Thursday, June 21, 2007

Consensus governments, recent reading ,the London Lit Fest & praying for Ghana

On the road again this time travelling mostly by train through this green and pleasant land. This morning on the news, we hear that Gordon Brown’s sneaky attempt to co-opt Paddy Ashdown, a leading Liberal Democrat into his government has come unstuck. It leaves Mr Brown with a bit of egg on his face. I’m sure he did not want this made public and was looking to surprise us all with a rainbow cabinet including Liberal Democrats as the start of his premiership. It appears that this indeed is the season of consensus governments- in France; Sarkozy has gathered a cabinet from different political and ethnic viewpoints in an attempt to appear diplomatic and statesmanlike. In Nigeria, Yar’adua tries the same- reaching out to the opposition. I do wish that everyone gives him a chance, including the trade unions. I’m all for diplomacy myself and consensus building, perhaps something to do with being a middle child…..

There seems to be no consensus in the Agent Provocateur lingerie family. The company founded by the iconoclastic designer Vivienne Westwood’s son Joseph Corre and his partner Serena Rees woke on Saturday to the news that both founders had earned MBEs in the Queen’s birthday honours. However while Corre turns his down saying that no honour can flow from a dishonourable Blair government, his partner Rees is quite happy to accept….

On the subject of honours; a friend was quite upset at the weekend to hear that Salman Rushdie had been knighted. “Is this the same Rushdie of The Empire Writes Back? How could he? ” she queried. I argued that she had not quite understood the love-hate relationship that Rushdie has with the Establishment, and that besides recent reports of his high living in New York suggest that he is not averse to the finer things of life, knighthoods included….

In the course of my travels I have read several interesting books and I will try and blog about them as time permits. I enjoyed Marisha Pessl’s hefty tome Special Topics in Calamity Physics which had echoes of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History for me. Unfortunately many of the literary allusions were lost on me….

On the non-fiction side I enjoyed China Shakes the World: The Rise of a Hungry Nation- an interesting book on China which illuminates much of the current hype/hysteria around the rise of China. It is more measured and less breathless and actively weighs the pros and cons and the reality of the Chinese rise to world dominance. It’s written by James Kynge of The Economist and I highly recommend it… Isee it has a different title for the US market-China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- And the Challenge for America

I also enjoyed The Book of Salt by Monique Truong. I’m surprised I hadn’t heard about it before seeing how much I enjoyed it. It was published in 2004 and is a fictional account of the life of the Vietnamese cook employed by Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas…

Finally there is news of the first ever London Literary Festival at the South Bank Centre featuring among others our own WS, Biyi Bandele, Helon Habila and Helen Oyeyemi among others. I hope the tickets don’t sell out before I can book…

And of course there is the news that commercial quantities of black gold have been found in neighbouring Ghana- may the Good Lord help them...

4 comments:

Omodudu said...

Seen

Araceli Aipoh said...

I just wish you'd update more often...

Bitchy said...

I have a \'con\' about China\'s rise to global dominance - POLLUTION! I\'m in Beijing at the moment, the sun may be shining and beating your face, neck and back mercilessly, but you won\'t see it! The smog is thick, the sky is grey, the air is grainy, putrid smells abound, and as a way of combatting the effect of all this on their lungs, Beijingers (I haven\'t yet worked out the right term ok? Lol!) SPIT everywhere! Spit spit spit spit spit!

Other than that I\'m having a lovely time :) Would love to hear more about Tanzania. You must have a very exciting job Yukay Xxxx

Nigerian Woman in Norway said...

special topics in calamity physics was a blatant rip off of donna tart's more excellent original, secret history.