Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rock and roll

To the theatre, to see Tom Stoppard's Rock and Roll. It is quite a play - a 25 year time (1960's to 1990) slice from a Cambridge/Prague perspective (the intertwined lives of an academic, his family and a former Czech student), mingled with snippets of the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd etc. Beneath the surface, it was really about the gradual loss of political ideology and the slow triumph of capitalism (and perhaps the loss of history), and more than a bit depressing for that reason. How quaint and anachronistic it seems now that people got all het up about Lenin and Trotsky in the 1970's, when all people can do nowadays is get hot and bothered about trailer trash spewing inanities at each other just north of London in real-time (CBB), or get lost in the miasma of free newspaper trivialities on their little tube ride home. Whenever the Rolling Stones play somewhere new, it means capitalism has come to roost. No surprise then that the play ends with a gig in Praha.

Stoppard leaves us with a strong sense that we cannot go back - that our age is inevitably post-ideological. And there's just as much innocence as cynicism to be found in such times. Did ideology really help the cause of progressive politics? Now there's a question only a post-ideologist could ask.

London is a paradox: so much of life and yet so little of life is here..

On the way home just now, I had a severe case of trapped wind - the really-painful-I-can-only-just-walk kind. I wouldnt usually mention difficulties with my bodily functions, but it happened in the midst of an army of boisterous Arsenal supporters in their hundreds on the Victoria line. Post match supporters latish at night are always a frightening prospect to everyone else. Bulky, furtive men with beer-reddened faces looking for some action. I hid my inner fragility away and kept my head down. In the midst of a watchful caution, I always feel a minor contempt for football supporters - its as if they're a collective case of arrested development, the boys who spent all afternoon surfing the peaks of onanism in the bedroom and never got over the sheer infantile pleasure of it all. Around the brute hormonal nucleus of intent, there spins a form of sheepish embarrasment - as if the coy question lies perpetually in wait: should we really be doing this, at our age? An adolescent love of violence mixed up with an adolescent fear of reality. Going to football matches in England is for men who wouldn't mind joining the Territorial Army but never quite get round to it. Please don't misunderstand: none of this is a comment on a love of football per se - it is quite specifically about the kind of men who troop along to English premier league matches: a certain sub-species, some of whom would collect ears if a war was on.


Anonymous,  1:50 am  

Completely with you on the "sub-species" point. Couldn't describe football hooligans better if I tried.

P.S. I'm afraid I do get lost in the miasma of free newspaper trivialities on my little tube ride home - The London Paper is my friend :)

P.P.S. I snooped on I saw you in Lagos in August!! Your wife's company, Cassava Republic, took Diana Evans to the house of Gbolly and Habiba Balogun? You wouldn't remember me... I was the youngest person there... in fact, the only one who asked a question related to the book!

P.P.P.S. Thank you for changing the link

Jeremy 2:01 am  

Hmmm that's interesting. I think I remember you - were you not with a modellish looking man with an American accent? We were standing next to each other at one point.

LM,  1:04 pm  

I absolutely detest sport-related violence, especially that of football and think all those who indulge in it are bored with their lives and/or too well fed. It's disgraceful what they get up to when they go abroad and gasp, their favorite team loses to the foreign one.

And yes Jeremy, I live now in Nigeria, in Lagos with my family... You should consider writing a novel or becoming a regular columnist in magazine and/or journals. You certainly write better than most!

St Antonym 4:20 pm  

Those last three sentences are brutally perceptive as well as poetic.

More biological discomfort, please!

Semper 4:44 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

I am glad you enjoyed our great city. I shall be visiting yours in seven/eight months.

It is not just quaint but amazing that any bought into all that mystical materialist nonsense about the progress of history being reduceable to a pamphlet. (I speak as a 60's temporary Trotskyist).

I was suddenly converted to Christianity in 1973 and it now looks like a parody of theology to me and much harder to believe than the one I am working through now.

Anonymous,  5:57 pm  

H'm. I wonder who's more or a sub-species, you with your anal-retentive flatulence problem, keeping your head bowed low and scurrying around with a puckered asshole or the overgrown soccer hooligan-boys? ;-)

Anonymous,  7:15 pm  

Yes... that was me! With the modellish looking American. Lol! Funny you remember. I'd started 26A the day before the reading and didn't finish it till a few days afterwards. Sad I didn't seize the opportunity to ask her the hundreds of questions that were burning in the back of my head by the time I was done with the book. I thought you were Indian when I saw you.

Would love to find out more about Cassava Republic. I'm currently planning on ditching solicitor-hood for publishing.

omo mommy,  4:15 am  

you sissy, just because you dont like kick a football or anything for that matter (cockraoch) dont mean all football supporters are "sub-species"

wow watching paint dry is art aint it?

nice blog by the way

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP