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Blind communal prose.
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The Insult
Rupert Thomson
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Haruki Murakami
Worldwar: In The Balance
Harry Turtledove
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The Divine Comedy
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Half Man Half Biscuit
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As Above at Stormloader
Banner-advert-ridden drivel.
Weeks Beginning
20.11 27.11 04.12 11.12 18.12 25.12 01.01 08.01 15.01 22.01 29.01 05.02
Sula pink grapefruit sweets are no more, it seems, the flavour having apparently been usurped by "Forest Fruits". Damn them. I did find a site that catalogued and photographed hundreds of sweets, mind, including a history of allsorts and a somewhat sci-fi-horror Aero mint egg. Interesting if over-dramatic Horizon documentary about "killer algae" last night; a species of tropical seaweed bred to survive in aquaria proving mercilessly efficient at colonising the floor of the Mediterranean, after a shred of it escaped into the ocean. In a move that rather reminded me of that Simpsons episode with the pigeon-eating lizards, French biologists are apparently planning to release thousands of tiny slugs into the ocean which will munch their way through the algae (which is toxic to all indigenous sealife), although this report from May 1999 says much the same thing - that they're still merely planning, and awaiting the nod from the French government. Has nothing happened since then?
Channel Four had a jaunty little documentary about Erich von Däniken, the other night - I ploughed through his books in my youth, but never really knew anything about the man who wrote them; that he was imprisoned for embezzlement and monetary fraud after a ludicrously over-dramatic Swiss court case, and how cheerfully he admitted parts of his work to be "half true".

By far the strangest thing to come out of it all, though, was the announcement of a Mysteries of the World theme park, due to open in Switzerland next year. Feebly smallish-scale replicas of Aztec temples, Nazca lines and things, by the looks of it. Very mysterious indeed.

(Although I had no idea that the British Museum had moai...)

Meme du jour; Rob's Amazing Poem Generator, which takes a Web page of your choice and makes insane poetry out of it. Feeding it the contents of this drivel, it came out with the following piece of rather startling brilliance:-
As Above as Above at
eat to the simplistic,
slightly puzzled narrative
a metaphor it took five years,
the rest
of his plan to be
set up elsewhere
thus is readable, for a
history of life.
Shades of Megahal's oeuvre.
Alarming how easily I forget that people actually read this. Speaking to Sandy last night, and muttering vaguely about being ill, I was rather thrown when he said that yes, he knew. Rather like the bit in Making History where someone appears to be quite sinisterly well-informed of the protagonist's past history, when he's actually just done a Web search and read the chap's personal home page prior to their meeting.

I'm better now, anyway. I think.

Being ill has given me a chance to plough through some books, though; I finished off Matt Ridley's The Origins of Virtue over the weekend - nicely-written insight into how human society can exist as it does, in spite of the selfish nature of all of its inhabitants. Explaining the evolution of trust and reciprocity, through war, trade, gift-giving, ecology and religion, it gives a nicely-written history of all these aspects of our species, constantly littering the chapters with memorable examples and explanations (including impressive demolition of the "noble savage" myth), and drawing or destroying parallels with other members of the animal kingdom.

The other was Rupert Thomson's Soft, a tale of fizzy-drink advertising taken too far, of a particularly dangerously piece of memetic marketing. Told from the perspectives of three very different protagonists, their hefty chunks of narrative overlap and converge towards some very unsettling plot turns. Besides the superb plot, the book's quite thoroughly readable for its style alone - although Thomson goes rather over the top with descriptive similes, at times, they're all quite beautiful, giving a very real and varying London backdrop to the majority of the book's events. Must read his other stuff.

Unnerving how physical illness can emphasise the connection and disconnection between mind and body so heavily. I've been lolling around nauseously for most of today and the weekend, thoroughly aware of the superfluousness of my consciousness - my mind feeling listless and detached, and constantly being told that it might as well just go to sleep and let the body get on with sorting things out. Diversion of physiological resources, and all that. Strange how automated and unconscious it all is. And depressing how much of a metaphor it can seem, for myself in relation to the rest of life. Tch.
More or less everything by Kevan Davis.
As Above is part of the Uncertain Organisation.