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October 6, 2006
[books] Passing the Gladwell Point — some interesting criticisms of Malcolm Gladwell‘At times, lately, Mr. Gladwell sounds like someone trying to tell other people about something he read once in a Malcolm Gladwell piece, after a few rounds of drinks.’ [via Kottke’s Links]
October 4, 2006
[books] Steven Johnson on The Ghost Map — a ‘book trailer’ on YouTube about Steven Johnson’s new book on cholera, london, medicine and cities. [via Kottke’s Links]
October 3, 2006
[search] i feel better after i type to you — a book reporting the 254 page search history of one AOL user in May 2006 … ‘The text in this book is pseudo-anonymous autobiography stored as proprietary corporate data which was de facto released into the public domain.’ [via As Above]
September 30, 2006
[books] An Evening with J.G. Ballard — a transcript of an interview and questions with the author of Empire of the Sun and Crash‘At the end of the last century, people would ring me up and ask me my views about the future. I said I can sum up the future in one word — it’s going to be boring. Vast suburbs that extend around the planet: utter boredom, broken by acts of unpredictable violence. The man in the supermarket who opens fire with a machine gun. And the suicide bomber, a man who has nothing, setting off a bomb in a desperate way to prove himself. The idea of meaningless violence, which I looked at in my previous novel Millennium People, has a huge appeal. I can understand that. It’s in the roots of one’s childhood — all children smash their toys. The trouble, of course, is that people get killed.’ [via As Above]
September 11, 2006
[books] Ellroy’s Dark Places — interview with James Ellroy‘Ellroy recently moved back to Los Angeles, where he is completing the final instalment of his “Underworld USA” trilogy, which began with American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand. Keenly anticipated, the novel deals with America between 1968 and 1972, but that’s just about all he’ll reveal. “It’s going very well,” he says. Any idea when it’s going to be finished? “Not the slightest.” What is it about? “America, 1968 to 1972.” Does it have a title? “Yes, but I’m not telling anyone.” ‘
September 1, 2006
[books] Cool Tools on the book ‘Moving Heavy Things’‘Applied Sloth – As stated in the stagehand’s axiom: “Never lift what you can drag, never drag what you can roll, never roll what you can leave.” Creativity germinates in indolence, and the cleverest people are often the laziest: they are always looking for an easier way. The easiest way is often the simplest, most direct, and the best way.’ [via Limbic Nutrition]
August 30, 2006
[books] AN Wilson is a Shit‘It is, at first glance, a tantalising insight into the love life of one of the nation’s most celebrated poets. The letter from Sir John Betjeman to his mistress must have seemed almost too good to be true when it fell into the lap of AN Wilson, the late poet laureate’s biographer. It was so convincing that Wilson included it in his new book about Betjeman as evidence of a hitherto unknown “fling”. But it was indeed too good to be true. It now seems Wilson was the victim of an elaborate hoax. The poet, who was born 100 years ago today, never penned the note. The telltale sign that the letter is a joke is that the capital letters at the start of each sentence spell out “AN Wilson is a shit”…’
August 21, 2006
[books] What I Have Read Since 1974 — a list of every book one man has read – from The Digging-est Dog to The Great Influenza.
August 17, 2006
[redrum] Will’s Room — 71 Photos of Will Self’s Writing Room – if you look very closely you will see ‘Redrum’ repeatedly written on each Post-it in the photos.
August 15, 2006
[tv] Jon Ronson is blogging at Amazon.com and the Guardian’s Comment is Free‘It is a Friday in December. I have now been dressed as Santa for five hours. The heating in our house in on full-blast. The costume was itchy when I put it on all those hours ago. Now I feel as if I am covered in ants. “I need to take the beard off,” I say. “No!” yells Joel, my four-year-old son. “I’m getting a rash,” I say. “Please stay with me, Santa,” says Joel.’
August 10, 2006
[ronson] Hello Jon Ronson. Yes, the bloggers are watching you… Just be thankful we are not the Secret Rulers of the World.

evidence of jon ronson's ego-surfing

My advice to you is relax, and perhaps don’t ego-surf so dilligently. I only posted that link to the Chosen Ones two hours ago… Shouldn’t you be working?
August 7, 2006
[books] Support Abby: Buy Girl With A One Track Mind on Amazon Here.
[books] The Digested Read: Positively Happy by Noel Edmonds‘Allowing room for the good things means letting go of the bad. That’s why, although I’m happy to talk about all my other TV programmes, you won’t find a single word here about the Late Late Breakfast Show, in which a member of the public died performing a pointless and dangerous stunt.’
July 18, 2006
[books] Mickey Spillane Obituary‘As an author of pulp, Spillane’s guiding principle was that “violence will outsell sex every time”, but combined they will outsell everything. As part of the promotion for his novels he adopted a Hammeresque persona which was transparently an act. He once informed a British interviewer, “I always say never hit a woman when you can kick her.” When asked “is that the treatment you give Mrs Spillane?”, Spillane primly replied, “we’re talking about fiction.” There were three Mrs Spillanes…’
July 11, 2006
[books] The Myth Maker — a profile of H. P. Lovecraft by Michel Houellebecq … ‘Few beings have ever been so impregnated, pierced to the core, by the conviction of the absolute futility of human aspiration. The universe is nothing but a furtive arrangement of elementary particles. A figure in transition toward chaos. That is what will finally prevail. The human race will disappear. Other races in turn will appear and disappear. The skies will be glacial and empty, traversed by the feeble light of half-dead stars. These too will disappear. Everything will disappear. And human actions are as free and as stripped of meaning as the unfettered movement of the elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, sentiments? Pure “Victorian fictions”. All that exists is egotism. Cold, intact and radiant.’
July 10, 2006
[comics] Steve Bell’s cover to The British CB Book from 1981 …

steve bell's cover to the british cb book 1981


July 5, 2006
[kipple] More on Kipple … J.R.Isidore explaining Kipple to Pris: ‘Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers of yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.’
[wikipedia] My Wikipedia Contrail: Kipple‘Kipple is a term coined by science fiction author Philip K. Dick in the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It refers to unwanted or useless junk that tends to reproduce itself. Some of Dick’s descriptions of it suggest an analogy to entropy. According to two characters from the book, John Isidore stated that the first law of “kipple” is that “kipple” drives out “nonkipple”;’
May 22, 2006
[nlp] Don’t worry, get Therapy — Jon Ronson profiles NLP, Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler‘Throughout the interview, I’m sitting on a low sofa with Bandler standing above me. Something suddenly dawns on me. “If I was standing and you were sitting,” I ask, “would I be forming different opinions of you?” “Yeah,” he says, “of course.” “So, are you deliberately positioning yourself in my hopes and desires eyeline?” I ask. There’s a silence. Bandler smiles to himself. “No,” he says. “My leg hurts. That’s why I’m standing up.”‘
May 5, 2006
[lists] Borges’ List of Animals‘1. those that belong to the Emperor’ [via 43 Folders]
April 20, 2006
[films] Film of the Book: Top 50 Adaptations Revealed — a list of best book to film adaptations includes Frank Miller’s Sin City.
March 26, 2006
[books] Harper Lee Tops Librarians’ Must-Read List — the librarians were asked: Which book should every adult read before they die?
March 12, 2006
[books] The Man Who Hated Pooh‘The biggest regret in EH Shepard’s life was agreeing to illustrate Winnie the Pooh for AA Milne, as it resulted in the bulk of his work, even during his lifetime, being completely overshadowed. In his later years, Shepard was heard to describe Pooh as “that silly old bear” and resented his close identification with Milne’s books…’
March 8, 2006
[blogs] Blogging book competition hots up — shortlist for Blogger Book Prize includes Belle de Jour and eggbaconchipsandbeans … Russell Davies: ‘”I was looking for something to blog about that was not a picture of a cat,” Mr Davies told the BBC News website, explaining his choice of subject matter. “I’m drawn to a full English,” he said, referring to the colloquial term for a fried breakfast.’
February 24, 2006
[blogs] Malcolm Gladwell’s Blog‘In the past year I have often been asked why I don’t have a blog. My answer was always that I write so much, already, that I don’t have time to write anything else. But, as should be obvious, I’ve now changed my mind.’ [via Metafilter]
January 20, 2006
[blogs] This Blog Will Change Your Life — what happens if you spend a year following the instructions in This Book Will Change Your Life‘A day of compliments. Flatter someone today and see if it does indeed get you anywhere. “Gee, that sure is a splendid mustache comb.”‘
January 15, 2006
[books] Burning Down the Sixties — oldish interview with James Ellroy. On Oliver Stone’s JFK: …

‘That movie is electrifying for the first 45 minutes because it hints at Cuba. It never hints at the mob, and it’s too bad, because it is the mob. You know, it’s the mob-renegades-CIA-crazy-Cuban-exiles nexus, and anything else is horse shit. I would believe the single-gunman theory before I would believe the military-industrial complex theory. It’s preposterous. “Gentlemen, I’ll give you your damn war.” Ha! War this! [points to his crotch]’

January 4, 2006
[books] Spotted on Amazon.co.uk: The Further Adventures of Belle De Jour‘What Belle de Jour did next… From becoming an agony aunt, to hanging up her stilettos and finding love with a man who knows all about her past…’ [Delicious: Posts with belledejour Tag]
December 4, 2005
[food] Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good — exerpt from Fast Food Nation‘[As] he opened each bottle, I dipped a fragrance-testing filter into it — a long white strip of paper designed to absorb aroma chemicals without producing off notes. Before placing each strip of paper in front of my nose, I closed my eyes. Then I inhaled deeply, and one food after another was conjured from the glass bottles. I smelled fresh cherries, black olives, sautéed onions, and shrimp. Grainger’s most remarkable creation took me by surprise. After closing my eyes, I suddenly smelled a grilled hamburger. The aroma was uncanny, almost miraculous — as if someone in the room were flipping burgers on a hot grill. But when I opened my eyes, I saw just a narrow strip of white paper and a flavorist with a grin.’
November 18, 2005
[books] Blink: The Movie — Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink to be turned into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio?! ‘…we were curious to hear what [Gladwell] had in mind for the movie. He tells us, “It takes a single character from Blink — Silvan Tompkins — and fashions an entirely new story around him, about what it means to be someone who can read other people’s thoughts.”‘
November 13, 2005
[books] If You Haven’t A Clue — profile of Ben Schott‘The curious thing about Schott is that, despite his arcane tastes and instincts for privacy, he has a highly marketable persona: the blend of self-assurance and innocence you find in polished talkshow guests, and a nice turn of phrase. (“Google is about as good as going into the street and saying, ‘Does anyone know how much the registration threshold for VAT went up?’ And someone goes, ‘I think it’s 49,000.’ And you go, ‘Oh, 49,000, great.’ That’s Google.”)’
November 9, 2005
[books] The Curious Case of Malcolm Gladwell — profile of the author Blink‘Henry Finder says that Gladwell’s “real accomplishment is to develop a new genre of journalism — ‘a Gladwell piece.’ Everybody knows what you mean by that — a piece with an argument that is bound together by narrative and character, which often makes you take a second look at things you take for granted…”‘
October 22, 2005
[macs] Mainly Neat Stuff — web site covering vintage Apple Computers and curios like a second-hand Mac IIfx belonging to Douglas Adams‘I started up MacWrite Pro and noticed that it was registered to “Douglas Adams, Serious Productions Ltd”.’
October 13, 2005
[bdj] Weidenfeld & Nicolson Acquire New Book by Belle de Jour‘Provisionally entitled THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BELLE DE JOUR, the deal was closed after a great deal of arm-twisting and financial persuasion…’ [thanks Phil]
October 3, 2005
[blogs] Eggbaconchipsandbeans Book Deal … great news from one of my favourite blogs‘This strange little site has morphed into a strange little book. Due out the middle of October and already being discounted by Amazon. Which may not bode well.’ [via Pete’s Linklog | EBCB on Amazon UK]
August 2, 2005
[books] Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2005 … Detective Winner: ‘Patricia wrote out the phrase ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ exactly seventy-two times, which was the same number of times she stabbed her now quickly-rotting husband, and the same number of pages she ripped out of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ by Greg Behrendt to scatter around the room — not because she was obsessive compulsive, or had any sentimental attachment to the number seventy-two, but because she’d always wanted to give those quacks at CSI a hard time.’
July 16, 2005
[books] The alternative Harry Potter (link contains Spoilers) — In the Style of James Ellroy: ‘Dig that Hogwarts vibe. Potter foresaw it was going down. The howler came that morning. It howled that his presence was required in the Room of Requirement. Potter knew things were gonna go baaaad. He knew this was a mess even the Sorting Hat couldn’t sort out.’
July 14, 2005
[comics] The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick — comic strip by Robert Crumb from Weirdo #17 … ‘It is an interesting graphic interpretation of a series of events which happened to Dick in March of 1974. He spent the remaining years of his life trying to figure out what happened in those fateful months. You will find all 8 pages of this story here.’
[books] How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later — essay by Philip K. Dick‘It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question “What is reality?”, to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real. One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That’s all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven’t been able to define reality any more lucidly.’
July 6, 2005
[books] The Invisible Library‘The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books. Within the library’s catalog you will find imaginary books, pseudobiblia, artifictions, fabled tomes, libris phantastica, and all manner of books unwritten, unread, unpublished, and unfound.’
June 30, 2005
[tv] In Cold Blood — JG Ballard on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation‘The series unfolds within an almost totally interiorised world, a clue to its real significance. The crimes – they are all homicides – take place in anonymous hotel rooms and in the tract housing of the Vegas and Miami suburbs, almost never in a casino or druglord’s gaudy palace. A brutal realism prevails, the grimmest in any crime series. Suburban lounges and that modern station of the cross, the hotel bathroom, are the settings of horrific murders, which thankfully are over by the time each episode begins. Gloves donned, the cast dismantle u-bends and plunge up to their elbows in toilet bowls, retrieving condoms, diaphragms and bullet casings, syringes, phials and other signs of the contemporary zodiac.’
June 12, 2005
[bdj] The Iain Sinclair Inteview — from Londonist with a mention of Alan Moore and discussion on the identity of Belle de Jour. Londonist: ‘…it seems too restrained to be Stewart Home.’ Sinclair: I’m sure it isn’t. Once the thing was up and running I could see him stepping in and doing something, but I think you’d be able to tell from the language if it was Stewart Home.’ [More: Yet Another Belle de Jour Suspect… | Will the real Belle de Jour please stand up?]
May 6, 2005
[books] Dracula Blogged — Bram Stoker’s Dracula published as a blog using the calendar in the book … Jonathan Harker: ‘I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt. I fear. I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul. God keep me, if only for the sake of those dear to me!’
April 21, 2005
[books] The Article that Changed the World — The Guardian on book subtitles … ‘What all these “changed the world” titles have in common is a lack of self-confidence. Unsure that readers will want to buy a book about sugar or sewing machines or radio in Canada, publishers over-gild their lilies. In a sense, yes, all these things have changed the world, but only in a general sense that everything that exists changes the world.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
April 12, 2005
[bdj] Will the real Belle de Jour please stand up? — Jane Perrone emails Stewart Home to find out if he is Belle de Jour … Home on BdJ: ‘I’m no more interested in who Belle ‘really is’ than I am interested in who Jack The Ripper ‘really’ was. The endless speculation about the identity of such figures serves only to obscure any understanding of them.’
April 6, 2005
[bdj] The web’s Belle de Jour? — the Evening Standard proposes another suspect for BdJ — an author called Stewart Home. I’ve been sent two files of information mentioned in the Standard by verysunnymeadow (a prolific commenter on The Book Club Blog’s investigations into BdJ). Both articles are linked below:

  • ‘Belle De Jour’ Identified As Male London Novelist‘With the Belle diary, while the forensics suggest even to the most sceptical observer that he has, at the very least, an extremely strong case to answer, the nearest I’ve heard of his making an admission is a touch on the side of the nose, given furtively to a mutual friend who was about to raise suspicions a little too high at a party.’
  • Clues that Stewart Home is Belle de Jour‘As readers of “Belle de Jour’s” book will know, Belle mentions several male friends and lovers. However, there is one male friend who gets mentioned in the weblog but not in the book. This is “SH”, a reference to Stewart Home, the real author.’

March 27, 2005
[bdj] Named: the Belle de Jour of the net — The Sunday Times writes up Belle de Hypothesis and outs Lisa Hilton as Belle de Jour… She kinda, sorta denies it: ‘I am afraid I can neither confirm nor deny (involvement). I really do not want to say it is not me, because I do not want to engage to that extent. I really do not want anything to do with it. I have never read any of this woman’s writing. I know nothing about her. As far as I can see it is just tittle-tattle and coincidence.’ [Related: Belle Updated Last Night]
March 16, 2005
[bdj] Belle de Hypothesis (Fictional Account of a London Publishing Scam) — a neatly-detailed conspiracy theory about Belle de Jour being the work of a bunch of writers from the Erotic Review‘The second stage of the project is the delivery. The ER’s circulation is XK and declining. Why not, says RP, harness the power of the internet to show how thoroughly modern our heroine is, and as an adjunct reach out to an entirely new readership in the evolving blogosphere, reach out to the future tweed wearers while they still have beards and sandals or even better, Ipods. The blog must be simple (Blogger, basic template) not be based on exact events (too easy to check, identify, and must be anonymous, to show that necessary element of guilt, naughtiness and suspense to complete the formula.’ [via The Book Club Blog]
March 11, 2005
[comics] No complaints about ‘Doonesbury’ tribute to Hunter S. Thompson — article about Garry Trudeau’s tribute to Hunter S. Thompson … ‘For Trudeau’s Duke, in the end, is a character far more sinister than the self-created, self-destructive gonzo artist who shot himself last month. Duke has a “predatory nature,” the cartoonist explained. Once parachuted into a hot spot such as Haiti, Kuwait, Panama or Iraq, his “relentless opportunism” will always take over. He stands for “a certain kind of mad unconditionality. Duke is never ambivalent, never in personal conflict. His take is resolutely binary: Is this in my self-interest or not? It’s a kind of weird state of grace.”‘ [via The Comics Reporter]
March 8, 2005
[comics] Doonesbury: Duke has ‘…some nasty karmic shift.’ [Useful: Doonesbury RSS Feed]