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Laurence Inman’s Blog



Laurence Inman barracks Barrack, discovers Patrick Hamilton, and gets lost on the Rea Valley Cycle Route.

What a week!

On Saturday I joined the devoted throngs in London to greet Barrack Obama. I saw several blind people see again after only so much as touching the pavement where his feet had trod.

Likewise, the lame walked again and the terminally miserable skipped away laughing hysterically at the revealed glory of the world. The dead rose from their graves. Global warming stopped existing. Hunger, pain and disease vanished from the face of the earth. The Pope declared him a saint.

Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa were seen for what they had been all along; mere wisps of the celebrity industry.

As I write, news is coming through that America is going to cancel the election. (After all, there is a chance that they might vote for the wrong person.) Obama will be President for life (and probably longer.) Why not? It makes as much sense as anything else they do.

And all this despite the fact that he’s done ****-all that anyone knows about. A bit like Cameron, who could have his finger on the button in a matter of months, because he made a speech last year which sounded good to a bunch of oldTtories.

On to Brighton. (This is so that I don’t have to drive for hours to pick up my daughter at Gatwick.)

I always think that Brighton is a bit like what the whole of England would still look like if we’d stayed sane fifty years ago. Sane is what it is.

Surrounded by the stodgy heaps of narrow respectability, withered old hopes, decrepitude and waste that characterises the other Sussex seaside resorts, Brighton is a beacon for the young-in-soul, the seers-through-it-all and hopeful to gather around. The old West Pier is the centre of the proper world. I can recommend the New Madeira Hotel on Marine Parade.

Driving back I passed Hassocks, the birthplace of Patrick Hamilton.  He was something of a discovery for me in the '90s, but is rapidly recovering the status he once held decades ago.

This puts me in mind of another recent literary discovery which has landed in my lap, mostly as result of a Radio 4 programme and a Guardian article which I read by chance – Penelope Fitzgerald.

The Gate of Angels and The Blue Flower are as great as anything, ANYTHING, else written in the last century. It’s only the snobbery and self-importance of the literary world in general that keeps them from being widely recognised as such.

Finally, in my newly carless state I’ve been riding around on my old bike.

I’d like to congratulate the council for making such a good job of the Rea Valley Cycle Path, which gets me almost to the front door of my aged parent quickly and easily.

I’d also like to ask them why they don’t put a few signposts on the Cole Valley Path, which I tried yesterday. I must have ridden more following the wrong turnings (and then coming back) as I spent on the proper route.

I don’t pay £30,000 in poll tax to end up falling into a rats’ nest of nettles, so could somebody get onto this pronto?



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