More from me earlier today on The Guardian Books blog. I’ve been reading and thinking about George Orwell in anticipation of our stay on Jura next summer and this piece is a reflection on his life there:
At this time of year, running away from the crowds, the brightly-coloured plastic decorations and the grisly return of Slade is an attractive idea. There can be few places in the Western world where even the most bookish of homes isn’t invaded by an army of illuminated Santas, shiny toys and their tinny medley of gaudy musical electronica. Sixty years ago mindless noise and Christmas did not go together as they do now, but even then the seasonal city hubbub did not suit everyone. For George Orwell the apocalyptic avalanche of stuff that represents Christmas in 2007 would only have confirmed his view that without God, or a spiritual alternative, civilisation would come to a grim, totalitarian end.
… More here.