Sometimes I read novels and often think that they hit the spot a bit too close to home. This was the case recently as I came to the concluding pages of On the Beach, which was written by the novelist Nevil Shute Norway in the decades following World War Two. The scene includes two of the main characters discussing the context for the apocalyptic situation that they face and openly lament the global use of nuclear weapons during an escalation of an international war:
“Couldn’t anyone have stopped it?”
“I don’t know… Some kinds of silliness you just can’t stop”, he said. “I mean, if a couple of hundred million people all decide that their national honour requires them to drop cobalt bombs upon their neighbour, well, there’s not much that you or I can do about it. The only possible hope would have been to educate them out of their silliness.”
“But how could you have done that, Peter? I mean, they’d all left school.”
“Newspapers”, he said. “You could have done something with newspapers. We didn’t do it. No nation did, because we were all too silly. We liked our newspapers with pictures of beach girls and headlines about cases of indecent assault, and no Government was wise enough to stop us having them that way. But something might have been done with newspapers, if we’d been wise enough.”
Quoted from the novel One the Beach (1957), by Nevil Shute Norway.
It is a wonderful novel and a book that I highly recommend. For me one of the most moving aspects of the characters portrayed throughout the text was their attitude and civility in the manner in which they led their lives, and how this civility influenced their actions throughout the novel despite the fact that they knew what was to come.
Next up on my reading list is a newly published novel that I have started reading earlier today entitled Here I Am, by the American author Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer has previously released a clutch of interesting and diverse novels over the past decade and a half that have really captured my attention, especially his first novel Everything is Illuminated, which was published in 2002. Perhaps unwittingly I noticed that the Here I Am novel continues the theme of international and national destruction set in On the Beach. Perhaps it is somewhat fitting considering the way 2016 has so far developed…
I have not really wrote about my passion and love for the band Gogol Bordello here but I will in time. I am currently listening to Against the nature by them and it is such a wonderfully dark song by them, but in truth I think I love everything they have ever produced. In the last post I mentioned that a short piece of mine has been published in the latest issue of The Paperbook Collective, a fantastic free magazine based in Australia. The piece is a fairly dark reflective piece on consumer society and also, in part, of the human condition. For everyone that loves literature, that loves writing and the written word I cannot recommend getting in touch with Jayde Ashe enough with your work for the next edition. Have a go, write something for fun and submit it. It is really rare to come across someone who is willing to help edit and publish your work for free and without hesitation, but that is the kind and great work that Jayde does!
Here is an extract from my short piece, which can be found on page 30 of Issue 7:
I’ve ordered this issue and the previous two and I am looking forward to actually holding the ‘zines in my own hands, and to read what others have wrote. The ‘zine attracts readers and writers from all over the globe so you truly feel part of something that is international in scope. This is something I value as the internet has helped to break down a fair few walls in its short history (though plenty more remain).
Head over to The Paperbook Collective today and show your support for such a fantastic magazine. Don’t forget you can also submit anything that you want!
Two of my good friends have gone on a major trip abroad for a few years (who knows, it may possibly be more). Jackson and Andy’s first port of call will be exploring South East Asia by backpacking around for 6 months, whilst the 2nd leg of the trip will be spent journeying around Australasia, hoping to find jobs, earn some money and explore down under for a year or so. If you are interested in following the excitement and adventure then head over to Andy’s blog at New Haunts! Wonderfully wrote, it feels as if we the reader are there with him as he currently explores and experiences the great and mysterious South East Asia. Their adventure has just started in the hustle and bustle of the busy capital city of Bangkok in Thailand but their journey into SE Asia will take them much further afield, taking in and exploring Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar over the coming weeks and months.
It is safe to say I shall miss both of my friends more than I would care to admit, perhaps even to myself, but I bidded them both a fond farewell here in my hometown and I know that it is a long journey that they have to make, both to discover the world and themselves, in the process of travelling. I, for one, cannot wait for more updates from my good friend Andy and invite you to check in with them as well and see what they are up on this delightful blue and green world of ours!