Haunted houses In your head This column has come a long way since the beginning of this series. In 2014, I was determined to entertain. I had nothing better to do. And I also have a crush on Billie Piper so everything else seemed cheap. I had never gone to a haunted house and knew next to nothing about the genre; I just wanted to write a bit of fun. It was only when I decided I didn’t want to do the introduction that I would get this kind of response. On a recent Monday, a journalist rang me up, couldn’t contain her laughter and told me I’d made a right mess of the introduction. Because, she said, you wouldn’t have done it differently. This was my fault. Never change. This is why the Observer is the worst newspaper. On a lighter note, you asked: “What would you rather read on the front page, Is Jeremy Corbyn boring us?” This question is a feminist one, but no matter. Though he is from a decent background, Corbyn’s supporters believe he’s the best thing since the rekindled love affair between Boswell and Henry VIII – which means he will bring a return to power for feminism and gay marriage and the abolition of Trident. “Without the Daily Mail,” said one fan, “he’d have been a bit of a ditherer”. How many have they got left? So easy, the Daily Mail is a stamp book, not a newspaper. It might even move closer to getting its news straight!
Saturday: Shake with the Devil
A 1973 music video of Fred “Rev Run” Johnson (left) and William (Ice-T) “The Human Centipede”. Photograph: YouTube
This week – and remember, I am such a fanboy – I interviewed the rapper Rev Run for GQ. He is best known for the Grammy-nominated Run DMC track Let’s Get It Started and for his band Run DMC’s collaboration with heavy metal band Def Leppard. He is now 57.
Where you can see them
Let’s Get It Started from Run DMC. (Opinion: Rev Run will look back with utter satisfaction upon his very early days as a respectable New York radio DJ).
Glastonbury 2019 and going properly rock’n’roll, thanks to The Pixies. Photograph: PR
One of the best things that’s happened to my life this week has been the combination of experiencing all three of the bands that performed at Glastonbury 2019 (Yoko Ono is partial to a year’s treatment here) and then taking the time to learn their classic album Trompe Le Monde (in my favourite language, in Ernest Hemingway’s, of course).
Next: punk and British slang
The punk movement died in 1983, with Jane Wiedlin coining the phrase “new breed”. I can’t help but feel that the phrase has been devalued considerably since the 1976 Sex Pistols/Jean-Paul Sartre concert in London, where all wore all black and sang Anarchy in the UK in a multitude of languages. Sadly, those days are gone, and all that’s left are generic commas. How wrong I am! British slang is always fun. But, my favourite word (for what it’s worth) is the strange and off-the-wall word “sketchwork”. I’ve never actually encountered it, but I’ve heard it used by very strange and off-the-wall people.
Finally… and I know we haven’t seen a Guardian of this nature since the 1970s or 80s, but it feels appropriate: I love walking in cold weather because it allows one to hear a lot of birdsong. I’ve come across an interview with the poet Jackie Kay where she claimed that there is something in the run-up to St Valentine’s Day about their approach. “They’re a couple of swans,” she explained. “They set a precedent and they tell us that we’re going to be swans. We have permission to be swans. It’s a gift.”
• Carrie O’Grady’s new novel, Listen to Your Eggs, is published by Headline