Saturday, 29 September 2012

Confiscate His Passport

The book begins brilliantly.  And for over a hundred pages it continues on its virtuoso way.  But then the focus switches, and the quality of the writing slows down, it loses its intensity, so that the wonderful images, those oh so vivid metaphors, fall away; while the fresh insights fade until they vanish into nothingness.  We look up, and see we are driving through all too familiar territory: a good but, alas, commonplace novel. 

After a wonderful morning amongst the exotica of Camden Lock a weary afternoon in the upmarket franchises of Brent Cross.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Good Lads, Really

Adam Curtis is a magician… of the BBC archives.  By pulling these films out of his employer’s top hat, he gives us an unusual perspective both into the “hooligans” of yesteryear, the Hell’s Angels and the Skinheads of the late 1960s, and the mainstream culture that reported on them.

The press are in constant need of scary monsters to entertain us.  They create them out any material they can find: the underclass, Islamic terrorists, paedophiles, unions, the IRA, communists, psychopathic families…any old nutter will do.  It is the reason Fleet Street was situated next to the Old Bailey and not the Houses of Parliament: crime is more popular and therefore profitable than political debate.

The young always provide good material.  For they are always with us: from Mods and Rockers through to the “feral” teenagers of today, with hippies, punks and the ecstasy generation filling up the gaps in between.  Just about every one of us has been demonised in our day.

Sunday, 2 September 2012