The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

Graham Author Page

Friday, November 30, 2007

Peace offering

This blog generally has kind words for historical crime writer David Peace. So when reviewing his Brian Clough novel The Damned Utd -- soon to be adapted into a TV movie -- for Seven Days newspaper, I continued this tradition. Whatdya want, blood?

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Monday, November 26, 2007


Farewell Norman Mailer. The obituaries came in thick and fast and everyone had an opinion. For many reasons -- some to do with Mailer, some not -- the links between his attitudes to women, his conduct towards women and his writing would always be under scrutiny. It was hard to scan these assessments without some mention of his stabbing of second wife Adele, in the late 1960s.

Few recalled his medicalised excuse for his conduct, which would fit in nicely with present day mores: "There are no modern Insarovs. Instead there are cancerphobes like Norman Mailer, who recently explained that had he not stabbed his wife (and acted out 'a murderous nest of feeling') he would have gotten cancer and 'been dead in a few years himself.' it is the same fantasy that was once attached to TB, but in rather a nastier version." (Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1978), Vintage, 1979 ed. p. 22.)

Prevention is better than cure, they say. Better for whom?

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My hidden hand

I am one of the writers of the document at this link. Hold onto your hats, readers ...

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Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pro-Waugh left: a decent anecdote

It’s obvious that the decent left likes a bit of Evelyn Waugh. Take Christopher Hitchens, for instance, as he sticks up for Martin Amis:

In the same essay that initially attacked Amis, Eagleton also slammed me for disappointing him and not, after all, becoming the George Orwell of my generation. I have instead, he snorts, become the Evelyn Waugh! How is one to come to grips with a man so crude in his sneers that his idea of an insult is to compare me to one of the greatest novelists of the past century?

Nick Cohen is also a fan and riffing off fictional entities the Daily Beast and Lord Copper is one of his ways of talking about the British media today.

Another familiar Cohen trope is his annual exposés of the erstwhile Revolutionary Communist Party (1981-1997). A couple of these drew on the anecdotes of the historian Dave Renton, until an inevitable parting of the ways:
“I used to have correspond occasionally [sic] with the journalist Nik Cohen [sic]: until the Iraq war. He interviewed me twice for pieces in the New Statesman. I tried emailing him as the bombings in Afghanistan started. By the end, we could hardly speak."

Renton may or may not crop up as “John” in one of these articles when it appeared in the Observer. He’s definitely in the second of the series, observing an RCP member who won’t give money to a beggar because it’s “helping capitalism”.

I also remember Comrade Pappenhacker, who was perennially rude to waiters. He used to say that “every time you are polite to a proletarian you are helping bolster up the capitalist system.” He was not in the RCP, but part of the supporting cast of Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop (Centenary Edition, p.32).

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hanson (and Grendel)

As pointed out previously, this week's Beowulf movie has set the critics talking about digital filmmaking once again. Bang on cue, one of my own contributions on the topic rocks up on the Audacity website. Like comedy, being topical is all in the timing.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Should all CGI be banned?

... asks the Guardian.


If you don't believe me, see the two books by Matt Hanson and published by RotoVision:
Sci-Fi Moviescapes: The Science Behind the Fiction (RotoVision, 2005: 176 pages, ISBN: 288046787X, £27.50) and The End of Celluloid: Film Futures in the Digital Age (RotoVision 2004: 176 pages, ISBN: 2880467837, £24.99)

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Always time for crime

On and off, I've been writing for Crime Time for over a decade now, first appearing in issue 2. (Birthdays can cause one to reflect on the passage of time in this way.) I've been through magazine, photocopy, magazine again, trade paperback - one day the font will be large enough for me to read it - and website versions. Here's to the next 10 years of Crime Time.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Something Wiki This Way Comes

Not long ago I blogged an anecdote illustrating the unreliability of Wikipedia as a research tool (18 October). I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but within five days user, apparently a London-based BT Broadband customer, nipped onto the page about me and "associated" me with an organisation that was disbanded in 1997. (My weekly TV and radio appearances in summer 2005 were also cut from "frequent" to "some", although with hindsight, given the mindlessness of most of the radio slots, I would have settled for "some".)

The user history shows an hour spent online toying with a fleeting obsession, suggesting a pound sterling wasted on "research" in a London internet cafe. But then at close to 2 a.m., up go six factoids, suggesting both personal knowledge to do with left-leaning greens in higher education such as Derek Wall (if they are correct), and a home broadband connection. Hence the following cyber-footprint (most recent changes first):

02:01, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Institute of Education‎ (Notable people) (top)
01:59, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Denis Smalley‎ (top)
01:58, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) City University, London‎ (Academics)
01:57, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) City University, London
01:56, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Goldsmiths, University of London
01:54, 24 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Derek Wall‎ (Political Career) (top)
21:51, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Entryism‎ (In the United Kingdom)
21:51, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Front organization‎ (See also)
21:50, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Front organization‎ (See also)
21:50, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Front organization‎ (See also)
21:50, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Entryism‎ (See also)
21:49, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Entryism‎ (See also)
21:36, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) James Heartfield
21:36, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) James Heartfield
21:35, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) James Heartfield
21:12, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Fiona Fox (UK press officer)‎ (top)
21:11, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Claire Fox‎ (Criticism)
21:08, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Living Marxism‎ (George Monbiot and the 'LobbyWatch Network')
21:07, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Brendan O’Neill
21:04, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Brendan O’Neill
21:04, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Brendan O’Neill
21:00, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Graham Barnfield
20:59, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Graham Barnfield
20:58, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Living Marxism‎ (See also)
20:57, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Living Marxism‎ (George Monbiot and the 'LobbyWatch Network')
20:51, 23 October 2007 (hist) (diff) Graham Barnfield

Why beat a three-hour retreat from, err, repeating information in the public domain, Woodward? Scared of missing the 10-minute freeview on the Adult Channel? Trying to catch last orders, unaware of Britain's relaxed licensing laws? Get a life or at least go to bed...

Once again the blogosphere/wikiworld is shown to be a great place for avoiding important issues. Next thing someone will have grammar-flame drama queen Oliver Kamm bang to rights, for calling Flight KAL 858 Flight 857, or some other such breakthrough ...

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