I’m surprised how affected I am by the news of the death of Alan Sillitoe. When I was growing up in Nottingham, Sililtoe was an inspiring figure. Even though he wrote a generation or more before mine, he still seemed to be the only writer who wrote about the city I grew up in. The Goose Fair. The Forest. Lenton. Radford. St Ann’s. Slab Square. There’s more than just that though . Sillitoe wrote about the urge to enjoy life, and our hunger to get away from it’s grind and tedium and limitation. About the urge to escape.
I spent some of the afternoon re-reading “The Loneliness of the Long distance runner”, and I thought this quote from the end of one of the other short stories in the collection was worth repeating.
“More than anything else, I’m glad now I didn’t go to the pictures that Saturday afternoon when I was feeling black and ready to do myself in. Because you know, I shan’t ever kill myself. Trust me. I’ll stay alive half-barmy till I’m a hundred and five, and then go out screaming blue murder because I want to stay where I am.”