Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

Radical Class: What Youth Reads Homage to Catalonia: a book seven decades young and still topical!

The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners are alike appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality. The one word that no foreigner can avoid learning is mañana.George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

I bring books with me when I go on vacation for two reasons. One, I struggle to stay lucid on planes and sometimes music alone doesn’t cut it. Two, what’s better than learning something new and then dropping that knowledge on the deaf ears of friends and family later? Not much. And it’s not like I’m going to stare at the back of a seat and keep myself occupied with a pack of peanuts for ten-hours straight.

Anyway, six months ago I stormed into the Tom Bradley International newsstand like I always do: Reeling with post-TSA anxiety and in need of some fresh pages. I was on my way to Barcelona and wanted something on brand with the destination. After ransacking some shelves, I walked away with two new books. The first was called The Train in Spain and it was terrible. It wanted so bad to be The Sun Also Rises but instead came off as bunch of fond-numbing, name-droppy nonsense compiled by an author with questionable observational skills and a locomotive fetish. My patience didn’t even make it to cruising altitude. So, after rolling my eyes hard enough to strain a nerve, I put The Train in Spain down for good. Reaching back into my bag, I fished out my second buy: Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell.

Few writers can claim to be as handy with a pen as Orwell was. There’s a reason Hemingway modeled his style after the English-born author. Hunter S. Thompson, too. And remember 1984 is literary triumph even though more than a quarter of it is about dealing with paperwork. With Orwell’s name gracing a cover, you know you’re in for a treat.

But back to the book. At the start of Spanish Civil War, Orwell flew out to Barcelona to “join the militia to fight against fascism.” Orwell served as a private, corporal, and a lieutenant for the POUM (the Workers’ Part of Marxist Unification, an anti-Stalinist communist party) throughout the course of the novel. Most of it is set in wartime Barcelona, but it does venture to the battlefield on occasion.

Now, Orwell didn’t write the book to present an account of the war from a historical perspective. Homage to Catalonia is simply a written collection of his own thoughts, opinions, and experiences. It inspires praise not because it’s a historical analysis. No. Readers gush over Homage To Catalonia because Orwell is a very good writer, which makes Homage an incredibly pleasant read. Plus, it’s one of only a few insiders perspective on a (now) sadly glossed over war. I powered through it cover to index on the flight over, then read it again on the flight back. And I recently finished reading it for a third time. If it’s not obvious already: This is my favorite book.

The people who write that kind of stuff never fight; possibly they believe that to write it is a substitute for fighting. It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours. —Homage to Catalonia

It’s nice and topical right now too with the whole Catalonian independence movement thing fully flaring up as well. Plus, violent ideological conflict between the left and the right is back in fashion. Politics: They may get nasty, but at least history has the decency to repeat itself.

Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell. Consider it a slightly outdated pamphlet of what the times could hold. So, check it out. It’s easy to carry around and you can impress coworkers with it. —James Royce

Get after it here.

 

 

what youth scott chenoweth illustration

Every Wall A Door: The C.S. Louis Journals Part Two: Why I love Styx…In Mexico

C.S. Louis has spent the majority of his life serving the God’s of core.

what youth radical class scott chenoweth

Every Wall A Door: The C.S. Louis Journals Part One: A hole in every port

Editor’s Note: C.S. Louis has spent the majority of his life serving the God’s of core. And now we’ve given him a chapel in the form of a new column he likes to call: Every Wall a Door to preach his gospel. You’re likely to find wisdom, surfboards, dusty backroads, a lot of frustration with…

kai neville how to hotels what youth

How To: Stay in a Hotel By the worlds finest connoissuer of accomodation: Chas Smith

The greatest gift an adult can give himself is a night in a hotel. Hotels, and more specifically, hotel rooms, are portals that exist somewhere between fantasy and reality. They are neither truly real nor truly extraterrestrial. The fine hotel room will exude a sort of “all things are possible, sir” je ne sais quoi….

Dane reynolds and Jay Davies what youth radical class

Dane Reynolds and Jay Davies On the surf parts you should be watching

During our recent journey with Jay Davies and Dane Reynolds we nearly ran over a mini horse in the van, but we also got to talking about the state of getting psyched. It’s not as easy as popping in a DVD or VHS these days. Here’s Dane and Jay on what they’ve been doing to…

What Youth Old Fashioned what youth drinks radical class

What Youth Drinks: The Old Fashioned The bottom turn of cocktails

Editor’s note: It’s no big secret we like to drink. We travel. Write. Film. Photograph. Surf. Skate. And work hard. And we often balance all that with drink. But we’d like to remind you that drinking isn’t for everyone (hell, it’s not for many), and lots of people have bad drinking styles — just like…

what youth shapers radical class

8 things you should be doing for your surfbard shaper Good advice from a good man: CS Louis

EDITOR’S NOTE: CS Louis has spent the majority of his life serving the God’s of core. He’s decided to pass along some of the wisdom that comes with this territory. And he’s starting at the top: our shapers. (Hopefully you have one). They are the men who mold the loves of our lives. Here is…

what youth shaping surfboards

6 things you should never do to your surfboard shaper Good advice from a good man, CS Louis

EDITOR’S NOTE: CS Louis has spent the majority of his life serving the God’s of core. He’s decided to pass along some of the wisdom that comes with this territory. And he’s starting at the top: our shapers. (Hopefully you have one). They are the men who mold the loves of our lives. Hear is…

Dane reynolds reading books what youth

7 Books you will psych on And should totally read

No one reads anymore. Which is probably why we read. But we’re realists too. Reading is hard in today’s culture. Our attention spans are at an all-time low. You’re one cell phone scroll away from cleavage and chicks and instant gratification at all times. So why the hell read? Well, for one, Dane does. For…

what youth drinks the negroni radical class

What Youth Drinks: The Negroni Orson Welles favorite drink (and ours too)

Editor’s note: It’s not a big secret that we like to drink. We travel. Write. Film. Photograph. Surf. Skate. And work hard. And we often balance all that with drink. But we’d like to remind you that drinking isn’t for everyone (hell, it’s not for many), and lots of people have bad drinking styles —…

Brendon Gibbens thrifting what youth

7 Reasons Thrifting is worth it With Noa Deane and Brendon Gibbens

No one just hands you Looney Tunes sweatshirts and vintage mom jeans to wear to Dane’s Loaded premiere (as Noa Deane did). You have to dig, scrap and hunt — sucker in mouth — battling hipsters, crazy aunts, aggro pickers and cigar-smoking old men at thrift stores and swap meets to find those types of…

Sign up for letters from What Youth