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Showing posts from September, 2009

Reading/Go See

Time limits a fuller posting!
Go see: Telling Tales design inspired by fairytales exhibition at the V&A

I'm reading:
The Quickening Maze - Adam Foulds
Summertimes - J.M. Coetzee

Flicking through:
Looking for the Light through the Pouring Rain - photography by Kevin Cummins - brilliantly evocative Manchester

Strange Days Indeed, Francis Wheen

My review of Francis Wheen's latest book, Strange Days Indeed - The Golden Age of Paranoia, is in this week's issue of Tribune Magazine, along with other reviews of books, film and theatre.

Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia by Francis Wheen
Fourth Estate, £18.99

The title of Francis Wheen's latest book, Strange Days Indeed, is perfect. The '70s were indeed paranoid. And with paranoia comes darkness, and not just figurative. There won't be many, from '70s children upwards, who won't remember the power cuts which gave Andy Beckett his title for another book about that decade, When the Lights Went Out. Wheen and Beckett are not the only two either, for there has been a recent trend to reminisce about the '70s. Wheen has mined many of that decade's most memorable quotes, which could just as easily apply to our own times. Take this, from Senator Frank Church, who, in concluding an investigation into the illegal activities of the FBI and the CI…

Barry last year, Toibin and Trevor Booker-mugged this year?

The Guardian's Robert McCrum, he who, of late, has been too enthusiastic about Kindle, has asked why Colm Toibin's 'small masterpiece' has been left off this year's Booker shortlist. He's right. It is a small masterpiece. A narrative of exile expertly controlled and slowly revealed until all the sadness is there, gaping. William Trevor also didn't make it. One has to ask why. I felt that Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture was robbed last year. What links these three great books from masters of the form? Yes, they're all Irish. Too good by half, it would seem.

Anyway. I've been struggling with getting my own revised structure down on paper this week, but I think I've done it, well, not 'done it' as set in stone, but it gives me a good idea of what needs to be included. Much thought still has to go into the chronology of all the events, which will not be linear. Wondering where to get a sense of Brussels in the nineteenth century, …