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If you have been replying to my comments on your journals well, guess what: LJ hasn't been sending me those replies!  I'm not ignoring you!

I still get comments on my own journal - it's just the ones I do elsewhere that don't trigger email notifications. Anybody else having the same problem? Is it a settings thing that I need to update?
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bus going by by patart00
bus going by, a photo by patart00 on Flickr.
On the way to work, hop on the No.8 on Roman Road and get off at Bethnal Green Tube station. Sit behind a man with a copy of The Sun. Sharon Osbourne on the front cover claiming Dannii Minogue had an affair with Simon Cowell. His thumb tentatively plays with the page; I can see a Page 3 breast poke through. The woman sitting beside him wears a yellow hijab.

After work, the No. 8 from Liverpool Street station because I just can't squeeze into the Central Line. All the windows facing North on Bethnal Green Rd are lit, open. Shirtless young men stalk front rooms. Young women hunch over laptops. Mixed students cook dinner together. Rooms jammed with clothes or completely sparse, just a few postcards bluetacked to the walls.

The young man sitting beside me holds his mobile phone up, trying to capture a good connection. He's on Grindr.
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Can any of you recommend a good CRM for a small arts organisation with little to zero budget?  I've already had a look at MailChimp and SalesForce but they don't "quite" work.  Many thanks!
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New York Subway by areshuan
New York Subway, a photo by areshuan on Flickr.
I just received a notification that my close and intimate friend Jacqueline Sorbet has returned to her novel A Rendezvous With Passion. She posted its 3rd chapter online today.

To be honest, I thought she'd given up on it. It had been nearly a year since I'd heard from her; I figured she'd moved on to something else.

I swear I'll never understand these creative types.
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Do any of you know if there's an easy way of searching for info in your old LJ posts?  I want to find the posts where I wrote about "The History Game" - the game where I move chronologically through history books, trying to get to modern times.

I have a new bad idea game: I'm purchasing one album per week and listening to it non-stop, with the idea of then writing a little review for them.  I suppose I want to get into the habit of reviewing music, thinking of albums as novels, feeling a little more what's been put into them.  Mostly new albums such as: the latest from Camera Obscura, Noblesse Oblige, Future Bible Heroes, Jon Hopkins and, this week, Austra.  Looking forward to checking out the new ones from Editors and White Lies.

I tried listening to Taylor Swift's "Red" the other day in the bathtub, in [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos' homage, but the water went cold halfway through the album (It's got 22 songs or something - a proper double-LP).

I'm still taking that Coursera course "The Fiction of Relationship" but have decided to give it up at the halfway point.  I'll still get a Statement of Accomplishment, which is OK. (For completing the whole thing I think you get a SUPER Statement of Achievement.)  I just don't think I could deal with reading the upcoming five novels until August... I want to enjoy the sunshine while it's still here in London!

The allergies are killing me.
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A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some time ago there was a television interview with a literary critic who was asked if any current authors were "our Charles Dickens". The point of the question was that Charles Dickens was a populist writer in his time and many didn't think his work would be of interest to the future. The interviewee went on to speculate if Jackie Collins or Stephen King were the new Charles Dickens - their work to survive the centuries while more lauded writers fell into obscurity. I don't know if George R.R. Martin could be our Charles Dickens, but he's certainly a better story teller than Collins or King.

It didn't dawn on me until this third book in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series how Shakespearean he is. Perhaps not in poetic terms, but definitely in his themes and in the exploration of his characters' motivations and inner worlds. Sansa has something of Ophelia, Tyrian could be Falstaff if he was a little taller, Cersei channels Lady Macbeth very well, and so on. Unlike most fantasy worlds, including J. R. R. Tolkien's, Martin has reinforced in this novel that he's not afraid to kill off characters we hold dearly, or to offer redemption for those we'd written off as evil and immoral. But Martin is no James Joyce, though he's as wordy: his novels are long, classic page turners that stick to the tried-and-trusted structure of suspense through escalating conflicts and reversal of fortunes, culminating in climaxes that leave you itching for the next book in the series.

Like Dickens, his twisted and deformed characters are well thought out creations that rise above the narrative and stay with you, sometimes in mind-troubling ways. It's impressive what a giant cast he has created and expanded here, spread out across many continents, and how he moves them without giving away his larger vision for the series. His world is more magical here than in the previous two books, explained before as a result of the appearance of three hatched dragons and, potentially, a red comet in the sky. It's also gorier.

As with the two preceding books, there are certain twists to the novel that take the reader by surprise and throw into doubt where exactly Martin is taking the whole narrative. The twist that recently got everyone upset with the TV series caused in me insomnia and a bad night of sleep (that will teach me not to read his novels before bed time.) I do wonder what the future will make of his work. Are they popular because they say something about our world today? Do we crave something more explicit and gory in our entertainment, like the Romans before us? Are we allowing ourselves to explore more taboos in fiction? Do we see our world as chaotic as the one these characters live in, and their struggle to make sense reflects somehow our own struggles? Is that where the pleasure in reading these books comes from?

View all my reviews
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I've been thinking today if blogging and livejournaling is dead. Dead in the sense that most people who used them before have gone on to acquire many more social networks, and because of the increase in their personal admin (checking Facebook, checking Twitter, checking Instagram, etc) they no longer can tolerate long pieces of writing.

Twitter, to me, seems of the time. Tiny digestible nuggets that can lead you to longer articles if you so desire, but there's no pressure to read - you can easily just move/scroll on.  Before, with blogs and livejournals, there was the online social pressure to at least skim read.  Make some noise that you were paying attention. Now, they lie unread, uncommented, unnoticed. Or saved for "later" reading.

The age of people keeping blogs to document their lives as policemen / ambulance drivers / sex workers is also dead. Again, I think personal admin has got in the way and that type of cultural product is resigned to the noughties much like a lot of reality shows.

For myself, I sat in an old cemetery for lunch today and read some Walt Whitman.  I now know that Livejournal will never be the same, but I'm Ok with continuing to write here, for myself and for the few that still read this.  I've also started writing letters to friends who refuse to use social networks, and on Monday mornings I find a cafe before work and do a bit of fiction writing.
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"For it turns out tha Eyes Wide Shu has almost nothing to say about its ostensible topic—marital fidelity—but it has a great deal to say about Tom Cruise. It might even be that the key t Eyes Wide Shu is not lurking in a coded image appearing only for a split second, but rather in the entire world-famous corpus of Tom Cruise’s acting work. But this would ruin our idea o Eyes Wide Shu as a claustrophobic world unto itself."
Cruise Control, Ben Parker for the Paris Review

"One of the more outlandish conspiracy theories holds that Stanley Kubrick was killed by the Illuminati for revealing too much about the secret society in his final fil Eyes Wide Shut. While the official cause of death was listed as cardiac arrest (certainly not shocking for a 70 year-old man), some conspiracists point to the preponderance of Illuminati symbolism in his films, his clean bill of health prior to dying, and the strange editorial takeover of the film before its release as evidence there was more going on here than meets the eye."
Was Stanley Kubrick Killed by the Illuminati? The Ghost Diaries



I need to see the film again. My boyfriend and I always maintained that it was about Cruise and Kidman, and that maybe Kubrick precipitated the end of their marriage.
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The Silent History sounds like something just down my alley. Is this what fiction and literature will look like in the future? 

From what I understand, it's an app only for iPads or iPhones (but I may be wrong.) You download it and every day it gives you a new chapter on the story of children being born across the U.S. (the world?) who suffer from a mysterious condition where they are completely silent.  Each daily chapter is through the point of view of someone related to the epidemic - one of the main characters, doctors, parents, etc.

There's an additional feature, the Field Reports, which are GPS tagged and entered by the authors and readers - they can only be accessed when you are near them.  Which has, supposedly, led people to travel across the U.S., and now even to London, to unlock them (though they are not essential to the comprehension of the main story.) 

The story comes to an end one year after you download and start the app.


I've been thinking for some time now about storytelling that is interactive with social media and gadgets - in line with some of the stuff Secret Cinema does as well as other arts organisations in London.  My own idea revolves around a bus route in London and how different aspects of the story related to it can be unlocked/viewed if you: travel the route; visit certain houses near it; read certain newspapers; etc.

But my idea didn't include contributions from the public - it would be purely my creation and perhaps involve some film making with actors.  I like though The Silent History's use of the public's imagination - I'm tempted to download the app right now and start filing some of my own "Field Reports" around my neighbourhood, adding to The Silent History's "myth".

Imagine the implications for other genres... a horror story, for example!  You could unlock a segment of the story once you visit a church after sunset.  Or a walk through one of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries in London.  The possibilities are endless actually, and they can be used to comment on a load of things.  It could also be a wonderful way of teaching history, languages, social concern.

Very curious now about other apps/stories like The Silent History currently in development.
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Is it just me or traffic has picked up on Livejournal? Loads of M.I.A. people are posting again. Was away for a few days and came back to epic posts.

I hate Facebook by the way. Shitty design, zero content - no pleasure. If I didn't have so much family, long-lost friends and my mom's guesthouse page there, I'd delete my account.

I like reading long posts, I like in depth coverage of your lives.
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Would have really liked to experience Slimes in its heydays...

Home Alone

Apr. 6th, 2012 03:04 pm
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How's everyone's long weekend coming along? I haven't left the house yet (and it's sunny in London.)



After drinking this coffee I'm going to hoover the living room, mop the kitchen and clean the bathroom.  Then I'm going to put old clothes and books in a donation bag.  All to the sound of Madonna. (Old time readers will know this is the soundtrack I use for cleaning the house.)

Bike Ride

Mar. 5th, 2012 08:20 am
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There's a Boris Ken Bike pick up spot being set up right outside my flat. I had a look on Google Maps and I could potentially take one from home to work (King's Cross) via Regent's Canal, then back again.

Now I need to gather the courage to ride a bike in London! I've never been on a bike in a big city (apart from once in a park in São Paulo when I was 10 years old).

Also, the bikers that use the canals can be quite cut-throat and pushy. I know because I used to walk the canals to work a few years ago (when I worked in that arts centre that went up in flames - remember?) and I always witnessed their bike rage on each other and pedestrians.

Still, the thought of riding a bike in the morning alongside barges, swans and canadian geese is very appealing...

Le Weekend

Feb. 27th, 2012 08:41 am
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What did you do during the weekend?

Write a LJ post about it.
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The Mythological UnconsciousThe Mythological Unconscious by Michael Vannoy Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A collection of essays by a Freudian therapist who converted to Jungianism, exploring the use of mythology (mostly Greco-Roman) in therapy. I found these essays easy to read, despite their academic provenance, and synchronicitous with our current pop culture.

I know Jung gets a lot of flack - especially because of his interest in the esoteric - but Adams' essays made me rethink my views on him and of how there is a lot to be taken from his theories on the collective unconscious. The one thing that strikes me about Jung is how good he can be to artists - giving tools and ideas that lead into unique imagery and creative explorations. Also, Adams highlights over and over again how Jung found all cultures to be of equal value, and always pressed the importance of a therapist learning as much as possible about language, history and art.

Another interesting aspect of these essays are their explanation on how Jung's dream interpretations differ from Freud and Lacan. While Freud and Lacan see in dreams the meanings for "something else" (i.e. an umbrella is phallic, etc) Jung expands on dreams themes, finding in the general culture myths that fit the narrative and can be used to explain it. For Jung, a unicorn is a unicorn, and not a phallic symbol. The key is to discover what the unicorn meant in folklore and from there seek its interpretation. I like that.

View all my reviews
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At face value, Gremlins is a horror/comedy about a bunch of little monsters running amok in a nice little American town on Christmas eve. But I was watching it last night decades after the last time I'd seen it, and some things in the story made me wonder. It was the logo of the Pegasus in the town's gas station towards the end of the movie that reminded me of the book The Mythological Unconscious, and of how popular culture uses Jungian archetypes sometimes without realising it.

It struck me that a) Gremlins is about small town mass hysteria at the encroaching of urban, big city living; and b) it's about Chinese products versus American products, perhaps even in a prophetic way.

The conservative, small American town where boy-next-door goes out on prim and proper dates with girl-next-door, where mom spends her time making ginger bread men, where nice neighbours sing carol songs at your door, doesn't have any of the loose, depraved living that the Gremlins bring with them. No smoking, no partying, no raunchy laughter, no dirty jokes. Are the Gremlins the good people's repressed selves? How lustily does the hero's mother wield her knife when she stabs the Gremlins in her kitchen?  Then later, where does the surviving Gremlin run to and multiply into an army? The YMCA's pool!

There's this substory of the hero's father being a crap inventor, full of that American spirit to reach the Dream one day, then here comes along a Chinese "toy" that nearly wrecks the entire town's economy. A little bit like how America now buys everything from China but hardly exports anything.  There's also the hero's neighbour, who owns a tractor and complains of foreign cars and televisions, blaming imaginary Gremlins for their malfunction. And the movie concludes with a battle in the town's shopping mall...

The only two scenes that made me laugh involved the hero's girlfriend, who seems to be a bit of a depressive. The hero is trying to get the courage to ask her out and all she can think of is how some people slit their wrists during Christmas. We later learn she's referring to herself because when she was 9 her dad broke his neck falling down the chimney, dressed as Santa, and Christmas was ruined forever for her. These scenes meant for us to feel sorry for her and flesh her out but I was left wondering if the whole movie wasn't a nightmare in her head.  Because like any nightmare, Gremlins has some massive plot holes - the kind that only make sense when you are in it in your sleep, until you wake up and laugh. (Such as Gremlins multiplying like crazy if water drops on them, yet they spend their whole time running around on snow with no effect.)

The Gremlins theme song is now my ringtone for when [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale calls me...
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Further to my post about the gig at Brixton Academy last night, I wanted to throw out to you the question: how long until venues provide more restrooms for women than for men? 

I'm guessing that the Brixton Academy has six toilets, three for men and three for women.  At any given point of the night you'd see long lines into all the girls while the boys had no line ups.  It got to the point where girls went into the boys with their boyfriends/mates, bravely putting up with the urinal banter all around them as they waited in line. (But that got quickly nipped in the bud by security when they realised what was happening.)

Girls kept coming up to me and asking if I knew of a toilet out of the way they could use, that none of the other girls knew about.  So I told them that if they snuck past/tricked security standing by the boys, they'd have little waiting to do inside. This enormously excited them.

It's the same problem in every gig venue, club and what not in this city. It's as if these places are designed by men who don't think at all about the women that might use them.
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[livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale thinks the neighbours are dead. We haven't heard them make noise in days/weeks and now someone showed up with a clipboard, knocking on all doors and asking when was the last time we saw them. We could have assumed they'd done a runner except... the hallway is smelling distinctly bad! (hopefully just some bad food in their fridge?)

They have three children and they are generally very boisterous. The mother in particular has a foghorn down the throat. They have lived here forever and it was my understanding that they owned their flat. It's all very strange.
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The biggest mystery and topic of discussion surrounding The Killing 2 so far this year is...

Who's Hotter? )
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I'm in the mood for playing RPGs! The last time I played anything of the sort I was 14 years old - so 22 years ago.

Or maybe I just miss the company of my peers?

(Incidentally, there's a RPG based on Game of Thrones coming out soon...)

Do any of you play?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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