Monday, 15 May 2017

Doing The Rounds: Part Three #16

“In a world riddled with misery and injustice, is writing novels a responsible act?” – Jonathan Coe, Like A Fiery Elephant
“Am I kidding myself that I’m doing something important? Am I not just raking over the embers of my own little life and trying to blow it up into something significant by sticking a whole lot of politics in there as well.” – Jonathan Coe, The Closed Circle
“Johnson is nearly always discussed as a champion of the avant-garde, but in many ways he was an intensely conservative writer and thinker. The explosion of pop culture would pass him by completely. His loyalties would remain firmly with the jazz musicians and music-hall comedians he had discovered in adolescence during the 1940s and 50s.” – Jonathan Coe, Like A Fiery Elephant
“Pity that Johnson, who committed suicide aged 40 at the end of 1973, couldn't have been around a little longer because punks, those ragged-arsed misanthropists proposing anarchic carnival in the UK, might have appreciated his disaffected, bitter aesthetic. Just as punk pillaged and cut up the styles of the past, so Johnson must have seemed a bit of a throwback amongst the literary ladies and gents of the early '70s. He could come over more like a porky ageing teddy boy than a writer. But at least he would have been able to relate to the punk appropriation of drapes, drain-pipes and brothel-creepers.” – Paul Tickell, 3am magazine
“The other characteristic of the archetypal Chelsea player then was extreme footballing skill accompanied by an equally extreme inability to produce it at crucial moments.” – B.S. Johnson, Bloody Blues
“Denial of the individual’s right to fail.” – Michael Bracewell, Perfect Tense
“I know that I don’t know and I believe in not believing.” – David Nobbs, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
”With the band at its head, the crowd moved forward. It passed alongside the walls of San Francesco, down Borgo delle Colonne where the band played ‘Bandiera Rossa’ in homage to what had once been the street with the greatest number of communists in the city, attracting the astonished looks of the immigrants, the only people giving their full attention to what must have seemed to them an event organised by a hospice. In a thickening mist descending on the streets, the funeral procession proceeded towards Borgo del Naviglio and the places associated with the 1922 barricades, before coming out on the ring road where a hearse was waiting. Cornetti had bid goodbye to his own haunts and to much else besides. What Soneri saw was a small army of the faithful in sad retreat, some exhausted and limping, and others leaning on their walking sticks. He watched the banners being folded up and put away and witnessed the last haphazard salutes given under the curious eyes of the first prostitutes as they prepared for another long night.” – Valerio Varesi, A Woman Much Missed
“I lost any illusion that I would be a great artist long ago but I was given a gift and I’ve spent my life serving it. I was sent to a school for a while where I was very unhappy, but what I remember most vividly about it is a jug of scarlet rosehips against a green classroom wall that suddenly brought me consolation on a dark afternoon. My role is to record such things not only for their intrinsic beauty and for myself, but on behalf of people whose hearts are touched in precisely the same way. The natural world, the physical world, whether it is the blossom that brings us up with a jolt spring after spring, or the light on water, the fold of a field, the curve of a bird’s wings in flight or Concorde or the ellipse of a bowl; the angle of that roof over there. I paint according to my own vision and style, but I feel myself very much as being part of a tradition too.” - Shena Mackay, The Artist’s Widow
“I’ve got to try and remember how I felt about this when I first started it. Recapture some of that energy. I had so much conviction then, so much self-belief. I thought that I was putting together words and music – literature and history, the personal and the political – in ways that no one had thought of before. I felt like a pioneer.” – Jonathan Coe, The Closed Circle 
“We’re still here. We are the ghosts within.” – Alfreda Benge

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