You dive into the undergrowth and see movement in the bushes in front of you. Ordering your Warriors to spread out in order to make yourself less of an easy target, you run towards the bush ahead. A small brown-skinned creature suddenly jumps out from behind it, pointing a long blowgun straight at you. You recognise it as a Blog because of its dog-like head and the shrunken heads that are tied to its belt. Infamous for cooking human flesh in large cauldrons, Blogs are hated and hunted down by all human races. A split second later, a poison dart is flying towards you. If you possess a shield, turn to 73. If you are not carrying a shield, turn to 330.
— Armies of Death, Ian Livingstone, Puffin (1988); Wizard (2003.)
My fair-weather veganism tendencies having receded over the preceding few months of both emotional and literal winter to a fairly heady carnivorism, I was surprised on waking this morning to realise I had dreamed of murdering eggs. Eggs, in this dream, were alive; and I had six of them frying, in a pan, and their yolks were both eyes, blinking in fear and distress; and, simultaneously, mouths, which screamed in distress and fear and what seemed like excruciating pain—though I realised with an extra shiver of revulsion, with the second conscious thought of the day, that the model for their movement had been the combined mouth-anus orifice I believed belonged to class Asteroidae. Later internet research (this seemed an important thing to research) has discovered it’s actually the phylum Cnidaria; I’d confused starfish with jellyfish: which, given that in the same dream I’d confused chicken eggs with conscious beings, seems way less of a stretch.
8:58 pm • 3 February 2014 • 2 notes
probably but not certainly the three worst failures of register and/or self-awareness from craig raine on david foster wallace
“We know that Foster Wallace took drugs in large quantities. If you want to know how to cook up crack cocaine and smoke the rocks, see pages 237-8 of Infinite Jest. … This is Jackass – the Prose Version. And it doesn’t work. Not without a hit of Bob from a bong.”
“Nicholson Baker is another novelist who can take out Foster Wallace – in straight sets – as he captures minutiae, like his baby daughter’s genitalia. ‘Her captivating coffee bean’ couldn’t be improved on.”
“This is Updike on Ambition. He is talking to Ian McEwan (Areté, Issue 15).”
5:36 pm • 25 January 2014
Or, for that matter, on the subject of bad new years eves, my friend A., who this after having broken up with her girlfriend in the early evening went to get drunk at a party that turned out to consist of two couples, non-drinkers both, and recused herself from the proceedings to walk home, stopping somewhere to vomit under fireworks.
10:35 pm • 22 January 2014
Is it too late to claim I didn’t mean to be a downer in that last post? the argument would run something like: the particular emotional states I was reporting on wouldn’t stand being reported from within in that vocabulary. I realise this is probably not a great counter-argument. I don’t know. Last Friday, on a Work Night Out, I found myself in the position of trying to dispense advice to a younger co-worker—the younger brother, incidentally, of someone I knew the last time I moved to Bristol with no real plan—from the relatively sage position of a slightly older, more experienced non success, like Harris from Freaks and Geeks, say. He was, apparently, a quasi-successful teenage ballet dancer, who’d made the apparently unmotivated decision to give that up, drop out of school, and gone to work at McDonalds for four years, doing sixteen-hour shifts and taking a lot of speed. After four years of McDonalds and speed he’d decided, again apparently unmotivatedly, to get off the drugs and move to Bristol and get an office job, following which he’d realised he didn’t actually prefer not being on the drugs and not leading a totally dead-end life, and didn’t know how to make friends or do anything as an early-twenty-something professional. (His worst New Year story involved crack, although apparently it was actually kind of fun. Caveat: I’m only two-thirds convinced kid’s whole life story isn’t a crock of shit, but, you know.)
8:39 pm • 21 January 2014 • 1 note
So Christmas morning my parents gave me booze and I retreated to bed and cried for a bit and then took booze and went and drank under a bridge for a couple hours; got some looks. Also New Year’s I spent killing time in the Marble Arch outlet of McDonalds, where a mideastern looking guy greeted one bunch of people “HAPPY NEW YEAR” and another bunch “HAPPY NEW YEAR, BLACK PEOPLE.” I feel stuck in a nine-to-five trap, except one never feels stuck in a nine-to-five trap, as such; one just keeps noticing it’s Thursday and still you’re on Monday’s to-do list.
6:08 pm • 16 January 2014 • 7 notes
Billy O’Brien had acquired in Rome that circle of international people whose kind are round and about in every junction of the world, and who are interconnected with interchangeable artistic professions. These were the young and ageing actor-painters, painter-architects, architect-writers, writer-guitarists and other, more ramified, combines of Rome. There were very few whose talents, in themselves, were poor; given faith, hope and single-mindedness—and, given the necessary opportunity, or, as it might be, the gift for seeking and grasping opportunities, any one of these versatile people might have done well in any one field. However, all that had not been to be, and so here they were in Rome puttering away their inheritance of grace with an occasional poem, a job in an art gallery, a part in a film which no more than entailed sitting at a café table for six hours, a morning’s effort at helping a friend to move out of a flat without paying the rent, a paid-for trip to Paris, a week-end with a Contessa, a week as a guide and escort to a mother and daughter from Rhode Island in the United States of America, a tape-recorded interview, a montage picture (the tops of mineral-water bottles, mounted on velvet), and the restoration of antique furniture. Among Billy’s acquaintance were also critics of all things and nationalities, translators, young Americans in Rome for their education, four Italian ladies of middle age, who had achieved emancipation and beyond, and who were regarded by their families and Italian friends with abhorrent respect, and there was also a male Eskimo called Gigo whose job ended at that.
There was a point about a third of the way through here where I realised that wasn’t really my life but still—
8:00 am • 16 January 2014
Did you know the most popular Craig Finn thing—viz., the most popular thing by a guy who at his finest is the equal of any rock lyricist ever, and whose output was very important to me in my late teens and my early twenties not just aesthetically but also, I guess, as substitute experience, and as moral compass—did you know the most popular Craig Finn thing of recent vintage is the Hold Steady doing a semi piss-take version of something George R.R Martin wrote for A Song of Ice and Fire for the closing credits of Game of Thrones? because God.
8:45 pm • 15 January 2014 • 1 note
We stayed at a hotel whose pretentious restaurant printed a multilingual menu, a column in Spanish, another in French, and a third in English. This cheered us slightly, for the English column was headed with an unashamed declaration of cannibalism:
'Our chef suggests you today.’
He suggested, among culinary curiosities too numerous to mention:
Lamb soup Hodge-Podge
The Short Broth with Egg Joke
Spoked and granished Esturgeon
Balls, Catalonian style
6:37 pm • 4 January 2014 • 2 notes
thank god that’s over
- Singers of Christmas song — communist theorist and king of England after great vowel shift — swap places (6,6)
- Two confused communist theorists, made less drear with addition of messy tinsel for Christmas song (6, 5)
- Perversely disrobe o.g. communist theorist (not gulag inmate) for Polish Christmas song (3, 3, 5)
5:02 pm • 29 December 2013
punk-to-funk asked: For the person who asked how architecture can work against social justice - a good example would be the 'slum' clearances in the UK after WWII. This was carried out under the banner of 'improving the lives' of the people who lived in what was, to be honest, subpar housing. But in demolishing their homes, and forcing them to live in 'streets in the sky', they destroyed communities. So the often brutal architecture of the flats & new estates became associated with social atomisation and anomie
The interesting part is that the idea was to recreate the communities by means of those ‘streets in the sky’.
As much as I like brutalist housing blocks, those urban renewal schemes usually are pretty terrible. Unless these neighbourhoods really are beyond repair (for instance, after being bombed), demolishing them should be the last option on the table.
—Woah I never saw tumblr do this before.
—With the ask and the answer and everything.
—I’ve forgotten what I was going to say now.
—IMPORTANT EDIT POINT: I notice that on the html version of my blog this looks like someone asked me this question. No one asked me this question. No one asks me questions ever.
—I’m pretty sure ‘architectureofdoom’ was called ‘fuckyeahbrutalistarchitecture’ last time I noticed.
—Maybe I follow a bunch of tumblrs like that.
—That’s not where I was going with this either.
—SO: I find the, I was going to say meme but I guess that word doesn’t mean that anymore, the complex of attitudes and claims to fact displayed in the original ask (which is totally a part of the accepted narrative of postwar UK history, non-UK readers), I find it a complex of attitudes and etc. that’s hard to trust.
—Also “brutal” here is something like an architectural solecism here or a faux-amis, right?
—I mean, I believe the claim that working-class communities in the UK have become fragmented or atomised, although I’d want to frame it as a shift in moods or priorities, maybe; and, sure, I believe that the period 1945-1985 was an important period in terms of this.
—I also believe that there was a boom in big concrete buildings. This I don’t even want to argue with the terminology over.
—But I’ve never seen anyone anywhere ever present the claim that the replacement of fucking grim pre-war housing with big concrete buildings are a major causative factor in what’s happened to the British working class in a way that doesn’t petition the principle.
—A lot of other things are happening to the British working class over this period viz. the erosion of all their traditional jobs, a historically unprecedented rise in living standards (and then a smaller fall), the creation (and then contraction) of the welfare state, this sort of thing.
—Sure, the architecture of the new estates “became associated” with social atomisation and anomie but, I mean, yeah.
—Okay so who wants to point me to the book with the numbers that explain how I’m wrong.
8:31 pm • 19 December 2013 • 41 notes