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|Friday, August 23rd, 2013|
The downside to my using this blog again is that it’s likely to take me over a week to get around to saying what I’ve been up to. So you’ll have to put up with my daily write-up of my days at the Edinburgh Festivals being nearly two weeks in arrears.
The first thing I saw was the rear of a caravan between Rosedale and Pickering which very nearly led to my missing the train and fucking up the whole few days. But somehow I managed to get there, and arrived for my business of the Sunday evening, La Belle et la Bete
by Philip Glass. This was a showing of Cocteau’s film with the soundtrack removed and a new one played live by the Glass Ensemble, complete with new singing parts more or less lip-synched with the actors on screen, turning the film into a ready-staged opera. This was clever stuff and the music was far better than I expected (I’ve only heard this before in a poor-quality audience recording), but I had one niggling annoyance, which was that the last time I looked, Glass was a member of his own ensemble. I know he’s slowing down a bit and it’s not exactly like turning up to a U2 concert without Bono (which I know many of you would find preferable, you cynical old boots), but I did feel a little short-sold on this. Still, you get what you get and he could hardly get out of Tuesday’s show, so I ignored this and enjoyed the evening.
Incidentally, I was surprised to notice that I was one of the younger people there - most of Glass’s audience seemed to be as old as he is. I don’t know if this is because they’ve aged with him, or if he’s just the modern equivalent of a good old sing-song. Perhaps his music has gerontifying effects. I wished they’d warned me thirty years ago.
This ended early enough for me to take in what I thought was the must-see show of the fringe, Miranda Kane’s The Coin-Operated Girl
, about her experiences as a sex worker. Unfortunately, it turned out that a line on the map didn’t represent a turning so much as a hundred-metre jump off a bridge, and it wasn’t that must-see. I decided I had two more chances, and called it a night.
|Tuesday, July 30th, 2013|
|Bike Immunity news 16
And in a bid to spam this on as many blogs and websites as I have access to, I can now announce that this year's Bike Immunity news is available from this website
for £1.50 including postage. I would like to pay tribute to the numerous pieces of technology that failed in the making of this zine.This entry was originally posted at http://neil-in-the-hat.dreamwidth.org/995.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
|Saturday, June 29th, 2013|
Well I never, Oblique Strategies actually works. I couldn't develop this fortnight's story idea, so I went to an online site and got the card "Humanize something that is free from error". A bit of a tall order, especially since the only thing in the story that's really free from error happens to be gravity, but now I'm not stuck any more.
|Wednesday, June 5th, 2013|
Anne took her horse and her unpaid downtrodden groom to Thornton-le-Dale gala, she came a strong last in the first class but was able to get fourth out of seven for the “handsome horse” category, which means she won a rosette. I once again won the category for person allergic to the most number of things in a field, and accepted my prize while impersonating a human-shaped pile of mucus.This entry was originally posted at http://neil-in-the-hat.dreamwidth.org/522.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
|Monday, May 6th, 2013|
One thing I learnt at Whitby last week is that no matter how many Goths are on the dancefloor, no matter what music is being played, one Goth will apparently be performing the hokey-cokey.
I also learnt that no matter how many steampunk accessories you're wearing, no matter how many people are trying to take your photo in town, you didn't arrive in a fucking airship and that's that.
|Thursday, April 18th, 2013|
I returned to the Aesthetica exhibition at York St Marys
as I wanted to see if Sara Brannon’s Mary
was as interesting to watch as it was to read about (she’d taken an old film and compiled the scenes that featured only the lead actress, in order to raise questions about voyeurism and how film treats women as erotic objects). Unfortunately I was distracted by the screens showing the runners-up, so the answer may have been “no”. I didn’t like Josephine Sowden’s The Lillies of the Field
at the time, but it’s rather grown on me since. But I was completely blown away by Sutre by Madaleine Trigg
, and have only written all this so I can link to it again.
I can’t, incidentally, explain to anyone quite why I was blown away by it, so I don’t propose to fail again here.
|Monday, April 15th, 2013|
| Sex in London
edited by Elizabeth Coldwell appears to be out at last, and that rascally rapscallion Neil James Hudson has inflicted his depraved imaginings on the pages in the form of a story called "The Woman From Aldgate West". Don't read it, you'll only encourage him.
|Friday, April 12th, 2013|
I actually escaped from my cage a couple of times this week. We went to Fraggle’s Film Festival where the surprise film was Galaxy Quest
, which seems to a perfect example of the kind of thing it’s satirising. The cinema itself had been refurbished to make it look like a cinema, and I was accused of being British because of my sense of fair play in the quiz.
Then during the week I went on a York Contemporary Art Walk, all four of which terms earnt their keep. First off we went to the Aesthetica prize exhibition
, the most interesting of the stops in my opinion. I didn’t really get a chance to properly inspect everything, I’m particularly curious to see if Sara Brannan’s film is as interesting to watch as it is to read about. We then went to the Railway Museum for an exhibition and short film about the Beeching cuts (Tories cutting services? If the past is another country, it has a strong sense of cultural imperialism). We finished up at the Kentmere Gallery, which seemed in fact to be a house in which someone had left a load paintings lying about. It was interesting, but I had to leave as I became worried that I was eating one of the sculptures.
|Friday, March 29th, 2013|
|The writers what they patronised
I'm not really happy with Radio 4's "The Show What You Wrote" - I think they missed the word "bless" from the title. Nobody asked for special treatment or a "showcase" for new writers - all we want is to have our scripts considered along with everyone else's. This is a ghetto for new writers, not an open door.
I'm not just saying this because I'm a fucking amateur who didn't check the deadline until it had passed. Oh well, that means I've got two deadlines before the end of the day. At times like this I ask myself, what would Douglas Adams have done?
|Sunday, March 10th, 2013|
My story "Aplut" is now online at On The Premises
, and my embarrassment at being published so much is allayed as the editor points out that I only get published in issues that are prime numbers. I'm not due again until issue 23.
|Friday, March 8th, 2013|
|He works hard for the money
Gracious me, I don't usually work like that any more. I sat down at about 11 to think of a story idea, and I've just finished the first draft. That even included a Doctor Who break. The story's shorter than usual, but 3000 words is still good going.
The story, of course, argues exactly the opposite point of what I actually believe. Of course you should take your meds.
|Monday, March 4th, 2013|
I haven’t got around to posting for a few weeks, but I can sum it up as follows:
- stress from the Council again, caused by the same Councillor apparently continuing to believe that I have an agenda of my own. Once again I seem to have won though.
- a weekend reunion with my university friends in Cumbria. This was quite fun, and I found the nearby stone circle again, this time even managing to stand in the middle of it to see if I got beamed up anywhere (apparently not - you’d think Quatermass was fiction). The downside to the weekend was the chef forgetting to cook anything vegetarian on Saturday night, and then the pub we went to for lunch on Sunday not allowing dogs in, and therefore me and Anne to boot. The result was both us having a complete energy drain for part of the weekend.
Given that one of the revellers was looking distinctly unwell when he turned up, we may now add point 1 to point 2, and arrive with crushing inevitability to point 3, which was
- being laid up in bed with something flu-like. And my advice is that couples are never allowed both to be ill at the same time. I think I’ve finally chucked out the unwanted guest that’s been living in my bloodstream, but it’s very annoying to be laid up with flu on my week off and then find myself well enough for work, as if my immune system is being run by Atos.
Fortunately I have a point 4, which is
- my story “Aplut” winning a prize in the latest On The Premises
contest. This is the fourth time I’ve won it now, which makes me wonder if they’ll be having a quiet word with me soon. Or perhaps I’m just mad, and I should start writing under the pseudonym Ragle Gumm?
|Thursday, January 17th, 2013|
Those of you who know Richard might be surprised to learn that he's suddenly decided to get married and move out. They grow up so quickly nowadays, provided you define age 36 as quickly. Anne has already decided that the now-spare bedroom is the snorer's room, and is already expressing a surprisingly forceful opinion as to who might be occupying it.
|Monday, December 24th, 2012|
|The Twelve Days of Christmas
Day 1. “Christmas is Coming!“ says the Reverend Harold Camping. It doesn’t. However, there is much praise for the Christmas opening ceremony, in which the Queen gives her speech while jumping from a helicopter. Fortunately it’s not the real Queen, it’s just an Australian DJ who sounds nothing like her.
Day 2. The Church of England bans chess, after a set is discovered containing women bishops. In the meantime, thousands of refunds are given when it is discovered that Mayan advent calendars don’t have any doors after the 21st.
Day 3. Millions of office workers are disappointed when wikileaks publishes full details of all secret Santa operations this year, and are therefore deprived of the joy of opening a gift that you don’t want from someone you don’t like who spent more than was agreed in order to make you look stingy.
Day 4. After the job of Father Christmas is outsourced to G4S, the military has to step in and act as elves. In the meantime, a Church of England synod votes not to allow women Father Christmases.
Day 5. A new post-Mayan calendar is adopted, to replace the one that everybody ignored until the day it ran out. Instead of counting the years by the number of times the Earth goes round the Sun, it uses the more reliable measure of “Merry Xmas Everyone” by Slade entering the charts. By this reckoning, the world will end the first time Slade doesn’t enter the charts, in 2264.
Day 6. We are now well into the Christmas season, and the supply of goodwill is infinite. Until Francis Maude advises everyone to stockpile it, and it promptly runs out. Meanwhile, a Church of England synod votes not to allow women virgins.
Day 7. The expression “Christ on a bike” is discovered to date from a time when Jesus was taunted by Roman soldiers while trying to cycle into Downing Street. An investigation eventually proves that he never claimed to be King of the Jews and that Pilate wasn’t even there. The investigation comes too late to stop him being nailed to a crossbar, and does nothing to scotch rumours that Bradley Wiggins is the second coming.
Day 8. The best-selling album on Amazon is Jimmy Carr’s Christmas album “Father Christmas Do Not Tax Me”, although sadly it doesn’t make any profit in this country. Tracks include “The Holly and the ISA“, “Michael Row the Boat Offshore”, “Income All Ye Faithful” (aka “Adeste Fiddlers”), “Google Wenceslas” and “Exilent Night”.
Day 9. King Herod’s role in slaughtering the innocents and precipitating the flight into Egypt is suddenly dropped from Newsnight when the BBC broadcasts a documentary on his being a national treasure.
Day 10. Women in supermarket Christmas adverts attend feminist consciousness-raising sessions. Instead of spending the whole of Christmas Day in the kitchen while Dad carves the turkey, opens the wine, prats about and generally takes credit for everything, women rise up against the patriarchical system of supermarket adverts, start to live in non-nuclear families and generally begin to resemble women in reality. A Church of England synod responds by voting not to allow women women.
Day 11. The world ends. It turns out that it was nothing to do with the Mayan calendar, rather that creation comes to a finish when every single subject in the whole of human experience has been posted to YouTube as a “Gangnam Style” spoof. “Calculus of Variations in Lagrangian Systemsnam Style” is humanity’s final word.
Day 12. Neil wishes all his friends a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, raising the suspicion that he hasn’t got around to doing Christmas cards again and has resorted to a blog post instead. His friends respond by having their best Christmas ever, and a Church of England synod votes not to allow women Neils. God bless us, every one! Current Mood: I love you all!
|Sunday, December 23rd, 2012|
I managed the shop Christmas meal during the week. Once we'd all made it to the pub and sat down, someone got a phone call to say that we'd forgotten to lock the shop up and there were people wandering around inside. By the time I'd come back from dealing with that, everyone had ordered, and not one of them had noticed that there was a Christmas menu. So I had vegetable lasagne for Christmas dinner. Off work now for eleven days during which I intend not to think about the shop once, except for in posts like this.
|Thursday, December 13th, 2012|
|Bishops Keep Swinging
That's one less page in next year's zine then - the Church of England will be pushing to change the rules to allow women bishops before I've had a chance to satirise them for not doing so. I'll have to get it in now.
Women not wanted and girls not allowed,
If you pee standing up then you’re in with the crowd.
For the times are a-changing and bishops are bitching,
So you can go hard, or get back in the kitchen.
For alpha and omega males have no missus,
And men of the cloth think that women are cissies.
So render to Caesar, consider the lillies,
It says in the Bible that bishops need willies.
It wasn’t their fault, they were forced by the laity
Job for the boys, we were told by the deity.
God wanted women to stay in their homes,
Or else he’d have given them Y chromsomes.
For women are good for a number of things,
Such as cleaning your Mass up and kissing your rings
Now they’re burning their bras and they’re after your jobs,
But it says in the Bible that bishops need knobs.
So put on your mitres and set down your quarrels,
And kick out the women, then teach us all morals
And talk about justice and all its rewards
As you set your male arse on your seat in the Lords.
For the Church welcomes all kind of races and peoples,
Until they try climbing above the glass steeples.
So pray that the Lord gets you out of this fix,
For it says in the Bible that bishops need dicks.
|Monday, December 10th, 2012|
Two of my volunteers tried to make the world a better place last week by having a fight in the shop, the cause of which could not be more trivial if it were offered the Ant and Dec Chair in Unimportance Studies at the University of Insignificance (formerly Negligible Polytechnic). Both were shouting at the tops of their voices, A was waving at her finger at G who then knocked it out of the way, and I was forced to get between them and do my pub landlord impression, until they left, A vowing never to return (in which she appears to be mistaken).
The reason I'm telling you this is because even though it happened right in front of me, I thought that A knocked G's hand and have only changed my mind in view of their own accounts. To be fair, I wouldn't have sworn it in a court of law, but I do wonder how many people get wrongly convicted on the basis of honest witness statements.
(Actually, I love it when this kind of thing happens - I'm fully aware of the fallibility of human memory, and think that people only trust their own because they never come up against any objective evidence against it. But if you want to commit a crime and want it blamed on someone else, I suggest you commit it in front of me.)
|Wednesday, December 5th, 2012|
|Origins: Colliding Causalities
Origins: Colliding Causalities
, with my story "What the Meteor Meant", can now be obtained from Smashwords
in various twenty-first century formats. Juliana tells me (or told me, since it's taken nine days for this to rise to the top of my things-to-do list) that a free copy might be available for an Amazon or Smashwords reviewer. Share and enjoy.
|Tuesday, December 4th, 2012|
Had another of Fraggle’s film showings at the weekend, this time we watched Hot Fuzz. Unfortunately there were two representatives of the SOPHIE foundation present, so I felt obliged to heckle the police characters about their lax attitude to anti-Goth hate crime, and then try to get beaten up in the pub afterwards for being too alternative, so that they knew their efforts weren‘t in vain. I think that the only people who were tempted to beat me up were the SOPHIE people in view of my performance in the Werewolves card game we were playing, but that was a moral victory.
|Wednesday, October 31st, 2012|
I had a great time hearing Dead Can Dance last Friday, and I would have enjoyed seeing them too if the builders of the Albert Hall had considered that some of the audience might want to look at the stage rather than the rest of the audience. Nevertheless, by a combination of mirrors, yogic hopping and remote viewing, I was occasionally able to see half of the band, at least when the git at the front of the balcony experimented with sitting down. They sounded mighty fine though and played all my favourite hits.
On Saturday I fought my way past the crowds of people who had come to this country to take photos of themselves standing in front of buildings and saw the Richard Hamilton exhibition at the National Gallery, had lunch (which did, in fact, contain some solids) with valkyriekaren, and met my old friends from university in the evening, culminating with the wholly new experience of having to read their children a story, despite the fact that I was so drunk that any sane parent would have taken out a restraining order on me. Waves to everyone who helped make it such a good weekend.