Daily Archives: August 9, 2011

Good news from the London riots

Burning, looting, shooting, rioting, robbing – you can find pictures of all that happening in London and elsewhere in the UK on the TV news or elsewhere on the internet. No need for it here too.

Instead, I have a couple of stories of bravery and people trying to make things better amidst the violence. I’m sure there are many – but here are just a few.

Try not to be put off by the subtitles below…

 The woman in this video is apparently on the streets of Hackney in London. The original police shooting and subsequent arson and rioting began in the Tottenham area. Hackney is one of the areas to which the trouble has spread.

There has been lots of condemnation of the violence from TV and radio studios and the pages of newspapers. This woman is out on the streets face-to-face with the people involved. So that’s brave Continue reading

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Filed under life, politics

Haters unite (No heeltaps!)

A pint of Rebellion - Too warm? Too cold? Don't care? Care too much?

Does shared hatred bring us together more than shared enthusiasm?

A character in Reginald Hill‘s book Pictures of Perfection suggests “that when a politician wants to really unite the electorate, he looks for a common hatred rather than a common enthusiasm.” Is he right?

I go through three stages with Reginald Hill’s writing. I begin by finding it a bit contrived, then some flash of humour trips me up into enjoyment and by the end I find myself relishing the surprises and satisfaction he offers. So I commend Pictures of Perfection to you – though I think The Reckoning would have been a better title.

But back to the hating. Two characters – police officer Wield and bookseller Digweed – overcome their initial antipathy through shared whisky and a discussion about what they hate. It’s a pretty good list.

“Snobs.  I don’t like snobs. How’s that for starters?”

“Excellent. No quarrel there. My turn. Little Hitlers. People who turn a molehill of authority into a mountain of obstructionism.”

“Fair enough. Politicians.”

“Spot on. Undertakers.

“They’re only doing a job,” said Wield defensively.

“Of course. But do you like them?”

“No,” admitted Wield. “Beer that’s too cold.”

“Beer that’s too warm.”

“People that don’t care about beer.”

“People that go on too much about beer Continue reading

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Filed under art, What I'm Reading