Friday night I was once more a man-prop for Kitty Peels. I was a two-timing rogue in an act with her and Bunny DuBois, at the end of which I was slapped in the face by both of them. Afterwards I sneaked into the Komedia to join my office party which by then had reached the drunk and incoherent stage. I said hello to everyone then headed home a little later than planned.
Saturday morning was the Santa Dash, a 5K run dressed in Santa costumes. Early morning I went down to the seafront with Beth, Tom and Collette. The weather was ugly, rain and wind coming off the sea, so not idea conditions for running. We were joined by Rosy who helped us with getting ready then, once the race started, retired to the Sanctuary Cafe to wait for us.
The race itself went well. When I had to run at school I was the slow fat kid at the back but I seemed to do OK here. The weather was foul – running west the first half of the race the wind seemed light bad but when we turned and started back again it felt much stronger. I managed a good time and enjoyed the experience. I’m going to keep running and look for more events. There’s a half-marathon in February… Beth has posted video footage here.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing. I read The Black Dossier by Alan Moore. The book is insanely detailed, with the annotations explaining the more subtle and obscure references. I also watched the last episode of the Sopranos. I’m not sure the ending was wrong, but it was a little unsatisfying. All-in-all the Sopranos was a very odd drama, both reinforcing and undermining conventions.
"Next up was James Burke, with his story entitled Me. The opening phrase "I’d like to think I’m adventurous in bed" encapsulates the theme of the story. Two homosexual vegetarian men connect with one another at a neanderthal, carnivorous barbeque and begin a relationship that consists of one trying to sexually shock the other through bizarre, masochistic routines"
The article does a very good job of representing Short Fuse, describing it as a "relaxed, social environment"
It’s over a year old but I keep thinking of the article Dead Plagiarists Society. It discusses how google books revealed some interesting patterns of plaigiarism among 19th century authors. The thing that impressed me most was when the author asked: "…don’t people accidentally repeat each other’s sentences all the time? It seems to me that this should not be unusual. Yet try plugging that last sentence word by word into Google Book Search, and watch what happens." The results are startling:
"It: Rejected—too many hits to count
It seems: 11,160,000 matches
It seems to: 3,050,000
It seems to me: 1,580,000
It seems to me that: 844,000
It seems to me that this: 29,700
It seems to me that this should: 237
It seems to me that this should not: 20
It seems to me that this should not be: 9
It seems to me that this should not be unusual: 0
It seems to me that this should not be unusual is itself … unusual. "
Before reading this article it never occurred to me that such a simple phrase might be so rare. Even among so many billions of sentences something as unremarkable had not been recorded before. Style is more of a marker than I used to think.
("is more of a marker than" – 6 hits on google)
Maxim Jakubowski writes in his Guardian weblog about the links between writing and exercise, quoting a study that concluded "Instances of aerobic exercise significantly impacted the creative process of the participants and these effects were shown to endure over a two-hour period"
Which is nice to know. I’m continuing the running after almost a month. I do feel fitter, even if I don’t look it. It’s another ten days until the event and I’m still struggling to hit my target time. I’ll be up again 6:30 tomorrow for another try.
The sad story of ‘Slivers’, “the only clown in the circus History for whom three rings were ever cleared“.
"As a student of literature, something you find yourself doing a lot is reading books about books — narratives which tear through the plot outlines, critical receptions and choicest quotes of other books, giving you some kind of rapid gist or taste of hundreds of titles you’ll probably never read. What I’ve always liked about these books-about-books … is that they leave you free to fantasize about the books they’re describing and actually construct them — with all their peculiarities heightened and exaggerated — in your head. In a weird, inverted way, some of the books which must be most hellish to read in real life, in real time, turn out, in these metabook accounts, to be the most entertaining to read about. The worse they sound, and the more negatively they were received, the better the story of them becomes."
(Another interesting piece of writing by Momus is Pop stars? Nein danke!: In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people…)
This weekend I’m away in Melbourne, visiting my sister. I stay at her in-laws, who live in a tiny village a few miles away. It’s wonderful out and you soon notice all the ugly things taken for granted in Brighton; no sirens, no drunks on mobiles, no pollution. Apart from a trip to Loughborough I don’t have much planned for the weekend.
Thursday’s reading at Short Fuse went well. I read Meat, which is a strange one. I can’t help wondering if the people in the audience are wondering how much of it is true. It’s not graphic, but definitely gets its point across. I enjoyed the other stories in the evening, particularly the third, about a woman in a motorcycle accident. Afterwards my friend Peter and I wandered to the Great Eastern where I met Rosy. The night ended with a trip to the Market Diner for breakfast. I’m pleased to say I still managed to be up for my run the following day.