TV on the Radio – Golden Age

December 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm (Music) (, , )

Just deadly. I’ve been pootling about over the holidays listening to these guys, whose Dear Science Album I got and the MGMT album that my sister got. Yay for Christmas gifts you really want. They’re both worth investing in.


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Happy Christmas

December 23, 2008 at 2:18 am (General) ()

Hope you all have a good one. I will be reading a plenty over the holiday but may or may not post. See you in the New Year

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Book 9: Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson

December 19, 2008 at 11:44 pm (Review) (, , , )

This is an easy read. It is a travelog of Bryson’s trip around Britain prior to his departing sometime in the early 90’s I would estimate. It is light hearted and good natured (which I suspect is probably an apt description of the author). It gently explores the quirks and foibles of Britain’s towns and cities and it is clear that Bryson likes the place a great deal even if some aspects clearly drive him nuts. The most entertaining passages of the book are, predictably, when he is being driven nuts. These occasionally being laugh out loud funny. Even outside of these he manages some interesting and acute observations about British life.

If you are in need of something to read while it is likely that you will be repeatedly and unpleasantly interrupted then this is ideal.

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Book 8: Tar Baby by Toni Morrison

December 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm (Review) (, , , )

This will be short.  I have read a few other novels by Toni Morrison and have read some of her poetry. I have always admired the strength of both her voice and lyricism. The words flow from the page with elegance and grace. You know you’re reading something IMPORTANT, which can some times overwhelm the grace and make it feel a bit portentous.  What I liked about Tar Baby is that it lacked this portentousness and instead had a blunter tone. 

As always Morrison’s examination of race and how it affects each character is interesting and challenges any obvious or easy conclusions. This is the best sort of writing on this subject in that it doesn’t allow people (no matter what their political colour) off the hook for making stupid assumptions about others. It was especially interesting to read this is in the wake of Obama’s victory. It made me wonder had anything really changed at all, I still haven’t figured out the answer.

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December 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Hey all sorry for the lack of reviews I feel I am slacking on the canonball (tho not for lack of reading) but my aunt is very unwell and so I’ve been in the hospital frequently. I hope to have a couple of short reviews up tomorrow.

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Elbow, Grounds for Divorce

December 3, 2008 at 8:55 pm (Music) (, , )

Short samples from this are being played on several ads on TV at the moment, particularly the one for the Devils Whore on Channel 4 and an annoying sports one on Sky. Mostly they make me want to listen to the whole song which is excellent like the whole Seldom Seen Boy album, so here it is.

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Book 7: Gentlemen of the Road, Michael Chabon

December 3, 2008 at 8:51 pm (Review) (, , , )

Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is one of my favourite books ever. It breaks my heart and uplifts me in a new way every time I read it. So Gentlemen of the Road was going to have a lot to live up to for me and in many respects it does. The story centres round three charachters Zeilkman, who is traumatised by seeing his Mother and sister killed, Amram who has been searching for 20 years for his kidnapped daughter and Fliaq who is seeking revenge for the murder of his family. Amram and Zeilkman attempt to rescue Fliaq’s against he will and become embroiled in a civil war in the Kingdom of the Khazars. It’s a strange, lightly convoluted plot that I enjoyed an awful lot.

This novel is both a road story and an adventure story, with a little bit of Gulliver’s Travels about it in the way that it looks at fictive societies to make a comment about real. Chabon sets it in what feels like our world geographically, there is a nominally middle eastern feel to the location. He uses this to explore how Jews, Muslims and Christians share the land and the divergence in their views and ways of living. This makes comparisons to modern day politics almost impossible to avoid. I think that he is pretty even handed in his attitudes to each group. I know that some people find this sort of fictional commentary off putting but you really shouldn’t in this case because Chabon’s skill as a writer stops it from ever becoming hectoring or belligerent.

If you discount the political/religious aspects the book you are left with a delightful adventure, with all sorts of derring do and spectacular rescues. I love this sort of quasi-fairytale type of fiction. When they are well written like this one I am taken out of myself and the world I inhabit in a way that is like reading when I was a kid. It’s fun to recapture a bit of that magic when you’ve found yourself growing in to a old cynic.

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