Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Possessions of Doctor Forrest

Just to don my crimson-lined Prince of Darkness cape for a short moment: there was a nice review of Doctor Forrest in Scotland on Sunday recently, and before that another very pleasing one from The Scotsman. Scotland is certainly doing me a world of good right now, for I am also (with Kevin MacNeil) the first act on at the 2011 Edinburgh Book Festival. Meantime the Forrest blog continues to be a crypt-like repository for my blackest and gravest thoughts, with recent musings on Hammer Horror, Robert Aickman, Doctor Who and Yukio Mishima...

Sylvain Marveaux is a Geordie. As is Demba Ba.

In a fortnight NUFC return to action, as they say, with the first pre-season outing at Darlington Arena, followed by a US tour and games against Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City and Columbus Crew. How's the recruitment plan looking then? Alan Curbishley, sorry, Pardew has said "I am really pleased with the way the squad is taking shape." But Al, shouldn't that be more like "Je suis vraiment heureux avec la façon dont l'équipe prend forme."? Because aside from those long-term crocked lads who "will feel like new signings" (and actually this does go for one of them too) we seem to be entirely in the business of adding Frenchmen or French-speakers to the ranks.
No, since you ask, I'm not over L'Affaire Carroll yet. True Faith speaks for me:
"I’d foolishly allowed myself to imagine myself sitting in my SJP pew watching the Bensham Van Basten develop over the next ten years into a bona fide No.9 legend, smashing goals in, leading the line and providing the essential link between team and the terraces he also supported the club from... But the fact is Andy Carroll is not at Newcastle United but £35m of Liverpool’s money is... I didn’t imagine that the big answer to Carroll’s departure would be Demba Ba, on a free with a dodgy knee... and us having had the bum’s rush from No.1 and No.2 targets Gameiro and Gervinho."

The swing to Labour and the margin of error

It does shame me somewhat that I have so little to say on politics at present, which is why I've not said it. Recently I felt my sense of malaise and stagnation on burning issues of the day was expressed to some extent by this PoliticsHome/YouGov poll on the NHS that found 'while voters largely support reforms in principle, they don’t trust the Conservatives to deliver them in practice.' Which leaves us where exactly? Meanwhile, flinching and flip-flopping seems to have become the Cameron Way, and if he thinks that's the way by which he'll win an outright majority in 2015 then he's a braver man than I thought. The creeping lack of assurance, the tendency to panic would be more dangerous for Cameron in the short term, I'm sure, were it not for the peculiar character of the Leader of the Opposition.
Ed Miliband has quite clearly had a result or two at PMQs lately, and Labour's poll lead looks to me to be six points more often than not. This ought to have the look of a strong position: not least since there is no realistic chance of Ed being ousted from the post, no real money in the Labour current account that hasn't come by way of Ed's avowed admirers in the Movement, and no form in the Labour Party for ditching leaders other than those who have won three general elections. And yet... are Labour behind this leader? Are Labour voters actively keen on him? Are undecided voters persuaded by him? I only ask these questions at this time of night because there's no need to answer them.
The delightful photo above I have borrowed from this Jim Pickard piece in the FT.