Archive | January 2006

Slacka**e

In case you’re at all interested, I’m still here. I’ve been slack (again).

That’s because I’ve been on holiday (again).

Beach

and moved house (again) and had no broadband.

House

I note the following meagre points about the past couple of weeks:

People in Port Stephens seem to have no shame about water usage
.
EVERYONE uses sprinklers to water their grass, some in the middle of the day. One house seemed to have it’s ROOF watered by some complex spray-hose system. EVERY DAY.

I lost my moleskine.
Sniff.
Of course, I had LOTS of great ideas for posts in it and my son seems to have lost it in KMart and now I know someone somewhere is reading through my copious notes and stealing my ideas. Or maybe not.

I love reading.
Managed to knock over 6 books in January and I am feeling rather sickeningly pleased with myself. In case, you’re interested in my vanity, I’ve listed ‘Books read this year’ in the right hand column. Bleugh.

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Identity crises

There are two writers causing some consternation in the lit world at the moment. James Frey who, according to the Smoking Gun, seems to have made up a great swathe of his memoir A Million Little Pieces. The other is J.T.LeRoy.

Writers, truth, memoir and the postmodernist text. Discuss.

UPDATE: I have attempted to discuss this in greater detail at Larvatus Prodeo.

Don’t WHAT?

Audible.com has new advertising bearing the slogan: Don’t read. The ads are in flash and it takes a while for the ‘Listen’ bit to come up. I saw the ad at Wired but it may not be still there.

Not happy Jan.

UPDATE: And via BookSlut, apparently the ALA thinks this is a trademark infringement and has politely asked Audible to stop…

20/20 vision

(Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo).

He doesn’t strike me as an intelligent man – he strikes me as a f—wit, actually – and you see his bowling is absolutely cerebral: every ball is different. It’s almost as if there’s witchcraft in the ball.

This is Dorothy Porter on Shane Warne. This is also my way of justifying a post on cricket. Last night I watched my first 20/20 cricket match and something ‘absolutely cerebral’ was definitely missing from the first 20/20 International held in Australia.

Ok, first impressions: it’s a bit like backyard cricket. I’m not sure of the rules so I don’t know if they have electric wickie, one bounce, one hand, or over-the-fence-your’re out. The way in which the batsmen acquit themselves is not unlike the sloggers of the backyard. Plenty of stepping back, giving one lots of room and exposing the stumps. An abundance of wrenching of balls bowled on the off-stump way onto the onside. Lots of pressure on fielders. Lots of laughing at dropped catches. (I expected the excuses to come from the wired up Graeme Smith: Awww, I had to put down me beer first.)

But as the commentators reminded us until the final ball was bowled, this game is about ENTERTAINMENT. And my, weren’t the crowd, the largest ever at the GABBA apparently, being entertained. So much so that the Mexican Wave was brought into play before South Africa had got halfway through their innings.

South Africa seemed to have forgotten the script and after 10 overs Tony Grieg was reminding us that the South Africans would go all out to get the runs, even though it was obvious to all that the game had gone to pot. Don’t turn off now, there’s still excitement to be had. Of course, there was ENTERTAINMENT. There were breakdancers, there was music. Oh yeah, and there was a cricket match.

The 20/20 slogfest is attractive. But it’s like eating the sponsor’s ‘cuisine’ after a few beers at the RSL. Tastes great at the time but you just know it’s lacking in substance. (And that can’t really be chicken can it?).

Living with people who have NO IDEA about cricket I found myself justifying the reason batsmen don’t play like ‘Marto’ in Test Matches. Because the game is much more complex than a bloke bowling a ball at another bloke trying to hit it over the fence. 20/20 is cricket for the lowest common denominator and even then it fails to live up to expectations. The ‘innovations’ – wired-up captains, shortened boundaries, blaring music, nicknames on shirts (lucky Tubsy Taylor’s not playing eh?) – actually sap the game of any substance such a shortened version may have already had.

Why not make it really interesting and make the bunnies open the batting and bar any recognised bowler from actually bowling? It would make as much sense as the cannabilised version of cricket we saw last night. So I’m a traditionalist, a purist, a wet sock, a spoilsport. I don’t really care. I just hope 20/20 dies a quick and painful death.

Just one question: why was Australia wearing blue/grey?

Oh the humiliation

The life of a writer eh?

Justine Larbalestier kicks off a discussion on the humiliations suffered by writers everywhere.

Typical conversation at a party:

“So you’re a novelist, huh? That’s cool. Will I have heard of you?”
“Well, so far I only have one novel out—”

“Dan Brown has only one novel.”

“Ah, doesn’t Dan Brown have—”

“So, have I heard of you?”

“Well, what kind of novels do you read?”

“Oh, I don’t read novels.”

“Then, no, you won’t have heard of me.”

I’m back and reading

So I haven’t been blogging for a while. I’ ve been on holiday.

Sawtell Main beach

I’ve had a lot to drink and eat over Christmas.

Cake

Got a toddler.

Beach

Insert another excuse here.

And another here.

Anyway, the first refuge of the book blogger who can’t blog is to return to the books one is reading.

As some of you may know, the second half of last year heralded an inexplicable inability to read anything of substance. That seems, thankfully, to have changed. In the past two weeks I have knocked over James Ellroy’s Crime Wave, Philip Gourevitch’s A Cold Case and Roberta Taylor’s memoir Too Many Mothers. (You may know her as, ahem, Gina Gold from the Bill). Surprisingly all were good reads. The Gourevitch was read in one sitting, something I have not done for a long time. Since returning to Sydney from a sojourn north I have acquired a number of books so my reading/buying penchant seems to have returned. Waiting to be read are:

  • Zadie Smith – On Beauty
  • Truman Capote – Summer Crossing
  • Melvyn Bragg – The Soldier’s Return
  • Seamus Heaney – The Redress of Poetry
  • David Foster Wallace – Girl with Curious Hair
  • Paula Fox – Borrowed Finery and The Widow’s Children
  • Brenda Maddox – Rosalind Franklin bio
  • John Shelby Spong – Here I Stand

Perhaps a little ambitious but I am on holidays till the end of January so I’m hopeful.

Anyone read anything / reading anything of note over the holidays?