I try to undo the distinction that’s usually made between “fiction” and “reality,” as though “fiction” were synonymous with fakery. I don’t think that’s the right layout to work with; I think there’s something else going on. […] I try to argue that “fiction” is best understood in terms of a gap or interim, a delay or décalage — what Hamlet calls an out-of-jointness. Another way of thinking about this would be […] as a kind of asynchronic overlay. And vitally, what this overlay gives rise to, in its collisions and its recesses, is a possibility — and an ethics — of witnessing. Tell him we were here, says Vladimir to the boy-angel amid all the replays and repetition loops and waiting periods of Godot: Don’t turn up here tomorrow and deny you ever saw me. Then, watching Estragon sleeping, he asks himself, “Was I sleeping, while the others suffered?”; and he muses that someone is also watching over him (Vladimir) and thinking: “He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on.” Now, of course someone is watching him — it’s a play! But beyond that, I think Beckett is invoking the notion of literature as a shared or consensual hallucination in which the act of witnessing, of affirming the existence of “the others,” becomes possible. This is not a journalistic or “scientific” act; it’s ultimately an imaginative one, an act of the imagination.
Since I’ve been huddled indoors all week with a cold which refuses to budge (despite generous applications of vitamins, caffeine and healthy food), we have another “no proper photography” week on our hands. So, a snap-shot from Second Life instead:
That’s yours truly (as my alter ego, Isambard Portsmouth) taking a constitutional in the Botanical Gardens at Straylight, whose enterprising owner has realised that the best way to promote and market his skill with sculpties is to make a place that people will visit just because it looks nice.
It’s about as close to nature as you’ll get in SL at the moment … and when you have an inkling as to the degree of work and expertise involved in creating objects like those trees, it’s even more impressive.
Writing about music
The barrage of music reviewing continues apace; I’ve upped the number of albums I cover in recent weeks because my newly rationalised working procedures have permitted me to do so, but I think I’m now at a peak quota. If I take on any more, and I’ll have no flex left to incorporate other forms of work into my schedule, and I’m hoping that some other forms of work may well be in the pipeline as we speak.
I’ve also been looking into the logistics and planning of my proposed solo music reviews site, as well as poking around with WordPress themes and costing up my hosting options. Watch this space!
So, here’s a few highlights from my music reviews that went live this week:
- Frames, the awesome new Oceansize album
- Transworld Ultra Rock, the latest full-of-fun offering from Japanese comedy rockers Electric Eel Shock
- Victory Pill’s eponymous debut album – VP being the new project of Jim “Pitchshifter/Prodigy” Davies
The next month or so will see me interviewing some of my favourite bands, including the aforementioned Oceansize and Hundred Reasons. As yet unconfirmed (but still a distinct possibility) is a chat with none other than Sir Henry of Rollins. Note to self – bullsh*t questions are not going to wash with this particular interviewee!
Writing about books
Completed my review of Karl Schroeder’s Queen Of Candesce, and sent it off to TTA Towers along with all the other reviews to be included in Interzone #213. So most of the writing about books I’ve been concerned with this week has been stuff written by other people, but that’s fine – I’m learning a lot about different ways of writing from having to edit other people’s work.
I’ve also been taking notes in preparation for writing a review of Lucius Shepard’s Dagger Key collection (for Vector) over the weekend to come. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of the book when I was sent it, as I’m not an aficionado of ‘dark fantasy’, but suffice to say that I now understand why so many people told me I was lucky to be given the book to review – he’s quite a writer. I’m not sure if I’d go out of my way to buy his stuff in future, but I’d certainly recommend him to fantasy and horror fans of my acquaintance.
Writing about other stuff
My ‘beginner’s guide to Second Life’ is currently being incorporated into the coming edition of D+PAD Magazine, and if it looks as good as the current issue, I’m going to be proud to see my name next to it. And I’ve been asked to follow on with a regular SL column, too … so, time to start cribbing from Warren Ellis! 😉
Writing at VCTB
Yeah, I know, I’ve been slack as hell. If you’re interested in excuses, I’ll mention that a certain amount of ‘bedding-in’ of the new bloggers at Futurismic has been ongoing, and that this damnable cold has slowed me down considerably – thinking clearly is still a matter of conscious effort, and hard to sustain for more than half an hour at a time. But I’ll be back on form soon, don’t you worry …
Books and magazines seen
None. Nada. Nowt. Naff all. Not a terrible occurrence, because the TBR pile is quite big enough already … but unusual enough to be notable. I feel strangely incomplete.
The weekend arrives, and with it grey clouds and rain … I table a motion to declare this The Most. Rubbish. Summer. EVAR.
Still, the weekend is the weekend, and it brings with it plenty of things to do. Tonight is the grand final of The Wedgewood Rooms battle-of-the-bands, where yours truly will be dispensing his judicial decisions for the last time this year. However, due to this enduring illness, I’m not going to be drinking … meaning I get the fun of watching everyone else steadily descend into gibbering inebriation, which should more than compensate.
Sunday is the last of the month, which sees me down at Tongues And Grooves, the poetry and music open-mic night I attend. We’ve no special guest this month, instead concentrating on local artists, and I have a fifteen minute slot to fill with readings of my own work and that of other people, which should be fun (if a trifle nerve-wracking – I never have gotten over the stage-fright thing, even in a small venue with no stage).
But first things first – it’s time for The Friday Curry Of Justice, as is traditional. Have a good weekend, folks. Hasta luego!
Opinion is still divided over the whole ‘wisdom of crowds’ idea. But the occasional inaccuracy (and somewhat more frequent bad spelling and grammar) does nothing to deter thousands of users, including myself, who want their answers quickly and conveniently.
If the current trends of growth in ‘synthtic worlds’ such as Second Life and the multitude of MMORPGs continue, there will be a whole lot of new realities for people to explore from the comfort of their own armchairs. What future will science fiction have in an ever-expanding multiverse? Continue reading Science fiction and the multiverse
Second Life is really starting to hit the news properly now – it’s been a 1337-geek blogosphere darling for a little while, but some of the more mainstream outlets are picking it up. And as usual, they’re blowing it out of all proportion as it stands at the moment. But what about in a few decades’ time? Continue reading A second chance at life