Sunday, 30 May 2010

Things I learned at last night's Autechre gig

* Supporting DJs are ok up to a point, but wear out their welcome after 1.5+ hours, especially when you're not drunk, stoned or even mildly sugar high.

* You can dance to Autechre, or at least you can dance in the same room as Autechre.

* The Autechre audience contains persons who are among the most obnoxious I have encountered in sixteen years of attending gigs.

* People will take mobile phone photos of the stage even when the lighting consists of nothing more than four LEDs and the luminous Apple logos on the band's laptops.

* The seduction of scruffy hipster by youthful Goth is conducted via an intricate ritual of rhythmic pouting, covert crotch fondling and (on the hipster's part) confused and intimidated scowling.

* Kram from Spiderbait is everywhere.

* Pack the Hi Fi Bar with (mostly) male (mostly) nerds and it resembles nothing so much as a minimum security prison for hackers and minor sex offenders.

* Autechre pretty much rule. I already knew that, though.

Friday, 28 May 2010


In one of the funniest, sharpest pieces I have read this year, Tony Martin rages against the pompous, self-pitying plaints of some bestselling authors:
Why can’t these writers simply be happy with the vast sums of money they earn every year? You don’t hear McDonald’s complaining that they haven’t been awarded three Michelin hats for their latest Bacon Burger DeLuxe. Readers of ‘airport novels’ don’t give a toss about critics or awards, so why should their authors?
American crime writer Lee Child comes across as especially conceited:
Child, on a roll, then declared that literary authors ‘know, in their heart, that we could write their books but they cannot write our books,’ adding that ‘I could write a Martin Amis book. It would take me about three weeks, it would sell about 3000 copies like he sells. And they are jealous of that skill.’
Read the whole thing here.

Friday, 21 May 2010


Mike Lynch's fine, funny series of Viriconium-inspired vignettes have made my week. Start here, then continue reading here, here and here.

Monday, 17 May 2010


I'm at the beginning of something that is, at least for the time being, heavily influenced by the following:

Dan Rhodes
Underwater Moonlight, The Soft Boys
The Siege of Krishnapur, J.G. Farrell
Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake
"25 O'Clock" and "What In the World?", The Dukes of Stratosphear
"Fearless", Pink Floyd
Théoden's court in The Two Towers, at least the vague memory I have of it.
"Sweet Talk", The New Pornographers
Blake Butler: "I think there’s a big ques­tion in writ­ing where people think it should take you a really long time, and it should be this labor of love and take you five years to write. Well, how many books took a week to write? Sure there can be flaws in that book, but I also think cap­tur­ing a cer­tain time in your mind, and get­ting it out in a cer­tain period has as much value as labor­ing over it, as long as it’s worth­while in the end to the reader or as an object."

Monday, 10 May 2010

Denis Johnson

wants to sell you a tractor.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Caribbean Gardens

Caribbean Gardens is a market and "fun" park in Scoresby. The last time I visited the Gardens was about twenty years ago: I distinctly recall (successfully) badgering my Mum to buy me a block-mounted Star Trek: The Next Generation poster. We made a return visit this morning and I was quick to note that the passing of time had changed the Gardens barely a whit. Minor - very minor - superficial improvements aside, it's the same mix of cheap-and-not-so-cheerful rides (a chairlift, a miniature train driven by a surly teenager in Oakleys, a "jungle cruise" on the man-made lake), play equipment (including, bizarrely, two decommissioned tanks), and overpriced tat.

The market was as I remembered. Some of the stalls were in exactly the same location as twenty years ago, and many seemed to have exactly the same stock as they did then. Only the ephemera of pop culture indicated the passage of the years: instead of AC/DC patches and Van Halen silk screen wallhangings there are 50 Cent t-shirts and Ed Hardy jackets, presumably fake but no less nauseating than the real thing. Likewise the toy stalls, where Ben 10, Bratz and the like have replaced the (again, presumably fake) Transformers and Ninja Turtle figurines I used to covet as a child.

At first I found the market fascinating but eventually the grinding awfulness of it all wore me down. There are plenty of stalls selling useful stuff - food, pet supplies, home-made clothing and accessories. But for every one of these stalls there are five selling knock-off shoes, obnoxious/offensive t-shirts, bongs, "ornamental" weapons, wretched and in some cases quite possibly illegal toys, etc.

What little girl wouldn't want to play dress-ups with their Fantasy Sheila? According to the box, "We are you of friend let us bring you the happiness."

"Smoking paraphernalia" is popular, doubtless only for its kitsch value...

Children are never too young to start wielding swords.

These pointy "ornaments" were displayed behind a glass screen, upon which was affixed an indignant note arguing for the validity of decorative weaponry as a hobby. Can't say I was convinced, but I wasn't about to start a debate.

Bi Bi Loveable and Swellish Baby vie for your childrens' affections - and their souls!


This cheeky toy computer wants to learn English: will you accept the challenge?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I invented a joke

It involves extracting the lexical unit "twit" from the word "Twitter" and employing said unit in such a way as to pass judgment upon the mentality and intelligence of the users of said social networking service.

Persons wishing to use this hilarious and original joke must apply in writing to the usual address.