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Some time ago a newspaper article - probably in the Manchester Guardian - mentioned Stewart Lee's book "How I escaped my certain fate", which I've just finished. Rather fine it is, too. Partly it's about his life and the progress of his career during the nineties, until it faltered rather at the end of the decade, then his involvement with Jerry Springer - The Opera in the early years of this century and how his his career recovered and developed afterwards. This is interesting enough in itself for what he has to say about comedy, and I should really go back through it and note all the comics he recommends for future reference, but it also includes three sections which are transcripts of his stand-up sets with extensive footnotes commenting on, expanding on, and on occasions apologising for, what he was saying. The material still had me holding my sides (which could be viewed as a drawback, he points out - shouldn't stand-up be trying to do things that don't work equally well written down?) but the commentary adds a lot. It's worth the price of admission on its own, I'd say.

In other book-related news, I've lent Charlotte my copy of Quite Ugly One Morning. I could tell by the delighted laughter the point when she encountered The Jobby.
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I'm amused by the Grauniad's mention today of "William Gibson's Neuromancer, a radical and difficult work which has become the set text of the cyberpunk sci-fi genre."

Obviously I'll never again need to feel hopelessly outclassed when people earnestly discuss Ulysses or Gravity's Rainbow.

Also, this article in the world's most august scientific journal debates the claim that the budget spent on the Human Genome Project has produced a 141-fold return for the (presumably US) economy in the years since. If true, this would imply that my wages from that period benefited the wider world to the tune of at least tuppence ha'penny, which I'll have to mention the next few times I'm asked what I've been wasting my life on.
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The highlight of the day is when the BBC engineer, who has no idea who Albini is - thinking he is just our pal invited along to give a second opinion - commends the American on his technical proficiency, asking if he has ever considered a career in the recording industry.

Yes, I've just finished Luke Haines' book Bad Vibes, and very good it is too. He's just as acerbic as you'd expect from the records, although he does occasionally and grudgingly concede that a few people aren't actually as worthless as he'd believed from their work . . . and it turns out there are a number of people he likes and admires. He also manages to phrase this in ways that don't leave it being too much of a disappointment.

In other news, Beltane went percussively and is now descending into its periodic fit of navelgazing, Anna Calvi's album's very good and people are worrying too much about the lack of AV, which everyone campaigning for would by now be wanting to replace with STV anyway.

Haines claims, incidentally, that during the week before Lady Di's funeral (the time when I wrote A Certain Email) Albini gave him a present. Two presents, in fact - a copy of Candle In The Wind, and a shiny new hammer.
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The BBC are reporting that a study involving allegedly haunted vaults under South Bridge (oh, and also some palace or other in London) has found evidence of clustering in reported experiences similar to hauntings. What they don't say is what people were apparently experiencing. Given that those vaults have been empty for most of their history, I do wonder what that happened there would be said to be affecting people - was it the ghosts of indie clubs past, perhaps, or ectoplasmic music characterised by a succession of regular beats?

In other news, I've been reading a couple of historical essays on the idea that Odin was a historical figure. I'm not convinced, but the ground they tangentially cover's very interesting.I got given some Ecoballs too. These, in case you're not familiar with them, are plastic balls (well, balls with a collar that make them look slightly Saturnine) containing small pellets, which are claimed to clean your clothes without normally needing any washing powder.

I'm not convinced. In fact, as far as I can tell they rely entirely on people not being familiar with how clean warm water and agitation can get their clothes. I will, though, just quote you some of the guff that comes along with them.

You're gonna like this.

Q. How do the Ecoballs™ work?

A. Ecoballs™ increase the degree of alkaline.

In the water Ecoballs™ will react with stain/dirt under saponification [ . . . ] the Activated water molecule filters easily into the inside of clothing fibre and and makes combination between filth and fibre[1] loose [ . . . ] I.e. the Ecoballs™ makes the molecule of the water smaller which returns the water to having its brilliant hydrating properties, high solubility and good permeability.


So there you go. We've been using soap all these years when all we needed to do was shrink the water. How foolish we've all been.

Went for a walk around town yesterday in opposition to current events. Bumped into Nuala and Alex (and little Aisling, who mostly slept). Ken was apparently there too, but I didn't see him.

[1]: "Filth and fibre". I think I've got an EP by them.
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So. I've just finished An Evil Guest, which is the new Gene Wolfe novel described by a certain Mr Gaiman here. He's right about the need to read it again, but then I always feel that way about Wolfe stories. It mostly comes across as a crime or espionage thriller until fairly near the end, when it becomes quite obvious that it's something else entirely (although it wears its horror quite lightly, all things considered). Anyway, it's very good indeed and I'm rather enjoying reading Wolfe standalone novels as they come out. There's a lot to be said for not having to remember three volumes' worth of character and incident at a time.

I need to go back to The Tree Is My Hat as well, as it is indeed a chilling little number.
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Sunday was, due to the season, up the hill for a practice, but this time after picking Jim up from Bonnyrigg. We managed a quick fireraising session at the end, which went surprisingly well given the time since we last did it. Then I took him back out to Bonnyrigg and went to the Ann Purna with L&S for dinner, as it's due to change hands soon. I don't go nearly often enough - it was as lovely as ever. Hopefully it'll stay that way. After that, the ISIHAC Greatest Hits show at the Festival Theatre, with them and my folks. That's the first time I've seen a game show do an encore - and the first time I've heard 1500 people attempt an unrehearsed rendition of "Donald Where's Your Troosers" on kazoos, too. Very fine. We all got to keep the kazoos.

Later I started reading Kevin MacNeil's "The Stornoway Way". I took a break at about three and finished it today. It's very good - a clever, funny, and sad memoir of a young Stornoway man who's never got his life together, and has moved back to Lewis after years busking round the world. The bits that are funny are very funny, the bits that are sad are tragic, and all of them are clever. I will have to find out what my Stornowegian friend makes of it, by lending it to him if necessary.

Today I went to Mo's birthday picnic on Portobello beach. This was very good, although Nivine setting her hair on fire was a little alarming. Fortunately no harm seems to have been done. During the early evening there was a very loud rumbling with no obvious cause. It turned out that it was two Tornadoes turning on their afterburners over the Castle - apparently the RAF were also having a birthday party. Show-offs.
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Well, I have a working 64-bit installation here, and yes it's fast. 2000*1500 onscreen also makes things look very very small indeed, but I like it. I don't know if I'll run it this hard all the time, but it's certainly nice to have the option.

I'm busily reading Capital of the Mind at the moment, which I heartily recommend - it's about Edinburgh and the Scottish Enlightenment. I haven't reached the bit about Hutton yet, but Hume, Adam, and various others feature very heavily. As you'd expect.

Kate and Tony were up over the weekend, and it was lovely to see then - after far too long a gap. Loads of other people came out of the woodwork to see them, so I had a great time talking to people like Richard Walsh, who I haven't seen in years. Fantastic stuff. I particularly enjoyed explaining The Broons to Kate, but it was all good. They've almost promised to come back to Edinburgh soon, which is almost good enough. Incidentally, I believe I have mentioned that you're all encouraged to come visit, but I'd rather like to emphasise that:

Come visit..

Thank you. This has been a public information announcement.

Further ramblings )
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As I'm still awake, I'll just note that the NY Times is quoting early exit polls in Michigan as giving a huge lead to Clinton and a very respectable one to Romney. But - ha ha - that's based on exactly one county having declared.

The reason I'm still up is that I've been reading Marek Kohn's "A reason for everything", a lovely set of biographical sketches of British (he says English, but Haldane wasn't - English-educated, maybe) evolutionary biologists, with an emphasis on the trend towards adaptationism, the Gould-reviled tendency to regard most features as some sort of adaptation rather than having a similar respect for happenstance. [livejournal.com profile] thehumanstomach lent me is copy against my strenuous objections and insisted I read it - and, well, he is very tall . . .

It's very good. Wallace comes off well, a thoroughly good and generous bloke if a bit insecure. Fisher's compared to Kenneth Williams and to Wagner, which is a neat trick. Haldane was, of course, imposing in all senses. I'd forgotten Naomi Mitchison was his sister. She had much better political judgement than he did. I'm trying to work out why I haven't read any of her fiction. Maynard Smith seems to have been very down-to-earth, while Hamilton got rather misanthropic in his old age (but no less energetic). Dawkins only gets one chapter rather than two, presumably for being very familiar, but comes over as rather admirable also. As Chris said, the little things are fascinating - most of them were fairly or completely tone deaf. Haldane had Maynard Smith tell him when a piece of music was the national anthem, so he could be sure he was sitting down. And they all went to Eton. Well, no, but there were some staggeringly posh schools involved.

Recommended.
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Won the pub quiz last night, partly due to our excellent knowledge of the futuristic music of Joe Meek and the early novelty hits of Dave Bowie. I've now finished reading Exit Music (very good, and with a suitably downbeat ending - it wouldn't do for Rebus to go out without a big dose of disappointment, would it?) and rereading The Good Fairies of New York (two Scottish thistle fairies get thrown out of the enchanted glen for playing Ramones songs too loud on their fiddles, and end up causing trouble in New York. Includes race riots between the Chinese, Italian and Ghanan fairies of the city, the ghost of Johnny Thunders searching for his lost '58 Gibson, and more mentions of Swans and CopShootCop than any other fairy book ever written - if you've not read any Martin Millar, this wouldn't be a bad place to start). This means I can get on with Ulrich Haarbürste's Novel of Roy Orbison in Clingfilm, which is shaping up to be the oddest book I've read since the one about the dwarf.
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Cropredy was good. More detail later.

And this is the sort of place I spend my spare time? Well, yes. I'm pretending to work, though, which I will claim (incorrectly) makes it less pitiable.

The Grauniad was at home to Captain Harsh on Friday. The review section had a couple of real stinkers - I honestly thought that the Zune got a hostile review until I saw them. Marina Hyde started by stating flatly that Kelly Osborne's "continued ability to get work is beginning to make Caligula's elevation of his horse to the senate look like a triumph of meritocracy." Normally this would be a crushing victor in any competition between reviewers, but she was flattened by the rampaging juggernaut of Peter Bradshaw's contempt for License to Wed: "Legend has it that Josef Goebbels had a home movie made of the failed 1944 Hitler assassins being hanged from meathooks with piano wire. It probably had more laughs, more fun, more feelgood moments than this family comedy starring Robin Williams."

Errr . . . I just finished Execution Channel. As well as being dedicated to Andrew, it also sneaks in a reference to M*ke H*lmes. It's probably unfair of Ken to namedrop someone who's unlikely to put him into a novel in response (naming no Charlies at this point, obviously). It's a very good book, actually. I was a little disappointed when it makes it plain that it's not quite our future that it's in, but I cheered up when I noticed that it let him make some very good extra points. Very good. Very gripping. I was really very angry at some points, and laughed very loudly indeed when I found out what happens to one of the villains opposition.

I don't suppose any of you have recent experience getting Elite sequels to run under Linux?
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The other week I came across a website with an early draft of Barry Hughart's highly excellent Bridge of Birds. If you haven't read the published version, then I'd recommend having a look at this to see whether it's likely to be your sort of thing. If you have read it then you're probably going to read that without my prompting.

[livejournal.com profile] niddrie_edge pointed me at a very odd story concerning a film called Darklands, made about ten years ago and in some ways rather like a version of The Wicker Man set in South Wales. The producers seem to have been putting it about that they and their film have been cursed by a scary gang of Edinburgh witches called the Beltane Fire Society (of which I are a member, and which is not witches). Now, in spite of the fact that this is very obviously the tallest Scottish witch story since the exceedingly tall Tam O'Shanter (or possibly even since MacBeth), they allegedly convinced Richard Stanley of this too, which I'm not sure I believe either.
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William Boyd, who reviewed Lanark for the Times Literary Implement when it was originally published, commented on rereading the book and his review last week in the article Return to Unthank: "I still prefer Thaw's story to Lanark's, but I recognise now what I didn't see 25 years ago: that it was Lanark's very awkward bulky scale, its ostentatious manipulations of structure, its extra-parochial pretensions, its allusiveness and its overt and purposeful invitation to exegesis and literary comparison that raise the book to another level."

I went to see Lunacy (Sileni, originally), the most recent Svankmajer film, at the FIlmhouse. After Conspirators of Pleasure, I was very disappointed. I didn't really think it was up to much at all, apart from the meat animation sequences between each scene. It's based on Poe and de Sade, and the Marquis character was given to launching into enormous expository diatribes that made me want to stab him with bicycle spokes, fall asleep or go home. There's a scene with a blasphemous mass which reminded me too strongly of the Onion article with Madge Manson going round doors begging people to be offended. The characters in Conspirators of Pleasure managed to be entirely mute and yet speak eloquently. In Lunacy, they drone on ceaselessly and still say nothing. The scenes in the mental hospital are pitifully weak - I visit one every week, and frankly unless you're going to set your piece in the past (which Svankmajer hasn't) you're just going to look irrelevant if you come across as not having any idea what the places have been like at any point in the last century. Using psychiatry as a metaphor for society is all very well (perfectly fine, in fact) unless you lose touch with the fact that neither society nor psychiatry currently have the properties you're discussing. In conclusion: F. Try again, and this time make it as good as your previous two films.
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What do we make of this, then? A thousand pages is about the right size to be a single-volume edition of the Book of the New Sun, and that indeed is what it turns out to be. Looks like it'll be available in hard or soft cover. Excellent. I haven't bought myself a copy of that in several years.

Obsessed? Me? No, not at all - and I'm not reading Attending Daedalus at the moment either, not even vaguely.

Also . . .

My sister got a copy of The God Delusion in the post yesterday. An unsolicited gift from a constituent in the hope that she'll read it.
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/625991.stm covers a fire that left him critically ill from smoke inhalation a few months ago. I don't remember hearing about it at the time, and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6547399.stm covers his death, apparently following a fall.

I first read Vonnegut in my teens - The Sirens of Titan, certainly, and possibly some others. Later, my friend Keith prompted me to read Breakfast of Champions, which I quickly followed with Player Piano, Slaughterhouse 5 and Galapagos. Cat's Cradle, of course, is not only an excellent book but also appears on every decent bibliography on the subject of spongiform brain diseases - indeed, I can't think of any other novel I've seen cited in a scientific paper more than once. I've bored more than one of you recently with my description of Mother Night, its key point being that "you should be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end you are what you pretend to be." I think the most recent Vonnegut I've read is God Bless You Dr Kevorkian, a series of purported interviews performed at the pearly gates after being half-executed and then revived. Obviously it was just an excuse to put his words into other people's mouths, but it works beautifully. He's known for his satire and black comedy, but I've always found him a consistently humane writer, however bad the situations he created. He was often downbeat, but not misanthropic. And there's a recent collecion of essays, A Man Without a Country, which I'll have to get soon too. At least I haven't exhausted his writings yet.
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I got another book in the post today, but a less expected one this time. Read more... )

Last night I went out to Fast, mainly to see The Leg again. They had facepaint and masks this time, and I got a better look at the drumkit (there are more odd and improvised instruments on it than I'd realised) and the guitar (not just acoustic, but a nylon-stringed acoustic). Various people said they might or would turn up, but none of them did. I ended up waiting for an hour in the pub on my own reading an abandoned copy of An Introduction To English Morphology. I am now three chapters better informed, but probably only temporarily. Morpheme is a very good word.

Earlier I played games (Tsuko, Metro, Spank the Monkey (not what you probably think) and Munchkin Bites) with Lara, Seth, Duncan, Alex and Marianne. There was even food. On Thursday I went for a drink with my aunt and cousin and some of their friends, down at the pub which is no longer The Northern. As usual when Lorna's there, the conversation turned to prostitution, pornography, media representations of sexuality, and the like. Hours of fun for the whole family.

In the news, but overshadowed by more dramatic events, was Britain finally paying off the aid loans from WWII. I caught a snatch of The World At War during the week, with a collection of talking heads pontificating on the outcome, and who did really well overall, and who really badly. Britain did quite well, in spite of ending up more or less bankrupt.
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Mmm. I've just seen Charlie returning Ken's favour. Laugh? Yes, I did. Quite loudly.

What else? I've been putting posters up and giving leaflets out. Outside Neon I gave one to a young man who asked where it was and then said that he didn't want anything to do with the gay scene. He then clarified that he was, but that the scene is not for him. And then repeated it while I tried to ask in which way that was supposed to be relevant to an indie club . . . I think he might have been drinking. I know that it's a scandalous suggestion that someone you meet outside a nightclub at three in the morning might have had a couple of pints, but I really think it might have been the case.

I hit Goulag Beat and Fast last week, both of which were fun in their respective ways. The main band at Fast - the Gussets - were interesting in an early-eighties kind of way. Gav had been interested in seeing them, but admitted afterwards that he'd been expecting something more polished. I'm sure that somewhere on a post-punk compilation I have something by the band they remind me of, but I can't remember who or on which. Not the Slits - more disjointed than that, but not as far out there as the Pop Group. Regardless of which, they were early-eighties post-punk in an interesting rather than formulaic way. One of them had been at Goulag Beat the night before, and another I used to see around the Ashworth Labs twelve or thirteen years ago, and periodically since at punk concerts. I think Suzie Wiles introduced me to her once, but I remember no more than that. Mr Airbust was there with his sister Laura, which I found disturbing in the usual way I do when I'm forced to admit that a friend I'd always assumed to have been hatched in a jam jar actually has a family in the usual way after all.

Their support were the Pish Dolls. I recommend them.

I came across this page on the benefits of Basingstoke. One or two of you may notice a reference to certain friends of mine, who have been Made Aware. Oddly I had just bumped into Neal - I don't see him around very often. Must remember to get Dave's 4-track off him sometime.

Earlier today I had a chat with Kate. A visit will probably result, which will be good as I haven't been south since the Spring. My folks were over yesterday and today, too, which was good.
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Isn't Dress great?

I'm listening to it a lot at the moment, partly because I heard it out recently and realised I'd forgotten how good it is, and partly because the new Rough Trade compilation has the demo version in between 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and I Want You. So it's those three plus the version from Dry on repeat, then.

I finished the Sterling yesterday, finally, and read the new Brookmyre. I don't remember the last time I read an entire novel for the first time in a day. Maybe my efforts to read more are working. Not very violent, is it? And given that they finished 5th year in 1985, they're all the same age I am. Scary. I hadn't thought about a lot of things in quite a while. Section Six of the science course, for example. Or all the Scots words (I understand Scots, but I don't speak it), including Keich, which is what my friend Keith used to get called in frivolous moments. He didn't mind at all, of course. I also found out yesterday that some poor soul has written an SF novel called "The Voyage of the Sable Keech". I can't see that one selling well in Scotland. Shelve it next to Vance's "Servants of the Wankh"?

Next is probably But n Ben A-Go-Go, which is entirely in Scots and will probably be accompanied by Mitch Benn's global warming song.

Errr . . . I had a strange run-in with a friend's neighbour last week. I was round at Mark's, barbieing a couple of veggieburgers, when he came round and demanded that the fire be put out on the grounds that you can't possibly have a fire in a house's garden because it'll set fire to theawhole neighbourhood. MArk pointed out that it was a very small fire and there were two of us watching it, it was in a pit with bricks, there was a shovel and earth to smother it with, and so on, but the neighbour wasn't having any of it and called the fire brigade. When they arrived a few minutes later it had burned down slightly and they started laughing openly at the idea that it was a hazard. Before that, on the Saturday, I went to see Sir Robert Mould at the Liquid Room, suuported by a gentle and interesting songwriter under the name AM. The Bob humself had a pair of guitars, moving onto the electrified one halfway. There was a good mix of songs, starting with Wishing Well and going through stuff I knew from his solo albums, stuff I didn't know that's presuambly from the ones I don't have, and old stuff by Sugar and Dü Hüskers. We got (IIRC) an acoustic Hardly Getting Over It, Favourite Thing, and Hoover Dam and electric Chartered Trips, The Act We Act and Do You Remember, before finishing with makes No Sense At All and If I Can't Change Your Mind. I was sorry to miss him early in the year - maybe he'll be back with the band soon. He said he likes playing Scotland.

Tommy's burying himself, I see. He seems very sure of himself for a man who doesn't seem to have a leg to stand on.
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The smoking ban's been going exceptionally smoothlyRead more... )

Don't get involved in unfinished polyologies.Read more... ) Incidentally, anyone Easterconning?

I'm looking forward to seeing Timothy Spall play PierrepointRead more... )

I got dragged out to a rather nice punk club called Gulag Beat the other week.Read more... )

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.Read more... )

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.
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Today's paper has Christopher Brookmyre's comments on yesterday's article about the oil-rig hotel, a notion which underlay his 1998 novel "One fine day in the middle of the night" (which had a brief mention of a Norwegian mercenary called Roland. References to Uncle Warren are fairly frequent in Brookmyre books).

It was, I believed, a ridiculously far-fetched concept, drawing knowingly upon the implausible excesses of the 80s Hollywood action movie. Anything Joel Silver could do, I could do dafter. But not quite as daft as Mohamed Al Fayed, apparently, who this week has announced he will be undertaking the venture for real.
zotz: (primal)
I'm the first person to read my copy of Lanark. One of the pages was uncut at one corner. It's a secondhand paperback twenty years old. Tragic. Read more... )

Miffy wouldn't be seen dead in pink.

I nearly avoided that article totally, for fairly obvious reasons, but actually it's rather interesting. She turned 50 last year.

Errr . . . . on Friday I think I went to the pub and chatted to people until late. It was fun, anyway, and I think it happened on Friday. It was fun even if it didn't.

On Saturday Read more... )

On Sunday I went to see Ed after getting him a CD player and radio - anyone who can be bothered giving him disks (including disks of mp3s) is encouraged to pass them on. After that, I dropped in on Graham and Sara, and was rewarded with, among other things, conversation and the best roast potatoes I've had in a very long time. As I'd not seen either of them meaningfully in weeks or months, this was well worthwhile and long overdue. Sara's running a course on fantastic fiction soon, and I'm more than a bit tempted. I was probably supposed to go to the Beltane vido showing immediately after, but I didn't leave theirs until after it had nominally started, so I went home and then for a drink in the Festival Tavern (opposite the Odeon that was the ABC at the top of Bread Street) with Pete and Stevie, before going to KJ's for another. Was the Festival a restaurant before? And if so, how long ago?

[livejournal.com profile] gingiber and [livejournal.com profile] anonymouseth spent Sunday rather differently - they went photographing the wrecks of midget submarines. The results can be seen here.

At some point Mark phoned and insisted on playing some Gogol Bordello down the line. Consequently, Gogol Bordello recordings were purchased. I heartily recommend that any of you who can stomach the idea of energetic folky twostep in a daft central European accent do likewise - it's top stuff. Ed likes it too, so it must be good. And they're touring soon. The new Belle and Sebastian's not bad either. And I've been listening to the Editors album, too, with great pleasure.

Yesterday I went to the EUSA office to get a life membership photocard. The only pictures I have look like an axe murderer with a hangover, so that's what's going to be immortalised. I get the old card back, happily, which is definitely what I want as it has [livejournal.com profile] bootpunk's autograph on it. I picked up another bathroom brochure, on a tip from my folks about a bog they thought I might like. And I failed to find a couple of replacement bowls (food bowls, this time). Even the manufacturer seems to have evaporated.

I saw this post earlier on, about Mike Peters and various other kent faces playing and releasing an album under the name The Alarm MMVI. While it's probably not bad, the only thing running through my head while reading it was the line "Hot Shot City is particularly good".

[I hadn't previously seen the ones on the end of that link, although I've read many of the others (there are currently almost a thousand on Amazon). SFW, at least in not containing smut. Interestingly, on the strength of those reviews, [livejournal.com profile] blackmetalbaz actually bought a copy.]

Politics, broadly speaking - women, that prick Moyles, music, and judicial murder )

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