Sunday, January 31, 2010

Or worry about February

The theory that the third Monday in January is the unhappiest day of the year has a ring of should-be-truth about it. Certainly last January I did nothing but grumble, despite kicking off the month with two Tove Jansson books whose brightness ought to have easily illuminated the month. The previous year I soaked up the sun in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening; the year before that, Richard Yates’ Collected Stories was more intensely gloomy than anything that could possibly have been going on in real life. That was probably the more effective tack in staving off the January blues. This year, Oliver Postgate’s autobiography led in a surprisingly similar direction: his mention of Dylan Thomas’ radio play Under Milk Wood as an influence on Ivor the Engine had me thrilled to be petrified at Richard Burton’s blacker than black delivery of that omniscient narration picking out the parochial foibles of a dysfunctional Welsh village. Mrs Dai Bread I and Mrs Dai Bread II winding each other up over conjugal rights assisted by a crystal ball, and Ocky Milkman revealing several years after the fact (to me, at least) the source of Momus’ last-but-one album title. This week on Click Opera he features a slightly later (60s rather than 50s) collision of the BBC and poetry, which is good and gloomy and touching too. Soon Click Opera will be gone, and what can you say about that? It may have been exhausting and repetitive sometimes (not actually that often), but it was as big and bright (both senses) as blogging was ever going to get – thanks so much, Nick. At least he is tiding us over into February.

Other casualties of Blue Monday Month have been Jon Dale’s Attic Plan blog and – maybe, hopefully not – Tim Footman’s Cultural Snow, which rarely fails to make pop culture sound as interesting as it thinks it is (does anyone else in the world manage this?) Attic Plan didn’t get many updates last year, but the one that made me catch up with Birdie’s Some Dusty album sure was appreciated. Against this falling-off trend, Estelle Tang’s fabulous 3000 Books blog moved, and got a makeover, but then January isn’t so cold in Australia*. I notice she is reading The Stories of Breece D J’Pancake, which has been on my reading pile for a while too. Supposedly it is very depressing indeed – think I might let it roll over to the beginning of 2011.

* Hang on, that’s where Jon Dale is as well.


Anonymous said...

Cheer up, old fellow. Otherwise I'll start a blog, and then you'll really have something to be depressed about.

Chris said...

Oh, was that too glum? Maybe I'll shift Mr Pancake forward, lighten the mood a bit.

You should definitely blog your epic reading schedule this year.

Blog Archive