Category: ageing

LIST OF THE LOST by Morrissey (Penguin Books, 2015)

“If you must write prose and poems, the words you use must be your own. Don’t plagiarise or take on loan” – lyrics from Cemetry Gates by The Smiths.

The kindest thing you can say about Stephen Patrick Morrissey’s first, and surely last, published work of fiction is that he follows his own advice and writes in his own words.

Some lines would even make admirable song lyrics :
“Accept the enslavement of my undying love,
Or bear my unpleasant cruelty,
For dearly I love you,
More than any other could”

Unfortunately, this is not a record but a novella and the results are positively dire. Continue reading

corbynmaniaA friend of mine recently dismissed Jeremy Corbyn as being not just as a man in his 60s but also as a man of the 60s.

The implication being that he speaks for an era that has passed and therefore advocates policies that are out of date.

If this were remotely true, I doubt he would have engaged and inspired so many in his remarkable path towards becoming leader of the Labour Party (From “Jez-he-can” to “Jez-he-did!”).

It is significant that he has been able to win over not only voters of his own generation (he was born in 1949) but has also managed to mobilize otherwise disillusioned youths who have not previously had a Socialist option to vote for (born under Thatcher – raised under Blair). Continue reading

 A SINGLE MAN directed by Tom Ford (USA, 2009) based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood.

When I first saw this movie I hadn’t read the book on which it is based.

I have just watched it again after being hugely impressed and deeply moved by Isherwood’s flawless novella.

 Tom Ford’s expert adaptation is faithful to the story yet makes key changes;  some for better, some for worse.

Note that this post contains spoilers.Don't say I didn't warn you!

Continue reading

THE MARK LANEGAN BAND Live at the Rocca Malastestiana, Cesena, Italy 11th August 2015

Mark Lanegan - not a summery kind of guy.

Mark Lanegan – not a summery kind of guy.

On stage, Mark Lanegan looks and sounds every inch the rock and roll survivor.

This gives added authenticity to his songs about salvation and healing.

For Lanegan’s brand of bleak urban rock, black is the colour, as typified by tunes like The Gravedigger’s Song and Gray Goes Black.

Lanegan stands centre stage like a pugilist, not as someone who is picking a fight but as a man used to standing his ground. Continue reading

DIFFERENT EVERY TIME – The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt – by Marcus O’Dair (Serpent’s Tail, 2014)

a wyatt bookI look for two things in a biography. Firstly, I like to learn something new and/or surprising about the subject; secondly, I want what I already know (or think I know) to be presented in a way that shares my enthusiasm. Marcus O’Dair‘s marvellous book scores top marks on both counts.

Based on extensive interviews with Robert Wyatt and most of the key people he’s worked with over the years, it is meticulously researched but never stuffy or overly academic.

The author (who is also a lecturer, broadcaster and musician) gives well-informed opinions but never seeks to force his point of view on the reader.

Robert’s story comes two parts – divided by the accident in 1973 that confined him to a wheelchair at the age of 28. Continue reading


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