Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Haven't posted for over a month. In December we had two visits from friends in the US. I'm busy with a backlog of writing assignments, though still on annual leave from the university until early February. Just completed and sent off the first draft of a piece about The Smiths' 1987 album Strangeways, Here We Come for a collection of essays on the group to be published by Manchester University Press later this year. I'm full of trepidation since it's a departure from strictly 'academic' prose to more 'creative' writing. Here's the first paragraph:

When I was thinking about the best way to revisit the Smiths for this collection of essays, I couldn’t help returning to a particular setting: a bedroom somewhere in the north of England with a copy of Strangeways, Here We Come lying in a closet. The last Smiths album is caught for a freeze-frame instant in the grainy footage of one of those mosque terrorist cell exposés. The LP could belong to the Muslim male subject but may be a hand-me-down from an older brother or sister. A pamphlet of local prayer times sits on the bedside table next to the clock with its automated muezzin. The hidden cameras earlier revealed that this was where the subject listened to music, worked with computers, and shared information with friends and associates, unbeknownst to other family members. The British-born youth of Pakistani descent had groomed his beard and prayed shortly before leaving his home to make the journey to Londonistan and beyond.

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