books

And now the weather

It has turned all cold and horrid today and so I have hurried home to close all the windows, put on the central heating and some cosy warm jumpers, and get out the extra duvet. I quite like it when it is cold, especially at autumn time when everything smells different and it seems like people ought to be having fireworks and getting ready for Xmas.

I would just like some warning that is all, so I do not spend the day at work shivering in a flimsy T-shirt. Well I am warming up a bit now, looking forward to a nice hot dinner and a glass of posh wine, then maybe a relaxing bath! I hardly ever have baths so it is a special treat, do not laugh it is obvious what I meant. I am surprisingly clean when you look at my messy flat. Perhaps people with super tidy houses are secretly crawling with lice themselves!

In book news, it was such a long ride out to Heathrow and back on the tube that I read the whole of Out of Africa which is brilliant, I practically cried at the end when she had to leave the farm, except I turned it into a pretend cough halfway through. I do not think anyone suspeckted.

Then yesterday I read a book all about the history of the Royal Marine Commandos (Robin Neillands’ By Sea And Land) which was moderately intresting, except it just made me sad reading about all the people whose lives were stupidly thrown away for nothing much at places like Dieppe and Anzio and the Falklands.

Anyway that is my phillersophical observation for the day, war is rubbish. Then today I have been mostly reading Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange which is fantastic. The reviews of her books always go on as if they are all about food, which is silly really, like saying The Lord of the Rings is about jewellery. Yes, it is central to the stories, but Harris’ books are always full of dark secrets, suspicion, lust, alienation, mystery, otherness ekcetera which makes me think that she might be a jolly good cook but I would not want to be round at her house after dark. In case she did something horrid to me after dessert.

Blog man in 'no pics' shock

Yes it is a non-picture post, I know it has been a lot lately but then I tend to not do any photergraphy for a while and then do loads all in one day. It was a very inspiring day out with lots of great things to take pictures of, and especially shooting in black and white which is brilliant. It is funny how less is more sometimes, perhaps if I left the lens cap on and took the battery out I could do even better!

Well I have been having a lot of intresting adventures, such as visiting England’s exclusive Hampshire, and seeing tigers which was fantastic. It was in a wildlife park of course not just roaming the streets of Wickham, yawning and snarling. Although that would be great. There are lots of pictures from that weekend though I have not got round to uploading them yet.

I did not do much this weekend except sprawling in ghastly sloth, and eat sossidges & mash (now with onion gravy!) Last night I passed a pleasant evening at the pub eating my own weight in nuts, chattering of inconsequentialia, and plotting which intresting films to see at the London Film Festival (all of them). Unfortunately I left my copy of Northanger Abbey there which is typical of me, I am a one-man BookCrossing. I will get it back later, by means of a clever subterfuge involving buying some beer. In the meantime I am reading Master and Commander which is quite exciting.

I had a horrid worry this morning due to the air crash in Phuket (aviation insiders never speak of a ‘crash’, by the way, rather a ‘hard landing’ - there are progressively harder degrees of landing, up to and including total destruction of the aircraft). I am probably one of the world’s biggest experts on air disasters, which makes me a bad person to talk to just before you go on holiday. Normally I enjoy recounting gloomy statistics and catastrophic failure modes, but it is a bit different when someone you care about might be on the plane, and you get a nasty cold feeling right around your breakfast.

I do not like being flown, any more than I like being driven in a car - it’s a control thing. I have said before I would not mind flying if it was me in charge, then I know at least if it all goes tits up it is my own fault. Ideally next time I fly I will be able to go up to the cockpit and inspeckt everything so as to make sure it is working, and ask questions like ‘Should that klaxon be going off’, or ‘Can anyone smell smoke?’. I will always be a bit concerned though, the worst possible girlfriend for me to have would be an air hostess, which is ironically what my last girlfriend was.

So that is the exciting news really, look out for some pictures of animals coming soon though.

I finally finished Bleak House

That was a bit of a marathon as it is a giant rollercoaster of a novel, in 400 sizzling chapters, but I enjoyed it. I am a fast reader, but I seem to have been toting that doorstop around for some weeks. I was getting a bit sick of it by the last 200 pages, so I went to the coffee shop and vowed that until I had finished the book I would not leave, or stop eating chicken and bacon sandwidges.

It is good as I used to have a real blind spot about Dickens, until a brief yet intensely passionate dalliance with a pretty English teacher introduced me to Great Expecktations, which is fantastic. The book actually lasted longer than the relationship though. Then I read Nicholas Nickleby which unfortunately I left on the bus by mistake, so will never now find out what happens. Unless I buy another copy. Then Hard Times which was a bit too moralising for my taste, plus Dickens’ wonky attempts at dialect, like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins: “Cor bloimey! Oi’m a Cockney, thit’s wot Oi em!”

Bleak House is another book with a point to make, this time about the immense slowness and venality of the legal system, where people waste their whole lives and lose all their money pursuing complicated Chancery cases. I must say I would not want to piss Dickens off in case he wrote a great sledgehammer of a moral novel criticising me: Keith Lard, a massive tale of the downtrodden urban poor oppressed by a cruel and wicked system administrator, who promises to fix their laptops and then never seems to get round to it.

The only thing is how did he find time to write 107 gigantic novels, when most of us struggle to dash off a note to the milkman. I can only conclude he did not have a lot of friends who kept coming up to him at about 7 o’clock in the evening making swigging pint gestures and saying ‘Oi Oi Charley boy! It’s your round son!’ And that he did not have a girlfriend as they soak up a lot of time too.

In a good way obviously.

Kettles are saaaaad

Primitivepeople unfortunately hurt his foot, for which much sympathy, but he did manage to bring happiness to others by posting hilarious Alan Partridge clips. So now I have been spending the day watching more such clips:

I just got through reading Sharkey Ward’s excellent book Sea Harrier over the Falklands, which is jolly intresting about naval air combat operations, but many of the anecdotes in the book seem to end, like Alan Partridge’s Bouncing Back, with the words “Needless to say, I had the last laugh.”

We Investergate Anything

Community pimping time as I have invented 3investigators which is all about the Three Investigators detecktive stories which if you do not know about them, you should do. Radio mystery writer Robert Arthur created his immortal junior investigative trio in the 1960s to solve a range of baffling mysteries including a stuttering parrot, a screaming clock, a coughing dragon, a whispering mummy, and so forth. Unlike those odious jocks the Hardy Boys, the Three Investigators used their brains to solve problems, which almost always included cryptic messages, literary references, and some pesky kids meddling where they didn’t belong.

The Three Investigators books were set in California, which made it pretty exotic for me as a book-obsessed child growing up in Cornwall, and for the first time I had characters I could identify with, who were only at school yet were well-read, intelligent and articulate (well, some of them) and did intresting things. Jupiter Jones, their leader, was not exactly the athletic type, yet he was a voracious reader and a devotee of Sherlock Holmes, all true of myself, and he lived with his Aunt Mathilda and Uncle Titus in the Jones Salvage Yard, Rocky Beach, which always seemed to me the most exciting place in the world to live. Inside the junkyard the Investigators had built themselves a secret headquarters, complete with crime lab, office, files, and telephone. What kid would not kill to belong to a club like that.

So anyway everyone should go and join my 3investigators community because it is the best. You had better do it or fear my wrath.