Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Second List With No Context

M John Harrison – The Quarry
Albert Camus – The Guest
James Joyce – Eveline
Ernest Hemingway – Old Man at the Bridge
Katherine Mansfield – The Young Girl
Kij Johnson – The Snow Wife
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa – Rashomon
Katherine Mansfield – Life of Ma Parker
Graham Joyce – Xenos Beach
J.G. Ballard – The Killing Ground
M John Harrison – Science and the Arts
Ernest Hemingway – Hills Like White Elephants
M John Harrison – Lords of Misrule
Katherine Mansfield – The Voyage
Ernest Hemingway – A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa – In a Grove

A List Offered Without Obvious Context

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Nostalgia

The whole world is full of wonderful music if you listen for it and chase it. This is the theme to the BBC TV adaptation of the Wallander novels. Emily Barker has also provided the theme music for the new BBC drama “The Shadow Line.” The music and the two dramas are all excellent and recommended. They possess the tone I admire.

Over the last two nights I have written the first attempt at two very short stories about climbing. Both stories are about impossible routes. They are interesting experiments to help me understand several things about fiction I have forgotten.

Annie’s Box (Alt. Vocal)

I’m slowly getting back in the habit of constructing playlists to listen to while working on short stories. I should start to record the changes I make over time to the lists in more detail as each addition or deletion from the list is marker for a point in time where I’ve understood something new about a story/myself/the world.

The current playlist is only about half a dozen songs at most long for a short story and doesn’t even exist on my computer. Only in my head. I know that Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “East Hasting” appeared on the list, although I suspect it’s now off the list again because it’s a bit obvious. Portishead’s “Machine Gun” is, I think, the replacement track. The Entertainment for the Braindead songs “Run!” & “Mi Corazón” from Hydrophobia might be the thematic core of this story. Don’t know where this version of Annie’s Box fits into the soundscape/narrative. It just fits somewhere. Maybe at the middle point between the Entertainment for the Braindead songs before going into the harshness of “Machine Gun.”

Hmm listening to “Machine Gun” again while I type this (bits of all these songs apart from GSY!BE have played while writing this) and I’m not sure it matches up with The Knife or Entertainment for the Braindead as well as I thought it would. But the lyrics do work. Sort of.

The story this mix is indented for is technically complex and in the end will be a failure because I’ve deliberately overreached myself. Maybe the mix should reflect this. It’ll be an interesting failure.

(If you haven’t gathered by now I always see narratives folding out of music and can usually imagine music for a given narrative.)

Merchants of Extraordinary Tea & Coffee

This shop fills in one of Leicester’s missing pieces. For a long time Leicester lacked a place that sold a wide range of good quality loose tea and coffee. Until St. Martin’s opened in St. Martin’s Square just off Silver Street in Leicester there were a few places that sold tea & coffee along side other things. However this is a small shop dedicated to selling just tea and coffee tea along with all the paraphernalia to make yourself a decent brew at home. This is an improvement on the previous rather sorry situation for caffeine addicts within the city.

On my desk, in between all the empty mugs, I have a list of their current coffee stock for the month. It runs to five sides of printed A4 with a paragraph or so for each coffee with geographic and tasting information. I am tempted by the Algerian Special blend which combines Colombian and Mexican beans for what is described as having a “strong smooth flavour” and “One of our favourite blends, this is just lovely.” The Kenya Peaberry also looks interesting. After my brief conversation with the owner earlier it is clear they are a coffee aficionado. This is a good thing!

As well as being able to buy the beans they also sell drinks to take away or drink either in the small annex at the back of the shop or outside on chairs. Their drinks cost more than Starbucks or their high street competitors, but this isn’t a shop I think intends to compete with those places. Consider St. Martin’s to be equivalent to the wine & spirit merchants you sometimes find that have a small bar area. It costs more, but tastes substantially better than the alternatives.

An Election Day in 2011

Picture selected because it's the only image on Wikicommons that isn't a national ballot paper.

tl;dr — Make sure you vote. I don’t care who for or if you vote yes or no for AV, just fucking cast your ballot. People died and are still dying today for the right to vote. Don’t waste yours.

Almost a year ago today, in the United Kingdom, we went to the polls for a general election. We all know the results: No overall majority for either Labour or the Conservatives. A coalition government between the Conservative Party and, as junior partners in government, the Liberal Democrats.

Today a number of different elections being held. In my own area there are just the local council elections and the referendum on the alternative vote. In one part of Leicester there are those two elections and a by-election to elect a new member of parliament and a mayoral election.

The important point I want to make is: if you’re registered to vote then make sure you vote. People have died to guarantee you that right and people are currently dying in North Africa and the Middle East for the right to vote. Fucking vote!

I should say that it doesn’t matter who you vote for. It isn’t my business who you vote for — it is after all a private ballot — although hopefully you are reasonably well informed on the people and the issues. Just go and vote.

But if you want to know what I think you need to read below the cut.

Fuckin’ Tea!

EMPIRES WILL FALL BUT STEAM WILL RISE!