Friday, February 22, 2008

In the modern age...

Over a century ago, the Victorians used to shut away the mad, the halt and the lame (not to mention those who were merely inconvenient) in loony bins that were little more than particularly unpleasant prisons. The most famous of these was the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, colloquially known as "Bedlam"; this name has passed into the language.

These days, we have similar problems with those with mental illness and severe disabilities; services are under-funded, hospital places scarce and our prisons all to full of those who should not be there. What are we to do with these unfortunates?

Fuck knows, but I can tell you this: in Brixton, they all work in Woolworths.

Anyway, I shouldn't expect an awful lot from me: I have bought Iain M Banks' new Culture novel, Matter, and shall be reading that. Oh, and it's my little brother's eighteenth birthday on Sunday so I shall be taking a rare trip to my home town of Tonbridge, Kent.

But I have got a replacement for my mobile though: same number, for those who might need to get hold of me...

15 comments:

Theo said...

And I thought they were all in parliament!

Anonymous said...

Is the Culture series any good? I've been meaning to check them out, but have to be discerning with my money and have yet to hear anything that has completely sold me on to them.

Kay Tie said...

"Is the Culture series any good?"

Yes.

"but have to be discerning with my money"

You should take a look at your local library. Seriously. The last time I used a library all the books were sticky and the place smelled of boiled cabbage (as all institutions seem to). But recently I discovered my local library's web site.

You can search the entire county online, and ask for a book. They bring it to the local library and send you an email when it's ready. It normally takes 1-2 days, which is faster than Amazon. And you get reminders to take it back, can check it back out online without going back if you want more time. They also have a whole load of newly published books in their catalogue.

I've decided to buy far fewer books, to the point of being in Waterstones today and seeing the new Ian M. Banks book and saying to myself "no, I'll get it via the library." Saves space too (I had to recently sell 2000 books when I moved house).

Charles Pooter said...

Matter is out?! Thanks for the heads up DK!

Umbongo said...

DK

Gifted author he may be but Iain M Banks is, of couse, Iain Banks with his SciFi hat on and there's no greater work of imagination that this tankie is now supporting than this

Holly said...

I think they're also putting a fair number of them in the BBC.

Having said that, this did make me laugh:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2008/02/quote_of_the_day_3.shtml

thud said...

The culture series is great...try anything by Peter F. Hamilton and Neal Asher...both rather good.

ROGUE GUNNER said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ROGUE GUNNER said...

All socialists are confirmed as mentally ill and I have the perfect large building on the banks of the Thames to house the demented!

Gorilla Bananas said...

I just hope people aren't wrongly diagnosed as mentally ill because they make funny faces. I know several humans who habitually make funny faces and they're as sane as I am.

Unsworth said...

You know that those guys in the Brixton frontier outpost of the Woolworths Empire are all time-served members of "Crazies in the Community". After they graduate from Brixton they arrive in our local Comet store for a little post-grad research before moving on to their Masters at IKEA.

This is all about 'service' - whatever that may mean.

Robin said...

I thought the Victorians had rather a good way with the Mental cases (after reforms at Bedlam). Large instituitions with gardens for the inmates, fresh air and a relaxing atmosphere. Beats care in the community.

Newmania said...

OO I do like those culture books but they are not a patch on Dune, the series, or the Foundation series or indeed the Helliconia series.
Brian Aldiss is very good on Science Fiction and CS Lewis`s SF is an amazing protest and the spirtual emptiness of imagined futures.

( You ought to read the Screwtape letters as well)

Anonymous said...

Care in the Pucking Commeenity

do keep up DK !

CityUnslicker said...

new culture novel- see now I did not even know this so reading this has made my day.

All i need now is time for a holiday so that I can actually read it!