Postcard from home

Monday morning, I am not at “The Unpleasantness” and will not be there for another week. Bliss.

To be honest, for reasons outlined in a recent posting I was briefly reminded of it while idly watching Amityville 3 last night, but that soon passed. For those who have yet to discover the joys of such trivia, Amityville 3 is the one where the malevolent house is bought by a career sceptic, someone on the lines of James Randi, and with quite predictable results.

As it happens, I find the crowd-pleasing antics of James Randi a bore – something on the lines of those Victorians who ran freak shows or conducted tours of Bedlam. But I was having such fun trying to work out why, exactly, American mainstream entertainment is so enamoured of woo-woo merchants and scared of rational thought that the nightmare of employment soon passed. As for the answer to that question about mainstream American entertainment – I suppose it would be bums on seats, which also explains why scepticism is another American career option.

Not that I am spending all my precious holiday time on such froth, you understand. Though after a weekend immersed in “serious culture” I have had quite enough of that too, thank you very much.

It all started innocently enough. On Saturday I called into the local library, aiming to stock up on enough light comedy reading to last me a week if all else bored me. Unfortunately, the new books shelf came before those bearing names like Sharpe or Wodehouse, and I was distracted by a 500+ page biography of Beryl Bainbridge.

As Bainbridge was part of a tight little contrarian circle which included Jeff Bernard and Alice Thomas-Ellis I had to take a look. And on the first page I opened an affair was mentioned between Bainbridge’s publisher (Thomas-Ellis’s husband, Thomas-Ellis in turn being probably Bainbridge’s closest friend and ally) and further that the affair, towards the end of her life, was viewed by the biographer as revenge for Thomas-Ellis “stealing” Bainbridge’s teenage love (and later husband) some 30 years earlier. This was all new and intriguing to me, so comedy took a holiday too.

Two hundred pages in, and the weekend gone, I think I might have had enough of the lives of English post-war literati and art bores ……. and I have only managed to struggle up to 1962. Christ-on-a-bike, what a bunch of muddle-headed, navel-gazing numpties. The average contemporary recent school-leaver in an office seems like an intellectual giant by comparison. I know that, to quote Philip Larkin, sexual intercourse wasn’t discovered until 1963, and in England LSD not until a year or two later than that: all I can say is, it must have been a great relief.

Anyway, tomorrow it’s back to the library, and this time it’s an armful of froth for me. At the moment I’ m so annoyed I might even leave with a stack of Jackie Collins to get rid of all that good taste.



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