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Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

19 Dec

I’m still not doing any consistent writing apart from making notes, jotting down ideas and identifying research areas. The barely explored and long neglected  genre of crime seems a good bet. There’s a clear shortfall of good crime novels and even this handful are invariably put into plain covers. No wonder there is no market for crime fiction. It can only gain in popularity when it’s written with flair and perhaps accompanied by a lurid cover. Or possibly I’ve misjudged the situation and there’s a surfeit of great stories in a number of formats. Have I missed the boat ? I’m not even reading crime. I can’t wean myself off non-fiction. This doesn’t augur well for writing crime. Nevertheless, I will persevere, albeit slowly. I have written a 70,000 word children’s thriller which attracted a well meant but devastating comment, from a literary agent, offering the opinion that I was still at the beginning of the creative process. Every cloud has a silver lining and when the rage had abated, I had the seed of an excellent idea which I hope to carry into print. It revolves around  a serial killer and  would be author who exacts terrible revenge on literary agents who decline to take on his book. This could  include publishers as well.  A plot like this can’t fail to fascinate.

We visited the Freud Museum in Maresfield Gardens, NW3 last weekend. Freud left Vienna for London in 1938, escaping Austria in the nick of time. He was allowed to leave because of his fame and high level connections but was required to sign a document by the Nazis stating that the German authorities and particularly the Gestapo treated him with all the respect and consideration due to his scientific reputation. He was required to agree that he was able to live and work with full freedom and that he had not the slightest reason for complaint. Freud signed the statement and then added one simple sentence “I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone.” (See The Death of Sigmund Freud : Fascism, Psychoanalysis and the Rise of Fundamentalism by Mark Edmundson.) Thus he exposed the lie and the absurdity of the sentiment he had supposedly endorsed. A very brave act indeed.

The museum’s main room contains the famous couch and Freud’s chair along with his books and many archaeological artifacts. It was arranged to replicate the layout of his consulting room in Vienna. I found it exceptionally fascinating. The atmosphere seemed spiritual and  mystical and suggestive of a benign wisdom. Or am I projecting these qualities onto my perception of Freud whom I revere ? I only just stopped myself stepping over the light cordon barrier and lying down on the iconic couch.

There were lots of nice books in the shop. I found myself reading Understanding Dunblane and Other Massacres : Forensic Studies of Homicide, Paedophilia and Anorexia by Peter Aylward, a former Special Branch officer  (1977-1992) in the Metropolitan Police Service who subsequently undertook psychoanalytical training. Very interesting. I’ll read it over Christmas.


Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

9 Dec

The plan was to visit Mill Road in Cambridge yesterday and be part of their Christmas Fayre and Market. Mill Road has many independent shops including Asian and Chinese food stores and has a very different buzz from the City Centre which is relatively near by. We didn’t get there because we got waylaid in the charity shops. The Oxfam shop, in particular, has a fine book section (gasp at the shocking treatment I received at the hands of their sales persons described in my other blog I bought:

Introducing Consciousness by Papineau and Selina published by Icon Books

Introducing Darwin and Evolution by Miller and Van Loon published by Icon Books

Dora : an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria by Sigmund Freud published by Collier Books

Freud 2000 Edited by Anthony Elliot (a collection of essays) published by Polity Press

The Integrity of the Personality by Anthony Storr published by Penguin Books

The Icon books feature both graphics and text which hook you into the subject and provide an atmospheric overlay. You can’t ignore the power of the images.

I tend to scoop up books on psychology and psychoanalysis. Invariably they are not difficult to read and compel  you to consider radically different perspectives on causes of behaviour and feelings.

A few days before the Oxfam outrage, I called into Emmaus, a local charity involved in providing accommodation, treatment and rehabilitation for people with addictions. They run a large shop of donated items including books.

I bought :

City of Sin : London and Its Vices by Catharine Arnold published by Simon and Schuster

The Terrorist Hunters : the Ultimate  Inside Story Of Britain’s Fight Against Terror by Andy Hayman published by Bantam Press

Hudson’s English History : A Compendium by Roger Hudson published by Weidenfield and Nicolson

Unlike Oxfam, no-one forced me to buy them but I did catch a man watching me through narrowed eyes. I thought it best to buy something to keep him sweet.

I’m trying to read Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid published by Harper but I’m still struggling to renew my interest in fiction, and particularly crime fiction. We are going to hear Ian Rankin, writer of the Rebus novels, tomorrow. I hope he’s able to give me some motivation.