Sunday, September 4, 2016

What I’m reading #137

This is what the internet is for: “Watch the Opening Credits of an Imaginary 70s Cop Show Starring Samuel Beckett. Via Open Culture:

Also via Open Culture, “Hear Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-PhilosophicusSung as a One-Woman Opera”. I have read the book and enjoy the music but possibly it is not everyone’s glass of absinthe.

Chad Taylor discovers a new use for Dropbox. Quote unquote:
All those scrawled manuscript pages with their arrows and diagonal slash marks (one slash for moved, two for deleted), their numbered sections (I write 1, 5, 3, 2, 4 in that order. Don’t know why), their vertical squiggly lines (vertical in margin = too busy to deal with this now but srsly who wrote this and what were they thinking? Who?) and ticks (ink = updated in ms; pencil in lower right corner = updated in digital ms, discard this page), their diagrams (always the same four transparent boxes with only the beginning of a name in one) are now preserved forever in the cloud.
 I need this book.

I am a fan of B.S. Johnson as mentioned previously so was pleased to read this by D.J. Taylor in the TLS:
Yet pride of place in the pantheon of late Sixties soccerati – a term not coined for another quarter of a century – must surely go to the avant-garde novelist and one-time Observer football correspondent B. S. Johnson.
As early as November 1965, the author of Travelling People was hired by the Chilean movie producer Octavio Señoret to write the script of a FIFA-sponsored cinema film of the tournament. The aim, Johnson breezily declared in a magazine interview, was to “make something even better than the Japs did of the Tokyo Olympiad”.
Introvert hangovers are a thing. One day I will tell you about my afternoon with Jonathan Franzen. Meanwhile, quote unquote:
Maybe there are some people who can only take an hour of social activity, for example — meaning they’re highly introverted — but who never get bad physical symptoms as a result. Maybe the severity has to with what sort of introvert you are, or with whether you have “ambivert” tendencies.
Yes, “ambivert”.

The International Authors Forum is a very good thing. I was at its first planning meeting in Ljubljana in October 2011. They asked me to go on the working group to represent this part of the world because I had spoken so trenchantly at the IFRRO conference about how Eurocentric IFRRO was and how they needed input from Africa, Asia and the Pacific but by then I was a bit over doing so many unpaid hours for the NZ Society of Authors (when I say a bit over I mean A LOT OVER! because by then it was literally thousands of hours) so I handed that baton to Australia. Here is a PDF setting out the IAF’s 10 principles for fair author-publisher contracts and imho it is very good.

Bjorn Lomberg on the business of organic food. Quote unquote:
Moreover, by eating something organic, you are actually responsible for about as many greenhouse gas emissions as if you had chosen a regular product. Those are the gases that cause global warming. And organic products mean more of some other bad environmental things: about 10% more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification, while contributing almost 50% more to nitrogen leaching.
Jeff Beck has a new album out, Loud Hailer, so Kate Mossman interviewed him for the New Statesman. She says he is “one of the top three guitarists in the world” but for the life of me I can’t think who the other two might be. Quote unquote:
he has turned down an invitation to appear with [John] McLaughlin’s “butterfly” drummer Billy Cobham (“I’m not up to that standard”).
I am all for modesty but that is ridiculous. Beck’s most recent drummer was Vinnie Coliauta.

Squash is my sport – nobody ever believes this but I was in the top 20 in New Zealand as a junior and at 16 played for Tauranga with the adults. It is one of the few sports where a small, nippy person can defeat a muscled giant. So I still follow it and am outraged that the Olympics continue to snub it while accepting surfing, skateboarding and golf – golf! The Economist reports:
By most of the criteria that the IOC uses to measure prospective sports, squash appears to have a strong case. It has a long history, dating back to the 1830s. The sport has genuine global appeal: last year 47 countries hosted tour events, featuring players from 74 nations. There are 1.6 million American players, and more than 20 million worldwide, according to US Squash. Logistically, squash would also be an easy fit for the games. The event that the WSF has proposed—singles tournaments for men and women, featuring 32 players apiece—could be run exclusively on two all-glass courts, either inside or outside. And squash has already shown its suitability in other multi-sport events: more than one million people watched the men’s singles final in the last Commonwealth Games. “We would bring something special to the Olympics,” says Andrew Shelley, the chief executive of the WSF.
Why, then, has squash repeatedly been rejected by the IOC?

More sport: in case you missed some of these, here are 41 of Christian Cullen’s tries for the All Blacks. What a genius:

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