Coal sculptures

Last Friday night’s excursion was a trip to see compellingly strange French SF animation ‘La Planete Sauvage’, plus a pre-film performance of some groovy improvised music from The Stargazer’s Assistant. The film was fantastic; the music was marvellous; but what really made the evening for me were David Smith’s coal sculptures, forming his exhibition ‘TheContinue reading “Coal sculptures”

Matrices old and new

I’ve been pondering The Matrix movies lately. Key pieces of plot and character information were offered in animes, computer games, and so on. Back in the day, I thought this was lazy and exploitative. Now, I think I was wrong. Narrative is getting old school. For thousands of years, the great public stories were builtContinue reading “Matrices old and new”

The Archers and their target

‘A Matter of Life and Death’ shows us two broken utopias. The most obvious one is heaven; a perfect machine that cares for all who enter it. Stress and shock are balmed on entry. Enmities are forgotten. Grief seems not to exist. There’s even cricket on the radio. But it’s a fragile utopia; it canContinue reading “The Archers and their target”

Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li! And a nice cup of tea…

Writing daily here’s been a very interesting exercise, if only because it’s made me ponder writers I’ve got a lot out of it and think about why I’ve found them so engaging. But I haven’t written about two of my great teenage obsessions – M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft. MRJ’s ghost stories – and EdwardianContinue reading “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li! And a nice cup of tea…”

Seeing the world

At Arvon last week I was ranting – as you do – about John Burdett’s ‘Bangkok 8’, the only psychedelic transvestite Thai reincarnation police procedural you’ll ever need to read (apart, of course, from its sequel ‘Bangkok Tattoo’). And, if that whets your appetite for Thai mythology, there’s much else out there – S.P. Somtow’sContinue reading “Seeing the world”

‘Cities are slow computers’

…is today’s thought from the day from Matt Jones, talking very interestingly at the Interesting Conference on Saturday – suspect much online content will be going up about it over the next week or so, starting with Charlie Frith here (with links to other attendees) – and thanks to Russell for sorting it out! NotContinue reading “‘Cities are slow computers’”

Loving the Gerard

Returning to Gerard de Nerval briefly. I was obsessed by him while I was writing my book, and I think he’s someone that – if you’re fascinated by the fantastic – is well worth checking out. His work covers a very broad range, from vividly evocative reportage of nineteenth century Paris to (quite genuinely) unhingedContinue reading “Loving the Gerard”