Tuesday, April 17, 2007


As Jon Ronson points out, April seems to be gun-totin' time on American campus. Strange, shocking scenes unfolding yesterday but, sadly, not in the least bit surprising. That just, unfortunately, seems to be what happens over there. Although, of course, I shouldn't forget that it occasionally happens over here too. Newsnight managed to secure an outlandish spokesman for their coverage last night - Phillip Van Cleave - who is president of the Virginia Citizens Defence League. Van Cleave, who carries a gun at all times, had a very strange stance indeed, arguing that the massacre at Virginia Tech wouldn't have happened if the victims had been carrying guns. Van Cleave certainly wasn't about to denounce his right to bear arms in light of 32 deaths. Indeed, he needs a gun, just in case. Besides, he feels naked without it (some of us, Phillip, are happy with boxer shorts). Such logic is the reason that you're more likely to get killed with a gun in the US rather than in dear old Blighty, where we prefer to dress in a track suit to intimidate old ladies, save for the odd gun-fiend darn sarf or over in Manchester. Ultimately, if you're packing a pistol you might fancy pulling the trigger at some point, no matter how you got hold of the damn thing. Best to leave them well alone, methinks. Can't we just get back to fighting with fists? Ah, the glory days of bare knuckle brawling, an art in which nobody got caught in the crossfire and you got a nice bent nose to wear as a badge of honour. Bill Hicks, but he were here, would certainly have some good shit to say right now.

Read a real-time blog by a Virginia Tech student.

Meant to write about it at the time but hey, Will Self's room in The Guardian Review. At last, a writer's room that looks like it's worked in, rather than mis-en-scened to death for a magazine feature. Post-its all over the shop for his new novel, reminding me of the multi-coloured disaster zone that M calls a desk and floorboards very similar to the ones she's scoured the hell out of (and to think of all that time on me hands and knees sanding and applying two coats-worth of pricey special stuff). And Self's jumbled-up area was matched by Claire Tomalin's messy hovel and its seldom-used waste bin this week. That where do you write? thing comes up as a question now and then, when the curious and aspiring are trying to find out that unobtainable, non-existent secret to sitting down and getting on with the job of writing, as if you can give the perfect dimensions for a space that would enable creativity to flow and the cheques to arrive through the letterbox. Actually, does anyone out there have those dimensions? As for the secret. There is no secret, is there?

Talking of desks... Hacked away the rest of the surplus Rank. A job done. Aside from the printing, which I'll do later. So I'm sitting in the garden, again, listening to The Maccabees and The Horrors and Frank Sinatra and The Stones (this isn't a rare recording, just lots of different recordings by those artists) and enjoying the birdsong. Meeting at the theatre on Friday, re the new thing for them, and rehearsals start on Monday for the return of Sully - a very short, intense rehearsal period that makes me glad I'm not an actor (other people should be very glad I'm not an actor too. A tin of meatballs would deliver a better performance. Not the ones in tomato sauce, the ones in gravy). Bradford on Thursday, about a short film project. Leeds on Saturday (to the opera). I should make the most of the sunshine. Although it doesn't really pay the bills, does it?


Music Man said...

Don't you think that Will Self's post-it notes on the chimney breast look worryingly neat? How does he get up to the ceiling to stick them there?
I've taken to using post-its made by Snopake that I buy from Boyes. They have a coloured edge that creates a pretty rainbow design when they are in the block. (Sorry to have excluded your readers from outside the area who do not have access to the Boyes emporium.)

Dave W said...

Good heads up on the post-its, I shall buy some for the famous M. I tend to scribble things on the back of important documents that I then proceed to lose, causing double the trouble.
Re Boyes: I have often thought that Hull CC should promote said outlet as a tourist attraction. Like a sort of Beamish affair. "Come and see how cheap things are in the north and admire the ladies in their smart blue tabbards." I love it, btw, although I am also a fan of nationwide pretender-to-the-throne Wilkinsons. Can you still get 7" singles at Boyes with the centre punched out? My, those were the days. I remember this one time when... [long boring nostalgic comment cut. Tedium Ed] Actually, how about A2Z:The Musical. There's a thought, eh?

Dave W said...

And, of course, to actually answer the question you posed, Will Self's 8ft 7". The Giant Bradley of literature. Damn, I've excluded my reader from outside the area again!

Music Man said...

Did you realise that Boyes even has a web site now?
Talking of web sites Will's post-its also appear on the header image of his site. I tried reading them to get some tips but no luck.