July 29, 2009


Um. Been awhile, hasn't it? Despite a promising start, this July must stand as a leading candidate for the slackest month in the (now 6-year, FFS) history of WT. Doing much worse will be hard, but hey, I can give it a go.

In the meantime, what have you missed? Really not all that much. Work proceeds at the same glacial pace, little advances, little steps back. Scientific equipment companies are the bane of my life. Or is it just science? Is there hope? Who can tell anymore?

There have been a few cultural outings that I probably can't even remember. Let's see. C de la B's Ashes -- choreographed by Koen Augustijnen, previously responsible for Bâche and Import/Export -- was frankly underwhelming, with remarkably little in the way of bite and intensity for a show ostensibly about death. The music and singing were marvellous, though, and there was a bit of trampolining fun as well. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Shaolin Monks frolic Sutra was much better, vigourous and articulate and beautiful; I liked it even more this time than on its first outing. The Hayward's Walking in My Mind exhibition occupies an equivalent conceptual space to last year's Psycho Buildings and I found it similarly unremarkable. Um, what else? Terminator Salvation was noisy useless dreck, but still not as teeth-grindingly dreadful as number 3. Zowie Bowie's Moon, on the other hand, is a bleakly brilliant flashback to the days when SF films had something to offer other than explosions and eye candy. Not that I've got anything much against the latter, but. (On which subject, Dexter -- need I say more?) And BSG's finale was contrived and annoying in more ways than you can shake a stick at, irksomely revisiting the hack screenwriter's equation of plotting with divinity that makes Signs so fucking emetic, but you have to admire the chutzpah of certain aspects, such as the casual final subtitle "150,000 years later"...

The summer has been rubbish, and we seem to be facing the prospect of another 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Even so, I've managed quite a bit of park time skating, and am now girding my loins for a return to the scene of the crime. Eek.

Before that, though, there's a few days in North Wales for, among other things, Ian's birthday. Back next week, but I can't promise to post.

Posted by matt at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 4, 2009

Cut 12

balcony sunshine

It is, of course, Pride day today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this means a lot less to me than it did back in the day. The weather is perfect for it, at least. I will probably wander past it in some fleeting fashion -- Matthew is meant to be doing it properly with his Brightonian dyke sister, so I may tag along with them -- but I have to be in Kensington Gardens for 3. A good excuse for missing out on the more 'festive' bits. Not that I have anything against festivity per se, but...

Posted by matt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

July 2, 2009

Mad Love

Sometime after Watchmen finished, back in the late 1980s, I remember reading an interview with Alan Moore in which he said something to the effect of having ultimately found himself more interested in the little people on the street corner than the big guys in spandex hitting each other to save the world -- and that he was going to concentrate on writing about them instead. The product of this effort was, IIRC, originally to be called The Mandelbrot Set until Benoit Mandelbrot complained that this would contribute to the trivialisation that then attended public mentions of his work (and continues to to this day); it eventually emerged as Big Numbers -- but not for long. Of the planned 12 issues, just two saw the light of day. I'm still not clear what happened -- I remember Dave Sim presenting it as a study in the difficulties of self-publishing, for example, which I'm pretty sure was not the real issue, and there were rumours of illness and madness afflicting the artist Bill Sienkiewicz, also dubious -- but in any case, the wait for issue 3 stretched from months to years and the whole episode was eventually forgotten.

I say we've been married forty years, we've never had call to use language, have we, Edie?

Except, not quite. While most of the series was never put down on paper and now exists only in Moore's own mind, it turns out that #3 was not only written but pretty fully drawn and lettered. By some marvel a photocopy turned up earlier this year and is now available -- with Moore's permission, it seems -- on (of all places) LiveJournal and Flickr:

a piece of the holy grail

I'm not sure I can express the impact of this find for a certain, admittedly small, class of people like me. It's like a new Shakespeare play or Beethoven symphony arriving out of nowhere. Except in those cases there would be much quibbling over authenticity, whereas here there is really none. The copy is a tiny bit rough, but the authorship and continuity is unmistakable.

And while in a sense this just makes one yearn even more for the alternate universe where the remaining three-quarters made it to press, it is wonderful to be able to read another piece of the intricate puzzle after all these years. Do it now.

Posted by matt at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)