devi: (bookish)
I was up marking coursework till nearly 3am last night and now my head is full of wool and my neck feels simultaneously stiff and too wobbly. Today was running up and down stairs chasing more coursework, sending the students out to buy plastic folders and find me the hole punch because surely you're not submitting THAT? It's all in but one now, finally, and for the rest of the evening I am off duty. I am eating bucket pasta and thinking about watching 24 Hour Party People, which always inspires me because it's about a shambolic disorganised mess of a person who through sheer enthusiasm manages to make great stuff happen, almost by accident.

But even despite my adrenalin-filled get-things-done state, I still found myself perched on the edge of the bed half-dressed for half an hour this morning, breathlessly devouring the end of Geoff Ryman's Air. Oh my. I'd only picked it up while packing my bag to see how far I was from the end. I went out to catch the bus still staggered by the brilliance.

More people ought to know about Geoff Ryman. Okay, lots of people seem to have read 253, his book of thumbnail portraits of people on a tube train, but who knows about The Child Garden, the love story of a girl and a polar bear opera-singer in a near-future sub-tropical London? It's full of amazing language and big ideas and is one of the best books I've ever read. Was, his remix of The Wizard of Oz, is also great and very, very dark. Lust is an awkward one, about a scientist who develops the power to manifest anyone he fancies, alive, dead or fictional, but it's still got more crunchy concepts and moments of insight and beauty than any three more processed and pasteurised books you care to mention, and towards the end goes careering off into a gorgeous crazed mystic tangent about what really happens when you die. He writes about time and memories and the random connections between people, the texture of cities and making art and throwing impromptu street parties in the face of death. With balloons.

Excuse my fangirling. I just think he's criminally ignored, though he did win a bunch of awards for Air, which is set in the last village in the world to get online. When I was in Trinity Netsoc we invited him over to give a talk about 253 and online fiction (yes, it was the late nineties, how can you tell?) and a bunch of us committee people got outrageously drunk with him in his B&B while he told the guy who was Secretary to stop wasting his life and go have babies. It sounded as if he felt he'd failed at his life. I think he ought to have people peeling grapes for him, if there was any justice.

Off to the Bristol Comic Expo tomorrow with a bundle of Wasted Epiphanies to thrust upon people. With polar bears in it, yes. I rip off Mr Ryman all the time without meaning to.

weekend

May. 23rd, 2006 01:19 pm
devi: (dancing)
The short version: Rain, bands, rain, talk, rain, stupid funny songs, rain, books, rain, rain.

On Friday night I trogged through the pouring rain to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] juggzy, [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies and [livejournal.com profile] annifa and go to see Sleater-Kinney, who were fantastic, all galloping guitar wig-outs, though I couldn't hear a word they were singing. I went scurrying to the merchandise table afterwards, but they had no CDs for sale. So we all went back to the pub and sat outside in the rain for a while before we had to admit defeat and go back into the warm and loud.

about a book )

After more drinking and ranting about the evils of society I went home on the Brookes Bus in the pouring rain, the hem of my skirt soggy, feeling kind of righteous and melancholy. At the bus stop a passing girl stopped and squirted washing-up liquid on the ground, then lathered it up with her foot. "Bubbles!" was all she managed to say before her friend dragged her on up the street.

Saturday was Polyfilla-ing the bathroom (and more rain) and then Eurovision! Drunken raucous fun as ever (thank you [livejournal.com profile] kauket) and enough key changes and costume changes to keep everybody happy. I wondered if it would be possible to program a Terry Wogan Commentary Generator. We all cheered like mad for Finland, though Lithuania was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Eurovision goes self-referential! Eurovision discovers irony! Oh man! Eurovision breaks the fourth wall! I was glad Finland won, but every point Lithuania got was a victory for humour and irreverence and it felt good. The hard core sat up afterwards till the wee hours playing card games, then taxi home in, guess what, the pouring rain.

On Sunday I did nothing whatsoever but lounge and read as the rain poured down outside. The sun's out now. I hope it lasts. Oh, now it's gone again.

Book rage

Apr. 7th, 2006 08:51 pm
devi: (bookish)
Have you ever woken yourself up by sitting bolt upright in bed? Ever? I know I haven't. But people do it pretty much constantly in books and films. Why? And why is it always "bolt upright" anyway? Why not some other way of saying upright?

I do have a reason for asking. I bought Kate Mosse's Labyrinth last Friday night for a couple of quid in Tesco after a knackering week at work. I was buying comfort food and this looked like a comfort book, a nice fluffy historical timeslip thing. It's awful. Awful awful awful. (Well, judging by the first hundred pages or so. I haven't had the stomach to go any further.) It's clearly been rushed into the shops to surf the Dan Brown wave. I don't know what came over me.

Please indulge me while I rant for a moment.

Falling, falling, falling, falling, argh )

Since finding out how booksellers' discounts work I feel kind of bad and wrong about the whole idea of buying cut-price books at Tesco in any case. I was mulling this over on the way to the checkout. I don't mind Kate Mosse not getting any money, but by buying a book there I'm encouraging the whole deep-discounting, small-number-of-Tesco-selected-mega-bestsellers culture, aren't I? So it serves me right that I don't like it.

Actually I remember once on a family holiday I was sharing a room with my brother and he managed to leap right out of bed and end up crouching by the far wall as he woke up from a nightmare about killer wasps. But that's still not your bog-standard sitting bolt upright.
devi: (Default)
I've just updated postwodehouse.com, so you can go and read all about my embarrassing incident while staggering to Oxford Circus tube last night, after a lovely evening in the Glassblower celebrating [livejournal.com profile] haggisthesecond's new job. I am a terrible liar. I don't think I can bear to go into it here.

I've cancelled the kid who was going "gimme free half hour! gimme! Okay, I'll sulk if you won't!" Suddenly I'm not dreading Wednesdays any more. Should have done that ages ago.

Currently devouring Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. All the reviews when it first came out said it was a sort of cerebral puzzle with no heart. They are so wrong. (Plus the middle of it contains a large chunk of what I can only describe as sci-fi. It gives me hope for my own stuff.)

And I think it's finally spring. I can smell it.

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