This week in my own little dreamworld.

Some time ago on MTV (that's MTVyoorp, or whatever version shows in happy sunny Cambridge) there was a very odd video for a song called "Angels" by an (apparently) even odder bloke called Bobby Conn. On Saturday, the Guardian had a brief interview with Mr Conn, because he's got a new album out. Apparently it's a politically-tinged glam rock record, which sounds exceedingly strange.

And while we're on the subject of bizarre records, they also had a short chat with Ivor Cutler which is well worth a look. They even manage to almost kill him while they're there. is good as well, in case you still haven't seen it.

The Barclay twins have agreed to buy Conrad Black's controlling stake in Hollinger, which owns the Telegraph. So we can probably look forward to them doing the same thing to the Torygraph that they've been doing to the Scotsman - i.e. turn it into the Daily Express. With any luck they'll even stick Andrew Neil in charge of it, and we won't have to put up with his pernicious influence up here any more. Obviously my heart goes out to any Telegraph readers out there, but frankly I'd rather have them pissing on you than pissing on me.

69 Love Songs is 2 hours 52 minutes 41 seconds long, and is available from Amazon for 13 quid. I listened to it yesterday, and it's still as good as I remember. I think a lot of my friends might enjoy this album *hint*.

sclerotic_rings posted some very worthwhile pieces on Sunday, concerning SF authors and fandom. Those of you with a passing familiarity with these things will probably be amused. He's also posted a link to a rather nice article about very big spiders. Real ones. Tarantulas. Bird-eating spiders. That sort of thing. It probably isn't recommended to arachnophobes. "The particular species of wasp that feeds on the goliath is the size of a sparrow."

Rennes-le-Chateau. The Holy Blood and the Wholly Bollocks. The priest is known to have been on the take. There's no mystery, right? Gaah. And can we give up on the Myers-Briggs thing too? Some vague speculation of Jung's that even he didn't place much weight on doesn't a valid basis for a psychometric test make, OK kids? And Jung wasn't actually up to much as a psychologist anyway.

The weekend. 'Twas good. Fiona was up, and on Friday we stayed in and watched the highly excellent Hana-Bi. More Kitano films lie in my/our future, I'm sure. Saturday we went to K Jackson's. It was John McDermott's 40th, so Richard and Derek were there. Fiona's own account is a bit more detailed.

There's an amusing flash thing at, and it's exactly what you'd expect.

The Grauniad also featured an an article about what it's like to be in The Fall. Warning : contains interview snippets with ex-Fall members including Marc "Lardy-Boy" Riley.

Raw Spirit. With spirit. It's very good. This week at bedtime I have mainly been accompanying the new Iain Banks book with Laphroaig. Laphraoig. Laphraiog. Whisky. Ahem. (The first of those is correct, incidentally). And on subsequent nights, Highland Park and then Balvenie. Bruichladdich or Glenmorangie next.

Wednesday's Guardian had some fashion photographs. It looks worryingly like we're approaching the return of the puffball skirt. I can't help wondering which fashion disaster we're going to have reprised next? Kicker boots? After the Chopper (yuch) going back into production, it would take a lot to surprise me.

The Daily Abscess this week dubbed Al-Jazeera "Al-Qaeda television". In a banner headline on the front page. What a crowd of pricks. Come the revolution, I'm going to personally take pleasure in stabbing the editor (and any surviving ex-editors) through the eyeballs with sharpened bicycle spokes. I haven't decided what I'll do with the rest of the staff. Or the fuckwits who read it.

Anyone who hasn't read Bridge of Birds . . . must.

(Incidentally, seaching Amazon for "Bridge of Birds" returns four editions of the Barry Hughart novel "Bridge of Birds" and one of the Poole Bridge Replacement Environment Impact Assessment Ornithological Study. Go figure)

On Tuesday gingiber and anonymouSETH came round for gougère and a trawl through my box of old photos. At some point I should find a way of scanning these. Some of them, anyway.

On Wednesday I shifted a tumble dryer for sibelian and purplerabbits, which turned out to be no trouble whatsoever. I was worried it would involve some actual work moving it, but it didn't.

On Thursday I went to the pub with Andrew, Andrew, Phil, Sandy, Steve and (briefly before he left) Ken. On Friday I went over to Andrew's to pick up a couple of CDs, listen to some Swedish psychedelic bands, fiddle with his camera (which seemed to have survived a fall some time ago entirely unscathed), have a chat and some tea, and see John Miller for the first time in about three years . . . the last time also having been him dropping round Andrew and Lorna's while I was having a cup of tea, in fact. He seems well, and looks more like Jet Black than ever (except a lot thinner).

Have any of you (that I don't already know about) read House of Leaves? What did you make of it?

Steven Stein created this cut-up of Kennedy assassination coverage. His label, Tommy Boy, was unable to officially release it because CBS refused to grant clearance for the use of Walter Cronkite’s voice. It was instead released as a white label 12-inch single in 1986. Goodness. "And the motorcade sped on", of course.

On Saturday, I went to Ascension and talked to Lara and Seth and Paul and Donna and James and Darren and Helen and Nicky and John and Jenny and Nick and Sharon and . . .

I didn't talk to Ed, though. I was talking to John and couldn't catch his eye, and then he was gone. There were several people drifting about who looked very like people I know who live a long way away. In at least two cases, I wasn't the only person to notice this. Very odd. Perhaps people look the same wherever you go. Perhaps there are only a finite (but admittedly large) number of faces, and we're all really cabbage-patch dolls after all.

What a horrible thought.

Sunday evening. I have to go and talk to the Social tomorrow. They want to know what I've been doing about finding work. I can tell this is going to be a very stressful and depressing experience.
Oh, and in case there was any lingering doubt . . .

How evil are you?

All sweetness and light, as I keep telling you.
  • Current Mood: pointy
  • Current Music: Negativland, Firewater, Magnetic Fields, Spray.
They do, yes. A couple of people are talking about maybe getting a negative scanner, though, which would be a) more portable if they'd let me borrow it and b) let me use the negatives which are cleaner and probably have better colour repro. Otherwise, I might actually take you up on that, if you don't mind. Cheers.
Can't measure up to your standards, obviously.

I fell between two stools on one question. One answer gives Good, the other Angelic. So maybe I'm a wee touch short of being an angel.

Good luck with my colleagues.

Thanks. They've been very straightforward and helpful so far. Official appointments, though . . . always wind me up a bit.
House of Leaves - loved it. The friend who recommended it to me described it as "what the Blair Witch would have been like if it were good", which about sums it up.

Rennes le Chateau - we were passing within about 7 km of the place when in France last year, so drove up to visit. Up is the word. Even now, it's a pretty isolated place, and the only reason it's not totally isolated is the tourist draw. The church must have been a *real* dump if that's the fixed-up version. There is, however, a completely nifty statue of the devil in the entrance. We arrived to late to take the tour of Sauniere's house, but it is not subtle - probably bigger than the church. The village comprises of about four houses, a restaurant that was closed (not high season enough), and a book shop containing every publication of the "wibble" school of history in several European languages. I was kicking myself for not being more fluent in French, as I could have supplied myself with a lifetime supply of giggle-worthy Templar conspirary literature.
I actually quite liked the BWP, in spite of all the hype. Ropey as all hell, though.

Have you read Foucalt's Pendulum? It's a parody of conspiracy-theory. I've been saying for ages that we have better conspiracy theories than the States - they have aliens and black helcopters, and we have the Knights Templar worshipping the foreskin of Christ in secret caverns beneath French Cathedrals.
Foucault's Pendulum
I read that as soon as it came out, (having been a big fan of Name of the Rose). That, combined with having read Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, was the reason I *had* to go to Rennes-le-Chateau when I discovered we were close.
Aah. OK. I think it would also have that effect on me if I was in the area.
Yeah. Jason, not knowing anything about it, was completely bemused when I got so excited about being in the general vicinity.

He gets it now, of course.
Steinski's 'The motorcade sped on' also turned up on a(n) NME 7" in the mid 80s. I'm sure I pointed at a URL where Lessons 1, 2 and 3 were available for the download, too.

It's been a good couple of weeks for downloading splendid and off-kilter MP3s. I guess I need to start looking hard for the Age Of Chance Kiss-power mix and the Sophie & Peter Johnson Peel sessions...
I have that 7", yes. I have three other tracks from that list kicking around too - I should probably get hold of the rest before they disappear.
8 legs bad
Despite being ridiculously arachnapobic I was unable to prevent myself clicking on the article in an ongoing attempt to deal with it (which have included holding a bird eating spider, to my credit). However, looking at the pics of that Orange Tarantula still made my skin crawl off and out the door! I remember seeing one of these beasties on The Really Wild Show years ago - they prodded it to get it to rear up and IT HISSED AT THEM. They truly are the work of satan. Tolkien knew what he was about making Ungoliant's last child a massive spider that's for sure...
Did mention I missed reading you while you were gone? Yup, still true. I took that evil-meter quiz some time ago and wouldn't fess up to my results, LOL, because I never saw anyone else get the answer I got.

How evil are you?

Thank you.

Yes, people seem to think there's something very glamorous about having acomputer think that you're really really terrible. Well, maybe there is, but anyone who's looked in a dictionary will know that glamour is deceptive and misleading by definition.

Have any of you (that I don't already know about) read House of Leaves? What did you make of it?

Um, me, assuming you don't know .

I wasn't terribly impressed by it. My overall feeling as I neared the end was "this book isn't half so clever as it thinks it is". I ended up feeling like I often do with abstract art, that actually the writer(/artist) is enjoying the idea that everyone is trying to find substance in what is actually completely meaningless.

Had some nice ideas in it, so maybe I'm just an uncomprehending Philistine.

And I was irrationally pleased by the use of unexpected orientations, typefaces, and so on.
I was very impressed by it. I found it really compelling. It's just another (slightly obfuscated) take on a haunted-house story, of course, but it was done in what I found an entertaining way.

It was, though, as you say, selfconsciously clever about what it was doing.

How evil are you?

Ugh, how depressing.

Incidentally you only need to finish lj-cut tags when you're trying to snip a small seciton out of the middle of an article (as someone had to explain to me the other day). Otherwise you just need the opening tag and LJ automatically closes it at the bottom of an entry.
MBTI tosh

You're not wrong on the MBTI stuff. Absolute waste of time, and astonishing that people believe it. Only one step short of horoscopes.