Some Things I Said I Wouldn’t Blog About

There’s an update on the Save The Maze campaign in the post below this one.

I haven’t had time to write here much lately, a state of affairs that will probably continue until after Easter, because I’m spending so much time writing. Now and then an idea for an entry crosses my mind but I tend not to do it because either a) I haven’t got time or b) it’s too self indulgent. But I really ought to write an entry every so often, so here’s a few things I haven’t had time to blog about . Is that a good title? Maybe I’ll use it. Or not.

My friend Nigel Pickard published his first novel One, and very fine it is too. Martin’s written about why the book’s so good on his site and he puts it very well.

Nigel was at REM in Sheffield last night and, unlike me and most of my gang, got to see Michael and Peter do four acoustic songs after apologising for cancelling the gig due to Mike Mills’ illness (get well soon, Mike). We arrived a bit late. I’d seen the support band two nights before and was meeting up with a long standing internet buddy who I’d never met in real life before. Hank got into the show. We didn’t. REM were taking the stage as we arrived, half an hour before showtime. The security staff were told to keep those arriving after 8.30 out because the rest of the audience would be leaving then. The fact that they weren’t, and the band were coming on stage, and it was snowing, and loads of us were there with valid tickets, didn’t deter them from sticking to their instructions. Oh well, unlike the rest of my friends and family, I’d seen REM at Hammersmith the previous Saturday, so can’t really complain, but that acoustic set sounded like something special.

I’ve just bought and read ‘Flimsy Rockets’, a beautifully self produced first comic (every copy is individually produced, hand stitched with a unique fastener, mine being a toggle from a duffle coat) from Paul Walker. The story is excellent, an intricately executed, fully realised, intriguingly naive fantasy that’s well worth a look. It can be had for six quid from Page 45 in Nottingham.

The one good thing about the delay of our flight to Dublin recently was reading a proof copy of Graham Marks’ new novel Zoo, a 24 type YA thriller with loads of hooks and an interesting theme, eugenics, which was also the theme of the play we saw in Dublin, Brian Friel’s ‘The Home Place’. It wasn’t one of Friel’s best, but Tom Courtenay and the rest of the cast gave it their all and we had a lot of interesting discussion about it afterwards. Thanks to Maurice for treating us.

And if this entry was a bit dull, sorry, but Mike is doing his annual which decade is top of the pops thing, with linked MP3s. It’s lots of fun – voting’s over, but you can read the results, along with his bloggers’ disco red nose thing – my vote is (surprise surprise) for REM’s ‘What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?’.

Oh, and my favourite new band, the Arcade Fire, have just announced their first UK tour, in May. The nearest they’re playing to me is Birmingham, but I’ll be there. Check them out. They’re something.

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