Monday, 14 May 2012


A little elp is never amiss.

Dream last night: first day in a new job and the best bit was the canteen, in which the food was mostly Spanish and people did turns, e.g. an opera singer at the bar. Then I went for a walk up a winding road with Seamus Heaney, and we found some old buses and coaches in a kind of bus graveyard and people were playing chess inside them, and Mr Heaney showed me his new work, which was a sequence incorporating poems, short bits of fiction, and paragraphs of memoir.

Employers etc complaining that the young don’t bother to turn up on time for their low-paid/unpaid work – but if work was a more congenial place to be, with opera singers in the canteen? The work problem is not just that there aren’t jobs but that most jobs are soul-less and numbingly tedious.

The recorded voice in the lift at Belsize Park tube station – ‘You have now reached the lower level. Exit, turn right and . . .’ – is 1950s BBC Home Service announcer’s, perfectly preserved.

The Leveson Inquiry: a man called Murdoch who owns TV stations I don’t watch, newspapers I don’t read (the TLS, admittedly, is a little problem here), is a person I’m interested in? Rich and powerful people in one another’s pockets, telling lies in public, riding horses that do not belong to them, is news, is scandal? Plenty things more worth sorting out than that; that so much time, money, attention is devoted to this is exactly why so many don’t bother voting. (Meanwhile, that a couple of writers I’ve been reading – Alfred Hayes, Renata Adler – are currently out of print is a scandal.)

1 comment:

tim said...

Leveson is great theatre and simply great: the punctilious extirpation of the mycelia of evil.

Adler - perhaps her fortunes dimmed after she turned on the New Yorker. I was thinking about Speedboat the other day - she describes a cable channel where workmen review programmes from the standpoint of their professions. I really hope, knowing the cloudiness of my memory, that I'm not confusing her with Tama Janowitz - that would be bad.