Monday, April 23, 2007

5 Things I like This week

Luke set the form: I don't know if there are actually five things I like this week, but let's see:

1. E. Nesbitt's "Book of Dragons". I've read some of E. Nesbitt's children's books before; she's very witty, though a little precious. This one, though, is better than all the rest because it is the closest to being completely batshit insane. In one story dragons start appearing everywhere (the first one flies into the protagonist's eye) so the kids go to wake up St. George, and they find him and wake him up, and then he says there are too many dragons and just goes back to sleep again. In another they go to the North Pole (which is actually a big pole made out of ice) and are attacked by sealskin dwarves, which are little dwarves made out of sealskin (naturally enough.) Oh, yeah, and there's a giant ice slide. And polite moths. My favorite though is "Uncle James, or the Purple Stranger," set in the island of Rotundia where "all the animals are the wrong sizes." "The guinea pig, as you know, was as big as our elephants, and the elepant -- dear little pet -- was the size of the silly, tiny, black-and-tan dogs that ladies carry sometimes in their muffs. The rabbits were about the size of our rhinoceroses, and all about the wild parts of the island they had made their burrows as big as railway tunnels. The dormouse, of course, was the biggest of all the creatures. I can't tell you how big he was. Even if you think of elephants it will not help you at all. Luckily there was only one of him, and he was always asleep. otherwise I don't think the Rotundians could have borne with him. As it was, they made him a house, and it saved the expense of a brass band, because no band could possibly have been heard when the dormouse was talking in his sleep." It's like a British Wizard of Oz, totally trippy, yet urbane. What a great book.

2. Lumidee, "Almost Famous". Great R&B album from 2003, I think. Really nice, sparse production and subtle, layered Latin beats. Her voice is charmingly quavery. (She has a new album out now which isn't really as good, alas.)

3. British psych folk -- I've been really getting into this the last month or so. I was already a big fan of Donovan, but a friend lent me a comp called "Gather in the Mushrooms" and I've been checking out some more obscure artists I found through that. I've been listening to Sandy Denny (she sang for Fairport Convention -- some really nice dirges) and Sallyangie (Mike Oldfield's first project.) Do you like this stuff, Robert? It reminds me a lot of shoegazer pop -- fey and dreamy with gorgeous arrangements. Though, y'know, without the really loud electric guitars.

4. Planimeters — Perfect for finding the area of an irregular surface. Who knew?

5. Shameless self-promotion: I've got a bunch of stuff out in the last week or so. An article in the reader about a hipster D&D apocalypse; a short poem about deep-sea fish; an illustration on the Flaming Fire site; and a couple articles in the new issue of TCJ, which should be on shelves this week.


Sean the Sean said...

It's weird, i started to have resurgent Dungeons & Dragonsism a while ago, but only pursued it lightly. It's not enough of a thing really, it wasn't when it came out & it isn't now or seven years ago as a retro-hash nostalgia art thing. I quickly jumped from RPG to RPG, eventually dropping all of it as a waste of time. The thing i liked most in the games were the lists & the statistics, as you note there! The thing is, while i'm into comics, used to play role playing games, have the first issue of White Dwarf (stolen), worked for Chaosium, can argue about arcade games, or even write about text based computer games, etc etc, i'm no geek. I took alot of exception to that first bit in your piece, mostly because to me, Geeks aren't even really people, they are mentally ill shells filled with fannishness. They'd be the same if they were biting the heads off of chickens instead of dressing up like Sailor Moon or wotever. Anyhow, people who avoid things associated with geekdom because they don't want to be geeks are missing out & geeks who hole up in piles of the fan world are missing living actual lives in the real world.

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

I'll second that statement Sean,
A reason I hate geeks is that they feel obliged to place themselves in the stereotype, like many other types of people, examples:
-Geeks will go on as if Star Wars is the best thing ever, regardless of how much they truly like it, they convince themselves to the point that they all end up believing it is their favourite thing. Anything from their childhood is good, but secretly inside, when they buy a new DVD of an old 80s cartoon, they'll watch and think to themselves "Oh my god! This is actually kind of shit", but never tell anyone.
Geeks will think any joke about sci-fi or comics is funny, especially if it is a Family Guy style piece of shit joke. Geeks will believe the hype DC and Marvel feeds them, they will call Civil War a masterpiece and only denounce it if Wizard does. Same goes for your average anime/manga fan.
-The average idiot male/jock/lad will pretend they have a genuine fascination with lesbiens beyond the truth that looking at two girls is better than looking at a boy and girl for a hard-on. They will vastly exaggerate their arrousal and shove it in your face, in the same way they will exaggerate the pain of being kicked in the balls. IT'S NOT THAT FUCKING PAINFUL AT ALL!!!
-Many gay men will pretend they are more camp than they actually are, and hang around with bitchy women that they probably don't even like.
I could give more examples of this, I really hate all this shit. I love comics, games and loads of other stuff obsessively, but that does not make me a geek.

I do like that era of folk, but I havent got much of it and I intend sometime to delve into it, the only folk legend I really have a lot of is the intense June Tabor. Shoegazers were influenced quite a lot by folk, especially Slowdive, Moose and The Telescopes.

Luke Pski said...

"They will vastly exaggerate their arrousal and shove it in your face, .."

aeron said...

Speaking of geeks this reminds me of a scenario I want to play out in Chicago. There's this Italian restraunt a few blocks south of Clark street near Belmont. Anyway, across from this joint is a sports bar owned by none other than Oger from Revenge of the Nerds. I guess he has his own brand of beer too which they sell there. So I'm thinking.. get some people to dress up like serious goddamn nerds and walk in there on a day he's there hanging out. I'm really curious what his reaction would be. The best outcome would of course be for him to shout really loud NEEEERRRRDDSSS and kick the nerds the fuck out.

aeron said...

I forgot to mention, the reason I brought up that Italian restraunt, there's some really kick ass art on the walls.

Luke Pski said...

the art project described in the article sounds sort of cool, but it also sounds very trivial, ultimately, which, I think is how we know it's "hip".
A real, genuine interest in fantasy and mythology is way more interesting to me than this detached interest-in-an-interest ( they like the 'idea' of liking this stuff more than they actually do, I think).

Alan said...

Poor Mojo's Alan here sayin' thanks for the bump and right back atcha. That poem, by the way, is most violently excellent. Keep in touch!