Monday 30 June 2014


(June 2014)

How do we judge those who find themselves on the wrong side of history? That question is easier to answer in some cases than others, of course, but it’s not too difficult to conceive of someone who makes bad decisions for good reasons, or even someone who makes good decisions that ultimately turn out badly. Unexpected consequences and all that.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Locke and Key, Vol. 1 and 2

Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, 2008-2009
(June 2014)

We interrupt our scheduled programming for a spot of light relief. Well, I say ‘light’. It’s more, erm, ‘horror’. And it’s not especially relieving, either, what with, y’know’ the horror and everything. It is an interruption though, so at least there’s that.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Inversions – Half-Time Report

A confession. I started reading Inversions with the full intention of going up to Chapter 12, then pausing and writing this up, seeing what everyone else was saying, going for a sit down and a cup of tea to cogitate upon the undoubtedly excellent and insightful comments of my fellow travellers on this here readalong, then sleeping on it, seeing how I felt in the morning, and only then forging ahead armed with new and varied insight and a vastly improved appreciation for the joys of reading, the singularly uplifting experience of sharing a journey with like-minded folk, and the wit and craft of the dearly departed Mr Banks. And then some 36 hours later I finished reading the epilogue and realized I’d rather fucked it up. Oops.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Inversions – Pre-Match Warm-Up

The football theme seems timely, if depressing for those of you with Iberian, Anglo-Saxon, or Japanese connections. Personally I’m being forced to work my way further and further down my list of tenuous national connections in search of a team left in the competition to support. On which note, allez les Bleus!

This should also act as a warning to anyone expecting this to be a tightly focused or well-organised affair; digressions will be both tolerated and positively encouraged. That said, I should probably get on providing structure, so this here post will act as an index for things, and I’ll update it as we progress. At present the team-sheet looks like this –

Feet for Brains
     - Half Time

And for the sake of convenience, here are my Half Time and Full Time reports as well.

Friday 20 June 2014

The Lowland

(June 2014)

The Lowland is an astonishingly well-written novel. Lahiri’s prose just demands to be called ‘limpid’, and is executed with a precision and clarity that I haven’t enjoyed in a long time. The story however is just brutal; blow after blow of outright emotional violence which, combined with that cut-glass linguistic virtuosity, means the whole experience is akin to getting glassed with Waterford Crystal.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Gently Does It

Coffee, cardamom, and pistachio. Too much spice, to be honest. Tasted uncomfortably similar to mouthwash, which isn't really the desired effect. However, running the seeds through the coffee mill meant that my morning eye-opener had a certain Middle Eastern flavour for the next week which was surprisingly pleasant. Swings and roundabouts, eh?

Monday 16 June 2014

The Parable of the Ponderous Parallels

or, Be Careful What You Wish For

The football World Cup has begun. You can tell this because both social and mainstream media can now be divided into three broad groups: people talking about football; people griping about people talking about football; and people who insist on continuing their discussions about less pressing matters such as conflicts in the Middle East, American gun massacres, child abduction, and so forth (this last is by far the smallest group).

Friday 13 June 2014

What Lot’s Wife Saw

(June 2014)

What Lot’s Wife Saw is a speculative cruciverbal epistolary murder mystery novel. Yeah, another one, but let’s forgive the thundering generic unoriginality and look at the story itself, which is actually pretty good.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Lazy Trailer


In the last week of June my Iain M. Banks reread reaches its undoubted highpoint (it’s all relative) when I get round to Inversions. I’m not excited because of the book itself – well, OK, I am a little bit – but because I have somehow convinced the good people at both Two Dudes in an Attic and the Little Red Reviewer to join a readalong. Why such talented and attractive people would want to slum it with the likes of me is frankly a mystery, but they’ve already agreed and I have the emails to prove it. Suckers.

So if anyone else fancies joining us in this shoddily organized, short-notice, last-minute, ‘let’s do the show right here!’ affair then feel free to grab yourself a copy of the book and join in the fun. You’ll get to read thoughtful, intelligent comment from proper reviewers about a challenging and well-written book, and then come back here for some cock gags. Don’t say I never do anything for you.

Friday 6 June 2014

Jane Eyre & Wide Sargasso Sea

(May 2014)

Get me with the classics, such as they are. We’ve been watching clips from the BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre in class, and after banging on about how it’s the English equivalent of Kokoro (in so much as it’s often studied in school) I figured I may as well read the damn thing properly.