Jan. 22nd, 2009

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How funny is it that the media don't ever seem to mention that Obama is left handed? It looks so funny when he signs Large Documents. Good week to be a lefthander tho :-)

On a serious note, what better way to start a presidency on day 1 than by ending detention and torture? Whoa, headrush. Next: turning water into wine? Turning Hilary Clinton into Henry Kissinger?

From the sublime to the banal. I still pine for the Lloyd Grossman Masterchef of me, er, younger years. But the new one ain't bad. Except, do they have to ask the contestants every five seconds how much they want it, do they want it even more now, if we took away your youngest child and made them into pate, WOULD YOU WANT IT MORE ? GRRRRR. I don't care. I just want to know if they can cook! And the obvious preference of the (two, male - natch) judges for leggy pretty young women doesn't help. (mind you in the end the fat bald bloke won. Yeh toy with the pretty skirts why don't you, but end up with reliable bloke. Same old.)

And why the obsession of modern TV cooking competitions with beoming a professional chef? (or restaurant owner, or whatever.) Cooking for several hundred people in a night, turning out stuff at speed, marketing to idiots in Hampshire. None of this is stuff I give a shit about. I just like seeing people cook nice stuff.

I am onto my second Linda Grant novel in two weeks , practically unheard of in modern times (ho ho - her second novel is called When I Lived in Modern Times and is of course set in the Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv in the pre independence Forties.) Linda Grant is quite something - an obvious Zionist who writes and reviews for the most anti-Jewish of the intellectual broadsheets, the Grauniad ; a feminist who clearly gets off on clothes and hairdos and furs (see her semi autobiographical, I somehow suspect, first novel especially); a Jew who understand what is so binding and precious about Jewish culture and also abhors its timidity, its ghetto insularity, its adoring conservation of old grudges and sores. She also writes with amazing vividity about young passion, about sheer sex. I like her as you can tell. More than that she is as near as it gets in modern writers for being a spokesperson for my own feelings of  contradiction and marginalisation as a cultural and racial Jew, nationalistically Oestjuden, spiritual don't care, feminist aging woman and intellectual Englishscotowoman.

Her first novel The Cast Iron Shore was a heady mix, of repression, Judaism, passion, black civil rights, hidden bisexuality and the fur trade. Sounds good huh? I bought her second but failed to get on with it in 2000. I think I just have had things on my mind (I know I did in fact) because having dug it out again I read half of it in one night.  Still on that one , but what inspired me to go back to it was reading her latest , The Clothes on Their Backs.  This time what we get is a strange but powerful mix of the rag trade (traditional Jewish occupation of course, but actually presented via the tragedy of a black manageress), Jewish E European persecution and the urge to hide and blend in of the first generation Jews who escaped Eastern Europe, freedom via sex with some young bit of rough (de rigueur for Linda G novels - what was her own history, I wonder), the rise of the mods and punks, and how human life, love and allegiance is channelled via what we wear.
 Oh yes and a larger than life defense of brutal capitalism via the lips of a slum landlord thinly based on Peter Rachman and diabolically convincing - remember this written by an ardent Guardian leftie.

I love her contradictions, her passion, and her judgment when the passion has passed. Just a quick recommendation for all 3 of these novels (I have one still to read, Still Here), especially if you'd like to understand a little more about the Holocaust and the pogroms and what Zionism means to Jewish non-believers  than the current Gaza coverage tends to tell you.

And finally I'm in Sheffield, happily tipsy, and fed with delicious Chinese, having seen 6 flats/houses for rent, and hopefully having located at least two I like and which might take me and my cats:-) Watch this space!

Skins s 3

Jan. 22nd, 2009 10:03 pm
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Whoa, and just strting E4! wow and i nearly missed it!!


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