When I set up this blog, I intended to focus on issues to do with community involvement in regeneration and to a lesser degree on urban design matters - hence the tag line of 'People Places and what makes them interesting'. In practice it hasn't worked out that way and I have tended to cover the 'anything else that catches my eye' part instead. I'm still not sure if that is good or bad. I'm writing about the things that interest me, which is obviously good, but so far I don't have a strong focus for my writing.
An important part of blogging for me is the idea of dialogue. That hasn't happened here, although I know from the referral logs that there are a number of regular readers. At least once I've been accused of looking for a fight, which says more about the inability of the commenter in question to understand the difference between argument and conflict than it does about my intentions then or now.
As it has panned out in practice, the blog seems to have reached a bit of a dead end and I'm not sure where to go next. There are too many political opinion blogs for me to want to add another and that isn't my forte anyway. I still have many interests from photography to philosophy. I'm strongly committed to - and involved with local democracy. By this I mean communities taking control of their own futures not simply local government. I still find the extreme individualism of the right libertarians distasteful and frightening in their blinkered view of the world and I want to explore the left alternative.
I could write I'm sure about all of these. What I'm not sure about is whether I should, or assuming I do if it should be through a more or less daily blog. Even short pieces take time to prepare and while I could write longer pieces at less frequent intervals I know from the logs that after a couple of days off, the numbers visiting plummet - and they are not huge in the first place.
It would help me to hear from you - either in comments or via e-mail.
I recently bought a book of essays by Clive James. I knew of his TV work and also that he was a poet, although I haven’t knowingly read any of his work. I say knowingly, because I was a great fan of Pete Atkin when he was a performer and the two of them wrote many songs together.
I didn’t realise however what a good prose writer he is. Whether writing about Orwell or Fellini or about personal experience – like learning to sing in his late 50s or meeting Princess Diana - he is always entertaining. He also displays a surprising (to me) depth of learning, something not evident in his persona as a TV presenter.
I’m not going to write an essay about a book of essays though – just go and read.
In a splendidly waspish post, Oliver Kamm takes apart the latest attempt at updating the language of the Authorised Version.
I have no interest whatsoever in any form of religion, but I share his judgement about the language of the Authorised Version. If the appalling and limp travesty he quotes is typical of the whole they should be pulped immediately and whoever employed the translator set to read the Authorised Version aloud for the rest of their days.
If a modern language version must be produced - and I suppose that is up to the Anglican Church - let it have at least some literary value.
"That’s my boy! You’re doing fine!"
...makes me want to vomit! And, as Oliver says:
If the Church treats its own inheritance with such contempt, it should be prepared for similar feelings from those of us outside it when it pronounces on temporal matters.
I didn't sleep very well last night - I have a racking cough keeping me awake. So - sometime in the early hours of dawn I composed in my head a brilliant post, a post that would wrap up all the things I wanted to do when I set out with this blog in one elegant, witty piece.
Then I fell asleep. I've rewritten it below - it isn't as good as the original would have been though.
Fred First reminds us that America is not Abu Ghraib. He has a slightly more pessimistic take, wondering if the America of his cub scout days has not become an imaginary place - let us hope for all our sakes that he is wrong.
In many important ways, America the Beautiful is becoming an imaginary place, morphing beyond recognition from the indivisible republic our forefathers fervently imagined so long ago.
Sinclair... questioned whether such comparisons - Larkin v Prynne - served any purpose beyond a journalistic desire to polarise every issue into a two-party fight. He said "you might as well compare nougat to electricity". The phrase is a good one; neither is fairly judged on the other's terms. Poetry can be very simple, very direct, and memorably rhetorical; it can also be properly difficult, in the senses of complex, intricate, uncoercive, abundant. To pretend it has to be one or the other is to fall into the increasingly unproductive adversarial approach of journalism, with its need for swift reductive judgements and the macho frisson of combat and domination. Poetry, above all the arts, should be
Hear hear - but why limit it to poetry? Why can't we have more journalistic recognition of complexity?