Wednesday, June 19, 2019

On reading "The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson"

The Empty Promise of Boris Johnson (Sam Knight, The New Yorker)

This is a very interesting and educational article, containing a potted biography of Boris Johnson, charting and explaining his political aims, which can be summed up nicely in his own words as "I have nothing." In short, he has no fixed beliefs and doesn't believe in the perfectibility of people or systems and treats life, journalism and elections as a rambunctious game of King of the Castle, which he is determined to win.

His main virtue, if you can isolate any, is that he cheers people up. I think that is very fair, the life and soul of the party but in more ways than one, "not the man you want driving you home afterwards," as Amber Rudd famously quipped. It is hard to be cheered up in the face of an oncoming juggernaut or cliff edge and a driver full of Pimms.

Johnson is portrayed as a real-life version of PG Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster. If the final two in the Tory leadership ballot turn out to be Gove v Johnson, it will be like a contest between Jeeves and Wooster, which does indeed happen from time to time in the books. Hunt, Javid or Stewart as the opponent would merely be one of Wodehouse's frequent unsatisfactory stand-in butlers. When it comes to Wooster v Jeeves, it's always Jeeves who wins but he lets Wooster think he's won. Johnson would be a figurehead and Gove the man with the plan:- and that's where the analogy breaks down.

Dog fashions etc.



The New Yorker - Annals of Obsession: "Dogs Are People Too"

The dog breeding industry has a lot to answer for. Pugs and bulldogs that can hardly breathe. Chihuahuas that shiver because they're too small to stay warm. King Charles spaniels whose heads are too small for their brains. Rhodesian Ridgebacks with a skull deformity. Almost all pedigree dogs have what are, in effect, disabilities. Dachshunds and other types whose legs are too small, Yorkies whose lower jaws are too feeble to hold their teeth. The whole Crufts dog show scene is a horror show, a freak show. It needs to end. (Ed.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Pressure-washing the pavements

Greenford Road
Harrow Council workers were out last night cleaning the pavements near Sudbury Hill station. This paving is relatively new, having just been redesigned and renewed over the last two years. If you want to see another couple of photos like this, see this post on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Impressive happy birthday sign

Spotted on the corner of Greenford Road and South Vale, Harrow
Whoever Pat is, here's hoping he had a happy birthday.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Short Story of the Month, June 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

June 2019: Set Dance by Angela Sherlock

“Suddenly, very precisely placing the oddity of individual lives in the perspective of a bigger, slower rural pattern where everything can be accepted…Angela Sherlock’s Set Dance, a very unusual story, a very interesting story.” (Maggie Gee)



Angela Sherlock has worked in engineering and in education, but now lives in Devon where she writes full time. She has published reviews and articles but now concentrates on fiction. ‘Set Dance’ comes from her collection, To know they dreamed, which explores the Irish diaspora. She is currently working on a collection that takes its themes from elements of the periodic table. Her stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies, the most recent online in Virtual Zine.

“Set Dance” is also available in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 5 together with stories by eleven other outstanding writers.