Chris Morris visits the Large Hadron Collider

I CAN HAZ HIGGS BOSON?Hi there, gentle reader! There’s been toss-all of note here this last week except link-dumps, and for that I should apologise – frightfully busy at the moment, you know how it goes.

By way of apology, I offer unto you a piece at Teh Grauniad where Chris Morris reports on his visit to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider:

Then someone hits you with the seething vacuum. You think a vacuum is empty space. Quantum theory says yes – but it is also full of spontaneous eruptions of energy. This virtual energy comes from nowhere. It does and doesn’t exist. You can use the bit that does, so long as you pay it back. This beats sub-prime. A physicist called Polkinghorne says the quantum vacuum is the nearest analogy to God in the physical world. Then again, the physicist who is brainwashing me in the CMS says quantum theory is “probably bollocks”.

I can’t tell whether he thinks it’s awesome or silly or both. I think this is probably the effect he was aiming for. [LOL-collider courtesy willc2]

So – how’s the weather in your part of the world, hmm?

Friday Photo Blogging: Enochian Theory

I went to interview and review Enochian Theory on Tuesday night, and I was packin’ a camera …

Enochian Theory

Ben (frontman, pictured) has been a friend for quite some time. The band are attempting to go the fully-independent route (no label, no management, treating it as a proper business), and the show was to demo their new album’s-worth of material. Despite a few minor technical hitches, it was bloody good stuff. If you like dark progressive metal, that is. 🙂


Writing about music

It’s all been a bit close to the wire this week, as the Masterclass took a big bite out of my headway. But everything that needed nailing for release date of next Monday is done, so yay me.

Still a notable lack of response from volunteer reviewers … with one exception, and she’ll be getting her first job when I see her down the pub this evening. More prodding required, perhaps.

Album of the week

Life … The Best Game In Town by Harvey Milk. Thinking man’s southern sludge, featuring Joe Preston on bass.

Honorable mention – Nephu Huzzband‘s single “Nurse Nurse!” is very promising. Fugazi-era post-hardcore meets the more abstract and interesting end of the current indie sound. Ones to watch.

Writing about books

Much like my fellow travellers, I still have a head full of swirling ideas and concepts after the excellent second SFF Masterclass, and I’ve been too busy with other stuff this week to do anything coherent. But I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say in my re-examination of Snow Crash; I have many potential angles of attack, so to speak.

Freelance

Chuntering on with PS Publishing duties, which have settled neatly into a daily routine. A trifle behind schedule on a website project, but I have a catch-up binge scheduled for tomorrow.

Also on the horizon is another potential source of work and income, but I’m still in the process of sounding it all out. It’s quite strange – for my first year of putative freelancing I could hardly find any work whatsoever, but if this year carries on delivering new avenues of work at this rate I could be considering quitting the day-job come 2009.

Still, that’s a best-case scenario, and I’m not going to be too hasty. But things are definitely getting lively. 🙂

Futurismic

It affected all my sites (as some of you may have noticed), but a major FUBAR at my hosting company hit Futurismic the hardest and cost me the best part of Tuesday morning to unproductive panic and teeth-grinding*.

Anyway, the new team have pretty much bedded down now, though posting is a little less regular than I’d have liked. Plus we now have ads in the RSS feed – which part of me hates doing, and the other part of me figures is a necessity.

Oh, and new fiction early next week – keep ’em peeled!

Books and magazines seen

The Masterclass had Convention-like properties, in that I came back with far more books than I went with. Best of all, none of them cost me a penny, as all-round good egg Graham Sleight was having a clear-out that included a number of titles I was only too happy to relieve him of. I shan’t list them all, but they include books of poetry, textbooks on alchemy and occultism, and Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

I’ve also been added to the Gollancz mailing list (that dastardly Spanton doesn’t miss an opportunity for merciless and underhanded hype, after all), which sees me supplied with ARCs of:

Justina Robson - Going Under Greg Bear - City At the End Of Time

It’s all go in this household, y’know. 🙂

Masterclass

In lieu of a more complete summary (which will need to wait for the comparative calm of next week), allow me to say that the SFF Masterclass was even better this year than before. I say this not as a disservice to the organisers, attendees and lecturers who took part in the first iteration, but to emphasise the fact that the slightly larger group size seemed to work really well, with a great sense of camaraderie and community arising (as has been noted by others, so I didn’t just imagine it) and lots of quality discussion.

From my personal perspective it was much nicer having it happen in London as opposed to Liverpool, which made the entire business vastly more affordable, but I think I’ll continue to apply to attend any year when I can spare the time and money, wherever it takes place. Recommended to any hardcore genre book geek – be they writer, critic or both.

My Bloody Valentine

Saturday night, Camden Roundhouse. So loud you could feel it in your guts and bones. A new contender in my Best Gigs Ever list, so brilliant that I’ve decided not to write a proper review because I don’t want to spoil the memory with over-analysis. I nearly cried a couple of times thanks to a bizarre combination of bliss and bludgeon.

And Bilinda Butcher is still one of the most lovely women on the planet**. So there.

Coda

Crikey, wrapping-up time already. And the rollercoaster doesn’t stop here – tomorrow night it’s The Brian Jonestown Massacre at The Wedgewood Rooms, and then Sunday sees me tripping along the coast a bit for a family get-together in honour of my mother’s birthday before returning to Velcro City for poetry at Tongues & Grooves in the evening …

… business as usual, then! So I hope you’ll excuse me for keeping the coda brief***, and simply bidding you a good weekend before rolling out in search of The Friday Curry. Hasta luego, amigos!


[ * Two valuable lessons were learned: the first being a website-specific version of the eggs-in-one-basket aphorism, the second being a reiteration of the self-knowledge that I don’t deal well with obstacles over which I have no control. I need to work out a better strategy for dealing with downtime, methinks – perhaps a list of tasks that don’t require my sites to be live would be worth putting together. Not to mention less reliance on caffeine. ]

[ ** Her collection of classic guitars is merely a supplementary bonus to her natural awesomeness and beauty. Yes. ]

[ *** Because I was worried some of you might complain. Yeah, really. Napoleon who? ]