Tuesday, September 19, 2006

JG Ballard on the South Bank Show

JG Ballard was on ITV’s South Bank Show on Sunday. He had a weird upbringing but then so did many of his generation who had their childhood or adolescence interrupted by the Second World War. Being in Shanghai under Japanese occupation however must rank pretty high on the disruption scale.

I’ve never read any of his books but I gather that some of them rank quite high on the weird scale. He had some interesting things to say on the programme and I gather that he covers similar themes in his fiction, much of which is science fiction. He has an interesting take on modern life with its mixture of consumerism and boredom and seems to think that many people grave more violence in their lives.

Not sure he’s right about that but it does amuse me that we lead increasingly cautious lives on a day-to-day basis but seek ever more thrills and spills in our leisure time. Hence the rise of extreme sports and scary theme park rides. I’m sure he’s right about the increasingly blurred distinction between ‘reality’ and the imagination.
And he’s very sound about how unpleasant humans can be to each other particularly in extreme conditions such as war or famine. Seems like excellent reasons to avoid war through institutions such as the EU and to keep the economy buoyant...

He lives in Shepperton which is also weird. It’s in that part of the Thames valley where the map has no contours. The highest thing for miles around is the flyover that takes the M3 over Sunbury Cross near where I used to work. I hated it – right in the middle of bungalow land and lace-curtain-ville.

The South Bank Show is on far too late for old folk so I had to tape it. But then comes the dilemma; do you watch it or the eight-hundredth repeat of the Fred Dibnah show on UKTV History? Actually I took my daughter out for some driving practice to get some more adventure into my life....

You can get an audio podcast of the interview from here but you won’t be able to see his wild staring eyes unless you paste a picture onto your MP3 player.....


At 09:24, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but can we get a realplayer or wmv version as your like show that itv have entered podland - which for use older browsers means weired - even more so than lace curtains, which at least had a social purpose!
Angry Dog


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