Friday 28 September 2012

In Defence of the ALT IV

Book Four – Larry Cotter and The Tediously Bloated Franchise:
The One In Which I Give Up On Pretending Larry Isn’t Me.

Well, not entirely me. I’m considerable fitter and better looking than he is. And I’ve conflated my experiences with those of a few other ALTs I’ve heard about first hand. But everything I described in part two really happened to someone, and should help you realize just how much unrealistic bullshit gets thrown at new ALTs before they ever set foot in a school. This means that in addition to coping with culture shock, they also have to deal with the fact it may very quickly become apparent this isn’t what they signed up for.

Monday 24 September 2012

Blue Remembered Earth

Alastair Reynolds, 2012
(September 2012)

This one takes a while to get going. You read Alistair Reynolds for the scale and the delightfully icky feeling you get from the wilder of his grotesques. If you’re in any way averse to body horror, steer well clear of his novella Diamond Dogs, which is like an episode of The Crystal Maze as directed by David Cronenberg. The scope and scale of his Revelation Space universe is breathtaking, on a par with Stephen Baxter’s Destiny’s Children series.

Friday 21 September 2012

In Defence of the ALT III

Book Three - Larry Cotter and The Exhaustive Catalogue Of Training 
Given To Japanese Teachers On Working With An ALT

Monday 17 September 2012

More Of The Same

While we’re on the subject of education, some interesting data sets here comparing educational environments in OECD countries. You can download the data and play with them yourselves, which is brilliant and something I might have a bash at properly when I’ve got a bit more time on my hands.

In the meantime though, three quick observations:

Friday 14 September 2012

In Defence of the ALT II

Book Two – Larry Cotter and The Tiresomely Predictable 
Series of False Expectations

So Larry got his life together, to an extent. The trauma of the unfortunate pub wedging incident scarred him to the point where he was no longer able to consume alcohol or eat pork. And while psychological blocks are rarely good, in this instance they helped considerably with his weight.

He was still on the hefty side of normal, but was now able to navigate his way round large pieces of furniture with relative ease. Tapping into this new found confidence he went to uni and got himself a degree in something-or-other.

SFX have improved immeasurably since
Hitchcock first filmed The Birds.

Monday 10 September 2012


Marjane Satrapi, 2000-2003
[Mattias Ripper and Blake Ferris, 2003. Anjali Singh, 2004]
(August 2012)

I really don’t set out to create ‘themes’ in my reading habits. I buy a ton of books every so often according to what I think looks worthwhile, and when I finish one just grab whatever it feels like I’m in the mood for next. Somehow that seems to create little runs (like my recent New York Season), and sometimes stuff emerges over longer periods.

Friday 7 September 2012

In Defence of the ALT I

Book One – Larry Cotter and The Laboured Metaphor

Regular readers will remember that I used to work in a gym. This meant that occasionally friends and acquaintances would ask me for advice. And because they were getting this advice for free instead of investing any of their hard earned cash in it, they generally ignored it completely.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Shit just got real...

Right. Big real life project coming up in the next few weeks. To keep things ticking over here I've scheduled one of my by now infamous multi-part specials (don't act like that, you love them really), but I'll probably be less than prompt with the smaller posts, comments, and responses. Apologies.

Normal service will be resumed as and when. I've not come this close to the full year to bail out now...

Credit where it's due.

Monday 3 September 2012

The Outcast Blade

Jon Courtenay Grimwood, 2012
(August 2012)

Prior Concerns –
1. The first of the Assassini trilogy was Othello With Vampires (and Werewolves). The whole ‘classic story X with supernatural entity Y’ trend was always slightly suspect to begin with, and now looks to be dying a not wholly unwelcome death.