Should Have

The Book Of Dave

I should have been at work this morning but S’s first act after he got up was to be sick. So I’m home for a few hours on emergency childcare duties. I also should have been writing about Emma Pollock’s show in Dundee last night but decided to give it a miss to ensure that the batteries are properly recharged for the week ahead.

So it’s back to the books for today’s post. My rock’n’roll weekend a couple of months back to see Kristin Hersh and Arcade Fire yielded spare time to browse in Glasgow City centre. But I came home clutching more books than CDs.

I was determined to find some non sci-fi to read and one of the books I picked up was ‘The Book of Dave’ by Will Self. Now I know very little about Self beyond his appearances on ‘Have I Got News For You’ but this book sounded fairly quirky since the premise is that a book written by a demented London cabbie ends up forming the basis of society many years in the future.

It’s not a book however merits the description quirky. For me that word suggests a certain lightness but the premise is actually quite dark and Self’s future London a bleak place indeed, mired in an ideology enforced quite brutally by a totalitarian regime. The other half of the book, the recent past comprising the life story of cabbie Dave Rudman, isn’t much cheerier but Rudman’s breakdown is supremely well told and Self pulls off the trick of making the misogynist cabbie(well, he is for some of the book), who is more the victim of circumstances than anything else, a sympathetic character.

This is probably a book that people who know London a hell of a lot better than me will appreciate far more but it’s an absorbing read and Self’s future language is an entertaining mix of existing Cockney phrases and cabbie lore. The glossary at the end though kind of feels unnecessary.

My brief research on Self didn’t throw any light on his musical tastes (other than a collaboration with Bomb The Bass). So instead I thought I’d pick a song by a Dave for today’s musical entertainment.

The Triffids – Stand Up (live)

Stand Up is taking from a recording from Amsterdam of the last of the Triffids gigs held last summer to remember David McComb. It’s a version of their first ever single and it seems a good time to put this up since Domino will shortly be releasing a box set of 7”s of the early Triffids’ singles.

Buy Will Self books here and Triffids releases here.