2013 — 8 March: Friday

The rain rains o'er us, but I wasn't planning any major expotitions just yet.1 I missed last night's "Night Waves" (as did most tabloid editors, I expect) so it will be grimly amusing to see if they start attacking Hilary Mantel again. There had been no suggestion that she was to feature. But, in any case, when I read the transcript of her 'contentious' lecture "Royal Bodies" in the London Review of Books last month I found no evidence in it to justify the nasty tabloid (and other) sh1t storm. I was amused by the gristly meat on skewers... an image that could well describe aspects of our fine tabloid culture.

As she said:

We are happy to allow monarchy to be an entertainment, in the same way that we license strip joints and lap-dancing clubs. Adulation can swing to persecution, within hours, within the same press report: this is what happened to Prince Harry recently... It may be that the whole phenomenon of monarchy is irrational, but that doesn't mean that when we look at it we should behave like spectators at Bedlam... I'm not asking for censorship. I'm not asking for pious humbug and smarmy reverence. I'm asking us to back off and not be brutes.

Hilary Mantel in LRB

Fat chance, I suspect. The item got two letters in the next issue. One from a chap in Kent said the media had indeed behaved like spectators at Bedlam. The other, from a lady in New South Wales, inquired whether the duchess would be given a right of reply.

The lad done good

In former times — after a week in the madhouse IBM Hursley software lab — I could usually wheedle Christa into taking me shopping in Soton on a Friday afternoon. And there was a plethora of book-buying venues for me and Peter to browse in. Not any more, which is why I was delighted to land these specimens earlier today:

Books 1

Books 2

And I didn't even get particularly wet. I think that calls for a celebratory cuppa over with Roger & Eileen in a little while. I shall let the lunch digest first.

To our mutual surprise...

... I was able to renew my acquaintance with ex-colleague Nick from Minstead who called in on R&E for a cuppa while I was still there. He had been stocking up at the arts and crafts shop with the makings of some props (fried egg earrings) for his latest annual village panto. I've not seen him for many years, but he hasn't changed much. Not many people do, really.



1  Though my next trip to the seaside is overdue, I admit.