Archive for March 12th, 2006

Wham Bam Thank You Sam

Read Roy Foster’s piece on Beckett in the Sunday Times, and Edna O’Brien’s in the Guardian. And while you’re at it, you might as well read this John Montague piece from way back. All well worth reading. I used to read Beckett quite a lot, and I also read Deirdre Bair and Anthony Cronin’s biographies, but my interest in Beckett happened at a time in my life when I had regular hangovers. Tip: Beckett makes a hangover much worse.

One thing: I think there is a serious limit to the amount of insight you can get from Irish writers writing about Beckett. Reminiscences about him learning about Nassau Street’s one way system are all well and good, but they don’t really help much to interpret his work. There should be more writing from French, Italian, Eastern European, African, North American, Latin American, Middle Eastern writers, whoever- about Beckett made available. It’s not as if he’s not well known.

Functional Determinism

This is a diverting review of books about Bin Laden and al-Qaida, and this is another.

This was an interesting snippet from Burke’s review:

If radical leftwing thought was a product of the massive changes in the late 19th century, and rightwing extremism a consequence of the political, social and cultural instability of the early and middle decades of the 20th century, then radical Islam, as well as the resurgent fundamentalisms elsewhere across the globe, might be a function of the inherent instability, both creative and destructive, of our own era.

Well, it seems interesting at first glance, then you think about it a bit further, and you realise that it’s not. Practically anything that happens might be a function of the inherent instability, both creative and destructive, of our era. Like Ronaldinho’s goal against Chelsea the other night, or Sonia and Naomi’s on-screen kiss in Eastenders, or my decision to do some drilling this afternoon. I put up a cabinet, a couple of loo-roll holders, a couple of towel rails and a clock. I can’t discount the possibility that global power shifts had something to do with it.

Printemps Prompting

If anyone would like to recommend a decent place to eat or see in Paris, I’d be much obliged.

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March 2006