A brief schedule update before we start. TLC and I will be away next week, so there’s a possibility Chapter 16 may be delayed, running short, or both. The fact we will be in the wilds and away from people during the week of Royalist Foolishness is entirely coincidental. Enjoy your bunting and coronation chicken samosas if you choose to celebrate. We’ll be up a hill somewhere, plotting the inevitable demise of the parasitic monarchy.
Wherever you are, whenever you are, however you are, welcome to The Swipe.
Rob is reading…
Stone Heart Deep by Paul Bassett Davies. A nice twist on the ‘strange things happening in an isolated island community’ genre. Paul nails the creeping sense of dread and paranoia, with a smart science fictional twist.
Rob is watching…
This Korean breakfast master at work. Apart from the skill, dedication and precision on display, doesn’t this kick the idea of an Egg McMuffin into the long grass?
Rob is listening…
To new Foos, obviously.
Rob is eating…
Bimpy’s Pizza. Another goodie from Dan Pelosi. If the weather’s good over the bank holiday I might try this in the Kamado Joe we bought each other as an anniversary present last year. Pizza in 90 seconds? Oh yeah!
If you’re on Twitter at all, you will have come across dril. His output is angry, surreal yet strangely insightful. There is a dril quote which can be of use for every occasion. It may seem dril is the deranged output of an overclocked AI, but there is a person behind the madness. Elno Muskrat is a fan. Make of that what you will.
This amazing graphic shows just how high you have to go to reach the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. It’s brilliantly done, and although the physical contact is the same, it’s the opposite of doom scrolling. You will feel that bit smarter for checking it out, trust me.
Climate fiction has been a trope of the SF scene for longer than you think, in the same way environmental protest did not just crop up in the last five years. Speculative near-future tales are now sneaking into the mainstream. Jeff Vandermeer, who has form in the subject, argues there is little of real meaning in these stories. It’s just another setting. Post-apocalypt-fic.
Language is a virus. As such, it mutates and reconfigures to better reinfect the host. Anyone who claims slang and argot are debasing our culture is clearly missing the point. Change is what keeps the conversation fresh. I mean, even Shakespeare made up words when he needed to get an idea across…
Ted Gioia is doing some remarkable work at the mo. He’s publishing his brilliant new book on music in chapters through his Substack—for free! Like all the best music criticism, it ain’t all about the tunes or the tunesmiths. Take this bit on saxophonist Jimmy Guiffre, who’s radical ideas on group formation fly in the face of traditional structures while still having a rigid logic. Lots to learn about theories of teamwork in here.
The Group Is What The Group Is
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ted considers the torments of Christopher Burney, left in solitary confinement by the Nazis for eighteen months. As a serious introvert, I like to think solitude is a friend. Even I would balk at what Burney had to go through. But Ted’s point is valid—silence can be golden if you can handle it.
Tsundoku is the Japanese term for buying books and not reading them. If you’re like me, you have a TBR with plenty of volumes which have remained untouched since they came out of the book bag. Look, it’s difficult to walk past a bookshop at the best of times for me, and once you’re in it’s rude to browse and leave without buying something, particularly if you’re serious about supporting independent businesses. Umberto Eco has the right idea, and who are we to argue with a master?
Tsundoku and The Anti-Library Of Umberto Eco
My fictional output is clearly based in certain genres. Gleefully, unapologetically so. You don’t spit out books called Satan’s Schoolgirls and Pirates Of The Moon without understanding the ground in which you’re playing. But why do we read like that? What entices the reader towards certain kinds of stories? The answer, as Adam Sternberg relates, is simple and complex all at once. Great. Of course it is.
You can do anything with Lego. I mean. Literally anything.
Last up, let’s look at how archive film footage has become a commodity which, due to exorbitant cost, has made it more difficult to make certain kinds of film. Adam Curtis, who has the whole of the BBC Perivale centre to play in without cost, has it lucky. If you have to get licences from some of the other archives, you’d better have deep pockets.
Outro Time. Goat are back! Why was I not informed my favourite Swedish tribal hippy psych-freak groove-cult had new music? Worse, it seems I’ve just missed a short UK tour. I clearly need to reboot my etheric antennae, as I’m not receiving the transmissions from the oversphere. Oh, well, looks like I’ll have to perform the ritual down the garden on me tod. What’s that smell? Just incense, baby. Incense and good vibes.
See you in seven, true believers.