Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Leopard

By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

I failed. You can keep your presents, because my War & Peace challenge collapsed under the weight of sport, alcohol, hot legs and most tellingly, a hangover. See, when I read Les Miserables in 48 hours, I was living in an underground and picayune apartment in the middle of Athens, Greece, doing my best to become a 'poet' by chain-smoking Marlboros and refusing to lower myself by holding down a decent occupation, and spending what little money I had on nothing but cigarettes, floozies and books. There was no footy, and in the darkened flat, common society could easily be shut out. Reading Les Miserables in 48 hours was no more difficult than making the bed with hospital corners.

Not so in a country town where everyone knows my door is open and the fridge is filled with beer, and where I have FOXTEL which means every footy match is accessable. I had every intention of completing the War & Peace challenge, but Friday night I just had to watch Wallace's last game as coach of Richmond.

"No matter," I thought, "I'll start War & Peace Saturday morning, and finish it Monday morning..."

Noble aims are extinguished by ignoble lusts.

I was hammering through the book with a young man's zeal, managing to keep abreast of the long Russian names (all seemingly starting with 'A' or 'B') and their nickname variations, underlining great passages, throwing myself into early 19th century politics and all the while smoking Stuyvesants and drinking so much coffee that there was more caffeine in my blood than blood.

Then The Mermaid popped in.

The Mermaid is a local girl, 19, hot, sweet and a good friend. She lives in Melbourne now and goes to Uni, but when she used to live here she would house-sit for me when I went away. We get along well because she's very bookish and is highly attracted to my book collection, and she smokes and drinks red wine, and even modelled in a mermaid outfit for one of my band's photo shoots (hence the nickname). Besides all that, we are the only two goths in the village.

She had come down for the weekend and suggested having dinner. At this point, I should have said, "No, I'm reading War and Peace in 48 hours to impress a group of people I know over the internet but have never met in real life and they are going to send me presents if I do so." But how can you say that to a mermaid goth? You can't. I actually said, "No worries. Glass o' wine?"

This then lead to hours and hours of food, alcohol and poetry reading (yes, poetry reading - she's very, very bookish) and an impromptu photo shoot around my kitchen at 1am. Arty camera wobble? No. Drunken.

With stockings like that, what was I supposed to do? Read a book? No, I made the mistake of keeping up with her drinking, and she's good at it. I walked her home at 2.30am and she kissed me on the cheek, thanking me I suspect for being the only man on Earth that she can spend time with that doesn't try to fuck her, and then I walked home and went to bed.

The hangover next day was crippling. CRIPPLING! War & Peace was put aside and the footy was turned on. Thank you to Melba for the casserole.

So anyway, I only got 350 pages into it, and I'll attempt to finish it this week, work depending, which is still pretty good. In the meantime, let me discuss this book, The Leopard.

This is one of Salman Rushdie's favourites, and he reckons it's also the best book to movie translation. A mate of mine, El Tel, also had this book in his top 3 ever. And, well, it was pretty fucking good but I'm not putting it into my Top 20. The writer di Lampedusa wrote this (his only book) just before he died and he never got to reap the benefits of the fame it brought him. It is considered in Italy especially one of the greatest, if not the greatest Italian novel of all time.

It also happens to be factual, in that it is based on the author's grandfather, the last of a long line of Sicilian Princes whose royal stature fell by the wayside under the unification of Italy in the mid 1800's. It is always fascinating... every page is mind-numbingly interesting, and he certainly captures the transition between the feudal/royal power and that of the upper middle-class aspirational bureaucrat.

Of the group taking power from the allegedly 'corrupt' lords, he writes that they were "...very like those living in the monasteries below, as fanatical, as self-absorbed, as avid for power or rather for the idleness which was, for them, the purpose of power." Cue comparisons with every other revolutionary movement, ever, from Brutus to Peru's Shining Path.

But the Prince (whose family logo is a leopard) is a realist and is one who is looked after by the unifiers as he doesn't try to fight them and in fact, uses his popularity to help them bring Sicily into the Italian fold. He understands that hundreds of years of royal lineage means nothing against the flow of democracy and unification, and they allow him to keep his prestige and wealth in return for lack of power. However, by being so friendly to the revolutionary forces, his prestige is diminished in any case. He marries his nephew off to a wealthy landowner's heiress (new money), and in one poignant scene, invites a commoner to dine at the palace which "...began the decline of his prestige."

It's the death of empire, told on a microcosmic level, and the tour we take through the Leopard's palaces with centuries' old orgy rooms, now locked, classic libraries overrun with dust, dilapidated monasteries and the last vestiges of an ageing man's lust all serve as metaphors. But what's great is that di Lampedusa, who died penniless, doesn't write with any bitterness. He doesn't lament his family's fall from royal prestige, he is just saying, "This is what happened to my family," and also, "This is what happened to Sicily."

But in one outburst by the Prince to a Roman representatitve who has come to beseech the Prince to join the Senate, he points out that no matter who is in charge, Sicily, and indeed any person anywhere in the world cannot ever be fully integrated into a far-off political machine. He says of Sicily:

"...water is either lacking altogether or has to be carried from so far that every drop is paid for by a drop of sweat; and when the rains come, they are always tempestuous and set dry torrents to frenzy, drown beasts and men on the very spot where two weeks before both had been dying of thirst. The violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing around us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from all directions, who were at once obeyed, soon detested and always misunderstood; their sole means of expression works of art we found enigmatic and taxes we found only too intelligible, and which they spent elsewhere. All these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of the mind."

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the amount of weight given to the falling in love of the Prince's nephew and the landowner's daughter. It took up half the story, whereas it should have been a little sub-plot taking up no more than a couple of pages.

Still, I recommend the book, and give it a B+.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

News Of A Kidnapping

By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

(I'm still playing catchup. Coming soon, some Schopenhauer, 'The Leopard', more Bible, a science book and much much more. Stick around...)

I'm a Marquez fan. One Hundred Years Of Solitude and Love In The Time Of Cholera are both marvellous, marvellous books and I highly recommend both.

Marquez was also once a journalist and occasionally forays back into journo-land. A few years ago I read a book called The Story Of A Shipwrecked Sailor by Marquez where he interviewed, you know, a shipwrecked sailor, and that was pretty cool so I thought I'd give this a try.

It was okay. It was interesting, though all those Colombian names became a blur after a while. It was set in the time that Pablo Escobar the drug baron was being hunted by the US, and he knew that if he was caught they'd execute him. So, he was offering to hand himself over to the Colombian authorities in return for immunity against extradition to the US. He and his drug baron mates called themselves 'The Extraditables' and were hoping to reverse this position, but of course, the Colombians were under presuure from the US to hand him over.

Whilst the Colombian authorities were trying to deal with it constitutionally, Escobar was dealing with it by kidnapping and occasionally killing prominent people. Journalists, relatives of politicians and so on.

This book is a re-telling of the stories of those who were kidnapped and were lucky enough to get out (some after two years of captivity).

Marquez does a very good job bringing the scenario alive (he had access to all the captives, as well as former Presidents and Ministers to help write this book). We learn all about the drug trade, Colombian constitutional nuances, and most importantly, he expertly and vividly portrays the trials of being under captivity. You can smell it in the holding cells. The tedium, the good guards and bad guards, the food, the endless TV watching because there was little else to do.

The most interesting bit concerned an old celebrity Catholic priest, Father Garcia Herrero, who is clearly mentally-ill and talked gibberish, but for many years he was on Colombian TV every night delivering a one minute sermon and he was a national treasure. He made it his goal to secure the release of the prisoners, and Escobar, being a Catholic drug baron, did indeed give the Priest an audience. Even drug barons are lured by celebrity.

Also interesting is that on Colombian TV, relatives of people kidnapped aired messages to the captives, and the captives were allowed to watch!

So all in all, it was an interesting read, and if you're Colombian or a constitutional lawyer, an important read, but really, all it is is a very well written piece of journalism and my advice is: Wait for the film.


Thursday, 30 April 2009

It's Like Bloody 'War & Peace'! In Fact, It Is!

I have a few books to still review, and I'm halfway through reading a book at the moment that's going slow because I'm not that into it, and anyway, I'm lethargic, generally, in my life, right now. I turn 40 soon. I'm getting stressed. I need a girlfriend.

Anyway, after reading The Costello Memoirs on a dare, I was reminded of a time many years ago, I was about 24 I think, living in Athens, Greece, when a mate dared me to read Les Miserables in 48 hours. I accepted the dare, and did it, having only a few hours sleep and a hell of a lot of coffee.

And today I thought to myself, "What happened to that plucky young literary kid?" and the answer was, "He approached 40, discovered hair was starting to grow out of his shoulders, and panicked." But as Dylan Thomas said, I must rage, rage against the dying of the light. Being lead singer of a punk band that does the sex, drugs and rock and roll shit when we play helps, but we're not gigging much right now, so I'm going to get my kicks in my own old way...

I plan to read War & Peace in 48 hours*. Not sure when yet, maybe next weekend, but soon, in any case.

I have it in hardback. It's a tad under 1400 pages and the font is small. You could put my hardback version in a gymnasium and do reps above your head. Like a black man's appendage in 70's porn, I am intimidated by its size.

Anyone want to offer incentives? Back when I did 'Les Miserable', my mate said if I could do it, he'd take me out for a coffee. Yes, I did it for one coffee (I chose a frappe because it was summer in Greece, and for some reason, the Frappes over there are fucking incredible and 1,000,000 times better than anyone else's... so are their tomatoes and mangoes), and it was the lure of the frappe that kept me going at 4am when struggling through one of Victor Hugo's many tangents (like, his 90 page tangent on the history of the Parisian sewerage system, which in fact was more interesting than you'd think).

Any incentive will make this easier for me. Thank you in advance for your sponsorship.

PS: What do you think of my new picture up top?

*I would start on a Friday night after work, and finish Sunday evening or in the wee hours of Monday.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Kingdom Of Fear

By Hunter S. Thompson

He goes on a bit.

Nag, nag, nag.

The dude can write, I'll give him that. He can weave a sentence beautifully, but the paranoia thing gets to me. It's all about 'them' and 'they' and 'the cops' and 'the government' as if they are a coherent and singular entity out to trod on him personally.

This book is a series of anecodtes, vignettes and reminisces, but in the end, all I got from it was that he smoked too much pot and was paranoid. There was some touching moments, some laugh out loud moments, but mostly groan moments as I was forced to enter deep into his paranoid psyche.

I did however find, buried deep on page 289, something that made me think he was aware that perhaps he was largely acting the goat... he wrote about his relationships with 'the cops': "They were probably nice people and so was I - but we were not meant for each other... There is a huge body of evidence to support the notion that me and the police were put on this Earth to do extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with each other..."

That was one of the only moments in the book where he conceded that 'they' might be people as well.

Still, his rebellious nature does make for some fine reading at times, but better to read an article here and there rather than a whole book.

I give it C minus.

(That's two reviews in two days - I have some catching up to do)

Monday, 27 April 2009

The Costello Memoirs

By Peter Costello
Former Treasurer of Australia

Peter Costello to boy:
"I also succeeded in putting in place capital acquisition programs which actually allocated money to specific programs. We discovered, for example, that in listing projects for capital acquisition Defence never allowed for deprectiation or repairs!"

Boy to Peter Costello:
"I got a lollypop."


Here's an anecdote about a time when he was spending a lot of late nights with Finance Minister John Fahey, working on some revenue committee thing and putting in a lot of hours.

Are you ready for this? Alright, here it goes...

"At the end of the process, after months away from home, John said to me one night, 'I haven't seen much of Colleen (his wife) lately. And I guess you haven't seen much of Tanya. In fact, we now spend more time with each other that we spend with our wives...' I cut him off. "I'm getting a little uncomfortable about where this conversation is heading, John!'"

Did you catch it? Did you see it? Because there it was, the only gag in 385 pages of memoirs.

That was it! A kinda gay joke! That was fairdinkum the most funny thing in the whole book, and it wasn't even funny, at all.

Then again, I did laugh a few times in the book, but only at parts I wasn't supposed to be laughing at.


Look, it's easy to bag this book, and Costello himself, and don't worry, I intend to, but, let me start with a few positives, some of them controversial amongst my left leaning friends.

First of all, if anyone was to be the Treasurer during the Howard years, I'm glad it was Costello. For starters, he LOVES taxation law. The most vibrant passages of the book, where his personality seems to come to life and what meagre charm he posseses jumps up from the page, are all to be found when discussing economic mechanics. There were chapters and chapters where he goes to great lengths explaining how the IMF works, what GDP is, and how Treasuries, banks and taxation laws all come together. Like over 100 pages was just explaining how stuff works (obviously to then give merit to the decisions he made - the extract above with the picture is a typical sentence). But really, the only people who would be vaguely interesetd in any of it would be budding Federal Treasurers. For the rest of us, it was stuff that belonged in an appendix. Even so, his enthusiasm was admirable.

But another reason he made a good treasurer was because I don't think he made one economic decision based on politics. Every economic decision he made seems to have been made on an economic level - in that it had economic, not political justification. Whether he made wrong or right economic decisions is neither here nor there, the point is, he left politics out of it somehow and on that level, he was a worthy treasurer. In fact, he even used economics for good instead of evil at one point, when squeezing Indonesia over the East Timor issue. It's a long story, but basically, he helped Indonesia fix some economic problems in return for getting the fuck out of East Timor.. which is more than Keating ever did (I loved Keating, but on East Timor, he failed me).

Costello would also make a fine husband and father. Reliable, devoted, and mentally sound. That comes through in the book too. He seems a nice enough guy, and if he had to pick you up from footy training, he would be there on time. Good on him. Also, he's a Blackburn boy, and I'm originally a Mitcham boy, so, you know, he gets a point for being a boy from down the road, even though he went to a toffee private school and I went to Mitcham 'Igh.

A final positive... his view of Howard is hilarious, unintentionally. He presents Howard (who, by the way, he constantly refers to as 'Howard') as this vague, shadowy figure who sometimes crawls out of his ivory cave to ask how things are going, then crawls back into the cave, leaving the real people alone to do the work. After reading this book you get the impression that Howard never actually made a decision about anything, or ever actually did a day's work. He was just a mouthpiece for Costello and all the other hard-working Ministers who made the decisions and did all the work. But you know what, Costello? I think that's a better system. I don't want my Prime-Minister bogged down until 3am wading through economic data. I want him or her to be fresh in the morning, fresh to lead. And that's one thing Howard could do (rightly or wrongly) and you can't do. Face it Costello - you were the worker, he was the leader, and that system kept the two of youse in power for more than a decade.

The biggest problem with the book (aside from it being boring as batshit) is that it proves that Keating was right when he said Costello was 'all tip, no iceberg'. Try as I did, in 385 pages, I still don't know what this man believes in, aside from God. Which, by the way, grant me this aside. He believes in God too much for my liking and should be prevented from holding office. His wife had a brain problem and nearly died. Costello writes "...medical assistance and, in my view, divine intervention saw her recover..." Divine intervention? You're kidding me? God, as a sole and sentient entity personally healed your wife with the assistance of doctors? Fuck off idiot.

No, aside from God, there's nothing I could find in here. There's a few things he doesn't believe in, like, left wingers, and Brian Harradine (who, by the way, fucked the Libs on the GST by asking for the removal of some gay safe-sex material from a Government publication - Costello thought that meant Harradine would support GST, but he didn't), but there's nothing that I could put my finger on when it came to what he actually wanted in a society, aside from canny taxation law and 'law and order'. Even his dislike of the left is lame, as it was developed in his Monash Uni days when he encountered some extreme-left anti-semites, but jesus, I don't dismiss all conservative-leading policy just because Hitler existed, so I can't see why he refused to acknowledge anything from the left just because of some militant arsewipes he came across at Uni and in the Union movement.

When it got to the Pauline Hanson bit, I thought maybe he'd be able to let loose, but even then it was a pragmatic but gutless response. He backed the decision to "...not attack Hanson personally... (but to)attack her policies in a logical and analytical way." I recall that backfiring even then, but he still supports it. She was using emotional language and she needed to be fought on that level, as well as a 'logical' level. But it came to me then, reading that - that's his whole political life, this Costello man. Take God away, and all he has is 'logical and analytical', and that's the 'no iceberg' quip in a nutshell. That's why he can't lead the country. Not enough heart. Brains and dignity aplenty, but no heart.

I also found him disrespectful to the ALP leaders. He seemd to like Beazley as a man (not as a pollie), and thought Crean had a brain, but from Hawke to Rudd he seems to think anyone on that side of politics was some yobbo buffoon. I know I know, there are plenty of yobbo buffoons on the left, but jeez, what's Wilson Tuckey then? Buffoonery crosses the political divide.

But I digress. Actually, there's not much more to say. He had one shot at this memoir business and he fucked it up. It had no guts, no substance, no balls. Just like Ian Thorpe and Brodie Holland* I ask, "Where's the cock? Where's the cock? Give me some cooooooocccckkkk!" There's just none. This book is a document, not a memoir. It's a timeline. There's not even anecdotes! No bon mots! No gossip! No insight into his feelings or any indication that he can be moved by art, or nature, or anything apart from God and family. Mark my words, this book will be in the $2 bin by now. It has nothing to offer to the world or arts and letters, or hell, even the world of politics or Australian History. Economic historians might take a fleeting interest in it (luckily for Costello I did Economics at Uni so I took a little interest in some of it), but that's it.

Look, maybe there is something to him, and he just thought it was none of our business. If so, he shouldn't have bothered writing memoirs. Either you give it your all, or not bother. There is no audience for this book. It's a waste of paper.

I give it an E.

Divine intervention... FUCK. OFF.

Superstitious idiot.

PS: He mentions me, accidentally. Talking about Ron Walker's influence, he refers to the Commonwealth Games 'flying tram into the centre of the MCG' (landing on a Melway map of Melbourne) which I came up with, proposed to the Government, was rejected, but they did it anyway and someone else got paid for it. I HAVE THE DOCUMENTS TO PROVE THIS! (Note: They were legally entitled to take my idea... it was on the tender contract). Yes, 9 years later it's still a sore point.

* Rumour and innuendo. I'm not saying either are gay, I'm just saying that's what I hear on the grapevine.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Spot Of Bother

By Mark Haddon

This is the same bloke who wrote 'The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time' which I read four or five years ago and although I don't remember much about it, I do remember enjoying it. I wish I could say the same for this book, especially because the book was given to me by Pony Girl.

Self-loathing and self-obsessed middle class tossers getting agitated about stuff. That's kind of it.

I wouldn't have one character from this book over for tea.

It's all based around the extended Hall family and the build-up to the daughter's (second) wedding. There's the daughter herself who's a rotten bitch, her son from a previous marriage who talks way too well for a kid in a nappy, her husband-to-be who has nothing going for him except money, the gay son who's a prat, the infedelious bitch-mother and her hairy lover, and poor old Dad, George, who is going insane. He's the main character and perhaps the only one I had any pity for, because at least insanity is a reason and/or excuse for self-mutilation. The rest have no excuse, and if I was meant to feel empathy towards any of them (which I think I was supposed to) then either I failed the author, or the author failed me.

To be clear on this, 'bitch-mother' and 'gay prat' are just my summations. I think Haddon genuinely expected us (the readers) to like these people. But in my mind, they were a bunch of cunts and I was hoping that the last chapter had a line like, "And anyway, a plane crashed into the wedding and they all died except George."

This orgy of neuroses and self-loathing is not for me. It's for people who get it. It's for the people who are like that... who can't make up their mind, commitment-phobes, and yet at the same time they are ubermensches, narcissicsts, and also happen to be paranoid... who in any situation will first establish an esacpe route just in case, the people who play their cards close to their chest and will not or cannot express themselves for (unfounded) fear of retaliation - the people who say nothing at the exact time they should be communicating. They are the people that will love this book, because the Hall family is their template.

At least Token Gay had a small epiphany "... it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss about what other people thought." Though we had to wait until page 406 for this twat to turn, and what totally shat me is that his ex-boyfriend, who should have known better, rewarded Pratboy by magically coming back into his life.

In my experience, epiphanies aren't about righting old mistakes, they're about ensuring they don't happen again.


Haddon's writing style annoyed me too.

"Of course there were times when she worried. That Katie would never get a decent job. Or fall pregnant by accident."

What's with the fullstops?

He also does a Peter Carey.

"Aiden bawled Katie out... she resigned. And Patsy cried because people were shouting."

'Aiden' and 'Patsy' were never mentioned before that paragraph, and never mentioned again. I call it a 'Peter Carey' because he starts chapters with lines like "The blue jar was on the top shelf." What blue jar? Would it kill you to write, "A blue jar..."? Oh that's right, it's called writing.

But in this book's defence, it was a page-turner. The chapters were mostly very short - two or three pages would be an average, so the scenes were all like vignettes and because they jumped character to character I found myself having to keep reading so as I could get to what happened next. But it was page-turning in the same way Home & Away possibly is (I've never seen it). You watch four episodes in a row, and you have to find out what happens next.

The book was... engaging. I'll give it that.

I didn't hate the book as much as I hated the characters in it.



Pony Girl is gone now. Not out of the country yet, but gone nonetheless. I'm a little shattered, and fragile. By jesus I loved that girl.

My family happen to be cracking up somewhat as well (maybe that's why the book resonated so negatively... we're all helping each other, and yet the family in the book were all too self-obsessed to particularly care about one another), I'm work-busy, and I'm lovesick as all Hell.

I'm about 6 books behind on this blog, so be prepared for a few entries. I find it good therapy to rant to strangers, thinly disguising my tantrums as art criticism.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The God Delusion

By Richard Dawkins

Over the Christmas period I met a girl called Andromeda 3.4. We hit it off instantly and passionately. After only a short time she put the hard word on me and suggested we commit to being in a relationship, and, with much glee, I accepted. I had my first real girlfriend in more than two years; a particularly attractive and loving one at that.

My heart was fluttering and the sun was out. I felt like Superman.

Seriously, I was into her. No complaints other than superficial ones, like, for instance, she didn’t have a car... but that’s easy fixed. Get a car. I even contemplated buying her one. Problem solved. It’s not like there was anything that made me feel any concern that our fledgling relationship would come under any strain. She partied a bit hard for my liking too, but that didn’t really bother me. I don’t have to partake every time, and she did point out that when in a relationship she was more content to stay at home and watch telly, drink tea and smoke ciggies. My kinda chick.

So there I was. After sooking for two years about not being able to hold on to a relationship for more than a weekend, a very attractive and talented woman falls in love with me, sweeps me off my feet and I was over the moon and Jupiter too.

Dramatic pause.

Enter from stage left, Pony Girl.

It’s easy to be light and silly on a blog, but the words in The Kite Runner review (linked above) ring very true.

Pony Girl is back from overseas, is staying in the country briefly (up in the desert, seven hours from me), and heads to Europe indefinitely in April.

I ask you all: Would you swap a potential lifetime with a partner who you really like and may fall in love with, for just one night with one that you already truly love?

I did.

Well, I thought I did, but I ended up getting five nights with Pony Girl, and may get a few more in the Mallee Desert or down in Melbourne or here on the Surf Coast before she goes overseas.

To sleep with Pony Girl is one thing, to talk and laugh for hours and hours is another thing, but for even just one kind word, or a quick squeeze of the hand as she tells me she’s putting the kettle on, or for the privilege to put my arm around her shoulder in public and kiss her forehead, for the privilege to share a space and be partners even if that partnership has a use-by date, to hear her laugh, to make her laugh, for the thrill of even standing in a 5 metre radius of Pony Girl... for these things I broke Andromeda 3.4’s heart.

She deserved better than me.

She may choose to hate my guts. Understandably. I hate my own guts, but in order to man the fuck up I did what had to be done.

And Pony Girl? Don't think (as one good friend has done) that she is some sort of scarlet woman / homewrecker type who waltzed in to my life solely in order to waltz straight back out of it. She understands acutely the brevity of the situation. She hasn't tried to wriggle out of any responsibility towards it. She's far too smart and honourable for that. It's one of the many reasons why I admire her so.

I ain’t good enough a writer to give Pony Girl any justice, and besides, I get a bit tongue-tied near her, and the best I can come up with is this: She rocks.

I’m getting ready for another year of yearning for her. At least I know what to expect because I've already had a year's practice, and the beneficiaries will be the readers of this blog and TSFKA, because I get to go back to my shtick: “Woe is me, I can’t find a good woman, nobody loves me and I can’t cut straight with the chainsaw, I’m hopeless etc etc etc.”

I’m at my artistic best when I’m at my emotional worst. I grew up on vegemite toast and Dostoyevsky.

Anyway, this is a book review blog. The God Delusion was brilliant – finished it in November so sorry for the delay everyone – I give it a B+.