Red or Dead, by David Peace.
I’ve read quite a few of David Peace’s books. The Damned Utd and his four-part Red Riding series, all set mainly in Leeds, are absorbing, unsettling and generally great. But I realised this week I may struggle to get to the end of his novel about Bill Shankly, Red or Dead, when I got to the passage in the image above.
Peace has taken his trademark style of repetition, almost incantation, a bit far this time. It turns Red or Dead into a dreadful slog, and I’m not even halfway through yet. Jonathan Wilson in the New Statesman has one of the best reviews. But in the week in which Elmore Leonard died, and his memorable ten tips for writing published in the New York Times in 2001 circulated online again, I’d suggest Peace is guilty of ignoring number 10: try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
Still on football, Addiply founder Rick Waghorn posted some interesting reflections on his 20 years as a reporter covering Norwich City. On the cover of Sports Illustrated this week is Mario Balotelli, and the story by Grant Wahl is well worth a read.
Al Jazeera America began broadcasting yesterday. Brian Stelter had a comprehensive preview in the New York Times. Meanwhile, NBC has begun its high-profile coverage of the English Premier League, to favourable reviews such as this one from SB Nation.
Back to Yorkshire to finish. A couple of interesting snippets from the excellent Leeds Citizen blog: a welcome update on its attempts to record council meetings, and grim news about counterfeit booze found at a den of iniquity which I may have been known to frequent during my student days. And those interested in local commercial radio news will enjoy Richard Horsman’s latest thoughts at his always readable blog.
Posted in What I'm Reading
Tagged Addiply, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera America, Brian Stelter, David Peace, Elmore Leonard, Grant Wahl, Jonathan Wilson, Leeds Citizen, Mario Balotelli, NBC Sports, New Statesman, New York Times, Norwich City, Red or Dead, Richard Horsman, Rick Waghorn, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated
The Washington Post building. (picture: vpickering on Flickr)
This is the first in what I imagine will be a semi-regular feature on this site, with links to things I’ve enjoyed reading.
The biggest media news of the week came from Washington DC, where the Graham family announced it was selling the Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250m.
That sounds like a lot of money, but everything’s relative. As Alex Massie points out, that’s basically what Johnston Press paid for The Scotsman as recently as 2005.
Of the American reactions to the deal, here’s the analysis on the Post’s own Wonkblog. It’s worth reading the thoughts of former Post staffer and New Yorker editor David Remnick.
Also at the New Yorker, John Cassidy offers a sceptical view of what Bezos’ motives might be. Back at the Post’s website, read this enjoyable open letter to Bezos from Gene Weingarten.
I’ve been checking out Medium this week, the writing-focused newish social network from the Twitter guys, Ev Williams and Biz Stone. Williams explains it all here.
A couple of things that I particularly enjoyed: Callie Schweitzer on how interviewing director David O Russell for her high school newspaper changed her life, and Dave Harte discussing a presentation on the internet he gave to a class of ten-year-olds.
Some rotten boroughs news to finish. Weep at Leeds Citizen’s account of councillors’ refusal to allow the recording of a council meeting. And, from Private Eye via the Telegraph’s Louise Gray, an explanation of how fracking permission was originally granted in Balcombe (there’s an easier-to-read follow up from the Independent here).
Just goes to show why it’s important to scrutinise even parish councils.
Posted in What I'm Reading
Tagged Alex Massie, Amazon, Balcombe, Biz Stone, Callie Schweitzer, Dave Harte, David O Russell, David Remnick, Ev Williams, Fracking, Gene Weingarten, Jeff Bezos, John Cassidy, Johnston Press, Leeds Citizen, Louise Gray, Medium, Parish councils, Private Eye, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The New Yorker, The Scotsman, Washington Post, Wonkblog