Winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature. A city is hit by an epidemic of ‘white blindness.’ The blindness spreads, sparing no one. Authorities initially confine the blind to a vacant mental hospital secured by armed guards. What did the HBG make of it?
My preoccupation with British literature set in the immediate pre-WW2 era and in, or around, London continues. I recently read Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton and that kick started a whole fascination with English literature set in or around London c1939. In addition to Hangover Square, particular recent highlights include…
"Coming Up For Air" was my first George Orwell since "Homage to Catalonia" a few years back (whilst preoccupied with books about the Spanish Civil War). I’d also read "1984" and "Animal Farm" when I was a teenager.
This book is another great slice of pre-WW2 English literature. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It evokes the era perfectly. The book is split into four parts. The second part is full of childhood reminiscences from the early twentieth century. The protagonist recalls his childhood from the perspective of the late 1930s. This section reminded me very much of “Cider with Rosie" (one of my favourite books), with the key difference that this is fiction. It made me wonder how Orwell managed to so credibly know, and be able to relate, a childhood in a small rural community. Either way it’s a stunning section, and also very cleverly manages to highlight some of the seismic changes that took place for the average person in the UK throughout the twentieth century.
George Bowling, the middle-aged, middle-income protagonist is a great vehicle for Orwell’s musings on pre-WW2 England. Bowling is an insightful, straight talking Everyman character who conveys his thoughts with great honesty and self-deprecating humour.
The book also contains some hints at what was to come with “1984” which Orwell would write a few years later - specifically musings on an ”after-war” dystopian future characterised by hate, slogans, secret cells etc. Remarkably prescient and demonstrating he was already thinking about some of the themes that were later developed so memorably in “1984”.
The end of the book is pretty downbeat and this tone characterises the whole book and therefore might not be to everyone’s taste. I loved it. I’ve already bought Orwell’s “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” which I will read soon. If you like any of the books I list at the start of this review then I’m confident you’d enjoy this book too.
Back by popular demand. Another eclectic World Of Joy mix featuring the usual musical mayhem, and - as ever - featuring effects, remixes, samples, film dialogue etc. Yes Sir we can boogie, and not only that this time out we’re “Talking Trash With The World Of Joy”. You can listen online at Mixcloud by clicking here. You can download your own copy to play on your MP3 player, or burn onto a CD by clicking here
"A summertime special mix for you tonight courtesy of the Brighton based music lover and brains behind the most excellent World Of Joy blog. An audio visual magpie like myself, he has concocted a truly eclectic selection for your listening pleasure and you’ll be able to hear it here first."
Here’s the music….
Neal Hefti - Batman Theme
Moments and Whatnauts - Girls (nigeyb Good Lookin Cookin Mix)
Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven (nigeyb Dubway To Heaven)
Lieutenant Pigeon - Opus 302
Freqnik & WDRE- Look At Me Now Inna Babylon
Willy Moon - She Loves Me
The Kingsmen - Louie Louie (nigeyb Fine Little Girl Mix)
Lee Dorsey - Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further (JR Dynamite Edit)
Harry MacDonough - Goodbye Dolly Gray
10 cc - I’m Not In Love (nigeyb Not In Dub mix)
Mojo Filter - Let’s Get Brutal
Cliff Richard - Devil Woman (BP’s ‘Crystal Ball’ Dub)
Dionne Warwick - Do You Know The Way To San Jose (nigeyb Directional Dub)
David Bowie - Space Oddity (Appo remix)
Williams Fairey Brass Band - What Time Is Love
David Bowie - Space Oddity (Appo remix)
Clinic - Monkey on Your Back
Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell - Dueling Banjos
Foghat - Slow Ride
The Righteous Brothers - You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (nigeyb Lovin Dub)
According to the organisers before the festival…. “On arriving, a short stroll through a leafy copse will take you from the car park to the camping area - a peaceful undulating meadow nestling at the foot of the South Downs. Once you’ve pitched your tent on the Thursday, a brief walk up the farm path takes you to the stables. Here you can enjoy a tipple at our very own pub, The Nova Arms. You can spend the afternoon watching our mad medley of pub entertainment, and the evening at our campsite campfire sessions, or watching a film with the family at our outdoor cinema.”
Alas the rain put paid to such an idyllic arrival.
Our experience started badly. We arrived at about 6:15 pm on Friday evening to find a row of cars waiting to get onto the site. The site was so muddy that cars had to be towed on and off the site. We were assured that this would only take a few minutes. After waiting for almost an hour we decided to park down the road and walk in. This was probably the right decision however with all our kit, it was arduous and took about 30 minutes to struggle in and then find a place to camp.
The organisers had clearly not prepared for the possibility of a wet weekend. There were insufficient covered areas, places to sit, metal tracks on main thoroughfares etc. - other festivals manage this and it makes a big difference when it’s wet and muddy. At a wet festie it’s good to have plenty of places to sit and tents in which to shelter. There were nowhere near enough of these places. We spent a lot of time wandering aimlessly from place to place.
Things we enjoyed: The Greenpeace arctic display; the Adventure Land Crazy Golf; and I enjoyed the DJs at the Nova Arms on Friday night. There was also some good art around and the site was picturesque.
We bought early bird tickets when they went on sale in 2011 without any idea who would be playing and for three reasons: it was local; the Big Chill pedigree of the organisers; and we enjoy festivals and wanted to support a new one.
My first impression was that this was a festival with no focal point. This first impression was borne out over the rest of our stay. The acts that I recognised on the line up were few and far between. One or two I was keen to see - Norman Jay (who cancelled just before the event); The Phenomenal Handclap Band (who also cancelled); Speech Debelle (on before we finally got set up); and Psychemagik, and Ghostpoet (who we missed as we’d already gone home). The programme gave no additional information. Just a list of names which I thought was unhelpful. This is the first festival I’ve been to without a proper programme - either included in the ticket price or available for around a fiver. Here’s the Nova programme…
By Saturday afternoon we’d had enough.
Here are my photos. The weather played a big part in a less than great experience but - even if the sun had shone - for me there was just not enough quality stuff in the line up. The feedback on Facebook and Twitter is very mixed. People seem to have either loved it or hated it. I’m in the middle. It was OK but the weather and the uninspiring line up mean I’m unlikely to go back if it’s on next year. A shame as I had high hopes for Nova. 2/5