Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Falling Apart

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - uploaded (as far as I can tell) by someone called Patrick Gijsbers in 2007

It's all falling apart, isn't it?

Just finished William Leith's book of a similar name, and he really says it all, writing as he was from the viewpoint of a man only a year older than I am. Ironically, given that its theme is (partly at least) decrepitude, I took the book to the park with the kids at the weekend (intending to read it a little later on the bus, just in case you might think I would read in the park with the kids. Perish the thought! I actually played cricket with them. And won, as it happens) and ended up leaving it on a bench there, not realising until we had walked the 15 minutes or so up to the high road. If it hadn't have been a library book, I might well have left it lying where it was, but I didn't want the hassle or expense of buying a new one.

So I deposited the kids in McDonald's with milkshakes and started to lope/jog back down to the park, feeling fairly confident that the book would not have been half-inched in the meantime - due mostly to the inclement weather. William Leith says he could probably run half a mile if pushed, and I guess that the 15 minute walk (I feel I must debunk the old chestnut of walking speed being 4mph, especially when there are two kids walking with you) would be equal to about that. Let's just say that, though I wasn't suitably dressed for running, I didn't actually manage to make it all the way to the park before running out of puff. Since then, I have been feeling rather old, what with the lump on my foot and a pain in the kidneys; perennially blocked sinuses; occasional toilet problems, etc...

Though rather frightening, and sadly looking to be always topical, the other theme of interest in the book is the state of the global economy. Leith uses the cod as an analogy of the way in which our system is doomed to certain failure. Cod - he says - have a survival strategy of, well, just getting really big. This works pretty well in the prime of their lives as their sheer magnitude protects them from most predators (humans - as always - excepted) and they grow quickly to become fierce hunters of the sea. In the end, though, their size works against them, causing them to become unable to survive. Or something. This mirrors the edifice of global capitalism, which continues to rush into its own destruction in pell-mell fashion. Style of thing. In any case, I was seduced by the argument, like Winston Smith I suppose, enjoying most the books which tell me what I already know. It is self-evident - despite the profit announced by Apple - that year-on-year growth is simply not achievable, and the flimsy facade of promises looks perilously close to crashing down on all our heads. This argument is given added resonance of course because of the decimation of cod stocks across the world.

With the United States on the brink of being unable to pay its soldiers, with countries like Italy and Spain all but financially collapsed, with the UK establishment daily being further exposed as a stinking cess-pit of corruption and cronyism, it will be a wonder if we make it through to August 7th and the Community Shield, where Agűero will probably line up alongside Tevez and JÔ's name will not be on the team sheet.

No comments: