Monday, September 17, 2007

Formula 1 spying scandal

The details of the spying scandal seem to be causing some controversy. Ron Dennis claims to have alerted the FIA, yet Max Mosley disputes this.

As a result, Ferrari will win the constructors' championship, as BMW Sauber doesn't have enough points to catch up with them.

However, no matter how this turns out, after the Belgian Grand Prix, it looks like it could be Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen who becomes World Champion in 2007.

Belated memories

I should have written more than I did in my last entry - after all, the date in question was the sixth anniversary of one of the most devastating events of recent years. A rant about a delayed novel doesn't seem appropriate now.

On the other hand, I couldn't think of writing anything adequate to the task. The consequences of that day still affect the world - no telling when the last echo of a historical event dies out - it could be said any historical event echoes through the history of humanity.

What do I remember of that day?

I was working in my alma mater, had returned from lunch between 1:46pm and 2:03pm. A colleague had a radio on in his office, with the News at One still on - odd, because it usually ended at 1:45pm. He told me the news and I listened in his office, keeping one eye on the door for my boss. There was a sense of unreality - I believed these terrible events had happened, but somehow I felt disconnected from my surroundings. The news continued - we didn't have a TV in the lab, so I didn't see the footage of the attacks until I went home. I remember telling a couple of colleagues in an agitated manner about the attacks - I don't think it sank in - maybe they thought it was a light aircraft I was talking about, maybe they had something already on their minds.

Needless to say, news websites were overloaded.

I got home and Mum had already seen the attacks on TV. That night and for some weeks after RTE 1 radio didn't broadcast repeats of their usual shows late at night - they broadcast programmes from a New York radio station.

There was tremendous confusion in the aftermath of the attacks - there were rumours that as many as eight airliners had been hijacked and reports of a car bomb outside the State Department in Washington DC - these were broadcast by news networks as confused and desperate as any of us for news.

A friend and his wife were on holiday at the time of the attacks - I didn't know for quite a while whether they had been on the hijacked airliners - fortunately they hadn't, though they had been in flight when the attacks occurred. The first they knew of the attacks was when they landed at their destination.

A colleague was at a conference in Italy at the time of the attacks - he said how everyone was desvastated.

On the Friday of that week, a national day of mourning was declared here in Ireland - workplaces closed.

I was like a frightened child - I kept saying to myself "why?". Although I'm well aware of humanities' capacity for barbarism, such as the Holocaust, the massacres in Rwanda, the massacres in the Former Yugoslavia and other atrocities, somehow I still manage to be appalled. Maybe I still have some futile hope that we will learn better, that somehow we will stumble into a better future, that some day we will be better people - that atrocities will be some day a thing of the past, to be remembered and avoided, but never to be repeated.

Maybe this is why I didn't blog that day - I feared that I'd draw too much from the well of melancholy that is the depression I'm being treated for.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Exit Music delayed?

I may have imagined it, but the release date for Ian Rankins' latest novel, Exit Music, was the 6th of September, but most of the bookshops in Dublin (and one in Dun Laoighre) didn't have it that day.

Was there a shortage of copies of the book or were deliveries just delayed? Can anybody answer this?

Maybe I should get Inspector Rebus (retired) onto the case, assuming that he can be persuaded away from the mean wynds of Aul' Reeky, even in his retirement...