Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lost in Translation: Episode 6

Another great shop sign found in one of Riyadh's busiest shopping streets:

Click to enlarge

"Salaam Alaykum. Got anything for a black eye?"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I've just completed bulding a fab playlist of '70s Glam Rock hits for my iPod. This was prompted yesterday when I found (and bought) a couple of excellent "best of" albums in a Riyadh music shop.

When I got home I promptly added them to my iTunes library (which already has some cool '70s stuff), then went on to iTunes Music Store to find all the other favourites that my memory threw up once I started listening to Blockbuster by Sweet.

Here's my '70s playlist:

Page 1 (click to view)

Page 2 (click to view)

Page 3 (click to view)

Page 4 (click to view)

Are all your favourites here or have I missed some? If you're A) not from the UK or B) too young to remember the '70s, does this make any sense at all?


Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Damn Fine Coffee!"

The memory of a thing is often better than the thing revisited.

I recently took Twin Peaks Series 1 out of the DVD library because I remember having loved it in the '80s. It was a cult hit: weird, kooky, surprising, dark, edgy, and mysterious. Of course when you watch a murder mystery for the second time you will lose some of the mystery and surprise, but that's OK. You're not re-watching to be surprised, you're doing it to feel again what you felt the first time: that warm, tickly, slightly uncomfortable feeling that you're witnessing something totally original and ground-breaking. Twin Peaks hasn't changed since it was first aired, but I have and the World has. Fashions and music move on, historic events shape our world view, new technology in movies makes the impossible a commodity.

Twin Peaks in 2007 still retains its oddness but it has lost its edge; the clothes and hairstyles show its age, some of the gags seem more contrived than before, the villains seem more comical now rather than the dark menaces they used to be. Simply put, it doesn't scare me anymore.

All of this is unsurprising and understandable. I should have known to expect a different viewing experience this time around shouldn't I? I guess I should have, but the desire to feel again what I felt the first time was too great, and now that it's done, even my memory of it is tarnished.

Do you have s special TV memory that DVD technology is about to jog? Think carefully before opening that box.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Do anything but write


I've finally realised what my first best-selling book is going to be about. It's not going to be fiction though, but a self-help book aimed at all the budding writers out there who are wondering where to start, and searching desperately for inspiration.

It'll be called 100 Ways To Put Off Writing. Here are the first twenty off the top of my head:

1. Watch a movie
2. Make a cup of coffee
3. Water the plants
4. Feed the rabbit
5. Check your email
6. Go to the supermarket
7. Get a skinny triple latte from Starbucks, but make sure it's "to go" so you can get back to your writing.
8. Go rollerblading
9. Go to the DVD library to return some movies and take out some more for later in the week.
10. Write a work To-Do list, then curse when you realise you've accidentally soiled a page of your precious Writer's Journal with work stuff.
11. Check your email
12. Spend an hour troubleshooting why your Linux laptop doesn't keep time very well, then wonder why it's only taken 17 minutes.
13. Feed the rabbit (he looks like he could do with some Rollerblades of his own!)
14. Take out your Writer's Journal and stare at the blank page for half an hour.
15. Check your email
16. Write an email to someone in the hope that they reply, giving you something to check later.
17. Research writing on the internet and write down in your Journal, "It's vitally important to write something every day."
18. Have lunch.
19. Write some drivel on your blog.
20. Do your job.

See? It's easy. Well they say to write about what you know, don't they?

I think my second book will be about the tortuous but worthwhile path to my first book. I can feel a series coming on...