In the latest issue:

Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

What made the Vikings tick?

Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne


Bridget Alsdorf

Sarah Moss

Blake Morrison

Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

Tim Parks

Art Lessons

Peter Campbell

You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

An Adenoidal Letter to a Former ClassmateMatt Simpson
Vol. 8 No. 10 · 5 June 1986

An Adenoidal Letter to a Former Classmate

Matt Simpson

159 words

‘Liverpudlian’ plays self-mockingly on the idea of ‘pool’. I was born in Liverpool. I would be flattering myself if I claimed that you need to be a comedian to survive there. But Liverpudlians do, like punsters, switch things about: they breathe through their mouths and talk through their noses. They are physiological, existential twisters.

Walter Redfern – ‘Puns’

It was always a question of getting on
in life, in years. A long way now
from our mothers’ simple tontine dreams
of being free of factories, corner shops,
uncouth docks and home’s accumulating
bitternesses; a long way too
from fathers’ hopeless optimisms,
their grimacings at love or luck.

                                           The docks
are emptying. Here’s one drained,
a good-for-nothing siltscape glistening;
and here’s another shop blanked out,
a warehouse where a masochistic wind
cuts itself to pieces on smashed panes.

What’s left behind is just another place
for dying in ... queasy bedrooms and
inhospitable wards. One has to laugh.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences