The Plague Bookclub

Our Plague Book Club recommends the following books for a Plague year: The Black Death (Philip Ziegler) (1969) “All the citizens did little else except to carry dead bodies to be buried… At every church they dug deep pits down to the water-table; and thus those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pit. In the morning when a large number of bodies were found in the pit, they took some earth and shovelled it down on top of them; and later others were placed on top of them and then…

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The iPod Playlist for a Plague

March 30, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC |

Social distancing..."The Plague of Thebes" by Charles Francois Jalabert (1842)

Armagideon Time (The Clash) [“A lot of people won’t get no supper tonight A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight…”] Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival) [“I see a bad moon a-rising I see trouble on the way I see earthquakes and lightnin’ I see bad times today  Don’t go ’round tonight It’s bound to take your life There’s a bad moon on the rise…”] Coming Home (Falling in Reverse) [“Transmission from the stars A message from the atmosphere Etched into my heart Your purpose there is still unclear The ghost of you lives on Through everything I…

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The Madness of Crowds

Douglas Murray in 2019. Photo by Andy Ngo

(The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray) (2019) Murray’s enjoyable book is a start. A comprehensive book on the madness of crowds would comprise a 100-volume set, and require Edmund Burke as co-author. Why, this book doesn’t even analyse the French Revolution! Instead, the author takes to task those modern curios, identity and ‘intersectionality’, explains how the current thinking is to ‘unlock these oppressions’ after which something will happen (but what that is, no one is sure – modern Marxists being like the dog who chases the stick – once gathered, what next?) The work is…

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All things Must Pass

March 4, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE, Ulalume |

(2017: Holden manufacturing (with wages well above market level) in Australia ceases; 2020: The Holden car (its models no longer competitive at the list price) ceases for good.  Certain commentators suggest governments should have ‘done more‘) ‰ We’ve had much hand-wringing of late  And cries for intervention by the State, To return us to the good old times Of subsidies and other nursery-rhymes. ⊕ ”Invest” (in losers) interventionists cry, Raise the prices till no one can buy, The Holden car, well ‘she’s a bloody beauty’; When markets fail, we all have a duty. ⊗ (One absorbs the books by Marx,…

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Elegy for Miron

December 31, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE |

Miron (28 October 2000 to 14 December 2019) There was no corner of our house Not under his regal command; Of the dozens dead, no mouse Ever did escape as planned, He ravaged the rodent underworld And waged a ceaseless war on string But mostly spent his work-day curled And drowsy, disdained anything. A sullen cloud would billow in, Announcing the hour in which to dine; We would watch, all in a spin To hope he would declare as fine His meal, and after yawn and stretch He left the plate, drained of desire, And goose-step’d, claws unsheathed to fetch…

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