Busy, busy, busy the last couple of weeks so a few things that I intended to blog about have been and gone. Here’s a brief catch-up.
Tip for the top
Great gig at the Horns, Watford by the excellent local band Cynosure, in which my stepson Ben plays bass. Their distinctive indie/rock sound with jangly bits and noisy bits is sure to make them the next big thing. You can test whether this is mere step-paternal pride or mature critical judgement by listening to the songs on their MySpace site here.
Betjeman centenary (1)
Fascinating to watch Betjeman’s Metroland film last Monday. But, rather Pooterishly, I wondered why he stopped at Croxley Green and didn’t follow the Metropolitan line into Watford where our elegant inter-war Cassiobury estate is surely the quintessence of Metroland.
Betjeman centenary (2)
Amused at the catfight between Betjeman’s official biographer Bevis Hillier and A.N.Wilson, who has just published a new biography of the poet. Angered by Wilson’s negative reviews of his own books, Hillier forged a letter from Betjeman and sent it to Wilson as a hoax. The latter was fooled and referred to the letter in his book. Can’t stand A.N. Wilson, but in this at least he seems more sinned against than sinning.
Critics have been lavishing praise on Bob Dylan’s new album. For me, although there are a couple of great songs, there is also quite a bit of filler. The first Dylan album that I bought on its release was Shot of love in 1981. That too had a couple of great songs and many that were less memorable. It was as universally panned by critics as Modern Times has been universally praised. But back then the fashion was for knocking middle-aged rock stars off their pedestals. Now it is for helping elderly ones to climb back up.
Most successful Labour leader
As fluffy toys go, Millennium Dome Elephant is normally sound enough in his views. But he should beware of lionising Clement Attlee at the expense of Blair. The 1945-51 Labour government was centralising and dirigiste and institutionalised many of the least successful aspects of the post-war consensus. Let’s not repeat the socialists’ mythology for them. For more on this, read Edmund Dell’s excellent (and sadly posthumous) A Strange Eventful History: Democratic Socialism in Britain.