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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
  The New World

I'm going to try out a new home, see how I like it. Feel free to visit Whose Mind is it Anyway?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
  Vote for me please... 
Saturday, June 10, 2006
  World Cup Blog 
Sunday, April 02, 2006
  Work in progress, as ever

I felt the sadness in my sinuses first. A kind of swollen sensation, as if whatever emotion was beginning to build was making a last bid for escape through my nose, bypassing my mouth in case it caused me to make a sound. There was no welling up of tears, just pressure – pressure that spent a moment or two as a solid distorting my face before seeming to become the heaviest of liquids, filling my feet, legs, then arms, until finally the sadness was all that was left.

Emily leaving seemed to have shattered that window in front of my eyes that had always previously allowed me to confront an unhappy image and recognise its dramatic or distressing content, but stopped me short of actual emotional response. I now watched a documentary about a child dying of AIDs and wept for half an hour after the program finished. My cat died and on the bus home from work I stared out of the window so no one would see the redness around my eyelids or the damp sheen over my pupils. These were early incidents.

For a while I ascribed them to a temporary imbalance – her departure had upset a fine emotional register, which once restored would snuff out these embarrassing moments of quite naked empathy and restore to me the endlessly useful camouflage of seeming to care only up to a point. Weeks and months, eventually even years began to pass by. Emily was forgotten, forever smiling apologetically at Wellington airport and telling me that one day I wouldn’t care about her anymore. Of course she was right, and she was replaced in time by people who by being every bit as loving as her, repeatedly performed a feat I once would have thought a miracle.

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Friday, January 27, 2006
  California, you're such a wonder

The week I just spent in San Francisco was really marked by two things I noticed, both odd and horrifying in their own way.

The first was the number of old people begging on the streets. And by old I don't mean 40 or 50, I mean people you'd more expect to see in managed accommodation being prepared for their final days - most looked 70 at least, and could barely be heard as they requested spare change, in vivid contrast to the brash and exceedingly vocal patter of the younger beggars. Even more surprising was that such a large number of them seemed to be women. This isn't the venue to discuss demographics or social policies, but a country which venerates the virtues of family and motherhood is a shocking place to find elderly bewhiskered women pleading for a dollar.

Secondly, while attending a talk to mark the launch of 'Surviving Justice', a collection of the stories of 13 wrongly convicted and subsequently exonerated American prisoners, a woman stood up, and in a moment of almost grotesque self-congratulation, chose to apologise to the present exoneree for being an American tax payer, and thus responsible for the tragedy that had overtaken 16 years of his life. Naturally the man accepted her apology with grace, but it was hard to swallow the sense of rising anger at such a selfish appropriation of one individual's woeful story to advertise your own glorious humanity and pity.

That said, I was still sorry to leave. Deep blue skies and warm breezes in January would probably make us all a lot happier. 
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
  I had to write this down while it was still fresh in my mind... but could the sinister reason behind the pop industry advocacy of make poverty history, be purely to do with creating a consumer market for entertainment in Africa? 
Thursday, January 12, 2006
  So. Who else is loving angry bile at the moment? God I can't get enough of the stuff and this might be because I realized, calmly and quietly, that I would fucking love to go on Celebrity Big Brother with a chainsaw. Seriously though, we don't have permanent links to Mr Northern Uproar, or in fact to Mr Random Brand. People I admire greatly.

Last time I 'fixed' the links, our page didn't work for six months.

Get to it, Phil! 
Monday, January 09, 2006
  Luton Who?

Mark pointed me in the direction of this wonderful piece on the unknown pleasures of circling Luton at 4am in the passenger seat of a probably decrepit car. As much as I recognised the idea of this kind of England, the England of concentric circles of disinterest and disintegration emanating from London along ring roads thick with cars, I know it's not the England I grew up in.

Southampton, uncompromisingly bland, without even the navy scuzz of Portsmouth to set it apart in the imagination, remarkable for what? Crumbling Roman City walls, gradually being left behind by the city itself as it crawls in the direction of the latest expansion of shops-under-one-roof. In two decades, three separate shopping centre developments, each larger than the last, each consuming the other, sucking out the marrow of convenience starved shoppers until only a few bored shoe-polished kids kick around the Bargate centre, and only customers seeking the grail of bargain-priced homewares stalk the halls of the Marlands centre. But these buildings refuse to crumble, they may gleam less brightly, their surfaces turning off-white like aging plastic, but they refuse to become brittle. Like polyethylene landfill, Southampton is a city that refuses to fall apart even under the strain of neglect and indifference.

The city tower blocks barely deserved the name, and the few concrete promenades stretching underneath them were probably as full of litter and crap as anywhere else you care to name, but they were few and far between, and zoned in such a way that I can't tell you if they were empty of hope or not because I never visited them. Southampton's suburbs were dark at night, and if boredom, hedonism or anger caused anyone to roam the streets flashing headlights I never heard about it. But I was also separated one step further from the city, living on the river, with only the mast-head of Fawley, steady red in the distance linking me with Southampton's modest bulk.

My memories of being driven around the city after dark are not soundtracked by Joy Division, but by the gentle routines of local radio. The 3am slot where the phone in features the same people night after night. The soft voiced host talking down his regular after dark callers from their ledges of sadness, lunacy or racism to a soundtrack of occasional bursts of 50s big band or 10CC if you're lucky. The branch-hung roads connecting Botley, Curdridge, Hedge End empty but for a white Ford Fiesta, rabbits and foxes fleeing from the frosty growl of a small engine.

I remember tuning in on the radio to find what sounded like a conversation in mid-flow. The two voices calling each other by name, warm with familiarity until the older one started denouncing a group of asylum seekers housed near his home, his voice rich with bitterness until the other man cut him off and suggested he'd feel silly about that in the morning and why don't they cool off to some Elvis. This is another England, caught between the stasis of rurality and the churn of the city, only here all that happens is the news agents change hands and people focus on the unerring ability of things to stay the same.

Towns like these are wrapped in plastic, vacuum packed. There's no decay, only renewal - the old stays old, and the new merely has some of its shine taken off. We were in a holding pattern all that time, though without knowing, circling the wrong place. 
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
  Prompted by the palpable bile of a justifiably sneering K-Punk, I went and read Paul Morley's rim-job of an article about U2. I was not amused.

I find it hard to disguise my dislike of Bono, and even harder to disguise my dislike of U2 fans, who somehow manage to hear something unique and interesting in the nth iteration of that delaydelaydelay-soiledsoiledsoiled stadium pap - but there are more important matters to attend to than bitching about U2's tiny sonic-palette, or the gargantuan stage-ego of that slick-haired buffoon.

Bono's emergence over the last few years as the gurning public face of the compassionate celebrity movement to alleviate all of the world's ills (TM) has frequently caused outbreaks of total moral incomprehension from certain members of my family, with whom I have sympathy. I too have wondered how it is possible to preach charity and condemn the excessive consumption of the developed world while being a phenomenally wealthy and privileged star. Is Bono's self-righteousness so overwhelming that he doesn't see the contradiction between his ridiculous lifestyle and his message of generosity and equality? Can you legitimately complain about the commercial rape of the environment while making a living from huge world-spanning tours that require plane-loads of equipment, leaving a carbon footprint so big that the outraged are left with no option but to hope it is made sooty-flesh and stomps Bono into putrescence?

Rather than this phenomenon being the revival of charity, I am led to wonder instead if this is not the blossoming of a new and extraordinary greed. I do not see Bono inviting George Bush and other national leaders to tax the unholy fuck out of him and his troupe of weeping celebrities for hire (see Joss tear up at the sight of the bulging-eyed child!), instead, I see a man who would like to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, while enjoying the moral capital of his righteousness. What the celebrity appearance asks of us is that we respond to their donation of time, with a donation of money, but internal to this exchange is the assumption that Bono's time is worth more than that of ordinary people, and the only way this can be accommodated is through equating Bono the celebrity and Bono the man. To collude with celebrity fundraising is to be part of an obscene cult in which the person at the end of the phone with their credit card bears the entire weight of the enterprise - the weight of saving the world, and the weight of feeding the ever-swelling egos of the maniac figureheads. Bono and those who will inevitably follow in his wake must not be allowed to grow fat on this acclaim, free as it is from cost and responsibility.

A choice must be made: no one should be able to enjoy both excessive financial and moral capital - the two are not compatible. If Bono wants to be treated as a great moral leader, we should demand a sacrifice. 
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
  Searching for answers on the internet is like playing 'Jeopardy'. You need to search for what you assume will be the form of the answer, rather than asking the question.

I.e don't type "How are Pringles made", type
"Pringles are made by"

There, easy. 
Monday, November 28, 2005
  What kind of language is this?

It's probably time I weighed in with my thoughts on Aerial, though 'weigh' seems like an inappropriate word in the context of this incredibly fleet album. The source of this overwhelming sensation of lightness is not easily located; it pervades the entire record, from its elemental title, to the gusting harmonies that close 'King of the Mountain', to the swift twittering birds that bring the album to an end.

Bush's voice has obviously aged, without obtaining the richness that occasionally finds its way into vocals as the decades accumulate. This is not a weakness though on an album written quite deliberately from the perspective of an older woman - a family woman, concerned both with the everyday banalities of new children and laundry, but also a sinister understanding, evoked so painfully in Church of Me's review.

One of the album's most remarkable achievements is to balance joy and grief - the matching pair of 'Bertie' and 'A Coral Room' spring most obviously to mind - the former a Viol-led hymn to a loved child, the latter a piano led lament for a departed mother. The occasional harshness at the back of her throat serves only to remind us of the years that have passed since her debut, and of the various moments, tragic and happy, to which we have not been privy. The once smooth surface of her voice unexpectedly catches on a splinter or rough patch, and is all the more expressive for it.

'King of the Mountain' with it's title taken from folklore, demands double vision: seeing both the winter-swept halls of the Erl-King of northern legend, but also the fan-swept home/tomb of the other King, Elvis. The video of a spritely Kate Bush, leaning forward as if against the blowing wind, unravelling the loneliness and hubris of the various Kings - Presely, Kane, the Myth - she appears puckish in the midst of the minor-key, minor-orchestrated music, smiling with the knowledge that only something higher than a King can comment on the life and loss of royalty. It's certainly one of the most arresting and unusual singles I've heard for years, and retains that shocking lack of recognition still with each listen.

In contrast to the domestic modulation of the first disc, even after several listens I find 'A Sky of Honey' difficult to pick apart (something it seems from interviews, Bush was hoping to achieve). There's no separation of tone, just a gradual wash of colour and mood that's as slow and implacable as the movement of shadow on the ground. K-Punk's expression of the painterly composition of the second disc is spot on; the songs develop in increments both internally, and as part of the nine-part cycle. The moments between songs mingle and become inseparable, as pigments curl around each other in water to create fresh unseen hues, until finally, on 'Nocturn', with the steady bass and tinkling treble of guitars calling to mind the kind of summer storm that first mixes everything together, and then washes everything clean, we're asked to "look at the light". There's no colour, just light, a sudden end to the song; lightning hitting the ground with such force that sound is left flagging behind.

I don't think anyone could have expected Kate Bush to return with an album as revelatory as this, too many other talents have returned to the fold after much less extensive sabbaticals to dispiriting effect. Instead of losing her way and following blind alleys of 'relevance' or retreading past glories, the compounded experiences of those twelve years are vivid in the songs; unafraid and unstinting in facing down loss, unashamed in celebrating life new and matured. Few albums are as enveloping as this, or as nervelessly open.

Look at the light, all the time it's a changing
Look at the light, climbing up the aerial
Bright, white coming alive jumping off the aerial
All the time it's a changing, like now…
All the time it's a changing, like then again…
All the time it's a changing
And all the dreamers are waking.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
  Who's Best?

A day or so after someone's death seems like a pretty bad time to start assessing their legacy, but the need for column inches beyond the statement of death makes it inevitable that already people have started compiling the subtle equations necessary to decide whether George Best was the greatest footballer of all time.

In the past I've tended to dismiss calls for Best's supremacy as being inspired by an Anglo-centric view of football that has blighted our development of talented players and hampered our performance in countless tournaments. The view that Best was an accident, an unrepeatable prodigy, has contributed both to his elevation as the greatest there has been, but also to the view held by all the home nations that skill is a luxury you can't count on (either in terms of the performances of your mercurial star, or in the likely makeup of any national squad). The perception of Best as an inexplicable talent, an unquantifiable variable, has gone on to haunt players such as Waddle and Le Tissier who while perhaps not as talented, still suffered under the maverick label.

By all accounts though, Best was a solid team player, and not a lazy liability. It is tempting to see the description of him as the founding hell-raiser of several generations of brilliant but difficult players as the conflation of his off-pitch excesses with his on-pitch style. However, I prefer to see it in terms of an essential British suspicion of flair. Now I happily confess that this is purely my own prejudice, built upon years of football commentary, journalism and match watching, so there are going to be people out there who interpret this completely differently, but while other nations seem to have reveled in the inexplicable origins of the skills of their most sublime players, we treat them as if there is an inverse relationship between talent and moral value. The protestant work ethic has no time for free roles.

Best's celebrity is now regarded with a certain prurient fascination, as if no one quite believes that an athlete can have debauched to that extent while still performing on the pitch. We now expect more commitment from our footballers (as do the shareholders contributing to their enormous wages) and yet the glamour of Best with his huge sideburns and even bigger appetite for ditzy models is undiminished. What has changed is the association of those vices with his style of play. Every virtuoso talent that has emerged since has been tainted with the image of pink-shirted George cascading champagne down a tower of glasses. It is now impossible to impress on the pitch with your unpredictability without someone asking the question off it whether that unpredictability is really just unreliability in disguise.

Therefore, it is easy to understand why Best occupies an uncontested seat at the top of the pantheon of players in the English league. He established the pattern that generations of players have followed or been forced into (even minor talents such as Jermaine Pennant seem unable to avoid the temptation of being the flashy winger). It's probably time to own up though. Of the three players most often mentioned as the greatest of all time, Maradona is the only one I've seen play several times. Best and Pele live only in often repeated clips of their finest moments, always attempting an audacious shot from half way that still fails to go in; body-swerving the keeper and still managing to keep balance after all this time. What always seems obvious to me though is that none of it looks very special anymore.

It's in the nature of sport to be nostalgic. Today's achievements are always measured against yesterday's failures or successes, and this is the same in assessing the performances of teams as well as players. This decade's Liverpool team is compared with last decade's, as both a collective entity, and position by position. Most of the time either for reasons of diminishing returns or romantic attachments, the comparison is unfavorable. This habit is played out on a national scale too. Who are the heroes of today, and how do they compare to the fallen and departed? But misty eyes often cause poor focus. Football worldwide has improved beyond measure, with each generation producing players more outrageously gifted than the last. Can anyone honestly tell me that they believe the Ronaldinho of today anything other than the utter superior of anyone who has gone before him?

The moist-eyed reverence English football has for the heroes of its past says a lot to me about the sport's idea of itself. We are more comfortable with the idea that legions of hard working players emerge from a conveyor belt on which occasionally there gleams an unexpected gem, than we are that those gems could be one day produced in the right environment. The failure of Simon Clifford, a man with a genuine philosophy for developing skill in young players, to establish a place at the table at a lowly club like Southampton (run by old-school dinosaurs like Redknapp and Bassett) speaks loudly and clearly about the attitude English football has to producing flair rather than resolve.

George Best may well have been the greatest player to play in the English league; there's no doubting his grace, vision and finishing. He may even warrant inclusion with the likes of Pele and Maradona in the nostalgic pantheon; but the failure of English football to produce a talent that we are comfortable comparing with his should be a warning to anyone who would like to see football played with skill and daring return to this country. Putting George to rest will not be easy. 
Thursday, November 24, 2005
  Easy, Tyger

I accidentally got into a very interesting conversation today about the qualities and etymology of the phrase 'easy, tiger' after expressing admiration at its concise encapsulation of a certain level of sordid flirtation.

I've done a little digging, and from internet sources can't discover any details about the etymology of the word. The period it seems most associated with in my mind is the sixties, the words tripping along with a raised eyebrow and a faked concern that rampant passions be reined in. That need not be the case though. The tiger ceased to be a creature of special fokloric weight for us long before the sixties, when its territory stopped being a place where you might aspire to go and live for the advancement of your career.

Do children today still have nightmares about tigers the way they once did? Is the scale of the beast still something that amazes the young, or have they moved on to others in the menagerie? I'd imagine that Spielberg has done more than anyone to oust the tiger as man's most feared enemy - the Jungle is a distant dream for most, but as the BBC recently reminded us, you're never further than around 70 miles from the sea in England. Sure the waters off the British coast are too cold to harbor a Great White, but you can never really know what's patrolling beneath the turbulent grey surface.

Perhaps it's the experience of seeing them immobile in palatial expanses of tended zoo enclosure that has robbed them of a bit of their mystery. On the few occasions I've seen a tiger, it's been a few stripes of fur glimpsed between fans of undergrowth; a huge paw resting on a log, the rest of the giant head and coiled body totally hidden. They've become pretty lazy. The stars of the show. What was once a creature so awe inspiring that Blake could only blame and congratulate God, is now a cause of mild disappointment for visitors to Marwell hoping to find out what a nightmare looks like. Or perhaps too many appearances bounding through river-spray in Athena posters have turned them noble and cuddly where once they were feared

What though, makes the tiger an appropriate subject for the innuendo? Is it a hangover from a time when anyone could have appreciated the droll futility of trying to calm a tiger? The conjuring of animal urges is obvious enough, but if they fuck as slowly as they do everything else, the tiger is hardly a candidate for pest of the animal kingdom, though the gentle purring undulation of the word is appealing, breaking as it does from that initial gasp of a consonant.

Then, the question of the comma.

Easy tiger...
Easy, tiger...

I favour the latter. It would be wrong to underestimate the effect of that elliptical 'easy'... not a demand for a pause, just difference. The punctuation gives the sentiment room, forces you to consider exactly what easiness must entail. Easy. Tiger.

Down, boy. 
Sunday, November 20, 2005

What force drives modern celebrities to measure themselves against Elvis Presley? Robbie Williams is the latest victim of this curse, with a predictably slow-motion elegiac video portraying himself as Elvis-through-the-ages, with some lyrics I barely caught about Marlon Brando and 'advertising space'. The popular image of Presley as a tragic figure, epitomised by Peter Guralnick's lengthy biography endures still, with Williams in full sad-face mode, profound tattoos and all. However, the Presleyan short-cut to meaningful meditation on celebrity can't be the only reason for his imaged to be invoked so frequently.

There seem two possible reasons for the continuation of the cult. Williams makes an interesting case-study of the possibilities. Is he so in love with the trajectory of his own career that he sees himself ascending to iconic heights, or is he so insecure in his talent and status that he has to include a reverential commentary on his own limitations in the form of a worshipful paean to Presley, the ultimate manifestation of tender, troubled, talented masculinity? Hubris or fear, the choice is yours.

Morrissey makes another surprising acolyte. The performances accompanying the last album release were all given before a huge red "MORRISSEY" sign in the fashion of the '68 comeback special illuminated "ELVIS". The early Morrissey, inhabiting a different musical landscape than we see today, harked back to rockabilly and the now alien 50s in a way that was unexpected, at a time when historical reverence was being sacrificed on a now-tedious bonfire of modernity. However, now all we have is respect - there's nothing so note-worthy as calling on the name of a fallen icon, and in thanking them for all your talent, all your success, craftily swiping the remains of their rank and popularity to bolster your own. To kneel before Elvis now, what must we be saying about our own achievements? Even if Morrissey wanted to replace Elvis, he still had to welcome him onto the stage before he could mount his coup.

To descend to the more mundane for a moment, on a recent episode of The X Factor the defeated contestant was ejected after a bland knee-shake-athon performance of 'Johnny Be Good', with the unintentionally hilarious pay off of '... with the greatest respect, you're never going to be Elvis Presley'. Did it even need to be said?

No one is ever going to be Elvis Presley, not now. That so many continue to try is a genuine surprise, especially in a world of such rampant self-regard. Whoever said that the young had no respect? 
Friday, November 18, 2005
  Man of Steel

Until now I haven't been all that excited by the forthcoming Superman Returns for a couple of reasons. The immigrant fantasy symbolism of Superman never seemed compelling compared to Batman or Spiderman, or even the uber-geeky X-Men, and with a string of non-Spiderman related block busting turds over recent years, the portents have not been good.

The teaser trailer that's just been released here gives me hope though. Sure, some of the effect comes from the old-testament prophetic voice-over from a beyond the grave Brando. And I'd forgotten how excited and nostalgic the John Williams' fanfare could make me feel with it's slowly accumulating layers, but there are a couple of genuinely beautiful images in here.

The first sees a slowly ascending Superman silhouetted against the sun, a visual used so often that you wouldn't imagine it could achieve anything more than cliche. However, the strange orange and grey nuclear sky, and the tiny rising shadow in the absolute distance behind a foreground of black cloud make this a wonderful shot.

Even better is the scene of Superman hanging still but for his cloak, high above the earth, eyes closed, seemingly listening to the whole planet, before rushing down towards a huge bright city through the clouds. I love how dark the planet looks, as if Metropolis is the only inhabited place on earth, and I love the warm electric blue haze on the edge of the atmosphere as the camera pulls back to reveal the curve of the globe.

It's early days, and many a crap film has been preceded by a great trailer, but this is probably the most exciting teaser I've seen in a long time. 
Monday, November 14, 2005
  By common consent, the Amazon behaves a lot like a vast green hand, closing over civilisations too tired to machete their streets clear on a weekly basis, and hiding countless crashed planes, war criminals and lost sons of the Aristocracy. A recent New Yorker article about the search for the remains of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, the early 20th century explorer and theorist of the City of Z, also mentioned some of the many curious or arrogant safari-hatted types who had given their lives to the bugs, the river and the sneaky violent tribes. I'm not sure if an exhaustive account exists of every expedition that ever entered the Amazon and never came out, but if it doesn't, it certainly should.

There are so many ways to be lost in the rainforest: starve, drown, be murdered by suspicious tribesmen, poisoned, or have a Candiru block up your urethra. Almost every retelling of a brave wagon train of explorers entering the forest with clean clothes and the latest equipment ends with stories of campfire smoke that disappears after a few days, and a handful of ragged and torn men that emerge sometimes years later, forever defeated. The only way to take the trees on and win is with an axe, or chainsaw, or better, the tools of industrial deforestation. In a clean fight, the anarchic and the fecund have won time and time again.

The relentlessness with which the forest erases the failed and the fallen is quite startling. Within a handful of years an entire town could be indistinguishable from the bordering forest unless you knew it was there. When entire European countrys'-worth of rainforest can be removed without much of the world noticing, we have moved beyond the human scale of things, even beyond the national scale. However, I have never been to South America, and the mysteries of its cities, its beaches and its religions are just as impenetrable to me as the mystery of it's great forests. The distant green spaces of other continents are not the only places where people, histories and cities are lost.

I seem to get lost in London almost daily, even though I rarely deviate from an established route to work and back. That route has changed somewhat, so I'm now more familiar with the ugly 80s shopping centres and office building of Victoria than the chipboard shrouded Hawksmoor church in Holborn and the cute brutalism of CentrePoint. After seven months of exploring, the city still feels as alien as the rainforest, and as quick to consume and regenerate.

A Saturday afternoon in Wood Green, walking against the human tide and I can't see anyone dressed like me. Probably the fault of my imagination, but I can't imagine anyone sharing my sense of awe as I push my way through to Sainsbury's either. There are so many scowling kids, so many people shoving their way into Foot Locker, so many people struggling in-arm locks, ejected from Foot Locker 30 seconds later with bile on their tongues and promises of retribution once reinforcements are gathered. And so much litter. When the wind picks up great waves of it race along the pavement, gathering to circle dustbins, bus stops and lamp-posts until the gusts die down.

I don't recognise any of the shops. They all look like one-offs, selling mobile phone covers and fresh cuts of meat from the same storefront. Twice-distant along the street is the shopping centre, with it's sticky floors and its ethnic fast food chains. Inside is the cinema, which my girlfriend, with American squeamishness, claims has the nastiest toilets she has ever seen. Constantly moving from morning until long after night has fallen there are strangers refusing to make eye-contact - bodies colliding by accident and design, and the odd explosion.

I pick my way through from time to time.

So far I have made it home every time.

Between the Amazon and my local High Street, it's the sheer volume of life that threatens to pick you up and not let you go. So many vines to tangle your feet, so many unintended slights. I have yet to make up my mind whether I feel elated or merely scared of the city outside my front door - of its rhythms, its many ways to lose yourself, and its few paths to the forest's edge. 
Friday, August 19, 2005
  For the moment the discrepancy between the formatting of the main and archive pages and the individual post pages will have to wait. There are more pressing matters to hand. To go with the minor cosmetic alterations to the blog, I feel the need for a major facelift of purpose. What is this blog for?

Like an old, charmingly ramshackle public house that has been purchased by a wicked sprawling Pubco, we need to rebrand. We need a theme.

So what am I going to write about? I've tried fiction, and no doubt I'll continue to put the stuff I'm not very proud of on here for your reading/ignoring pleasure, but there needs to be more than this.

It can't be music, as I never listen to anything new and I hate most of what's gone before. I think it would be churlish to step into a space already populated by people with a consuming love of listening to music and then writing about it, for the sole purpose of being sour and viperish about a song I accidentally heard on the radio. It's a similar story with Film and Television - I like both, but can you sustain a commentary on the FPS world when you watch less than a film a week, and probably only an hour of television per day?

Maybe books. But we're talking serious lead times on this. I get through one a week on the tube on the way to work, but if I'm going to get my audience back, I think the weekly serial might be too spartan a format for the on-demand world we're told me live in. The people need more.

So in summary, I have a few ideas that I'm keeping to myself, but I'd welcome suggestions. What would you like to read about day in day out? 
Thursday, August 18, 2005
  Rats... why are the comments not working! 
  Replaced the old Haloscan comments with blogger's own. Let's see how it pans out. 
Monday, August 08, 2005
  Fixed that formatting problem. Had to disable some 'float' option that I'd never seen before in the 'settings' menu. Now READ you dogs! 
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
  Part Eight

He is dying, but of nothing preventable. He's just reached the end of his allotted time. His brother is here, though too busy attending to Jenks to even allow the possibility of noticing me. The skin on his face is slack and pale, except where a nurse has taped a nasal tube to his cheek; under the strip of adhesive the skin is pulled taut and a stretched yellow age blotch gives the impression of colour.

It is too gradual for anyone else to notice, but I am observing the slow clouding of his eyes, a gentle tide of white overpowering the last of the colour in his irises. I can also detect the minute increase in the gaps between his heartbeat, the ever more tortuous struggle of his blood around his body. I can feel him giving up.

It would be fitting to say Jenks was looking at me at the last, but he wasn't. Unaware that I'd held his hand since the day he was born, he let go, and the warmth of his fingers upon my palm was quickly usurped by the cold and a voice calling me away. 
  Part Seven

There's a huge jolt. An electric crack, a lurch, and the amplified sound of paper tearing, that might be the unamplified sound of sheet metal being ripped. A grey-brown cloud blooms past the window, accelerated by the confined space of the tunnel. This is followed by people screaming, a sound not delayed by the relative speed of light, but by confusion. Yes, it had happened, and yes, it was ok to scream. The lights flicker and go out, and with the darkness comes sensation; the heat presses in, and the whimpers of a guy sitting three seats away corkscrew down into my ear. 


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