Posts from 4th March 2005

Mar 05

Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 334 views

I was recommended this by Luna of ILX, and when I started reading I feared it was going to be unbearable: right from the start, the very first sentence, the fact that he is trying to write as exactly like Wodehouse as he can is very overt. This is a modern version of Wodehouse, and he is smart enough to realise that the fashionable men about town of the Drones translates beautifully to gay men in NYC. Making our narrator a writer of musical comedies who gets given a Wodehouse book as a present leaves you in no doubt that Keenan isn’t trying to hide the debt, but he hardly could, what with parties at country houses, marital confusions, Mummy the duchess coming to visit and idiots scheming to get cash out of tight-fisted parents.

It’s a hell of a move to risk: I regard Wodehouse as one of the greatest English prose stylists ever, one of my absolute favourites, and the funniest writer ever. You need anexceptionally light touch, you need the imagination and wit to create fresh and funny similes, you need a plot that is frothy and lively. You need to overcome the obvious fundamental lack of originality. There aren’t many people who would avoid falling flat on their faces, by clumsiness or leadenness or lack of wit. That’s why I feared the worst.

Keenan pulls it off. There was hardly a false note in the whole book, and the updated aspects (like people actually having sex, for instance) were seamlessly integrated. The prose is easy and weightless, and he actually manages to do frequent Wodehouse-style similes without fucking it up, and he made me laugh a bunch of times (I only spotted one that I am sure he pinched from PGW). The plot gets very complicated at times, but he keeps pulling just the right rabbits out of his hat, and sorts it all out really well in the end without much crowbar needed. This is a tremendous success, to my surprise, and I enjoyed it hugely.

Great Pop Discovered Whilst On Holiday #1 (New Series)

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 627 views

Bikstok Røgsystem – ‘Cigar’

One of the great things about visiting other countries: lying in bed in the hotel room after midnight (in this instance I was in Stockholm) flicking through the selection of free cable channels on the TV provided. I count three or four music channels, Annie’s ‘Heartbeat’ and Bertine Zetlitz is are played on MTV Europe and the general vibe takes me back to MTV’s pan-continental incarnation that we used to receive in the UK before someone decided to segregate us from the rest of Europe by creating MTV UK & Ireland. This did as much harm as good and we lost as much as we gained if not more (those incessant gabba compilation adverts were annoying at the time but I’ve come to miss them since). Because Britain today would appear to have no place for the likes of Bikstok Røgsystem, a Danish pop-dancehall combo who entertained me greatly by cropping up on Swedish music television with their excellent new single ‘Cigar’. Very little information about them in English on the interweb it would seem but there is this with a link to the fabulous video therein which I urge you all to peruse.

The official website is also worth a look for some lovely artwork and much fun to be had attempting to learn and translate ‘Cigar’s lyrics into English. Let the campaign for more of this sort of thing in our stagnant, somewhat lacking British music charts begin…

In the lands of the North…

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 193 views

In the lands of the North…

… where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…”

(haha the Top 100 Cartoons came up in the office as “typical awful TV”: two hours animated discussions of cartoon history ensue!!!)

what is it goin to BEEEEE??

Do You SeePost a comment • 253 views

what is it goin to BEEEEE??

my office overlooks a building being newly builded: this is v.interesting over an above the excitement of watching others toil while you loll: today they installed a strange narrow slender balcony out from one of the higher floors, leading to hopes that it is goin to be the ISLINGTON RETIREMENT HOME for PIRATES, and the mysterious projection is the PLANK!!

Horrible Egg

Blog 7Post a comment • 199 views

Thanks to Nick for bringing this to our attention. Wang’s course of action in the final paragraph strikes me as foolhardy.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 394 views


the atommick brane reminded me of steamed spinach: here is my question about it:

steam it for 3 minute = half the original size
steam it for 6 mins = quarter the original size
steam it for 9 mins = eighth the original size

so if you steam it long enough can you create a singularity in the space-time continuum?

WORMS of the AIR

Blog 7Post a comment • 407 views

“the WORMS of the AIR!!”

(i heart bestiaries – even THIS one which has a v.v.pompous-ass cease-and-desist death-to-antirockist-scholarship policy abt picture-linking)

stick with the beasts we got plz #2

Blog 7Post a comment • 494 views

stick with the beasts we got plz #2: the CATOBLEPAS

Body of a buffalo, head of a hog, gaze and/or breath deadly, weeps constantly: Pliny the Elder said it wz sluggish, its head so heavy it cannot lift it from the ground. Desperate explanationists say he wz thinkin of the GNU (“spelt g-n-u”).

i. except hey! the gnu CAN lift its head and does NOT kill by lookin or breathin, ppl!
ii. i can always remember its characteristics, never its name (mnemonic hint to self: Cat O’Bleep-Ass)

conclusion: mythologically functionless, except of course to explore the functionlessness of mythology


FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 661 views

4. Smiley Culture – “Nuclear Weapon”

Smiley Culture’s mix of sunshine tunes and fast, funny toasting hit big in ’84 or so with the fantastic “Police Officer”. His Hold Your Tongue album from 1986 is eight more tracks of the same (plus a crap “Police Officer” remix). It was a hard choice picking between this and “Westland Helicopter”, where Smiley imitates Mrs.Thatcher, but my enduring fascination with cold war tunes won the day. Straightforward pop-reggae and better heard than described, this sounds very much of its time but a lot of fun.