Monday, May 20, 2019

Lock No. 1 by Georges Simenon (Penguin Books 1933)

Berthe gave a heavy sigh. He gave her a baleful look. It was none of her business! He was not worried about either her or his wife!

‘Do you understand, old friend? Oh, say something!’

He walked round and round Gassin, not daring to look at him directly and leaving lengthy pauses between sentences.

‘But all in all, of us two, you were the happy one!’

Despite the chill of night, he felt hot.

‘Shall I give you the dynamite back? I don’t care if I get blown up. But somebody’s got to stay with the kid, on the barge.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Georges Simenon's Maigret

Nicked from wiki. I need this to get back on board my deferred Maigret Read-a-thon. The usual rules: striked out titles means I've already read the book in the series.

List of Maigret novels with date of French-language publication as well as the Penguin reissue dates and titles.[3]
TitleDatePenguin UK Reissue DateReissue #Reissue TitleOther English title(s)
Pietr-le-Letton19317 Nov 20131Pietr the LatvianThe Strange Case of Peter the Lett
The Case of Peter the Lett
Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett
Le Charretier de la Providence19316 Feb 20144The Carter of La ProvidenceThe Crime at Lock 14
Maigret Meets a Milord
Lock 14
M. Gallet décédé19315 Dec 20132The Late Monsieur GalletThe Death of Monsieur Gallet
Maigret Stonewalled
Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien19312 Jan 20143The Hanged Man of Saint-PholienThe Crime of Inspector Maigret
Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets
La Tête d'un homme
(L'Homme de la Tour Eiffel)
19315 Jun 20149A Man's HeadA Battle of Nerves
Maigret's War of Nerves
Le Chien jaune19316 Mar 20145The Yellow DogA Face for a Clue
Maigret and the Concarneau Murders
Maigret and the Yellow Dog
La Nuit du carrefour19313 Apr 20146Night at the CrossroadsMaigret at the Crossroads
The Night at the Crossroads
Un Crime en Hollande19311 May 20147A Crime in HollandMaigret in Holland
Au Rendez-vous des Terre-Neuves19315 Jun 20148The Grand Banks CafeThe Sailors' Rendezvous
Maigret Answers a Plea
La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin19317 Aug 201410The Dancer at the Gai MoulinAt the Gai Moulin
Maigret at the Gai Moulin
La Guinguette à deux sous19324 Sep 201411The Two-Penny BarGuinguette by the Seine
Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine
Maigret to the Rescue
A Spot by the Seine
The Bar on the Seine
L'Ombre chinoise19322 Oct 201412The Shadow PuppetThe Shadow in the Courtyard
Maigret Mystified
L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre19326 Nov 201413The Saint-Fiacre AffairMaigret and the Countess
Maigret Goes Home
Maigret on Home Ground
Chez les Flamands19324 Dec 201414The Flemish ShopMaigret and the Flemish Shop
The Flemish House
Le Port des brumes19325 Feb 201516The Misty HarbourDeath of a Harbour Master
Maigret and the Death of a Harbor Master
The Port of Shadows
Le Fou de Bergerac19321 Jan 201515The Madman of Bergerac
Liberty Bar19325 Mar 201517Liberty BarMaigret on the Riviera
L'Écluse nº 119332 Apr 201518Lock No. 1The Lock at Charenton
Maigret Sits It Out
La femme rousse1933The Redhead
Maigret19347 May 201519MaigretMaigret Returns
La Maison du juge19426 Aug 201522The Judge's HouseMaigret in Exile
Les Caves du Majestic19422 Jul 201521The Cellars of the MajesticMaigret and the Hotel Majestic
The Hotel Majestic 
Cécile est morte19424 Jun 201520Cecile is DeadMaigret and the Spinster
Signé Picpus19443 Sep 201523Signed, PicpusMaigret and the Fortuneteller
Félicie est là19445 Nov 201525FélicieMaigret and the Toy Village
L'Inspecteur Cadavre19441 Oct 201524Inspector CadaverMaigret's Rival
Maigret se fâcheAugust 19453 Dec 201526Maigret Gets AngryMaigret in Retirement
Maigret à New YorkMarch 19467 Jan 201627Maigret in New YorkInspector Maigret in New York's Underworld
Maigret in New York's Underworld
Les Vacances de MaigretNovember 19474 Feb 201628Maigret's HolidayA Summer Holiday
No Vacation for Maigret
Maigret on Holiday
Maigret et son mortJanuary 19483 Mar 201629Maigret's Dead ManMaigret's Special Murder
La Première enquête de Maigret, 1913October 19487 Apr 201630Maigret's First Case
Mon ami MaigretFebruary 19495 May 201631My Friend MaigretThe Methods of Maigret
Maigret chez le coronerJuly 19492 Jun 201632Maigret at the Coroner's
L'Amie de Mme MaigretDecember 19494 Aug 201634Madame Maigret's FriendMadame Maigret's Own Case
The Friend of Madame Maigret
Les Mémoires de MaigretSeptember 19501 Sep 201635Maigret's Memoirs
Maigret et la vieille dameDecember 19507 Jul 201633Maigret and the Old Lady
Maigret au "Picratt's"December 19506 Oct 201636Maigret at Picratt'sMaigret and the Strangled Stripper
Maigret in Montmartre
Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper
Maigret en meubléFebruary 19513 Nov 201637Maigret Takes a RoomMaigret Rents a Room
Maigret et la grande percheMay 19511 Dec 201638Maigret and the Tall WomanInspector Maigret and the Burglar's Wife
Maigret and the Burglar's Wife
Maigret, Lognon et les gangstersSeptember 19515 Jan 201739Maigret, Lognon and the GangstersInspector Maigret and the Killers
Maigret and the Gangsters
Le Revolver de MaigretJune 19522 Feb 201740Maigret's Revolver
Maigret et l'homme du banc19532 Mar 201741Maigret and the Man on the BenchMaigret and the Man on the Boulevard
The Man on the Boulevard
Maigret a peurMarch 19536 Apr 201742Maigret is AfraidMaigret Afraid
Maigret se trompeAugust 19534 May 201743Maigret's Mistake
Maigret à l'écoleDecember 19531 Jun 201744Maigret Goes to School
Maigret et la jeune morteJanuary 19546 Jul 201745Maigret and the Dead GirlInspector Maigret and the Dead Girl
Maigret and the Young Girl
Maigret chez le ministreAugust 19543 Aug 201746Maigret and the MinisterMaigret and the Calame Report
Maigret et le corps sans têteJanuary 19557 Sep 201747Maigret and the Headless Corpse
Maigret tend un piègeJuly 19555 Oct 201748Maigret Sets a Trap
Un échec de MaigretMarch 19562 Nov 201749Maigret's Failure
Maigret s'amuseSeptember 19567 Dec 201750Maigret Enjoys HimselfMaigret's Little Joke
None of Maigret's Business
Maigret voyageAugust 19574 Jan 201851Maigret TravelsMaigret and the Millionaires
Les scrupules de MaigretDecember 19571 Feb 201852Maigret's DoubtsMaigret Has Scruples
Maigret et les témoins récalcitrantsOctober 19581 Mar 201853Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses
Une confidence de MaigretMay 19595 Apr 201854Maigret's SecretMaigret Has Doubts
Maigret aux assisesNovember 19593 May 201855Maigret in Court
Maigret et les vieillardsJune 19607 Jun 201856Maigret and the Old PeopleMaigret in Society
Maigret et le voleur paresseuxJanuary 19615 Jul 201857Maigret and the Lazy BurglarMaigret and the Lazy Burglar
Maigret and the Idle Burglar
Maigret et les braves gensSeptember 19612 Aug 201858Maigret and the Good People of MontparnasseMaigret and the Black Sheep
Maigret et le client du samediFebruary 19626 Sep 201859Maigret and the Saturday CallerMaigret and the Saturday Caller
Maigret et le clochardMay 19624 Oct 201860Maigret and the TrampMaigret and the Dosser
Maigret and the Bum
La colère de MaigretJune 19621 Nov 201861Maigret's AngerMaigret Loses His Temper
Maigret et le fantômeJune 19636 Dec 201862Maigret and the GhostMaigret and the Ghost
Maigret and the Apparition
Maigret se défendJuly 19643 Jan 201963Maigret Defends HimselfMaigret on the Defensive
La Patience de MaigretMarch 19657 Feb 201964Maigret's PatienceThe Patience of Maigret
Maigret Bides His Time
Maigret et l'affaire NahourFebruary 19667 March 201965Maigret and the Nahour CaseMaigret and the Nahour Case
Le voleur de MaigretNovember 19664 April 201966Maigret's PickpocketMaigret's Pickpocket
Maigret and the Pickpocket
Maigret à VichySeptember 19676 June 201968Maigret in VichyMaigret Takes the Waters
Maigret in Vichy
Maigret hésiteJanuary 19682 May 201967Maigret HesitatesMaigret Hesitates
L'ami d'enfance de MaigretJune 1968Maigret's Boyhood Friend
Maigret et le tueurApril 1969Maigret and the Killer
Maigret et le marchand de vinSeptember 1969Maigret and the Wine Merchant
La Folle de MaigretMay 1970Maigret and the Madwoman
Maigret et l'homme tout seulFebruary 1971Maigret and the Loner
Maigret et l'indicateurJune 1971Maigret and the Flea
Maigret and the Informer
Maigret et Monsieur CharlesFebruary 1972Maigret and Monsieur Charles

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday night's alright for flighting . . .

See what I did there? Shit, innit?

This post was sponsored by the new Elton John biopic, 'Rocketman':

Third 180 this month. I'll take it.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Another Day, Another SPGB In-Joke . . .

. . . only four . . . maybe five . . . people in the world will get this SPGB in-joke. Which, for the SPGB, is practically a quoracy:

Saturday, May 04, 2019


  • 250/124 (days)
  • 25,000 darts
  • 2 dartboards (the 'nicer' one crashed on me.)
  • 5 180s
  • Switched darts more out of necessity than choice.
  • Countless shredded flights
  • Not as many busted shafts
  • Am I getting better? Fuck knows.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Round 234: Hail Caesar!

Darts Thrown: April 25th/26 2019
Blog Written: April 27th 2019

Highest Score: 140
Lowest Score: 7
Sixties: 39

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Arguably one of my best ever *cough* sessions. Nearly hit a 180 (again), and 3 140s within 5 throws isn't bad in anyone's book. And don't quote me on this but 39 60s may be my best tally, or at least close to it.

Just watched Celtic stumble to a 1-0 victory against a parked bus Kilmarnock. I don't think Lenny's getting the job, as much as I'd like for him to get it. Hopefully Aberdeen get a result against Ranjurs tomorrow, and that will put it all to bed for another season.

The book in the picture? Carl MacDougall's The Light's Below.  Have I read it? I have; many, many years ago. It was during my read any author with Mac or Mc in their surname phase. (A longer phase than you might think.) That's not the copy I read. That's long gone. The copy of the book in the picture I picked up for a dollar at The Strand on Broadway. Christ, I miss that bookshop. Loved it. Or at least, I loved the bookcarts outside the shop with all the cheap books that they were trying to punt. I spent many a happy hour scouring through all the old books.

Did I enjoy the book? To be honest, I can't remember. It must be twenty years since I've read it. However, I have read MacDougall's Stone Over Water twice, and that's a novel I really enjoyed. It was very much in the same spirit as Alan Spence's Glasgow novels and short stories, and that can't be a bad thing.

A couple of links:

  • A nice wee blogpost about the late Billy McNeill and how he forged his connection with Celtic.
  • Carl MacDougall's discussing the short stories of Iain Crichton Smith.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Round 233: Basement Japes

Darts Thrown: April 25th/26 2019
Blog Written: April 26th 2019

Highest Score: 121
Lowest Score: 7
Sixties: 27

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

It doesn't rain but it pours. This time the basement. Flooded again. How many times now? 4, maybe 5. What an 'effing nightmare. More stuff ruined and busted.

Nearly hit a 180 but it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

The book in the picture?  Have I read it? Nope. Saw the film in the cinema with the kids. The sloths were the best thing about it.

A school in Hebron

It's funny how you sometimes find things on Facebook that are simply wonderful.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Black Boots and Football Pinks: 50 Lost Wonders of the Beautiful Game by Daniel Gray (Bloomsbury Sport 2018)

This stiller world was embodied in players’ under­stated goal celebrations. Here were climactic moments responded to without choreography, ego or hands lifted to ears in front of the away end. A scoring player “could seem modest to the point of embarrassment. It was as if he did not want to take all of the glory and wished to silently convey that a goal belonged to everyone. There was poignancy in this reaction for those on the other side of the advertising hoardings. A scorer’s lack of self-congratulation tacitly acknowledged that a goal was a supporter’s moment. Here was the star actor, pointing to the audience during curtain-call applause.

His celebration was rarely more flamboyant than the raising of an arm. Perhaps he was taking time to drink in the roar of the crowd, even to look at those smiling faces. He would take the back pats and rigid hugs of teammates, the feeble handshakes and the cupped taps to the back of his head. Then, a jog back to the halfway line, where he could catch breath with hands rested above knees. He looked to the ball now moored on the centre-spot and gave inward thanks for what it had given him, and what it had given that crowd.

In truth, he deserved to be more exultant. None of us would have minded. Instead, he was left to revel in a goal in his own time, staring into space among the racket of the communal bath. There could now rise across his face the grin of a fulfilled man.

(Excerpt from the chapter, 'Understated Goal Celebrations'.)

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Some Sunday Morning

It's been a while  . . . well, a  month if you have to quibble. Just nice to get the monkey off my back. And it's official: I have now hit more 180s in Indiana than I have in New York. (That last line's a bit garbled but I'm tired.)

I'm officially a Sporting Hoosier Great . . . in my head, at least  . . . like I said, I'm tired.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Intermission (2003)

Perrier's Bounty (2009)

Round 203: Running On Empty

Darts Thrown: April 5th 2019
Blog Written: April 5th 2019

Highest Score: 132
Lowest Score: 2
Sixties: 22

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Burning the candle at both ends. In between chucking shit out and waiting for the computer to charge - my charger doesn't love me - I decided to throw some darts. I'm knackered, and I can feel it in my arm but, for all that, the darts were just a wee bit off the usual. Go figure. Bottled another 180. Hit a 12 on the third dart this time. I forgot to take my own advice about shutting my eyes.

The book in the picture? John King's Headhunters. Have I read it? Yep, twenty plus years ago. I may have read it in the same work place as Toby Litt's Beatniks. I know it was one of John King's books in the Football Factory trilogy. Would I read it again? Probably not. I seem to be remember that none of the books in the trilogy really gripped me, but I read them all the same.

On a separate note, Jim Broadbent can't do a Dublin accent to save his life.

Round 202: Ooh, Gary Davies . . . ooh, Gary Davies . . . on my phone again.

Darts Thrown: April 4th 2019
Blog Written: April 4th 2019

Highest Score: 138
Lowest Score: 2
Sixties: 30

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

For some reason I was listening to that episode of The Sound of the Eighties again whilst throwing the darts. No idea why. I guess it was still on the phone and I couldn't be arsed to switch to something else. Anything to add to that show? Nothing much. Transvision Vamp are still shit. Early New Order sounded like Josef K, and 80s pop music really did turn irredeemably shit after 1985. Which sucked for me 'cos it was a formative time when I should have been lapping music up. I lapped something up, but it was thin gruel in comparison to music from the first half of the 80s.

Bingewatching the first season of Fleabag on Amazon. Grimly fascinating. Enjoying it more than I did first time round. I feel guilty watching it 'cos posh people usually get on my tits. It's why I've never watched Downton Abbey. 2016 seems so long ago  . . . or maybe it was never meant to be that kind of show.

The darts? I threw for a 180 but I bottled it. And I by bottled it, I mean the third dart hit the 18. That some jitters. I think next time I throw for a 180 I will close my eyes. What's the worse that can happen.

The book in the picture?  Toby Litt's Beatniks. Have I read it? Yep, about 20 years ago. I must have read it within months of it coming out. A random buy that bore fruit. I seem to remember reading it during teabreaks and lunch breaks whilst working nights on a nighshift in Hemel in 97 or 98. Would I read it again? I would . . . if I got my reading mojo back. I always thought it would make a great film.  There were rumours that it'd been optioned for a film but at the time of writing . . .  If Nick Hornby had written it  . . .  Two unfinished sentences for the price of one.

And, let's be honest, Beatniks were always more interesting than the Hippies.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Round 188: Another False Dawn

Darts Thrown: March 29th 2019
Blog Written: March 29th 2019

Highest Score: 140
Lowest Score: 3
Sixties: 31

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

I thought I might as well dive straight back in. Round 188 was thrown in one session whilst listening to Radio 2's 'Sound of the Eighties'. I've sub-titled it 'Another False Dawn' but that's bollocks. In truth, the darts thrown weren't that different from the previous round. I guess I hit more 100 plus shots this time around. And I did actually throw for a 180 twice. (One isn't shown in the pic above 'cos one of the sixties bounced out when I threw my third dart.)

Thankfully I'm not superstitious when throwing darts, otherwise I'd be locked into listening to Bananarama MegaMixes when throwing darts (fuck you Gary Davies), and I know I'm tired 'cos I was even enjoying a Terence Trent Darby track when throwing. (Sleep deprivation does that to you.) Before I leave the Sound of the Eighties, it was nice to hear Jody Watley picking Duran Duran's 'Save a Prayer' as her favourite song of the 80s. My first 7 inch. (Insert pic of Les Dawson here.)

Too many darts bounce out. I'm not sure if it's the board or the darts themselves. It's probably neither. I think my throwing acton can be a bit lack lustred  when I'm tired.

The book in the picture? B.J. Ripley and J. McHugh's biography of John Maclean. It was part of the Lives of the Left series that Manchester University Press published in the late 80s and early 90s. Have I read it? No. Will I read it? Not in the foreseeable future. Why did I buy it? "cos I'm like that. I read a few books in the 'Lives of the Left' series (the biogs of Kautsky, De Leon, Haywood and Mann off the top of my head) and I had even more of the series that I picked up as remaindered copies from London bookshops on my bookshelf back in Britain (all now in a landfill in the Home Counties, most probably), so the anorak in me means that I will still pick up cheap copies when I see them. Anyway, my excuse is that read Nan Milton's biog of her Dad years ago and I also read Harry McShane's autobiography around about the same time (both published by Pluto Press). I never really bought into the adoration of Maclean but that just might be my ingrained SPGB'ism. I do think it should be pointed out that he joined the Social Democratic Federation at the height of the impossibilist revolt within its ranks - 1903/04- so it begs the question, 'what was he thinking?'. I guess I'll leave that question for another day. There's a Denzel Washington film with my name on it.

Round 187: Utter Pish

Darts Thrown: March 28th/29th 2019
Blog Written: March 29th 2019

Highest Score: 129
Lowest Score: 3
Sixties: 27

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Wow, round 187, and yet the first shaming pic to be posted. Again, wow.

To cut a long story short, one of my many failed New Year's Resolutions for 2019 was to throw at least 300 darts (100 throws) every day. It came unstuck at some point in the second week in January, but for all that I have persevered with the darts and at the time of writing - 88 days into the year - I'm to Round 187 in the 300 darts routine. At some time I will upload the previous 186 rounds . . . but not today.

Any thoughts on Round 187? Not really, it's just a variation on a theme. Spread over two days 'cos at some point I was too shagged tired to complete the round in one session. (A theme of my darts practice these past couple of months.) I'm playing with mismatched darts, which I'm sure doesn't help but it's no excuse for the continued inconsistency. There's occasional pockets of play when I'm in "the zone" but looking at this round, I don't think that happened this time.

The book in the picture? Peter Tatchell's 'The Battle of Bermondsey'. Have I read it? No, but I am reading it at the moment. I've not been reading a lot of books these past couple of years - still buy the fuckers, mind - and if I finish this book, it will be the first book I've read this year. Why am I reading a book published in 1983? Well. it's a book I dipped into at some point in the 80s when I first got interested in politics. I'm sure Hemel library had a copy, and that's where I would have found it. Some of it is coming back to me whilst I'm reading it, so I obviously read more of it first time round than I originally thought. I picked up this copy second hand last year (maybe) via Amazon. I'm not sure why I picked it up. Probably 'cos it was super cheap (my first consideration whenever buying a book). partly because I have a tendency at times to dig out old books that I made had read when I was much younger. Not sure why. Maybe just the literary equivalent of rebuilding your old record collections. It won't be the only old book that turns up in my rounds. I'm also an admirer of Tatchell, even when I don't always agree with him, and reading about Tatchell and the Labour Left in the early 1980s somehow chimes in/overlaps with Corbyn's Labour Party of today.

In other news:
  • Celtic are playing Rangers on Sunday. I fear the worst despite what the pundits say, but I always fear the worst on such occasions. It takes at least 4 goals to calm me down, and I don't think Celtic have 4 goals in them at the moment. I'll happily chow down on crow come Sunday, if I'm proven wrong.
  • Brexi-shambles is continuing as I write. No idea what the fuck is going on at this moment in time -  and I do occasionally try and keep up - but it will probably result in some posh cunt being Tory Prime Minister this time next month. Where's the hue and cry mob camping out outside David Cameron's gaffe? Why does he get to retire quietly with his farm animals?
  • As I mentioned Tatchell's book, here a link to a Socialist Standard article from '83 which touches upon the gutter press's hounding of Tatchell.
  • With regards to the Socialist Standard, I'm still continuing with the digitization project which partially explains the lack of book reading and the dearth of original posts on this old blog. In recent days, issues from January 1931, May 1993 and June 1979 have been completed. You show check them out.