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Showing posts from February, 2010

The Displeasure Principle

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"If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron." Spider Robinson Everything we like is bad for us. Well, that's not strictly true. I am sure that watching, say, the reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica hasn't done me any harm no matter how much I might have frakkin' enjoyed it. No, I'm, talking more about physical rather than intellectual pleasure. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, and it's not the thrill that some weirdos get from a session down at the gym. I'm talking about eating whatever we like to eat, drinking as much as we want, and in some cases introducing pharmaceutical products into our bloodstreams in order to alter our mood or behaviour. These are all things that can give us enormous pleasure and yet seem to be ultimately very bad for us. It's not that hard to work out where this annoying state of affairs comes from at least with respect t

Flatlining

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Now that I'm only writing weekly, I think by definition these entries are going to be a little metatextual at first, talking about what I've done and how things are going. Whilst this is in no way a bad thing - after all that's probably a description of a large proportion of the blogosphere - I hope I can get back to picking reality apart in short order. In general I think I can report that this past week's experiment with the diversion of my creative juices has been a moderate success. On what would have been the designated blogging days I did manage to write short sections of my novel, perhaps comparable in length to the unwritten blog entries from those days. It's still not enough. Even though I've now managed to drag my protagonists Genie and Wendi from the night club to the beach and finally to the hotel, it's been one of those hard going passages, a sequence in which I already know the destination so there are fewer surprises in store than normal a

Delayed Ambition

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"I'm just a face in the crowd / Nothing to worry about Not even trying to stand out I'm getting smaller and smaller and smaller And I got nothing to say / It's all been taken away I just behave and obey I'm afraid I am starting to fade away" Nine Inch Nails, Getting Smaller I don't know what Trent Reznor thinks he has to worry about - he's the same age as me and yet made his mark years ago and chalked up an achievement that many of us would like to, that of credible songwriter rockstar. But I know what he's on about though. Given that it's been written by someone who doesn't know what it's like, the above quote is an uncannily accurate reflection of the thought processes of someone who's reached my age without achieving anything worthwhile. It's easy when you're young of course. You can entertain all sorts of notions about how you're going to be a rock star, a writer, a DJ, and it all seems quite achievable. The onl

Grumpy Old Pan

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I'm in two minds. Or rather sometimes it seems as if two minds are in me. I can't really work out whether I'm a miserable curmudgeon complaining about the current state of the world and how things were so much better back in the old days, or an immature man-child who refuses to grow up. This means that sometimes I react to things in an unpredictable manner and seem to be capable of holding two contradictory opinions in my head at the same time. It's a kind of doublethink but it's not at if I don't notice the contradiction. I do, but I decide not to let it bother me. For instance, whilst I may bang on about how selfish people are trying to monopolise more than one seat on public transport , I am equally as capable of complaining when someone sits next to me on aforementioned public transport. I don't know if this means that I'm capable of seeing both sides of an argument or am just monumentally selfish. However, I do try not to be selfish in my dea

Conspiracy of Incompetence

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"People want to believe a simple version, a radically simplified, actually imbecilic version of complex and largely incomprehensible reality." William Gibson We probably all know somebody who revels in conspiracy theories. Someone who isn't happy unless they're deconstructing a largely well documented and relatively recent historical event and blaming it all on Them . The identity of Them does vary, but most of the time it is drawn to the strange attractor of the US Government or perhaps a shadowy cabal of super-rich multinational-owning American neo-cons . For some reason They have a lot of time on their hands and spend most of it trying to confuse the issue on a global scale. But despite their near limitless resources and frightening ruthlessness, they always seem to get caught out by a weirdo living in his mum's basement (let's face it, they're usually male). A weirdo who, despite the fact that he nearly has a panic attack when he tries to talk to

Dimensionally Transcendental Confession 8: Hiatus Hernia

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After the dramatic spectacle of the Fifth Doctor's exit , the Sixth Doctor really had something to live up to. And this time we weren't going to have to wait a whole year to see what he was like. For the first time (in a never to be repeated experiment) the regeneration had taken place before the end of the season. This was a move as bold as the transmission times being shifted to mid week. I couldn't wait, and what's more wouldn't have to. I must admit I was dubious about the casting. Actor Colin Baker had already appeared not long before as Time Lord guard Maxil, who had attempted to execute the incumbent Fifth Doctor. Would they attempt an in-story explanation for the remarkable similarity? Furthermore I was already familiar with him from his appearance in Blake's Seven as Bayban the Butcher. Did this mean that the Sixth Doctor was going to be played as a violent maniac in leather and studs? They passed on the leather and studs, but kept the violent

What do you look like? (part two)

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Wanting to look a bit different wasn't just because of the girls . Once I'd sidled into this subculture I found that there was a lot more in there that was to my liking. There was a certain point of view, an attitude , that I found myself in alignment with. I'm not saying I wanted to Smash the State, far from it (if we descended into anarchy I was hardly going to be assured a regular supply of SF novels and Toyah LPs), but more that I found the different way of looking at things appealing. And the music of course. Yes, we did think we were different, but I wasn't so obtuse as not to realise that the subcultural vogue was a uniform in itself and that I was not so much refusing to conform as choosing to conform to a different (albeit more minority) mode. A common criticism often leveled at me and my siblings in style, especially by lapsed members of the congregation interestingly, was that we " thought we were something special and better than everyone else "

What do you look like? (part one)

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You might not think it to look at me now given that I'm a bit of a slob, but once upon a time I was quite spiky and interesting looking. Well I thought I looked interesting, but then I would say that, wouldn't I? The punky alternative gothy style has always been to my taste. Why is this? I can sort of answer that, although the answer itself only raises a further question. Like many things that happen to teenage boys, it all comes down to girls. Of course. At school it seemed as though the majority of my peers waxed lyrical over the physical charms of Olivia Newton John, Farrah Fawcett and the like, not to mention the airbrushed women in the creased glossy magazines they used to sneak into class. I could never really see the attraction. They all seemed so bloody wholesome . Except for the ones in the magazines who seemed plastic and soggy. Due to my lack of enthusiasm for the traditional teenage boys' fantasies, I was often branded a "bender" or a "mo&q

Burnt Out

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"It's certainly a phenomenon in all walks of life. "What do you mean?" "Well, at one time, you've got it, and then you lose it, and it's gone forever. All walks of life: George Best, for example. Had it, lost it. Or David Bowie, or Lou Reed." "Lou Reed, some of his solo stuff's not bad." "No, it's not bad, but it's not great either. And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite." Sick Boy & Renton, Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh Odd that people tend to sneer at the new and different. It's been my observation that the creative mind can be at its most interesting when first it releases its brainchild upon the scene. Perhaps people have an inbuilt conditioning to be wary of the brand new? In Thugg's World, for instance, what's brand new might conceivably kill you. People also dismiss the new and the popular because of the hype. In an attempt to appear m