Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On Ian McEwan

The advantage of a sleepless toddler is perhaps the unexpected reading opportunity - so started and finished On Chesil Beach between 4-something and almost-7 this morning.

It's a short book (166 pages) and given the apparently small focus of the narrative - a young couple on their wedding night in 1962, both virgins, both nervous - it's surprisingly gripping. This is perhaps a measure (perhaps intended) of the author's accomplishment, as is a hinted-at matter in her background which he confidently leaves un-explicated.

I can't help wondering if the title is also intended to be a reminder of the poem that lies, un-named, like the subject of a riddle, at the heart of the both the plot and themes of his last work, Saturday.

Is this kind of business a compliment to the reader's intelligence, or just a smug re-working of Mornington Crescent? I don't know, but I can see how tempting it is.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Revenge of the Zimmers

A band of OAPs with a combined age of over 3,000 have recorded The Who's "My Generation" for BBC 2's Power to the People programme, which I look forward to watching tonight at 9 o'clock.

The video is amusing and moving, and has created a massive stir. And if you feel that a 90-year old singing "hope I die before I get old" is in dodgy taste, try and remember how you felt the first time you heard Bono's "tonight thank God it's them instead of you". There are more important things to feel uncomfortable about - that's the point of this exercise.

It makes me proud to be a BBC licence payer. If not so proud of being part of a society that regards our elderly as an embarrassing expense.