Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hello Norway!

Over the past few days this site has had a lot of visits from Norway, not really sure why. If you happen to be from Norway, maybe you could leave a comment to say what bought you here.

Talking of far off lands, this evening we are heading off for a few days. Nowhere as exotic as Norway, just a quick trip around England, Tonight we head off to Birmingham to catch up with some old friends and to take a look at some of the new buildings in the centre of the town.

Friday evening will see us heading further north; in fact we will be staying overnight in Widnes before heading into Liverpool on Saturday. We are aiming to have a look at the Tate and anything else which takes our fancy.

Saturday evening will see us back in the midlands, when we stay just outside Telford. On Sunday we may go to Shrewsbury or we may not. We’ll just see how we feel.

Finished the new Banana Yoshimoto book the other day. It actually consists of two short stories, “Hardboiled” and “Hard Luck”. The first is a gently spooky story of woman being revisited by her past. The second is a very affecting tale of loss, coupled with attraction for the wrong person at the wrong time. As ever with Yoshimoto it’s a beautiful and deceptively simple piece of writing. I just wish we had more published work from her in England.

Other than that we had a very frustrating time with our iPod. Endless hours have been spent watching attempting to load songs and then locking up, leaving us with a blank player. At least all the tunes are still on iTunes and we have Orynthia’s iPod shuffle to keep us going.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Had a bit of a book buying splurge the other day. Went out to pick up a copy of the new Banana Yoshimoto book. Actually let's stop there for a moment, the problem is that word "new". Looking inside the front cover I noticed the original publication date in Japan was 1999.

Now this confused me somewhat, although she is not a household name in this country or America, I'm sure that she has a reasonable fan base on both sides of the Atlantic. Enough anyway to justify a rather quicker translation than we have seen here. It does raise the question of how many more untranslated works are lurking in Japan by the likes of Yoshimoto, Haruki Murakami and Ryu Murakami.  Occasional sniffing on the web has unearthed a few short stories from these authors from various magazines and it's great to be able to print them off and read them, but I'd hate to think of novels which are lost to us.

The other books were Small Island by Andrea Levy and A History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Small Island is a book I've almost bought on several occasions, the praise directed at the book has been unanimous, and a line from the back of the book has caught my imagination. The line question talks about the disapproving looks and comments caused by the addition of a black lodger into a white household in post 2nd world war England.

Back in the late 1950's, my mum and dad were trying to produce a sibling for my older sister to play with but nothing much was happening. Eventually mum decided to using her training to do some nanny work in the hope that in some subliminal way her reproductive organs would relax. She looked after a young Nigerian boy called Michael, the sight of my very white mother pushing around a pram with a very black baby apparently caused a deal of consternation in Bristol.

Soon enough Michael and his family were on their way back to Nigeria and seeds of my birth were sown. I often wonder about Michael, it strange but maybe I owe my life to him.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ashton our sometime house guest over recent weeks, went back home today following his recent heart problems. I think that he's looking pretty good. So is Orynthia, then again she always does.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

So I’m feeling a bit like a naughty schoolboy today. We have decided for the first time since the very early 1980’s we are not going to the Ashton Court festival. All weekend I’m going to have that bunking off school feeling, expecting someone to come up behind me, tap me on the shoulder and say, “shouldn’t you be somewhere else?”

Last night Orynthia finally nailed a phrase to justify my lack of enthusiasm for A.C. this year. She said that she doesn’t really begrudge the £6 entrance fee on it’s own, but she is annoyed that this money is being used to help the festival become something she no longer likes and when that is coupled the all the publicity which Orange get from the festival it leaves a nasty taste.

Of course it’s probably just us getting old and grumpy. There is no way to return the festival to those lovely days when around 30,000 people would turn up, allowing you to wander around with ease, get in and out of any of the marquees without having to push your way past lot’s of other people trying to do the same thing. The whole thing has just outgrown itself.

After work yesterday I nipped into town to meet up with Orynthia, Ashton and Jane at The Olive Shed for a quick drink and a few nibbles in the sunshine (delighted that the temperature has dropped to more comfortable levels). When a wonderful place it is, the perfect example a great little idea. I particularly like the fact that when the chief needs fresh herbs, he just wanders round to the enormous barrow in front of the place and plucks them as they grow, that’s what you call fresh.

I was delighted to find that the shop at the top of the road has started to stock Plan B, not they really knew what it was. I did have to do a quick run through about the magazine with the manager. It’s great to read something that feels like it’s written out of a need to write, rather than a need to hit a deadline. Talking of music journalism, we caught the excellent BBC 4 documentary on the NME last week. Ah those glorious days when the NME was like taking an Open University course in politics, history, philosophy, literature and little bit of music as well.

Also saw the BBC 3 documentary on local drum and bass legend Roni Size. I dip in and out of the world of the hard beat, but Roni and his gang have provided some fantastic musical moments over the years. The thing that I loved about the programme was the lovely almost simplistic enthusiasm, which Roni has for music and for Bristol. I’ve only spoken to him a couple of times and he was exactly the same then. It’s so nice when the good guys come out on top.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It is too hot, I know that everyone says that but it’s true. Because of the heat I can’t sleep, because I can’t sleep I can’t stay awake…..and so it goes on.

What else? Well I’m starting to really enjoy “Coin Locker Babies” by Ryu Murakami. Also liking the new Sufjan Stevens album, talking about music this week it’s time for the Ashton Court festival here in Bristol. For the first time in years we may not go up for both days, a mixture of the need for time for ourselves and the feeling that the festival may have moved too far away from it’s roots is making us think that we may just give it a miss.

Other than that it’s still too hot.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A quiet night in (2).

A quiet night in (1).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Well it’s been a while! No real reason, a bit of summer laziness, combined with a lack of inspiration has kept me away from this site for a while.

So what’s been going on? We had a nice day in Oxford during which went to see a couple of episodes of Radio 4’s excellent “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue” being recorded, had a relaxed day in the company of thousands of others in St Andrews Park, had a night in Chippenham, Spent way too much on the new book by Jonathan Safran Foer, Started reading Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami, bought the new album by Sufjan Stevens, Went to Devon (and got sunburt), failed to get a haircut for months, enjoyed heard my first “Podcasts” (disappointing), hurt myself playing football, got grumpy about the Ashton Court festival and Glastonbury festivals become too big and mainstream, wrote a sentence which was way too long.

Read about, heard about and finally watched the awful news from London today.

Hope to get back to normal soon.