Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wide Open Plain



I said, the other week, something along the lines that the internet still fills me full of wonder, and an example comes along straight away. Months ago, I was browsing Amazon; my guess is that I was looking for something similar to Daniel Woodrell, and I find the alternative suggestions that Amazon offer up pretty much on the mark, which is good news for Amazon and bad news for my bank account. Anyway, whatever I was searching for, one of the alternatives offered was "The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart" by M Glen Taylor. I bought it, on a whim, and it has sat there, unread for months, but it has been read now and it is for this that I thank the internet, as without it, I would have remained unaware of this brilliant book

From time time, you come across a book or an author that just knocks your socks off, Ken Bruen, Daniel Woodrell, Joe R Lansdale, Fred Willard, and in particular, Newton Thornburg spring to mind. Taylor is up there with that lot, I'm a bit pissed off that he has nothing else out that I can afford yet. I discovered Lansdale and Bruen late, and then had months of gleeful catching up to do.

It's a bit ironic that I wanted something to restore my good humour and faith in literature after my mood had been soured by John Irvin. I had ploughed through his massive, epic, tale of simple but brilliant, backwoods folk, always having to stay one step ahead of the law. So, what is this Trenchmouth about? Well, it's about a simple, but brilliant backwoods character who has to spend his life one step ahead of the law.

The two books couldn't be more different though (although the blurb recommends it to fans of Irvin). Trenchmouth is written with pace, vim and verve, his use of language is brilliant, and I kept finding myself re reading sentences, just to savour them. All the characters, apart from the scoundrels, are sympathetic, and you root for even minor players. It reads like an epic yarn, but it is funny in parts, it is profoundly poignant in parts, and it never hesitates to stick it to the motherfucking man. I loved this book, I read it too quickly, and now I'm trying to get stuck into another dour Swedish thriller, which, frankly, is putting me in another bad mood.

The football season may be over but the bickering and the endless analysing isn't, in fact, it has only just begun. Message board aficionados seem to have forgotten that Blues were relegated. We can't afford to lose Eck, the chief scout has been sacked and he was alright, according to some. We can't afford to lose Foster, we can't afford to lose Johnson , we can't afford to lose Ferguson, we can't afford to lose any 'em by the sound of it. It seems that to a lot of people, this bunch of chumps that we have managing us, coaching us, scouting for us, and playing for us are all blameless. They have become heroes. I'm fucking baffled by it, actually.

I've read a couple of things today that have reminded me of Ecks stubbornness, or, if you like, loyalty. I'm thinking here of Jerome and Ridgewell.  I really like Ridgewell, I think he has really improved as a player, I think we missed him when he was out, I think he tries really fucking hard but I don't think he will ever be a quality full back. Same with Jerome, runs fast, but will never be a top class footballer. But they have been first choice for us in their positions for a season and half in Ridgewells case, and longer than that in Jeromes.

Some might say that this shows admirable loyalty, and it probably does. Some might say that he has tried to buy or play different strikers, and he has, but  they don't get the same number of chances to settle  into the side as Jerome. The left back situation is really baffling though; it seems that he would rather play anyone there than the one bloke he actually bought as a left back, when he first arrived, 3 years ago. I dunno, maybe I'm being harsh, but to me it looks a little bit like complacency; like a willingness to settle for second best, to tolerate the mediocre, and it has got me a bit worried.
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