Posts from 16th July 2004

Jul 04

I like detective fiction,

The Brown Wedge2 comments • 450 views

I like detective fiction, but I’ve got to say I am not quite so keen on straight down the line mystery novels. It strikes me that what I like about my detective fiction is finding out about the detective, his/her methods and the lure of a strong heroic (or anti-heroic) lead. Couple this with a nice plot with a satisfying denoument and generally you have the basis of an joyable read.
So I found a green Penguin copy of Maigret And The Old Lady on the bus the other day. 150 pages, proper pulp length, a more than decent pedigree – George Simenon is a legend in these circles. This book pops up near the end of the Maigret books apparent, not that you could necessarily tell from the set up. Indeed apart from a few reminscences about the seaside as a youth, you do not get much of a life from Maigret at all. Instead it is all collecting the information, and then the whiz bang finale.
Simenon plays fair with the punter I guess, because I had worked out who had done it pretty early on, and from the information given. Like most fictional detectives the motive is given much more importance than it is in a real investigation. Nevertheless (I will be giving away who did it here so turn away now)  there is something unsatisfying about the title of the book. Maigret and the OLD LADY. Yes there is an old lady in it and yes, you guessed it, she did it. And how did I guess she had done it? Why, her name was in the title. This is not the work of a Master.

Playlist Ghosts

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 328 views

Playlist Ghosts: I have played the four tracks from D-Generation’s first (only?) EP a handful of times. I have heard them far, far more often. There they were again when I scrolled down a folder of MP3s this morning – this is the fourth computer they’ve followed me to, lingering spectres in the data. Never burned, rarely selected, but always lurking in the random access, dumped without thinking onto CD-Rs when obsolescence or job changes strike a PC and turn me nomadic.

Do I like them? Not unreservedly. But I’ve grown fond of them. I downloaded them because I remembered some long-ago Simon Reynolds review, hailing D Generation as – in concept at least – an infection of rave by punk (that chestnut not being quite so old at the time). They weren’t. They made drab tracks that you couldn’t dance to, that lasted too long: they sampled Johnny Rotten’s malignant chuckle on one song but their “no future” lift was from a Doctor Who episode – “You are eroding structure, generating entropy!”. That was their thing – entropy: the vibe of the rave turned sluggish and weak, all energy turning to waste. They remind me a little now of DJ Spooky and his academic beat tundras – morose drifts of sound, taking you nowhere and then telling you that was the point.

But still there was something effective about them: an atmosphere, a flicker of intrigue. Hear it yourself on “Rotting Hill” – their most accessible track, perhaps their corniest. But don’t play it. Just leave it in some folder somewhere, or on your iPod: turn it into a gaunt guest in the kitchen of your digital party, waiting to mutter something uneasy into your passing ear.

(The download is 6 MB, dial-up users be aware.)

Early life resembles 5th form Computer Studies project.

Proven By Science1 comment • 1,503 views

Early life resembles 5th form Computer Studies project. Complexity formed through simple fractal patterns seen in Ediacaran period fossils.

Small joy

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 338 views

Small joy
one of the upsides of this job is that, late at night, when the last customers have left grumbling about taxis, and all the staff have gone home, I have a catering standard kitchen to play with, so tomight I fried off some duck with chilli and ginger, whilst using the combi to hard-bake some noodles with stock and chorizo, to be eaten at the bar whilst reading a book of John Ashbery’s poems, drinking a damn fine medoc and reflecting that , you know, it’s not such a bad old life.