Friday, 29 June 2012

The Gipsy's Baby

It is the title story of the collection.  Called The Gipsy’s Baby it is about Chrissie, one of the poor Wyatt children, oddly detached both from her family and the rest of the community, who tells a nasty lie to stop another child from visiting the manor house, where the narrator and her sisters live.[i]   Although the lie, in its essence, contained a truth: Ivy Tulloch isn’t wanted in the house, for the children do not like her – they find her too prim and obsequious.

Monday, 18 June 2012

They'll Be Gone Soon

It has few pretensions.  The film is a spy thriller dressed up in Sixties cool; the camera part of the smart clothes it wears.  The opening scene is its window display: Palmer wakes up to find his bed empty, and the room all a blur - his woman has left and his glasses are on the bedside table.  In a more serious film this would be the start of a prolonged exploration, both of cinematic imagery and the metaphors of distorted vision (psychological, political, and social).  Here it is simply decoration.  Later we see many more of these baubles and tinsel: one scene shot through the back of a chair; another with half the screen divided by metal doors, yet another distorted by double vision…  It is the influence, I would guess, of the Nouvelle Vague, translated into a commercial entertainment: so light are the use of these techniques you could almost miss them; and I imagine most of the audience does, concentrating instead on the intricacies of the complex plot; which says something about the insecurities of the times.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Much Too Nice

Reading Donald Sassoon’s great book on European socialism leaves behind many impressions.[i]  Two stand out.  The first: Britain does not have a unique history of industrial decline.  Its historical trajectory is similar to that of other European countries.  The second: socialism has been unable to provide an alternative model of economic development.  It was fundamentally a political movement dressed up in the finery of economic radicalism.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Jubilee: a Reply to Craig Murray

I was hoping you wouldn’t be so restrained!  That you’d offer a better target for a sniping attack. Oh, well.  At least I have a little to work with; even though most of what you say is fair, except for that last comment which throws your piece out of balance; and suggests why many (most?) find the left liberal position offensive.  The guillotine…  Here at least is something you have given me.