No, Sir, after you …

It’s a cliche universally acknowledged that two Englishmen in close proximity is a queue in want of a purpose. The way by which one may distinguish a true Englishman (and I use man in the widest sense, inasmuch as it includes any and everybody) from those others who merely wish they were English is simple: place a random selection of people in a room and the ones who form a queue (even if the queue is to escape the room) are truly English. I wonder if UKIP use this fact in their campaigns, targeting the queues that form for no reason other than the laws of gravity (English, remember)? You certainly never hear them talk about immigrants waiting to enter the country, while Cameron, in his turn, seems intent on starting the naturalisation process early, by making ‘them’ wait before they may claim benefits. It’s a wonder he hasn’t said that ‘they’ must ‘wait in line like the rest of us’. Continue reading

Fish at the Concorde 2

I seem to be reviewing a lot of, ahem, more mature acts at the moment, and Fish, at 56 with orthopedic shoes, a dodgy memory (he had lyric sheets on a music stand), and glasses he continually shoved back up the bridge of his nose as they slid sweatily down time after time, is another of those men renegotiating the faustian pact of Rock n Roll. Continue reading

Was it the drugs, or was it the parky’s?

So, the question is whether we ought to read carefully, or just the headlines.

Parkinson’s UK posted this article today on the supposed link between Parkinson’s and creativity. It was the third paragraph before these words appeared: ‘The researchers spilt [sic] the people with Parkinson’s into 2 groups and found that those who took more Parkinson’s medication were the most creative.’ Continue reading

Parkinson’s and creativity

This is a piece a wrote just over a year ago, and I’m going to reproduce it here:

Creativity and Parkinson’s. A contentious pairing of a much-argued ‘gift’ and a disease that rots your brain in an extremely precise manner. They are inextricably connected inasmuch as the fruits of creativity vary wildly in their quality, just as the wholesale slaughter of the basal ganglia seems to produce wildly varying symptoms in each individual. There’s obviously a massive problem with attempting to gauge the true relationship between the two, namely the necessarily subjective nature of assessment. How does one measure creativity? Continue reading

A sword with four edges

To misquote Francis Bacon:

It is generally better to deal by radio than by print […] print is good, when a man would draw an answer by print back again; or when it may serve for a man’s justification afterwards to produce his own writing.

Radio, instantaneous and far-reaching it may be, but it still is a dangerous medium, as your reactions must be instantaneous, and correct first time. There is no room in the editing suite for the guest, no track changes, no jolly sub-editor polishing your answers to a high gloss. The weighting is very taxing, as while you may know the first question, after then it becomes more free-form, and commensurately more dangerous. Continue reading

Is silence golden?

To pervert a well-known phrase, ‘All that is required for bad books to prevail is that good critics say nothing’, and yet, increasingly, that is exactly what is happening in those realms which heft most influence. It may not be happening in the blogosphere, but we’ll come to that soon enough.
I recently cut into a twitter conversation, which went something like this:

Spkr 1. Modern moral dilemma: given much hyped novel by publisher. It’s a bit ‘meh’. Don’t feel should say so on Good Reads

Spkr 2. I wouldn’t review at all

Spkr 1. My view too.

Me. So no review=bad review? What happened to ‘if you want my opinion, I’ll give it to you, but be sure you want it’?

Spkr 1. I’m more ‘If you can’t say something nice, say nothing’ when it’s books published by friends, & given by friends

Spkr 2. I agree

Me. It’s a thorny problem, especially when said friend can only read the ensuing silence one way …

Spkr 1. I’m given so many books, publishers don’t expect feedback on them all, so silence is ok.

Me. nice get-out clause …

The rest was silence. Continue reading

In control?

I’ve already written this post three times this morning. In fact, I’ve written this post dozens of times over the past few years. What is it to be in control? This was one version:

As I sit, cross-legged on my bed, laptop atop my lap (as it ought to be), listening to the rain beat against the roof, waiting for the plumber to arrive, checking social media for, well, anything to distract me from the task at hand, I’m less concerned with being ‘in control’ than I am wondering what it means. Continue reading