Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes...

It's February 1945 and you're a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. As if that isn't bad enough, your compatriots decide to launch a large-scale bombing raid on the city where you're imprisoned.

Kurt Vonnegut witnessed one of the worst bombing raids of the Second World War when 800 Allied bombers dropped 650,000 incendiaries, 8,000lb of high explosives and hundreds of 4,000lb bombs in an attack on Dresden. The city was an inferno and if someone had told the young POW Vonnegut that he would live for another 62 years, I doubt he would have believed them.

Although Vonnegut probably lived a lot longer than he expected to, I still feel sad that he's dead because I'd rather live on a planet that has Kurt Vonnegut in it. In a world that is dominated by sane mad people, it was a relief to know that there were mad sane people like Vonnegut who would ridicule the insanities of the modern age.

Every entry I've found on the internet has photos of an older Vonnegut, with moustache and bushy hair, but should we remember people by how they looked during the last few years of their life? If I was a great writer I think I'd be annoyed if people only saw a picture of me in my later years, so in tribute to Kurt here is a more youthful photo...

1 comment:

Ms Baroque said...

That's a really sweet picture - and I'd never have recognised him, which is something. You could have a point. But then, the way he looked from middle age on never changed much, and became iconic. As in the picture I posted, "borrowed" from the Guardian, he looks rather as if he's revelling in it!

I've been struck today by how fast everyone has posted tributes. Mine was up within 15 minutes of hearing the news and when I looked around, loads of others were already up. Big reaction.