The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Martin Amis

Saturday, 22nd October 2016

The film version of Martin Amis’s dark novel London Fields remains unreleased because of a lawsuit brought by the director against the producers.

I wonder if the two parties are arguing about whether to include the book’s most disturbing and immoral line, spoken by the femme fatale Nicola Six:

‘But that’s enough etymology for now.’

As St Martin-in-the-Fields knows, there’s never enough etymology.

Monday, 18th May 2015

Unpatriotic tax-dodging telecoms company uses Union Jack* in advert. #Vodaphoney

* The Flag Institute: ‘It is often stated that the Union Flag should only be described as the Union Jack when flown in the bows of a warship, but this is a relatively recent idea. From early in its life the Admiralty itself frequently referred to the flag as the Union Jack, whatever its use, and in 1902 an Admiralty Circular announced that Their Lordships had decided that either name could be used officially. Such use was given Parliamentary approval in 1908 when it was stated that “the Union Jack should be regarded as the National Flag”.’


Why footnote, O Donald, when the words are for your eyes only? But someone watches over us when we write. Mother. Teacher. Amis. God.

Tuesday, 28th October 2014

An open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport:

Dear Mr McLoughlin,

Earlier in the year, I was thinking about the history of New Cross and New Cross Gate stations, opened just ten years and six hundred yards apart by rival entrepreneurs – the Britain being forged in the white heat of the Industrial Revolution was no place for restrictive practices. However, I argued that though our own age is one of free-marketeering white heat regained, it is also inevitably one of restrictive practises; and that, as such, our railways remain in the private sector either through blind faith or (heavily in)vested interests. Now I know how pushy it looks, to quote yourself, but I did relevantly continue,

The trains are overpriced and overfull, supply is not meeting demand; but it’s no longer possible, as happened in 1849, for a group of entrepreneurs to rock up somewhere and compete by actually building. Today’s train operating companies expend all their white heat in competing franchise bids, but once the franchises are awarded they continue as complacently as the nationalised system supposedly did.

Having passed through private and nationalised railways, we’re now stuck with the worst aspects of both: the disadvantages of monopolies, but without the advantages of having them run for the public good. A third way indeed.

I would like provisionally to withdraw this scathing speech and suggest an experiment. Given that we have at our disposal a veritable parliament of train operating companies, squawking for franchises, let’s put their go-getting capitalism to the test.

While a small number of the stations that fell under the Beeching Axe have since been reopened – funded by local councils and government agencies – most of them remain closed. So given that public money is tight, lets give the TOCs – from Abellio to Virgin – carte blanche to raise money from private investors and put forward proposals to reopen and run old branch-line stations. This should be a win–win: if they prove themselves the entrepreneurial equals to the London and Croydon Railway of old, then a few towns will get their stations back; and if they prove themselves to be supinely rent-seeking organisations, then that’ll settle the matter and we can bring back British Rail without delay.

Yours sincerely,
Donald Pincher, SE23.

Friday, 20th June 2014

Martin Amis in the LRB:

Pointy-headed football-lovers are a beleaguered crew, despised by pointy-heads and football-lovers alike, who regard our addiction as affected, pseudo-proletarian, even faintly homosexual. We have adapted to this; we keep ourselves to ourselves – oh, how we have to cringe and hide!

That was 1981. Judging today by the pointy-headed analysis of England’s thread-hanging posish, thirty-five years of football’s gentrification have put paid to Amis’s fears. If only we English weren’t doing so badly, we pointy-headed football-lovers could cease to cringe and hide.

Tuesday, 6th May 2014

Reading Martin Amis’s conclusion on ‘The Rolling Stones at Earls Court’ (1976), I come across a good subtitle for my autobiography: I Shouldn’t Have Gone. I’m Never Going Again.

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