Wednesday, December 19, 2007

End Games

The year comes to its end game - earlier it seems each time. With Christmas being next Tuesday, a whole week away, I find myself in the unusual position of finishing a week early - me, a usual Christmas eve worker. But this year, I'd some holiday to use up, and I've various things to do before xmas, so that's me done. I realise that I've been so busy the last couple of months that virtually everything has lapsed: from paying bills to writing Christmas cards, never mind the more creative end of things. But the little annoyances have piled up the last week or so, and I guess I'm a bit at end of my tether - time to finish off. Will probably end up spending xmas working out whether I can take Amazon to the advertising standards for advertising a 10 CD David Bowie box set which they clearly have no intention of ever sending me, (or even having in stock.) Arguing with Amazon is probably like arguing with the air. They usually shake their virtual shoulders and go "it's not me, mate." But with all the talk of eCommerce etc. if even the market leader can't actually say what it says on the tin, then perhaps the "e" world is at its creaking peak. I don't know. I was asking a 20 year old last night what her favourite single of the year was: she looked at me like I was strange, after all in iPod world - what's a single? The charts is full of Christmas downloads this year. Its democratic capitalism in action.

The lit. story of the year may well have been the Eagleton v. Amis debate - but since they didn't debate for real, then not sure that it was a story after all. Saying all Muslims are terrorists is plain silly, but calling someone a racist for saying that there's a problem somewhere is also plain silly. (And yes, I know that simplifies, and misrepresents again, again, again, but I've neither the time or energy to get between those too colossi) And news that Eagleton is being sacked/removed from University of Manchester because of its ongoing funding crisis (such a selling point as it tries to become a world class university! Three nobel laureates in Economics and it can't budget properly...)feels like the endgame, whether its related or not, deserved or not. I'm not particularly looking forward to Amis's "campus" novel (a genre I despise), after all, you can probably write it yourself, "Ahmed, leader of the newly formed Sons and Daughters of Islam - a feminist-terrorist Islamic sect - supped furtively on the officially forbidden (but necessary for "cover") Boddingtons bitter as he looked with a lot of contempt, and not much less lust, at a row of nubile female students, off their tits, and pole dancing to Grease Lightning."

I've enjoyed writing and recording some music again this year - and will continue to do some for a bit yet - when I get the time. My poetry has fallen away a bit - I need a little mental space for it, and fiction remains difficult when I'm so time poor. Oh, I turned 40 as well, which means that bits of me have started falling off. Everything in my life is too tentative to be anywhere near middle age, whatever the clocks says. Yet, hankering after music and books, and some distant aim around them, is surely either prolonged adolescence, or wistful nostalgia, and I'd have generally said I don't do adolescence or nostalgia. Perhaps they are the same thing. The Booker shortlist is waiting for me at Xmas, so I'll try and read a few of the zeitgeist books, though I'm pretty sure the exciting stuff in literature is now so far away from the "official" version that it might be twenty years before someone gets round to mapping it. The fabulists, the crime tellers, the science-fictionists, the graphic novelists - are these our golden writers now? It hardly feels like an Edwardian age, but perhaps it has some of that period's safety and security, at least in middle England, and we're wanting our "Heroes" and "Battlestar Galactica" and "Dr. Who" as much as they wanted King Solomon's Mines and War of the Worlds. Once I work out how to get a vampire into my Mancunian novel, I'm sure the story will fly.

So, I'm sitting here, writing a longer piece than I intended, because I've a million things to do over the next few days, and this is the least important, perhaps, sitting here, whilst a ham simmers a way in the kitchen and the frost outside disappears in a bright wintry sunshine.

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