Another month gone already. It feels like no time at all since I wrote my last link roundup, but here we are again. This month I’ve mostly been reading The Bone Clocks & Wonderbook, but in between there’s been a number of good articles.
I’ve been a fan of David Mitchell since reading Cloud Atlas in my early twenties. Since then, I have enjoyed almost everything he has written, so I was excited to finally get round to The Bone Clocks. I’ve somehow never tackled it, possibly because at 500 pages it’s quite a time investment.
I mentioned in a previous post how I was inspired to share more of my writing byShow Your Work! by Austin Kleon. This little book has been surprisingly helpful in sharing work, but also producing it. Six weeks into following some of the principles, I thought I would expand on how it has helped me.
I’ve been hugely excited to listen to the new Radiohead album A Moon Shaped Pool. It’s really good, thankfully. There’s lush, layered sounds and a strange type of orchestration, with genuine emotion in a number of the songs.
One of the absolute highlights of the album comes at the end, with True Love Waits. It was included on a live album, I Might Be Wrong, but has never had a proper release. On the new album it is starkly different, stripped down with the main instrumentation on piano not guitar. The singing is more vulnerable and painful. It’s...
Here, in no particular order, are some things I enjoyed over the last month:
Riggan: How about Jeremy Renner?
Riggan: Jeremy Renner. He was nominated. He was the Hurt Locker guy.
Jake: Oh, okay. He's an Avenger.
Riggan: Fuck, they put him in a cape too?
One of the best and most inspired films I’ve seen recently is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a fantastic multi-layered meta commentary on hollywood and the creation of art. It features Michael Keaton as an middle-aged actor struggling to make what he sees as ‘real art’, after playing a superhero called ‘Birdman’ twenty years ago. This superhero, or...
I picked this short novella up recently and devoured it in about a day. Having previously read some of Ian McEwan’s later novels such as Saturday and On Chesil Beach, I wasn’t expecting such a violent and horrible little story. It deals with four children left abandoned in their house when both their parents die, and the unpleasantness that follows their isolation.
After I published my first book of short stories, Amber Stars, I took a week off writing. I enjoyed the achievement of actually finishing a project and publishing a book. So I kicked back, read some books, browsed the web a lot and created absolutely nothing.
Then after a week of slacking off, I started waking up at six again. I deleted unnecessary apps, stopped wasting time on websites and got back to work. I started writing again. Austin Kleon’s Share Your Work! helped me refocus on what I want to do. It gave me a kick up...
In the past month, I’ve been messing around with a strange form of ‘writing’ called blackout poems. I was inspired by Austin Kleon, who helped popularise the form. Since then, hundreds of people have ran with it, creating new and different poetry using existing texts.
It’s a really interesting format that has a lot of potential. You take a newspaper article, pick some words and scribble out the rest. Weird phrases and snippets of almost poetry emerge. It reminds me of William Burrough’s cut up technique, where he would re-arrange his sentences at random. The resulting poems are reliant on the...
The live music experience is still thriving, even as CD sales fall. For many bands, it is the primary way of making a living. It seems odd that even as we devalue recorded music, live music has stayed important. I believe it comes down to the experience.
A live performance is special partly because it is a shared experience. Even if you attend a gig by yourself, you are surrounded by like minded fans and the band. We are social creatures at heart and being physically present with others adds a power and intensity to the experience. You are forced...
Last Saturday, somewhat spontaneously, I went to see High Rise, the newest film by Ben Wheatley. I’d previously seen Sightseers and A Field in England and enjoyed them both. The later wasn’t wholly successful, but it felt very different to any other film I’d seen before.
High Rise looks like his most conventional film yet, given its slick advertising and Hollywood stars like Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller. However, it manages to be much more shocking and unconventional.
Last Good Friday, I found myself hunched over the computer, fiddling with styles and formatting while outside was bright sunshine. It was all in aid of getting my first collection of short stories published, Amber Stars.
The book started as a couple of stories and ideas I was playing around with in private. I wrote Welcome Home and The Underworld mostly for myself. It was an exercise in keeping my fingers busy. I often have quite a few writing projects on the go and these stories were just another one I was going to keep to myself. My tendency is to...
Why not take five minutes out of your day to watch this:
It’s an incredible machine made by Wintergatan. Overly complicated and intricate, it is fully programmable and has the ability to play the melody, bass and drums all at the same time while changing key halfway through the song. It took the artist fourteen months to build.