True or False

As you know I often start with something a little uncomfortable.

If you write novels you know that it’s only uncomfortable subjects that make good novels. If you have a simple stance and know all the answers it’ll only take you a couple of paragraphs.

I’m writing this listening to Tallis’ “Lamentations Of Palestrina”.

So there’s the first uncomfortable paradox:

I find religiosity is at the base of most of the really nasty stuff all of us are facing: Muslim fundamentalism; andi-Muslim sentiment;fanatical Christianity in Africa; disgraceful anti-Muslim genocide in Kashrmir (or whatever it’s called now – names change all the time. Usually because of a new power base hating the old regime).

…and yet the thing that shaped my life and priorities is my Christian very religious upbringing. The part of the service when the community came together, bowed its head in humility and thanks for our good fortune and prayed for those in our own streets suffering from bereavement or hardship then those in the wider world suffering oppression, starvation or natural disaster. So I dislike religion and the very religious but I crave the mandate to do good as a way of life and I feel shame every time I fail.

So here is my short list for 2018 of uncomfortable dilemmas:

  1. I’m fearful that the zeal of the current me too women will go too far, lead to a puritanism that will make life dull and I’m fearful that innocent mostly men and some women will have their lives destroyed by being outed in a way more savage than happened to racists after apartheid – truth and reconciliation … and yet I’m absolutely delighted that so many women have had the courage to speak out about the endemic problem of men thinking it’s ok to be boorish, overbearing, sexually predatory and intimidating to women just trying to live their lives. I think this will bring a change for good and young people already buy into it anyway so we’re just out of touch.
  2. I find Trump repellant in every way – but he was elected by people who felt that middle class liberalism and globalisation meant nothing to them – the same folks who voted for Brexit. So I feel superior to them and yet somewhere inside I know they are sincere genuine people and leaving the EU might not be nearly as bad as the scaremongers are fearing.
  3. I dislike all tribalism but I’ve a sneaking feeling that the Scots and the Cattelans might be better off separated.
  4. I hate modern autotuned vocals and yet I also hated post punk deliberately badly played and badly sung tracks to be credible. That’s a British disease. Americans make great sounding records with great performances and production and bags of attitude – Nirvana, Tribe Called Quest, Bob Dylan, NWA, Dre 2000, Eminem. Beautifully crafted, beautifully played written and sugn and yet full of anarchic potency. Our version is The Fall – sorry Mark. And it achieved precisely nothing.
  5. I really had an amazing time from 1968 to 1978 in an era of first time around sex drugs rock and roll anti war anti bore. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. All the attempts by musicians to do something new are just nonsense compared to Hendrix, The Beatles, Stones,Marvin Gaye, Al Green and they know it.

But actually I think young people nowadays are more sincere, more caring, more emancipated and nicer than we were, even though they are having a much tougher time of it and they are genuinely terrified of the future at the hands of maniacs in a way we never really were and they are listening to some real shyt and thinking it’s good. Sure, we went on marches and wanted to ban the bomb but actually we were more into getting stoned and loving music than worrying about Russia.

I’m more interested in politics now than I’ve ever been before.