Friday, October 28, 2016

Foreign correspondent

Still alive...

So, this came in the post a couple of days ago:

Which is rare enough these days, but rarer still is that it came to me at work.  From a customer I have been in correspondence with a couple of times in recent months about a bus stop.  Now I don't know about anyone else, but when I go on holiday the last thing I would think to do would be to carry on a conversation with someone at the council or a business I was complaining to.  Still, nice to receive it all the same.

We've been away twice this year (another post to come on that) but didn't send any cards.  I wonder if it is time to try and revive the idea.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Another year of books

So, these posts seem to get later every year.  Ah well.  If anyone was actually waiting for it, here's the list of books I consumed in 2015.  Pretty much every one a winner.

Amanda Palmer The Art Of Asking
Nick Catford Secret Underground London
Neil Gaiman The Sleeper And The Spindle
Randall Munroe What if?
Harriet Tuckey Everest: The First Ascent
Stuart Maconie Never Mind The Quantocks
George R.R. Martin A Feast For Crows
John Lanchester What We Talk About When We Talk About The Tube (The District Line)
Alistair Maclean The Way To Dusty Death
Phill Jupitus Good Morning Nantwich
George R.R. Martin A Dance With Dragons: Dreams And Dust
George R.R. Martin A Dance With Dragons: After The Feast
Lucy Wadham Heads And Straights (The Circle Line)
Jen Campbell The Bookshop Book
Alistair Maclean Breakheart Pass
Miranda July No One Belongs Here More Than You
Andy Frankham-Allen Companions: Fifty Years Of Doctor Who Assistants
Jasper Rees I Found My Horn
Kitty Ferguson Pythagoras
Simon Okotie Whatever Happened To Harold Absalon?
Sarah Henshaw The Bookshop That Floated Away
John O'Farrell A History Of Capitalism According To The Jubilee Line (The Jubilee Line)
Mark Forsyth The Unknown Unknown
Mike Gayle His 'N' Hers
Julie Gardiner The Blitz

Caught By The River On Nature
William Leith A Northern Line Minute (The Northern Line)
Deborah Cadbury Chocolate Wars
Genevieve Cogman The Invisible Library
Anna Hughes Eat Sleep Cycle: A Bike Ride Around The Coast Of Britain
Mick Conefrey How To Climb Mont Banc In A Skirt
Brian Viner Cream Teas, Traffic Jams And Sunburn - The Great British Holiday
Julian May The Many Coloured Land
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen The Science Of Discworld IV: Judgement Day
J. B. Morrison Frank Derrick's Holiday Of A Lifetime
Sophie Neville The Making Of Swallows & Amazons
Dave Gorman Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure (Abridged)
Jon Ronson The Men Who Stare At Goats
Camila Batmanghelidjh & Kids Company Mind The Child (The Victoria Line)
Julian May The Golden Torc
Warren Elsmore Brick City: Lego For Grown Ups
Florence Williams Breasts. A Natural And Unnatural History
Melvyn Bragg The Book Of Books
Margalit Fox Riddle Of The Labyrinth: The Quest To Crack An Ancient Code
Dan Brown Inferno
Richard Mabey A Brush With Nature
Magnus Anderson & Rebecca Levene Grand Thieves & Tomb Raiders – How British Video Games Conquered The World
Philippe Parreno Drift (The Hammersmith & City Line)
Charles Schulz Waiting For The Great Pumpkin
Julian May The Non-Born King
Charles Schulz Snoopy's Thanksgiving
Magnus Mills A Cruel Bird Came To The Nest And Looked In
Jerry Brotton A History Of The World In Twelve Maps
Julian May The Adversary
Peter York The Blue Riband (The Piccadilly Line)

Lemmy with Janiss Garza White Line Fever
John Scalzi How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story
John Scalzi An Election

Probably not as much "diversity" as might have been hoped for after this post about attempting to widen out horizons, although things look better when you realise that Julian May is female...  The favourite of the year was Sophie Neville's account of the making of the Swallows and Amazons film - I have always loved the film as much as the books and so wish they had made more.  Hopefully the forthcoming new adaptation will lead to sequels (although I am not holding my breath, and am worried about plot changes I have seen bit of).  Oh, and although we got to meet Sophie at a screening of the film a few weeks after I read the book, it would still have been my favourite of the year.

I've still got one book left from the Penguin box set commemorating 150 years of the London Underground, and the second tranche of Julian May's Pliocene/Galactic Mileu saga to read but otherwise no plans for particular authors or subjects this year.  Just whatever is on the shelf and takes my fancy.  (Which can be interpreted as me trying not to buy too many new books this year and cut down on the unread ones I already own, but the chances of that working are slim).

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sounds Familiar

What, where did the time go?  For now let us just say that the depression came back and hit me like a hammer, to the point of having to take time off work to change medication and generally get back to reality (hello side effects, hello fresh scars from a spot of self-harming, hello therapy once more).  I might write more about that another time, but let's think of better things for now and look back at my top tunes of last year.

Here's the obligatory word cloud:

I don't suppose there will be many surprises in there for people who have read these posts before but some favourite releases and old favourites to note...

Of albums released during 2016, I can't speak highly enough of Iron Maiden's Book Of Souls, Public Service Broadcasting's The Race For Space and Anti-Nasty League from Pop Will Eat Itself.  About as different from each other as any three random discs could be but all played multiple times and loved equally.  And the second tier of newness belongs to Motorhead (RIP Lemmy), The Darkness Slayer, Thunder and Kim Boekbinder.

I also went to my first gig in far too many years when we went to see Ginger Wildheart on his Songs & Words tour.  OK, so that was a mix of spoken word and acoustic excerpts rather than the full-on rawk experience but it was still a damn good night out and I am so looking forward to the accompanying book and DVD which will hopefully be with us soon.

Being a fan of the comedy song, we also went to see Richard Digance at the newly re-opened Spa Pavilion here in Felixstowe.  We've seen him several times over the years, but this time he brought a support act - local lads the Broadside Boys.  Suffolk-centred folk and a real joy to encounter.  I'm looking forward to catching them again somewhere in the county this year.

If I had managed to stay at work for November and December I would have finally finished the epic in-car listening through of all CDs by artists I only have one disc by.  Not driving to work every day rather put paid to that, but only a few left to go before I dig into discs by artists I own two albums on CD by!

The amount of listening I did in the first month when I was off can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  Losing the will to stick an album on (and indeed the ability to stay focussed long enough to listen to a whole disc) was possibly the hardest thing for me to get through - music is such an integral part of my life.  I'm back with tunes all the time now, and it is such a relief.

Looking forward to 2016 we have new albums from the Wonder Stuff, CJ Wildheart, Love Zombies and the Dowling Poole already pre-ordered with Hey! Hello! Too and Megadeth also on the way.  Hopefully it is going to be another corker of newness and we will see if I can find some new to me oldies as well.