The Curmudgeon


Sunday, October 04, 2009

My First Stabbing

A short while ago Tiso the technomnemologist introduced the present writer, via our respective comments boxes, to a certain David Haywood, who is the southerly portion of Public Address, a blogospherical sub-community based in the sheep-and-movie-landscapes part of the world. Public Address also publish books, one of which is David's own My First Stabbing - a title which very nearly excuses the fact that the volume's front cover has a picture of a baby on it.

The book contains various anecdotes and reminiscences from the author's varied life and (I can only hope) peculiar imagination. Many of these are available on David's weblog, but I still prefer flickable pages to clickable ones; all the more so as the publication itself is a thoroughly professional piece of work. As a reader of occasionally obscure and antiquated literature, I have had some acquaintance with small-press productions, and in terms of its design and proofreading My First Stabbing does very well indeed.

The subject matter includes an anarcho-Glaswegian grandfather; the verbal dissection of some Eiffel Tower tourists who should probably have taken the lift; a philosophical dialogue with a Gschwendtner; a convincingly argued if somewhat anecdotal polemic against the politicisation of urination; and some home truths about babies which are as promiscuously profuse in quantity as they are profoundly disgusting in quality. Among the book's most telling insights is the comparison of infant offspring to a hard-working right-wing politician: "He screams at his incompetent staff during the day, and then spends his nights partying, guzzling food, and fooling around with women's breasts." Rivalling this but not quite surpassing it are the five-point guide to what makes a good pub, and the acute socio-economic observation about luxing venetians. There is a great deal more, including the frankly appalling toothpaste simile which I shall leave you to discover for yourself.

There are poignant pieces too, about the process of moving home and various encounters with people too strange or idiotic to be anything other than completely real; and the last essay in the book treats of the deadly serious though fortunately transient traumas surrounding the baby's birth. It is told with the same light touch as the others, and the author's refusal of both the easy options of flippancy and sentimentality only heightens the effect.


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