Sunday, 28 July 2013

The power and the Glory – Graham Greene 1940

The book is about a priest in Mexico in the 30s when the church was prohibited and priests were persecuted.

The main character is last priest in a southern Mexican state. He is wandering from village to village around since years, constantly hiding and giving masses always on the run. Finally a determined police lieutenant hunts him down and the priest is executed. Yert this priest is certainly not the martyr you expect as he is a whiskey priest and he actually has a daughter.

“What am I here for? Memory drained out of him in the heat.” (Greene, 1940, p.4).

“He said: “The set is nearly finished. Tonight,” he promised wildly. It was, of course, quite impossible; but that was how one lived, putting off everything.” (Greene, 1940, p.5).

“He had protuberant eyes: he gave an impression of unstable hilarity, as if perhaps he had been celebrating a birthday … alone.” (Greene, 1940, p.6).

“”Are you a Catholic?”
“No, no. Just an expression. I don’t believe in anything like that.” He said irrelevantly: “It’s too hot anyway.” (Greene, 1940, p.8).

“But he could feel her stiffen: the word “life” was taboo: it reminded you of death. She turned her face away from him towards the wall and then opelessly back again – the phrase “turn to the wall” was taboo, too. She lay panic-stricken, while the boundaries of her fear widened and widened to include every relationship and the whole world of inanimate things: it was like an infection. You could look at nothing for long without becoming aware that it, too, carried the germ … the word “sheet” even. She threw the sheet off her and said: “It’s so hot, it’s so hot.”” (Greene, 1940, p.46).

“He was aware of an immense load of responsibility: it was indistinguishable from love.” (Greene, 1940, p.584).

“He said: ”Pray that you will suffer more and more and more. Never get tired of suffering. The police watching you, the soldiers gathering taxes, the beating you always get from the jefe because you are too poor to pay, small-pox and fever, hunger … that is all part of heaven – the preparation. Perhaps without them – who can tell? – you wouldn’t enjoy heaven so much. Heaven would not be complete. And heaven. What is heaven?” (Greene, 1940, p.89).

“It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization  - it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.” (Greene, 1940, p.125).

“It was odd – this fury to deface, because, of course, you could never deface enough. If god had been like a toad, you could have rid the globe of toads, but when God was like yourself, it was no good being content with stone figures – you had to kill yourself among the graves.” (Greene, 1940, p.131).

“He said: “I don’t know how to repent.” That was true: he had lost the faculty. He couldn’t say to himself that he wished his sin had never existed, because the sin seemed to him now so unimportant – and he loved the fruit of it.” (Greene, 1940, p.167).

“When you visualized a man or a woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity … that was a quality God’s image carried with it … when you saw the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination.” (Greene, 1940, p.171).

“Nothing in life was as ugly as death.” (Greene, 1940, p.174).

“”You are all alike, you people. You never learn the truth – that God knows nothing.” Some tiny scrap of life like a grain of smut went racing across the page in front of him: he pressed his finger down on it and said: “You edge out between leaves, scurrying for refuge: in this heat there was no end to life.” (Greene, 1940, p.182).

“It was the oddest thing that ever since that hot and crowded night in the cell he had passed into a region of abandonment – almost as if he had died there with the old man’s head on his shoulder and now wandered in a kind of limbo, because he wasn’t good or bad enough … Life didn’t exist any more: it wasn’t merely a matter of the banana station. Now as the storm broke and he scurried for shelter he knew quite well that he would find – nothing.” (Greene, 1940, p.193).

“Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life.” (Greene, 1940, p.203).

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Provided you don’t kiss me – Duncan Hamilton

 “He took pride in being an agitator, and gratuitously provocative.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.15).

“’You know,’ he said one day, handing me the team sheet, ‘I’d love all of us to play football the way Frank Sinatra sings… all the richness in the sound, and every word perfect. How gorgeous would that be?’ His face glowed like a fire, and he began to sing along with Sinatra, always a word ahead of him, as if he needed to prove that he knew the lyrics. ‘I’ve got you … under my skin …’ He rose from his chair, still singing, and began to pretend he was dancing with his wife. When the song finished, he laughed until tears ran down his cheeks. He fell back into his chair, arms and legs splayed.
The smile looked as if it might stay on his face for ever. ‘Oh, that was good,’ he said. Blow me, if only football could be that much fun…’” (Hamilton, 2007, p.20).

“He abhorred Revie and regarded Leeds, then League champions, as insular and rotten. But there was a perverse attraction in managing the club he had remorselessly criticized for half a dozen years or more.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.30).

 “He knew that he and Taylor ought to have stayed, hammered out a compromise, however unsatisfactory to them in the short term, and then worked to rid themselves of Longston.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.60).

“After Forest were knocked out of the European Cup in the first round in 1980, it was Clough who arrived for the press conference with champagne and the trophy the following morning. ‘We’d better say goodbye to it in style,’ he announced to the journalists gathered around him.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.71).

“Sometimes you win matches in unusual places – often before you put a foot on the field.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.83). “The conversation with Barton was Clough’s way of explaining that preparation away from the training pitch, and a proper psychological understanding of players was paramount for success.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.84).

“It was hard not to respect a team who adhered to such a rigorous code of behaviour. … no arguing with the referee or with the managers. He didn’t like his players to kick the ball away, waste time.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.89).

“his unselfish work rate and critical function he fulfilled around more flamboyant figures. (…) when he signed McGovern and said so provocatively that he had bought him to ‘teach the others how to play.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.89).

“’If we ever got too high and mighty, I just had to call a team meeting and go around the room. I could point to Robbo and say, “You were a tramp when I came here, now you’re he best winger in the game.” I could tell Burnsy and Lloydy that they’d both have been on the scrap heap without me.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.101).

“He was seldom comfortable with directors or administrators because he generally held them in as much esteem as a dog does its fleas. While there were individuals he liked and respected, he held the view that directors as a breed were parasitical freeloaders with an appalling ignorance of, and scant appreciation for, both his worth and the game itself.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.128).

“’Never quit, never quit,’ I heard him say.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.131). “’Resigning is for prime ministers and people caught with their pants down,’” (Hamilton, 2007, p.143).

About the job as England manager: “’I’d have a difference as well, you know. I’d have won the World Cup. Mind you, I’d probably started a world war in the process…’” (Hamilton, 2007, p.144).

“I can tell, from the moment I see someone in the dressing room, whether he’s off colour, had a row with his missus, kicked a cat or just doesn’t fancy it that particular day. I know who needs lifting. I know who needs to have his arse kicked. I know who needs leaving alone to get on with it. ‘It only takes a minute to score a goal, and it takes less than a minute to change someone’s outlook with a word or two.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.149).

Eric Morecombe: “Eric’s dreadful playing of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Andre Previn was conducting, or at least trying to. He walks over to Eric and says, ‘You’re playing all the wrong notes.’ Eric says to Previn, ‘I’m playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.’ Clough, thought that footballers could be similarly ‘out of tune’, as he put it, like a bad pub pianist. ‘They have all the right notes – but don’t play them in the right order. The difference between a good manager and a bad one is that the good one (a) can recognise they can play and (b) knows how to teach them to put everything in the right order.’” (Hamilton, 2007, p.150).

“Clough wanted more to understand the attitude of his new arrival, and what made him respond positively, than to fill his head with arid tactical theories.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.152).

“Clough also always strived to invent fresh ways to generate a reaction from his players.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.153). “Clough was like an actor, polishing and repolishing his lines.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.153). “Clough believed any shared experience – providing it was a positive one – fostered team spirit.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.154). “Punching players in the stomach, usually at half-time, to signal his displeasure.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.154).

When he was a player: “The manager, Bob Denison, told Clough that now he had finally been chosen for the side, the rest was ‘up to him’, as if Denison himself was offering no support and making little effort to put the debutant at ease. The burden, clough felt, ought to have been taken off him, or at least eased.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.154). “His core dictum as a manager – ‘make sure you’ve got the players who are relaxed’ – sprang out of that moment of thoughtlessness from Dennison. Clough wanted to reassure players: ‘You’re in the team ‘cos you’re good enough, son.’” (Hamilton, 2007, p.154).

“’I don’t know anything about art. But I do know that one artist influences another artist, persuades him to paint in the same style or use the same colours. I reckon if I can influence just one manager to look at what I did, and then try to do exactly the same thing himself, then I’ll take it as a compliment. I’ll know that I was half-decent at my job.” (Hamilton, 2007, p.226).