Monthly Archives: August 2011

Alasdair Gray on Writing and Painting

I can’t wait to see Alasdair Gray’s mural installed in our (common) local subway station, where I’ll surely take lots of photos of his depictions of our neighbourhood. Likewise, I love how he laughs at himself, and his comments on writing:
“Can writing be taught?”
“Of course it is! I couldn’t write before I was taught. That’s why they give it to you in primary schools. No, writing and speaking are all things that have to be learned first. The difference is that some people at certain stage think that they don’t have to learn any more. If you’re very interested in words, then you’d try to keep on learning more. The best way, of course, is by reading other writers — good ones, but even bad ones are better than none to begin with.”



I don’t blog as much as I used to, partly because the community of readers/writers has largely shifted over to Facebook and Twitter (we’ll stipulate some wailing and gnashing of teeth about what’s wrong with that picture), but partly because I’ve used up a lot of the passion that used to go into my posts about what’s wrong with copyright, how higher education should re-situate itself relative to digital media, ways of thinking through hermeneutical issues, the future of the Anglican communion, and so on — and I have no particular taste for repeating myself ad infinitum. That distaste is compounded when it seems as though I was right when I first wrote about a topic, that my premise has gradually become common knowledge apart from me, and that what’s left for me to write about is mostly unbecoming “I told you so, why don’t you give me credit” laments. (I’m reading some material just now that represents arguments that I made twenty years ago, now as someone else’s innovative discovery, so I’m feeling more than ordinarily cranky. No, I will not name names.)

So, all that being said, here are some more links that point to things wrong with copyright and media in the current environment — Inside Higher Education on classrooms and copyright, George Monbiot on the academic publishing industry extortion racket, the Guardian on the relative health of the book-publishing industry (hat tip to Suw “Argleton” Charman — no, really, download it, buy a copy any way you can), and Mark Kermode on the film industry and why it’s not in danger as long as it can make bountiful profits on utterly mediocre films.

One Way In, No Way Out

For other fans of the Mountain Goats only: One of the members of tMG forums started a blog with review-essays about Mountain Goats albums. At first it seemed as though that would be an ample category definition, since John “New Father” Darnielle has released about 3,158 albums, EPs, supplementary collector’s item cassettes, and one-off fundraiser recordings. But I’m complicit in an overlap already — forum colleague Fever and I both offered to write about We Shall All Be Healed. Fever’s essay is more of classical a song-by-song analysis, a kind of essay I specifically didn’t want to write because I feared that I’d make it boringly didactic (a danger Fever deftly avoided); Wild Creature (the sponsor of the enterprise) has in turn now posted my contribution over at Sad Young Cardinals”, and if I hit the correct note, it’s more of a free-prose impression of the narrative world that the album’s songs populate. Anyway, if you like the Mountain Goats, or are just curious to see what my reflection on the world of WSABH (and, for good measure, of Philip K Dick’s A Scanner Darkly looks like, the link to my piece at Sad Young Cardinals is here.

Coincidence? I Think Not!

In a faraway country, some surreptitious malefactor strikes terror into the simulated dairy world: “[A] 115-pound black and white fibreglass cow, owned by Lock City Dairies, was taken from Walmart.”
Meanwhile, closer to home, two more fibreglass prop cows have ben stolen from a location setting for the Brad Pitt vehicle World War Z: “The cheeky thieves carried off the life-size mementoes, despite the film company employing a security guard to prevent such thefts.” Now, apart from obvious questions such as “How does a specially-hired security guard miss the theft of two large fibreglass cow models?” it seems to me that the pressing problem involves the likelihood of an international conspiracy of fibreglass cattle rustlers (or “reivers”, if they’re based over here)!

Before I Fall Asleep

I’m a little embarrassed to be using the blog only for posting sermons, but I suppose that it’s good for me to keep this functioning for some purpose, until the day I get exasperated with writing on corporate platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and return to my own blog. Anyway, I did preach this morning, and although I’d really have liked to give the manuscript a once-over, I didn’t have the energy to smooth out the wrinkles.

I’ll add the text of the sermon below the fold, as they say, but here’s the video recording from St Mary’s website:

(I’m not looking at it, so if Kelvin edited in subliminal messages, or made me sound even more incoherent than I usually do, you can go ahead and laugh, and it won”’t hurt my feelings ’cos I won’t know.)

There were three or four sermons jostling to get onto the manuscript this week, and I suspect that there are places where one would-be sermon manages to elbow into the flow of the actual sermon, and I know there are places I saw a problem in the typed version that I tried to correct, or clarify, spontaneously. On the whole, though,it went very well, and I should sleep pretty intensely tonight.

Continue reading Before I Fall Asleep

Seems Like A Dream

Got me hypnotized…

Dave Barry pointed to this Lobster Trap Webcam located somewhere near Halifax, saying that it had viewers around the world “mesmerised.” Pippa and I checked it out — right now, a starfish and two lobsters are hanging out in the trap, with occasional fishy visitors — and we think that this renders Rickrolling obsolete; from now on, people will have to lobster roll unwitting link-clickers.