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Snapshot from history
This was in my Dad’s desk when I had to go through it in early 2021. It’s the inside cover from a flimsy pamphlet edition of Daniel de Leon’s The Burning Question of Trades Unionism. In 1904, it evidently didn’t seem incongruous to talk about socialism in the context of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In fact, the father of (fascinating cultural critic) Robert Warshow campaigned for Congress as a socialist. I was introduced to Warshow’s writing at university as part of my Aspects of American Culture course, and he has stayed with me into being a novelist. My third novel, Tigerman, is partly a consequence of reading The Immediate Experience.
My office, too, is full of curiosities: a mug commemorating that civil service tweet; a coffee mug thrown on a wheel by my godfather Michael Truscott, life-partner to the painter John Miller (also my godfather); a geode; a small and slightly wobbly hand-blown glass bowl made by a friend; a father’s day card from my son and a dragon drawn by my daughter; a black and white picture of my wife printed on aluminium; Nadav Kander’s portrait of my father - actually one of several astonishing pictures Nadav captured of him; a folding green screen; a string of defunct and possibly antique Apple laptops; a step-ladder. No picture of my mother, because she loathed them and ran from cameras. Two picture hooks with nothing hanging from them because I took down the twinned war on terror-themed Noma Bar prints which hung there: in 2023 I found that Osama and George were giving me the willies. I don’t know what to put up instead. Maybe his fabulous Mr Spock, if I can get one.
I’m working, I’m getting ready for publication, I have to go to France to publicise the French edition of Silverview in a couple of weeks. I’m running to stand still. More soon.
And when I tried to schedule this, Substack threw the following back at me:
Who the hell knows?
Surrounded by the strange, but aren’t we all?