A Developing Taste
It’s not often I can find any goodness in budget airlines, their only uplift is technical, but, I reckon it’s mostly down to Ryanair and EasyJet, that European literature is on the rise in the UK.
Fifteen years ago the change in UK eating habits was laid at the door of low-cost foreign travel. Those Monarch charter flights to Corfu from Luton Airport in the 80s lead to the flourishing of many a taverna on a London high street, and then summer sojourns in Tuscany and Dordogne fuelled our desire for real pasta and Terrine de Canard – Spaghetti Hoops and Shippam’s Duck Paste would no longer hack it, dinner party-wise.
Literary translators rejoice, as this summer the UK has seen a reported “mini-boom” in the popularity of foreign authors.
The Guardian reports that British book worms have picked translated works off the shelves in record numbers this year. The most popular novels, unsurprisingly perhaps, have come from the Scandinavian shores thanks to the popularity of Stieg Larson’s Millenium series, as well as Nordic television dramas such as The Killing and The Bridge.
For the best part of five decades, I’d assumed that nurture and my obsession with collecting toy soldiers as a boy was responsible for my endless love of the unmistakable plaid of Scotland.
Those classic images of the gallant Black Watch at Waterloo as they prepared for another destructive attack from the French Cuirassiers and scenes captured on celluloid in the blockbuster ‘Braveheart’ are engrained in my soul.
I’d resigned myself to the fact that turning a certain age now entitled me to become a little more flamboyant at formal occasions and substitute the traditional black tie for a modest tartan. A particular consideration was that I could now do this without fear of ridicule from my fellow Yorkshiremen and friends from North of the Wall. In essence I’d reverted back to my childhood and the right and proper tartan to don was the understated but unmistakable Black Watch.
Maybe it’s something about growing up behind the Iron Curtain and learning that you don’t break down barriers without steely determination that makes me so admire those who go the extra mile to make a difference.
At a time when I was old enough to know that a decision was required but not quite old enough to know how to make it I was faced with the choice of what to do with the rest of my life. Should I go down the well-trodden academic path or take the uncertain creative track? Even though we didn’t have ‘no brainer’ situations then, it was one. And so, with maximal intuition and minimal rationality, I took the rocky road. And I’ve never regretted it; on the contrary, I constantly celebrate it. I confess to being very wary of anyone with a PhD.