Will Self on characters

"[Self] finds naturalistic novels "preposterous" – he laughs a wheezing
laugh – "most of the time. They’re far more about an invented reality
even than the things I write." As for character, he’s never been very
interested: "Doesn’t do it for me." … He
also considers novelistic "depth psychology – not that I read a lot of
fiction – not very true". In life, "people’s motivations are so often
not just obscure to them, but absolutely fucking mad".
(from the Guardian via The Tart of Fiction )

The Orphanage

I’m in Brighton again this weekend.  I’m doing very little with the Easter break, mostly catching up with things and trying to finish a draft of the book.  I did take some time out to watch The Orphanage with Kitty and Rosy at the Duke Of York’s, where I managed to disgrace myself.

I like scary films but I do get a little too into them – I love the feeling of mounting terror in a decent ghost story.  I bought a big tub of popcorn and sat there eating it whenever things weren’t too spooky.  Which wasn’t all that often, so I had a lot of popcorn as one of the characters investigated the house.  Suddenly something jumped from the shadows and I jumped too.  Popcorn went everywhere, my lap, Kitty’s lap, all over the floor.

So, I can add The Orphanage to the list of films I shouldn’t have bought popcorn for (the other being John Pilger’s The War on Democracy ).  It was a very good film though, and I can’t wait to watch it again on DVD.

At the weekend, after my second week at $NewCompany I made my way to Brighton.  I’d originally planned a busy weekend catching up with people but as the weekend approached I needed sleep and relaxation.  I stayed in on Friday, only popping in out to buy a curry, and spent a leisurely Saturday morning buying supplies for the coming week.

On Saturday afternoon I travelled up to London to visit Rockcabaret.  It was a long journey since we had to stop at the garage near Rabbit Island on the A23 to fix a headlight.  I drove up with Kitty Peels, Rosy and China, who I’d not met before.  Waiting for the club to start, I asked China what she did and discovered she co-owned a circus.  I was, as you can imagine, quite excited to hear this, and we had a very long discussion.


Kitty was booked to perform a rope act.  Watching her rehearsal in bright lights above a hard wooden floor was nerve-wracking, everything looking dangerous.  Everything went well and she disappeared to get changed and people started arriving.  We posed in the photography studio, and watched some acts, including Leo and Yam who did an amazing double silks act.  Kitty’s act, a Barbarella Futuristic 60’s Extravaganza was incredible.


After the acts there was dancing.  The music at the club was pretty good (they played a whole side of Sign of the Times before opening).  We didn’t leave until very late, when we had a long journey home.  I discovered China and I had hung out in a lot of the same places so we talked about the old days (as, I guess, the mid-90’s are now) and things in Brighton that aren’t there any longer.


Still not online

I’m now back in Brighton after my second week of work at Coventry.  Things are going well: been refactoring code and spending my evenings writing.  I’m still offline most of the time but that does mean I get more done.

Last week I read AL Kennedy‘s novel Day , about a WW2 bomber pilot.  I came off the bus on Wednesday to find the city center closed off by police cordons.  An unexploded world-war 2 bomb had been discovered by some workmen and a 500m exclusion zone thrown up.  It strange to think, even sixty years later, the war can still have such effects.

I’m now back in Brighton.  I’d hoped to catch up with people, but I haven’t had much free time.  The dance I was going to on Friday was cancelled and I’m off to London tonight.  I’m hoping to catch up with people at some point soon.

Meanwhile I’m going to buy one of those mobile Internet things in the next few days, which I hope will solve all my connectivity woes.

Reading to my neice

It’s like some grotesque Alan Moore-style reinvention.  I was reading to my 10-month-old neice before she went to bed and someone passed me Dear Grandma Bunny a 1996 Miffy  book.  Children’s books are darker than they were when I was young.  Dear Grandma Bunny begins:

"Why is Miffy so unhappy
On her cheek a tear is bright.
Do you know why she is crying?
Miffy’s grandma died last night

First Mog and now this.  What next?

(The book came from a Miffy library someone brought Liz as a present.  They phoned her when they realised what Dear Grandma Bunny was about.  Luckily my Mum found it funny).

That’s Not My Pony was a much better read.

First week over

I’m now relaxing in Melbourne, having completed my first week in the new job.  As these things usually go I spent the first few days reading documentation and learning about the project.  I’m very excited: I’ll be using Eclipse, EJB, SCRUM and various other exciting things.  The office is quiet and I can’t wait for the first Sprint to start.

Coventry itself is beautiful, inside the ring road at least.  The ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral are striking.  I remember school assemblies where we were told about the Coventry miracle, the cross made of iron nails found in the ruins; it’s strange to finally see it.  And there’s also the status of Lady Godiva, just outside Waterstones.

The only problem is a lack of connectivity.  The town has lots of wifi-enable bars and cafes, but it would be good to have something more constant.  Having said that, I’m getting a lot done in the evenings: working on my writing and reading. 

I finished a few books in the last week, the best of which was Haruki Murakami‘s Norwegian Wood.  I’ve read a couple of Murakami books and never really enjoyed them. I was surprised  by this, since  a number of people whose views I respect love his novels.  I was about to give up on this one but my friend Kitty insisted I continued.  After about chapter 5 it took off and became something remarkable.  I’m glad I read it.