Friday, August 22, 2014

On Leave by Daniel Anselme (Faber and Faber Inc 1957)

"Well?" Jean Valette asked in a drawl. "Well, so when's it going to happen, then, the end of the war? When will it come?"

"Soon," Luc Giraud said slowly. "A war like this can't last long."

"Why not?" Jean Valette asked.

"Because five hundred thousand young men," Luc Giraud said, syllable by syllable, "five hundred thousand . . . well, that gets about in the country. Because half a million young men over there means a whole mass of French families are affected by the war. Ask your sister."

"Yes," Colette chipped in. "Five hundred thousand young men over there means hundreds of thousands of mothers and wives and sisters and girlfriends fearing for their sons, husbands, brothers, and lovers. And that gets around in the country."

"Well then," Jean Valette said, "you mean that the more we are over there, the more it gets around over here?"

"In one sense you are right," Luc Giraud said. "It's dialectical. The more the war affects the masses, the nearer we are to peace."

"So tell me, then," Jean Valette said in a louder voice, "how many million soldiers do we need over there to make the masses move?"

"Jean!" Madame Valette said.

"No," Luc Giraud responded calmly, "that is not what I said."

"He's doing it on purpose," Colette said.

"What am I supposed to be doing on purpose?"

"Contradicting. Contradicting just for the sake of it."

"I'm just asking a question."

"An anti-Party question!"

"Colette, cool down," Luc Giraud ordered. "Let him speak for himself."

There was a pause, and then Jean Valette asked in an uncharacteristically tentative voice, "Luc, explain what you meant . . . You have to explain . . . you have to . . . "

You could feel he was trying hard to hold something back, but you couldn't tell, as his face was hidden by shadow, if he was on the brink of tears or of an angry outburst.

Another pause. For the first time Luc Giraud seemed uncertain.

"It's for you to explain yourself," he said at last, gravely, almost solemnly.

"I think what Jean meant to say . . . " M. Valette broke in softly.

"No," Luc Giraud cut him off. "It's for him to speak, if he wants to."

Jean Valette said nothing. He had his head in his hands and was looking down.

"But what is this all about?" Lachaume asked eventually. He did not understand what was going on.

Luc Giraud, to whom the question was addressed, raised his hand as if calling a meeting to order. Then, after allowing Jean Valette another moment for his last chance, he shrugged his arms as if to say, "I give up," and smiled at Lachaume. In fact, he looked relieved, and Lachaume guessed he had as much to do with Giraud's relief as did tongue-tied Jean Valette. In his mind all these little puzzles were somehow connected to the "proposal" that Luc Giraud was going to make to him. Lachaume was still thinking, seeing and listening to everything exclusively in the light of that "proposal." All through the long and frequent pauses in that tense and awkward conversation, and when nothing had caught his eye through the window, the thought of the coming "proposal" had made his heart beat faster.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Repetitive Beat Generation by Steve Redhead (Rebel Inc. 2000)

G. L. I think it was Simon Frith that told me this, that when he was working with Melody Maker the editor's idea of the ideal very loyal reader was somebody (male) who stayed in a town just outside Middlesbrough who didn't have a girlfriend. This was what they looked forward to every single week, this was the highlight of their week - reading Melody Maker or NME. Most of the provinces, and the towns that surround the provinces, things like the music they take a hold. Punk was still strong for a long time up here. Acid house was still very strong up here. The Scottish hardcore scene, the happy hardcore scene, it is basically acid house what 'oi' was to punk - it's that kind of boom boom boom all the time. It's just taking the basic elements. Things like that do stick longer in the provinces. We rely more on this. We don't have the same input from friends and all that to change us. My friends who I talk with about records are very good but there's not an awful lot. It's not a matter of somebody saying 'Have you heard this great new record?' and all that sort of stuff. That doesn't happen all the time. It happens with my good friends fairly regularly but then again I'm getting the same sources as they are - through the radio, through the papers, whatever. It's not a case of people I know going to clubs and saying 'I heard this great tune at a club blah blah blah'. Again the money thing came into it. You didn't have the money to go out and see too many bands. You can also tie that in to a love of the journalists from the music press at that time. The stalwarts - the Nick Kents, the Charles Shaar Murrays, the people who came in with punk, particularly Tony Parsons, Julie Burchill and Paul Morley - a 'Manchester' man, still a big hero of mine. He could have done anything. I once sent stuff off to NME where I reviewed a couple of records. It didn't get printed. It was probably rubbish. That was just after my mother died.
Gordon Legge in conversation with Steve Redhead

Thursday, August 07, 2014

God Save The Kinks by Rob Jovanovic (Aurum Press 2013)

Raymond Douglas Davies was born 21 June 1944 and, with six older sisters to coo over him, was instantly the star of the show. The girls used to take turns walking around with him to try and get him to sleep, and would play the gramaphone to help him settle. But his position as baby of the family did not last long.

Shortly after the end of the war, Annie was pregnant again, and Ray's brother, David Russell Gordon Davies, arrived on 3 February 1947. 'Ray's probably resented me since he was three years old,' said Dave. 'I fucked it up for him. He was the baby of the family, the centre of attention for three years. Then I cam along and stole his thunder.'

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Kiss Her Goodbye by Allan Guthrie(Hard Case Crime 2005)

The day he found out his daughter was dead, Joe Hope was at Cooper's flat watching horse racing on Channel 4. Joe's filly was a couple of lengths off the pace with less than two furlongs to go. He yawned and cupped his hand over his mouth. They'd been working late. It was early afternoon, Joe had had hardly any sleep and by now the adrenaline of the previous night had all but drained away. He was hot and tired and thinking about saying goodbye and going home.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Tramps, Workmates and Revolutionaries edited by H. Gustav Klaus (Journeyman Press 1993)

The military had taken control of the tiny station, but he hung about aimlessly, thinking to be of service to the indifferent officers. As the day waned parties of troops filed out of the village, 'pickets' the officers called them. They would be on the watch, he thought for  . . . for federals, bands of fellows like Nat Sayer, Jimmy Algood, Geoffry Field and young Chris Wrigley, and others who had gone from Wickworth. It wasn't pleasant to think of their being shot down by these crisp soldiers. Somehow they seemed too much alike, the troops and the rebel villagers. But it was no business of his, Ben Thatcher's; he was a loyal subject - never got himself mixed up with politics.
(from 'Sabotage' by H. R. Barbor)