A Far Fetched Resolution

I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end up in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council, a Labour council hiring taxis to scuttle round the city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I’ll tell you.. You can’t play politics with people’s jobs and with people’s services.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Christmas reading

One of the real pleasures of Christmas is that if you have a certain kind of friend or family group you almost certainly end with more books than you started with. You also end up a lot more broke, which for a great many reasons means more time to read.

So I always find that January is a good month for reading. As I posted late last year I've been making more time for reading as it is, so this month has been a double whammy.

I can strongly recommend Dominic Sawbrook's "Never Had It So Good" . This, despite being a detailed and intricate history of about 7 years of British history is a really fun book to read with so many lovely little factual asides that told you so much more than any number of small-print footnotes could tell you about the period. I can genuinely say that, having answered a finals exam question on the period only 6 months ago I learnt more about the mid fifties to early sixties reading his book than in all of my reading for that exam. But I also actually laughed out loud reading it on several occasions.

It has just entered my top ten books ever - and I'm using the book vouchers Emily's grandma gave me to get the sequel "White Heat" which I shall devour as rapidly I'm sure.

A totally different approach to reading about the mid 20th Century is the "Gonzo" route. Somebody who has, so far as I'm aware little or no interest in politics but knows I have, happend (in one of those serendipitous moments only those shopping for books outside of their comfort zone ever achieves - I get it when buying novels for my mother which she then feverishly recommends back to me, forgetting I rarely ever read novels, or that I ever gave it to her. I'm hopeless at buying books for myself, or people with similar interest to me though.) accross a book I didn't even know existed but would have invented had I even known it was possible.

Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" was clearly only bought for me as it had "Campaign Trail" in the title, but i'm actually a real fan on "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and was startled to note I'd never heard of this when given it on Christmas Day by my best friends' mother.

At any rate, i'm half way through it - but it's effing marvellous. It's so vivid, telling what life was really like for a journalist on the odyssey that is a US election campaign - whilst making it absolutely plain that 90% of it is completely made up.

Read it.


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