Finished Kraken by China Mieville. The theft of a giant squid specimen from a museum leads a young researcher into the murky magical underworld of London.
Liked it a lot: it's hugely imaginative with a plethora of grotesque characters. Maybe gets a tiny bit overpowering as the characters constantly rush around without achieving much.
Lots of great creative touches like the Knuckleheads with literal fists where their heads should be, an iPod with a friendly familiar spirit which has to be fed with the right music, a gang boss trapped in a tattoo.
Reminded me a bit of Tim Power's classic "The Anubis Gates". Well worth reading.
Have tried a few more experiments with shaving since my last diary, without particularly great results.
Tried a genuine
badger-hair brush, which costs
£16.80. It did say "small" but was tinier than I expected:
On the left-side/right-side test though, it neither lathers any quicker, nor shaves any closer than my much cheaper synthetic brush. The size might be hampering it a bit, but I don't really think so: my face isn't particularly huge. Feels slightly different, but not noticeably softer: more bristly if anything. So on this basis, I'd say it's probably not worth killing a badger for, unless you're really keen on carbon-neutrality.
Also bought the popular Merkur 34C Heavy Duty Double Edge Safety Razor for £31.90. Was a bit disappointed at first: on testing, it's not the slightest bit closer than a cheap £4 Boots Own Brand, though it's no worse.
After a couple of weeks of use, it does seem slightly less likely to inflict shaving cuts though. Possibly the huge comb guides it better, possibly the increased mass makes it less likely to skitter over the face. The handle's a bit smaller than most, though that doesn't bother me.
Overall, any superiority over much cheaper razors seems to be pretty marginal. I have started using this for both the with-grain and against-grain parts of my daily shaving routine though.
Went to see Terminus at the Young Vic. Concept is a bit unusual: in partly-rhyming verse, three performers tell interlocking stories through soliloquies, starting realistically but venturing into fantastical territory later, featuring serial killings, deals with the Devil, souls escaped from Hell with improvised bodies made from assemblies of worms.
I really liked it. It's fantastically intense, with no interval and little cliffhangers as the stories break off from each other. The words are great, mixing great drama and earthy humour with occasional Ogden Nash-ish rhymes. Great performances too from all three in the cast. Olwen Fouér's description of a fight where she gouges out her opponents eyes is brilliantly harrowing.
Overall: funny, intense, original. Fantastic play. Well worth seeing if you like theatre.
Politics. Poll of how we'd vote under AV: Labour down, Lib Dems up, Tories same. (Wouldn't take too literally, I think AV will mainly hurt the leading party which happens to be Labour right now.) Does Obama owe Bush an apology for all the nasty things he said about Guantanamo? Powerpoint doc of Campaign to make abortion illegal in UK. Monbiot on anti-nuclear lobby again.
Random. Indian Dalits hail Goddess of English, video. Why our tax year starts April 6th. Ship's Captain's Medical Guide, via. Ancient stone Tsunami warnings helped Japanese. Ends of the world by year, via.
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