Ok, so there’s 8,000 inane websites like this one popping up every day, but that’s not going to stop me from annoying my friends with whatever trivia, observations, or self-referential prose with limited aim that I feel like. So Nyah.
Quick three or four part blog.
Good books: Anthropology, by Dan Rhodes – a 100 stories about girlfriends, at a paragraph each, provided me with a couple of bus journeys worth of absolute delight. Brilliant and satirical, terrible and emotional, they are the story any man can empathise with. It was like a punch to my emotional solarplexus; utter genius.
Also: In the City by the Sea, by Kamila Shamsie is utter brilliance; despite being a woman and an adult, Ms Shamsie brilliantly steps into the mind of an 11-year-old boy in a slightly fictionalised version of Pakistan. Having recently read a review by Kamila of another author’s book where she said literally nothing about the content of the book, I feel obliged to do exactly the opposite here – this is the story of a boy who’s uncle, a leader in the opposition, is placed under arrest by the despot General calling the shots. It tells his reaction, his decision to “depose the President”, his conversations with a cast of lively and unbelievable characters who you want to believe could be real – The Oldest Man, Wid, Ami and Aba, Salman Mamoo, and the wonderful Zehra, who I think, had I been 11, I would have fallen in love with. The whole story is told with reference to one of the most utterly devastating but remarkably concise opening sequences ever, in which the book’s hero, Hassan Haq, watches his neighbour, Azeem, fall off a roof to his death while trying to fly a kite. A metaphor for freedom, or an illustration of death without purpose; I haven’t finished it yet, so I don’t know. So far, it is utter lyrical genius, I go through the full range of my emotions from one paragraph to the next and feel the need to read bits out loud. I’m reading it slower as I approach the climax – I can’t bear to see what happens to the heroic Salman Haq.
Filmwize: Shrek 2 – 100% as good as Shrek 1, ’nuff said. Garfield – terrible, even for a longstanding Jim Davis, Lasagna and Jennifer Love-Hewitt fan. The Girl Next Door – cringeworthy American teen trash – I liked it a lot. I think that’s enough for now.
Music: undergoing a slight indie revival – Keane, Killers, Razorlight (and yes, ok, Busted and Mcfly), have been on my playlists lately, as well as the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Some good stuff there.
Finally: life – been busy. There’ve been some good parties lately, and I’ve met some very good new people: here’s to more, once the thesis is dealt with (I’m dealing, I’m dealing).