Books & stuff

December 8, 2022

Well I always intended to use this website as more than just a source of info about my professional activity – upcoming gigs/recordings etc. Obviously I hope my legion of followers appreciates being updated about where I’m next appearing, (in spite of the traffic jams, mass hysteria, security headaches etc. the resultant stampede of screaming fans creates), but I also hope to share my cultural experiences from time to time, in case anyone’s interested.

I’m an avid reader. I tend to read fiction – I have enough reality in my everyday life without wanting to subject myself to more in my few free moments. I have been fortunate recently to discover 3 new authors that I love:

1. Georges Perec – a tragically short-lived French experimental writer whose magnum opus ‘La vie – mode d’emploi’ (‘Life – A User’s Manual’) is simply one of the best things I’ve ever read (or at least, I can’t remember enjoying anything as much since ‘Infinite Jest’ by David Foster Wallace, with which it has some stylistic parallels).

2. Anita Brookner. I found a dog-eared copy of  the Booker Prize-winning ‘Hotel Du Lac’ at a book-exchange facility and thoroughly enjoyed it, along with ‘Look At Me’ (an earlier work).

3. Richard Yates. I purchased his ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ and loved it. Incredibly perceptive vignettes of 1950s American Life, utterly debunking the post-war idealism of that time.

I’m now reading Philip K Dick’s classic ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ , the purchase of which was particularly inspired by the sequel to 1982 cult classic ‘Bladerunner’ – ‘Bladerunner 2049’, which I recently saw. What a film it is – I only wish I’d been able to catch it on the big screen! Dick’s writing is not stylistically completely up my street, but the world he creates (which is perhaps a bit close for comfort in these perilous times) is certainly compelling.

Finally, I have been listening A LOT to The Smile (Thom Yorke’s new project). Having been slightly underwhelmed by Radiohead’s post ‘In Rainbows’ output, The Smile seem to pick up where that astonishing album left off. Plenty of scrubby, visceral energy, but also those gorgeous unfurling lyrical bouquets of tortured love that Thom Yorke does better than anyone else. I’m also discovering (very late) the remarkable output of J Dilla, and continue to be infatuated with the Symphonies of Bruckner. Brookner and Bruckner – a heady brew!

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