Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Stalin wasn't stallin'

Downfall was a powerful film, atmospheric and rather claustrophobic but, as an historical piece, essential. As a study of power it was compelling as Hitler, increasingly out of touch and with Soviet shells exploding audibly nearby, staunchly maintains (shades of Comical Ali?) that victory is achievable and that if his orders are transmitted to some over-stretched battalion or other then all will be well. Impotent generals merely query his decisions. They dare not speak up too loudly. I confess I nodded off for a while towards the end but was bolt awake for the business end of proceedings and missed not one frantic gun shot to the head, suicide capsule or dodgy Russian Cossack dance.

I’ve finished ‘The Rotters Club’ and really enjoyed its coming-of-age delights. I popped into Churchdown Library this evening and got out the new Nick Hornby novel ‘A Long Way Down’, a Nicholson Baker book, ‘A Box of Matches’ that I haven’t yet read and another book by Jonathan Coe called ‘The House of Sleep’. I shall have to read the Hornby first as it is on FastBack and I risk the house being repossessed if I don’t get it back within a week. I have really appreciated three Nick Hornby books over the years. ‘Fever Pitch’ and ‘High Fidelity’ pretty well parallel my own cravings for sport and music. ‘About a Boy’ was hilarious and very sharply written. His last book ‘How to be Good’ was a little too contrived for my liking.