Friday, 29 February 2008

If my calculations are right, today is Tim Powers' 13 birthday. Have a good one, Timothy. The Anubis Gates is still the best time-travel romp this side of Doctor Who.

Also, Buddy Miles died on Tuesday.

For the record, my favourite Jimi Hendrix Experience line-up was always the 'Cry Of Love' band, Billy Cox on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. Also, Band Of Gypsies would have been a vastly improved album with exclusion of Miles' scat vocals. And by 'vastly improved' I mean 'an album I might actually consider listening to again'.

Friday, 22 February 2008

When someone uses the phrase 'PoC SF voices ' to refer to people who write speculative fiction and aren't of white European origin, I've got to say that political correctness is sometimes just as offensive and patronising as racism. Stick your paternalistic condescension and stupid, ugly acronyms and phrases up your pink-with-brown-stains bumhole, Uncle.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Reading The Heart Of The Matter, I have a theory that Greene was really a nihilist who embraced Catholicism so that he could believe in hell, and sin, and feel even more nihilistic.

I should point out I've previously only read Brighton Rock, Travels With My Aunt, Lord Rochester's Monkey and his collected essays, and all of these several years ago (I re-read some of the essays a year back, and Travels three years back, but everything else dates to about a decade ago).

Also reading Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, and other bits and pieces.

Now listening to: 10,000 Days which is indeed a good album, but perhaps a little too similar to Lateralus, which put me off a bit after the quantum leap from AEnima to Lateralus. Upon sober reflection, a good album with much to recommend, but largely cut from the same cloth as its predecessor. This is also true of Queen's first 4 or 5 albums, but there is more diversity and relative evolution within the idiom there, although I'll have to wait for Tool to release another 2 or 3 albums in this vein before I can really compare. That ought to take, let's see, a decade or three. Ho-hum.

Note to Tool: Kindly increase productivity.

Other current ear candy: The Ocean's Precambrian and Earth's The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull, two of the best things I've heard in recent times. The Ocean's album is of course ambitious and sprawling, while Earth has reached new levels of expansive, meditative iteration.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

VR Raman is my new hero. In a review of recent biography of inanely grinning goo-goo goo-roo Chee Chee Heavy Wanker, he says, among other things:

'The emergence of Ravi Shankar coincided with the unleashing of market forces in India in the early 90s. He came up with just the sort of mind candy that the obscenely acquisitive middle-class needed. If he was not there, they would have invented one.'

And then:

'Gautier talks about the divine powers of Ravi Shankar, almost conferring godly status on him. Some of his devotees are even said to have experienced visions of Jesus Christ during Sudarshan Kriya.

The noted intellectual and humanist Richard Dawkins attributes such visions to hallucination or illusion.

Unlike the curative powers of Sudarshan Kriya, Ravi Shankar’s stated miracles have scant scientific evidence; just as the dubious miracles of other godmen.

The point worth making is— why put your devotees through all the trauma of a disease or condition and then help them out of it. Why not prevent it in the first place?'

And, equally telling:

'Going beyond the spiritual realm, Gautier would like Ravi Shankar to alter the political system as, “every party is playing vote bank politics”.

Gautier, whose penchant for Hindutva is well known, accuses the media of bias against Hindus.
He says gurus are being maligned by being called ‘godmen’.

Gautier is no Paul Brunton, but the land of Ramana Maharishi deserves better.'

I'm pleasantly surprised that the Deccan Herald ran this review. Then again, maybe they're just jabbing at their rivals, the Slimes Of India, who are Chee Chee's personal media bumlickers. Either way, it works for me.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

I brag

Today, in a local second-hand bookshop I spotted these two books by James Branch Cabell:


I picked one up, and turned to the title page:



And then, the page after that:



In a wild surmise, I opened the other book:



And sure enough:



I bought both books for the equivalent of just under 4 USD. They could sell for as much as 24 USD each through a portal such as abebooks. Still the important thing is, as the man says, all of Cabell is comet-vintage wine, and I am very lucky.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

A couple of reviews of that Puffin books have surfaced. This one puts in a word about my story, too: 'Quite delightful, but again, not quite cutting-edge'. True - the general gist of this story has been floating around since Eric Frank Russell's 1950s short story, Diabologic, at the least.

Maybe one day I'll write a really new story.
I fail to see what actual crime was committed here.

Apparently it's only okay to do the buttsex in prison, under the watchful eyes/with the enthusiastic participation of the police. Otherwise, they'll bust you and get you to prison, where, presumably, you become their bitch.

What bitches, these policemen.

I think we as a nation just hate consensual sex, because a hetero orgy would have been busted too, couples get roughed up for necking in parks all the time and in the meantime most rapists get away scot free or with ludicrously insufficient penalties.

Why haven't we changed our sex laws? The stupid Brit law it was based on, the same law which destroyed Oscar Wilde (a personal hero of mine, and a genius by any standards) has been rolled back, as far as I know. A little more slavish imitation of our former colonial masters would actually be welcome, in this case.