Friday, January 28, 2011


Perfect pop music - Beach Boy harmonies, jangly guitar, loping bass - and drums the like of which you just don't hear these days.

"Just one thing could kill the pain
Of losing you,
But it gets me so dizzy that I walk right back again,
Back to you"

The other A-side on the EP, 'Disguises', is great as well, although a much darker, almost industrial sound.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The Brits managed without a memorial day for the Shoah for 55 years after WWII - the first was in 2001. My views - that killing people is bad, and that the Germans did it - remain unchanged.

I know several people who lost relatives (as I know people who lost relatives in the 1947 Punjab massacres). One friend's aunts actually went back to live in Germany after the war - not sure I'd have wanted to without being heavily armed.

Sometimes an anecdote illuminates better than bare stats. From a profile of Martin Peretz, former editor of liberal US mag 'The New Republic' :

In the late fifties, when his father, Julius, was just about the age Peretz is now, the elder Peretz had an apartment in Tel Aviv. “He used to walk a lot,” Peretz says. One day, while sitting in a park, he found himself in conversation with another old man who also spoke Yiddish. The man invited Julius Peretz back to his apartment. His wife, he said, would make tei und lekach — cake and tea. So he went.

Julius Peretz had eight siblings, but all of them had died in Poland. He had emigrated to New York in 1922. On this stranger’s piano, he saw a class photo. “So there’s a picture on the piano of a group of girls,” says Peretz. “And he recognizes someone—second row, third from the left. It looks like his sister. But it couldn’t be, because the generation is a generation of younger people.” The stranger’s daughter is in the class photo, too, and they phone her. The name of the girl Marty’s father thought he recognized is Anja, and she lives—the daughter says—in a kibbutz on Israel’s edge, right up against the Jordan River.

Julius Peretz takes a taxi there—three hours, winding roads—and asks the guard to summon Anja. He does; she looks nothing like his sister. “She says, ‘There’s another Anja,’” says Peretz. “He brings Anja who looks like his sister, and there is the one survivor of his family.” She was Julius’s niece.
One survivor. We've been very fortunate in the UK over the last few hundred years. Not so elsewhere. The danger is that, secure and peaceful as we've been in this island, we're forgetting our own and other people's history - and are looking for potential danger and slaughter within ourselves - rather than outside.