Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"last night's notes" - [ahem]

Tardily late (rather than fashionably), finally here are the notes from our most recent Bookclub.

And, although these things now have years inbetween, I won't use that as any excuse. Instead, moving (ie throwing away 80%) of my junk has been a bit time-consuming (as has the "which box did I put that damn notepad in...?")

Now, with my notes to hand ... oh hold on...... hmm, it turns out we were all talking at the same time for most of the time (no one holding a book and demanding respect!) which has led to a crazed scrawl with several gaps. Apologies in advance...

Right, firstly, what we're all up to....

Dave is a brand mechanic for those engines of civilisation - cities. Hopefully he'll use his considerable powers for Good and not Evil.... the world awaits. I'm confident that it will only be for Good as one of Dave's most memorable quotes was "Fatherhood has turned me into a huge man-rose."
Paul is going all oldskool and using spreadsheets to see how music socially, erm, spreads.
Ben is even more sensitive to the world around him (and maybe evenb the worlds around and between that).

Rich hasn't moved on much, except to finally move from the home of the last [cough]teen years.

Ben - Books:
Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess.
Great for a "sustained period of picking up a book". Its both a "big book" but also "learned", "fantastic" and an "ambient masterpiece".

Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Is "nourishing" and "page turning" and a bit like Phillip Roth.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Manages to make Cromwell a "great bloke", a hero and she has "brought the whole thing to life".

Wild Wood by Roger Deacon
(another) "deeply deeply nourishin book"

Pucker Pooks Hill by Rudyard Kipling
He revisits England [at this point I ran out of page to write notes on. but it was 5 books by that time....]

Coraline - Neil Gaimon
"A frightening book"

Girl with a Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
"A page turner making you turn the light off 1/2 an hour later each night"

Frank Miller's Frankenstein

Dave - Books:
The Act of Creation - Arthur Koestler
"Inspired me .... to think"
Thnks outside of disciplines and asks "Where does creative thought come from?"

The Ask - Sam Lypsite
Wry take on trends ("New York social fetish") - an all round satire on modern life.

The wind up bird chronicles - Haruki Murakami
"Wonderful intricate detailed world - I don' give a shit"
[this is exactly as I worte it down - can't quie remember the context at the end there...]

Cities & Civilisation - Peter Hall
Stages in history. 3 forces in history
Technology, Economics, People.

Fold - Tom Cambell
A Poker novel

Pleasure of Hating - William Hazlitt
Way of getting on with the people he's with.

Tale of a Tub - Jonathan Swift
"Great satire... meanings upon meanings"

Paul - Books:
The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Moore
"Dark, funny, mixes everything up to create an enjoyable world".

Time of Gifts - Patrick Lee Firmer
Between the Woods and the Water
"Never been so gripped by a travel book... writing is exquisite... words like balm"
"Amazing story. Rumblings of war. Writing poetry. Wanting to learn languages. An inquiring mind. Europe back then. Not ashamed to be an inellectual."

Tales of King Arthur - John Steinbeck
"If I'd read at 20, I'd read the narrative. Now I read the influences; analogy of life is like..." [here the notes stop - a shame, but a great reason to read this to see what analogy Paul was talking about]

Rich - Books:
The Age of Wonder - Richard Holmes
A history of the beginnings of Science. Tales of extraordinary lives and stories.
Great but tiring about 3rd way through. Its a solid book with light elements but like the Herschels, some parts require patience and concentration.

Rip it up and start again - Simon Reynolds
A personal history of post punk music in the UK and US.
Great for geting across one man's (and thus everyone's) passion for music. It also gets across the fact that Punk was a way of thinking, rather than simply a raucous art form. And it certainly wasn't the regurgitated 50's rawk and roll of New York Dolls and Stooges.

The Rest is Noise - Alex Ross
A history of modern classical music from late 19th century to today. It is brilliant, although I should have used the audio guide (online) to help me as I didn't understand any of the technical descriptions of the music.
Yet I still enjoyed it!!

Ben - Music:

Midlake - "My band of 2010"
"Trials of van Occupanther"
"On the cover is some kind of Medieval forest with animals in gimp clothes"
"Within 4 or 5 notes my favourite band"
"Whole album is a thing"
"Drenched production"
"Talent talent talent talent"
Notable albums -
Courage of others

Dave - Music:
Synth Britannia (on the TV).
Eels - Days of the daisies galaxies
Like Belle & Sebastien - whimisical, can move between death and...[?]
"I'm relaxing to Wagner"

Paul Music:
Fever Ray - "instant have to hear more"
Midlake - Courage of others
Kraftwerk - Man Machine
Beatles - "their early youthful passion"
Phillip Glass - Violin Concerto
"combining lyricism and metronomic [pulse]"
Schubert - Vinterreiser
Vaughn Williams - Songs of travel
2 versions - piano and orchestral.

Rich - Music:
Has been listening to stuff he should have heard the first time round (Talking Heads, Brian Eno, 2 many DJs, and lots more).
Only thing to recommend are pieces from Polar Bear - Peepers.
"Driving, accessible, urgent, fun". "Very accessible [jazz] music" (as well as completely inaccessible harsh experimental jazz).
Try tracks 1,2,6 for accessible stuff, 4,5,7,8,9, for more serene stuff.
Avoid track 3 as its "horrible"

and over all, a wonderful night.

Let it not be years before we do this (or anything else!) again.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

confirmation of last nights recs

Hi all,

great to see everyone last night. My apologies for my inability to remember details of my recs:

Wagner's Das Rheingold was the piece of music which Herzog so beautifully and frighteningly uses at the beginning of Nosferatu.

Charles Mackay's Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of Crowds is a series of essays on all matters including economics. but my favourite recently was on London Words

My other music recommendation was Eels Daisies of the Galaxy - I couldn't remember his name, becuase he doesn't appear to have one.

finally - we talked a lot about data visualisations - perhaps too much. but thought you might be interested in one of my favourite Ted Talks from Hans Rosling.

and his update is to the original is also very good.

good to see you all - and look forward to seeing all your recommendations here.