Tears to my eyes


Ten things I read this month that moved me to tears - of laughter, frustration or simple appreciation for a writer’s way with words.

Tom Peck, The Independent newspaper online

It’s an old French word, parliament, from parler, to speak. So there’s no disrespect at all, but considerable efficiency in fact, in Nigel Farage turning to face the European parliament with the orifice from which he prefers to talk.

Laminated business card

Contact details for 'Priest in Charge' with horror movie-style photo of his parish church on reverse.

Beatlebone: novel by Kevin Barry

Narrates an imagined journey made by John Lennon to Dorinish in 1978. John, by now a committed vegetarian, is in a remote Irish farmhouse with his driver, who serves him a meal of black pudding fried in lard.

He smiles and sets a place with care and plates the food and serves it with slices of bread cut thickly from the pan and a soft butter spread over.

Now for you, he says.

Jesus Christ, John says.

He eats the food. The spiciness, the mealiness, the animal waft - it’s all there in the history of his mouth, and he is near to fucking tears again. The tea is strong and sweet and tastes of Liverpool.

Broadband tech online forum

I know there are bad things on Internet as well. It’s up to you. Okay, suppose you watched HD porn but after that you use Internet for good purposes. Then all is well.

BBC News website headline

Trump: I don’t have a racist bone in my body.

Pennyworth: TV series

OK, so not exactly something I read, but it is all about the script. This first episode introduces us to the young, phlegmatic Alfred Pennyworth, who later became Batman’s butler. Alfred is being held captive by a British fascist group - one of its key figures explains its goal to him…

Lord Harwood: Technically, you’d have to call it a coup d’état. What do you think of that?

Pennyworth: [delivered like a young Michael Caine] As a rule, if you have to use French words for something, I don’t like it.

Local community online forum

I have undescribed many times please take note.

He: novel by John Connolly

Narrates the fictionalised thoughts of Stan Laurel.

He does not bother to tell her that he did not steal Chaplin’s hat. If he stole anyone’s hat, he stole George Robey’s, just as Chaplin did, although Chaplin also appropriated George Robey’s frock coat and malaca cane, and Dan Leno’s too-small jacket, and Little Tich’s boots. But it does not matter. They are all part of the same continuum, clowns bequeathed greasepaint from dead clowns, comics built from the bones of forgotten men.

Amazon listing for Fire tablet

Customer questions & answers

Q Change my pin?

A Change your own pin

Peter Pomerantsev, The Guardian newspaper online

His famous “earthy” humour, the trademark politically incorrect jokes that [Rodrigo] Duterte indulges in much like Trump, Putin, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolonsaro and other showmen “populists”, also took on a darker dimension. When jokes are used by the weak to poke fun at the powerful, they can bring authority figures back down to earth. But when such language is used consistently by men of real power to degrade those who are weaker, this humour grows into something menacing: it lays the linguistic path to humiliating victims in other ways as well, to a space where norms disappear.