Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Books read 2005: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro & The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton
Very spare use of language. Unassuming, understated novel about a Japanese artist’s guilt at his involvement in WW2. Really gets going after the first 70 pages or so. A Must read.
14.The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton (2000)
Philosophy for beginners. Shows us how it relates to our lives and how it can console us. User friendly. Especially for those of us lacking mental acumen who have trouble keeping awake reading it, and who think life is to short to get too involved with it.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Books read 2005: L!ve TV by Chris Horrie & Adam Nathan & 1968 by Mark Kulansky
The funniest book I’ve ever read. A hilarious look back at the farce that was Live TV! A good history of the satellite and cable television industry fits in around the humour. My copy now resides in a porno book shop in Australia, as the person I lent it to decided not to bring it back, thanks.
Virtually impossible to obtain it's Sister book charting the Sun newspaper in the 80’s, unless you want to pay 50 quid for a tatty second hand copy.
12.1968 by Mark Kulansky (2005)
Review of the eventful year that was1968, focusing on the big events: Martin Luther King, Prague Spring, Olympics, Vietnam, Bobby Kennedy, French student riots, US riots, lots of riots. Lots of fun.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Books read 2005: Common Sense by Thomas Paine & The State We’re In by Will Hutton
The argument for American Independence. Not much fun to be had here.
10.The State We’re In by Will Hutton (1994)
Unless you like and understand Economics, this is very hard going, and dull. A real chore to read.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Books read 2005: Plan of attack by Bob Woodward & The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton by Joe Klein
What should have been a fascinating read is badly written and the narrative is dull. Should have been gripping, it was pedestrian. Lots of insights into the build up to the Iraq war though, from the horse’s mouths.
8.The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton by Joe Klein
Excellent little biography on Bill Clinton and his two eventful terms in office. Very well written and engaging. One to be read again, and better than Clinton's autobiography.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Books read 2005: The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama & One of Us by Hugo Young
Proposes that we have reached the “end of history”, the end of ideological differences. The winner, Liberal democracy and capitalism. Interesting, controversial, and bit of a difficult read, but worth persevering with.
6.One of Us by Hugo Young (1991)
The best biography of Thatcher. Well written and balanced, not a hatchet job nor a hagiography. On a second reading it is quite sympathetic to a lot she did, while also pointing out the costs of her “revolution”.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Books read 2005: The Wind up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami & Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
Brilliant, mystical and elliptical novel. Bizarre and very engrossing. Murakami must be one the best novelists in the world today. I recommend reading this while listening to “Leftism” by Leftfield. It makes sense. Good reading music. Music with too many vocals is a distraction whilst reading is it not?
4.Amsterdam by Ian McEwan(1998)
Booker prizewinner. Very clever, well written and readable, like most McEwans work.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Books read 2005: "Money" & "Blair in his own words"
After reading Amis most other books writing styles seem a bit dour and pedestrian. Regardless of criticisms concerning the lack of plot, style over substance debates etc, no one can deny his ability to write very well.
2.Tony Blair in his own words edited by Paul Richards (2004)
A collection of Blair’s speeches and articles, largely avoiding the ones written for him that go to The Sun and other newspapers. A good reference to chart how his views and beliefs have progressed since entering parliament. The early work is the most interesting. The Murdoch lecture in Australia is a fascinating look at the ills of the Labour party circa 1982, and what needed to change. Perhaps the seed of New Labour was planted here. A book for political trainspotters. I don't think I am one though, I'm not that bad.
Monday, January 23, 2006
7/7 challenge thing
7 things to do before I die:
1. Jump out of a plane, with a parachute.
2. Visit lots of Eastern European, former communist cities and See Lenin’s Tomb. And have a laugh at a bad idea badly executed, Communism - not the tomb, that's quite a good idea - while still thinking it might be fun to live under it for a few days.
3. Find some purpose. And motivation. And ambition.
4. Be more attractive to the opposite sex, without plastic surgery.
5. Write three novels, and win the Booker prize three times, then get a job on a building site.
6. To never take politics too seriously and become a pompous bore.
7. To read Ulysses for a laugh, or in order to impress some dullard who might think I am clever, wrong.
7 things I cannot do:
1. Eat cheese that is uncooked, it is wrong, so severely so.
2. Like Marcus Bentley’s voice (Narrator of Big Brother)
3. Like Madonna.
4. Mathematics, even basic level stuff.
5. Read the Daily Mail without throwing it on the fire after 3 pages.
6. Not laugh at people who like Celine Dion/Westlife etc.
7. Play Badminton. The cockleshutt or whatever it's called is not right, sports need balls not odd looking plastic things, yeah.
7 things that attract me to London:
1. I don't have to live there.
2. It's not the centre of the UK.
3. It has an airport that allows me to leave the country more cheaply, than say Birmingham airport.
4. If the M25 is quiet, you can leave it fairly quickly.
5. The charming unfriendliness of its inhabitants.
6. The Science and Natural history museum.
7. Downing street. I am convinced that when first visiting in 1988 at the age of 8, I saw Maggie going past in a car. Not that it indicates any type of approval for her, I was only 8.
7 things I often say:
1. Fucks sake
5. For goodness sake (not sure why it's not "Gods sake", I'm not religious, but maybe I'm hedging my bets)
6. Tosser (I have a way with words, not a good way, but a way never the less)
7. Fair enough
7 books that I love:
Love is perhaps too strong a word for some of these, and this is off the top of my head.
1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. Money by Martin Amis
3. Live TV! The story of Tabloid TV by Chris Horrie & Adam Nathan
4. Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
5. Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick
6. The Wind up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
7. Servants of the People by Andrew Rawnsley
7 movies I watch over and over again:
1. Zulu. When I was 8 or 9, I used to watch this at my Nan’s al the time.
2. Masters of the Universe. 11 Years old or so.
3. La Haine. Watched this a fair few times, the DJ scene is the best.
4. Warriors. Used to watch this loads before going out with my mates when we were 15/16 (we didn't think we were them or anything sad like that).
5. South Park. At university.
6. I don't watch hardly any films anymore
7. They are too long.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Today I brought a Tabloid
The front cover story was "BB Preston dumped" not sure if that really is a front page story, regardless of how good Big Brother has been this year, but these tabloids have there own order and priorities. I will leave them to it from now on.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Taken somewhere over Finland, or the sea near Finland. Someone in the Guardian said that Air travel was unglamorous these days, that may be so, but you can't take photos like this from Earth.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
More Big Brother, yes, you know it makes sense
Along the same lines as my post about bullying in the house earlier on in the week, but a lot more incisive. And better written, and with more style and verve. And more cleverness than I could muster. Plus it has a very clever photoshop picture montage thing, yeah. Top dollar.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Sven-Göran Eriksson: Greedy and Stupid
How very ouch, but how very true.
AT THE HEART OF EVERY con trick lies one important truth: you can’t con an innocent person. The sucker must be hooked by means of his own greed, by the deal that’s just slightly too good to be true, by the glorious heady feeling that he’s getting something for nothing.
And that is the core truth of the News of the World’s entrapment of Sven-Göran Eriksson. You can make whatever judgment you like of the newspaper’s tactics; the fact is, they wouldn’t have worked if Eriksson was not (a) greedy and (b) stupid. Without those two inextricably linked character flaws, the famous fake sheikh of tabloid journalism would have had nowhere to put the lever.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Big Brother, again: Liberal snobbishness
'Galloway can no longer count on the indulgence of polite society'
"George Galloway and his backers in the Socialist Workers Party are finished now. The alliance they organised between the Trotskyist far left and the Islamic far right, which produced the most disgraceful protest movement since the Thirties, can no longer count on the indulgence of polite society.and
Was it Galloway's support for every anti-American tyrant on the planet that did for him? Not at all. He could salute the 'courage, strength and indefatigability' of Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz and Bashar al-Assad with impunity. How about his apologetics for the 'martyrs' of al-Qaeda and the Baath Party who represent everything the liberal-left has been against since the Enlightenment? No, not at all, that was fine, too. Or perhaps his sickening attacks on 'quisling' Iraqi trade unionists when they were being murdered by those same al-Qaeda and Baathist terrorists?
Once again, polite society found no reason to take offence. Indeed, it cheered itself hoarse when Galloway dodged pertinent questions from US senators about how many starving Iraqi children had seen the profits from the option to buy 23 million barrels of oil Saddam gave his charity.
The liberal media have turned on Galloway because of a far more heinous crime: his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother."
"There is obviously an element of bourgeois snobbery about prole-TV at work here."The snobbishness doesn't stop them analysing every aspect of it, and therefore watching it as much as everyone else though, does it?
"Still, aren't they weird? The liberals who think it is worse to appear on a TV show than in the court of a fascist tyrant"