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Bash the Rich by Ian Bone

I cannot help but be endlessly fascinated by the stream of intertextual inertia that ensures I drift from one absorbing (or at least intriguing) book to the next, and so I’m very happy that the present stream has pushed the intellectual boat out deep into the random waters of non-fiction.

Remembering my course back up river, I get a little lost around the Idler (either issue number 42 [Smash the System – sounds likely] or 43 [Back to the Land] attractive in its new hard-cover cloth binding but unattractive in its Idler-off-putting new price bracket) and the article with Ray Jones, laughingly self-monikered with the double barrel insert “Roughler” and his pursuit of unemployed bliss. I think that perhaps my periodical infatuation with all things idle (due no doubt in part by the periodical nature of its publication) was the catalyst, perhaps the inception point, so the search may be in vain. Nonetheless it has seen me wend my way through the Ray Jones biography (review coming soon, I suspect), two Crass albums and Hartmann the Anarchist to Ian Bone and his cliff-hanging chronicle of Class War and rich-bashing, and this here review-type article, so it is.

Having had no wish to develop a class consciousness myself up to this point, I was concerned that, recommendations from the Gnome and The Idler urgings aside, I would be bored to chuffing tears by the middle aged rantings of a man the Sunday People once branded “the most dangerous man in Britain”, a tag he doesn’t shy away from repeating ad nauseum. Indeed, there is quite a bit of content that I am unabashed to admit I cared for not a toss. For example, I suspect I am missing quite a few references, cultural and historical, to properly anchor his narrative in my understanding. My knowledge of Italian anarchists is sadly lacking, and despite the helpful if black-and-white pointillist-style picture of Lucy Parsons (now deceased I understand) I am no closer to caring who she may or may not have been. And frankly, the whole Class War team appear to have some serious growing up to do. Of course, they won’t, as it would mean becoming a part of the system they aim to seriously inconvenience for a bit, and also stopping drinking Special Brew.

All of these serious impediments to understanding are not, however, a barrier to enjoyment. In fact, the speed at which Bone trots out the acronyms means one is able to skip past them without them registering (although I did double-take at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, one of the rare series of capital letters that I recognised) and means that the next bit of drunken disorder arrives all the faster; for indeed, that is the fun part. Drinking six quick pints before barracking the toffs and boater hat-wearing lah-di-dahs at Henley, punching coppers in the face, chucking cans and bottles at Neil Kinnock, joining the fun on the streets in Brixton, creating rude collages for the covers and contents of Class War, and annoying the vegan hippies and pacifist anarchists of Crass by repeated calls to swift and violent uprising – that is the meat in this tasty anarchist sandwich.

But what happens next? The book ends just as Class War looks like it might finally get a piece of Thatcher, and Bone’s bookend piece about his father’s surprising rebelliousness seems tacked-on (although the photo of father Bone with placard and shit-eating grin is excellent). Will there be a second instalment? I sort-of hope so.


How's about that then?

Selected Holiday Reading - The In-Betweeners Abroad

I always try to travel light, a goal, something with which those among you with bookish leanings will empathise, that is challenging for someone intending to do as much reading as they can whilst ignoring as much culture and scenery as is possible. So huzzah and indeed hurrah for the generic e-book reader and its market competitors. Ten years ago I would likely have suffered a paroxysm of disgust for any apologist of the hated technology. Now, it seems, I must take one everywhere I go for more than one night.

The trip to which I am coming, an August sojourn by ferry to Santander and then by VW through Calabria, the Basque country, and north through Aquitaine, Poitou-Charente, Pays de la Loire and Bretagne, was a chance to get some serious reading under the belt. Twelve days of driving, drinking, books and beaches. The only 'real' books that made the trip were The Vagabond's Breakfast, of which more anon, and All The Days And Nights which, as I was on a deadline, I quickly …

Under The Dust by Jordi Coca

So, wheel of fortune, count to 29, pin the tail, freebies off of peeps on Twitter etc. etc. Whatever the methods sometimes employed to pick the next book in my intertextual experience, the one that brought me to Jordi Coca brought me to a whopping great slice of nostalgia. Before I'd even opened it, it brought to mind Richard Gwyn, himself a published poet, author, biographer, translator and course director of the MA Creative Writing course at Cardiff University, who I recall for some odd reason gently encouraging me to read this novel, and by whose own work I was quietly impressed at the time. He was also an advocate of Roberto Bolaño, another writer in whose work I can immerse myself but from which I emerge drained, as mentioned previously. Before that, though, there is this sticker on the front, declaring 'Signed by the Author at Waterstone's'. It is indeed signed by Jordi Coca, not adding any particular intrinsic value to the book, not for me anyway, but more impor…

The One from the Other by Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr is an author I have been reluctant to attempt to review for some time. His Berlin Noir trilogy cost me some hours of sleeplessness and in the end I decided to skip a review and just be happy to have read it and therefore move it from the pile of unread novels, via the edge of my desk where the “to review” pile occasionally falls over on to the typewriter and spills my pen pot across the floor and thus causes significant risks when stumbling blindly about the room at night too drunk to remember where my bed is or having just been jolted awake by the boy shrieking from the next room and running asleep into walls and doors, to the back half of my giant Ikea bookcase where novels that have been read and have caused my self-esteem to shatter on the diamond-hard edges of someone else’s talent currently reside, gathering dust and moisture until hitting the mildew tipping point and becoming physically dangerous in their own right. This awesome crew consists mainly of Will Self, Jo…

Hannah Green And Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith

I was sold this book by Simon at the Big Green Bookshop in return for the money it cost plus a small donation towards operating costs and postage. 

In truth, I'd forgotten it was on its way, and it was a fucking lovely surprise when it arrived at my desk in work, my letterbox at the time being a tad short on width and breadth and unlikely to admit a hardback plus packaging. I recall very much enjoying reading Michael Marshall Smith, and I also enjoyed re-reading him, recently, and I documented this here, here and here. This was a book for which I hadn't realised I'd been waiting for a long time. 

However, had I not the history and warm, cosy feelings safely tucked up in the nostalgia bank, I would probably not have picked this up, going solely on the cover. There's a clock, the silhouette of a small girl, and leaves, along with a colour contrast and meandering font which brought to mind something cringe-worthily reminiscent of Alexander McCall-Smith*, or the covers of Sc…