Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beasley Street

Hi tech football training by the Blues and the Albion circa 1957.

The other day I was in Sainsburys and there were some celeriacs there that had a sticker on saying reduced to 10p, well it would be rude not to, wouldn't it? I had a bit of a to do at the check out as the lady insisted 10p was too cheap and it should be 10p a kilo. I persisted, and I won, then out of interest weighed it and it was just under a kilo, so I reckon Sainsburys owes me half a p. It then sat in the fridge for a few days, unloved and just generally getting in the way, until I chopped it up small, sweated it in a pan with a couple of chopped carrots and an onion before adding a couple of pints of stock, whizzing it up and adding a bit of creme freche. Possibly the best soup I have ever made and it cost somewhere around 20p.

I have just read Swansea Terminal, by Robert Lewis. I hadn't got on with his previous book, but this one and me are now very firm friends, even though the bugger kept me up much too late at night. If you want comparisons, Ray Banks and Ken Bruen spring to mind dealing as it does with the lower end of humanity and starring as it does a self loathing, but stoic alcoholic.

It is set in Swansea, a town I am not unfamiliar with and detours off to some places I am very familiar with, which all adds to the fun. As with all the best crime novels, the crime is pretty much superfluous to the actual storytelling. This novel has lots to say about the economics of South Wales, about the state of mind of large sections of Welsh malehood, about class and about justice. It is desperately sad, funny in all the right places and amazingly well written. It is so good, in fact, that I am going to try The Last Llanelli Train again. Between Niall Griffiths in the north and this fellow in the South West, literary Wales seems to be enjoying a golden period.
An extract

Get yourself to a record shop and buy the Fleet Foxes, as quick as you can, because if you haven't got it, you are missing out. If you don't trust me, you can hear the whole damn thing at their myspace site. They are touring the UK soon, but nearest they get to my neck of the wood is Bristol, which is sold out. Later in the year they will be supporting Wilco, who have posted 3 concerts from St Louis which they played earlier in the year on their website; each and every one of them being brilliant and absolutely free. Man, I love the internet.
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