New now reading

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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echolalia
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Re: New now reading

Postby echolalia » 06 May 2018, 20:07

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A Brexploitation novel! Actually it was published in 1972 but the edition I’m reading is a revised version from 2011.

War, disease and famine in Africa have sparked a mass exodus from the continent and migrants begin to arrive in the UK by the hundreds of thousands. With the country nominally governed by a hard-right, overtly-racist party which was originally a tory splinter group, a three-way civil war breaks out and society breaks down. Hungry bands of crusties roam the home counties. The narrator is a feckless college professor who is forever shagging his colleagues and students, and the dissolution of society at large is reflected in the break-up of his own family – they lose their home and become refugees in their own country, and then one night armed thugs invade their tent and kidnap his wife and daughter. To sell them into prostitution, he suspects. He sets off to look for them. Things come to a sticky end – literally.

I’m assuming the revision tones down the shlockier elements of the original – “unreconstructed” forms of discourse, or language now deemed to be racist… I dunno. And in what way exactly is the island darkening? But in light of the Windrush scandal and Britain’s embarrassingly bungled attempts to disengage itself from Europe it has a lot of relevance to contemporary events in the UK, no doubt about it. It’s almost visionary. And severely challenges the assumption that isolationism makes a place safer: it’s all very well to pull up the drawbridge but if the real undesirables are already in the castle – and in fact turning the wheels that raise the bridge – then no help can be expected from the exterior. It’s very good stuff and I think I’m going to read Priest in chronological order. There are a couple of his titles in the SF Masterworks series, which is really good.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Darkness_Fish » 06 May 2018, 20:28

echolalia wrote:Image

A Brexploitation novel! Actually it was published in 1972 but the edition I’m reading is a revised version from 2011.

War, disease and famine in Africa have sparked a mass exodus from the continent and migrants begin to arrive in the UK by the hundreds of thousands. With the country nominally governed by a hard-right, overtly-racist party which was originally a tory splinter group, a three-way civil war breaks out and society breaks down. Hungry bands of crusties roam the home counties. The narrator is a feckless college professor who is forever shagging his colleagues and students, and the dissolution of society at large is reflected in the break-up of his own family – they lose their home and become refugees in their own country, and then one night armed thugs invade their tent and kidnap his wife and daughter. To sell them into prostitution, he suspects. He sets off to look for them. Things come to a sticky end – literally.

I’m assuming the revision tones down the shlockier elements of the original – “unreconstructed” forms of discourse, or language now deemed to be racist… I dunno. And in what way exactly is the island darkening? But in light of the Windrush scandal and Britain’s embarrassingly bungled attempts to disengage itself from Europe it has a lot of relevance to contemporary events in the UK, no doubt about it. It’s almost visionary. And severely challenges the assumption that isolationism makes a place safer: it’s all very well to pull up the drawbridge but if the real undesirables are already in the castle – and in fact turning the wheels that raise the bridge – then no help can be expected from the exterior. It’s very good stuff and I think I’m going to read Priest in chronological order. There are a couple of his titles in the SF Masterworks series, which is really good.

Sounds really interesting. I've loved the few Christopher Priest books I've read, but I never seem to stumble across anything by him in any of my usual haunts. I'd love to find the original, rather than the edition, if they have toned down the language. It seems unethical to change something of its time in that way, regardless of current sensibilities.
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Re: New now reading

Postby echolalia » 06 May 2018, 23:59

Darkness_Fish wrote:Sounds really interesting. I've loved the few Christopher Priest books I've read, but I never seem to stumble across anything by him in any of my usual haunts. I'd love to find the original, rather than the edition, if they have toned down the language. It seems unethical to change something of its time in that way, regardless of current sensibilities.

In his introduction Priest writes that he was prompted to revise the original after reading two reviews in Time Out, several years apart, the first hailing the anti-racist tenor of FfaDI and the second calling him a racist. “I did not like being lined up with racists … While I dislike political correctness, I have removed anything that I think could lead to overt political interpretation, on either side.” So there we go. I reckon the word “darkie” is involved. It would definitely be interesting to read the original. Meanwhile I’ve just ordered The Inverted World - do you know that one?

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Re: New now reading

Postby Diamond Dog » 10 May 2018, 10:59

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Just started this - seems to be a good, open, detailed read thus far. He's certainly an interesting read - the neuroses/paranioa started early!
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Re: New now reading

Postby Darkness_Fish » 10 May 2018, 12:43

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Re: New now reading

Postby Jimbo » 11 May 2018, 03:59

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Gadfly

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Re: New now reading

Postby echolalia » 14 May 2018, 22:25

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The looks, styles and products of the world’s first-ever consumer boom (1955-65). It covers architecture, interior design, cars, labour-saving appliances, nuclear fallout shelters etc. It’s fascinating, if you like this kind of thing.

The illustrations are great – some of them amazing. The adverts for the products were often more interesting than the products themselves.

It’s well-written and quite witty in places. You can tell Hines loves his subject deeply, and nothing is too trivial to mention. One innovation of the populuxe period, apparently, was the corrugated potato chip, whose form was borrowed from structural engineering, the idea being to make it stronger and therefore able to scoop up more dip. But that’s an exception – in most instances the look was pure styling, with no practical function. Not that it was empty – it embodied a “fantasy”, usually a positive and optimistic perspective on the future.

The dominant visual motifs were borrowed from jet planes and rockets (most manufacturers of consumer goods were also military contractors). Stuff was curvy yet angular – both acute and obtuse, as exemplified in the “leaning forward” look that appeared in cars in about 1957. Rectangles which were perfectly happy just to sit there became parallelograms, itching to go where they were pointing. The tailfins tend to attract more attention but there was plenty of evolution at the front ends of cars too, such as the introduction of useless conical protuberances synechdochically termed dagmars after the actress of the same name. Some fronts are really beautiful – chrome bumpers that break forward and backward with the voluptuous rhythms of a Borromini façade. But not all designs were successful and one model with a curiously-shaped radiator grille was especially unloved – “like a great gaping minge bearing down on me,” as one English visitor described it.

The ability of a design element to embody meaning sometimes determined its inclusion even at the expense of functionality. He’s quite close to Americana-loving French intellectuals like Barthes and Baudrillard in his semiological approach here. So push buttons became ubiquitous features on household appliances during the period, often when a dial would have done the job better, such as setting the temperature on a washing machine or whatever. Maybe the appeal of buttons lay in their binariness and the way this prefigured the “digital” age. It was a terrible decade for the rheostat, anyway.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Your Friendly Neighbourhood Postman » 15 May 2018, 12:29

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A stunning in-depth analysis of the economic crisis of 2007/8 (that never ended).

It is exemplary in its attention for detail, insight into the big picture, and it provides a deep understanding of the politico-economic system that is ruling nowadays.

Many 'important thinkers and actors' are put to shame in the process, often by providing important quotes from these people themselves (economists, bankers, and politicians), and then just asking us to interpret and think all for ourselves (which is: a guide to learning).

Perhaps the best companion to Charles Ferguson's The Inside Job there is.

Warning: after reading it, your expectations for the future might not be as positive (if they are, that is) than before.

PS: the author is an economist and a historian of science.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Darkness_Fish » 16 May 2018, 12:44

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Re: New now reading

Postby Diamond Dog » 16 May 2018, 13:20

echolalia wrote:Image

The looks, styles and products of the world’s first-ever consumer boom (1955-65). It covers architecture, interior design, cars, labour-saving appliances, nuclear fallout shelters etc. It’s fascinating, if you like this kind of thing.

The illustrations are great – ...........

.....I want a formica-topped blob table now!


Just ordered a copy - cheers Echo ! :)!
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Re: New now reading

Postby Insouciant Western People » 16 May 2018, 13:56

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Jeff K wrote:Nick's still the man! No one has been as consistent as he has been over such a long period of time.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Snarfyguy » 16 May 2018, 14:23

Diamond Dog wrote:
echolalia wrote:Image

The looks, styles and products of the world’s first-ever consumer boom (1955-65). It covers architecture, interior design, cars, labour-saving appliances, nuclear fallout shelters etc. It’s fascinating, if you like this kind of thing.

The illustrations are great – ...........

.....I want a formica-topped blob table now!


Just ordered a copy - cheers Echo ! :)!

Yeah, that write-up sold me as well. Looking forward to it!
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Re: New now reading

Postby echolalia » 16 May 2018, 23:04

Snarfyguy wrote:
Diamond Dog wrote:
echolalia wrote:Image
.....I want a formica-topped blob table


Just ordered a copy - cheers Echo ! :)!

Yeah, that write-up sold me as well. Looking forward to it!

I made up that comment by the English visitor :oops: But everything else is in the book. I hope you both enjoy it as much as I did, anyway.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Darkness_Fish » 23 May 2018, 09:41

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Re: New now reading

Postby toomanyhatz » 26 May 2018, 05:23

Yes, I'm reading it:

Image

(For the detractors - via a free PDF from an academic site, so I'm not giving him my money.)

And yes, I like it! Yes, some of his conclusions are BS, and his mythic references are pretty much western (with a bit of eastern thrown in) rather than the wide-screen comparative approach of Joseph Campbell, but it does show that he at least was an original thinker at one point. And I like how he blends spirituality with science, and the personal with the academic. It's an entertaining read if you don't picture his smug face. :D
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Re: New now reading

Postby Pansy Puff » 26 May 2018, 08:23

toomanyhatz wrote:Yes, I'm reading it:

Image

(For the detractors - via a free PDF from an academic site, so I'm not giving him my money.)

And yes, I like it! Yes, some of his conclusions are BS, and his mythic references are pretty much western (with a bit of eastern thrown in) rather than the wide-screen comparative approach of Joseph Campbell, but it does show that he at least was an original thinker at one point. And I like how he blends spirituality with science, and the personal with the academic. It's an entertaining read if you don't picture his smug face. :D

Sounds like it was all done before:
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Re: New now reading

Postby Toby » 29 May 2018, 13:55

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Delightfully readable - by turns gossipy and extraordinarily insightful. A truly wonderful writer.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Diamond Dog » 29 May 2018, 15:24

Diamond Dog wrote:Image

Just started this - seems to be a good, open, detailed read thus far. He's certainly an interesting read - the neuroses/paranioa started early!


Finished it and, to be fair, the author appears to be quite neutral regarding Simon's 'idiosyncrasies'. Clearly he has a major issue with his height (Garfunkel's "I'll always be taller than you Paul" putdown, at about 16 years old, stuck with him enough to bring it up 60 years later for this book) and could be incredibly abrupt when critiquing the performance/talent of others - but you do get the feeling that he's a much better person then the commonly held view (by many, including myself) of him being an arrogant, smug git.

The book does way overplay the importance of his work post Simon & Garfunkel though - it gives a feel that the author felt the need to allot the same time for all parts of his career, when clearly some of it doesn't warrant it. It's also interesting than when he strayed from solely music (into film & theatre) he refused to cede control to the professionals in that field, and insisted on trying to 'do the job' himself (which probably reinforces the arrogant stereotype).

But I think it was an enjoyable and insightful book and one that, if you have any love for the subject, you may well wish to invest in.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Insouciant Western People » 29 May 2018, 15:41

Diamond Dog wrote:Finished it and, to be fair, the author appears to be quite neutral regarding Simon's 'idiosyncrasies'. Clearly he has a major issue with his height (Garfunkel's "I'll always be taller than you Paul" putdown, at about 16 years old, stuck with him enough to bring it up 60 years later for this book) and could be incredibly abrupt when critiquing the performance/talent of others - but you do get the feeling that he's a much better person then the commonly held view (by many, including myself) of him being an arrogant, smug git.

The book does way overplay the importance of his work post Simon & Garfunkel though - it gives a feel that the author felt the need to allot the same time for all parts of his career, when clearly some of it doesn't warrant it. It's also interesting than when he strayed from solely music (into film & theatre) he refused to cede control to the professionals in that field, and insisted on trying to 'do the job' himself (which probably reinforces the arrogant stereotype).

But I think it was an enjoyable and insightful book and one that, if you have any love for the subject, you may well wish to invest in.


https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/05/the-sound-of-silence-that-echoes-round-paul-simon/
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Re: New now reading

Postby Insouciant Western People » 29 May 2018, 15:45

Darkness_Fish wrote:Image


I once organised and hosted a couple of reading and signing events with him, one of them at the Morden Tower in Newcastle. It was around 1996, when he'd just brought out D'Alembert's Principle. I liked that one, and its predecessor Pfitz a great deal. I keep meaning to get around to reading more of his books, I have a couple more at home in the to-read pile.

Nice bloke too. He has a PhD in Physics if I remember rightly, specialising in non-linear dynamics.
Jeff K wrote:Nick's still the man! No one has been as consistent as he has been over such a long period of time.