Sunday, November 25, 2007
I keep meaning to read something by Doris Lessing, mostly because I bought some of her books, so I should make an attempt to read them now that she is a Nobel prize winner. However instead I spent part of the weekend reading Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. The book was part of the Dresden files series. The story is about wizard versus werewolves in modern Chicago. The book is not great literature, but is well written with a lot of hooks that occur at the end of chapters. It is good to be reading fiction again. I will get around to reading some books by Lessing soon.
A couple of nights ago I had a dream where Janis Joplin was not dead. In the dream I was reading a WIKIPEDIA article about Joplin. She made some records with Led Zeppelin during the 70s. I used to listen to a tape by Janis when I was 17 or 18. We also taped a documentary about Janis and used to watch that in rotation with a documentary about Phil Ochs. Anyway I was pretty sure that Janis Joplin overdosed, but I used to be fairly drunk when I watchd the film about Joplin, so perhaps I missed something. The last time I thought about Janis Joplin was when I heard Cohen say that his Chelsea hotel song was about Janis Joplin. In fact, it looks like all my information about Janis Joplin comes from the TV. This is what used to happen in the days before the internet. I can feel a quest coming on to find Janis Joplin.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Are you ready for the LHC? Hey, forget about tuning your Monte Carlo, what you should be reading is the book "keeping it real" by Justina Robson. In 2015 the quantum bomb opened up the world to the realm of Elves, demons and some other things. The quantum bomb was caused by the explosion of the superconducting supercollider in Texas. Umm, yes, perhaps if she had done a little more web surfing she would have found that that accelerator had been cancelled in the early 90s. I don't see any acknowledgements, but perhaps Brian Cox was involved as a consultant, and he was able to help with his legendary grasp of particle physics. The book was a mixture of fantasy and cyberpunk. The heroine is a cyborg. Science fiction is very different to fantasy (please don't get the two confused). This cross-genre was good, because it mixed scifi with fantasy elements such as magic and elves.
When I made my new years resolutions this year, I decided to try and move my interests more into the main stream of culture. For example when I am talking with an attractive woman and she happens to mention that she likes James Blunt, I was hoping to move way from snorting "you like the bland music that fu*king w*nker makes"? I thought that kind of outburst would hurt any potential relationship. Somehow the Satan tempted me to buy the book "Japrockersampler" by Julian Cope. Julian's book is about the Japanese underground music scene, in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Julian claimed that the Japanese music scene was less influenced by drugs, than what happened in the US/UK. It was interesting to read how the Japanese bands were influenced by the music coming from the US. Anyway, rather helpfully Cope provided a list of the top 50 albums by Japanese bands. Top of the list is a CD called Satori by Flower Travelling' Band. Well I have saved money by not buying CDs by Blunt so I deserve a treat,
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I have decided I am an atonal type of guy. On the freakzone radio show last week, the featured album was Metal Machine by Zeitkratzer. This was an orchestral version of Lou Reed's Metal Machine, that he released in the mid 70s. Many people view the original metal machine as unlistenable, including me (although I didn't try). However the orchestral version sounded so fantastic that I have just bought a copy. However, the new version of metal machine will still clear rooms.
I went out to see "Emmy the great" play at King Tuts in Glasgow last Friday. I don't go out to gigs that much these days, so I couldn't decide whether to go or not. I did decide that an evening of mucic and beer would do me good. The other times I have been to King Tuts it has been packed out, but it was fairly empty when I got there. (Most people were in the bar downstairs and slowly drifted up as the support acts played). One of the support acts was ballboy. I bought one of their CDs, maybe about 5 years ago, because it was championed a lot by John Peel. Also the CD had a song about a big fat stupid Manchester United fan, so the Gods of Liverpool forced me to buy it. I had thought that Ballboy was a band, but last Friday, it was just one guy strumming his guitar. I really enjoyed his set thought, because is was full of word filled songs. Emmy the great were great. I had heard them play a session on Marc Riley's Rocket Science. She sings controlled, sweet, and intense songs. She is Chinese, but the music is not Chinese traditional (I had to explain that too a number of people this week). There is a review of the same gig by someone at the Guardian. A bit wordy and pretentious for my taste. You can listen to Emmy the Great and decide for your self. Interestingly enough Emmy the great are playing a venue close to my flat tonight. More importantly she is playing Glasgow with the "mountain goats" on 10th December. I used to buy low-fi tapes by the mountain goats.
I kept hearing about a new folk singer called Fionn Regan. I think he got nominated for a music award. I saw he was playing in Glasgow, but I didn't go and see him, because frankly he looked too pretty. I don't really think of "pretty" boys playing folk music. One of the radio 6 presenters played a track of his CD. The song was about him ringing someone up (ex-girlfriend ?) to apologize for stealing some books and things from their house. It was such a great song, that I regretted not going to see him play. Of course Dylan was pretty when he toured the UK in the last 60s. He was so feminine that a woman plays him in an up and coming film biography.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
I watched Die Hard 4.0 on DVD on Thursday night. It was entertaining enough. They do all this fancy stunt work, but then there was a scene in the car that was clearly done with a blue screen. Other scenes were done in a real car. I payed 2.50 to rent that DVD, I don't expect to see blatant blue screen filming.
Last week I read a book called Storm Front by Jim Butcher. The book was about the adventures of Harry Dresden, a wizard in the Chicago area who solves occult murder mysteries. This is not high art, but the book was well written in an addictive way. (I don't think the book was a Harry Potter rip off, because I am too cool to read such stuff). Trouble is there is a whole series of these books. I am reading so few books at the moment to get involved in reading a series of books for mere enjoyment. I should really make a start on one of the Doris Lessing books I own. Perhaps I will just order one more book by Dresden.
I have just finished reading Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. This was a collection of short stories by a famous Japanese writer. There is a great film called Rashomon, that starts with a man walking in some trees. The book makes an appearance in the film "ghost dog" as well. A good piece of writing can warm my soul for a long time. I could feel the influence of a story called "hell screen" for a couple of days. There was a lot of ambiguity about the story, which describes a terrible but fascinating event. Ryunosuke changed writing styles later on his life. He started by writing historical stories, but later the stories were more autobiographical (set in the early part of the twentieth century). The last story was called "spinning gears". It involved him just jotting down things he felt and saw, some of which may have been real. He was so sensitive and depressed. I feel the same way when I have not talked to anyone for a couple of days.