Monday, 4 January 2021
Bad weather, good books
1st January, late afternoon, cold sleety weather, the UK now un-moored from Europe and Covid rampant and the ship run by incompetent bastards and I overhear a drunk woman in the street ask a stranger if he knows someone called Mohammed and he replies: ‘Everyone does, don’t they?’ I love this city. This country too – which is not easy right now, but it needs love most when the times are hard.
Meanwhile, here’s a book, Spring Journal, that took on 2020 on directly, week by week, and was published in December: ‘The virus reveals the flaw / In our way of living: the rich fly it around the planet / And dump it on the doorsteps of the poor.’ Responding fast and honestly to the times we live in is one of the things writing and publishing are for.
Slow works too: Simple Annals by Roy Watkins, the first title from CBe in 2021, a memoir of childhood in Lancashire in the 1940s and early 50s, is short (around 120 pages) but was many years in the writing: the author remembers hearing an early version read aloud by Ted Hughes. The writing has an immediacy that belies the decades.
The Lockdown Subscription – 10 books (plus extras) for £65 – is still available: see the Home page of the website. It is a complete bargain (especially now that postage has just gone up by 10%). This Lockdown Subscription was first offered in late March last year; it is now even more relevant than it was then.