Friday, October 15, 2010

Football hooliganism and Hemingway

Whenever they talk about the football hooliganism problem here in Italy they use us in England as an exemplary example of reform. What of course they don’t take into account is that nowadays one might be reasonably safe in an English football stadium but it’s not completely out of the question that you won’t be knifed in a library or given a good seeing to in a museum. In fact football stadiums are one of the very few places in England nowadays where one is relatively safe. Conversely, in Italy, that kind of violence only seems to happen in and around stadiums.
    Apart from Lolita and For Whom the Bell Tolls, the former menacingly exuberant, the latter occasionally errant in its sideshows and pompous in its overwriting but essentially brilliant, I’m reading It Happened in Boston? (Of course one sometimes secretly enjoys the ordinary books more than the good ones (especially if they've had good reviews) because it's no bad thing to take one's vanity out for the odd walk. Anyway, It Happened in Boston trundles merrily on its way in a thoroughly undistinguished but competent fashion until, on page thirty or so, the murder is announced. Has bung in a murder before page thirty now replaced show don’t tell as the First Commandment? So common is it in modern literature that you’d think murder was now an everyday occurrence in people’s lives, as if you’d hardly bat an eyelid at dinner were your girlfriend to tell you her boss had been stabbed today with a pair of garden shears while checking his emails.  

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