Monday, June 12, 2006

Not by bread alone: two events to check out this week

The other day I was talking to Olwyn Stewart, who is the kind of person who inspires jealousy in ordinary folks like me. In the last year, the brainy Olwyn has somehow found the time to publish an acclaimed novella and do award-winning post-graduate work in the University of Auckland's philosophy department. At the moment Olwyn is researching a thesis on Simone Weil, and she was telling me that Weil was never a wholehearted Marxist, because she never felt that Karl Marx gave enough attention to culture, and in particular to literature. Weil felt that Marx should have recognised that poetry was as essential as bread.

I hesitate to disagree with Simone Weil, let alone Olwyn Stewart, but I'm not actually sure whether big Karl had such a culture deficit. There are some hilarious passages in Robert Payne's hostile biography which have Marx jumping up in London pubs and disturbing the peace by drunkenly chanting - in his 'rough, guttural, and altogether unlikeable German' - long passages from Goethe's Faust, a work he seems to have been obsessed with. (The structure of The Communist Manifesto is actually taken from Goethe's play.) In obedience to Weil's credo, though, I'd like to advertise two important events - one literary, one political - taking place in Auckland this week.

On Thursday at noon, the Service and Food Workers Union is holding a rally in Aotea Square to mark International Cleaners Day and to demand a better deal for cleaners in Aotearoa. The Servos will be presenting a golden toilet brush to the worst employer of cleaners in the country. It looks rather spiffy, doesn't it?

And later on Thursday Titus Books, the firm that did the world the favour of putting Olwyn Stewart into print, will be launching new novels by the polymathic Jack Ross and the enigmatic Bill Direen:

I'll be speaking about Bill's book, Olwyn will be reading aloud from it and, just to sweeten the deal, Titus is providing free booze. What more can you ask for? Be there or be square...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

olwyn s cant write for shit

nither can yu scott

and yr views on politics are naive

yr critism reads more like nepotism

12:57 pm  

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