Tuesday, 23 March 2010

RTK online column at Bookhugger.co.uk

As of next week I'll be writing a monthly column for the excellent Bookhugger online literary magazine, this to address various matters literary, writers and their books, the publishing business and all what have you. Bookhugger is a splendid platform for book fans, and I'm looking forward to being part of it and having this outlet for expression. In advance of the first column going up I've filled in the site's regular writer's questionnaire, which they call 'The Book That...', a little listing of tomes (Dostoyevsky, Mailer, Mishima et al) that have meant something to me in years gone by, and indeed still do. My responses are here.

Division 1 crunch-time: Play up, the Arsenal!

This site is Black & White, right? My 'second team' is Glasgow Rangers, for reasons too tired and obvious to rehearse here. But I suppose my third team - though I would never formally sport the colours - is probably Arsenal. In fairness, I have now lived in North London longer than anywhere else in my life. Moreover, as any fule know, Wenger's Arsenal at their best play the loveliest-looking football in England.
At my elder daughter's nursery I sometimes have the crack about sporting matters with a Gooner Dad, and when a month or so again I casually tipped his men for the title, he groaned. 'Nah, nah, not the Geordie curse...' Presumably he meant that any mission that's been blessed by a Mag is doomed thereafter to ignominious failure. Or sunnink like that. At any rate, spankings by Man United and Chelsea followed hard upon my bit of clear-eyed punditry and most of us reckoned that was that for the Arsenal this year, can't win owt with kids, blighted by injury, too fancy for their own good etc. And yet Prof Wenger's lads have not laid down. They're still in it, by jove.
It's the improbability of it all that so delights: Van Persie crocked; the initally heavy-footed return of the perplexing Sol Campbell; poor young Ramsay's horror injury; Bendtner's natural arrogance seeming to extend to a disdain for hitting the target; Wenger's one-eyed vantage on the rules given some credence by some shocking refereeing... And still they rise, leading one to feel that perhaps indeed truth and beauty will out, perhaps indeed it's meant to be, as it usually isn't. The joy of Cesc indeed...