Tagged: legend

Kurt Vonnegut – Legend

I read Slaughter House 5 a long time ago when I was working out in Germany. In the days before ipod/phones I used to read on the tram and bus journeys to work. The book is semi-autobiographical and easy to read in terms of style, but harder to inwardly digest. The author, Kurt Vonnegut goes up in my estimation the more I find out about him. I posted a blog entry on him previously after seeing a clip of a lecture he gave on “Story Styles”.

Since then I have discovered and read two letters written at different stages of his life. One letter he typed to his family at the end of WWII and the other was sent to some high school students almost 40 years later in 2006.

Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and by the following year he was fighting in the Ardennes. It was here that he became a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. By 1945 he was in Germany, in Dresden to be precise.

KURT V USARMY

This is the city where his book Slaughter House 5 is set. Dresden. is a place that I have been to; it is a very beautiful city with an Old Town that has half timbered houses. It has some wonderful architecture with palaces, churches and a very famous opera house. Visit Dresden today and you will see very little evidence that it was a scene of mass death and destruction towards the end of the War in Europe.

The city was the target of heavy bombing by the RAF which resulted in a huge firestorm. Vonnegut was there to see the city burn on Valentine’s Day 1945 that many of its victims simply suffocated to death. The reason for this was that the fire was so intense that its flames consumed all the available oxygen in the combustion process.

Nobody knows how many people died but it is estimated to be hundreds of thousands as the city was full of people fleeing the oncoming Red Army. When you hear about the journey that took him to Dresden it is amazing that he even got to see it all take place. Just see what he wrote here:  

The things that he must have experienced, one cannot begin to imagine. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see first hand but he dealt with it and enjoyed  successful writing career.

Towards the end of his life Vonnegut was invited to come and visit their class by some New York high school students. He politely declined the invitation by sending this letter to the school. It just illustrates what an absolute diamond the man was.

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The video made about this story can be seen by clicking the picture below

Make Your Soul Grow from Bader Rudebeck Films on Vimeo.

Some people just do things right. Kurt Vonnegut is one such man.

Kurt Vonnegut on Telling Stories

 

He is an absolute legend – Dennis Skinner

Dennis Skinner claimed about £5k on average for his annual travel expenses over the past few years and he voted in220px-Dennis_Skinner_MP 91.04% of the debates in Parliament.

You can check it all here:

http://www.theyworkforyou.com

This web site is a great mine of information on what MPs are up to and if they really are “working for you”. “The Beast of Bolsover” gives full value to his constituents. Meanwhile my MP, the Honourable Member for Amersham (where an Oyster Card still works), regularly claimed well over Dennis’ annual travel expense totals and voted in only 69.65% of debates in the House of Commons.

Amersham Off peak Travelcard to Zone 1 costs £12.10, whilst an off peak return from Chesterfield (5 miles from Bolsover) to London with a Zone 1 travel card costs £113.

Here he is at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Question Time on top form.

A Legend from the Old School.

I wish Dennis was my MP.

 

Hats off

There is always someone who has more on their plate to deal with than you.
If I think like this it helps me see that half full cup.
Hats off to this young pup for his grit, stamina and determination.

Hey, I sound a bit like Alan Hansen on a Saturday night in giving that analysis!