Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Books v. cigarettes

George Orwell has crossed my path twice this week.

On Friday I learned that the Christmas he spent in jail was in fact spent in Bethnal Green Police Station.

I've never spent Christmas there, but I do recall taking toothbrushes and pyjamas to friends who, for whatever reason, felt that stealing money, thumping policemen and settling disputed games of Monopoly with a kitchen knife were the only options available.

 Today I've been reading his essays.

I've learned that visitors to bookshops do not change.

In 1936 he wrote

"In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money."

In 1946 he wrote

"The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent."

I propose to read more Orwell.


  1. And he was right about the BBC.

  2. No danger of being incarcerated in a police station these days as most have closed down or only operate on a 9- 5 basis. It is always startling to spot a copper pounding the beat these days as they are almost becoming a rare species except when Government buildings are under seige and there is a supposed terrorist threat.... Enjoyed both 1984 and Animal Farm, the latter being my favourite. I read once that Orwell had 1948 as the year in mind when he first wrote "1984" . He is a good political satirist and fine writer. Have several of his works in my private library.