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Showing posts from July, 2019

Longwinded? Dull? Are we really talking about the acme of new journalism? Yes, sadly we are - ain’t nothing as impressionable as impressionable folk. On the other hand: RIP Jim Innes

I have made no secret of the fact that growing up, with a very bright older brother who seemed to be able to master whatever he turned his hand and mind to, and generally being more of a slow plodder than a fizzing spark, that I had something of an inferiority complex.

I now realise, of course, that it wasn’t necessarily that bad at all, and that could I but have seen into the souls of my young friends at school and then at college, I might have been surprised, then astonished, that they felt pretty much the same thing. It was more a lack of confidence borne of a lack of experience and in that I was really no different to my peers. It didn’t help when you - that is I - came across, as one often did, as one of those young chaps who were the very personification of confidence. And I say ‘chaps’ because like most males of my generation women didn’t really ‘count’.

Although I think that attitude to women - which I most certainly no longer share - is less than admirable and that, thank the L…

More reading, finishing off one and starting a promising new one (Kierkegaard, Hollywood And How He Married An Alien From Mars or something - I’ll check and get back to you)

I’ve started another, more private, blog which is more in the way of an ordinary diary (and thus probably quite boring), and this is the latest entry there, but I thought I might as well post it here as there is nothing contentious in it.

Finished off Hemingway vs Fitzgerald today, then start on an intriguing book I only came across last week called - provocatively it has to be said and I think you get a fair idea of what angle it will take from this title - Hemingway and His Conspirators: Hollywood, Scribners and the Making of American Celebrity Culture. It’s by some guy call Leonard J Leff.

I trust myself after reading a few pages on sussing out whether it can be taken reasonably seriously or not (e.g. I Married and Alien From Outer Space), but even if everything has to be taken with more than a grain of salt, if it’s entertaining, it’s entertaining.

Along the lines of ‘loaded titles’, in my last year at university, after having done fuck all pretty much for two years in my English an…

In which I confess to an ongoing bout of ‘out of sortism’ (and wonder whether Boris Johnson will come crashing down this week or next)

Since losing the puzzles (which I think I mentioned) and being aware that my annual income has plummeted by pretty much a third, I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts, though not quite in the way you might imagine. The money was handy, the work, though a bit longwinded, easy and highly manageable, but the important thing was the £8,400 it brought in every year gave me a kind of freedom.

I did not spend it profligately, but it meant I could, if I wanted, buy a flight abroad, hire a car and stay somewhere for two weeks without a second thought. Now I can’t. Now my income is down to my state pension and the money I get from the house in Birmingham. What I get is certainly a little more than some — well, pensioners — and I have ‘savings’ which I could, should I want to, spend. But I don’t want to.

The current plan is (though remember telling God your plans makes him laugh out loud) is that I shall as far as possible not touch a penny of it and give it half each to Elsie and Wesley, which sum…

Give and take? It’s has to be a two-way street. Always. And as for gentle summer evenings . . . a boy, even one batting 70, can still dream

This is also going in my main blog:

I wrote this piece in a fit of irritation going on anger a week or two ago. If you read it, you will understand why. I was going to post it, but as always a wise voice inside me cautioned to hold fast and give it a day or two and leave it in draft form. I did, and yesterday I deleted the draft, but kept the words. I reasoned that I might, at some point, still decide to publish it. First I decided to publish it in a second more private blog I keep which really is more a real diary.

The different between that and this, my main blog, is that I don’t mind the other being read. In fact, I like it and hold to the view that if you write something down, the chances are that you would like it to be read, whether or not you are aware of that. The other blog, on the other hand, is private, somewhere I can let my hair down. Perhaps in time it will be discovered and read — I don’t ‘market’ it like this one — but by then I shall be long dead and if someone is hurt …

Ain’t nothing going to do it except doing it. So why am I still pfaffing around?

OK, I know exactly what I should be doing but I’m not doing it. It’s not rocket science. There is not great shakes about it: I should be getting up - not early, doesn’t have to be at the crack of dawn - and sitting down in my ‘shed’, which is what this place has been called, and doing nothing until I am so bloody bored I start writing.

It doesn’t matter what I fucking write, but as long as I write, that is fine. Jesus there’s enough shite out there as it is and a little more, courtesy of me, isn’t going to bring the world to its end. But I don’t. I have no idea was stops me. Laziness isn’t the word, because it isn’t laziness. I mean if it were laziness I wouldn’t even be writing these bloody words which, so far, these included, make up 745.

It’s not even ‘dread of failure’ because I don’t give a flying fuck whether or not I ‘fail’. But for some reason when I wake up I am in a kind of torpor which lasts until 10.30 in the morning.

BUT - I am going do it! So far in my life I have three tim…

Sorry about this, but — completely unplanned — I began jotting down a few comments and being the sort who really can’t shut up . . .

Oh, what have I let myself in for? Just read the introduction to a book of five essays on Hemingway’s ‘first’ novel (it was his second, in fact, but like much about the man, nothing is straightforward) called New Essays On The Sun Also Rises in a series called The American Novel, and despite the hi-falutin’ talk of ‘New Critics’, ‘new criticism’ and modern perspectives and modernism, I still think the guy is a nine-bob note who had the luck of old nick.

But — a huge ‘but’ — is it really likely that yours truly, a snotty-nosed cynic cast aside in deepest North Cornwall is right and an assortment of academics and critical literary types are wrong? Really? Come on, let’s get real. And yet, and yet...

I’ve just finished the introduction and will continue with the rest of the essays tomorrow, but let me cite just one passage which makes me wonder whether, however unlikely it might be, the world really is capable of disappearing up it own arse. Remember: my background is in newspapers, mainly…

Another damned thick, square book! Always, scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr Wolfe?

Well, as I’m serious about getting this Hemingway bollocks completed, and as I want to prove to myself that the reading this, that and t’other isn’t just displacement activity (about which I’ve already written a blog entry, so I can’t procrastinate any more — actually that’s unfair), I got down to adding a few more words. Mainly they were based on a few more thoughts I had after reading a book of a collection of essays by a guy called Malcolm Cowley, who knew Hemingway in Paris.

He wasn’t part of Hemingway’s crowd really, mainly because he and his wife (he tells us in his in the first piece in the book about Hemingway) live in ‘a painters’ colony’ in Giverny about 50 miles from Paris and only visited ‘the crowd’ in Montparnasse once a week. He and his wife lived off a $5,000 fellowship (which was renewed for a second year) and which, because of the fabulously cheap franc the dollar could buy, was more than enough for them to get by on.

The book of essays is called A Second Flowering and…