About Reading

It’s a strange condition of the world we live in that art requires almost constant justification. Especially the humanities.

“Reading doesn’t prevent genocide bro. Reading won’t stop the climate from changing, you know what I’m saying? The humanities are useless mate, they don’t teach you anything important do they? What kind of job are you going to get with a history degree?”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Film director Steven Soderbergh gives a far more eloquent defence of art in general than I:

Art is simply inevitable. It was on the wall of a cave in France 30,000 years ago, and it’s because we are a species that’s driven by narrative. Art is storytelling, and we need to tell stories to pass along ideas and information, and to try and make sense out of all this chaos. And sometimes when you get a really good artist and a compelling story, you can almost achieve that thing that’s impossible which is entering the consciousness of another human being – literally seeing the world the way they see it. Then, if you have a really good piece of art and a really good artist, you are altered in some way, and so the experience is transformative and in the minute you’re experiencing that piece of art, you’re not alone. You’re connected to the arts.

The reason we need the humanities is because we are human. That ought to be enough.

Yet the art of reading is under a seemingly inexhaustible attack, like the Roman Empire it is overwhelmed; fighting a Sisyphean battle against everything electronic. A National Literary Trust study in 2012 surveyed 21,000 children and teenagers and found that they read less of everything. Comics, books, and magazines – all crowded out by the increasing pressure that the voltaic world is putting on the physical reality of young people. 17% said they would be embarrassed if a friend saw them reading a book. Three in every ten said they choose to read every day in their spare time. A third of UK households don’t have any books in them.

There is a magnificent paradox here however. The ‘Millennial’ generation is far from illiterate. In fact it may be the first generation in history that is entirely composed of authors, albeit not particularly skilled ones. For what are Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and Tumblr if not a form of publication, a forum for micro-fiction, instant information exchange and a kind of personal open wound style storytelling? Every precious thought or observation or opinion (especially opinion) is broadcast for consumption within the infinite milieu. Every email, tweet and post is validation of our existence, we need to be seen and we need to be heard – all the time.

To write well obviously requires literacy. It requires the ability to read and to have read well and yet Samuel Johnson’s aphorism that ‘what is written without effort is in general read without pleasure’ has never been more relevant. Tweets and posts are generally stacked like so many rusting cars in an endless scrapyard because they are instantaneous, utterly ephemeral and often just bursts of emotive flatulence. As the sender of nearly 12,000 tweets in the space of around 18 months I can vouch for how entirely pointless the vast majority of my little leakages are.

Some people refuse to see this. Within the Internet lies a utopian future. They almost always point to the Arab Spring and the ‘Twitter Revolution” in Iran circa 2009 as examples of the first flexing of the teeming sinews of a profound new Net-centric power that is a ‘Good Thing’ for literacy and truth and liberty. Many historians of the printing press strike similar notes. Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, the historian who has done the most to trump up the ‘profound’ effects of the advent of printing in the 15th century, often does her utmost to downplay the invention’s use for ignoble purposes.

It goes without saying that the press soon reflected the worst of human nature. Almost as soon as it was invented it was used to publish superstitious nonsense like the Malleus Maleficarum, a text found in the libraries of good 16th century witch hunters everywhere. More often that not radical technological innovation will be used to support the ossifying structures of orthodoxy – not to bring them down. Filippo di Strata wryly observed that whilst the pen is a virgin, the printing press is a whore.

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What does that make the Internet? Iran had just twenty thousand Twitter subscribers in 2009 – there was no revolution there. The elite will tolerate limited dissent as long as it remains profitable and limited in its effects – exactly what cyber dissent is. Note that a far larger percentage of all posts on Twitter discuss association football than politics. Marx told us that the philosophers had just interpreted the world; the real purpose of our lives was to change it. This will not happen on the web, a realm of the emotionally incontinent and a place for entertainment not activism. The internet is a province of stupefaction beyond Aldous Huxley’s wildest nightmares. The digital utopians who place their faith in the ‘transformative’ aspects of the web are the new historicists, trying to find a laws and trends and generalizations where only singular and specific events exist.

Within Twitter and Facebook and all the other networked dives and virtual saloons that are beamed around the world a problem is revealed. People can’t actually write anything that will last longer than five minutes.

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It seems like a lingering truism to suggest that one cannot simply put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard and create something worthy of consumption without first reading widely and diligently. In a recent article for the Los Angeles Review of Books William Giraldi discusses the writer as reader with specific reference to Herman Melville the author of Moby Dick. He quotes Hershel Parker (author of a vast two-volume biography of Melville):

“Melville was not reading in order to acquire knowledge for its own sake, his evident purpose in reading the epics of Western Civilization was to learn how to write.”

Melville’s vigorous reading of the epics, especially Milton’s Paradise Lost, is according to Giraldi, what injects such compelling potency into Captain Ahab, “the most compelling quester in the American canon”. The tradition of ‘proper’ reading retains its importance across literary culture. Just as there could be no Ahab without Milton’s Satan, without Ahab there could be no Judge Holden (arguably the single greatest evil imagined in 20th century literature) in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. McCarthy both acknowledges and rejects a comparison between his own creation and Milton’s Satan or Melville’s Ahab within his own work by saying of the Judge:

“Whatever his antecedents he was something wholly other than their sum, nor was there a system by which to divide him back into his origins for he would not go.”

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McCarthy is doffing his cap at readers familiar with both Moby Dick and Paradise Lost; in a rare interview for The New York Times given in 1992, McCarthy baldly acknowledges a truth that is disturbing for both undergraduates and academics who live cowering in fear plagiarism:

“The ugly fact is books are made out of other books.”

Without reading and the conversation that has existed since the first story was told around a fire in some dismal encampment or daubed on a primordial rock face, there is no writing. Reading must happen so that we too may participate in this authorial dialogue. We must struggle against the limits of our life span and perception in order to perceive this ceaseless, ever varying and overlapping emulsion that can carry us to the shores of the past and the future.

There ought to be shame and handwringing about the failure of publishers and educators to inspire the next generation of readers. It is not just a case of the Millennials consuming ‘trash’ entertainment either. We have noted the pitfalls of the Internet but that does not mean that the literary world is an exclusive and privileged ghetto where the best stories reside.

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People increasingly turn to television for the best stories; Game of Thrones (that rare beast that supersedes and improves its source material), Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men and The Wire have initiated a halcyon era of programming where storytelling and complex characterization is key. The appetite for great stories exists. What are the literary phenomena of the past decade? Unctuous and turgid tales like Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter.

Henry Miller observed that ‘nothing is proposed that can last more than twenty-four hours,’ and ‘we are living a million lives in the space of a generation.’ Miller was writing in the 1930’s, before the present era of instant gratification and communication. Somehow in a world where we can live a million lives in a week and nothing that is proposed can last more than an hour before it lies dissected and cold, our l’angoisse de la mort is heightened and amplified. With each added demand on cheapened time it becomes more precious. It is not a question of why we read then, but why should we continue to read?

John Williams gives a lyrical answer in his novel Stoner by evoking the mysterious gestation of a true reader, that magical process shaped by both circumstance and that spark of the imagination each of us holds, in a truly mesmeric way:

“The past gathered out of the darkness where it stayed, and the dead raised themselves to live before him; and the past and the dead flowed into the present among the alive, so that he had for an intense instant a vision of denseness into which he was compacted and from which he could not escape and had no wish to escape.”

That is the transformation that occurs in all who learn to love literature and it is why those that do will always read.

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I won’t be bowing down for our new Queen: Beyoncé

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

 

“Nothing bothers me more than when groups like Pearl Jam and Nirvana whine and moan and complain about life and being famous. Let me tell you, being famous is great! If you hate your job so much, why don’t you fuckin’ go work at a car wash or McDonald’s or something?” – Noel Gallagher

Remember when you actually liked Beyoncé? Me neither. However I never really disliked her, she was just there (or everywhere actually) in the same way that Nando’s or traffic lights are. The tipping point from passive disinterest to actual dislike came when her astonishingly misguided HBO documentary ‘Life is but a Dream’ was shown a few weeks ago on the BBC. This came complete with a fawning introduction from Alan Yentob that was more than a little embarrassing in its ‘get down with the kids’ hand-wavium about what a paradigm defining artiste Beyoncé’ really is.

The film is a skewed, boring and hagiographic 90 minute attempt to get people to like Beyoncé. It instead ends up revealing her to be a classic study in God-fearing American narcism. We are compelled to empathise with the loneliness of superstellar stardom, the kind of celebrity that eradicates the ability of the star to live a normal life. Yet her attempts at introspection – obviously scripted, filming herself with full hair and make-up at 3am complaining about how her life has changed – are too fatuous to take seriously. I found myself muttering ‘give me a break darling’ at the TV, rolling my eyes and saying it like Jeremy Kyle when he is mining a serious vein of prickishnness.

Beyoncé’s life does seem like a dream, perhaps because nothing about it feels real.  It seems as if she lacks the intelligence to realise that she has lost touch with what it means to be a bag of perspiring, respiring carbon like the rest of us down here below the Mount Olympus where the likes of her and Jay-Z live.  She lacks the ability to turn what her life has become – being an outsider due to wealth and notoriety – into great art. Think of Bowie, looking down at his audience in the 80’s wondering how many of them owned a Velvet Underground record. Think of Eminem’s lyrics in the song White AmericaWhat has Beyoncé contributed to this rich seam of artistic introspection? This:

Way to make your fans feel appreciated Bey.

Thats whats most grinding about Beyoncé, her enormous, all-conquering sense of entitlement. She genuinely believes the guff her record label executive spouts about one of her albums being ‘totally original’. Beyoncé talks about songs, mostly written by other people, songs that Alexandra Burke could sing just as well, as if they re-shaped the surface of the planet. This leads to two problems: firstly her nauseatingly transparent humility, which manifests itself in constant referrals to the role God has had in her success feels insincere. Secondly because she  is told be those around her (and by Alan fucking Yentob) that her music is original, that it is groundbreakingprofound and all the other shit, she actually seems to believe it. In the realm of Queen Bey its not familiarity that breeds contempt it is insularity that breeds it.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry's costume from 2004's 'Catwoman' movie.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry’s costume from 2004’s ‘Catwoman’ movie.

The success of ‘Single Ladies’ (a song co-written by three men) has led to Beyoncé being lauded as some kind of modern day icon of the feminist fourth wave. In fairness much of what she says is admirable:

– women and men should be payed the same

– men shouldn’t alone in defining whats sexy and what is feminine

Why then are her actions at odds with her words? Beyoncé espoused the above in the pages of GQ (spoiler alert: she comes across badly) . Consider that the cover shoot was orchestrated by Terry Richardson, a man so misogynistic he may as well have the word tattoo’d to his fucking forehead for the rest of his days so that nobody mistakes him for being anything else. Our Queen appears in the shoot half-naked, playfully posing in male sportswear, complete with ‘the gap’. Whoops looks like you’re playing a role in classic male sexual fantasy Bey! As long you sell some Pepsi I’m sure its worth it though.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Beyoncé has been called “the most important and compelling popular musician of the twenty-first century … the result, the logical end point, of a century-plus of pop.”  She is a phenomenal performer, arguably the best in the world today; but when her shows are broken down they are around 60% lights and effects, 30% shaking of her famed ‘booty’ and about 10% singing.   It’s gospel burlesque shot through the prism of 21st century technology at a thousand miles an hour. It’s not important. I’m not compelled. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the logical end point of a century of pop:

“In 2009, both Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson had hits (Beyoncé’s “Halo,” which charted in April, and Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” which charted in August) that were created from the same track, by Ryan Tedder. Clarkson wrote her own top line, while Beyoncé shared a credit with Evan Bogart. Tedder had neglected to tell the artists that he was double-dipping, and when Clarkson heard “Halo” and realized what had happened she tried to stop “Already Gone” from being released as a single, because she feared the public would think she had copied Beyoncé’s hit. But nobody cared, or perhaps even noticed; “Already Gone” became just as big a hit.” (From this article in The New Yorker.)

This probably is though. Perhaps Beyoncé is the perfect 21st century pop idol, an iconic pop vacuum. She has very little to say, her life is about as different from you and me as Henry VII’s (they were both desperate for an heir) was and her twitter account is about as enjoyable to read through as the first time you used Microsoft Excel without knowing what the fuck was going on. The worst thing is that we don’t expect better, the market has made us dull, paralysed and stupefied us into expecting nothing more than an attractive woman writhing in front of some neat graphics.

Bow down bitches!

Maggie, Morrissey and Legacy

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Mozza and Margaret (Getty, AP)

‘Great’ people tend to be those who can ignite profound change and inspire blind devotion in equal measure. They are those rarities amongst us who can ‘set the weather’ by shaping it with their very will. Above all they never compromise, they can’t be bought or sold: they lead and others simply follow, shellshocked in their wake.

People like this don’t actually exist of course. Great people merely make waves in the tides of history, they don’t direct the process itself. Yet with the death of Margaret Thatcher this week, an inevitable operation of mythologising and beatification, led by Downing Street and in the rightwing press has begun in earnest. View with trepidation the front pages of the Mail and Telegraph on Tuesday: a backlit photo of ‘our Maggie’ at her ‘Rule Britannia’  peak, smiling benignly, the light warming the famously unmoving hair into a halo, a visual representation of a calculated attempt to rewrite the history of our country. This is Thatcher rebranded – above the swill of old hatreds, joining the pantheon of British political leaders who are now apolitical symbols of national unity.

Who stands against this?

Certainly not the Labour Party – their last Prime Minister spent £100,000 renaming a room in Downing Street after her. The BBC has been cowed into showing vapid commemorative programming that, deliciously enough, has been beaten in the ratings by Coronation Street. The really despicable moments of Thatcher’s reign, for instance discrimatory legislation like Section 28 has barely been mentioned this week. When the discord and disharmony sown by Thatcher has been shown on the news this week it has dwelt far too much simply on the fact that many people despised her and not why they despised her. Similar to the way the 2011 film ‘The Iron Lady’ showed a horde of screaming protestors battering the great ladies car without explaining their motives at all. Terrifyingly that film and the sycophantic press coverage this week will probably shape the way a vast majority of under-35’s remember Thatcher.

That leaves us with Morrissey.

An 80’s icon who divides opinion in a way that is startlingly similar to Thatcher, Morrissey’s song ‘Margaret On The Guillotine’ was probably the first protest song that I ever heard and actually understood. Ironically the artlessness of Thatcher the person (her interests didn’t stretch very far beyond watching the occasional episode of ‘Songs of Praise’ and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tennyson) and her government created an atmosphere of opposition that created great art – everyone from Billy Bragg to Sue Townsend owes a strange kind of debt to Thatcherism.

Through his music and interviews (in one he famously wished the Brighton Bombing had claimed her life) Morrissey represented a slice of culture and a section of society that vehemently loathed Thatcher. This week his chance to dance on her grave finally arrived. He didn’t hold back.  Much of the truly vehement appraisals of Thatcher this week have come from similar figures from the period.

Yet by displaying such naked, reckless hate for Thatcher, Morrissey reveals a character remarkably like that of the Iron Lady. In fact there are many similarities between the two; their aforementioned divisiveness, their intransigence and their proclivity towards hubris. They are both magnets for hatred from the press and the public. Thatcher’s slide to irrelevance began as she was tearfully ushered out of Downing Street, Morrissey’s as The Smiths fell apart around him in 1987. For Thatcher’s remark about the ‘enemy within’ trade Mozza labelling the Chinese a ‘sub-species’. Was it Mozza or Maggie who said this:

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing”

It ends there though. Morrissey is merely one of the great songwriters of the last 30 years. Mrs. Thatcher was a politician who changed Britain in a revolutionary way. What transpired under her leadership may have been better than the alternative; a managed decline of a former great power, Michael Foot creating a Warsaw-upon-Thames land full of nationalised pubs, intermittent electricity and unbreakably powerful unions. This does not however excuse the unblinkingly one-eyed coverage of Thatcher that has occurred since her death, nor does it mean the public should contribute to what is already being called an “all but a” state funeral. Churchill – a leader who united the country in a remarkable way deserves such an honour but Thatcher, who has left us with a legacy of profound divisions especially between rich and poor and between the celtic fringes of these islands and England, simply does not deserve the accolade. Nor would she want it.

She blazed a trail, with the caveat that it was for herself and for people like her. All opposition was either wrong or the enemy. To consider her a symbol of national unity is to be sadly misguided. Equally to assess her legacy as she assessed her opponents: in extreme terms that border on hatred, is to poison the discourse to come: the sight of smug Brixton hipsters who probably wouldn’t even know what a ‘pit’ is celebrating her death was almost as irritating as the tearfully masturbatory tone of the right-wing press this week.

Adel Taarabt (A love letter to)

 

“Nutmegs… I prefer.”

Words can make a man. In the case of Adel Taarabt the three words above and the aphorism they form embedded him, and his unique brand of football even deeper into the folklore of Queens Park Rangers. Maybe its the way he says them, a  little smile as he talks, the pause and then “prefer” – words to accompany his deeds. These words aren’t idle, they aren’t empty: Adel means it when he says he prefers nutmegs. From Joe Allen to Joe Cole, ‘Fat’ Frank Lampard to occasional “Splash” contestant Ashley Young, there aren’t many players left in the top two divisions of English league football who haven’t endured this Moroccan’s particular brand of footballing humiliation. His skills have become something ritualistic, a sacrifice Adel makes to appease the crowd, and to satiate his own artistic lust.

A winger and a prayer.

A winger and a prayer.

Life always throws up mavericks, originals in the truest sense of the word. These people tend to end up in one of two places; under the Westway, living in a cardboard box surviving off chewing gum spat out of the windows of passing cars or they become outrageous success’. Taarabt is heading for the latter. Why is he an original? For a start he doesn’t look like a footballer, in the same way that Andres Iniesta looks like a concierge or the bloke who sorts letters in the post office, and Michu looks as if he should be a roadie for Nickelback, Taarabt simply doesn’t have the svelte, streamlined body of today’s standard professional footballer. He is stocky, squat and boxy, his arms are unhinged and move as if they constantly caught in a strong breeze. There is a nonchalance to Taarabt, a swagger not seen at QPR since the days of Stan Bowles. 

Unhappy bedfellows: Taarabt and the Tottenham shirt.

Unhappy bedfellows: Taarabt and the Tottenham shirt.

“We used to play in the French national team and he was just nutmegging the same guy for maybe four or five times, the manager used to tell him, ‘If you don’t give the ball, you come off.’ And he didn’t care. He was bringing us penalties, scoring goals.” – Armand Traoré

“I arrived to find that, at three o’clock in the afternoon, it was already night. I played for the Tottenham reserves against Chelsea and I could not understand how the English played. Somebody put me on the floor but there were no free-kicks, nothing. The referee just played on. When you play in France it’s quiet, the players do not talk. In England I hear players saying, ‘F**k off. Man on. Come on’. Players in my team, they are shouting at me. I think they’re insulting me.” – Adel Taarabt

Becoming a success wasn’t easy; Taarabt’s natural game as a teenager, his desire to play unencumbered by little things like positioning and tactical discipline, his bad attitude and his inability to speak the language made him the latest in a long line of enfant terrible’s to arrive in England, at Tottenham in this case, in January 2007. After two weeks in England he wanted to leave and by his last season at Spurs Juande Ramos refused to even give him a shirt number (the same fate befell Kevin Prince-Boateng who is now a superstar at AC Milan).Taarabt’s time at Tottenham, with its fall outs and frustrations, damaged his reputation amongst the mainstream media and football fans in general in a way in which it has yet to recover. Having arrived at Tottenham in 2007 hailed as the next Zidane, Taarabt wound up at Queens Park Rangers, a player with a reputation for being a ‘fruitcake’ found himself at a club run by fruitcakes.

It worked though. The things Taarabt did in the Championship for QPR between 2008 and 2011 won’t be repeated soon by any player in the division. Take the goal against Preston above. Taking the ball down from a goal kick inside his own half, Taarabt turns, brushing aside two challenges, rinses a third Preston player with a nutmeg, pushes the ball a few yards further and then nonchalantly swerves the ball into the top corner from 25 yards outside the goal. C’est magnifique. Watch it again. Few players at any level score goals as good as that. Few players are capable of that at any level.

He promised so much in his early loan spells at QPR. Neil Warnock took Adel under his wing once he became manager in 2009. For both it was a revelatory experience:

“Warnock’s wife [Sharon] has looked after me and his kids have been like family to me. I cannot describe our relationship. Sometimes I think God has brought this guy to me, I am very difficult guy to control but Neil does it.It is special between me and him, he changed my life. He tells me to just go out onto the pitch and enjoy it. After all that he has given me I try and repay him.

“When a manager tells you, ‘I want to play the team around you,’ then you think, ‘This manager loves me’. At half-time against Preston [in November], I wasn’t playing so well. Neil knows I don’t like it when the other players shout at me. So he took me to the showers and said, ‘What’s wrong?’ And in the second half I scored two goals.” – Adel Taarabt on his relationship with Neil Warnock.

Thanks to Warnock’s shrewd management, 2010/11 was the most entertaining season of Taarabt’s career to date. It encompassed a sensational series of displays – his movement, his strength, ability to keep the ball in seemingly impossible spaces, his link-up play, his willingness to shoot (rewarded with a plethora of outrageous goals such as the one against Swansea above) all made him a worthy player of the year that season. With Wilfred Zaha moving to Manchester United for a fee that could rise to £15 million pounds, it is worth bearing in mind that the former has done nothing in the Championship consistently comparable to Taarabt – yes Zaha is a good dribbler, yes he is less ‘risky’ but he doesn’t have a talent anywhere near as off-the-wall, as enigmatic as Taarabt’s.

What was astonishing about that season was the ease with which Taarabt did extraordinary things. Here was a man who played like a boy; as if this was his own game, as if normal considerations didn’t apply. It was a destructive season – Taarabt destroyed teams and reputations, in a way that was as thrilling as it was unconventional. Having had the pleasure of witnessing it I would say it’s the finest individual season any player has had in the second division of English football in the last decade.

“Mark Hughes had a big impact on him, showed him how much of a good player he is and on the other hand he has to work hard. I think it was a really good step for Adel to have that manager.” – Armand Traoré

“He can be a top, top player. He’s like Di Canio, doing things nobody else can do. He nutmegs people, he goes past two or three and they’re hanging on to him, but they can’t get the ball off him.” – Harry Redknapp 

If Mark Hughes has any legacy at QPR other than potential ruination in the years to come, it is his impact on Taarabt. Hughes turned him into a professional footballer again after a poor start to the 2011/12 season when injury, wasteful immaturity and the arrival of Joey Barton at the club derailed his progress. Taarabt in 2013 is a different proposition to the player of years past. He is more mature, more of a leader and far harder working than ever before. In a QPR team riddled with rank inadequacies this season he has stood out like a particularly obese man in a crowd full of flesh-eating cadavers.

“There were, inevitably, times when he overcomplicated things and lost the ball in unnecessary situations, but his skill and imagination when playing the false nine role was marvellous. Taarabt saw little of the ball in dangerous positions, yet managed to manufacture genuine goalscoring opportunities” – Michael Cox on Taarabt’s performance against Tottenham

Harry Redknapp quickly realised that Taarabt is the only player at QPR good enough to drag them out of the mire they are in, even playing him as a lone striker in impressive performances against Chelsea and Tottenham. Playing as a ‘false nine’ Taarabt dispelled the stereotypes that have followed him around since his teenage years. He has come of age. People who sit in their armchairs tweeting about Taarabt being “lazy” and “arrogant”, are lamentably lazy and arrogant themselves.

Redknapp indicating the length of a certain part of Stephane M'bia's anatomy.

Redknapp indicating the length of a certain part of Stephane M’bia’s anatomy.

Personally I feel great affection for Adel Taarabt. He is symbolic of certain qualities – a triumph of imagination and talent over the mechanical, statistical side of modern football. In England we don’t appreciate this. Especially if the player is a foreigner. I get the impression that metaphorically, most people would rather watch James Milner slowly peel an orange instead of seeing Taarabt juggle five of them in the room next door. They want order, not chaos. Yet if QPR are to stay up this season it will be by playing to Taarabt’s strengths not ostracising him for his occasional bouts of carelessness. After two years of transfer business at QPR that has seen millions of pounds wasted, it remains a fact that it will be by embracing Taarabt’s chaotic talent that the club remains in the Premiership.