Keith Richards in the Wall Street Journal – where else? – on how he wrote and, more important, recorded, “Street Fighting Man”. Quote unquote:
Charlie had this snap drum kit that was made in the 1930s. Jazz drummers used to carry around the small kit to practice when they were on the bus or train. It had this little spring-up hi-hat and a tambourine for a snare. It was perfect because, like the acoustic guitar, it wouldn't overpower the recorder's mike. I had Charlie sit right next to the mike with his little kit and I kneeled on the floor next to him with my acoustic Gibson Hummingbird. There we were in front of this little box hammering away [laughs]. After we listened to the playback, the sound was perfect.
Why French books don’t sell outside France. Quote unquote:
I often joke that the only way to get published in Britain if you’re French is to pretend you’re Spanish. If you’ve been a best-seller in France, it's a sure-fire recipe for not getting a deal in the UK.
Peter Simpson joins me in praising Peter Bland, specifically his Collected Poems. Quite right, too. It’s a shame that the bulk of the Collected has somewhat obscured this year’s new collection Breath Dances, which is Peter on top form.
Speaking of poets, Vincent O’Sullivan, the current Poet Laureate – Pirate Laureate, I believe a mokopuna calls him: I prefer to think of him as the Poet Lorikeet – is blogging. Not a natural form for him, I imagine, but it is part of the job. Here is his first post. Quote unquote:
The obvious point of this site is to celebrate and present the breadth of experience and formal variety that poetry embraces. I shall be inviting a guest poet to contribute work of their own, and to select a poem by a living writer they value, as well as a poem from an earlier era that continues to matter to them.
So, cunning as ever, he plans to outsource much of the writing to other poets, in this case Jennifer Compton. The male as evader, obv, but a brilliant idea.
Want more poets? Two for the price of one: here is Paula Green on Elizabeth Smither’s new collection Ruby Duby Du. Quote unquote:
This delightful book signals the burgeoning output of small presses –- handcrafted books with smallish print runs, scope for new poets to emerge, and established poets to publish miniature gems or take sidestepping risks. Elizabeth’s book, published by Dunedin’s Cold Hub Press, is a gold nugget of a book and deserves to be under the pillow of every new mother and father, and in the gift box of every newborn child. It is an utter delight from curling fingertip to wriggling toe.
What chefs think of food bloggers. Egon Ronay comes out of it well. Quote unquote:
So I say this to food critics and bloggers (and I am a blogger myself) – do you have what it takes to work 12 to 15 hours a day everyday on your feet in a room that is 35 to 50 degrees? Or let me put it this way – try to write your articles in a room with no air conditioning in the middle of the desert summer and see how difficult it is.
Emmaa Jacobs in the FT on home libraries with some wonderful photos and some depressing text. Quote unquote:
The digital era has in some ways made book collections harder to justify. With so many of us opting for ebooks over paperbacks, what is the point of keeping books? Just as many decided to ditch their record collections for a digital library, might the same happen to books?
Hilary Mason, data scientist in residence at Accel Partners, believes it will. She only acquires physical books that have sentimental attachment or are written by friends. Anticipating emptier bookshelves, Ikea has introduced a deep version of its “Billy” bookcase. The flat-pack furniture retailer believes more of us will in future line our shelves with objects rather than books.
Rather than replace books, the internet has created another space to portray our bookish credentials. A number of websites, such as Bookshelf Porn, have sprung up to showcase users’ book collections. Others, like Goodreads and Pinterest display digital bookcases.
StatsChat’s Thomas Lumley defends scientists against Auckland University’s arts faculty’s claim, which is not in any way self-interested, that without heaps and heaps of more arts graduates we could lose “an informed and thoughtful citizenry which understands the history and cultures of a diverse nation and supports social and economic innovation and international engagement”. Quote unquote:
[When faced with this claim] we’d hope that someone with science training would ask if there’s any empirical support for the idea that people with science degrees are less informed and thoughtful, or less supportive of social and economic innovation and international engagement. We’d also hope that they would have some idea how empirical support or refutation could be generated if it wasn’t available.
And so, without the usual segue, here is the late Peter O’Toole on stage in Keith Waterhouse’s play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell as Bernard, whom I almost met but was too frightened to, as recounted here.
Monitors: Philip Matthews, Peter Keenan, Jennifer Collinson