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Culture Vulture Schmulture – F

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”)

This week we’re on to “F”, and the first time I’ve chosen a book. The only other real contenders were Falling Down, Michael Douglas’s bad hair day, and Falling Towards England – part of Clive James’s autobiography. Lots of falling. I’ve plumped for Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama of Tibet’s autobiography. As a typical civil servant, I prided myself until recently on having a poor knowledge of global events. I decided I would change this and thought Tibet might be a nice place to start. I was, as usual, right!

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As someone who previously knew nothing of Tibet’s history and significance, I came to this book with brain blanche. The Dalai Lama, surprisingly for me, writes simply yet evocatively, explaining two strands – his life and his country’s situation – in parallel without losing anything from either. Quite possibly the most humble man alive, he rarely speaks ill of Mao (don’t worry, I’m not going to get political) and glosses over his myriad personal triumphs in somewhat of a flash. Don’t get me wrong, the detail’s all there, but expressed in a way that makes it far more digestible. I can’t really say much more about this book. It’s something you might quite like to buy if you have any interest in Tibet, the human race, politics, history, religion or philosophy. Otherwise, don’t bother (!).

I’m going to use the rest of this space to complain about the pitiful amount of email I’ve received from you ungrateful swines. I work my ass off (hmmm) to bring you the finest things you might like to think about… And how do you thank me? One nameless person decides that he’s going to buy Astral Weeks. And the rest of you? You know nothing. Palestines. Seriously, let us know if you agree with anything I’ve ever said, or vehemently disagree.

This week could potentially see the beginning of a run of literary suggestions. Hold on to your hats – can you stand the pace, boys and girls?

Until next time, pop-pickers…

PG Author: Atoz

(aka Dave Stock:) the first person in the world to write to britishexpat.com, and probably the last to send in his biog. After a few useful one-off contributions, Atoz started his irregular A to Z of cultural icons. At the time of writing this, he's up to "O" - but there's still no sign of the biog. (Update - he still hadn't sent it in by the time he'd reached "Z"!)

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