You are about to begin reading my thoughts on Italo Calvino’s novel If On A Winters Night A Traveller. Relax. Concentrate.
TO CONTEMPLATE the unbearable sh**eness of being a Newcastle fan.
I have ripped this title from the stunning 1984 novel by the intimidatingly talented Milan Kundera.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being begins with an abstract philosophical thought, essentially, ‘what do we put on the scales?’ (Mike Ashley is not the answer).
For some ‘being’ is light. Life is easy, happy-go-lucky: free. For others, it is a weighty affair, full of meaning. The novel challenges us to ask, ‘which type are we?’, and ‘is it worth it?’ To my continual pain, one I’m sure is shared, so does the beautiful game.
Cliché is as ubiquitous as the weather in certain cities. Through a process of continual self-portraiture by the curators of cliché (those lacking in particular faculties of imagination), a repetition amounting to the erosion of originality, they shape for us the inexorable stasis of the lauded, and lamented, locale. Attempt a retreat into the landscape of the Lake District and one is found bound and gagged by the forces of Wordsworth, or venture to look upon the Liffey without Mr Bloom ambling into view. It is possible the inverse is true, that cliché is the progeny of the city, that perhaps the inanimate is the founder of this dynasty of, well, the inanimate. Whatever the causal beginnings, we are nevertheless ruled by it. Amid the spires of Prague, it is Kafka who reigns, he who waits in ambush, he in a dozen cafes and museums and sparrow-faced in advertisement.