Sunday, 24 July 2011

Penguin Classics

It's my own silly fault.  I was seduced.  Yes, yes, by the 'one click' on Amazon.  (I swear it will reduce me to bankruptcy) But those Penguin classics look so, well, classic. Who can resist them?  Also, and I lay my hand on my heart here, I thought that I would have binge of GOOD books. Now don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with chick lit - or - women's contemporary fiction as we are all meant to call it now, Indeed, I have written books myself of that genre.  But I wanted something a bit more, well, classic... So, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers seemed to fit the bill.
I'd heard of her, and she also wrote The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, so I thought I was on to a winner.  But, then, oh dear... the eye started to skip paragraphs, the fidgiting got worse, and in the end I'm sorry to say I gave up.  But then, what a fool I was to think that I could appreciate it anyway.  Set in small town southern states in the fifties....that ALONE should have told me that it wasn't for me. I dislike the decade, I dislike anything to do with small town America, (unless of course it's Little Women) I don't want to read about mill workers, I have only the haziest of ideas as to what a Cotton Gin is (and frankly care even less) and then there is her talk of negro workers, which makes me squirm.
I perservered for a while longer, but the main protaganist is a deaf mute, the town is dreary, teh people are quite horrid and nothing much happens really....Or it hadn't by the time I gave up and irritably tossed it off the bedside table and reached with relief to Joan Wyndham and Dawn Chorus (another one click and SO jolly and uplifting I thank the book gods that I did)
Now, in the case of Carson I can say that I know it to be a case of 'It's not you, it's me,' as I know that she has been lauded, and still is, as a fantastic writer.  But definitely not for me.  If anyone wants it - just let me know and I'll pop it in a jiffy bag to you.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Of course, it isn't called Keef, but it should be... Life by Keith Richards published by Phoenix is a whirlwind of read.  The question that's always, with unfailing regularity, asked about Keef is - HOW is he still alive? Shouldn't he be dead? Well, yeah, but that's rock 'n roll baby.  Actually he answers pretty early on why he's NOT dead.  Quality control.  Yes, you got it.  Quality control.  He's never been in the awful position of taking really, really cheap drugs - or as he puts it - 'Mexican shoe scrapings'.  Not our Keef.  It's TOP DRAWER stuff.  And - hold the front page - he's never mainlined.  He just banged it straight into a muscle. Phew, well that's OK then...
Keef comes over as rather a sweet old fashioned kinda boy.  I think we all knew a Keef when we were younger, he never made a move on you, but somehow you ended up in his arms.  Or bed.  And there have been many of the laideez in Keef's life, not least his rather formidable mum, Doris, who once told them all off in a studio in Jamaica for wasting time when they could be recording because 'this studio's costing money, now get on with it!'.
His infamous getting together with Anita Pallenberg after falling for her when she was still with the late Brian Jones is a lesson in pure hedonistic rock'n roll romance, involving hanging out in Morocco, driving through teh desert in a Roller, taking god knows how much drugs and booze and waking up in Tangier.
The rows with Mick Jagger remain, but they have been through so much together, seen and done things that us mere mortals will never comprehend that the ties are too strong to be broken.  They will forever be The Glimmer Twins.
That makes the book really readable, although I did skip the very geeky musico bits, the loving descriptions of so many different guitars and recording techniques are a bit dull but the back stage gossip and bitching makes up for it.
I'm off for a tequila shot and a dance round the flat to Brown Sugar....After all, I know it's only rock'n'roll but I like it. Like it.  Yes I do.