Sunday, September 30, 2012

Science fiction novels

I have been in Graz for a couple of days for a meeting. As part of my travel plans I read
100 Must-read Science Fiction Novels by Nick Rennison  and  Stephen Andrews. This book had a good selection of important science fiction novels

One of the books they recommended was Dr Adder by Jeter, but the book looks to be out of print.

Another book I wanted to buy was Iron Dream by Spinrad.

This is an alternative history novel, where Hitler gives up political activity and moves to the US  and starts to write science fiction novels.

Starving in Germany on a Sunday

Ok I exaggerate a little bit. I got back from a trip to Graz Austria at 22:50 last night. But today is Sunday and so there are not many shops open. I had forgotten to get enough food for today, so I only had tinned food. On meal from a tin a day is OK, bu two? Luckily I had many tins of tuna, so I had a  reasonable salid.

It would be so simple if I lived in the UK, because I could have done a quick shop at Tesco.

Gideon's corpse

When I was in Ibiza I purchased "Gideon's Corpse" paperback to read on landing and take off on the journey home, because I had to switch off my kindle then. I also read the book when I was in flight to Graz from Dusseldorf. It was exciting read and I couldn't put it down, much like when I used to not be able to put down an open packet of pringles.

The hero was in principle a  physicist, but he didn't act like one. There was too much explanation for me. What ever happened to "show not tell".  Still there were explosions and guns and a little bit of nuclear physics.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why I loved Shrimper records

Nowadays I seem get most of my new music from Radio 6. I hardly buy any music, but just stream music from the radio or listen to radio plays.

When I was living in the US I sometimes purchased a lot of cassettes via mail order. I got a lot of cassettes from a label called Shrimper which was run by  Dennis Callaci. At that time I was reading a lot of fanzines as well and I guess that was the way I got into it. Most of the music on Shrimper seemed lo-fi and all of the bands were interesting.
Dennis used to write short notes when he sent me the cassettes, so we had some kind of written conversations.

There were great bands on Shrimper, such as Simon Joyner and the Mountain Goats. My all time favorite was Paste. This was one guy with a guitar intensely playing. I can still hear in my mind one
song about "greasy hair". Dennis Callaci was the man in paste, but he moved on into other bands
on his label.

Before the Internet it was a big struggle to find some album that you wanted. I spent many years trying to find a Swans album. Now it is a lot easier to track a tune down, usually via Youtube. However I don't see too much from Shrimper. My impression was that Dennis would not have liked the convenience of the Internet from music. I do see that there was a gig for the 20 year anniversary of the creation of the  Shrimper label posted on Youtube, so they must be still going.

Unfortunately I got rid of a lot of my tapes when I moved to Germany. Stupid me.

There are a few web sites with more information about Shrimper Records, such as this one.  There is a small amount of information about Shrimper on the wikipedia site. This page has a proper history of the label.

I just downloaded from Amazon a MP3 ssampler of the Shrimper stuff.

So here is some Refrigerator, one of Denni's bands to get some idea of the Shrimper label/

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dr Who going darker

I really enjoyed watching last week's Dr Who episode: "a town called Mercy."  The episodes are getting darker and darker, with war criminals, and the Dr almost getting ready to kill someone. I used to enjoy Dr Who when I was young, but  now I am more obsessed.  It is always a good sign, when the writers of a show are as important as the actors.


While on holiday I watched lockout on my laptop, I was quite excited to see the film after seeing it for sale on amazon.. OK it was an action movie, but some how it just annoyed me. The "hero" was a cigarette smoking American with a big mouth. He had to go to a space station to save an annoying female American.  I am not sure why I didn't like the "hero", it must have been his stupid arrogance that was an attempt at cool.

Why do I bother to watch these dumb western action films. My mind feels the way my stomach does after a whole tube of pringles.
Anyway I have learned my lesson. I am just downloading  The Machine Girl from Itunes. This has a girl with one arm replaced by a machine gun. This is from Japan, so should be much better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A binary tree dream

I slept OK last night. I now find it is still dark at 6:00 in the morning, so no more blazing sun to wake me in the morning. I had a dream where an android device was trying to make it immortal, by some software update. Later the dream changed to a scientist trying to destroy the world. Somehow there was a missing piece of his device. Other people worked out part of the puzzle and starting designing the rest of the machine. The blueprints were lost, but found by other people. As the device is built that part of the "multiverse" is destroyed, but another tendril shoots off.

Monday, September 17, 2012

End of my Ibiza holiday

So I am almost at the end of my holiday in San Antonio. I have a late flight back to Cologne. No more sun, or cocktails at 5 in the afternoon -- just work and rain.

Outside a strip club in Ibiza

I went out a bit later last night for a beer and a shot of absinthe. When  I first arrived in Ibiza I did wonder what the women who were hanging around the street corners were doing. They looked too drug free to be prostitutes. Later I saw that their job was to try and sell club tickets or get people to go into bars. I am told this job is not very well paid. Not a single one of them tried to sell me a club ticket or get me into a bar. I must be too old and broken to hang with the smart set. I am not one of the beautiful people.

It is very expensive to go to these clubs and I am no trance expert. New Order did play the Ibiza rocks hotel  during my holiday. It might have been good to go, but I have seen them before and I think the tickets were 50 Euros. No disrespect to New Order, but they are an old band. I did not feel that Ibiza was a cool place full of creative people making amazing music. Most of the bars were using all day breakfasts and football matches to get the punters through the door, On of the bars I was in that is linked to  a big name club starting playing pink floyd when I was there. It is the death of a scene when foot ball and music from old bands start to rule.

Last night I was soaking in the atmosphere when for the first time a woman approached me. She wanted me to go in the strip club. I thought about it, but I did not have enough money. So that is what Ibiza thinks of me, a guy who goes into strip clubs. Just great  .......

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On the egg question

Almost everywhere you go in Ibiza you get a full English breakfast. Personally for some reason I can eat eggs and everywhere I see they always give you eggs. I could ask for no eggs, but even in the UK that doesn´t always work and they give you eggs anyway.

It is too hot for a full English breakfast. I left my hotel room to see two young guys eating a full English with pints of lager at 11 in the morning. Anyway I have been happy enough just eating toast done Spanish style that involves tomatoes. I wanted something simple a couple of days ago, so I had a sausage supper -- two sausage aqd chips. I felt like shit. My body said what is this heavy crap that you are feeding me. I used to love chips in the UK, but I am no longer used to them and my body can´t cope.

Later today I am going to have some nice sushi

On the death of the martini cocktail.

I have not gone crazy, but I have drunk a fair amount of booze while I am here. Nearly everywhere offers cocktails. In the past the standard cocktail has been the martini. Now a days you are more likely to see Sex on the beach offered, but I have seen a couple of places that offered Martinis. Purely for educational reasons I tried the Martinis at the two bars. I was disappointed at both places.

A martini should be Gin or Vodka with Vermouth served in one of those broad cocktail glasses. You can also buy bottles of Martini, Both times I ordered Martinis I had the bottled stuff in an ordinary glass. I was disappointed, but at least it was cheap. Somehow the ready made bottles have destroyed this sophisticated drink. Now is has been relgated to some non cocktail statue. Look James Bond drinks martins and he is cool again.

When I was around 18 years old I read my last breath  by the surrealist film director Luis Brunel. In this book he describes how to make the perfect Martini -- you let the rays of the moon pass thought the bottle of Vermouth and into the Gin.

Hopefully I will dry out when I get back to rainy Germany.

At the very least the death of  the martin cocktail is a metaphor for the destruction of on idea by popular bottling.

On being robbed in Ibiza

I usually stay in the cheapest hotels, In these places there is no guarantee of a working TV. In these days that is not  such a big deal because I can watch films on my laptop. However the door on my hotel room in Iviza is so weak, that anyone could kick it open in 6 minutes. After being robbed in Athens I didn´t want to carry my laptop around, but still I worried about it sitting in my hotel room..

Sp my heart sank when I came back yesterday and saw my the door to my hotel room was slightly open. I rushed into the room. My laptop was still there and nothing seemed to be stolen. However later I noticed that the bin in the bathroom was gone! What the fuck a thief came in and stole a rubbish bin.

This was all a bit weird. It reminded me of the bread maker that was stolen from my flat in Liverpool. Could there be a pattern emerging.

Another option could be that the person who cleans the rooms forgot to close the door. She seems obsessed  
with giving me new towels0. I only shower once a day, so I don´t need 4 new towels each day. The hotel room is getting cluttered with towels. Perhaps I should be showering more times a day, it is hot here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On being cool

Today I put on my Aleister Crowley T'shirt on for the first time. I am feeling pretty cool. In fact I was just in a pizza restaurant. An Australian woman was sitting at the table next to me, and seemed possibly interested in me. I almost started a consversation, but ....

Today I decided as my trip out to take a little road train to a local village close to San Antonio. This was fun, but the rest of the passangers were old or young families. I ddn´´t feel very cool as the little road train went through the center of the city. All the hard t-shirtless men looked as me to say what a dickhead.

I had wanted to take the train, becausetoday I was also reading Hell Train by Christopher Fowler. I though the physical train ride would work well withthe story. However, the train drived made a lot of jokes, so it didn´t put in the mood to read about a train journey into hell.

The Hunger games

I loaded up a number of films to my Itunes library for this holiday. So in the lasd couple of days I watched "The Hunger Games" film. I enjoyed the film, but it was very much like Battle Royale or The Running man, except in these days, it is not just a question of fighting, but you also need to worry about public relations and spin. The film was based on a Tournemant where teenagers fight to the death.

At the beginning of the film heroine was meant to be living in a poor ares, but she was very stylish dressed. I guessed the end of the film wrong, because I thought she would be betrayed by her friends-

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dangerous Liaisons

What should a peson read while they are on holiday in a decadent resort, such as Ibiza. I naturaly choose to read Les Liaisons Dangereuses by
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

Two aristrochrats play games with peoples lives and seduce anything that moves. The novel is written as a series of letters, where plots are designed. They care nothing foir anyone, but are only scheming for their own sexual pleasure. A number of people´s lifes are destroyed.

When I was a student in Edinburgh I listened to a radio adaption of the book- Unfortunately I missed the seond to last episode, because there was interference. I was never very clear as to the moral message of the book, because I missed important information. One of the characters lost here eye at thew end of the book and it wasn´t very clear as to whether it was the good or evil woman. I have not tried seducing anyone, because I didn´t kow the fate of the good woman. In fact it was the bad woman who survived and the good women who died. The evil woman was in disgrace, but she still lived.


So I am finally in Ibiza. It is not really the sess pit of vice, but it seems a bit quiet. There are a few people starting to drink in the morniong, but it eems an almost family resort. There are not many people around. Any Friday or Saturday night in the Liverpool city centre is wilder. I am not really looking for too much excitement, because I am mostly here to do some reading.

The hotekl I am staying in is OK, but the door to my room has the worst lock I have ever seen. It will only take a minor kick to open it. I don´t carry anthing  too valuable, but I would be annoyed to lose my netbook. I saw a big cockroach walk accross the floor on the first night I stayed there. I killed it. The next night I had seen a much bigger cockroach, but it was too quick and it lived.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

more random holiday stuff

I read in a newspaper that Gandhi used to test his moral reserve by sleeping with, but not having sex with,  young women when  he was very old. In a similar way I have a chosen a party hotel in Ibiza for the week I am there, mostly because it is cheap. Perhaps I will hang out with the 18-30 crowd,m but I think I am way too old. I have been ti a couple of holiday places with good night life only to find myself far from the action. Of course what I mostly want is sun, relaxation and reading. I may end up as the grumpy old man complaining about the noise and not getting any sleep. It is near the end of the season, Hopefully it will not end up with me spending all day in the pub.

Lazy Sunday

I spent all afternoon yesterday constructing the weight bench below. I seem to end up with a number of screws at the end of the building. This is worrying because the bench is meant to hold up some weight.
Unfortunately I don't really feel like working out

Quantum thief

I also finished  reading "the quantum thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi.over the weekend. This was a science fiction novel full of modern physics and cryptography. There were several strands to the novel. which I found confusing, but that might me getting stupid as I get older. I enjoyed the book.

The Monk

I am feeling really burnt out. I did think of taking a trip somewhere, but it is Sunday and all the shops are shut. There can be a dead atmospeher about a Sunday.

So I spent part of the day reading "The Monk" by  Matthew Lewis. This a famous, or perhaps better it is an infamous Gothic novel from the 18th Century. The Monk was a celebrated man of piety in Madrid, but gradually his lustful passions overtake him

Although some very nasty things happen in this novel, it made me feel a bit lustful, and midway through the book, I wanted to seduce someone. There was a woman at work who had  a new hair cut, I almost complimented her on her new look, because it made her more sexy, but then I was nervous and trying to finish some deadlines, so I set nothing. It is a good thing that I didn't read the book last weekend!

You see if I could have gone shopping for some beer and chicken then I wouldn't have read this book and had lustful thoughts.

The Church doesn't come off very well in the book, so it is difficult to believe they were happy with it.

Upcoming holiday in Ibiza

I am so tired. I need a holiday, so I booked one. In 1 week i will be on holiday in Ibiza
It is not going to be a culture things, but I hope that I will be to relax.

I will have to get myself in training and detox myself. I am not planning to go to see any superstar DJ sets. Mostly because it is expensive and I need o be in bed around 1 in the morning.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Bob Dylan's latest vido

Above is Bob Dylan's latest video. It is a bit strange. Although I really love music, for a long time I have really hated videos, mostly because I get bored watching one after another, when I get to see some MTV channel in a hotel room. Having said that I sometimes finish an evening watching a couple of  videos on youtube -- just like any normal person.

I like Dylan's video, although as many people have noted in the comment section of the Guardian article, the young guy is really a stalker. The video is interesting and tells a good, if somewhat weird  story.

I am not sure I am going to buy the latest Dylan album. I wish he would write another book.