June 30, 2008
peter carey appeared on last week’s desert island disks. for those not familiar with this radio programme, it involves picking the 8 records, one luxury, and one book to take to a desert island from which there is no escape. actually everyone gets the bible and the complete works of shakespeare also (the early days of the show were predictable in the book-choice department). it’s one of the longest (if not the longest) running radio shows in the world. i’ve listened to it on and off for 30 years. i’ve bought a few records after hearing them first on the show, but i can’t remember buying a book - until this week.
carey chose wg sebald’s “austerlitz”, which he’d read four or five times already. i have just finished said book. mmmm.
“she said, said austerlitz”, “he said, said austerlitz”, said said said said said, said austerlitz, aaaaargh. sub-proustian garbage, with bad photographs. i can only assume i missed something but, i assure you, even were i to find myself on a desert island with this book alone, i’d be lighting a fire with its pages, not reading it for a second time.
June 29, 2008
it’s 4 in the morning, the birds are singing and i should be going to bed. this picture is a sketch of me by derren, shown to me tonight. looks how i feel most of the time.
June 27, 2008
June 23, 2008
imagine a world where sir ken robinson was secretary of state for education. i like everything he says and, particularly, how he says it. the best speaker that i know of. he’s just won the benjamin franklin award and gives a speech (audio is bad for the first minute only). his ted talk is great.
June 22, 2008
leda and the swan by fred einaudi, which made me smile. others here.
we’ve been toying with the idea of moving out of london for a while. for the cost of a london family home, it’s possible to buy something bigger and better, if you’re prepared to travel over an hour. we’ve largely given up on the idea, partly through inertia, partly because none of us really wants to be more that 20 minutes from the bright lights. but during this process ita was approached by some guy about a family house that shared a dozen acres with a bunch of others. apparently you can’t just buy the place, but have to secure the acceptance of the other houses. i think this is what is called a “community”. of course i wouldn’t entertain the idea, no matter what the place/people were like. that way madness lies.
however, i often say that one of the worst things britain ever did was popularise the passport in the 19th century (popularise because it originally came from the greek city states). what if no one stopped cross-border migration? what would the late 19th / early 20th century have looked like? where would we be now?
and today i read, in the economist, about the big sort. this term describes the geographic clustering of like-minded groups in the united states.
Where you live is partly determined by where you can afford to live, of course. But the “Big Sort” does not seem to be driven by economic factors. Income is a poor predictor of party preference in America; cultural factors matter more. For Americans who move to a new city, the choice is often not between a posh neighbourhood and a run-down one, but between several different neighbourhoods that are economically similar but culturally distinct.
and groups of like-minded people reaffirm each others views, and the group becomes more extreme. america is splitting into “balkanised communities whose inhabitants find other Americans to be culturally incomprehensible.”
June 18, 2008
The fastest bird in the world, the peregrine falcon is a welcome recent arrival to London’s skies. Normally nesting in coastal cliffs and in mountain areas, peregrine have taken to breeding on tall buildings and preying on a wide range of birds including pigeons. One or two pairs are known to breed each year in the capital, and they can sometimes be seen around the chimney of the Tate Modern, or over Regent’s Park.
according to london wildweb.
well, there’s another pair in the barbican. i watch them out of my window. they perch on top of a large building (streaks of brd sht all down one side) and they catch pigeons.
lame (?) blackberry promo in the city this afternoon.
On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
June 17, 2008
i like charlie brooker simply because he can write. today, on product placement:
Let’s say you’re trying to launch a new soft drink. Traditionally you’d have to spend millions on a commercial, and millions more booking airtime for it. Screw that. Here’s what you do: put up one billboard. Just one. Somewhere on a route near Buckingham Palace or Downing Street. Point a camera at it 24/7. Then simply pay a sniper to assassinate someone of global importance when they pass in front of it. Bingo! The clip will run on an endless loop on every news channel in the world, for eternity. Even as viewers gasp in horror watching the victim’s head explode like a watermelon, they’ll simultaneously be thinking “What’s that? New Plum-Flavoured Pepsi? Cool!” each time a chunk of skull flies past your logo.