A few months ago I was cycling home along Smuggler’s Way near the Wandle Delta when I spotted some graffiti on the wall of a builder’s mechant. A few weeks later I stopped off to get some photos.
Not a Banksy, I don’t think, but cool none the less. Unfortunately it looks like the uber-efficient Wandsworth Borough Council anti-graffiti squad have removed all traces of it, which is a shame. I bear no grudge against the squad – who I must owe a bottle of wine to by now for the number of times they’ve responded to my pleas regarding graffit on our estate – but a part of me wishes they could make a distinction between art and vandalism.
On an entirely unrelated note, here’s a nice chirpy song for you – “Youkou Yeah Yeah !” from Vulsor’s The Project. Keen followers of my last.fm profile – which records for posterity what I listen to at home – would have noticed this getting a few plays since I found it in my collection. I’d recommend “Mushroom” from the same album, except I hate how it ends. When I get a chance (and err, learn how…), then I’ll remix it and give it a proper conclusion….
I’d never heard of the idea of “reportage” before, and I’m still none the wiser as to who or what “Granta” is. But with an interest in journalism, and a photo of the awe-inspiring “Tank Man” on the cover, it was a fairly easy sell.
The book contains a wonderful collection of journalist’s stories, rather than the reports that would find their way into a newspaper. Most of the reportage (which I like to think is pronounced as the French would – rhyming with montage, not cambridge) is regarding conflicts, and the stories of being a reporter trying to get close to the action – but not too close. One stand-out piece for me is the investigative journalism behind Operation Flavius, an IRA bomb plot foiled by the SAS controversially shooting the suspects. Compared with reading (not-so-)broad-sheet newspapers, I normally prefer to cut the waffle and read the Economist for getting the facts on what’s going on. However, I would love to have a source of journalism like this book – almost by necessity it would be non-timely, but nevertheless fascintating, almost behind-the-scenes reading, where the subject merely provides the context for the experiences of the journalist.
The Granta Book of Reportage (Classics of Reportage) on Amazon.