Monday, April 30, 2007


Well, the cricket worldcup is over - as ever it made great listening on the radio (especially when I was laid low by lurgy).

Unlike the commentators, I had my fill of exciting last minute games, where every ball was awaited with baited breath - yes, the Australians did murder everyone else - ritually (just see their rankings in the bowling figures, throughout, but nontheless, there were many positives.

Ireland did scintillatingly well - and it was good to see Bangladesh get through and India and Pakistan being humbled and knocked-out at the first round - the game needs challenge to be kept alive.

Cricket, despite being a legacy of empire, is a game which lives and thrives in some of the poorest and most populous nations. Sri Lanka were able to match against players from mighty and affluent cricketing nations to put in a tremendous show in the final. My only dsiappointment was the result for the West Indies.

It's a game of poise, drama and commitment, where reversals and surprises can occur, and where, like good literature, an observer can gain appreciation by study of the techniques and forms. Looking forward to the subcontent world-cup already.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Shadow (1991-2007)

That was her about a year ago, when she was already frail, deaf, blind and arthritic.

She was originally bought by my Sister, who named her Susie; however, by various means she fell into my hands, and I wasn't having a bloody dog called Susie (and I'm sure the dog wouldn't have tolerated that name neither). So, because she was black - almost never comes out except as a black blob on photos - and because she was always hanging round our feet, she became Shadow.

We got her from a rescue centre, and someone had presumably once tried to drown her, so she had a lifelong fear of water, and would, when it had rained, try to walk without putting her feat on the wet ground.

RIP - but her spirit will continue her vendetta against all known cats or agents of cats.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Holliday reading

Well, I spent Easter reading a genuinely fascist novel. No, not a term of abuse, a genuine novel with fascistic sympathies from 1938. Dennis Wheatley's The Golden Spaniard.

It was worth the read - although it is mentioned on his Wikipedia article as having divided his core band of "modern musketeer" characters - that was in fact merely a device to implicate and demolish liberal sympathy for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War.

Louis Althusser thought that through fiction ideology could stand revealed - a rather soulless perspective on literature if you ask me - but this novel does illustrate a fantasy fiction world of a British fascist (although Wheatley assisted the British war effort, I don't think that dints his pre-war flirtation with the ideology).

It was fascinating to see how the ideology of fascis dovetailed neatly with the typical adventure story - and the absolute ruthlessness the author presumed his readers would find acceptable (as well as the sheer double standards of atrocity calling).

I can't, of course, condemn a writer for being partisan, after all, I read partisan leftist literature, but it is interesting to see the other side's point of view and how they construct their case. Both sides justified violence and atrocity by referrence to the threat from the other - the only thing that divided them, after the means, was the end.

The book stands as an interesting peice of literary archaeology that helps parse the debates over such things as Israel today. It is not that the study of literature reveals ideology concretised, but it reveals the working of rhetoric, an essential tool for intellectual self-defence.

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