An escape to literature – join me.
School life is currently at full tilt. Exam years are freaking out about what’s happening, happened and might yet happen as well as what might not. Meanwhile the other years are starting to present with a myriad of concerns, most of which have been greatly exacerbated by the length of time spent away from a routine of expectations and subtle unwritten understandings. There are a lot of hurting kids out there and MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs) are drowning under the weight of referrals. Much of my free time is spent not listening to new sounds but writing up reports or talking to both children and/or their parents. The rippling damage of the pandemic and lockdown will around for a long time and in some cases the rippling waves are getting bigger not smaller.
So it is in this atmosphere that I have retreated to one of my other sanctuaries other than music. Diving into a good novel. Don’t worry, this is not a change of direction more of an addition to the brief for this week. There can be few better things to do than submerge yourself in a fiction when things are fairly all-consuming around you. This week’s lifesaver has been a wonderful book by Kevin Barry called “Night Boat to Tangier”. A brilliantly populated, short novel concerning two fading Irish gangsters trying to locate a missing daughter in Algeciras docks. Deeply poetic, laugh out loud funny and life-affirming despite the darkness within it. Definitely kept me sane this week.
As have the following tracks, I’ve been digging deep this week. First up Dumptruck, the much-missed Dumptruck, the title track of their album that if you can track it down I highly recommend, secondly a track from very left field for this site but go with it, the extraordinary Arooj Aftab and finally a glorious blast from the Paisley past with the Rain Parade. As ever take what you want or need.