July has mostly been about two things: poor sleep and dog-sitting. As far as sleep goes, I’ve been getting by on about seven hours a night. Normally, anything less than eight makes me worn out and headachy, but I’ve avoided losing any days of work. Some of this lack of sleep has been due to travelling, but the main contributor has been Rosie the dog (who is a different person to Rosy my best friend, but the confusion is often hilarious).
The month started with cat-sitting in Blackpool and catching up with some of my relatives there. I also watched the new Indiana Jones film, which was very OK. The following weekend was Sentry 23, a gathering of some friends at the sentry stone circle. On the way to that was a three hour traffic jam which was… intense. I also got to spend a morning with Tom, who was visiting from San Francisco. On the way back from that I picked up Rosie the dog. I’ve also been hanging out with Rosy and Olive, who came to stay after watching Pulp.
Despite having the dog, long walks were prevented by work and rainy days, so I managed a total of 347,087 steps, with a daily average of 11,196, the highest being 27,942 walking around Blackpool at the start of the month, visiting relatives. Still no progress on my weight, but I’ve been reasonably compliant with my physio exercises and will hopefully be running again soon.
My writing has gone better. I spent more time on writing new things, and also sent out the first two issues of a monthly substack (please subscribe!). The two stories I’ve sent out so far were The Lost Village and The Money Burner. My upcoming publications are all moving along. Krill Magazine, which features my A4-page short story collection Fishscale, is now funded and available for sale on Etsy. Memetic Infection Hazards has a cover ready to go, and I just need to proof it and print it. I also wrote a bizarre horror story about swedish pizza, which went out to LouIce.
It’s been another month of disordered reading, but I did re-read John Higgs’ classic about the KLF. I also read Keiron Gillen’s Immortal X-Men, which felt like it was collected in trade rather than written for it. The X-men books are now an ongoing crossover, so much of the action happens in different books, making it hard to follow. Still, taken as raw spectacle, it was exciting and intense. Katharine and I tried to read London Fields for our 90s book club and both gave up. It was well-written, but just did nothing for me. I posted a book of computer-generated novel All the Minutes and some links from my AI workshop in June.
I’ve started watching time loop films again, this month watching Meet Cute and Tamil drama Maanaadu (review to come). I also reviewed Edge of Tomorrow. With Rosy and Olive I watched The Virgin Suicides, which is an iconic movie, and I liked it more than the book. I tried and failed to get into Marvel TV show Secret Invasion. At the end of the month, Liz and Jude came over to watch the first two episodes of From season 2, which were tense and strange; but the show feels like Lost, in that it could be writing itself cheques it can’t cash.
I listened to the BBC’s new podcast, The Banksy Story, featuring John Higgs, which was interesting, although it continued the kayfabe around Banksy being unknown. The discussion of how Banksy works are authenticated was interesting but should have been earlier and more detailed. John Higgs also turned up on the We Can Be Weirdos podcast with some fascinating ideas (my favourite: Chaos Magic is Thatcherite). Whiley and Lamacq’s The Rise and Fall of Britpop had some interesting moments, but my recollection of Britpop is very different to the official histories. This Podcast in a Ritual has been a joy, with Devin doing interviews in preparation for his trip to Sweden.
Social media has been weird. The collapse of Twitter continued as it rebranded as X. Some of the most worrying issues haven’t had the media attention they deserve. Threads drowns out any authentic conversation with brandshit. I’m enjoying a small community on BeReal, although I mourn the global feed’s replacement with “RealPeople” influencers. My most joyful places online are a band discord and watching films alongside letterboxd – do link up with me there.
- I completed the first section of The Last of Us Part 2 on grounded difficulty, but I have no idea how I’m going to get past the school.
- I’ve also finally put up some new curtains, with the help of my sister and brother-in-law. I also started work on clearing my patch of back garden.
- There are deer in the wood behind the house. It’s always magical to catch sight of them.
- You know what’s weird? When a random taxi driver has a picture of you on his phone that he took the night before. This happened in Blackpool at the start of the month – the driver had snapped my group climbing the Big One.
- My brother-in-law dropped off a stack of logs. It’s the middle of (a damp) summer, but it’s reassuring to have wood ready for the start of winter.