Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Anyone who feels America or Britain is moving nearer to an Islamist caliphate because of a suicide bomber is a wimp who has no belief in the robustness of democracy.

- Simon Jenkins on the CIA's use of torture as a method of interrogation in today's Guardian. Probably about time that someone set that idea out in terms as clear as this...

Monday, 20 April 2009

RIP J.G. Ballard

There's really not much to say here, is there?

I read Miracles of Life, JGB's recent autobiography, less than a month ago. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone to whom the word 'brave' could be applied with such a vast array of meaning: Ballard seems to have never taken the easy option, either intellectually or in the course of everyday life (in as much as we might use a phrase like that to apply to someone so exhaustingly extraordinary.)

Anyway, RIP.

'Selfindulgent' links

Having recovered from the traumatising words of the muscularly anonymous 'Anon' (see comments on previous post), I thought it might be about time to make a tentative appearance on here to see if said uncompromising dispenser of electronic critique has gone away yet...

Firstly, a poem by John Tranter in the edition of Jacket which is currently being put together. It's called 'Craig Raine's Arsehole', and it's really very funny.

Secondly, Basil Bunting reading his own Briggflatts, the 'northern Waste Land', at an American poetry conference in the 1960s. You'll need to set aside an hour or so.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


The Guardian's April Fools Day joke this year took me approximately 0.000005 seconds to spot. It's pathetic. Unless that's actually true (I almost, almost, wouldn't put it past them) and 'Iran Offers to Help US in Afghanistan' is the real trick article...