Saturday, 21 April 2018

easter parade

I watched Easter Parade this afternoon, recorded ages ago. I hadn't seen it before, and enjoyed it a lot.

the mikado

Last night I went to the King's Head Theatre to see the Charles Court Opera production of The Mikado; Hei Mun had bought the tickets, but couldn't go, so I went with Michelle from choir, and we both enjoyed it very much.

supper's ready, iolanthe

Listened to two things this afternoon which reminded me of secondary school. One was the D'Oyly Carte Iolanthe which my friend Danica gave me; the other was Genesis's Supper's Ready, a song I would hear on the radio once a year, on the Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show, when listeners voted for the best rock songs ever, largely, it seemed, on the basis of length.

We staged one of those two works one year at school. What an extraordinary school I would have gone to if it had been Supper's Ready, eh?

Posted the above on FB on 18th March. Douglas replied, 'How could you say “on a the basis of length.” I was only listening to it the other day. When I was on my own.'

a united nations of beauty

Once again while waiting at the stop watched a United Nations of beauty pour off buses. There's a lot of beautiful people in the world. I'm not sure if as I've got older I've developed a wider appreciation of beauty or just gone soft in the head. Both, I expect. (Tweet, 14th March)

not drinking

I stopped drinking when I became a Christian, near my 18th birthday, which meant that for many years I had drunk more in total underage than legally. It was no sacrifice, however, as I'm just not that keen.

dubious donations

Surely the best way to deal with donations received by your organisation from a person or body that then turns out to have deplorable views or behaviours is to publicly and unreservedly condemn the views/behaviours and keep the money.

(Donations should never buy influence. Donations *can* seem to buy some respectability, however, which is why 'then turns out' is important.)

(a pair of tweets from 9th March.)


The NME wound up print publication in March, which I learnt from Twitter, where I hear most of my news these days. Daniel Finkelstein tweeted to say 'I provided a little foretaste of the sort of adult I’d be when I was reading Melody Maker at the height of punk.'

Which prompted me to tweet, 'Some weeks schoolboy me bought "all three" - Sounds, NME, Melody Maker. MM somewhat dull, the others not so different from each other, though Sounds leaned more metal, NME more indie. All three gone now. But we had no monthly music magazines, and now there are *dozens* of those.'

It amazes me how many more magazines there are now, and so niche that you wonder how they survive - more than one specifically for bass players, for example.

I don't know much about poetry,...

I don't know much about poetry, but I know what I Rilke.

(*Note: I only said this for the purposes of alleged humour. I don't know Rilke.)

(Tweet from 7 March)

parents evenings

In March, sometime after a parents evening, I Facebooked, 'We only find out at parents evenings exactly how well Maisie is doing. She is doing extraordinarily well and is a fine young woman. I am committed to doing my level best not to mess her up. I wouldn't want anyone to think our pride in her is conditional on her doing well, because it isn't. But we are very proud of her.'

Thursday, 19 April 2018

the singing sands

On Thursday 10th August last year, on holiday in Lewis, I finished The Singing Sands by Josephine Tey, which wasn't bad.

the sins of the fathers

On Saturday 19th August last year I finished The Sins Of The Fathers by Lawrence Block; it was okay, but covered pretty familiar territory unremarkably, and didn't inspire me to continue my search for more of the series.

the case of the missing books

On New Year's Eve 2016 I finished The Case Of The Missing Books by Ian Sansom. I didn't think it was very good.


I read 253 by Geoff Ryman a long time ago, possibly before I started keeping track. Unusually for a book I've read I'd kept it, though I haven't read it again, and I'm noting it now because I'm getting rid of it for space. But I thought it was a great book.

It started its life on the internet, published an item at a time on a website interlinking them. It's in the form of 253 chapters of 253 words each on the 253 occupants of a tube train. A great achievement, both technical and imaginative.

And yet I've never read any of his other books.

Monday, 16 April 2018

'a good person'

It's an unpleasant feeling when someone says you're a lovely person because you have done a thing, and you know you have done that thing for reasons to do with your dark mind and black, black heart. (This was some time ago. No, I'm not telling you what it was.) If you behave like a good person when you are not a good person, do you, through accident or design, become a good person (as in the story of 'Whistle a happy tune'), or just a hypocrite? Maybe everyone else's motives are as mixed as your own, if you knew their minds and hearts.

Friday, 13 April 2018

marvel double bill

Today during the day Maisie and I had a Marvel films double bill, filling in some of the gaps of the films we haven't seen in the Marvel series of the last few years. We watched two of the older ones accessible to us that we haven't seen: the first Captain America one (The First Avenger) and the second Thor one (The Dark World). They were both okay - the Captain America story was quite interesting, though the fighting was as uninteresting as I generally find it, the Thor one less so (possibly not as good as the first, definitely not as good as the third).

We found a list, so now we know what we need to do; in fact we haven't watched the three oldest in what is considered the modern Marvel canon - Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2.


On Thursday afternoon Maisie and I went to see Wonderstruck at the Curzon Bloomsbury. I'd only found out about it that morning, when I was looking for a film for us to see, so I didn't know much about it, but it looked good, and we both enjoyed it - I enjoyed it a lot.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

middle school: the worst years of my life

On Wednesday I finished Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, which wasn't great.

mackerel and creamola

On Wednesday I finished Mackerel and Creamola by Ian Stephen, which was okay. I find his writing style a bit too self-consciously oral storytellery for my preference, but I'm glad he's doing well.

You can see the fading on the left-hand edge of the cover; the spine is faded like that, into illegibility; it had obviously been sitting on a shelf in the sun for some years.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

sky garden

On Tuesday we went (after a quick whizz round the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery) up the Sky Garden with Susannah, Becky, Emma and Iain Walker. We enjoyed it; our first time up.

Friday, 6 April 2018

hotel world

On Christmas Day 2014 I finished Hotel World by Ali Smith. Surprisingly to me, it's only the second of her books I've read. I enjoyed it more (a lot more, I have a feeling, to the extent that maybe I'd been putting off reading more of her books) than I enjoyed Like, which was her first (I bought it new, in hardback, when it came out) - and I see Hotel World was her second (though they were each preceded by a short story collection). (I also see from the inside front cover that it was a withdrawn library book that I bought for 20p in July 2002.) I feel like I've read more, possibly because I've read articles and reviews by her. In particular I liked the use of language, the playing with and love of words. I have a couple more on the shelf and I should read them. But then, I should read all the books on my shelves.