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I seem to have volunteered to help with the Prince of Wales (Moseley) Literary Festival this year. Well, "seem to have" - that's a phrase I hunted down mercillessly from the WIP. I have volunteered and if there had been similar things in Kingston I would have done so there (that there weren't is possibly telling). Just back from the MAC which does put me in mind of Riverside Studios (Hammersmith) but is mostly like itself. Apparently it used to be very run down but is now bright and shiny and I seem to be in there many days of the week, whether for classes or for coffee while walking the dog.

Today I have also been to the dentist with an aim to getting my teeth improved. They work OK but they could be a lot better aesthetically. Mind you when a dentist with many years experience opines that she is not certain whether to label a particular tooth as a 3rd or a 4th tooth you suspect you are in the presence of Weird Dentition (certainly one of my upper teeth originally grew behind the others and had to be removed when I was quite young - this is in fact what is behind the dentist's hesitancy re labelling). The work will take a while (and cost) but should be worth it.

I can't scan and post the picture I have found: a black and white snap showing a woman I suspect is my maternal grandmother,  astride a bicycle. She is wearing a knee length dress and the bike has a crossbar which may have made mounting and dismounting tricky. It's annoyingly devoid of referents - the bike could come from a wide range of eras and the picture looks as though it was taken in a back garden somewhere. It sort of looks 1940s but the hat she's wearing may give us some clue.

A book I found recently is called "Notes from Overground", by "Tiresias" (the poet Roger Green). In this tome he scrutinises what many have not really looked at - train commuting. And as it was written in 1984 it also gives us a view of the last years of nationalised rail services in the UK, a now nostalgic era of diesel engines and uniformly blue or blue and white livery and occasional pens of steam locomotives. Not even Thatcher tried it with the railways, realising they were dear to the nation's heart and also you do not try the patience of railway workers for they are bolshy and quick to (industrial) action. It is also in this book that we find the original investigation of that curious graffito CLOSE AT HAND IS FAR AWAY IN IMAGES OF ELSEWHERE painted near Paddington station in the 1970s and destroyed when the wall that bore it was demolished in the 1980s. That one joins the repetition of CHRISTIAN GOLDMAN? in such places as Hammersmith Broadway and Shepherds Bush in the 1980s, and the solitary THE NIGHT on the street wall of Nazareth House on Hammersmith Road which lasted until a few years ago and finds its way into my story "Cow Lane" in Music for Another World.

I'll stop here and refer the reader to this item by [ profile] sbisson of this parish:
which deals with all this. (I'd forgotten btw that I'd found a picture in the H&F Borough archives that shows that THE NIGHT graffito as existing in 1980, which either suggested my use of it in "Cow Lane" or else vindicated it, depending on when I found the picture - I suspect it would have been in 2003-4 when I was working on the pubs book so later than the writing of the story. I suspect the "90% crack up" item with its reference back to the French expression "metro - boulot - dodo" ("tube - job - kip") has gone as well. & between my comment to Simon's piece and now, the THE NIGHT one has indeed gone.

I suspect this is an example of "Circular reference, see, circular reference," as 'spride''s comments to Simon's article include a link to "Notes from Overground." I must have heard of that book somewhere, so why not in that comment?
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I've now finished reading "Infinite Jest." Although the pondering about certain events and implications goes on longer. Besides, the book stops in an odd place (although the first chapter does take place several months after the rest of the book). It took me about a month to read - started it in Skyros in very early June. 980 pages plus endnotes, about half a million words.
And Wimbledon is over for another year. Which two items together mean there is going to be a lot less tennis in my input from now on.
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The library is back open - and has a display of photos of the damage caused by whoever nicked the leading off the roof.
I now have six books to read - some related to the course, some not.

The Secret Life of France, Lucy Wadham - I expect to throw this across the room a few times as I really don't go for the 'Francophile and having a go at the Brits' manner of book, but she endears herself to me by agreeing that the French really don't know how to do popular music, and the book could be useful to get a hand on the mindset behind some texts.

The Language Report, Susie Dent - English on the move 2000-7, or how it has changed. Could be fun.

Une Situation Legerement Delicate, Mark Haddon, transl. Odile Demange - This is a translation of A Spot of Bother.

The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde - one I haven't read yet as far as I know

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell - almost looks like a self help book but this is Gladwell. More of my fascination with systems.

Frock Rock, Mavis Bayton - Women performing popular music. Touches on subjects such as Punk being the first time that women entered rock music on the same terms as men (cf. recent pieces on 'The F Word')
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Today i have been to the fracture clinic and been fitted with a high-tech new sling which goes over the right (uninjured) shoulder instead of the left. I am also encouraged to use my left hand so am typing two-handed again, hurrah. This is a massive improvement, even if for comfort I now have a setup by which the MacBook has a MacMini keyboard plugged into it.
I have been doing some writing and also reading my way through the Qhe! novels, a series of, I suppose, occult thrillers published in the 1970s and written pseudonymously by New Age / Holism person William Bloom. Variable, with the third book in the series being particularly 'wtf?' - which may explain why the fourth, which is better, is published by a different publisher and has a completely different cover design. Talking of occult thrillers I also have Phil Baker's Dennis Wheatley bio, "The Devil is a Gentleman" to read. This however is huge and not appropriate for putting in the bag when I go out.

As far as the writing is concerned the Asus eee is now for this, hooked up to an Apple keyboard, 17-inch monitor, loaded with AbiWord and Writers Cafe' (for planning the structure) and tweaked so that it doesn't power-down when the lid is shut.

I am signed off work for four weeks but the GP's form noted that I could return to work if suitable arrangements were made e.g. working from home. I'm not sure what the position is on this - if I'm signed off for four weeks do i Have to stay off for four weeks, or can I return to work within that time - but if I do, who is to say I wasn't coerced to do so by my employer?
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Because everybody else is, ten books you own that nobody else on your friends list does ...

Do they have to be in English? I'll assume so -

"Thursday Evening Anthology", Ed. Farida Majid (Salamander)
"Surbiton Past", Richard Statham (Phillimore)
"The Door to a Secret Room - A Life of Wells Coates", Laura Cohn (Scolar Press)
"Lozenge" - Kathy Allen / Mande Bijelic / Julie Hunt / Alison Symes (Cornford Press)
"Lucker and Tiffany Peel Out", Eroica Mildmay (Serpents Tail)
"Derelict London", Paul Talling (Random House)
"A Smell of Broken Glass", Sean Treacy (Tom Stacey)
"Leigh Hunt and his Family in Hammersmith", Molly Tatchell (Hammersmith Local History Group)
"Selected Poetry of Taras Shevchenko" (Bilingual edition English / Ukrainian) (Dnipro)
"Truman the Brewers, 1666-1966", author unknown (Trumans)

chrisamies: (Default)
Went to the doctor this morning; she suggests that I may have a dietary imbalance or possibly be anaemic, and recommends a blood test. Booked same for Monday morning, which means no food or drink from Sunday evening. That isn't actually very long for a fast.
Losing weight may have a downside!

Last night I dreamed I was interviewing Richard Morgan about the politics of his novels and the radical departure in his new one - and on the train into work this morning, what is the bloke next to me reading but R Morgan's new novel.

I have an interview for the National School of Government's Web Editor job!
Am not going to Electric Dreams tonight but am consoling myself with the 'Ashes to Ashes' soundtrack.

My alarm clock radio has broken in that it won't switch off. Eep. Need new one (and a new mattress as I have had that one about ten years and I sleep better almost anywhere else).
chrisamies: (Default)
Back to work today, even though I don't feel that well still. Spent much of yesterday just resting - managed to walk to Richmond Park and a little way into it, and also did some food shopping, but that was about it.

Also several phone calls from friends and relations.

The antibiotics have another day to run, that's ok as I don't feel like going out tonight anyhow - the Marlborough is having NYE which is tempting but I expect I will save my £25 and forgo the champagne cocktails and dazzling company (it can be, too. A better category of pub, is our Marlborough). Just as well I didn't sign up for the Fox Club's NYE bash (more expensive but it includes accommodation) or I'd have probably been trying to cancel - though as it includes the room I might just have crept upstairs as soon as possible.

At work we have moved desks so I've just spent some time unpacking crates. A box of books has also arrived including 'The Importance of Being Drunk' by Richard Gray, 'Veniss Underground' by Jeff Vandermeer, and 'Gateway to Hell' by Dennis Wheatley. Also the 'Handbook for Horticultural Students' which would really have been better before I started the Gardening course, rather than two fifths the way through.
chrisamies: (Default)
Volume 3 of 'Strange Pleasures' is now here. A shame I had to order it myself from A Certain Online Bookstore rather than actually being sent a contributor's copy, but there you are.
Looks very nice, too. Stories by Thompson, Halkon, Grant, Amies, Smith, Barrett, Anders, Katz, Kincaid, Jaffe, Plumridge, Miller, Dannenfelser, Sampson, Harvey, Johnson, Ward, Garvey.


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