A column from The Shed …
* A BOOK TO READ
The Shed likes Michael Henderson, in the Telegraph, and passes on this recommendation from him:
The Booker Prize long list has one wonderful book, Lila by Marilynne Robinson, but it is not a read for the beach. Far better to stick with the thriller writer Eric Ambler and George MacDonald Fraser of Flashman fame. And, should you come across the novels of Robert Edric, dive in. The Yorkshireman has been writing books for nearly 30 years and they re very fine indeed. Don’t be put off by his low public profile. Start with his last novel, Sanctuary, which sees the Bronte household through the eyes of the wayward brother. Then work backwards. Book for book, he is the most readable of modern English writers.”
The Shed likes the sound of Sanctuary. A northern cousin of ours has an ambition to hit the jackpot with a Branwell Bronte Trail. It might start off in Haworth, in a half-derelict cottage, with a tarpaulin lashed over the roof, but can easily career over to Leeds and back if that’s how the day goes. Ashore for egg and chips somewhere around teatime, probably, but don’t count on it. Call it Ride With Branwell. Say £100 all-in.
* SOME KNOTS TO TIE
The Shed has recently been taking an interest in the science of doing up walking boots and is grateful to Victoria Ward in the Telegraph for alerting us to a website dedicated to lacing lore, by an Australian polymath called Ian Fieggen, trading as Professor Shoelace.
The Shed will be seeking to establish diplomatic links.
* WHEN JERRY LEE SPOOKED ELVIS
The Shed was grateful to the Guardian Magazine for the transcript of the best moment in a recently-televised new interview with Jerry Lee Lewis, by Simon Hattenstone.
See the whole thing at
Hattenstone referred to JL’s well-documented torment over playing what his people regarded as devilish music and asked about the time he asked Elvis if he thought they could still go to heaven.
Lewis said: “I said, ‘Elvis, I’m going to ask you one thing before we part company here. If you die, do you think you’d go to heaven or hell?’ And he got real red in the face, and then he got real white in the face, and he said, ‘Jerry Lee, don’t you ever say that to me agin.’ I said, ‘Well, I won’t even say it to you again.’ Hahahaha!” (He laughs, mockingly, at Elvis’s country accent).
Hattenstone has the next line as “He was very frightened”, and he should know, but The Shed seems to recall something along the lines of “I sure shook him up some”.
Lewis conceded: “I was always worried whether I was going to heaven or hell. Still am. I worry about it before I go to bed; it’s a very serious situation. I mean you worry, when you breathe your last breath, where are you going to go?”
* A THEORY OF TERRORISM
The Shed does not read a lot of Salman Rushdie but thought he made sense in a Telegraph interview, talking with Gaby Wood:
Wood was startled by Rushdie’s theory that terrorism is fed by cultures which leave young males without sexual partners.
He tells her: “A lot of this has to do with young men in places where it’s imposible for them to have normal relations with members of the opposite sex, and where they’re so impoverished that the idea of making a family is untenable. And then they go and pick up a gun and it appears that women are just provided for them. You can understand that has something to do with what’s going on.”
Rushdie seems to be more puzzled about why young girls want to go. But wouldn’t the same explanation do?
* A GLIMPSE OF HELL
From the other side of the gulf in understanding, The Shed admired Kareem Shaheen, reporting from Yarmouk, a bombsite besieged by Assad and patrolled by Isis, while a few try to fight back against both. The reporter extracted some striking lines from a young gunman called Abdullah al-Khateeb, who has been writing a kind of 40 Rules Of Siege, modelled on a classic Persian essay, on his Facebook page.
Khateeb tells him: “When you lose a lot in siege and war, your heart hardens; it becomes like stone. With the first loss, you weep for three days. The second, for two days. The third, for one day. The 10th martyr, you bury them and weep and then laugh, as a way to mock the whole situation. You develop a conviction that we are all going to die, but the issue is the order. So as long as we live, we will work.”
Khateeb says the 34th Rule Of Siege is that extremism is a result of extremism …
“The revolution was peaceful, the regime acted with monstrosity, people carried weapons. The regime launched air strikes, more gunmen emerged. The regime used chemical weapons, people became Islamist. The regime killed women, people became (Jabhat al) Nusra. It became more extreme, people became Daesh (Isis). The moment I lose hope I will either commit suicide or you’ll see me in the streets carrying the Daesh flag.”
Full story at
* A USEFUL BIT OF KIT
Anyone who has ever wrestled with a child seat for car will surely be interested in the dead simple Mifold, £20 from mifold.com/
The Week magazine summed up:
A portable booster seat that’s smaller than an iPad. Rather than lifting the child up, it holds the seat belt down. Slip it into your suitcase when you go on holiday and you’ll never have to hire a booster seat again.
* A LINE FOR THE LADIES
The Shed always rather enjoyed Teresa Gorman, both as a good political tease and as quite a handsome woman.
Her obituaries recalled that she was an unashamed user of HRT who called herself St Teresa of the Menopause and said: “If men’s testicles packed up at 60, you can bet your boots there’d be a treatment available.”
* A DOWNLOAD FOR THE CAR
The Shed has a guide to podcasts in hand but has not actually listened to many yet. For the time being, under PODCASTS & PLAYLISTS, we are filing an Esquire list:
21 Essential Podcasts To Download Today
28 April 2015 By Andrew Harrison