course, there are situations in life where its just not possible to go barefoot. Job interviews, the gym & work meetings being just a few. And some days I just want to wear shoes for no other reason than I do!

Places I don’t wear shoes include

Driving, supermarkets, my local pub, cinema’s, restaurants, day trips, public transport & work.

'Do you run barefoot?'

Sometimes yes. There is a very famous running book called Born to Run which introduced me to the idea of barefoot running. I still prefer to run anything over 3/4 miles in shoes (a fairly minimal running shoe) but have run my local 5km road race barefoot (in about 25 minutes) and in the summer months I run my local Parkrun barefoot. I do like the reaction of other runners when I overtake them not wearing anything on my feet ;o)

'What does your family think?'

My partner doesn’t like it. He has come to accept it over the past 2 years, but will ask me to wear shoes in certain circumstances as he doesn’t like the attention it brings. The rest of my family are fine with it. My youngest boy who’s now 6 will often go barefoot in summer. I have never asked him too, but I have also never insisted he wears shoes if he doesn’t want too.

'Aren't your feet really hard?'

Nope. And they don’t smell, or have bunions or hard skin. The soles of my feet are soft & supple. I think I have nice feet actually. 

So that’s me and my feet. I enjoy being barefoot & talking to other people who are thinking about it.

So if you ever get the chance to take your shoes & socks off & walk in a shallow stream, over smooth slippery rocks and dry them off on the warm grass in Summer, then do it. And think of me when you do.

Take care, Bert x

5 notes

'Autobiography' by Morrissey #briefbookreviews
Morrissey and I
In 1984 I was still at school. Back in those days not everyone had a record collection and there was just a handful of us in the sixth form who were recognised as music lovers. One of those young men was called Andy Park but whereas I suffered some derision for my love of Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, The Human League et al, Andy was one of those very cool characters with a satchel on which he’d inked such bands as Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, The Cure and Bauhaus. That summer though, we had a rare bonding over The Smiths’ ‘What Difference Does It Make?’
It’s a song that I have loved from the first time I heard it through to this day (although I would now recommend this version from ‘A Hatful Of Hollow’). It sounded instantly familiar, almost obvious, and yet I can’t think of anything that preceded it to which it is obviously indebted. But while my brother fell head over heels in love with The Smiths, that was it for me until, perhaps three years later, my friend Ric made me a compilation tape that included the extraordinary ‘How Soon Is Now?’
From here I fell in love with the title track from ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and, later, most of their ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’ album, but I think it’s honest to say that I was never a full on Smiths fan. In fact, the first album featuring Morrissey that I truly adored, playing it at least once a day, end to end, was his first solo outing, ‘Viva Hate’, which I would still highly recommend (with the exception of the dubious ‘Bengali in Platforms’ with its “Life is hard enough when you belong here” refrain).
But from there, to be honest, I lost interest in Morrissey’s music. I was bought a couple of the later solo albums but nothing really grabbed me, possibly because his subsequent bands always seemed so very average to me. Even his recent renaissance has left me cold although some have found it to be quite brilliant. (Here’s a playlist of this later material from my friend Justin.)
Music aside, I watched his adoption of the Union Jack - wrapping it around himself at concerts - and looked askance at that in conjunction with some of his lyrics (subsequent to ‘Bengali’) that appeared to be racist. And then there was the court case, where his reported behaviour seemed to chime with some diva-ish actions earlier in his career. When the judge described him as “devious, truculent and unreliable”, that seemed quite believable to me.
So, that’s where I’m coming from with respect to Morrissey. Now (at last!) a bit about the book.
Autobiography
There have been rumours of a Morrissey autobiography for a while now although late last year reports suggested that Morrissey had withdrawn it and it would no longer be published. And then, a few weeks before Christmas, there it was, available to buy.
Over the years my respect for the Smiths has grown and grown, and whilst I never play either of the first two albums, I have a huge respect for them as a band. Indeed, The Minx and I went to see Johnny Marr play live last year (and he was great). So, taking those things into account in combination with my abiding interest in pop music and taste for autobiographies, there was no doubt I was going to buy the book.
And what an amazing surprise! Morrissey’s writing is superb. I write most days and I’m acutely aware of how often I repeat certain words and phrases but Morrissey’s writing seems constantly fresh and inventive. By the bottom of the first page, I was smitten with his writing, and that enjoyment bloomed into a grand passion over the course of the book.
The book itself can be seen as being in four unequal parts. The first of these concerns Morrissey’s childhood up to the point where he meets Johnny Marr. He paints an incredibly vivid and bleak picture of working class life in Manchester in the sixties and seventies, and his schooling sounds intolerable. This part of the book is an evocative and fascinating study into this period which, for Manchester at least, still qualifies as post-war.
The second section - the part that concerns The Smiths and the section that I was most keenly anticipating - passes at a fair clip. There’s none of the detail to be found in other publications and, as far as I could see, no fresh insight into the band and how they wrote and recorded their albums. Indeed, there seems to be as much prose about Morrissey’s dissatisfaction with his label, Rough Trade.
The third part of the book concerns the trial and he gives this the kind of detail I was hoping to read about The Smiths. And yet, if Morrissey’s depiction of events is the correct one, I can now understand where his bitterness comes from and, indeed, why this is the most focussed part of the entire autobiography.
And then, from here to the end, we are taken on an impressionistic ride through Morrissey’s subsequent and remarkably successful solo career. Indeed, the writing, which has at times been reminiscent of Kerouac  - an effect emphasised by the paucity of paragraphs - becomes almost a stream of consciousness in places. And then it finishes, quite abruptly, and one is left feeling it could have ended in the same style anywhere in the previous hundred pages.
So would I recommend it? Yes, I would. The writing is brilliant to the point that I enjoyed it regardless of what Morrissey was writing about. The Smiths section is undoubtedly a disappointment but the court section was engrossing and, as I’ve said, I’m sure reason enough to write the book in Morrissey’s eyes. This was an opportunity to tackle the racism accusations head on but Morrissey’s argument seems to be that since he is not a racist, these are spurious arguments that shouldn’t be flattered with his attention. Having listened to ‘Bengali in Platforms’ many, many times, I’m not so sure about that.
In conclusion, I’d just say that for what it’s worth, I’d have been happier if Morrissey had given up music after ‘Viva Hate’ and concentrated on writing. This is a great book, even though, unusually, I can also say that you needn’t read the last section to the very end.

'Autobiography' by Morrissey #briefbookreviews

Morrissey and I

In 1984 I was still at school. Back in those days not everyone had a record collection and there was just a handful of us in the sixth form who were recognised as music lovers. One of those young men was called Andy Park but whereas I suffered some derision for my love of Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, The Human League et al, Andy was one of those very cool characters with a satchel on which he’d inked such bands as Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, The Cure and Bauhaus. That summer though, we had a rare bonding over The Smiths’ ‘What Difference Does It Make?’

It’s a song that I have loved from the first time I heard it through to this day (although I would now recommend this version from ‘A Hatful Of Hollow’). It sounded instantly familiar, almost obvious, and yet I can’t think of anything that preceded it to which it is obviously indebted. But while my brother fell head over heels in love with The Smiths, that was it for me until, perhaps three years later, my friend Ric made me a compilation tape that included the extraordinary ‘How Soon Is Now?

From here I fell in love with the title track from ‘The Queen Is Dead’ and, later, most of their ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’ album, but I think it’s honest to say that I was never a full on Smiths fan. In fact, the first album featuring Morrissey that I truly adored, playing it at least once a day, end to end, was his first solo outing, ‘Viva Hate’, which I would still highly recommend (with the exception of the dubious ‘Bengali in Platforms’ with its “Life is hard enough when you belong here” refrain).

But from there, to be honest, I lost interest in Morrissey’s music. I was bought a couple of the later solo albums but nothing really grabbed me, possibly because his subsequent bands always seemed so very average to me. Even his recent renaissance has left me cold although some have found it to be quite brilliant. (Here’s a playlist of this later material from my friend Justin.)

Music aside, I watched his adoption of the Union Jack - wrapping it around himself at concerts - and looked askance at that in conjunction with some of his lyrics (subsequent to ‘Bengali’) that appeared to be racist. And then there was the court case, where his reported behaviour seemed to chime with some diva-ish actions earlier in his career. When the judge described him as “devious, truculent and unreliable”, that seemed quite believable to me.

So, that’s where I’m coming from with respect to Morrissey. Now (at last!) a bit about the book.

Autobiography

There have been rumours of a Morrissey autobiography for a while now although late last year reports suggested that Morrissey had withdrawn it and it would no longer be published. And then, a few weeks before Christmas, there it was, available to buy.

Over the years my respect for the Smiths has grown and grown, and whilst I never play either of the first two albums, I have a huge respect for them as a band. Indeed, The Minx and I went to see Johnny Marr play live last year (and he was great). So, taking those things into account in combination with my abiding interest in pop music and taste for autobiographies, there was no doubt I was going to buy the book.

And what an amazing surprise! Morrissey’s writing is superb. I write most days and I’m acutely aware of how often I repeat certain words and phrases but Morrissey’s writing seems constantly fresh and inventive. By the bottom of the first page, I was smitten with his writing, and that enjoyment bloomed into a grand passion over the course of the book.

The book itself can be seen as being in four unequal parts. The first of these concerns Morrissey’s childhood up to the point where he meets Johnny Marr. He paints an incredibly vivid and bleak picture of working class life in Manchester in the sixties and seventies, and his schooling sounds intolerable. This part of the book is an evocative and fascinating study into this period which, for Manchester at least, still qualifies as post-war.

The second section - the part that concerns The Smiths and the section that I was most keenly anticipating - passes at a fair clip. There’s none of the detail to be found in other publications and, as far as I could see, no fresh insight into the band and how they wrote and recorded their albums. Indeed, there seems to be as much prose about Morrissey’s dissatisfaction with his label, Rough Trade.

The third part of the book concerns the trial and he gives this the kind of detail I was hoping to read about The Smiths. And yet, if Morrissey’s depiction of events is the correct one, I can now understand where his bitterness comes from and, indeed, why this is the most focussed part of the entire autobiography.

And then, from here to the end, we are taken on an impressionistic ride through Morrissey’s subsequent and remarkably successful solo career. Indeed, the writing, which has at times been reminiscent of Kerouac  - an effect emphasised by the paucity of paragraphs - becomes almost a stream of consciousness in places. And then it finishes, quite abruptly, and one is left feeling it could have ended in the same style anywhere in the previous hundred pages.

So would I recommend it? Yes, I would. The writing is brilliant to the point that I enjoyed it regardless of what Morrissey was writing about. The Smiths section is undoubtedly a disappointment but the court section was engrossing and, as I’ve said, I’m sure reason enough to write the book in Morrissey’s eyes. This was an opportunity to tackle the racism accusations head on but Morrissey’s argument seems to be that since he is not a racist, these are spurious arguments that shouldn’t be flattered with his attention. Having listened to ‘Bengali in Platforms’ many, many times, I’m not so sure about that.

In conclusion, I’d just say that for what it’s worth, I’d have been happier if Morrissey had given up music after ‘Viva Hate’ and concentrated on writing. This is a great book, even though, unusually, I can also say that you needn’t read the last section to the very end.

3 notes