Monday, 22 September 2008

A Modern Myth of Sisyphus...

...would feature the protagonist trying to paste documents that are already long into a massive Microsoft Word file whilst trying to preserve the formatting.

I would prefer the big fucking stone myself.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Urusei Yatsura/ The Delgados

One of the plus points of spending eons in front of a computer as I finish up is that it's given me time to rediscover my love of Scottish boy - girl indie bands. Here's two more from the surprisingly rich seam of Central Belt noise pop:

Urusei Yatsura - 'Hello Tiger'

The Delgados (Of 'Alan, show us yir watch' fame' - 'Everything Goes Around the Water'

Thursday, 18 September 2008

A brief, CAMRA-ish aside

PhD-completion stress has caused a bit of a loss of momentum on here recently, but I am currently trying to conceive of some more focussed articles to put up on here. I'm currently writing a piece about Ian Rankin which keeps stalling.

Anyway, I thought I'd do one of the customary 'hell in a handcart' articles. Now, I find real ale marketing quite embarassing usually. Problematically for someone who tends to prefer a pint of Frigging in the Rigging or Bishop's Finger over Carling or Strongbow, my tolerance for zany product names cooked-up by the marketing staff at independent breweries is not enormously high. When I used to work at a bar, we once did a weekend of real ale and folk dancing where the 'catch-up' strong beer was Granny Wouldn't Like It from Attleborough's almost unsurpassable Wolf Brewery. Now, the first time some Monty Python-quoting Environmental Sciences student asks you for a pint of that it's quite funny. When the seven hundredth Red Dwarf teeshirt-wearing, 'I'm mad, me!' individual does the same, however, it isn't quite so endearing (you know, it's all a bit 'aren't I naughty, ordering the marginally stronger beer with the ever-so-slightly risque name'). I usually preface my own bar orders of said products with a look that says 'if I were to take relish in asking for this drink, I'd be a wanker, and I'm not altogether cool with the fact that I'm buying a product whose marketers are intentionally trying to make me look like a wanker.' Then the barstaff look at me and know that I'm just a regular guy, a non-scener who just happens to like drinking real ale and doesn't feel the need to get into the paraphenalia of Queen records.*

I really am that cool.

Anyway, I'm cavorting off topic. What I meant to say is that the Portman Group (who I think have nothing to do with Ipswich Town's ground or Miranda Raison's character on Spooks) have criticised the Orkney Brewery for marketing a rather strong ale with the name 'Skull Splitter'. Now, notwithstanding the fact that the logo is a cartoon viking that would be unlikely to incite violence in even the most impressionable of those dead-eyed feral teenagers Eden Lake has got the chattering classes, er, chattering about, precisely how many real ale drinkers do you know who frequently indulge in booze-related violence? In my experience, people who go on holidays which involve attempting to visit as many microbreweries (and, let's face it, non-league football grounds) in a week as possible are not the same as those who loon out onto the pavement at eleven thirty trying to kick seven bells out of all and sundry. In all honesty, they're probably making putatively 'witty' remarks at the exhausted bartenders who are trying to remove them from their beery comfort zone, but violence doesn't tend to enter the equation.

Oh, shit. I sound like Jeremy Clarkson. Can I add a qualificatory note about my heartfelt belief in integrated mass transit and my enthusiasm for speed camera/ traffic management schemes? Hopefully that makes it all a little better.

* But maybe I do fulfill the criteria: non-league football; long walks; dilletantish inquisitiveness about archaeology and history. Hold on, this is turning into one of my famous 'Simon from Teachers' male anxiety attacks.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Latest compulsive detective thing

Hi. I've still not done a decent-length post for a while. That's because I'm up in Yorkshire, where I have access to my Mum's extensive collection of Ian Rankin novels, to which I have now become utterly addicted. Seeing as I have to work while I'm up here, my spare time is consumed with acquainting myself with Inspector Rebus, or dragging myself away from books and going to look at the Burkean-sublime waterfall in full flood.

Oh, and scribbling fragments of fiction. It's begun.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Hello, from the sanctity of a rainswept North Yorkshire.

I have a bound copy of the PhD and three weeks left to sort out the rubbish bits, so I've come home with a bagful of hard literary theory (Kristeva; Brooke-Rose; Abraham/ Torok; not to mention The Interpretation of Dreams.) The panic might explain why I haven't written anything on here for a week. I'm meaning to do a sweeping football post at some time, seeing as all of my cultural cathexes have been, erm, already allocated.

Hopefully whack something proper on over the weekend.