Hugh Jordan 🔖answers thirteen questions in Booker's Dozen. 

 Reading Aloud And Allowed


TPQ: What are you currently reading?

HJ: For as long as I can remember, I’ve fallen into the trap of reading several books at the same time. At the moment, I’m reading three. One is William Brown’s, Ian Paisley as I Knew Him. Two, John Crawley’s, Yank – My Life as a Former US Marine in the IRA. And three, is a third edition of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. I am reminding myself that something I once believed was a historic certainty is no longer.

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

HJ:  The best book I ever read was Sunset Song by Scottish writer James Leslie Mitchell who wrote under the name of Lewis Grassic Gibbon. In reading it, I was gently lulled into learning more about the Mearns country of north east Scotland and the Doric tongue spoken there. Things of which I knew nothing.

The worst book I ever read, was the vaingloriously titled, Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Sean Mac Stiofain, first Chief-of-Staff of the Provisional IRA. A revolutionary was the last thing he was.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

HJ: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although better known as the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Kidnapped informed me that a significant minority in Scotland spoke a language other than English.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

HJ: Robert Louis Stevenson.

TPQ: First book to really own you.

HJ: Labour in Irish History. At last I had found a writer who broadly reflected my outlook on life and he spoke for the class to which I belonged.


TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

HJ: My favourite male author is William McIlvanney, better known as a sports writer and biographer. His life observations and conversational style is an art form to behold.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

HJ: Without doubt, I will plump for fact. I just don’t have the time to read much fiction.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you.

HJ: I was a teenager when I first read Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy and now I own a first edition of it. Its final passage, where Brendan describes returning to Dublin Port by ferry after his stint in an English borstal, is truly a beautiful piece of writing. But it’s in Brendan Behan - A Life by Michael O’Sullivan that we discover the real Brendan.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

HJ: There’s no book or author I would refuse to read. I find it’s best to know your enemy

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you.

HJ: Children of the Dead End by Patrick Magill. The Donegal writer tells the story of the Irish who arrived in Scotland in the years following the famine. It describes in great and sometimes awful detail, the poverty, exclusion and discrimination they faced in their adopted country. Today, when I reflect on their magnificent triumph over diversity, I think of this book. This is one of the reasons I follow Celtic.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

HJ: The last book I gave as a present was one of my own, Milestones in Murder: Defining Moments in Ulster’s Terror War.

TPQ:
Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

HJ: In recent times, I’ve written a lot about the loyalist killer Michael Stone. He became infamous when his image was flashed around the world after he single-handedly attacked an IRA funeral in the late 1980s. It was a central act in a three week carnival of violence which left many dead. Having studied Stone’s life in detail, I’m now convinced he wasn’t the committed loyalist we were led to believe. Stone’s desperate need to be someone drove him to do what he did. The Troubles just gave him a pitch to play on. Two books - one, Stone’s own autobiography and another by author Martin Dillon - tell us something about this complex individual. But I believe a film, bringing all of the diverse strands of his upbringing and personality together, would give us a better understanding of the terrifying reality of what can happen when a human being feels excluded.

TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the final page on life.
 
HJ: The Penguin Book of Irish Verse has been close by my side since I was a teenager. It is a constant companion. If I am lucky enough to be aware the lights of my life are dimming, I think, it is to this book I’d turn, in the final hours and minutes.

🕮 Hugh Jordan is a journalist, author and Glasgow Celtic supporter. 

Booker's Dozen 📚 Hugh Jordan

Hugh Jordan 🔖answers thirteen questions in Booker's Dozen. 

 Reading Aloud And Allowed


TPQ: What are you currently reading?

HJ: For as long as I can remember, I’ve fallen into the trap of reading several books at the same time. At the moment, I’m reading three. One is William Brown’s, Ian Paisley as I Knew Him. Two, John Crawley’s, Yank – My Life as a Former US Marine in the IRA. And three, is a third edition of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. I am reminding myself that something I once believed was a historic certainty is no longer.

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

HJ:  The best book I ever read was Sunset Song by Scottish writer James Leslie Mitchell who wrote under the name of Lewis Grassic Gibbon. In reading it, I was gently lulled into learning more about the Mearns country of north east Scotland and the Doric tongue spoken there. Things of which I knew nothing.

The worst book I ever read, was the vaingloriously titled, Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Sean Mac Stiofain, first Chief-of-Staff of the Provisional IRA. A revolutionary was the last thing he was.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

HJ: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although better known as the author of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Kidnapped informed me that a significant minority in Scotland spoke a language other than English.

TPQ: Favourite Childhood author?

HJ: Robert Louis Stevenson.

TPQ: First book to really own you.

HJ: Labour in Irish History. At last I had found a writer who broadly reflected my outlook on life and he spoke for the class to which I belonged.


TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

HJ: My favourite male author is William McIlvanney, better known as a sports writer and biographer. His life observations and conversational style is an art form to behold.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

HJ: Without doubt, I will plump for fact. I just don’t have the time to read much fiction.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you.

HJ: I was a teenager when I first read Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy and now I own a first edition of it. Its final passage, where Brendan describes returning to Dublin Port by ferry after his stint in an English borstal, is truly a beautiful piece of writing. But it’s in Brendan Behan - A Life by Michael O’Sullivan that we discover the real Brendan.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

HJ: There’s no book or author I would refuse to read. I find it’s best to know your enemy

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you.

HJ: Children of the Dead End by Patrick Magill. The Donegal writer tells the story of the Irish who arrived in Scotland in the years following the famine. It describes in great and sometimes awful detail, the poverty, exclusion and discrimination they faced in their adopted country. Today, when I reflect on their magnificent triumph over diversity, I think of this book. This is one of the reasons I follow Celtic.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

HJ: The last book I gave as a present was one of my own, Milestones in Murder: Defining Moments in Ulster’s Terror War.

TPQ:
Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

HJ: In recent times, I’ve written a lot about the loyalist killer Michael Stone. He became infamous when his image was flashed around the world after he single-handedly attacked an IRA funeral in the late 1980s. It was a central act in a three week carnival of violence which left many dead. Having studied Stone’s life in detail, I’m now convinced he wasn’t the committed loyalist we were led to believe. Stone’s desperate need to be someone drove him to do what he did. The Troubles just gave him a pitch to play on. Two books - one, Stone’s own autobiography and another by author Martin Dillon - tell us something about this complex individual. But I believe a film, bringing all of the diverse strands of his upbringing and personality together, would give us a better understanding of the terrifying reality of what can happen when a human being feels excluded.

TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the final page on life.
 
HJ: The Penguin Book of Irish Verse has been close by my side since I was a teenager. It is a constant companion. If I am lucky enough to be aware the lights of my life are dimming, I think, it is to this book I’d turn, in the final hours and minutes.

🕮 Hugh Jordan is a journalist, author and Glasgow Celtic supporter. 

7 comments:

  1. Jordan like so many of his colleagues perpetuates the myth that there was a famine in the 1800,s ,there was a potatoe blight ,but an abundance of all other foods , hence as so many realists now call it as it was GENOCIDE ,,,

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  2. Smiling at that Marty - I know someone who insists on it being a genocide so goes on a rant against anybody who raises a query. A friend said to me not to waste time arguing with the "famine fascist"!!
    There is an interesting discussion in academic and literary circles, as there should be. I'm interested (it is a passing interest, nothing else) in all manner of opinion. I have found that the famine side tend to do better in these discussions than the genocide lobby not because they are right per se but because there is a greater tendency on the genocide lobby to rant like evangelical Christians. That is one sure way to alienate your audience.
    Anyway, to the Booker's - I really liked this contribution. Remember reading Borstal Boy in jail at 16. Found the take on Stone valuable. The Yank was great.

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  3. I can understand the anger and frustration that people who accept the Genocide version of that time in our history ,I think the facts speak for themselves ,that shiploads of food was taken out of the country under armed gaurd ,the film Black 45 made a reasonable attempt at depicting that, what amazes me is that successive Irish govts and jurnos are willing to write of those deaths so long as it doesnt annoy the Brits ,kind of reminds me of their attitude to the Dublin /Monaghan bombings,or the plight of northern nationalist,i think jurnos in this country in the main want an easy life and are unwilling to do their job properly ie;; investigate the facts and ask the relevant questions ,instead of taking their briefs from nefarious depts attached to govt and police ,

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    Replies
    1. Their anger is an attempt to impose their view on people who think differently. Everybody that claims to believe something claims that the facts support what they claim to believe. That applies as equally to evangelical Christians as it does to those who have been called famine fascists. People select the facts that suit their view and ignore the ones that don't. The view that the event was not a genocide is not one restricted to journalists and Irish governments. I don't object in the slightest to it being described as a genocide. What I do object to is somebody coming along and telling me I must believe it is a genocide because they tell me. If I believe it is a genocide I believe it because the data allows me to believe it not because some tub thumper tells me it is. And as ever, I am easy with people disagreeing with my view of it.

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    2. I understand the power of the use of language and why people are annoyed when people use "the wrong word" to describe something but the extent of the shouting down baffles me. Words like Northern Ireland or North of Ireland, the Famine or the Great Hunger or neither of these just Genocide. I prefer the phrase Great Hunger. It was a famine, albeit one which was manufactured and managed to more than decimate the people. Yes, a genocide. The dictionary definition is "a situation where there is not enough food for a great number of people, causing illness and death, or a particular period when this happens." It doesn't necessarily mean "not enough food to go round". The root of the word "famine" means "hunger" and can be caused by war, government policies, natural disasters, or crop failure.

      Much food was taken out of Ireland but according to the manifests of the shipping ports more food came in. This is more shocking than food taken out because the food was there just not given to the people. It makes sense that food production dropped as people were dying so couldn't help production so less went out and the food that came in fed the aristocracy, the wealthy and the British Army.

      Enough food to go around? The British did the opposite of helping - the polar opposite- Genocide. Examples, from the Government stopping food reaching the starving, Queen Victoria banning ships of food coming from the Turkish Sultan into Irish ports to eviction campaigns which were carried out with relish amounted to genocide.

      Northern Ireland is the legal term for this gerrymandered statelet. Our old geography teacher used to warn us about writing anything but Northern Ireland in our exams in case an Orangeman was marking them. A quick way to drop a grade or two. In college Northern Ireland was the preferred term. This is slowly changing but I wouldn't get hung up about it. I'm sure many decent people used the terms Famine and Northern Ireland and many a tout was adapt at using the "Occupied 6" or "the North". That sort of policing of semantics can be a little on the fascist side. Just like trying to ban people singing the Wolftones.

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    3. Simon, an insightful observation. I think it is important to push back against the word police. As you indicate many people who believe it is genocide still use the word famine. Famines, as you assert, are not always natural. And in their usage of the term they are not implying a natural disaster nor are they siding with the British state depiction of it. They don't need some self-declared genocide expert to wave the bible at them and scream sinner. Any argument in the hands of the ranters is destined to failure. People's eyes glaze over and they switch off.

      In Ireland of the 1840s I think the British are as guilty as the Belgians were in the Congo. Whether people call it a famine or a holocaust is up to them - so long as they don't say the Brits were innocent.

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  4. William McIlvanney? Hugh McIlvanney?

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