Solid Gold

The Glenelg Football Club 2019 Premiership Yearbook (By Peter Cornwall, Andrew Capel & Zac Milbank) (2020) We have banged-on far too much about the Glenelg Tigers’ brilliant championship season of 2019 – you can read all about it here. So let someone else do it, only better: “Solid Gold” by experienced professional sportswriters Cornwall, Capel and Milbank, is a great keepsake for fans as well as a comprehensive record of a thrilling season. Beautifully designed in burnished gold and jet black, shaped like an EP vinyl record cover, it is especially evocative in this plague year. For once, the advertising…

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Theft by Finding

April 12, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, LIFE, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

By David Sedaris (2017) Having caught his act just before plague was upon us, TVC thought it a lucky ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ move to read his paean to serendipity, Theft by Finding. These are diaries kept by him (much winnowed; the originals comprise 8 million odd words, or 8 Clarissas) from 1977-2002 and as he so rightly argues in his introduction, diaries – proper diaries, the best diaries (Samuel Pepys, Anne Frank) – are written to find oneself, never with an eye to publication. From his wastrel twenties to his successful mid-forties, his circumstances change but he hardly does, either in…

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The Plague Bookclub

Our Plague Book Club recommends the following books for a Plague year: The Alchemist (Ben Jonson) (1610) “The sickness hot, a master quit, for fear, His house in town, and left one servant there.” 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…

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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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The Anarchy

‘The Relentless Rise of the East India Company’ (By William Dalrymple) (2019) “Don’t Be Evil.”  The motto of Google, Inc., which has become something of a cocktail-party joke. At least the British East India Company never pretended to run India for the Indians. There’s a risk in applying contemporary morality to historical figures and events. This is not to say History will be kind to, say, Mao, but a true fair history has to take a walk in the target’s shoes.  In this deep and worthy book, Mr Dalrymple tracks the serpentine path of the British East India Company, the…

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