February 03, 2009
Random Blither - McBain, Simenon,Walser, Esser and the horror of "Have Your Say"
So I gave up on Ed McBain. Partly it was the film star description thing. Partly I thought I'd be better off watching "The Wire". Partly it was an example of false economy - I bought an edition with three novels in which was then too big to fit in my pocket when I went out. As a result I switched to reading more Simenon last week - "The Blue Room," which while not as good as "Dirty Snow" was still pretty remarkable.
I've been wondering how to find out what to read next by him (I'm less interested in the Maigret side of things, though this could be because I was made to read a short story for EngLit "O" level many many years ago) and in the process stumbled across an essay about him by Paul Theroux, which has endeared the man to me even more. Anyway, I finished "The Blue room" and started on "Jakob Von Gunten" by Robert Walser, which a friend gave me 13 years ago but which I've never got round to reading (very poor...). It's commonly called "Institute Benjamenta" now, which confused me enough to ask someone to buy it for my birthday. Have only read Walser's short fiction in the past and not all that much of that. But it's great, even if, after Simenon et al, I'm reading it as a murder mystery without a murder. In between finishing "The Blue Room" on the train, I saw a band called Esser performing on a freezing cold bandstand on Sunday. I liked them enough to Google them, hence the video above. Last but not least, my worthy constituent Jimmy Cash sent me a link to spEak You’re bRanes, a website devoted to ripping the piss out of idiotic, xenophobic and dumb posts on the BBC's "Have Your Say" forums. Very funny.