January 22: cultural roughage

If I’m not reading serious-ish material I’m not getting the roughage required to keep me well in the head. At the moment I’m giving Knausgaard a go (volumes one and two of his autobiography); next it will be a re-reading of Michel Tournier’s Gaspard, Melchior et Balthazar, an imagining of the stories of the three kings, then I’m giving Penelope Fitzgerald a go with The Blue Flower and then Thomas Bernhard’s autobigraphy which I remember as a real dose of bitter stuff. On top of this, for work, I’m re-reading Sartre’s Roads to Freedom  trilogy. If I’ve not got this inner narrative going on the outer narrative isn’t enough. I think that he way popular culture processes the complexity of the evolved human mind is one of the contributory factors to mental health issues. We have this complex brain dealing with a society shifting at break-neck pace, and culture, which is our way of dealing with ourselves, offers us Marvel films, Love Island. Quentin Tarantino, James Bond. posturing rap-artists. The immediate upshot of this is that we vote for comic book saviours like Donald Trump. But the real issue is the mush that happens when we try and use this goo as processing liquid for our lives.


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