Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Hen Run - c. 1993

From the Alan Partridge show on Radio 4, January 1993 (Episode 6) list of trendy women in UK mentioned in an interview sketch re: ‘The Hen Run’.  Very Ab Fab:

Yasmin Le Bon

Annie Lennox

Katie Puckrick

Juliette Stevenson

Fay Weldon

Janet Street Porter

Pamela Stephenson

The Cholmondeleys

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Zadie's Sensibility

British author Zadie Smith (White Teeth; On Beauty) is teaching a seminar this spring at Columbia University in New York.  The seminar is entitled 'Sense and Sensibility'.  You can read about it on several on-line sites:

The Columbia Writing Courses site (about 2/3rds of the way down)

Below is the course description supplied by Columbia, together with the list I've compiled from all sources of the reading list's books (22 books in all; although Book Culture states there to be only 15 - hmmm...).

First is the list on Columbia's website, followed by the reported additional works to be read over the course of the seminar.

"Sense and Sensibility


Zadie Smith

What does 'having a sensibility', literary or otherwise, mean? Is it something one acquires, something innate, or something else again? We're going to read a selection of very good 20th century novels (and one book of poems) concentrating on whatever is most particular to them, in the hope that this might help us understand whatever is most particular to us. The reading list is long* and heterogeneous in the hope of encouraging sympathy for a broad range of literary sensibilities regardless of what our own natural inclinations may be. Students will give short presentations, and at the end of the course will write a piece of fiction, or a piece of literary criticism, of at least five pages.

The course will be punctuated by secondary readings of literary criticism and philosophy.

* Most of the novels are short.

Among the books we will read:

A Room With a View - E.M. Forster

The Complete Short Stories - Franz Kafka

Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov

Frost - Thomas Bernhard

The Book of Daniel - EL Doctorow

Pastoralia - George Saunders

Remainder - Tom McCarthy

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - David Foster Wallace

The Rings of Saturn - W.G. Sebald

The Atrocity Exhibition - JG Ballard

Selected readings from - George Orwell

My Loose Thread - Dennis Cooper

Eleven Kinds of Loneliness - Richard Yates"

Additionally reported to be on the reading list:

Catholics - Brian Moore

Crash - J.G. Ballard

An Experiment in Love - Hilary Mantel

Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader - David Lodge

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark

The Loser - Thomas Bernhard

Reader's Block - David Markson

The Quiet American - Graham Greene

Friday, 6 March 2009

Mrs Tsvangirai, RIP.

Has Mugabe tried to assassinate Morgan Tsvangirai?  Mrs Tsvangirai has been killed in the suspicious car accident which has hospitalised her husband.  Mrs Tsvangirai, RIP.

This is a tragic day for Zimbabwe - a country already choking on a surfeit of tragedies.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Thatcher’s Children (Lyrics) – by Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire

"Thatcher’s Children

Have inherited the Earth

Ronald Reagan was there

He gave the curse


Thatcher’s Children

What Can You Do?

When Every Little Smile

Has To Shine BRAND NEW


Thatcher’s Children

They came from afar

Now even rock ‘n’ roll’s

Just floggin’ a car


Thatcher’s Children

Only tied to the purse

It ain’t gettin’ better

It’s just gettin’ worse


And nobody’s ringin’

The ice is getting thin

And terrorists might get ya’

The tunnel’s cavin’ in


The countdown’s beginnin’

The winner can’t win

Save your own skin –

Everyone’s a LOSER


Thatcher’s Children

You said it’s punk rock

Now we’re on our knees

And we’re all sucking cock


Thatcher’s Children

Who’d believe it’s true

But what she did to them

Well, they’ll do it to you


Thatcher’s Children

The headlines will grab ya

Don’t go outta your homes

Or your children might stab ya


Thatcher’s Children

You said it would be fun

Now we’re staring down the barrel

Of our own gun


And nobody’s ringing

The air is getting thin

The terrorists might get ya

The tower’s caving in


The Countdown’s beginning

The winner can’t win

Save your own skin

Everyone’s a LOSER


Thatcher’s Children

What can you lose?

You could all be famous

On You Tube


Thatcher’s Children

[I’m afraid I can’t make out what Mr Childish sings in these two lines!]

They just couldn’t resist


Thatcher’s Children

Aren’t you glad you came?

Preaching a gospel of

Greed and Gain


Thatcher’s Children

Won’t you give me a smile?

For the CCTV cameras

Recording you for mile, after mile, after mile, after mile"