Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Nazis to the Right of me, Antifa on the Left... here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Okay, it's The Guardian - what did you expect? Common  sense? Rationality? Respect for the vast majority of people who don't share their bizarre views? Of course not - you expect its writers to support any proposal, no matter how deranged, whose sole purpose is to upset anyone who doesn't read the Guardian, work for the BBC, go on demos, doesn't think all white people are racist, doesn't despise Judeo-Christian culture and doesn't hate this country, its people, its traditions and its history. I've tried my best not to swallow the bait...

Book Report Part 8: "Mr. Sammler's Planet" by Saul Bellow

I got half-way through Saul Bellow's novel five years ago. I'd always meant to read one of his books, and, as Mr. Sammler's Planet kept turning up on "20 Great Conservative Novels"-style lists, and, as this seemed unlikely, given that Bellow was a Jewish American academic, who tend to lean leftwards, I thought I'd start with it. For some reason, I didn't finish it that first time, so I began again from scratch. Published in 1970, it's set in late '60s New York, where moral relativism, experimentation, liberation and personal reinvention are all the rage - and the concepts of honour, duty, sanctity and moderation are being discarded by the educated classes and their offspring. These people don't have ideas, they have "delusions, brainstorms". They don't have roots: "Roots are not modern. That's a peasant conception, soil and roots." Trying to figure out how to live in a decaying, violent, nightmarish world, from which "a natural feeling of respect" is absent, is Mr. Artur Sammler...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Fats Domino - ten rays of aural sunshine from a true rock 'n' roll giant

I gave a friend a Fats Domino greatest hits LP for his 20th birthday. I'd been bullying him into appreciating early rock 'n' roll (I was young and determined to spread the gospel). When he unwrapped it and studied the distinctly uncool, unthreatening-looking, fat little black man smiling benignly beside a piano on the cover, his disappointment was evident. "Just give it a listen," I suggested. I was relieved a week later when the birthday boy appeared at my door, raving about the album. (He might have been trying to spare my feelings, but that really would have been a first for him.) I've long ago stopped expecting anyone to share my popular culture enthusiasms, but I still suspect anyone who fails to react positively to The Fat Man's music of being  an anhedonic miserabilist. You don't have to respond to Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent or Carl Perkins - but if your system doesn't flood with endorphins the moment Fats Domino comes on the radio, it probably means you're a bad person. Not that I'm being judgmental or anything. If you've got Sky, and you've hooked it up to broadband, I strongly recommend visiting the Sky Arts catch-up section to download The Big Beat: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll...

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Comey and Clinton performing "What Difference Does It Make?" - a slice of comic genius from last year

Yes, I know how behind the curve I am posting this splendid parody from October, 2016 - but I only saw it for the first time about ten minutes ago, and it's a gem. Enjoy!