Here’s the books I read in March….
The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes
I learnt about this from a recent edition of Weird Walk which had an interview with Hines. It’s a very interesting book about a subject that really interests me. It’s absolutely criminal that the establishment have ever since the Norman invasion simply gone ‘nice bit of land, we’ll have that’ and denied the ordinary people their right to roman, to take in fresh air and see the countryside. Now more than ever we’re coming to realise how the benefits of such things are imperative and how unjust it is to be told that to seek them out is against the law. So yes, a good read if a little overwritten. Lovely, distinctive illustrations from Hayes too.
Gay in the 80s by Colin Clews
Adapted from his successful autobiographical blog musings. I follow Clews on Instagram and find his posts really stimulating. I’ve long since considered myself an ally to the LGBTQ community but a recent post gave me pause. It was a tabloid cartoon from the decade making fun at gay people, deeming them all cross-dressers. The cartoon was like a Proustian rush to me; as a child I used to copy out cartoons I saw in the papers. I was familiar with the cartoonist’s style and realised that I may well have copied this very piece. I realised that growing up in the 80s, experiencing such tabloid homophobia, that I still have things to unpack. Things to learn. Anyone who has watched It’s a Sin recently, will want to read this book.
Summer Soldier by Philip Williams with M.S. Power
Philip Williams was an ordinary teenager from Lancaster struggling to find work or a direction in life in the late 70s/early 80s. On impulse, he joined the army, serving in the Scots Guards. In 1982, Williams was sent to the Falklands and saw action on Mt. Tumbledown. Under heavy shelling, Williams was knocked unconscious and left for dead. Shell-shocked, he hid out in the wilderness for seven weeks – long after the war had ended and long after his family had been told he had been killed in action. Returning home, Williams was hailed the conquering hero; the soldier who returned from the dead. But pretty soon the press and his fellow soldiers began to believe Williams was a deserter and his life was made a misery. This is a very chatty, informal account from Williams about his experiences, written after he had left the army and had spent some time in gaol. His story was subsequently adapted into the Paul Greengrass film Resurrected. Having been an admirer of that film, I wanted to learn more about him, and I’m glad I got this book.
Third World War by Pat Mills
Rebellion reissue of the Third World War strip which premiered in Crisis back in the late 80s I believe. Set in the early 00s it depicts a world in which multinationals have had to bear the responsibility of charity. Unemployed youth are, like national service, conscripted to provide aid but, as our heroine Eve, discovers, charity is corrupt and the multinationals are simply exploiting the working class agricultural labourers of South America. Very much of its time, but also very very prescient. I really enjoyed this political graphic novel and have already purchased the sequel.
Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! by Pat Mills
Mills’ inside story of 2000 AD is, as you would expect, a candid grouch fest – it’s also deeply entertaining! Mills certainly has a point and his experience and quality of work speaks for itself. I only really disagreed with him on the recent Dredd movie. Mills claimed that it failed because it was too preoccupied with fandom rather than new audiences. I would argue that the fact that my mother, then in her late 60s and with no interest in sci-fi, let alone ever having picked up a comic book, enjoyed the film, would prove otherwise.
Number of books read in 2021 so far: 14