|With heavy ice and snow covering Britain at the end of the century, and
warnings of increasingly crippling and disasterous weather (the snow
being followed, naturally, by thawing floods),
it feels once more as if we're overdue an apocalypse, the Four
Horsemen led by whoever the British weather gods might be these
days. I'm sure the world didn't used to feel this fragile.
|If I wore a hat, I'd take it off to travel agency Thomas Cook for
what may well be the finest advertising poster of the millennium;
a city pavement, a trendy young moron gadding along on one of those
awful little metal scooters, and an older pedestrian regarding
the scene with undisguised contempt.|
Caption: "It's time to leave the country."
|As my teetering book pile would suggest, 'unputdownable' isn't a word
I use very often, but
Wrong Boy was a sterling exception. Written as a series of
unposted letters to Morrissey, it tells the unsteady life
story of a lad accused of and persecuted for terrible things, and his
attempts to make progress and amends. Amusing anecdotal rambling
sits next to disturbingly convincing accounts of mental instability, and the
underlying theme of being misunderstood, of others ascribing
motives to motiveless acts, proves extremely powerful.|
Being written entirely in letter form doesn't quite work,
since a lot of it (indeed, a lot of the best stuff) is far more of
a direct memory, but the "Morrissey" motif, though light, is
amusing. A splendid read.
|I thought I'd watch one of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
to see if
Warwick was really as bad as
make him out to be. I fear he was. Insights into mildly interesting
bits of human-controlled robotic technology, ending with
him saying to the relevant expert "And ultimately we could get
robots doing brain surgery or whatever all by themselves, yes?" and
the expert saying "No, don't be ridiculous."|
And that voice...
|Further eerie dreaming last night; myself and a hundred or so
other people - all of whom I'd known at least slightly during my
life - being summoned to a Derbyshire field on a freezing winter's
night, and informed that the necessary technology for an afterlife
had been recently established - and that we would be responsible
for overseeing it. As a thick mist rolled down
the hillside to envelop us, we were informed that from this point
onward we'd be able to see the rising souls of the recently
departed, and that we were free to make up whatever we wanted
about the next world, pretending to be whoever we felt like,
promising or threatening them with whatever our whim.|
A girl I'd been to school with was nervously asking me if our minds would
fully survive this process of alteration, if we'd keep our sense
of self or become single-purpose grim-reaper figures. But I woke
up as the mist hit me.
an amusing heaven-and-hell simulation management game thing, although -
as these things tend to be - rather dull before very long. But
McConnell's soundtrack is nothing short of excellent, making for
a good eighty or ninety per cent of the game's depth and atmosphere.
MP3s are available, including the best one of all.
|American Perfekt was on
telly last night, a finely
shifting story of chance versus predictability (the folly of letting
a coin decide your future, as a stand against predestination) and the delicate
nature of psychotic behaviour, played out
against a backdrop of dusty desert roads and cheap motels.
Amanda Plummer once more plays a nervously attractive
edge-of-madness type, and the mighty
David Thewlis steals all of his scenes as an English
stage magician. Much twisting of plot and chilling uncertainty; the sort
of film you really should watch twice. Pity I didn't tape it, really.
|From a Christmas biscuit assortment, a tell-tale sign of a disturbed and
overenthusiastic illustrator handing his work in too late to be
altered; "The faces depicted on some biscuits are for
presentation purposes only."
|But hey, it's clichéd to be cynical at Christmas, and I had a
thoroughly pleasant yesterday without needing to harangue a single
Christian or gun down any greetings card shops. My legs have just
about recovered from last week's end-of-work laser quest bash,
my lower intestine digests dead turkey and random bits of chocolate, relevant
molecules of vodka and red wine filter quietly through my bloodstream,
I'm a few reckless chapters into a new hardback, I've a flawless
excuse to play with a five-year-old's Christmas presents, and I
glide towards the end of the 20th century with zero regret or
unhappiness. Life is good.
|A nicely comprehensive Guardian article on where
Christians nicked their ideas from. People who harangue other people
for "missing the true point" of Christmas are "missing the true point" of
just doing something cheerful during the coldest months of the year. Which
predates Mr Christ and seems a fairly natural thing to do regardless, and
the strangely unquestioned acceptance of Christian hijack as the origin
of it all always annoys me. Hm. [via