A Very British Brexit.
Britain is, and always will be a very odd place to live for anyone who is used to the way Europeans live. Storms in the English channel that stop the ferries running between Dover and Calais are always headlined as “Continent Cut Off”. The British point of view is nothing if not eccentric. Britain, that small island just off the northern coast of Europe, is something of an afterthought in the mind of the average European.
Now I have lived in Europe for the better part of my life, and if there is one thing that has been consistent to any of the countries I lived in – Denmark, Germany and latterly, the Netherlands – it is the lack of understanding about Britain’s place in Europe. Here in Europe, it is necessary to register one’s place of abode, and on no few occasions, that is to say, in each case of registering, I had been asked to show that I, as a Briton, had the correct papers to allow me to live and work in their country.
I pleaded that Britain was a member of the European Union.
Continue reading “Cutting Off The Continent.”
Britain has a healthy economy, and it has a healthy economy because the economic figures are healthy. It’s how Britain – and the British – do business. We all do it, we all look to the paperwork: we all look to the figures at some point in the reckoning. Even when buying a bar of chocolate there’s the evaluation of quality over price; and that goes for Aldi too, who have various kinds of chocolate for the unwilling spender.
Britain, however, is a very different place than Europe. It’s as if there’s a real divide between the European economies and Britain in as real a way as there are twenty miles of seawater between them. There are few enough Europeans who understand the British mind – and an economy is the result of a cultural mindset. The British, for all their intelligence, are stumped when it comes to European minds and the economies they create. And the Americans are even worse because they’re so deluded as to think what’s right for them is right for everybody.
Continue reading “Deeper In Debt.”
A quip on the Creative Writing Group on Facebook asked for a short story that started with the sentence:
“I kept waiting for a big guy to break down the door and tell me I was a wizard.”
And this is what I came up with:
Continue reading “In The Broom Cupboard.”
What was it someone said to Dorothy Parker? “Oh, darling, I’m writing a book.” To which Dot responded, “I’m not writing one either.” It’s great to speak of writing a book, to actually write one implies a rather different situation altogether. Dorothy Parker was an experienced storyteller and journalist, and knew the pitfalls. Just wanting to write is not enough. But then, it never was.
Continue reading “Books And The Building Industry.”
Mental illness in any shape or form takes a huge amount of courage, not to mention energy, to overcome. The most important thing to remember is that nobody can do this for you; they can offer help, sympathy or a blind faith in sedatives. If you are to achieve anything in terms of mental illness, it has to come from within.
every day I notice moments when I’ve veered into dangerous mental territory and managed to pull myself back from the brink
This is perhaps the most important thing Alex has yet said on her blog. It is a crowning achievement to a life that has thus far been truly horrendous.
Source: The mine-field which is mental illness and relationships (part 1)
This was supposed to be a sort of review and reprise of George Orwell’s “The Decline Of The English Murder,” only my point of view is very different to his. Which makes his essays the more appealing to me. Add Orwell’s beautiful and evocative writing and you have a blissful read.
Not that murders are blissful, but that’s the point of murders – and the point of Orwell looking at their decline. Orwell’s books were written to be read by those who enjoy reading, those who read the story as much for the writing as the story itself. But that is what makes literature; if it’s only a story thinly interwoven by lumpy descriptions, it’s pulp fiction.
Continue reading “The Ascent Of The Literary Murder.”
It is 1916 and an English gentleman is sitting in the shade of a trottoir café in Limassol on the island of Cyprus. Next to him is a Greek Cypriot tailor. They are both drinking coffee and discussing the events of the day. As they are about to part, the English gentleman says, “as soon as you have definite information, ring up 8456 and ask when it will be convenient for Mr Crowder to try on his new suit.” And adds that if he’s not there, he’ll phone back later in order to confirm the meeting.
So you’ve already spotted that something fishy is going on here, haven’t you?
Continue reading “The Telephone Call.”