Saturday, 21 July 2018

double pairing

This week's Westminster controversy about voting despite having paired made me think of this, on 'double pairing', from the Tue 17th Dec 1996 entry in Gyles Brandreth's Westminster Diaries, Breaking The Code (which I heartily recommend to anyone interested in Westminster politics).

hollywood ugly

I think The Truth About Cats And Dogs has the oddest example of Hollywood ugly, where we are required to accept not only that Janeane Garofalo thinks she is ugly but also that she is objectively much less beautiful than Uma Thurman. Many would think her more beautiful, I'm sure. (Including me, obvs.)

two weeks notice

On Monday evening Bethan and I watched Two Weeks Notice, a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. It was nothing special in itself, and I don't think is particular well thought of, but Hugh and especially Sandra are always good value, and I enjoyed it. The only jarring moment was an unanticipated cameo by Donald Trump.

sharp's folk club

On Tuesday I went to Sharp's folk club with some others from Morris Folk Choir instead of having a rehearsal. We sang Magpie and Handsome Molly. It wasn't our best performance ever, but there were only a few of us, and we'd only decided the night before that we would go there. There were a lot of singers - it was a good night - so although Michelle, Tanja and I had all put our names down, there wasn't time for us, which was fair enough as we'd had our turn with the choir. (Rosie, Hannah, Suzanne O, Sarah, Michael J and Mark W were the others there.)

boss baby

On Saturday 1st April 2017 we all saw Boss Baby at the Genesis cinema. I didn't think it was great - it was okay, but it didn't have a coherent internal logic that it stuck to, and that kind of thing annoys me. Also there was a section where I was literally falling asleep, which is unusual for me in even the most tedious and unengaging of family films.

Thursday, 19 July 2018


On Monday evening I finished reading Prayer by Tim Keller. It was pretty good, as far as it went. I'd hoped for (on this occasion, as it happened; might not have if I'd been reading it five years ago or five years hence) more on the theology of how prayer works, but the summary answer to that is, of course, 'it's a mystery'.

three gothic novels

On Sunday 31 July 2016 I finished reading a Wordsworth edition containing three Gothic novels: The Castle of Otranto (by Horace Walpole), Vathek (by William Beckford) and Nightmare Abbey (by Thomas Love Peacock). Vathek was terrible rubbish, but the other two were pretty good in their different ways.

the sin eater

On Tuesday 17th April I finished The Sin Eater, by Alice Thomas Ellis; her first novel, and I enjoyed it. It's not the favourite book of hers that I've read, but I like her dry wit and cold eye. And she's another of those writers who is not afraid of writing short books, which I'm very much on board with.

Friday, 13 July 2018

malice aforethought

This evening I finished reading Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles. It wasn't bad. Quite unusual in its structure for its time (1931), I suspect, but a much more familiar form now: following the murderer from his having the idea of murder, through execution to aftermath.

morley chamber choir concert

On Monday I went to see Bethan's choir, the Morley Chamber Choir, in their concert at St George The Martyr in Borough, which was good.

Thursday, 12 July 2018


Would you rather be dead and feeling nothing, or alive, however pointlessly, and singing, however meaninglessly, and getting pleasure from that, whatever else you might be feeling? A reminder that even if you think that's the choice, then the second one is the better choice.

advice on creativity

Just start by making a mark on the paper. We can turn it into a flower, or something beautiful, or something that matters. But you've got to make a start.

- that started as encouraging a child to draw, but it applies to lots of things in creativity, not least writing, and to lots of things in life more generally, I guess.

books I will never write no 231

It would be interesting to write a story (an ordinary story, say a children's adventure story, rather than something more SF or agitproppy) with unisex names and no other sex identifiers so that the characters could be read as either boys or girls. Doubtless it's been done.

resisting impulses

To jump off a bridge or balcony, to say or write I love you, to send a career-ending email - these are all the same kind of resisted impulse.

enjoying all weather and scenery

It is possible to enjoy all weather and all scenery, however bad or bleak - and to enjoy the bad and bleak not perversely, and to enjoy the bad and bleak as well as rather than instead of enjoying what is more typically thought of as good or beautiful.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

what are they good for?

Men! Hooh! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again! Men! Hooh! What are they good for? Well, reaching the tuna mayonnaise sandwiches that are left way at the back of the top shelf in the supermarket. But even then they could be easily replaced by a kick stool.

love island

I don't know what it signifies, but #loveisland seems to have made some kind of breakthrough into general culture, because I really don't remember seeing many #loveisland tweets in previous years but this time my timeline is awash with them.
- tweet from 19th June

going to work

The other day I saw a young woman on my bus wearing a glorious combination of a shiny silver glitterbally skirt and a faded Iron Maiden t-shirt. Wherever can she work?


You know, I'm starting to think we really did misunderestimate George Bush Jr.

cardi b

Whenever I see mention of Cardi B, I think 'reserve cardigan'. I am old.