So tonight that I might see

The smoking ban's been going exceptionally smoothly, despite a lot of talk from the people I've realised I can sincerely refer to as "the would-be cassandras of the yellow press". AL Kennedy had a few words to say:
I have met writers who claim they can't be inspired without a coffin nail, but then we're always claiming we can't create without this or that indulgence: we've got to have hand-laid Moroccan underpants, we can only write on Panda skin, our gums must be rubbed with cocaine every four hours, we can't rhyme without uncut Lemsip, the novel will never be finished if we don't have sex with you, your wife, the pair of you and some circus freaks - whatever we can get away with. Frankly, demanding a packet of Marlboro Lights would be so dull and abstemious that many of us would think it beneath us. We like our self-destruction to be an affront to God and man.

Don't get involved in unfinished polyologies. Last week I read 800 pages of George R R Martin's current herniamaker. It's good, and I enjoyed it, but I can't help wondering what he'd have done with the time if he'd decided to write a load of separate novels instead. In spite of being called "A feast for crows", the death rate is a lot lower in this one. Hardly any major characters die at all. Single figures, definitely. He dropped a brick into his LJ a couple of weeks back when casually remarking that he thought the part after the next part would be the end. Until I read it again, and saw that he'd said the part after the part after the next one. Probably the last. We're talking 2010 at least, then? Incidentally, anyone Easterconning?

I'm looking forward to seeing Timothy Spall play Pierrepoint (note changed title - we're just lucky it didn't get called Her Majesty Mrs Pierrepoint, or The Madness of King Pierrepoint), Britain's most prolific recent hangman. In his autobiography, well after retiring, he said he had eventually come to the conclusion that his work had been a waste, capital punishment a mistake and no useful goal had been served by his executing over 400 convicts. He seems to have had an odd mix of consideration and sympathy for them and a calm ability to put them to death.

I got dragged out to a rather nice punk club called Gulag Beat the other week. It was an artier affair than that may make it sound, pulling in a lot of post-punk, protopunk and the odder punk-associated bands too. I should go again. An extra bonus was that the three quid entry included a rather good band, about whom i can find nothing, called The Leg. Halfway through the first song I realised they were making a flat-top acoustic guitar, a solid electric cello and a drumkit sound like Sonic Youth. I like the drummer's little glockenspiel, too. He looked a bit like mister_ed, but with short hair.

A couple of days after that there was a super-secret surprise party for someone's birthday. It was good, and seemed to be filled with the current generation of Geasites. They were all terribly terribly young.

On the Sunday there was a concert by The Organ in Glasgow. The first couple of bands, Trabeca and Dios (Malos) I didn't really see the point of - keen but generic and unexeptional, and so laid-back as to be entirely supine, respectively (although D(M) seemed to wake up for the last song). The last support were The Bright Space, who weren't amazingly distinctive in style but bounced along with some authority.

The Organ . . . aren't very animated. The drummer made an interesting range of grimaces while unable to hear the bass, but the rest of them seemed to be having an unflappability contest. The guitarist won, but not by much. She stared at the back wall with a slightly amused look on her face for almost the whole set, hardly looking at her fingers, the audience or even the rest of the band at any point. The newish bassist turns out to be the singer's sister, which explained them sharing a thin-and-elfin look. She was pushing the guitarist closer on unflappability, though - I'd say reaching 0.2 Howes at some points. After helping Memorise the City take off like its pubes were on fire, though, the guitarist then won hands down by not seeming to be bothered at all that she couldn't keep up with the picked bit at the end. Sheer class. I wonder if she or the drummer were in trouble for that? The singer got some sort of Mark E Smith award for fiddling with the knobs on the guitar while it was being played . . . I don't suppose anyone saw them later in the tour? Were the guitarist or drummer sporting any interesting bruises? Anyway, it was much fun and I recommend them. Just don't expect onstage gymnastics.

Bob Carlos Clark is dead. Stanislaw Lem is still dead, but at least got a nice big Guardian obituary courtesy of Chris Priest.

The body at Duddingston wasn't John. It was a homeless man who went missing last year. The police don't think it's suspicious.

From pigeonhed :
"We (Swell Maps) were probably more influential and important than we realize," reflected Sudden. "Apparently we've influenced all these bands like Sonic Youth and Pavement, but all I can say is you can't blame me for that." Sadly missed. Glen the soon-to-be-wed once swapped me his whole 7" collection for a Fire Engines 12" . . . this isn't as impressive as it sounds, but did include a copy of "Let's build a car".

Further to a recent discussion, there's an interesting case here of a former chef who rustles up omelette and chips while sleepwalking. "My wife says I should plug the Hoover in when I'm sleepwalking and do the housework." It would be some compensation for the disturbed sleep, I suppose.

Macca is to stand trial after an incident at the Barrowlands gig that I missed.

The Scotsman last week had an article about the Italian election, currently almost over, which started:
THREE days before Italy's general election, Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, went on the warpath yesterday, accusing the judiciary, the press, big business and banks of plotting his defeat.

Sadly, the headline was "Berlusconi: they're all out to get me" rather than "They've all got it infamy", which would have been much more appropriate.
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Mood: awake
  • Current Music: Mazzy Star : So tonight that I might see
I'm easterconning. And Alex is staying in my hotel room but not coming to the con...
I must admit that although I still don't entirely agree with the smoking ban it was nice to get home this morning and find that my hair didn't smell of stale cigarette smoke.
Hoping to - various things have fallen through, but the existence of the £5 taster membership for Friday is a Good Thing.

I may also try to get to Trout on Thursday.
Very glad I only found out about Duddingston now, when it's known who it is.
Every few months I hear about an unidentified body somewhere in Scotland and I'm a bit nervous about it until a name's found. This was a little worse than usual as it's closer to home. I'd mentioned it to a couple of people in passing, so I thought I'd say it wasn't him.
I have smoking ban envy. I never noticed that I don't like smoky places till I spent all that time in cities where smoking is banned on the other side of the Atlantic last year.
where there's smoke there's breathing difficulties
Same here - so jealous of all the people at Whitby from Ireland and Scotland...