The Guardian


Listening to: Burn Black – Hole

Ooh, the Guardian‘s a bit more interesting than usual today (it’s my homepage and there’s been fuck all worth reading lately):

Ten rules for writing fiction. I particularly like Jonathan Franzen’s advice, even though I despise his fiction (Strong Motion? Oh, how I rue the day I picked that up), and Geoff Dyer’s:

If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto­correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: “Niet” becomes “Nietzsche”, “phoy” becomes ­”photography” and so on. ­Genius!

Maybe I should start writing fiction again. I saw my friend R. yesterday (we went to see this) and she asked me if I still did – god, I like the idea of it, anyway. (I can only seem to write when there’s something else I should be doing instead – assignments to write, books to shelve. I’ve never been more prolific than when I worked at the uni library – all those afternoons crouched down in the stacks, scribbling furiously in my notebook when I should have been paying closer attention to the 8-digit call numbers…)

Can you make society more ethical? I can barely bring myself to skim the answers – Comment is Free so rarely brings out the best in people – but what a great conversation to try to have! Oh, and okay, I don’t think anyone reading this actually lives in London, but who wants to come to the panel discussion at the British Museum?

I’m thinking about chartership (everyone seemed to be going for it when I was volunteering at the LL and my boss mentioned it as an option the other day). As someone who didn’t even bother to join ALIA, it’s a strange thing to be thinking about, but maybe it’s time to be more of a careerist – I definitely need to find a way to be more a part of the London or UK library community. Or maybe I should just get another hobby.

P.S. Knit the City – !!! How wonderful!

Listening to: Safe European Home – The Clash

* This is my favourite blog post of all time:

[Courtney Love] says things like, “I’m a catalog artist: I compete with Bob Dylan,” and you nod and go “Okay, yeah,” and then you remember that Courtney Love has only ever recorded four studio albums….Some people get really riled up over that shit…but I think it’s grander than grand. I love exaggeration and hyperbole; I love blowing stuff way the hell out of proportion. Despite being a stick-in-the-mud Capricorn, I’m also a hopeless romantic, and I will always embrace every last one of romantic’s lovely synonyms (i.e., extravagant, exaggerated, wild, imaginative, fantastic, improbable, unreal, fanciful, impractical). Those are all beautiful things to be. Imagine if you always had to experience and process life exactly as life really is? That would just be the pits!

(nogoodforme.com)

* I had no idea Muse were so popular, but observe the listening habits of London vs. Adelaide (or pretty much any other Australian city). Are they still around? Who knew? Have they been prolific? (via web-goddess)

* Apparently, if you’re in Adelaide now and you start digging, you will eventually end up halfway between Morocco and Canada (wear bathers). (via diamond geezer)

* Helena Bonham Carter is so cool.

* Heather, I haven’t done this in nearly a year and it just took me a shocking amount of time to remember which one was Uzbekistan. I can’t believe I wasted so much time at the old job playing Bubble Shooter instead.

* BBC album reviews. Hours of fun.

* I rewatched Saving Face and a lot of Degrassi Junior High this weekend. I have almost perfected my Canadian accent (well, as long as the only things I say are “aboot”, “I like ‘im” and “Kathleen!”).

* I also cycled to Clapham Junction and finally started to wish that the weather was a bit warmer. Sort of. It’s a pretty good route for cycle lanes, though, so that’s a plus – once this week’s travel card runs out, it’s time to start riding to work again!

And please keep your fingers crossed that I score a ticket to That Mitchell and Webb Look at the end of the month! I haven’t done BBC things in ages!

(Today’s fortune cookie says “YOU NEED NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR FUTURE”. Okay then.)

Listening to: Back to the Old House – The Smiths

Also, this Steve Bell cartoon from a couple of days ago amused me:

Steve Bell - David Cameron

(David Cameron.)

Listening to: The Last Time I Saw Richard – Joni Mitchell

“Icelanders are the least hung-up people in the world.” That’s kind of a ridiculous blanket statement to make, but this is still a really interesting article about Icelandic attitudes to families and relationships and life, and how that affects the lives of Icelandic women in particular:

The comfort of knowing that, come what may, the future for the children is safe also helps explain why Icelandic women, modern as they are (Iceland elected the world’s first female president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a single mother, 28 years ago), persist in the ancient habit of bearing children very young. ‘Not unwanted teen pregnancies, you understand,’ said Oddny, ‘but women of 21, 22 who willingly have children, very often while they are still at university.’ At a British university a pregnant student would be an oddity; in Iceland, even at the business-oriented Reykjavik University, it is not only common to see pregnant girls in the student cafeteria, you see them breast-feeding, too. ‘You extend your studies by a year, so what?’ said Oddny. ‘No way do you think when you have a kid at 22, “Oh my God, my life is over!” Definitely not! It is considered stupid here to wait till 38 to have a child. We think it’s healthy to have lots of kids. All babies are welcome.’

All the more so because if you are in a job the state gives you nine months on fully paid child leave, to be split among the mother and the father as they so please. ‘This means that employers know a man they hire is just as likely as a woman to take time off to look after a baby,’ explained Svafa Grönfeldt, currently rector of Reykjavik University, previously a very high-powered executive. ‘Paternity leave is the thing that made the difference for women’s equality in this country.’

Listening to: Silica – Kristin Hersh

People! The Guardian is doing Great Poets of the 20th Century, and T.S. Eliot is first.

There is an interesting interview with Courtney Love in today’s Guardian. I mean, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, really, but it’s always nice to read an article written by someone who respects her. I would much rather read about her “sprawling intelligence” and “keen beauty” than how fucked up people think she is. I like the way Laura Barton has put her plastic surgery into context, and presents Courtney Love as a complex, interesting and whole person.

Courtney Love is so interesting to me. The way she is perceived – the role that the media have assigned her, the things that are written about her, the shorthand she has become – is the clearest example I can think of of the prevailing sexism in popular culture. You know, I’m wary of throwing these sorts of statements around too cavalierly, but I really feel that Courtney Love is so widely villified because she’s a woman.

(I think she’s magnificent and I still want to be her when I grow up.)