serious

They always remember the dancing syringes

I've been trying to find a quotation I came across some time ago about ideas and creativity. It roughly says that ideas are flying about above us all the time, and when one hits you it's very important to grab it and do something with it, because otherwise that bastard Van Morrison will end up with them all.

Anyone know it? Obviously I'd like to know who said it, and who about.

A couple of others I have come across recently and liked:

“We must not forget that when every material improvement has been affected in prisons, when the temperature has been adjusted, when the proper food to maintain health and strength has been given, when the doctors, chaplains and prison visitors have come and gone, the convict stands deprived of everything a free man calls life. We must not forget that all these improvements, which are sometimes salves to our consciences, do not change that position.” - Winston Churchill

Secondly, Kurt Vonnegut talking about his time working for General Electric:
"A broken-down movie actor named Ronald Reagan Was working for the company. He was on the road all the time, lecturing to chambers of commerce and power companies and so on about the evils of socialism. We never met, so I remain a socialist."

Finally and at some length, Richard of Devizes, quoted on a slip of newspaper I some years ago was using as a book mark in my copy of Snow Crash. I'd forgotten about it entirely until I picked the book up over the weekend:
"Be of good courage;
forget your own people and native land, for every land is the home of
the brave, as the sea is for the fish, and as the whole of the wide world is
for the bird. When you have entered England, if you should come to
London, you will quickly pass through it, as that city greatly displeases
me. Every race of men, out of every nation which is under heaven, resort
thither in great numbers; every nation has introduced into that city its
vices and had manners. No one lives in it without offence; there is not a
single street in it that does not abound in miserable, obscene wretches;
there, in proportion as any man has exceeded in wickedness, so much is
he the better. I am not ignorant of the disposition I am exhorting; you
have, in addition to your youth, an ardent disposition, a slowness of
memory, and a soberness of reason between extremes. I feel in myself no
uneasiness about you, unless you should abide with men of corrupt lives;
for from our associations our manners are formed. But let that be as it
may. You will come to London. Behold! I warn you, whatever of evil or
of perversity there is in any, whatever in all parts of the world, you will
find in that city alone. Go not to the dances of panders, nor mix yourself
up with the herds of the stews; avoid the talus and the dice, the theatre
and the tavern. You will find more braggadocios there than in all France,
while the number of flatterers is infinite. Stage-players, buffoons, those
that have no hair on their bodies, Garamantes, pick-thanks, catamites,
effeminate sodomites, lewd musical girls, druggists, lustful persons,
fortune-tellers, extortioners, nightly strollers, magicians, mimics,
common beggars, tatterdemalions, this whole crew has filled every
house. So if you do not wish to live with the shameful, you will not dwell
in London. I am not speaking against the learned, whether monks or
Jews; although, still, from their very dwelling together with such evil
persons, I should esteem them less perfect there than elsewhere."

Eight centuries, and nothing's changed but the bus fares. He's nicer about some other places, although apparently "York abounds in Scots, vile and faithless men, or rather rascals" and "At Bristol, there is nobody who is not, or has not been, a soapmaker".

I was listening to 6Music the other day - as you do - and a rather funny song came on. On Googling, I found it was by Lilly Allen, which was a bit disconcerting. I suppose she has talent after all. I don't think I'd knowingly heard anything by her before. The video's here, and is worth a look (although slightly sweary at a couple of points, in case any of you kids have impressionable parents around). At one point it reminded me of this frankly Busbytastic Dandy Warhols clip that I'm sure many of you remember.

I was reading the paper yesterday too. My life's so exciting. There was an article about women suffering worse from rising unemployment than men - which I have no reason to doubt - and it was illustrated by a couple of young women carrying their stuff out of their ex-employer's office in cardboard boxes. I was struck, though, that one of them had a name - at a guess her name - written on the box in felt tip. I'm not sure I would have printed that photo if it was my paper.

Also, last week, there was this article about the shortcomings of the departing President Gore.

I was round at Lara and Seth's (with Sandy and Martin) last night playing this game, Arkham Horror, which is quite complex but good fun. We lost - we all lost, collectively, because it's almost entirely a collaborative rather than competitive game - and Yig destroyed everything. Still, I have to like a game in which leaving Elder Signs everywhere is so clearly a winning tactic.

I mentioned this to Lara - someone's reading and summarising the Origin of Species a chapter at a time. Only up to chapter 3 last time I checked, but well worth a look.

I'm quite pleased to find a song about Polmont. I can't imagine there are that many. My dad used to work there. The album's quite impressed me, although I should say that I don't think I've heard so much reverb in my whole life. It makes Psychocandy sound a bit dry.

Finally . . . it's been snowing. I don't think it'll lie long.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Music: Glasvegas - Polmont on my mind
Yay, Arkham Horror is fun. It's not often you get to do something with an unambiguous common goal and where nobody has any vested interest outside of working together and doing everything you can to achieve the goal. Sadly.

I think I heard that Lily Allen song on the radio last week and laughed my pants off.
L&S also have a game called Pandemic - this one, I guess - where the players are a team who win or lose collectively. I haven't played it, but they might well venture an opinion if asked.
Pandemic's very good fun, and pretty quick. I think you can get a game wrapped up in about half an hour. Appropriately enough I play it with some of my colleagues at the Health Protection Agency.
That'd be good. Our game yesterday took about five or six hours, although allegedly they take half that once you know what you're doing.
It roughly says that ideas are flying about above us all the time, and when one hits you it's very important to grab it and do something with it

Um... Terry Pratchett has something very similar to this in one of his books and calls the particles carrying the ideas something similar to Inspirons. I doubt that's the quote you're thinking of but it might be.
But does he have a go at Van Morrison? Doesn't seem his style, really.

Still . . . any idea which one it's in?
No, he doesn't. I wasn't sure if the Van Morrison bit was literally part of the quote you were looking for or just something about the idea hitting the wrong person that you were driving at. So, it's definitely not that quote then (and I don't know which book it's in, they're all essentially pretty much the same anyway).
It wasn't necessarily Morrison. I remember it as being him, but it's been a while, and you know what memory's like. It definitely had a go at someone.
Neil Gaiman also recently said (about 2/3 of the way down the page) Sometimes I think that ideas float through the atmosphere like huge squishy pumpkins, waiting for heads to drop on.
I have. Once, in a school chemistry class. I suppose this means I'm qualified to move to Bristol, although for the moment I'm happy where I am.

A vile canard would presumably be a sinister duck. My flatmate's a duck, you know. We can tell because he weighs the same as a witch.
Arkham Horror is a great game. I got Pandemic for Xmas, but haven't had a chance to play it yet.

I love that quote about London.

Lily Allen's first album is really funny and smart. It rhymes "Tesco" and "alfresco"at one point, which is pretty damn good. I just avoid her on telly :-)