Saturday, 21 August 2010

Smash and grab

Saturday already, eh? How the days fly by when you are at work, rather than sitting at home whining about having a (probably) fractured ankle, unable to drive anywhere.

The new job is going alright so far, but it's early days, of course. Plenty of time for monumental fuck-ups and general chaos.   It's still a bit of a shock to the system doing the commute.  I'd forgotten how exhausting it is, and how little time and energy I have for anything else.  On the days when I am in London I am up before 6am, and don't get home much before 8pm, so once the mechanics of showering, eating and sleeping are out of the way, there's not much space for anything else. 

I've been trying to wean myself off the Conan books this week, and have reverted to trashy science fiction short stories, downloaded onto my iPhone from Stanza for free.  Some of them are excellent, some are less great, and some are just plain weird. 

I was taken with the one called "After London" by Richard Jefferies.  Who, it turns out, was from Wiltshire! Who knew?

It's set in the future, but as it was written in 1885, it is actually probably set in the past*, and depicts Britain as a fallen power, rural and wild, run by feudal barons who obey the law only as it suits them.  It tails off a bit at the end, just at the point where I thought "Aha, now the story really gets going," but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

I think one of the things I love about old science fiction is that I understand most of the science. It's all about valves and electrodes and copper wire, which I can just about get my head round.  And in this case, longbows and canoes. Nice and simple.

While we were on holiday, I read "The Book of Dave" by Will Self.  I like Will Self's stuff, although he can be a bit tiresome and pretentious, and once I got over my initial "Gah, this is hard to read!" reaction, I liked the book very much.  Mr WithaY was less charitable, and although he finished the book as well, decided it was a bit too weird for his tastes. 

I also read Bill Bryson's "At Home" which was excellent, I thought.  It was less folksy and twee than some of his other stuff I've read, and as a lot of the historical facts he talked about were relevant to the part of the US where we were staying, it felt immediate and interesting. 

Other news:  Guitar lessons have begun again, and I am trying to get over my "I'll never be a lead guitarist" phobia.  I'll let you know how that goes.  This week I am mostly murdering Tom Petty and Thin Lizzy.

Also, filthy thieving bastards, probably from Bristol, they're like that up there, robbed the garage in the village.  Again.  Two grand's worth of cigarettes were stolen this time, and the shop door has been covered in hardboard till the glass gets fixed.  It's like living in inner-city Chicago**.

*Keep up. Think of Back to the Future if you're confused.  Or not. 

**No, it really isn't.

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