Muddy Dabbling

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This week in The Dabbler I pay homage to the two heroes of my teenage years, Samuel Beckett and Robert Wyatt, and how they sort of collided, in spirit, in Wyatt’s song “Muddy Mouth”.

Do I still idolise either of them? Probably not. Beckett’s early novels remain matchless, but he wrote himself into an airless and sterile impasse. The later, shorter, fictions lack the comic energy that makes Watt a bonkers masterpiece sui generis. As for Wyatt, he still makes some fine records, but I can’t really uphold as a hero an unreconstructed communist who has that curious British middle-class leftie obsessiveness about Israel. (See also the late Iain Banks.)

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