|Struggling to tell a joke properly (I usually just summarise them
with apologetic disinterest):-
"There's a particularly nasty throat infection going around at the
moment, which causes people's tongues to retract and fold up at the
back of their mouth. Doctors say it's the worst epidemic of Futon
Mouth they've seen in years."
Memetic mutation of a rather poor "Futon Mouse disease" joke a
nameless entity told me yesterday. Although I wonder how many
jokes are so irresistably obvious that they must evolve
convergently all over the place.
"Finally, when the notion of the static ichnograph proves limited, she
begins to understand the Cube in terms of a procedure, a movement
governed by the tension Massumi calls 'paradox with precision', an idea
that refers one back to the thesis on the machine's ability to re-order
transgression as pseudo-transgression, the use of the desiring body as
Horrific pseuds-corner philosopher-dropping
over-analysis of the vaguely irritating but thought-provoking-afterwards
psychological sci-fi film Cube.
|Hm, after far too much starting of new books on long journeys (why bother
taking along something half-read that you'll have finished by the time
you change at Victoria?), I've finally shed bookmarks from a couple.
Harry Thompson's biography
of Peter Cook made for witty, insightful and ultimately
tragic reading; although I already knew a good bit about the man and his work,
I never really appreciated how it all fitted together, how much of his
great material was written so early, and how so many of his career's later
optimistic upswings fell miserably away. Thompson's fairly flat
writing style keeps everything in perspective, whilst making the frequent
quotations and anecdotes all the more striking and brilliant, and it
paints a memorable picture of the greatness and sheer boredom that
genius can bring.|
As well as that, I wrapped up Iain Banks'
The Business with rather too little interest.
His habit of assuming the reader knows as much about the setting as he does is alright
if you live in the right universe, but it was still a
rather irritating book. Countless samey "meeting up with an eccentric
person for plot-advancement conversation" segments, an odd, rather bad
choice of main character, and an ominously interesting sub-plot that fizzled
out in favour of the painfully-obvious other one. The atmosphere of
the made-up Himalayan country of Thuhn was great, and Ferrindonald
had some good material, but the rest of the book was a bit too
grating for my brain. Passable journey fodder, but I wouldn't recommend it
|"People of Earth, this will not take long. We only want to
fribble your tweems."
||Feh; Catherine posts a link to
UFO in Kushiro, a Murakami short story seemingly
written specifically for New Yorker magazine, but
the page in
question was replaced first thing Monday, new content for a new
week. Has anyone still got the previous in their cache?
|As posters litter every roadside offering very vague criticism of the
Labour government, or warning how the Tories will muck the country up
(both presumably giving the Lib Dems a healthy boost), the dear old
ASA says that
posters are outside of their remit because, unlike other
advertisers, political parties are "not obliged to prove their
claims". The old "New Labour, New Danger" ones were apparently a bit
unfair for using Mr Blair's face without his permission, but that's
I wonder if Mark Thomas
knows about this.
|Apropos the tongue thing, Quin mentions
article about synaesthesia, a condition I've only read bits and pieces
about, over the years. The overlap of senses; of perceiving a sound to
have a colour, a movement to have a sound, a taste to have a feeling, and - I suppose -
every other possible combination. An intriguing thing, yet presumably
not of particular benefit to perception, otherwise we'd all have evolved
it by now. Hm.|
The rather unupdated Internation Synaesthesia Association
pages record some interesting experimental
investigations of the subject, with some rigorous if baffled testing
to see if people were just making it all up.
|The Divine Comedy's
was out on Monday, and has been my background music all week. Sterlingly
good stuff - strong, infectious music, clever, perfect lyrics and a
particularly striking amount of emotion-stirring. Genuine joyousness as
our hero finds all his mislaid things in "Lost Property", uplifting
reassurance (despite the obviousness of the sentiment) in "Mastermind",
straight enthusiasm injection from "Love What You Do", sheer
joy of shared existence in the quite-rightly titled "Perfect Lovesong",
and - well - it's all solidly good stuff. Probably their best album yet, at
least if you ask me today. Nicely relaxed and thoughtful and open.|
And you can
to half of the tracks from their Web site, which is rather good of them.
|I don't suppose anyone taped Attention Scum on Sunday, did
they? I was out for the night, and my video chose to record half an
hour of purposeful blankness, on a whim. Glittering prizes to anyone
who can copy or lend the thing.|
We saw the League at the Komedia on Friday, actually.
Rather an odd and brief-seeming set, with Mr Munnery far less in
character than usual, and appearing rather half-hearted about it.
An impressive amount of new material and some fine asides on
the strangely restless audience, though. Keep an eye, if he's
|Sensory rearrangement always intrigues me - this new
display unit for the blind, particularly, apparently
converting a digital camera image to an array of electrodes on the
tongue. Which seems rather limited, unless there's some clever
processing gubbins going on - the world pixelised to a two-or-three colour
12x12 display would only be useful in highly specific environments, I'd have
Witness some pictures
and vague technical specs for the device, anyway.
||The bizarre hotornot variant
Rate My Profile
has, instead of just a photo, a brief list of dull age/location statistics,
with an inane questionnaire and picture being optional extras. And quite a
few people seem only to bother to fill in the mandatory. The idea of
giving someone marks out of ten for having brown eyes and being a Piscean
seems quite thoroughly insane.
|WikiNomic shed its restrictive Suber ruleset the
other day, and is now speedily evolving into a strange flag-and-ball game called
played out on a roguelike ASCII display. With every player still
able to change any rule at any time, it's all very
|A glimpse of the plasticity of youthful brains, the other night; my five-year-old
friend Jack earnestly saying "cbc dot uk forward-slash" during a fake
phone conversation, with no idea what it meant. It's unsettling how
much information is automatically absorbed when you're that young, even if
you don't understand it - I occasionally realise, even this far into life,
that something I've long taken for granted as being a common expression or
an amusing pun actually has a level of meaning I'd never noticed, or doesn't
really make any sense. The "nervous rex" joke being somehow-amusing
playground fodder before I even knew what a "nervous wreck" was, and all
|Trying to escape from a shopping centre yesterday, one half of an
up/down escalator pair wasn't working. And had, mysteriously, been
fenced off. I half expected to see people stranded halfway down
it, tapping their watches.
||"Which for him he is only one. I must control the Arsenal or The Way of Holloway." -
Mornington Crescent through that
in Translation" language mangler makes
it sound like some polite and mysterious Eastern boardgame.
Fungus from Outer Space - apparently the soon-to-crash Mir space
station is riddled with toxic fungus that's been quietly evolving up
there for the past fifteen years, mutations fuelled by the copious
article from last year talks of the precautions taken to keep Mir's
fungi in check, which aren't 100% effective. Will the burning up in
atmosphere be enough to clean things, will the bed of the Pacific be
a dramatic enough environment shift to scupper any world domination
plans, or is this going to be another
There's also a horribly unsettling comment in the decontamination article
about the possibility of us contaminating Mars and Europa through grubby
probes - that by the time we actually land on Mars, it could be teeming
with bizarre fungi, the great-grandchildren of microscopic muck from the
treads of Sojourner. Irony.
|I've never really thought about this, but it's quite amazing
skywriters do their thing. The "dot-matrix" approach
(reminiscent of the ingenious GraffitiWriter
robot) seems rather a cop-out in comparison to the old way of
putting words on the sky.
|New rumblings on the Nomic horizon, and something I was quite unable to
resist; Nomopoly III,
a dice-rolling boardgame with the rules being made up as and when.
||French rap duo
Priorité à Gauche were dans la maison at the
Brighton Komedia last night,
with some French-English rapping, a fine bit of "débranché" guitar stuff,
and miscellaneous poor-English conversation. Superbly performed comedy
from Ben 'n' Arn (their nacton, not
mine), the latter sniggering and insulting the audience while the former
translated with embarrassment and diplomacy. The superb schoolboy-French
Tricolor 3A is online
as a Flash animation, with typically odd Andy Watt illustrations.