Warning – This is a reading diary (part 3), not really a proper blog post, so you might find it boring.
Kate Tempest’s Everybody Down is a potent reminder that listening to music should be an activity, not just turned up to drown out the rest of the world, jingling ear plugs.
“Everywhere is monsters. tits out. wet mouthed. heads back. shouting and screaming just to prove they exist”.
Now that is a collar grabber of an opening first line for an album.
Hard to drift off.
Reading since Friday has been intermittent, partly because I have been listening, or cooking, or walking in woods, or acting as an Angry Birds Star Wars – Path of the Jedi adviser to my Skywalkerish, insistent son.
On the train home from MOSI, mainly I write, as I write when I am too tired too read. It is easier to splurge out than take in. I have bought the Telegraph, Josie Long has previously reprimanded me for this, but the free bottle of water comes in handy, and I don’t see the canyon wide gap between the Telegraph and The Guardian. It is the Saturday Telegraph anyway, I haven’t bought a newspaper for news, I have bought it in the hope there are some interesting book reviews and the magazine might have an interview with someone that shouldn’t interest me, but does when I am putting other things off. The Review highlights retiring theatre critic Charles Spencer’s finest moments, from his drubbing of We Will Rock You to his lustful review of Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room, which he admits teeters towards a letter in the pages of Penthouse.
“…I had eyes only for Nicole Kidman. Eyes on stalks, in fact. She’s drop dead gorgeous, bewitchingly adorable and unfortunately she doesn’t get her kit off nearly as often as Mr Glen”
A great review of Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems, an interview with Toby Jones, an educational review of Letters to Vera by Vladimir Nabokov. All that and water, too. After the Review section, most is quickly discarded, with the exception of Andy Hamilton’s diary of the making of What We Did in Our Holiday.
“foolishly, we wrote some ostriches into the script”.
I am continuing with a chapter or two of Simon Blackburn’s What Do We Really Know. I think he may have persuaded me that the use of reason does not always have to lead to pessimism and despair, which is a relief.
I am also continuing to enjoy Brian Viner’s memoir of 70s tellywatching in Southport. I had not known that in the the Miss World Contests of that time, there were two Miss South Africas, one black and one white. I don’t have much memory of the Miss World shows, I know there was much hoopla around them, but I have a better memory of Peter Marshall presenting Miss East Anglia, and even that memory is scant. I think my recall of the World Disco Dancing Championships is clearer. There was possibly an Australian in a hat doing the splits. In 1975, there was a rebellion amongst the French speaking contestants of Miss World, all of whom refused to turn around to in their swimwear to have their bottoms perused and inspected.
“‘it is degrading for a girl to have to show her bottom to the judges’, declared Miss Mauritius. ‘We refuse to be treated like salve girls’”
The matter was eventually settled when judge and Straw Dogs star, Susan George, agreed with them.
Almost no reading today. By the time the family day ended, I turned to the traditional Sunday night succour of a repeat of Lewis.
I am unable to sleep without reading a few pages of something, so read a book I have been meaning to begin for some time, Technobiophilia by Sue Thomas. I am MCing the Digibury festival soon, so have decided I better read up on our human or transhuman futures. Thomas questions the meeting of the natural world with internet culture, but you probably guesses that from the title.
I also restarted Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs. This reminded me of a stand up idea I wrote down on many occasions, but only attempted in a half-arsed way once. Nevertheless, every early draft of a new show of ideas has “burqa versus thong” written on it, believing that one day I’ll actually work out what I want to say about perceived freedom and cultural forces, or something else that sounds like the start of a dull essay in an academic anthology.
Due to numerous, but brief, train journeys, I have been flitting about with books, hopping in and out of other people’s ideas.
It started with Jaron Larnier’s You Are Not a Gadget –
“The deep meaning of personhood is being reduced by illusions of bits.”
then flitted to The Futurist Cookbook –
“With the mouths of friendly cannibals, Giulio Onesti, Marinetti, Prampolini and Fillia restored themselves with a tasty morsel of statue every now and again”.
(pity Filippo Tommaso Marinetti didn’t make it to any Great Bake Offs, maybe a Futurist is just what they need for their cheese straw cliffhanger)
a snippet of Simon Reynolds’ Retromania –
“Nostalgia as both word and concept was invented in the seventeenth century by the physician Johannes Hofer to describe a condition afflicting Swiss mercenaries on long tours of military duty”.
chapter one of Evgeny Morovoz’s To Save Everything, Click Here
“As digital media make participation easier, more and more citizens ditch bowling alone – only to take up blogging together”.
and then finish off with Steve Hanley’s The Big Midweek, a journey through his twenty years as bassist with The Fall.
“Craig’s Mr Obscure. If more than ten people like something, he doesn’t. When he went to the cinema to see Eraserhead, he walked out as soon as it half-full, complaining it was way too mainstream for the likes of him.”
The soundtracks for these days have been Rave Tapes by Mogwai, Everybody Down by Kate Tempest, It’s All Self Fellatio by Shilpa Ray, and Total Strife Forever by East India Youth.
I am reading around the UK for the next few months and stopping off to do some gigs – Nottingham, Cambridge, Harrogate, Laugharne, Cardiff, Liverpool, Sheffield and on and on
Most dates HERE
Michael Legge and I are being Pointlessly Angry and Righteously Ireful in London on 29th September
Our pilot podcast about music is HERE