Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nice Chaps, Aren't They? Picturesque...

In a column in this weekend's Spectator, "Taki" describes Greece's neo-fascist Golden Dawn as "good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks" who are "not house-trained, and many of its members tend to use rough language and get physical." I instantly knew what the column made me think of:
I've seen them all right. I was in sunny Italy when the Fascisti went for the Freemasons in twenty-five. Florence it was. Night after night of it with shooting and beating and screams, till you felt like vomiting. I was in Vienna in thirty-four when they turned the guns on the municipal flats with the women and children inside them. A lot of the men they strung up afterwards had to be lifted on to the gallows because of their wounds. I saw the Paris riots with the garde mobile shooting down the crowd like flies and everyone howling "mort aux vaches" like lunatics. I saw the Nazis in Frankfurt kick a man to death in his front garden. After the first he never made a sound. I was arrested that night because I'd seen it, but they had to let me go. In Spain, they tell me, they doused men with petrol and set light to them.

Nice chaps, aren't they? Picturesque...
- Eric Ambler, Uncommon Danger (1937)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Monuments are for Defeats, as well as Victories

It's a decade since I started this blog, while I was an MA student living in north London - a period of 12 months which I count as one of the happiest times in my life. On that basis I felt that some sort of acknowledgement of the anniversary was appropriate. At the same time, there's no doubt that if the version of me who started the blog in 2003 could see himself in 2013 he'd be disappointed, and rightly so.