Went to see the Hearing voices sound installation at SOAS last night. Quite interesting, and well put together. I think the space should be more like a chill out room of clubs of yore, because the piece lasts for an hour and standing around for so long is not very comfortable. But still, worth seeing (if you are into that kind of thing) and it's free.
Still knackered from my week end of partying in Hamburg. Blimey! What a city. I was been reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition on the flight, and have just finished it. I had to finish it, because I just cannot put a book down when I start it, no matter how bad it is. Hell, I have even finished The Celestine Prophecies, perhaps the worse book ever. Strange, because I'll unhappily walk out of a cinema if I don't like a movie. Who knows.
2 words review of PR: Utter toss.
3 words review of PR: Pile of shite.
8 words review of PR: The second worse book I have ever read.
9 words review of PR: Was it worth killing all those trees for that?
Longer, more articulate review of PR: It's been a long time since I have read a book that was so crap. Mr Gibson, who made a career by writing bad spy thrillers disguised as culturally "on the edge" novels, has nothing more to say, and says it really badly. Since time is at a premium, here's what I didn't like about the book:
- his terse, emotionless style is always been quite hard to get into, and now it has become repetitive. A shadow of its former self. I understand expecting some verve from William Gibson is like expecting socialism from George W. Bush, but times have changed and he hasn't.
- The "on the edge" comments he peppers the novel with are either banal ("the ur-Martens of the first decade of punk, long since de-recontextualized into the inexpensive everyman's footwear they'd been designed to be") to the utter rubbish ("If there's any one thing about England that Cayce finds fundamentally disturbing, it is how 'class' works [...] And it is, highly codified: they look at one another's shoes first, she's convinced") SHOES??? Not the way they speak - bloody shoes??? You wanker.
- London. I am an (adopted) Londoner, and I don't like the way he describes it. All he talks about is Camden Town, Neal's Yard, Kensigton Gardens. London for American expats, not even scratching the surface of what this town is all about. You can tell what Mr Gibson does in his day to day life is fly to a town where he's going to set his book (London, Japan, and now Moscow because it's the next big thing), sit all day in a Starbucks scribbling away, never talk to anyone or anything like that. And Mr. Gibson, it hardlys ever snows in London. And people don't try to speak French in French restaurants, since tall waiters in London are Eastern Europeans anyway.
- The premise of the book is absolutely nonsensical. Desperate to remain 'on the edge', his latest character is a brand consultant (oh, so... cyberbrand?) who's hired by firms around the world becaus she has a 'special power' of being able to tell whether a brand will work or not. She also gets physically sick when she sees certain logos, particularly the Michelin one (another dig at the French by the non-esteemed mr Gibson). I haven't heard of something so ridiculous since reading bad comic books in the 80s.
- Then there is a cult based around a movie which is being released a piece at the time over the internet. Groan.
- The cast of character is so stereotypical it would make a 1950s western movie looke like arthouse.
- References to nine eleven. Poor, mr Gibson, very poor.
Talking of crap books
My friend Jimmy Carr (not the Jimmy Carr) is considering running a HuSi Cow Book Awards, which work the same way as the Movie Awards, but with up to 10 entries per categories, the categories being best fiction, best non-fiction, worse fiction or non-fiction. I'd ban any religious books, just to avoid twats posting K5 style flame bait, and I'd ask people to link each book to Amazon (because it takes forever to do!)
Any thoughts on that are appreciated.
More ID Card nonsense
<u>The story so far</u>: ID cards are being introduced in the UK, one of the few countries left where they don't have them. The mere mention of the word makes Brits go apoplectic. Details of how they are going to be implemented They are going to be compulsory, they are going to be paid for by the citizen (on top of taxes and everything), and it looks like they are going to be expensive. The idea of paying for them, and paying dearly, makes even the mildest of Brits foam at the mouth.
Meanwhile, the G8 countries have agreed to having biometric data in all of their passports, starting from NOW, and nobody seems to care.
I have already made a long comment listing my arguments in favour of ID cards, which if Scoops's search functions were actually half decent, I would actually be able to find. In short: they hardly make any difference to your life except for a bit of added convenience when dealing with bureacracy (being opening a bank account, going to A&E, voting, etc); and they do not help in fighting terrorism (possibly illegal immigration).
People object that they are in invasion of privacy, but don't you get it? The authorities are getting biometric information with the new passports - now, this summer. ID cards are irrelevant - they could just as well ask you to carry around a 2 lb. quartz crystal. The government are already getting what they want.
Even someone pro-ID cards like myself has to admit the government has fucked up royally on this. What they should have done, is to have ID cards voluntary, and make sure they are accepted as the official document of choice in all transactions where identity is an issue. Eventually people will just start carrying them in their wallet because they can just forget them about it. That's what happened in Italy with tax number cards, which are used for all sort of transactions. The are not compusory, but they are needed so often people just carry them with them all the times. It just seems like common sense. To go from no ID at all to expensive compulsory cards in one jump, expecially in this country, seems pretty stupid to me.
Sometimes you wonder whether people in the government live on the same planet as we do.
No <u> tag in autoformat?
Some time ago you asked for feature suggestion for Scoop. I know you are running this site in your own spare time and at your own expenses, and we are all grateful for it, but have you ever considered having an 'advanced search' which works? I mean something along the lines of
Search for |_______
> all words
> any word
Search In | all
|_ non-hidden comments only
|_ hidden comments only
|_ holed stories
Date From |_ |_ |_
Date To |_ |_ |__
I find it impossible to find comments someone has posted in the past. A message board without a past, well, it's just the same as IRC, innit?
As always, no worries if you don't agree (not that you ever do ;-) and thanks for running this site.
As usual, no time to spell check or edit. Thank you folks, and have a wonderful day.
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