A fun filled couple of weeks, new counters leading to now we need a back splash, which is a whole new shopping experience still happening. Off to shopping again today who knew tile would be so difficult to buy, then there is the doubt about the installation, off to youtube videos for that.
Reading wise it has been great, I stated off with Charles Yu’s How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe, which a unique funny, engaging time travel story, if you enjoy science fiction the constant reference will amuse, ultimately though it is the story of one mans search for his father.
I then moved on to Alistair Reynolds Pushing Ice, which at times had overtones of Alien with it’s working space ship setting, Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama with the mysterious large object in space needing investigation and soap opera with the relationship difficulties an isolated group of humans hurtling through space at the mercy of the unknown would face. The ending is a breathtaking achievement and was difficult to put down for a moment. A hugely entertaining piece of hard science fiction.
The final book I finished was A Princess of Mars. Previously I think I have read one book by Burroughs and that may have been Tarzan or The Land That Time Forgot after watching the movie. This time the same thing happened, we went to see the John Carter movie. Realistically we expected very little not least of all because it is a Disney movie. This means for me the movie comes with baggage as Disney really hasn’t made a great live action movie for a long time. With John Carter it seems they have remembered their roots with adventure movies such as 10,000 Leagues and those great genre movies they made in the dim and distant past. It had to help having an author like Michael Chabon help with the script. Anyway the movie is a fun filled action-adventure romp, no it probably will not win any Oscars but it will reward viewing again I believe. After watching the movie my first question was is the book as good, so I looked online and downloaded the first three in the Martian series by Burroughs and found the answer to be yes. Like the movie it is not high art but it is fun and action filled. I was also struck at the richness of Burroughs language. He is writing a popular pulp story but he does not hold back on the language or talk down to his audience, it just makes me think that our vocabulary as a society has diminished, we are also discouraged from taking the time to fully describe settings and experiences for the reader, so much is in short hand nowadays.
It is amazing to think of the number of authors Burroughs has influenced with his novels, from Michael Moorcock to Michael Chabon, Philip Jose Farmer, Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles was a re-imagining of Mars because of Burroughs, and so many others. Tarzan and his infamous yodel are now part of our collective consciousness. He also helped define a genre as it was in it’s adolescence.
Listening has been based on my hope of going to Cropredy this year, which is now not going to happen. I have discovered three wonderful new bands in Ellen and the Escapades. Larkin Poe and Brother and Bone all three write great songs with Brother and Bone being a definite rock band anyone going to Cropredy this year will enjoy all three I’m sure but the big discovery for me was the new Albion Band album that arrived this week. A rebirth of the Albion Band without Ashley Hutchings just seems wrong. The band has always been a collective and the bands best album Rise Up Like The Sun was the one with the least Hutchings input apparently but the vision has always been his. So now we have a new band with young performers trading under the Albion Band name. Many find this idea difficult to accept although a cursory listen Vice of the People will I am sure win over the naysayers. It is a loud album definitely on the rock end of the folk-rock spectrum but with enough sense of the tradition of the music as well as the name of the band to make it a worthy addition to the Albion Band catalog. None of the performers on the album need to spend any more time to defend the work, it stand on it’s own, in fact it is in my mind preferable to more of the twee and at times overly precious attempts the Albion Band has made over the years, of course I always did like them best when they rocked. The versions of Roll Over Vaughn Williams and One More Day are performed with confidence and a contemporary feel. Coalville and Thieves Song as original songs sit nicely with the more traditional tunes and the Albion favorites already mentioned. I am excited by the band and the hope for more albums to come as they may be the most exciting folk-rock band out there which I believe is something that has been said of the Albion Band before.