I recently discovered that ‘bleg’ is a blog entry that asks for something.
This is not one of these. This is a blemand. Or a bleseech.
I was sniffing round Hodges Figgis the other day, amid the glossy books that could double up as murder weapons, when I came across this one. I was unaware of its existence, despite my admiration for Spain’s Road To Empire, by the same author.
So buy it for me.
It costs 44 Euro.
No, don’t buy it for me. I’ll get it myself.
No, do buy it for me.
No, don’t. I still haven’t got through my pile yet, and a couple of infiltrators have snuck onto it in the meantime, leapfrogging the likes of Brian Dillon, whose first 50 pages of his memoir of drab (not the same as a drab memoir), In The Dark Room, had me feeling like my teeth were yellowing and damp was setting into the living room, however much he referred to the likes of Bachelard and Borges to keep me interested. An alternative title of Rotting Penny Apples springs to mind. But that would be too cruel. The infiltrators include Eric Hobsbawm’s Revolutionaries (seriously good) and Terry Eagleton’s The Meaning of Life (not as satisfying as After Theory).
Another book I spotted was Why Blame Israel? The only reason I recall said book was not because I found it in any way enticing, but because it had been ‘blurbed’ by Julie Burchill. The blurb says (according to an Amazon reviewer – I can’t recall it verbatim):
“There exists a quite striking bias against Israel. Neill Lochery’s excellent, accesible book is a must read for anyone wanting a tonic to this persistent and illogical prejudice”.
This came to mind when reading the following passage by Cosmo Landesman (Julie Burchill’s former husband) in his profile of Naim Attallah in today’s Sunday Times:
Still, I always hoped I’d get the call, until he approached my then wife Julie Burchill and asked for an interview for his forthcoming book about prominent women. He thought Julie would be flattered to be part of such esteemed company as Germaine Greer, Tina Brown, Joan Bakewell, Margaret Drabble and Clare Short. She replied, “No, I won’t be in your book. One, because I don’t like Arabs in general. Two, because I don’t like Palestinians in particular. And three, because I particularly don’t like you. Now sling your hook.”
When I suggested to Julie that perhaps a simple “no, thanks” might be a more appropriate response, she called me “a weak, gutless, self-loathing Jew”.
Who better than Julie Burchill, then, to write blurbs making reference to ‘striking bias’ and ‘persistent and illogical prejudice’?