Read Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore. Alternate-reality SF novel from the 1950s, reckoned to be a bit of a classic which helped start off the genre.
Read it as a teenager and thought it was a bit dull, but found it a lot more interesting this time around. It's fairly slow-moving, but the ideas are developed pretty well, though there's a lot of philosophical argumentation and tell-don't-show. Quite liked the picture of the Utopian academic commune. Thought it was a good touch that after losing the America Civil War, the North becomes more racist than previously after a backlash.
Also had a look through spoof travel guide Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry Captures the inanely patronizing guidebook tone pretty well, but the joke's spread way too thin over an entire book. Could have done with a bit more elaborate world-building as well as ugly/stupid jokes. Reminds me of that old "Not the Nine o'Clock News" sketch where Rowan Atkinson pretends to be a Belgian and the make jokes about burping and how bad Belgian food is. Dammit, do we have to make up countries to be prejudiced against now?
What I'm Watching
Saw that BBC dramatization of the famous "Rite of Spring" premiere, "Riot at the Rite". Concentrated a lot more on the actual ballet than I expected, seemed to pretty much do the whole thing through at the end (it was only 33 minutes and part of a larger programme). Moderately interesting, pitched at a fairly low level so fortunately my complete ignorance of ballet wasn't a handicap.
Tried to see the Michelangelo drawings at the British Museum, but even by 11 AM they'd sold out of anything before 4. Bah, come on people, it's not like he even bothered colouring them in. Looks like the summer tourogeddon is upon us and booking in advance is actually necessary sometimes.
So, dropped in at the Whitechapel gallery instead. Couple of exhibitions there: upstairs they've got a dozen or so models of buildings by architect David Adjaye, which are fairly interesting. Downstairs there was an Ugo Rondinone art exhibit entirely unpretentiously called zero built a nest in my navel. Quite restful actually: there's a kind of black plastic zen forest, a bunch of carved masks on the wall, soothing music and an artificial snowfall of shredded paper. Also a sound installation of people having an argument in a black room at the back. I got there on the last day apparently though. Observer review, interview.
Still no Mackmyra. Bought a bottle of Suntori Yamazaki 10yo: has a kind of light, crisp, lemony flavour.
Still haven't had much luck with rare Tuna steak. Marks and Spencers have a horrible habit (with beef as well) of doing really good steak but cutting it very thin, so it's hard to cook rare. When I did manage it, with some Tesco tuna steak, it didn't seem that great: much fishier than tuna is when well-done, but not a particularly nice texture. Probably just my cooking though.
Found the swordfish steak a great success though. Didn't do that rare, just well done with salt, pepper and lemon juice: that was fishy but in a good way: kind of meaty texture but fishy flavour.
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